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Windows Server 2003 End-of-Life: Have You Migrated Yet?

Windows Server 2003 End-of-Life: Have You Migrated Yet?

Microsoft has announced that Windows Server 2003 support will end on July 14, 2015. What does this mean for your business?

What this change simply means is that there will no longer be any patches or security updates for this server. Without these patches and security updates, your business is at greater risk to threats. Additionally, third-party applications and hardware vendors are expected to drop support for their products, which adds more risk of not receiving help when needed.

Your business may also experience compliance issues. With these compliance issues, the cost of doing business could increase in the form of high transaction fees and penalties or could also result in a loss of business. Also, without support, Windows Server 2003 will not pass a compliance audit like PCI.

If your business is using Windows Server 2003, start making plans to upgrade to Windows Server 2012, which allows for better computing, networking, and storage. Windows Server 2012 includes hybrid cloud support, backup and recovery, enterprise-class scale and performance, Hyper-V network virtualization, and is relatively low-cost.

This migration also grants you the opportunity to migrate from in-house data centers to cloud services like Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office 365, which allows for faster implementation and can help increase productivity.

With hundreds upon hundreds of software and server applications, migrating servers take time. With the end-of-life date getting closer, it will be best to upgrade soon to keep your business running smoothly. Last minute changes will be more difficult and stressful in a time crunch.

What can you do to make the change? Check out Microsoft’s helpful Migration Planning Assistant

AtNetPlus Recognized for Seventh Consecutive Cascade Capital Business Growth Award

AtNetPlus, Inc., leader in information technology and web solutions, today announced that the company has been honored with its seventh consecutive Cascade Capital Business Growth Award. This year, the award recognizes 43 companies in seven Northeast Ohio counties that have shown a growth in sales and/or an increase of full-time employees over the past five years. The winners were announced at the 20th Annual Awards Ceremony.

As one of only seven companies recognized in the Technology category, AtNetPlus gained nearly 70% in sales growth for the past five years. In 2013, 6 new employees were added to AtNetPlus.

“To qualify for this recognition for the seventh time speaks volumes of how far we have come. We will continue to work hard to provide great IT solutions to our clients,” stated President Jim Laber.

Jay Mellon, CEO, also states, “We plan to continue this positive growth, and will keep moving forward. We aim to offer up-to-date technology solutions to meet the ever-changing demands for small and medium-sized businesses. We strive to provide the best products and services for our clients and continue to grow our well-trained team.”

 

Jim Laber, Robert Filipiak, and Jay Mellon

AtNetPlus President Jim Laber (left) and CEO Jay Mellon (right) with Robert Filipiak, Executive Director of Cascade Capital Corporation.

Phishing: Don’t Take the Bait

Phishing: Don’t Take the Bait

Cyber security is an ongoing necessity in such a technological world. With October being National Cyber Security Awareness Month, having helpful reminders of common cyber threats is always a good thing.

Phishing is one of the common cyber threats on the Internet today. Phishing allows for criminals to gather your personal information by using brand names to lure you into clicking. You may receive an email from a well-known company, but is it really from that company?

There are some ways you can identify a phishing attempt in your email:

  • Hover over the hyperlink in your inbox (a little box with the destination website name should pop up) to legitimize the sender. For example, if you receive an email from AtNetPlus.com, the domain should typically be AtNetPlus.com; not AtNotPlvs.com, ANetPius.com, or some other variation. Also check to see if the name is within the country. If you receive an email from amazon.ca (Amazon Canada) and you live within the United States (where it would be amazon.com), you are most likely being phished. This also works if you hover over the link within the email.
  • If the email itself is plain text and has no images, this is more likely a phishing attempt. A normal email from a company would have a mixture of pictures and text.
  • The same rules for detecting Spam applies to phishing as well. Incorrect grammar or spelling, suspicious attachments, asking for personal information, foreign language, and anything that seems “too good to be true” are all indicators of a possible phishing email.

Help protect yourself from phishing. Learn the indicators, and stop phishing before it occurs.

Have a tip to spot a phishing email? Tell us at Facebook, LinkedIn, or tweet us @atnetplus

5 Ways to Stay Safe in a Social World

5 Ways to Stay Safe in a Social World

In today’s world, having a Social Media profile is as common as the air we breathe. Social networks including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all around us, with new profiles created daily. According to an eMarketer report, one in four people use some sort of social media network.

With more people using Social Media, new security threats have appeared. Help protect yourself from Social Media threats with these helpful tips.

  1. Make your account passwords difficult to decipher. Avoid using personal information like birthdays, names, or interests as passwords. Instead, use a mixture of letters, numbers, and punctuation to create your password. You can also use a password generator to help create secure passwords. Use a password manager, like LastPass, to help generate and store your passwords securely and easily.
  2. Familiarize yourself with your social network security settings. Most social networks have security settings to help filter what information people can see and who can view your posts.
  3. Avoid clicking on advertisements. Some advertisements may have attached viruses that can cause problems on your computer. Also, some advertisements can lead to fake sites that are used by criminals to obtain private information from you. A good rule to follow: don’t click if you don’t know.
  4. Be careful of what you post onto your Social Media profiles. Criminals can use your personal information you provide via Social Media to decipher passwords and break the walls of security on any of your accounts, including email and banking accounts.
  5. Be aware of who you’re friending on social networks. Fake profiles can be created by criminals who can use these profiles to obtain private information from your profile. If you receive requests from people you don’t recognize, check the name, pictures, and content of their profile to see if anything seems familiar to you. If nothing seems familiar, do not add them, as it may be a fake profile. Try to only ‘friend’ profiles of known people that you feel comfortable allowing access to your profile.

For more information on cyber security, and in honor of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, check out staysafeonline.org/ncsam

Have a Social Media security tip? Let us know on Facebook, LinkedIn, or tweet us @atnetplus

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Get Ready… the Audits are Coming!

Get Ready… the Audits are Coming!

When most people hear the word audit, their first reaction is panic and stress even when they are fully compliant.  It’s part of our human nature to want to do the right thing and also to worry when someone else is checking us.

 

We’ve recently seen an increase in audits of Microsoft Licensing.  Many organizations have reported being audited by Microsoft within the past twelve months.  It’s part of the Terms and Conditions that all users agree to with Microsoft that allows them to audit and also allows you to use their software.  If your organization hasn’t been audited yet, Great!  But you should expect it to be coming.

 

In the past, most licensing audits were performed by the BSA, Business Software Alliance.  Many of these audits were prompted from reports from workers, current or past, who would report non-compliance issues.  While this is still one method triggering audits, there are a few others that stand out as possible reasons Microsoft is auditing companies.  Microsoft may look at a company’s purchase history.  For instance, if it’s been five or more years since a company has purchased licensing, Microsoft may look to check as there have been many new technology and license changes to their software during that time.  An audit could also be driven by the amount of licenses a company has purchased.  For instance, if a company purchased 150 exchange licenses but only 20 copies of Office licenses this may be questioned since Office uses Outlook, they may want to know how the company is using Exchange.  While we don’t always know what initiates a company to be audited, it’s better to bet on the fact that your day will come.

 

The best thing to do is to self-audit; to double check that your company is compliant.  You’ll want to gather and organize receipts and authorization documents for all software and systems.  Regardless of the reason that your company might not have the correct amount of licenses, its best to true-up and become compliant in case you get audited, or just because it’s the right thing to do.  If your company needs help with this let us know, we can help!  Just fill out the form below if you’d like to receive more information about how we can help your business.  There’s no reason that an audit needs to induce panic and stress.

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Rumors Become Truth: Windows 10 Unveiled

Rumors Become Truth: Windows 10 Unveiled

Recently we wrote a blog about the upcoming Microsoft announcement of the rumored Windows 9. Yesterday, Microsoft revealed the new name and look of the new Windows, Windows 10.

With over 1.5 billion people using Windows, Microsoft is working to make Windows 10 a “one application platform” across all devices. As stated in yesterday’s reveal, “Windows 10 will be [Microsoft’s] most comprehensive platform, ever.”

Windows 10 will be built to focus on a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Microsoft explains Windows 10 as having “the familiarity of Windows 7 with some of the elements of Windows 8”.

Some of the features of Windows 10 include:

  • Incorporating the Start button with the application tiles. This allows you to stay on one screen rather than navigate between the touch screen and desktop screen like in Windows 8.
  • Ability to change the size of the Start Menu and tiles within it to your liking.
  • A more advanced searching system, including web results.
  • Keeping the Charm Bar, but modifying it to accommodate more touch screen users.
  • Separating corporate and personal data across devices.
  • Keeping the snap view for classic and universal apps that users know from Windows 7.
  • A multiple desktop. Users can switch between different desktops to keep apps running in their own areas.
  • Ability to paste directories into the command prompt with CTRL + V.
  • A “continuum” feature for two-in-ones to change modes based on touch and keyboard input.

Today, October 1, 2014, Microsoft is releasing a preview of Windows 10 with the Windows Insider Program. Microsoft is encouraging consumer feedback from the preview, in hopes to create a product everyone will enjoy. The actual release of Windows 10 is planned for late 2015.

Want to check out the preview and add your input? Check it out at preview.windows.com.

What are your thoughts on Windows 10? Let us know on Facebook, LinkedIn, or tweet us @atnetplus

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