Protect your business: Recognize the top three security threats, plus one you may not know about

Protect your business: Recognize the top three security threats, plus one you may not know about

This report gives detailed information on how to safeguard your customers’ data from viruses, phishing, and ransomware, plus a common security threat you may have overlooked.

The global average cost of a cyberattack is $3.6 million. But awareness is the first step in security and prevention. Check out this e-book and contact our team to learn more about how to defend your company against cyberattacks.

View: Protect your business: Recognize the top three security threats, plus one you may not know about

5 Tips to Protect Your Laptop from Physical Damage

A laptop can hold your life. If you’re working from home, it’s essential to your income. For students, it’s where you keep all your notes and essays. Plus, there are the personal photos and videos. And you sometimes use it to stream your TV shows, or to video chat with friends and family. You may even make music, create art, or be writing the next bestselling novel on your laptop. So, you want to keep it in great shape. Here are five tips to protect your laptop.

#1 Don’t drop it

Or throw it, or stand on it, or expect it to withstand any serious impact. OK, that’s pretty obvious. You also don’t want to use your laptop in the bathtub or at the pool. Even a simple water spill on a laptop can damage the circuitry. If you do get your laptop wet, immediately turn it off and unplug everything attached to it.

#2 Open carefully

Laptops are getting thinner in every iteration. Some now even have foldable screens. The thinner and more flexible screen may look sleek and cool, but it’s also less rigid, which makes it more prone to damage. Especially on lower-cost laptops, the screen can flex if you open the computer up from just one side.

Yet, many of us hold a laptop in one hand and open the lid with the other. This can cause the screen to twist. Use both hands to open the laptop. Or get into the habit of opening your laptop from the center to avoid flex.

#3 Don’t bedazzle your keyboard or screen

Alright, maybe you weren’t planning on putting faux rhinestones on the screen or keyboard. Still, reconsider any decorations you have thought of adding. Even a keyboard protector (to prevent dust or spills getting into the circuitry) or camera privacy sticker could damage some of the new super-thin laptops. It’s just that there is now so little clearance between the keyboard and the screen.

If you really must have your stickers, put them on the protective sleeve that you get for your laptop.

#4 Disconnect carefully

Your laptop needs a consistent power source. If you damage the power cord connection, you’re done. So, make sure you pull the power cord out straight. Yanking it out sideways could damage the port.

Also be aware of where your power cord is connecting to the wall outlet. If you leave the cord trailing along the floor, someone could trip over it, or it could get caught on a rolling chair. This could not only damage the charging port but even pull the entire laptop onto the floor. That brings us back to #1, don’t drop the laptop!

#5 Keep it cool

No, you don’t have to store it into a refrigerator (please don’t!), but heat isn’t good for your laptop. You’ll want to keep your computer away from external sources of heat.

Again, as the laptops get thinner, they are more vulnerable to internal overheating. Ensure that the laptop’s intake ports are unblocked so that air can flow through and cool the circuitry. You might also blow dust out of the vents using canned air.

Also, avoid placing your laptop on very soft surfaces. A soft, uneven surface is more likely to block the internal fans. This leaves your device unable to regulate its temperature. You could even buy a laptop cooling stand, which provides extra fans to improve air circulation.

Average laptop lifespan will vary between two to five years. Keep your laptop on the longer side of that by taking these tips to heart.

If something does happen to your laptop, give us a call at 276-296-1155 or visit https://otsantechnicalservice.net. Our IT experts are here to help you find the best laptop for you, upgrade and secure your laptop, or fix your laptop when you need it.


What Are Cookies?

What Are Cookies?

Fresh-baked cookies are yummy, but you may not have the same positive associations with cookies on your computer. Here’s what you need to know about cookies and what they mean for your internet browsing.

Cookies have been around for a long time, but new laws now require websites to ask for your permission to use them. You’ve likely noticed more sites informing you that “this website uses cookies,” and they’ll ask you to click to accept the use of cookies. But what exactly are you agreeing to?

A website cookie is a small piece of text the website you are visiting stores on your computer.

Cookies are equivalent to your ticket to get onto the website. Website owners track your individualized code to gather information.

Cookies tell the website that the user has been to the site before. The website can recall personal login information and other preferences. A shopping site will remember your cart and let you continue shopping, or suggest other goods you might like.

Viewing and Controlling Cookies

So, why are sites asking for permission to store their cookies on your computer? Users are more concerned now about the digital footprint they are leaving on the Web: they want to protect their Web history.

Let’s be clear. When you accept a cookie, you are not allowing access to your computer or any of your personal data, unless you have knowingly provided it as you do when online shopping, that is.

Also, it’s not possible to execute code from a cookie. That means a bad actor can’t use a cookie to deliver a virus or malware.

Overall, cookies on their own are safe. Agreeing to first-party cookies from the website simplifies session management, personalization, and tracking.

The danger comes from third-party cookies generated by advertisers or analytics companies. Say, for instance, you surf to a webpage that has 10 ads on it. You don’t even have to click on any of those ads to generate 10 cookies. These cookies track your browsing history across the Web on any site carrying their ads. That’s why people are becoming more wary of the privacy implications.

That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles

Users can make their own cookie choices. Those who allow cookies will enjoy a more streamlined Web surfing experience. Those who don’t want cookies tracking their browsing history will opt out. Without cookies these users have to re-enter their data every time they visit a website.

Often you can control your cookies in your browser settings. In Google Chrome, for example, you’d select “Settings” from the menu drop down in the upper-right corner, then “show advanced settings” and then “content settings.” In the Cookies section you might choose “Keep local data only until you quit your browser” and “block third-party cookies and site data.”

If you’re really annoyed by the pop-ups asking you about cookie use, you can install a browser add-on, too.

The “Incognito” mode on your browser can be used to save cookies for the current session, but when you close the browser the cookies will be deleted.

We can help you minimize the extent to which you are being tracked on the internet. Contact our IT experts today at 276-296-1155. If you want to serve actual cookies if we visit you at home to do the work, we won’t complain.

Why Do Computers Slow Down Over Time?

Remember the awe you felt when you turned on your new computer and it loaded in a flash? Your computer was the envy of your friends and you weren’t afraid to bathe in that glory. Button on, ready to go, those were the days!

After a year or two though, it doesn’t seem to be quite as zippy…no, you’re not imagining it. It really has slowed down, not just in comparison to newer models and your expectations…There’s a measurable drop in speed and power that has nothing to do with worn out parts. The good news is a little maintenance can have that baby cruising at top speed again. Let’s take a leisurely walk through the system and spot the culprits:

Start-up applications: It’s super convenient to have Skype start automatically and your anti-virus too. In fact, many of the applications starting themselves with the computer are essential to your experience. But some of them are getting a little too ‘helpful’.

For example, iTunes helper loads in the background to speed things up when you connect your device – but if you can’t even remember the last time you ran iTunes on your computer, then it can go. Programs like that are holding onto a portion of your processing power and adding to your speed issues. The average home computer automatically loads around 75 programs at start-up!

Temporary junk: Computers are kind of messy. They leave temporary files and snippets of information all over your hard drive, each action leaving a trail rather like a roaming toddler with a sticky sandwich. Every webpage, every image on that webpage, every program you run and every game you play leaves something behind.

It may be the tidbits of information called “cookies”, saved game files, auto-restore files or even a log so that you can hit the undo button 100 times while it remembers your actions for you.

The more junk your computer builds up, the slower it gets.

Viruses and malware: These infections sit in the background consuming resources while doing various nightmarish things. They may be spying on your actions, stealing your information or reaching out through your network to infect others. Occasionally, the impact is limited to seeing your computer slow to a crawl, however the flow-on financial costs of an infection can easily reach into the thousands.

Bloating: With every new version of software comes a new set of features, introductory sequences and design improvements. The problem with this is the application becomes larger and larger with each new version, requiring more system resources to install and run – and slowing your computer down.

Just like a car, computers need regular maintenance – we offer a Tune-Up service to bring your computer back to its original speed and extend its life. 

Give us a call to book a Tune Up.


Remote work checklist

Remote work checklist

Remote working, virtual learning, online living—the COVID-19 situation has required a shift from all of us. For many, this includes working from home. While a few space and routine necessities might seem obvious to some people, chances are we haven’t thought of everything. Chances are we need reminders. Check out this infographic for nine factors to help you stay healthy while working remotely. Whether you’ve done it for years, or this is your first time occasionally working in pajamas, we’re convinced there is something on this list you haven’t thought of. Have a look.

Read More…

Why is My Brand New Laptop So Slow?

Why is My Brand New Laptop So Slow?

Why is My Brand New Laptop So Slow?

Your old computer is beginning to slow down. So, you invest in a shiny new laptop. The clouds part and the sun shines down on this bright and lovely new device. Everything will be faster and easier. Only, from the first day, the new laptop is lagging. Why is it running so slow? One of these might be the reason.

#1 Not enough computing power.

In many cases, the laptop doesn’t have enough RAM (Random Access Memory). RAM is the computer’s main memory. This helps your computer do more at once. Information from the operating system, application programs and data are kept here, when in use, for quicker processing.

RAM is like the computer’s short-term memory, while the hard drive is the long-term memory. Just as the human brain can’t hold everything in short-term memory, RAM can get overloaded too. When this happens on your laptop, the computer processor needs to go to the hard drive. This slows things down.

Resolution: You might see 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or more of RAM available. How much you need is going to depend on what you plan on doing with the computer. For a laptop with Windows 10, we recommend at least 8GB of RAM, but 16GB is more comfortable for a better experience.

Not all laptops will let you access the RAM. When you can, though, upgrading memory can be quick and affordable.

#2 Mechanical hard drive.

Often a single part is letting you down. With a less expensive computer, manufacturers skimp. While it’s less common these days, some laptops will come with a mechanical hard drive. You might think of this like a record player with a needle reading the vinyl album. Since something is moving to find data, the laptop runs slower than it would with a Solid State Drive (SSD), which has no moving parts.

Resolution: In many cases, a mechanical hard drive can be easily upgraded to an SSD. However, some super slim laptops have limited upgradability.

#3 Bloatware.

Retailers like to tout all the bells and whistles that come with their laptops. So, when you turn on your laptop for the first time, you may notice there’s already a lot of software preloaded. Much of it you’ll probably never use. Maybe there are toolbars you don’t need, games you’ll never use, or stock widgets that you couldn’t care less about. These examples of bloatware slow down your computer.

The third-party applications are a revenue source for the manufacturer, but don’t always help you. Microsoft, for instance, sells a line of computers that come without any pre-installed third-party software. Computerworld reported those PCs “start up 104% faster, shut down 35% faster and have 28 minutes more battery life.”

Resolution: When you get a new laptop, check out the pre-installed software before you add your own. Determine what the existing software will do, and uninstall anything that you won’t want.

If your laptop is slow on the first startup, this may be due to system updates. For instance, a Windows 10 automatic update to bolster the security of the computer. You can’t do much about these, but look on the bright side, your laptop security is current!

Improved speed is a main reason to invest in a new laptop. Don’t let a lagging laptop disrupt your productivity. We can help with a slow running laptop.

Instead of wasting valuable time waiting on a slow computer, give us a call!