Signs You Aren’t Budgeting Enough for IT

Generally, we like to make the argument that nothing about your small business is too small. We do say it a lot in relation to cybersecurity — no size of business is immune. Yet, there is the chance your IT budget is too small. Consider these indicators that you might need to invest more in your IT. Every business wants to be cost-conscious. Saving...
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Quick Tip No. 57

Software updates are important because they often include critical patches to security holes. Many harmful malware attacks we see take advantage of software vulnerabilities in common applications, like operating systems and browsers.

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That’s So 2010: Why Upgrade Your Office Software

Are you still using Office 2010? It may have served you well over the past decade, but this software reached its end of life in 2020. It’s time to upgrade. Here’s why and what to consider.

Software has a typical life span, after which the manufacturer turns its resources to supporting a more recent release. Support for Office 2010 ended on October 13, 2020. Microsoft no longer provides tech support, or bug or security fixes. That means there’s no protection from harmful viruses, spyware, or other malicious software. The software won’t be updated, and there’s no more phone or chat support if you run into trouble.

Cybercriminals know that Office 2010 users are on their own. They’re on the lookout for businesses relying on this legacy software. Without updates, you risk opening a document designed to leverage an unpatched exploit.

What can you do?

Move your business computers to one of the more modern Microsoft software offerings. You can choose to upgrade to the latest version of Office as a one-time purchase, or buy a Microsoft 365 subscription to the latest features, security updates, and other improvements.

The currently available version of Office, Office 2019, is available for PC or Mac. You can install Office only on one device, and you’ll get support and fixes during its lifecycle period only. New features aren’t offered.

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“So Slow!” Is it your Computer or your Internet Connection?

“Why is this
computer running so slow?” It’s a common complaint. The question is whether
it’s your computer or your internet connection.

You may feel your computer is moving at a snail’s pace, but it used to be cheetah-fast! You’re going to want to identify and address the issue to get back up to speed. Yet it’s hard to know whether to blame your computer or the internet connection, especially now that so many computer applications rely on internet connectivity.

Why is your laptop so slow?

Is Your Computer the Problem?

So, how do you determine whether it’s your computer or connectivity that’s the problem? If you are having the problem only on one device in a network, you can guess it’s the computer, not the connectivity. Otherwise, think about when you are having slow woes.

If you notice
programs are taking longer to load up, your computer may not be up to the task.
Running large applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, or some
accounting packages can cause slowdowns. The hardware may be overwhelmed. You
may not have enough available storage space. Sometimes your computer’s parts
are simply too old and not fast enough.

Even a new
computer could be the problem if it’s an inexpensive one. Or perhaps you didn’t
get enough random access memory (RAM). Your computer needs RAM to run
applications or games; it’s the short-term memory of the computer. This is
where the computer loads all the things it thinks it might need soon so that it
can process them quickly. Without enough available RAM, the computer has to
work harder (and slower) to get the results you want.

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Security Patches — The Better Way to Update

Updates often come at the worst moment. You go to shut down your laptop
to rush to a meeting, and you get a “Windows is updating. Do not power off”
message. Argh!

Or you leave your desktop to go to a meeting and come back to find your
computer has restarted in your absence. Those unexpected bug fixes and
performance improvements lost you all your unsaved work.

You know updates are important. They help patch security flaws. These
are the vulnerabilities that hackers love to exploit. Updating helps you keep
business documents and data safe. Software updates can also add new, useful
features and remove outdated ones. Plus, keeping software and systems up to
date is good cyber citizenship. Security patches protect from attacks that
could also impact employees, customers, and partners.

Updating is a pain but oh so important

The WannaCry ransomware attacked hundreds of thousands of computers in
more than 150 countries. Among those infected were the UK National Health
Service, FedEx, Telefonica, the Russian Interior Ministry, and more, all
because people (and companies) weren’t keeping their computers updated. The
later Petya ransomware preyed on the same vulnerabilities, despite the
publicity around WannaCry and Microsoft having already released a patch.

Still, people don’t bother updating. According to a Skype survey, 40%
of respondents didn’t update their machines when prompted, almost 25% required
a second prompt. Nearly 45% worried that installing the update would weaken
their computer’s security.

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