Trusted Tips and Resources

Trusted Tips & Resources

Burnt Orange Solutions Trusted Saskatoon IT Expert Shares Basics Of Protecting Your Business

The Trusted team at Burnt Orange Solutions are located in the Computers & Web Design Category.

Honesty and respect are important factors in daily communication at Burnt Orange. Gareth and the team at Burnt Orange Solutions are YOUR Saskatoon IT stress solution. Burnt Orange Solutions are your Trusted Saskatoon IT Experts


BURNT ORANGE SOLUTIONS SASKATOON BASICS OF PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS INFORMATION

Our Saskatoon IT Tips are from the Trusted professionals at Burnt Orange Solutions.  We promise to have a one-hour response time for all your Saskatoon IT support needs. Honesty and respect are important to us. In our latest  IT Expert tip Article, Gareth McKee, owner of Burnt Orange Solutions shares tips on protecting your business information.

 

The Basics of Protecting Your Business Information

  1. Network Gateway Firewall

The first point of defense to protect your network from hackers and bots trying to gain access to your network. Ensure you speak with a professional IT company to ensure it is configured correctly.

  1. Web protection

It is the easiest thing to click on a link not realizing it takes you to a very good fake website, this triggers the automatic download of a virus or ransomware. Web protection stops this happening by blocking known dangerous websites as well as legitimate websites which become infected.

  1. Antimalware at server/workstation/tablets/cell phones

Everyone knows you should have anti-malware/virus on your PCs and Servers, but not everyone understands that you should have this software on all your devices. And don’t for 1 second think that Apple products are safe, they also need antimalware, as do your tablets and cell phones.

One more point on this, do not use free antimalware tools, they are free for a reason i.e. they are about as much use as a chocolate fire guard.

  1. Anti-malware/spam at the email server

Specific email server antimalware and antispam software much be installed and configured correctly. This helps protect your staff from emails with dangerous links, virus payloads and generally makes them more efficient as their inbox will not be bombarded with 1,000s of annoying emails.

  1. Secure WIFI

Protecting Your Business Information wifi secureWIFI must be secured using the latest encryption WPA2 and protected with a strong password or RADIUS security tools.

Other tools which may be used to improve the security of WIFI networks include hiding the network, this way only computers which have been previously logged on to the network with be able to connect. You can also configure the WIFI network to only allow specific computers to connect.

One tactic which many businesses don’t do, but is a must, separate the WIFI networks, one for staff and one for guests. Only allow guests access to the internet and not on the business network, your laptops may be fully secured, but you don’t know the security standard of guests, they may very easily bring a virus in to your network.

  1. Encryption

Consider full encryption of all your computers, in particular laptops. By design laptops are for travel, unfortunately, this allows the theft of them to be much easier than a server in a locked down building.

Encryption would ‘scramble’ all the data on the hard drive and the only way to decrypt the data is by having a user login and password. Even if the hard drive is removed from the laptop the data cannot be accessed.

  1. Local and cloud image-based backups

A good backup solution is like insurance, you never need it until you NEED IT.

Don’t mess around with USB sticks which sit in a drawer. All businesses can afford and should use a business class backup service which provides:

  • Image based backups – allows for quick recovery of whole systems
  • Local backup – allows for quick recovery of files
  • Cloud backup – allows for recovery of data even in the event of a total loss at the business location
  • Encryption – stops hackers and thieves getting at your data.

 

  1. User training

Staff members must be trained to use the software correctly, also to recognize dangerous phishing emails or other attempts at gaining access to your network.

  1. Acceptable Use Policy

securing a lost laptopBe sure to have an Acceptable Us Policy for your computers and networks. This plainly shows the staff members what they can and cannot do on the computers:

  • Are they allowed to use social media?
  • Are they allowed to install software?
  • Are they allowed to shop online?

 

  1. Patch management

Patch management is a must for all devices on a network. New security holes are discovered every day on PCs, servers, switches, routers, firewall, WIFI access points, printers, scanners etc. all these devices can provide access to your network, ensure all patches and upgrades to all software and hardware are installed when they become available.

  1. Proactive maintenance

We all know the value of maintaining our cars, yet very few people maintain their computers. From blowing out the insides of a computer to get rid of all the dust to hard drive checks which will save you hours if not days in the event of a hard drive failure.

The best solution here is to outsource the proactive testing and reporting to an IT support company, they will have the tools, the trained staff and the reporting to do this properly.

  1. Firewall at server/workstation

Each device needs a firewall to improve its safe on the network. Often when a virus finds its way in to a network it will try to replicate itself across all the devices, a firewall on the PCs and servers helps prevent this.

  1. File and folder security permissions

To prevent leakage of information from your business it is paramount that security rules are in place to prevent a staff member from gaining access to information they should not have. Whether malicious or not, this can cause at best an HR headache at worst business secrets could find their way to your competitors.

  1. Users should not have administration rights

Staff members should not have administration rights to their local computer, it helps prevent the installation of unknown software and the spreading of viruses.

  1. Passwords

We now speak about passPHRASES rather than passwords as you can have spaces in the string of characters. A good passphrase should have at least 14 characters and be changed at a minimum quarterly.

  1. Do not allow the use of Dropbox etc.

Unless authorized by the management of a company, Dropbox and the like should not be allowed. A helpful staff member today who uses Dropbox to work at home may leave the company next week and have a lot of business information on their home computer.

Also, Dropbox can aid the spread of viruses and ransomware.

On a side note, do not use Dropbox as a backup solution, if a file on your PC becomes corrupt, the copy in Dropbox will also become corrupt. It is not designed as a backup solution.




Contact Burnt Orange today for more information or to take advantage of your FREE initial consultation. View them on Facebook here. They are your Burnt Orange Solutions are Trusted Saskatoon IT Experts!

Burnt Orange Trusted Saskatoon IT Experts Talk About Windows End Of Life… Are You Ready?

The Trusted team at Burnt Orange Solutions are located in the Saskatoon computers Category.

Honesty and respect are important factors in daily communication at Burnt Orange. Gareth and the team at Burnt Orange Solutions are YOUR Saskatoon IT stress solution. Burnt Orange Solutions are your Trusted Saskatoon IT Experts


WINDOWS END OF LIFE…ARE YOU READY?

Our Saskatoon IT Tips are from the Trusted professionals at Burnt Orange Solutions.  We promise to have a one-hour response time for all your Saskatoon IT support needs. Honesty and respect are important to us. In our latest  IT Expert tip Article, we discuss the imminent Windows end of life and what happens if you aren’t prepared.

Windows End Of Life.

Let’s start off with the news that the much-loved Windows 7 operating system has now less than 1 year of life left in it.

On January 13th, 2020 Microsoft will cease to provide any further updates or security patches for Windows 7.

After this date, Windows 7 will become an ever-increasing security hole in your home or business network. As hackers and criminals find and make use of security gaps in the coding of Windows seven anyone who is still using it will be at greater risk of infection risking data being stolen or made inaccessible.

Saskatoon businesses need to plan for the change now. Depending on where you look for the figures, polls show that anywhere between 30% and 50% of businesses still use Windows 7.

Depending upon the number of PCs, the complexity of the network and the number of different programs used it could take months to plan and roll out new Windows 10 PCs to a business network.

Burnt Orange advice, contact your IT support company now to ensure you are fully secure and using Windows 10 before Christmas 2019.

Windows Server 2008 End Of Life Date Approaching

The much-used Windows 2008 Server operating system has now less than 1 year of life left in it.  Windows 2008 Server will become an ever-increasing security hole in your business network. As hackers and criminals find and make use of security gaps in the coding of Windows 2008 Server anyone who is still using it will be at greater risk of infection risking data being stolen or made inaccessible.

Depending upon the number of servers, the complexity of the network and the number of different programs used it could take months to plan and roll out new Windows 2019 Servers to a business network.

Burnt Orange advice, contact your IT support company now to ensure you are fully secure and using Windows Server 2019 before Christmas 2019.

Windows 7 and Server 2008 End Of Life – What You NEED To Do

This doesn’t mean that your Windows 7 PC or 2008 Server will suddenly stop working, what it does mean is that no more patches or upgrades will be released by Microsoft.  It means that every day after January 13th the Windows 7 computers and 2008 Servers will become less secure and more likely to be infect by a virus or become victim to ransomware or other hacking type code.

Recovering from a virus attack or ransomware infection is a very expensive operation, so what should your business be doing?

  1. Contact our team at Burnt Orange Solutions to discuss planning an upgrade to Windows 10 and Server 2019. Depending upon the age of your PC hardware it may not be necessary to buy new computers, but it will mean server hardware. Early investigation is a must as it can take months to plan and roll out an upgrade depending upon your individual needs.
  2. Contact all your software vendors, do the programs you use on a daily basis function in Windows 10 and Server 2019? If not, you are going to either need to upgrade or move to a new software package.
  3. This is going to cost your business money, there is no way to avoid it. New computers, new softwares, IT consultants and engineers, possible down time due to the upgrade process, possible business interruption.
  4. Plan on changes to your network if you need to keep any Windows 7 PCs or 2008 Servers in your office due to legacy software packages (fun fact – 7% of the worlds computers still run Windows XP), these PC must be kept separate from the rest of the network for security reasons.

Burnt Orange Solutions can help your business navigate this necessary evil, whether you have 1 PC or 500. The main take away here is to start the process sooner rather than later!!

As 2020 approaches expect many IT companies to be very busy and not have time to fit you in for an upgrade.

Don’t be offended if in December 2019 you call a computer support company to discuss the upgrade and all you hear is laughter from the other end of the phone.




Contact Burnt Orange today for more information or to take advantage of your FREE initial consultation. View them on Facebook here. They are your Burnt Orange Solutions are Trusted Saskatoon IT Experts!


Trusted Saskatoon IT Experts Burnt Orange Solutions Top 5 Ways IT Adds Value To Businesses

The Trusted team at Burnt Orange Solutions are located in the Computers & Web Design Category.

Honesty and respect are important factors in daily communication at Burnt Orange. Gareth and the team at Burnt Orange Solutions are YOUR Saskatoon IT stress solution. Burnt Orange Solutions are your Trusted Saskatoon IT Experts


IT Adds Value To Businesses

Of all the reasons that a business doesn’t leverage IT, the one that makes the least sense to me has to do with their size. There seems to be a reluctance to adopt more than what – for whatever reason – is “enough” for a business of their size and or capacity.

There is definitely a disconnect here that needs addressing. We know that more technology solutions, designed to make a company’s tasks easier, are not going to make these tasks harder. If anything, adding the right technology will help to increase the business’ capacity and profitability.  Maybe it’s because the employees of a business are afraid that their jobs will be at risk if a machine can do them – and they’ve never considered that someone still has to tell the machines what to do.

Regardless of the reason, it is important that anyone in charge of making decisions for a business understands the true benefits that modern IT solutions can deliver to all parts of their operations.

For instance:

IT Benefit 1. Money Management

Let’s face it, without money coming in, no business can operate for long. So the ability to properly manage incoming and outgoing cash flow is pretty crucial. A simple spreadsheet can be used to accomplish this, but that requires many hours to be invested to keep this document updated.

On the other hand, the right IT solutions can eliminate a considerable portion of this requirement. This allows you to save time, reviewing your finances and looking at future growth, instead of constantly micro-managing them.

 

IT Benefit 2. Team Work & Collaboration

One of the problems with most ‘tried-and-true’ business solutions, like paper files in a cabinet, is the fact that they make teamwork more difficult. With paper files, people need to be involved and often gathered in the same room. This makes life difficult and risks papers getting mixed up or lost, and perhaps crucial insights that won’t make it out of meetings.

However, there are IT solutions, like cloud computing, that not only keep these kinds of documents secure, they also allow your team members to easily work together on a document, wherever they happen to be. As a result, all insight and progress are saved in one place, accessible to any who needs to work on it as a team.

 

IT adds value to businessesIT Benefit 3. Efficiency

Businesses have a huge amount of work to attend to, regardless of their size. Anything that can help that work be done faster should be a welcome addition. Whether that speed comes from analyzing how time is being spent and optimizing it, managing tasks through digital tools to ensure that all responsibilities are filled, or any other way, should be motivation enough to adopt the solutions that enable these benefits.

 

IT Benefit 4. Mobile Work and Telecommuting

Remember how technology solutions were able to enable collaboration, wherever a user happened to be? This is due to the mobility that many solutions can provide. Smartphones are more and more able to communicate with those devices, making it possible to work from effectively anywhere.

Other solutions can allow an employee to work from home, offering some additional productivity benefits and perks for employees.

IT Benefit 5. Customer Service

Finally, the right technology solution can assist your business with its all-important customer service needs. You could apply a method to assist customers in need of support automatically, saving time, as an employee can step in with a clearer idea of the situation – assuming the employee needs to interrupt what they were doing at all. If you run an appointment-based business, you can put the ability to schedule a time in your client/customer’s hands if you want, establishing availability and automatically having it update as it changes.

Of course, this is but a brief sampling of what the right solutions can do if properly leveraged. Make sure you read some of our other blogs and service descriptions to learn more about what we do.




Contact Burnt Orange today for more information or to take advantage of your FREE initial consultation. View them on Facebook here. They are your Burnt Orange Solutions are Trusted Saskatoon IT Experts!

Burnt Orange Trusted Saskatoon IT Experts Talk About Mac's and Hacks

The Trusted team at Burnt Orange Solutions are located in the Computers & Web Design Category.

Honesty and respect are important factors in the daily communication at Burnt Orange. Gareth and the team at Burnt Orange Solutions are YOUR Saskatoon IT stress solution. Burnt Orange Solutions are your Trusted Saskatoon IT Experts


Burnt Orange Solutions Provides Advice About Hacks and Mac's



Locked Out of Your Mac?

If you’ve purchased a Mac expecting to never have to be concerned with malware or hacking, think again!  A recent exploit is targeting Mac users.  The good news?  It’s preventable. Mac users have long touted the fact that Apple computers are much less likely than computers running Microsoft Windows to be hacked, but that era may be coming to an end.  With four times as many Windows 10 computers currently in the marketplace than Macs, it’s not surprising that hackers choose to attack the system that is much more prevalent in the marketplace overall.  A recent ransomware attack may be cause for Mac users to stop their taunts of the platform being hacker-proof, however.  The good news is that by taking a few simple precautionary steps, you may be able to stop cybercriminals from locking you out of your expensive Mac.


Are Apple Products 'Hacker' Proof?



For more than a decade, there’s been a rumor that Apple products are hacker proof, but the reality is that no operating system or data structure is completely airtight.  Historically speaking, there are fewer viruses and malware that are targeted to Macs than to PCs, but that doesn’t mean that any Apple OS is immune from threats.  There have been more attacks in recent years as ransomware has leaked to the dark web.  While Android and Windows will likely always receive a higher percentage of malware than Apple devices, the threats continue to multiply as Apple becomes ever more popular in the marketplace.  It’s only a matter of time until specific devices are targeted with browser-specific hacks that bypass some of the security that is baked into OS X.


Mac Attacks


Phishing emails and third-party exploits of software such as Java or Adobe are also some of the current crops of attacks against Macs, but they’re not the only ones.  Macs have been plagued by adware and bloatware — whether malicious or just annoying — that can float pop-up ads on your system to tempt users to download non-essential software tools.  These problem spots can slow down the system overall or spawn additional pop-ups, and generally aren’t dangerous. Malicious iOS apps are another form of malware that is likely to be found on a Mac.  It’s important to stick with only downloading apps from the official App Store, as others could potentially include subsets of code that can steal user information or infect the device in a much more widespread fashion.  While buying from within the App Store helps combat nearly all malicious software, the ever-diligent app reviewers don’t catch everything.  In the last 24 months, XcodeGhost was able to introduce a framework into legitimate apps that hijacked back-end servers and ultimately infecting the third-party advertising network.


Rise of Ransomware


Hackers are always looking for new ways to hold your device hostage, essentially locking you out of your device until you pay a ransom which is generally requested in nearly-untraceable Bitcoin currency.  With ransomware up nearly 250 percent in 2017, cybercriminals have discovered that there is significant money to be made in locking down computers both for individuals and for businesses.  Ransomware has often targeted PCs in the past, but mobile devices and Macs are a growing part of the threat landscape.  The U.S. has been hit particularly hard, most likely due to the high number of available computers and relatively high per capita income — which translates into funds available to pay for ransom demands.  Ransomware often completely disables the boot-up process for your computer, a crippling effect on any system.


Find My Mac


This recent risk is related to the Find My Mac application, or FMM, which is being targeted by hackers who then request Bitcoin payments in order to provide renewed access to the system. This particular app makes it simple to pinpoint the current location of your device and is helpful in the case of a lost phone or stolen Mac computer.  Apparently, hackers have illegally obtained a large quantity of iCloud passwords and usernames, and are leveraging these assets to lock people out of their Macs and mobile devices.  The good news is that there’s a relatively easy fix that doesn’t involve paying the ransom, but only if you’re willing to lose all of the data on your device by doing a hard reset.  This can also be accomplished by bringing your Mac to an Apple store and verifying your identity.


Reducing the Risk of Loss


Fortunately, there are a few ways that you can reduce the risk of being hit by these cybercriminals.  Creating a password that is highly secure is the first step, as is turning off the Find My Mac or Find My iPhone in your device’s Settings.  Turn on two-factor authentication on your Apple account to ensure your password cannot be reset without your knowledge, and consider utilizing a password vault app that provides additional levels of security.  

If your IT admins are struggling to keep security under control, let the professionals at Burnt Orange support your Saskatoon organization.  They work to ensure that all risks are addressed in a timely manner throughout your fleet of devices and computers.




Contact Burnt Orange today for more information or to take advantage of your FREE initial consultation. View them on Facebook here. They are your Trusted Saskatoon IT Experts!

Prairie Laser Ink and Toner Trusted Saskatoon Printer Ink & Toner Suppliers Tips about Printers and Cartridges

Prairie Laser Ink and Toner are a locally owned and operated family run business in Saskatoon. Owner/operator Anton Schouten and his daughter Maya Schouten have been running the business for over 17 years.   They are truly your printer, inkjet cartridge and laserjet toner guru’s in Saskatoon! Prairie Laser Ink and Toner are Trusted Saskatoon Printer Ink & toner suppliers and you can find them in our Saskatoon Computer Category.


Prairie Laser Ink and Toner  Printer and Cartridges tips 


Printers and cartridges can really range in price.  So how can you tell if you are getting a good deal? Let the experts explain in this article: There are a few things to look for.



1.    Cost of the printer – If the printer is under $100, it is almost a guarantee your ink cartridges will be pricey.  Lots of printer companies put out cheap printers at a loss only to recoup their losses “hand over fist” with their expensive inkjet cartridges.




2.    Cost of the ink – Most printers have their ink or toner number on the outside of the box. Research the price of the cartridge(s) and how many pages’ maximum it is rated for.  Keep in mind page rating are based on a maximum yield, not on an average yield.  Look for a printer that has a reliable generic cartridge to reduce your cost of printing.




3.    Tri-color VS Tank cartridges – There are two main designs of inkjet printers.  One has all colors locked into one cartridge, the other has each color separate.  Traditionally, the individual tanks with each color separated tend to be more affordable and produce a better quality print.


There are many factors that go into choosing the right printer. Contact the experts at Prairie Laser if you need help selecting your new printer!




Email info@prairielaser.com with any of your questions, they would be happy to answer them for you!

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