Blog - Creative Business Technologies

Urgent – Windows 7 Support has Ended! Upgrade Now to Avoid a Security Breach!

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Microsoft has ended all support and software patches, including security patches, for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 as of January 14th, 2020. What this means that your PCs with Windows 7 and Servers with Windows Server 2008 R2 are now vulnerable to viruses, spyware and malware attacks. This can cause a great deal of problems and down time, costing your company both lost productivity and revenue. If you have Windows 7 PCs or Laptops or Windows Servers 2008 R2, please contact us as soon as possible to upgrade.

It is recommended that your equipment be upgraded and use the Operating System Windows 10 and use Microsoft Office 365 for your office platform. Feel free contact us if you have any questions or require assistance.

Call us at (800) 871-9683 or Email markhuffman@creativebusinesstechnologies.com to get more information on bringing your systems current today

Remote Services during the Corona Virus Shutdown

We are providing remote services for companies that need troubleshooting, tune ups and virus removal on their computers. Contact us at 1-800-871-9683 or email me at markhuffman@creativebusinesstechnologies.com for more information. 

Top Technology Considerations for 2020

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This year of 2020, please consider the newest technology options for your business. If it has been awhile since you upgraded your equipment or are not using the latest technologies, you could be missing out on increased productivity and profitability for your business that will definitely improve your bottom line.

The following is a partial list of options to choose from:

  • Office 365: If you not using a cloud solution for your business, such as Office 365 for your Office Suite, you could be missing out on great technological options that will benefit your company in the long run.
  • Managed Services: Your time as a business professional is usually very limited, since your main focus is doing your business and not dealing with IT. As IT experts, our job is to insure that your network servers, workstations, peripherals (printers, scanners, etc.) and software are operating normally and efficiently with minimal downtime. We make sure everything stays up running as it should.
  • Microsoft Windows 10: If your company is still using computers that have Windows 7 or 8.1 operating systems, companies should upgrade to take advantage of the newest features that Microsoft has to offer. Please contact us if you need your operating system(s) upgraded.
  • Virus/Malware Issues: Computer viruses and malware can cause havoc on your computers or even on your network servers. If you are experiencing “blue screens of death”, pop-ups, weird error messages, lock-ups, and any other strange behavior on your computer, please contact us right away because most likely it is infected.
  • On-line BDR (Backup-Disaster-Recovery): If you are not currently using an on-line backup-disaster-recovery system, you could be putting your data at risk. Statistically, it has been proven that tape data backup on has a recovery rate of only 42% whereas on-line data recovery is 99%. Clearly, on-line BDR is the better way to go. If you would like to know more, please contact us for a free consultation.
  • IT Security: Security for your servers, workstations and stand-alone computers is of the upmost importance. Having the right security measures in place is absolutely necessary, especially with the rise of Ransomware.
  • Windows Server 2003: If your company is still running Windows Server 2003, you should make plans to upgrade your server as soon as possible to Windows Server 2016. The reason for doing so is that servers running Windows Server 2003 are vulnerable to hacking and virus/malware attacks.

As your company makes it’s plans and budgets for the year, please include the considerations listed above. If you need any help, feel free contact us with any questions that you may have. May 2020 be a very prosperous year for your business!

If you would like to know more, please contact us at 1-800-871-9683 for a free consultation. Also, if you do not have online BDR (backup-disaster-recovery) and anti-virus/malware protection for your business, please give us a call to help you implement the latest systems. Our email address is: markhuffman@creativebusinesstechnologies.com

Windows Alert – Security Patches

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Microsoft Announces Security Flaws in Internet Explorer and Windows Defender

Install the Emergency Patch to Help You Stay Protected

What is Happening?

In a rare move, Microsoft is urging Windows users to install an emergency out-of-band patch via Windows Update to address a security flaw affecting Internet Explorer versions 9, 10, and 11. Microsoft verified that the flaw is actively being exploited and could allow a cybercriminal to run malicious code on an affected PC.

Microsoft also announced a flaw in Defender, its built-in malware scanner. If the flaw were exploited, it could trigger a denial-of-service condition, potentially resulting in app failure.

What Should You Do?

Although Norton offerings can help protect customers against security threats such as malware, it’s important that users install recommended patches. When prompted, allow the Windows Update to run on your device. Or, manually run a Windows update.

*Courtesy of the Symantec Corporation.

Please contact us at 1-800-871-9683 for more information. Our email address is: markhuffman@creativebusinesstechnologies.com

Urgent – Windows 7 Support Ends on January 14th, 2020

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Microsoft will be ending all support and software patches, including security patches, for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 on January 14th, 2020. What this means that your PCs with Windows 7 and Servers with Windows Server 2008 R2 will be vulnerable to viruses, spyware and malware attacks. This can cause a great deal of problems and down time, costing your company both lost productivity and revenue. If you have Windows 7 PCs or Laptops or Windows Servers 2008 R2, please contact us as soon as possible.

It is recommended that your equipment be upgraded and use the Operating System Windows 10 and use Microsoft Office 365 for your office platform. Feel free contact us if you have any questions or require assistance.

Call us at (800) 871-9683 or Email markhuffman@creativebusinesstechnologies.com to get more information on bringing your systems current today

Cloud Computing – how will it affect you?

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Cloud Computing – how will it affect you?

We are always on the watch for the ‘next best thing’ when it comes to technology and the Internet. Certainly no one can doubt that Cloud Computing and the next generation of the Internet has had a dramatic effect on how people interact and connect with each other – both from an individual standpoint and a business one.*

The hottest emerging concept that has the power to change how we perform tasks is taking place before us – and it is Cloud Computing. Simply put, it is the ability to use resources and tools via the Internet without actually owning or being near them. The only requirement is to be able to access them.

The term ‘Cloud’ is used to indicate the whole of computing services accessible via the Internet. It is an all-encompassing description of the complex internet-connected networks that exist in datacenters all over the world that power services and applications behind the scenes.

The concept of utilizing resources in these networks is being adopted by businesses both large and small. These resources are categorized to describe their function, and include:

1.       Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
2.       Platform as a Service (PaaS)
3.       Software as a Service (SaaS)
4.       Web 2.0

In the most general terms, Infrastructure as a Service means that companies may no longer need to own and house their own back-end servers and other network computing infrastructure besides an internet-connected PC or laptop in order to maintain business functionality. This capability can be purchased on a subscription basis from entities that market these services in a ‘virtual’ manner. This allows businesses to keep their costs low by not having to purchase, maintain and recycle their own equipment for this purpose, and also mitigates the possibility of business interruption due to the highly available nature of these solutions. This equates to increased uptime and profitability for Infrastructure as a Service customers.

Platform as a Service is also known as ‘cloudware’, and refers to the availability of development tools in creating web applications and services to the end user. Like IaaS, you never ‘see’ the inner-workings of this environment unless you are a computer programmer or IT resource, but it exists nonetheless and again affords those who use these tools the ability to reduce costs while running their businesses.

Software as a Service is defined as software applications that are subscribed to and accessed only through the Internet, and not installed on local PCs or laptops. Applications built by and accessed via Google fall into this category, as well as the many photo sites to which you can upload your pictures and videos, edit and share them with others. These solutions are gaining tremendous popularity, because end users do not need to install, update and maintain software locally – only connect to it and use it when the need arises.

Web 2.0 describes the whole of the social networking movement on the Internet, and includes but is not limited to destinations such as Facebook, MySpace, eHarmony, LinkedIn and Twitter. These sites offer the ability for people all over the world to share common interests, stay connected and learn more about each other – and these sites aren’t just for the young. Statistics show that the over 50 generation is logging onto these sites in greater numbers than ever before. In fact, in one month alone, Facebook adds over 17,000 new members.

The next time you are on the Internet and upload a photograph and use the online tools to modify that picture, you are participating in ‘cloud computing.’ The picture is probably loaded to a site that uses IaaS for their servers, PaaS in order to provide the visual interface in which you modify the photograph, and SaaS applications you’ll use to access your email program and social networking sites in order to send it to or post it for those with whom you would like to share the picture.

*Source: SPC International Online, Inc.

If you would like to know more, please contact us at 1-800-871-9683 for a free consultation. Also, if you do not have online BDR (backup-disaster-recovery) and anti-virus/malware protection for your business, please give us a call to help you implement the latest systems. Our email address is: markhuffman@creativebusinesstechnologies.com

5 Tips for creating a Business Continuity Plan for your Small Business

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Is your business prepared for any type of disaster? Even though small businesses may not have as many employees or as much equipment, they are still as vulnerable to disaster as a large corporation. If your business office were to be destroyed by a tornado, you could lose valuable business if you don’t plan ahead. Many businesses don’t want to take the time and the expense to prepare a business continuity plan, but can you really afford not to make one?*

  1. Make a List of All Possible Disasters. The best place to start is to list different types of disasters and try to determine what could be lost in each case, and what you can do to prevent that loss. A flood will require different strategies from a power outage or a fire. Next, try to estimate how long it would take, and how much it would cost, for you to get your business up and running again.
  2. Communication. The middle of a crisis is not the time to frantically search for phone numbers. Even small businesses need emergency contact numbers. Have all emergency contact numbers posted or programmed into every phone. Do you have an alternate mode of communication should your main phone lines shut down? Could your clients seamlessly contact you without ever knowing that your office was in the middle of disaster recovery? The same principle applies to email and fax. Making arrangements regarding communication are critical to keeping your business running smoothly. Communicating with staff and clients can mean the difference between complete shutdown, and a minimal business interruption.
  3. Preserving Your Data. In the event of a disaster, it is important to know that everything you need to function as a business is available. Identify all vital systems, documents, and data. While it is important for every business to back up their data on a regular basis, what if a fire destroyed your office? For this reason, offsite storage is critical to preserving your business’ valuable information. Offsite data storage allows to access to all of your stored data from any computer and from anywhere in the world.
  4. A Temporary Worksite. It is also important to plan for a temporary worksite. Depending on the goods or services your business offers, can you continue smooth operation if your office is shut down? Storing products in a second location can allow you to maintain your regular business schedule.
  5. Test Your Plan. One of the keys to successful disaster recovery is testing your business continuity plan on a regular basis. It is important that you and your staff know exactly what to do, where to go, and how to access the necessary items you need to keep your business running smoothly to the outside world, even if you are standing in the middle of a disaster. Schedule regular plan tests to ensure that everyone in your office is on the same page and ready should disaster strike. Hopefully, you will never have to use your business continuity plan, but it is smart business to be prepared for any emergency should one arise.

*Source: SPC International 2017.

If you would like to know more, please contact us at 1-800-871-9683 for a free consultation. Also, if you do not have online BDR (backup-disaster-recovery) and anti-virus/malware protection for your business, please give us a call to help you implement the latest systems. Our email address is: markhuffman@creativebusinesstechnologies.com

10 reasons MSP clients need a layered security strategy to stay safe

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They say recognizing a problem is the first step in solving it. But when it comes to cybersecurity, many small- and medium-sized businesses don’t believe they have a problem. Many simply believe that hackers will focus their attention exclusively on large and well-heeled organizations, and aren’t interested in smaller businesses. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth, and this “it won’t happen to me” mentality leaves them highly susceptible to attacks.*

While some attacks do target large corporations, most still do not discriminate based on the size of organization. Hackers just want to compromise the network and its devices to steal any and all data they can sell or use for their own ends. And once they’ve hacked a network server, they can use it to launch attacks on others.

This means that, in our current, constantly evolving threat landscape, simply deploying an antivirus solution isn’t enough. Only a layered security strategy that includes multi-vector protection can successfully fend off advanced, zero-day threats like ransomware, malware, and more.

1. It’s not a matter of if your clients will get hacked, but when.
Many small businesses don’t invest sufficiently in IT security resources and protection. This may be due in part to the fact that they may not know they’re being targeted. According to the Ponemon Institute 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity Report, hackers have breached 50% of the 28 million small businesses in the United States.

2. The threat landscape evolves constantly.
Trying to keep pace with the changing nature of cyber threats is a full time job in and of itself. Many small- to medium-sized businesses cannot afford the cost of full-time IT security staff, which is why it’s imperative that their MSP keep them protected from zero-day threats.

3. End users may not know security best-practices.
In the last year, phishing was involved in 90% of breaches, which makes end users both the weakest link and the first line of defense for SMBs. The best way to counter this threats to continually train and educate users on the risks their behaviors. A well-trained user base can help prevent threats like ransomware, drive-by downloads, keyloggers, and many more.

4. Lack of effective security policies and protocols.
Ensuring all passwords are strong and regularly changed is a given, but it should be supplemented with strong, two-factor authentication. Access rights to network files, folders, and file shares need to be tightly controlled to avoid malware wreaking havoc on networks.

5. Exposure to multi-vector attacks.
All the ways your clients’ users interact with the internet need to be considered, from emails, attachments, links, and browser, to web browsing and network activity. Effective endpoint security is vital to protecting all these vectors from cyberattacks. It should feature multi-vector protection to defend your clients from threats that use many different exploits to attack.

6. Complex security platforms create administration challenges.
Consider not only the costs of buying cybersecurity software, but also the operational expenses. Systems that integrate best-of-breed solutions and have a high degree of automation make security both more effective and more affordable. Plus, they make the administrator’s job much easier.

7. Out-of-date systems create vulnerabilities.
By following a rigorous patching regime, your clients can avoid many of the application vulnerabilities used to compromise networks. Patching can be an onerous process, but many automated services are available to make it easier, more effective, and more affordable. News-making breaches like WannaCry could have been avoided by simply patching.

8. No network visibility.
Having accurate information about your network (and what is connected to it) is vital in protecting it from both internal and external threats. Effective network monitoring tools can identify network anomalies and counter threats before they do damage.

9. Poor data backup practices.
Faced with attacks like ransomware, SMBs must have an effective back-up regime. Sixty percent of small companies that suffer a cyberattack are out of business within six months. There are many on and off-premise cloud-based backup systems that will help you avoid such a fate, as even paying the ransom these days is no guarantee you will get your data back.

10. Compliance issues.
Regulations affect many industries, and effective endpoint security is a routine compliance requirement. It is vital to understand your clients’ compliance obligations and ensure they have sufficient cybersecurity in place.

Many of the security issues raised in this list are solved by our Managed Services All-in-One Solutions that we provide for our clients. It gives SMBs the peace of mind to know they’re protected from threats like the ones above.

*Source: Webroot, Inc.

If you would like to know more, please contact us at 1-800-871-9683 for a free consultation. Also, if you do not have online BDR (backup-disaster-recovery) and anti-virus/malware protection for your business, please give us a call to help you implement the latest systems. Our email address is: markhuffman@creativebusinesstechnologies.com

Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Computer

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Computer users today, including business owners, are hanging onto to their old computer(s) (stand-alone, workstations and servers) when they should upgrade them. Many users are frustrated by the slow, erratic performance of their current systems and call a computer technician to fix the problem when it could be solved by simply upgrading to a later type system. This article will help you decide whether to hang onto what you have or “bite the bullet” and buy another computer.

Every Four Years is the usual point in time that you should look into purchasing a new computer. By this time, your current operating system has had many service packs and updates and sometimes this will slow down the performance of the computer, whether it is a laptop or desktop. Also, viruses and/or malware can cause damage to the operating system, requiring a complete system reload. If you are at the four year mark, you might want to consider upgrading instead of reloading.

Listed below is a list of reasons to upgrade:

CPU Speed: The Central Processing Unit is the “brains” of the computer and is in charge of how much data flows through the unit. The slower the CPU, the slower the data flow. Many times CPU bottlenecks of older systems prevent the unit from operating at an optimum level.

Hard Drive: The hard drive is where the operating system, programs and data reside on (unless the data is saved and backed up elsewhere). An older hard drive that uses platters for reading and writing data to it will be slower than a later model solid state device. Newer hard drives have very fast access speeds compared to older units.

Memory: Random Access Memory (RAM) determines how quickly the operating system, programs and data loads into the “memory” of the computer. Later model computers can handle and usually have greater amounts of memory to facilitate more robust computer operations.

System Board: The system board (otherwise known as the “motherboard”) will have different components on it (cache, chipset, etc.) that will help the computer to run more smoothly and efficiently. The newer the board, the better.

Microsoft Windows 10: If your company is still using computers that have Windows 7 or 8.1 operating systems, companies should upgrade to take advantage of the newest features that Microsoft has to offer. Please contact us if you need your operating system(s) or PC(s) upgraded.

IT Security: Security for your servers, workstations and stand-alone computers is of the upmost importance. Having the right security measures in place is absolutely necessary, especially with the rise of Ransomware. This includes Windows 10 being the dominant operating system within your organization.

These are the main reasons why you should upgrade your computer. The operating system and applications will run better on a newer system. Also, you can take advantage of newer programs (both cloud and non-cloud) that will work better on a newer system as well. Please let us know if you would like to speak to someone about upgrading your laptop, desktop, workstation or server.

If you would like to know more, please contact us at 1-800-871-9683 for a free consultation. Also, if you still have Windows 7 or 8 Computer(s) in your business, please give us a call to help you upgrade to Windows 10 and Office 365. Our email address is: markhuffman@creativebusinesstechnologies.com

4 Tips for getting the most out of your Technology Investment

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How many times have you purchased new software or hardware, and avoided the help menu or user manual? Experts reason that about 90 percent of all features included with software go unused! Much of this comes down to lack of training for individuals using the technology – they use what they know and need most, and avoid anything that would require study or practice to implement. Its human nature to take the path of least resistance, but with a little motivation you could better benefit from the money spent on technology for your business.*

How to get the most out of your Technology Investment

Instead of letting your technology investments continue on underutilized, here are 4 tips for getting the most out of your technology dollars:

1. Put the client in the driver’s seat of communication. You can improve the quality of customer service offered by your company through the use of simple technology. The more connected you are to your clients, the happier they are with your work. Use technology to give your clients a way to initiate discussion with you, either through blog interaction or a discussion forum. Set up instant messaging so clients can contact appropriate staff members as necessary. It’s simple technology, but will result in improved client retention, repeat customers and better communication.

2. Create a business culture of continuous improvement. One of the most amazing aspects of technology is how quickly it is updated and improved. Just when you think you have the best of the best, new technologies and processes are created to improve productivity. Even in the sometimes mundane office environments, new ideas will enhance efficiency and productivity. Encourage staff and consultants to let the new ideas flow – continuous improvement is the key for making the most out of your technology.

3. Take advantage of training opportunities. If the cost of sending staff to training courses is a bit much, and you’re unable to conduct monthly training seminars on your own – consider bringing in vendors and experts whenever a new version of software is released. You can also have managed service providers deliver training virtually as needed, in order to keep your staff up to date with the programs and tools used in the office.

4. Internal email newsletters with tips. Most businesses recognize the value of sending newsletters to their clients to keep in touch and establish relationships, but what about internal newsletters among staff members? Send a weekly email to your staff with a single technology tip that explains how to do something that will improve their productivity or make their lives a little easier. Keep it fun and add a cartoon or a quick quiz to keep the staff looking forward to their weekly newsletter. Your ideas for topics can come from training and seminars you attend, or from questions staff ask the IT department. If one person doesn’t understand something, there are probably a few others who also don’t understand – but aren’t speaking up about it.

*Source: SPC International 2017.

If you would like to know more, please contact us at 1-800-871-9683 for a free consultation. Also, if you do not have online BDR (backup-disaster-recovery) and anti-virus/malware protection for your business, please give us a call to help you implement the latest systems. Our email address is: markhuffman@creativebusinesstechnologies.com

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