Microsoft has provided support for the Windows XP operating system for the last 12 years. It has now reached the end of life and support will be expiring Tuesday April 8th, 2014. This includes hardware and software partners of Microsoft.

What should you expect from this change?

Windows XP operating system updates will no longer be available.

Security Essentials will no longer be available for download. Definition updates for existing users will continue to be available for a limited time.

You may continue to use the Windows XP operating system and it will still work. However, it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Software and hardware compatibility issues may arise.

If you have any questions about the above and/or need assistance with upgrading please contact us.

 

Why is it important to have my computers serviced and updated on a regular basis?

Operating systems, such as Windows, OSX and other misc. applications, are used by tens of millions of computers and devices around the world, making them a huge target for cyber-criminals. Criminals and security researchers are constantly reviewing and testing the code, looking for defects that can allow a hacker to take control or damage your computer or steal your personal data.

When a glitch is discovered, the software vendor issues an update or a patch to fix the problem. It is like a recall to replace a defective part on a vehicle, machinery or device. Failure to apply these updates or patches potentially leaves the system vulnerable to attack or to be compromised, as these hackers use these same updates to reverse engineer ways to take advantage of these vulnerabilities.

Your organization may think that they are not on the radar of hackers. Why give them the opportunity and take the risk of being exposed?

On occasion, an update will cause an unanticipated compatibility issue with a particular application, and the application developer normally addresses the issue promptly. The solution is not to stop updating the system indefinitely. This potentially could leave the system vulnerable and could make the entire network vulnerable to infection or attack if the computer is networked. As a last resort, if postponing updates is required, it should only be for a short duration of time. The ideal approach would be to ensure that the system that is not updated is not used for other purposes, removed from the network, and not exposed to threats to which it may be vulnerable.

We do recognize that applying updates to systems that have not been properly maintained and updated properly may cause some frustrations, inconvenience, and perhaps even consternation, to users who were faced with cosmetic changes, or a change in settings. However, any problems beyond this are less related to the updates themselves, and more to the lack of proper maintenance or updates to the systems as a whole.

The theory that if it’s not broke don’t try and fix it is a common analogy with today's end computer users. End users can become a custom to working through glitches, errors and performance issues and not notice how slow and unreliable their computers may be. As a result, they lose productivity and eventually little problems become bigger ones resulting in failure and downtime. Taking a proactive approach by having a computer IT professional maintain their computer could potentially avoid such circumstances, keep them productive and prolong the life of their computer.

 

If you’re reading this, you have at least some computer experience and, chances are, you’ve experienced a fair amount of computer stress, from minor frustrations here and there to a virtual visit to computer hell. I’m confident in this assertion because computer stress is common to the point of being nearly universal. As our lifestyles become increasingly dependent on technology—with growing popularity of online banking, telecommuting, and personal websites, and everyone from the very young to the very old using email—it’s inevitable that things will go wrong. This fact is confirmed by research. According to a 2009 study representing over 2500 Americans, 70% of consumers are spending more time with their personal computer than with their spouse, and the typical user has computer problems, on average, once a month, and wastes around 12 hours each month trying to fix cyber mishaps. Whatever the cause of your computer stress, the following recommendations can help you minimize or avoid frustration:

Be Prepared: When dealing with computers, many of us are a little intimidated, just waning to learn the very basics and deal with the technical stuff as little as possible. An important part of being prepared is to have the right frame of mind: realize that there’s a lot of potential for error when working with computers, and expect a few bumps in the road. Perfectionists especially may beat themselves up over unexpected computer difficulties, but accepting that the road may inevitably have a few bumps (and knowing how to navigate those bumps) can keep your blood pressure down.

Invest In The Best:When you’re able to choose your equipment (i.e., it’s not software that your company chooses for you), it’s a good idea to invest in the best (not just the cheapest) software and hardware. Just like having a comfortable sleeping situation is important for the third of your life that you (should) spend in bed, newer and faster is better in terms of saving time and hassle, especially for those who use their computers often (which includes the majority of us). The money you may save by cutting corners isn’t worth it in the long run if you create a more frustrating daily situation for yourself with a slower and less reliable computer.

Get Easy Answers: Much of the computer stress that results from dealing with technological problems stems from not understanding the nature of the problem.

Comfort ability: We often forget that being physically uncomfortable can add quite a bit to our stress levels. That’s why it’s important to keep ergonomics in mind when setting up your computer station, as well as other factors like background noise level, privacy, and even lighting.

Practice Stress Management: Part of the intensity of computer stress involves the built-up strain of a tense body. If you can take a few minutes for some deep breathing or a short walk to get some fresh air, you will find yourself more relaxed and able to handle the potential frustration of the occasional inevitable computer mishap. Also, don't forget to maintain relationships and take time to connect with people in real life to avoid feeling isolated, which also adds to stress.

 

IT Solutions for Today’s Business Challenges

IT solutions can minimize your business' challenges, allowing you to maximize productivity and focus on your core services while reducing operating costs.

Something to consider

Managing a business of any size requires a broad range of skills and experience. While you and your staff have the skills to easily handle most of your business' needs, maintaining your IT network environment is a skill that is best left to the experts. Choosing to outsource your company's IT needs with an IT services provider can save your business time and money by providing technology-based solutions for your business challenges.

How AuthorITy can help

AuthorITy is a top Southern California based IT services provider that can take care of all your IT support needs. Regardless of your business' needs, basic or complex, AuthorITy is the IT consulting firm that can help you. Whether you need to build your IT network infrastructure from the ground up, are ready to renew your existing network, or just need basic IT support, AuthorITy can help you. In addition to basic IT outsourcing support, AuthorITy is pleased to offer your company technology-based solutions for your business challenges. Common business challenges that can be solved with the right technology include the following:

Growing your business- Your business' IT network infrastructure builds the foundation for all growth. With a customized and strategic plan to address your company's unique needs, AuthorITy can help you build a flexible, scalable IT network that will make it easy for your current and future staff  to communicate, collaborate, and share.
Increased productivity- When your business' IT network infrastructure is managed appropriately, all staff should have access to the data they need, whenever they need it, regardless of where they are working. AuthorITy can create and maintain a customized IT network that ensures all employees have access to the data they need so they can be productive.
Strategic IT planning- To maximize your business' investment in IT, you need an IT plan that will address your current and future needs. AuthorITy can give you the skills and experience of a CIO without the payroll burden of hiring a CIO.
Business continuity planning- Your business needs to have a backup plan that will allow your company to operate, no matter what happens. AuthorITy can help you create and implement a customized plan that ensures that your critical IT systems and data are always available.
Dealing with business changes- As your business changes, so will your IT needs. You can count on AuthorITy to help your business plan and implement the best IT solutions to meet your current and future IT needs.
Complying with rules and regulations- If your vertical market is governed by state or federal regulations, you need to safeguard all electronic data in specific ways. AuthorITy can help you build a secure IT environment that will meet your specific regulatory requirements.
Securing your data- Regardless of your vertical market, your business relies on proprietary data being secure from external attacks and internal abuse. AuthorITy can help you create a multi layered defense that protects your data.

 


If you never connect to the Internet, the answer is no. But if you do use the Internet, the answer is yes. And since most everyone is online these days that means that the majority of Mac users need to consider installing Mac compatible antivirus software. It is true that Macs are not as prone to malware as a PC but they are not completely safe from infection so don’t believe the hype - most Mac infections occur as a result of user intervention and not drive-by silent infection that happens through no fault of the user.

Are there any real serious Mac viruses out there?

Some try to answer this question literally, based on the strict definition of 'virus'. But the term 'virus' is used much more loosely these days and in that context refers to malicious software in general or what the industry calls ‘malware’. The answer also depends on the version of the Mac operating system you are using. While Windows tends to be very similar "under the hood", the various versions of the Mac operating system vary widely. So the answer to your question is yes, there are real Mac viruses out there. But whether you are vulnerable or not depends on the version of operating system. As for malware in general, it's an even stronger yes. As hackers grow tired of developing new viruses for the PC they will become more intrigued with developing viruses to infect the Mac because of the Mac’s growing user base.

Can spyware infect a Mac?

Spyware is a type of malicious software otherwise known as Malware that monitors computer use. Depending on how overzealous the marketing is, the term spyware can refer to anything from cookies to dangerous key logging infections. In general, spyware is a Web threat and as such Mac users are vulnerable.

Do Macs need patches?

Modern exploits target programing vulnerabilities in Web applications such as Java, Flash, QuickTime, and Adobe Reader. And ALL browsers are susceptible whether on a Mac or PC. Threats that run within the context of the browser or that target a Web application such as Sun Java, Adobe Flash, Apple QuickTime, or Adobe Reader can also impact Mac users. Even if no malware is physically installed a successful exploit could be used to launch man-in-the-middle and other redirection attacks - a rising concern on the Web today.

Can my iPod and iPhone be infected?

Yes. When Apple introduced application support for the iPod touch and iPhone, they opened the door for malware that specifically targets these devices (or, rather, the applications running on those devices). However, currently the notion of malware for these devices is more theory than reality unless your operating system and/or firmware has been modified or ‘broken’ which can make your IPhone more receptacle to Malware infections.

Contact authorITy Computer Network Consultants today and ask how we can help you protect your Mac from the latest and greatest Virus, Malware and Spyware threats. Our professional Mac consultants are on standby to help with installing your antivirus application or cleaning up a virus if you have already been infected.

 
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AuthorITy Opens a New Office: SANTA ROSA, CA., December 13th, 2011 — AuthorITy Computer Network Consultants one of the leading Southern California providers of IT technology serv...