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Christmas is almost here – and that brings great opportunities in business. People are shopping, using your business services and hopefully hitting your website and social media. Do you have a plan to engage and attract customers in this holiday season? Are you sure your website is secure? And if you are shopping yourself are you sure your personal data is secure? We would love to help with any of these things.

Can you be sure your personal data is secure?

The Veda 2015 Cyber Fraud Report published in October has some alarming statistics.

Sydney, Australia: Wednesday, 7 October 2015 – Australians’ love of online commerce and sharing on social media is making us unwitting pawns in the global fraud marketplace. A new fraud report released today reveals that fraudulent credit applications involving identity takeovers in Australia rose 59% in the past two years – and 17% in the past 12 months.

It shows that the online playground for hackers is getting serious, with 50% of credit application fraud in Australia now occurring online – an increase of 33% compared to the previous financial year. This compares with a 23% fall in credit application fraud incidents occurring at bank branches in 2014-15, compared to 2013-14.

Overall, credit application fraud rose almost 13% in 2014-15, across the four main types of fraud – falsifying personal details (accounting for 58% share), identity takeover (22% share), undisclosed debt (9%) and fabricated identity (8%).1

Of Australians who have suffered from fraud, 20% claimed their computer had been hacked – for example by malware – 18% stated that their mobile phone had been hacked and 18% claimed that one of their online accounts or their social media account had been hacked.2

The good news is that most Australians now use anti-virus software (90%) and PayPal for online payments (85%).

Following is a checklist to see if you or your business has exposure in any of the most obvious areas. Can you tick these items off?

Your Passwords are strong

  • Passwords should not be connected to your date of birth, middle name, children’s birth dates or names, or even your pets names. Rather they should be at least 9 (preferably 12) characters containing a mixture of upper and lower case letters numbers and punctuation symbols. Passphrases that include these may also work well. E.g. “I ate the dog’$ hoM3work”
  • Passwords should be changed regularly, and if you don’t have different ones you should at least have several levels – e.g. banking, email, online social medial accounts, and they should not be the same!
  • WiFi passwords are secure and your WiFi network is locked against casual users.
  • If you use someone else’s computer to conduct any banking use a private session and close the browser afterwards.

Physical devices should be reliable, secure and access restricted to authorised personnel.

  • Does your building or office have security, alarms or physical access restrictions (eg swipe cards)
  • Do you have a notification plan around lost or stolen data or devices with an escalation based on severity of the problem?
  • What is the time gap between a critical piece of infrastructure failing and its replacement allowing for continued business activity? Eg Router/modem, switch, server, PC, POS terminal etc.

The security of your business is important to us. We will assist you to work through the different threat levels, exposure and security risks and evaluate your current plans for failure points or missing pieces. Then we can help you plan and implement the missing pieces.

Act now BEFORE you experience a breach or loss. Contact us today for a security audit of your business and get yourself peace of mind.

Guides for Sharing Information Online

Recent research from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found that phishing, hacking and ID theft was reported in over a quarter of all scams in 2014 and this is continuing to grow as more and more data is put online.

  • Be aware of what you (and your family) share online. Ensure your kids particularly aren’t giving away information that shouldn’t be kept private or could be used to compromise you.
  • Clear your cache regularly and use in private sessions when banking or doing other shopping.
  • Always check that the https:// protocol is in place when shopping. The S is the important bit.
  • Google your self occasionally – just to see what is out there

If you need help setting up or managing you or your families online profiles or devices, talk to us

Windows 10 update is available now

Microsoft just released a major Windows update to the world. This desktop update is packed with nearly 200 new capabilities, many of which were developed directly as a result of feedback from Insiders like you. Check out Terry Myerson's blog for more details.

With Windows 10 on now more than 110 million devices with 12 million of them business machines it is rapidly being installed everywhere.

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Talk to use about the significant advantages to your business about using Windows 10. We can upgrade you over the holiday period.

Follow Us On Social Media

As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces, then connect with me:

All content © Tim Miller. Feel free to share or send these emails on. If you want to unsubscribe just reply with Unsubscribe in the subject.

Do NOT Upgrade Your Business PC to Windows 10 Yet

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There are several things that you must have right first. Of course you don’t have to have them right and you can ignore this warning and just go ahead and upgrade – your call. But I’m wanting to save you money so listen up!

I have now upgraded more than 10 machines including touch and non-touch laptops, various tablets, multiple screen PCs, single screen PCs, virtual machines and from a variety of Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 tech preview existing installs. None have had issues that couldn’t be solved. But there are some warnings in the list below. So either read carefully before proceeding or call us to manage tour upgrades in the best possible way to avoid disruption to your staff and customers.

Licensing – General Information

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Windows 10 is free to upgrade from qualifying Windows 7 or 8 versions. The version you are currently licensed with in Windows 7 or 8 is what will map to the version in Windows 10. The information provided by Microsoft is difficult to clearly figure out what is and isn’t the right way to do it – licensing has never been easy to understand and it’s still not. This website tells us exactly what is and isn’t qualifying, what it means for OEM licences.

Business licensing

Businesses should always be using the correct licence. Unfortunately many business owners go and buy a machine from a major retailer that is not correctly licensed for business. A home premium edition of Windows 7 or 8 will not translate into a Windows 10 Pro licence, and all businesses should be using Windows 10 Pro, not home. I won’t go into the significant differences here, but essentially to upgrade will require you to pay for the right license at some point. Either before upgrade, or after.

Installing v Upgrading

Upgrading an existing machine will use approx. 20 GB drive space, download approx. 3.5GB of data and is completely reversible. The process itself installs the operating system side by side so reverting to the old system can be done very quickly if there is a failure or some other reason to revert. The benefits include keeping all your existing programs and data, most settings and personalisation exactly the way they were before. The cons are the same. You may want a clean slate!

There is a tool that can be used to upgrade multiple machines with only a single download. This can be installed on a USB key and used to either upgrade or install machines.

A fresh install is possible, but requires a valid license to install. The product key isn’t needed – it just validates online afterwards.

User Accounts

This is probably the most important reason for businesses NOT TO UPGRADE to Windows 10 just yet.

If you are a standalone PC user who doesn’t have office 365 then ignore this section. If you have Office 365 or a server or business network DO NOT IGNORE THIS.

Authentication and security is one of the biggest reasons to use Windows 10. For businesses one of their single biggest points of risk is cyber security, stolen or hacked passwords, unauthorised access, crypto virus attacks, and other security threats. Can you imagine calling your insurance broker to advise that your staff members corporate laptop or phone has been lost or stolen and having this conversation?

  1. Is there confidential information on that device, e.g. email, customer data, credit card information, passwords or unsecure access to corporate data systems?
  2. Is the hard drive encrypted?
  3. Can it be remotely wiped?

It’s likely you answered Yes, No and No respectively. If so you may be in a lot of trouble. Possibly the best case scenario is that all that happens is that you get a massive premium hike. Worst case – they might refuse to accept a claim and if someone uses that information you could face a court case for failure to protect private information, being audited by your bank for your merchant processes, and potentially having your merchant facilities reviewed or cancelled (imagine trading without an EFTPOS machine).

Windows 10 is designed from the ground up to be more secure, and there are lots of new advancements. Some of these will not be noticeable until new hardware supporting it comes out in the future.

So the first thing most people are faced with when upgrading is to provide a user account and password. The big question is which one do you use?

You have potentially 4 choices

  • Microsoft Account (default)
  • Office 365 Account
  • Local domain account
  • Local machine account

Knowing which one and why, and how, is what you pay me to do for you. This is a complex situation with the answers specific to each business so I won’t explain the differences here. Call me to upgrade!

Compatibility

Probably the biggest concern people have is, ”will my programs still work on Windows 10?” the answer is more than likely yes. Very old written for DOS or Windows 95 programs probably won’t work, but then they probably didn’t work on Windows 7 or 8 either. The upgrade process runs a compatibility check ensuring that applications and drivers are compatible. Generally they are. See the next section for exceptions.

Hardware

There are a number of exceptions to compatibility relating to hardware.

First of all let me say that generally if a machine was able to run Windows 7 or 8 it will be able to run Windows 10. This means that machines that are using Intel Gen 2 and 3 chipsets and motherboards are able to be given a new lease of life. And of course Gen 4 and the new Gen 5 chips are going to work. (Similarly with AMD but we generally don’t recommend or sell AMD CPUs and motherboards.)

How to find your chipset generation

Open My PC (Win + E keys) Right click My PC and go to properties. You should see this screen. The number after the Core TM ix (3/5/7) is the key. If it starts with a 2 its Gen 2, a 3, Gen 3, a 4, Gen 4, and 5 is the current latest chipset. Mine below is a Core i7 4771 so a Gen 4 machine.windows 10

The difficulties start with age and manufacture support. New machines will have manufacture support with drivers built for the Windows 10 OS released on their support websites. Older machines may but often don’t and very old machines definitely won’t. This isn’t generally an issue. Most essential motherboard drivers are updated by Microsoft via Windows update anyway. It is only very hardware specific drivers like built in webcams, Bluetooth and old Wi-Fi systems that might stop working. If you have an old machine (old is more Gen 3 or older and is likely on an old motherboard) than definitely contact us first.

Video Cards

The other specific issue I have encountered a number of times is with video card drivers. If you don’t have a separate video card ignore this section. NVidia have released new drivers for all their supported cards which is most going back a long way. I found drivers for 6 year old cards. The Windows 10 upgrade will drop the Windows 7/8 drivers and revert to a standard Microsoft one. Thus you will see the screen but in very low resolution and generally no multiple monitor support. The solution is to download the new drivers (preferably before you do the upgrade because of Java issues (see next section)).

Java

Oh how I hate Java! And I'm not alone. Chrome also hates it – and IE puts up with it. It seems Firefox is the only browser that really likes it. Windows 10 will probably mean an un-install and reinstall of Java. And to do it means using IE not Edge, the new browser in Windows 10. And of course Windows makes Edge the default browser when doing the upgrade. This is becoming a rant – but we now have a process to manage this for you if needed.

Contact us now to plan your upgrade to Windows 10.

How to not get ripped off when buying a “new” PC or laptop

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“The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory.” Aldo Gucci.

This has never been any different in the past and probably won’t change in the future. And there are many companies out there offering up bargains on PCs and Laptops and tablets for those who don’t understand this age old maxim.

Before you go and buy a bargain for you, your school child or worse your business, please talk to us! I won’t charge you to advise you on your potential purchases. And of course if you are a business owner who we have developed a digital strategy for then of course we are doing this for you anyway.

See the section above about finding the chipset of your PC. The same chipset number system should be specified in the units being sold. I went and scanned the major computer retailers in Australia today for their lowest priced computers and laptops. It’s pretty safe to say that buying anything under $500 for a desktop and %700 for a laptop is a waste of time. You are likely purchasing something that has a 2nd or 3rg gen (in same cases even older) chip. While the unit is brand new this chip was manufactured possibly more than 5 years ago. It was not designed for today’s software or usage.

My recommendation is to always buy the most current chipset. The machines life then is measured in actual years from date of purchase and could be 4-5 and not by adding 2-4 years to that date and having an effective life of 2-3 years. Example, 6 years ago I bought a PC with the most expensive bleeding edge new Gen 3 chip I could find. That machine is still running solidly today (it has run nonstop almost 100% of that time) and is still going to be good for another 2-3 years. The investment at that point meant the machine hasn’t had to be replaced 3-4 years after purchase but will last twice as long. And it didn’t cost twice as much.

Talk to us about your device upgrade and replacement strategy today. Better yet let us develop a digital strategy for your business.

Follow us on Social Media

As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces then connect with me:

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A critical security threat was announced and an out of sequence patch released yesterday by Microsoft.

It affects ALL pcs running Vista, Windows7, 8, 8.1 and Windows RT.

There is specific news here if you want more http://www.cnet.com/news/microsoft-rushes-emergency-security-fix-for-versions-of-windows/

And the technical stuff is here https://technet.microsoft.com/library/security/MS15-078?f=255&MSPPError=-2147217396#ID0EKIAE

Please patch all your PCs and Servers immediately.

1504022FC-Q4-promo-A4x4_1.inddDid you know we are FlexiRent and FlexiCommercial providers? That means that if you are interested in leasing new computer equipment we can not only supply, build and configure it but you can also lease it through us. And if you prefer a Finance lease (talk to your accountant) we are also partners with Microsoft Financing. All you need is one qualifying Microsoft product and they can finance the whole deal. T&Cs apply obviously.

Seminar News

If you have a business website then you probably want to come to this seminar. And if you want to improve your sales skills then you definitely want to come!

Jerrod D. Smith (aka the Attitude Coach) will be providing some real hands on mini workshops that will give you selling skills you can take away and use straight away.

Tim from Jethro will be helping you analyse your website for its selling effectiveness as well as providing some excellent productivity tips.

We are still finalising the location – expect it to be in the Strathpine or Brendale area. Get in and buy your tickets now. We will be providing refreshments – and our 100% money back guarantee applies as well!

Register now and buy your ticket at https://jethroseminar4.eventbrite.com

Windows 10 Free Update can be reserved now

GetStartedApp_Image_1xMicrosoft have today announced that you can reserve the upgrade from your computer. Make sure your PC is up to date and you should see a small Windows Icon in your taskbar.

Click on it, then Click “Reserve your free upgrade” in the app window. Enter your email if you want a confirmation of this reservation. That’s it. There’s no obligation and you can cancel your reservation at any time.

Talk to us first if you are not sure about updating to Windows 10.

Using Windows 8.1 Search to search everything

Did you know you can search the web right from your desktop? Windows 8.1 has search built right into it. Try it now. Click the Start button (or the Windows Key on your keyboard (it’s the one between CTRL and ALT)

The windows start tile screen will display.

Simply start typing. This opens up a whole range of powerful options:

This is the fastest way to open an application. E.g. type Word – and Word 2013 will show up – probably before you even finish typing it.

This is a really fast way to locate documents you can’t remember where they were saved. (Even I do that!) Type a keyword from the document title or in its content and then hit enter.

For example I searched “attitude”

win 8_1 search example attitude

The first column displays the documents containing the word attitude in them. There is a link to all 1060 documents there as well which will open a desktop search of my system.

The second column displays images with the word attitude in them. There’s also a link to the other 72 images. And it seems I have some jazz music with attitude in the title.

The next columns over are web searches for the word attitude. Try it with your favourite band. Here’s my search for Led Zeppelin.

The first page shows my local search and includes Xbox music and video links to online content.

win 8_1 search example led zeppelin 1

Scrolling right (down using the mouse scroll wheel) shows me more web searches for music, images, videos official sites and other search information.

win 8_1 search example led zeppelin 2

This is a really powerful research tool when working on a document or project. Show your kids at least when helping them with their homework!

Let us know if you like these tips or want to know how to use any of the Microsoft Windows more effectively. Training your staff in how to use their computers and tablets more efficiently and effectively is a small investment that can make them more productive. Call us today!

Google Mobile Friendly Website Check

mobile friendlyBecause we care about how well your business performs, especially how it ranks on search engines, we wanted to reach out and let you know that if your website is not deemed to be mobile friendly by Google, from 21 April, Google will not rate your website well in their search engine results for local search.

We've already reached out individually to many of our clients that have mobility issues, supplying them with a report from Google showing them evidence of these issues and encouraging them to do something about it.

The fact of the matter is, sites designed pre 2013 aren't mobile friendly, so if you had a website built by us or somebody else prior to this date, it is a high chance that your website is not mobile friendly!

Not sure if it is or not? Go to this helpful link to find out.

Discovered it’s not mobile friendly and need to get it sorted? Contact us now. Do you want a brand new mobile responsive website? We can provide that for you as well.

Follow us on Social Media

As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces then connect with me:

Live Mesh is available now for United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand

Live Mesh is a free Microsoft Windows Live Service, that enables you to synchronise several devices (PCs and mobile devices) with an internet desktop. This allows you to keep your My Documents folder, for example, synchronised between work and home, and create folders to share documents with your team or staff, family or friends.

Read all about the latest version and how to get connected.

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What people say..

Jethro has provided a magnificent web hosting service for me and handled all the technical aspects of this for me – without which I would be lost.
Jethro was recommended to me after my hosting company closed down their business. As I had numerous sites and not knowing a lot about that end of things it has been a huge help. I can recommend them immensely as they have given me all the help I needed plus more.

— Jeannie Mair - Jm Webdesigns

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