Virtualization is not the same as the cloud

By EDITOR 

Virtualization and cloud computing are two technologies that have long been confusing business owners. But that shouldn’t be the case. Understanding the differences between the cloud and virtualization is the fastest way to use these technologies to your greatest advantage.

Virtualization

Imagine a company with five servers, each assigned a single task such as storage, email, etc. If one day there were a spike in email traffic, the email server might become overwhelmed, causing it to slow down. Adding another server would remedy the issue, but it would be expensive and inefficient on days with less traffic.

With virtualization software, you can combine the resources of all five of the servers in our example. So if the email server got bogged down, it could borrow resources from any of the other servers with extra capacity. The process is not as simple as it sounds, and businesses often turn to an experienced IT service provider to set up a virtualized environment.

Because virtualization software can be installed on a server in your office, it is totally independent of cloud technology. Sometimes, people misunderstand the difference because the vast majority of cloud solutions use virtualization to improve their services.

Cloud Computing

With cloud computing, users can edit documents, save files, and interact with apps that aren’t actually on their computer. Instead, they access these items by connecting to a server via a network or internet connection. If your organization can get the information you need when you need it, you already gain a competitive edge.

To carry out its purpose, a cloud platform sometimes uses several virtualized servers to provide users with a simple system that appears to be all their own, even though it’s actually shared with several other users and servers. There’s no need to purchase additional servers, and you can also save valuable office space by not having to deploy bulky equipment in-house.

Obviously, scalability is critical in today’s ever-changing business conditions. What cloud computing does is make it easier to manage business tasks to maximize productivity. What’s more, it helps streamline operations as more cloud services are integrated. Businesses don’t have to worry about infrastructure maintenance because it is covered by the cloud service provider.

Virtualization and cloud computing are both economical technologies that small businesses should take advantage of. If you want to see what they can do for you, give our team at Lanlogic a call today!

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Keep your laptop from overheating

By EDITOR 

Laptops are so convenient and hassle-free to use. It’s easy to forget that they need regular maintenance. One of the most common causes of laptop damage is overheating. Learn how to prevent your laptop from overheating, so you can boost its speed and prolong its life.

Causes of overheating

Laptops create heat during their normal operation. That’s why they’re designed with internal fans that blow out hot air and suck in cooler air. When your laptop keeps shutting down or suffers serious slowdowns, chances are it’s overheating.

One of the most common causes of overheating is when the fan doesn’t operate normally. This may be due to dust and grime clogging up the fan, preventing it from rotating properly. It’s also possible that the air vents are being blocked, preventing air from flowing into the laptop.

Another thing to consider is the age of your laptop’s battery, which relies on lithium to store electricity. This chemical naturally decays over time, no matter how carefully you use it. The older the battery, the less efficient it is and the more heat it generates.

Software use can also contribute to overheating. Too many apps and programs running in the background can overwork your laptop.

What to do if it’s overheating

The first thing you should do is check your hardware. Turn your laptop off and inspect the vents and your fan for any dirt, grime, or other possible causes of blockage. Also check whether the fan itself is not physically dented, which can slow down its rotation.

Sometimes overheating is simply caused by bad habits. Do you use your laptops in bed or on the carpet? Do you use pillows as padding? Uneven or soft surfaces often block the air vents, leading to overheating. Always place your laptop on a hard, even surface.

Aside from the hardware, check your software. Are there a lot of apps and programs that start automatically when you switch on your laptop? If yes, then you may need to limit them.

Keeping it cool

To prevent your laptop from overheating, always make sure that there’s adequate airflow for your laptop. Better yet, invest in a cooling pad. These pads lift your laptop and add more fans to facilitate better airflow.

Limit the number of programs that run when you start your laptop. Change your settings to “power save.” And shut down your laptop whenever you’re not using it.

It’s easy to take laptops for granted because they’re billed as plug-and-play devices. However, with a little extra care and attention, your devices will last much longer. If you want to prolong the lifetime of your IT hardware, call our Lanlogic experts today.

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5 new features for Outlook

By EDITOR 

Lately, Microsoft has given some love to Outlook — not just the desktop app, but also the web and app versions. In fact, they just released a bunch of new and improved features. Let’s take a look.

#1 RSVP
Outlook makes it fairly simple to invite people to a meeting, but now it will also keep tabs on who’s coming. Just click the new “Tracking” option under “Meeting Occurrence” and see who has committed to the meeting and who hasn’t. RSVP isn’t just available for the meeting organizer, but the attendees, too.

#2 Multiple time zones
Traveling internationally and trying to sync appointments on different continents? Not fun. But now you can set up event start times and end times across different zones.

Outlook now allows you to show multiple time zones – three within Windows, and one within Outlook for Mac. In Outlook for Windows, add one by clicking File > Options > Calendar Time Zones and clicking “Show a second time zone”. In Mac, add one additional time zone under Outlook > Preferences > Calendar Time Zones. For Outlook on the web, click the “Time Zone” drop-down arrow in your Calendar meeting invite to add an additional time zone.

#3 BCC warning
If you’re on the receiving end of a blind carbon copy (bcc) email, that means the other recipients didn’t know you were copied on it. In Outlook for Windows, you’ll now get an alert if you attempt to reply to that message, such as “You were bcc’d, so perhaps you should reply only to the sender?” That way you’ll remain anonymous.

#4 Office Lens for Android
If you use Outlook for Android, the app will integrate the Microsoft Office Lens feature.
When that happens, you can tap the photo icon while composing a message, then take a snapshot of a whiteboard, document, photo or the like. Outlook will optimize it and then embed it into the email.

#5 Bill-pay reminders
What about your bills? Outlook will identify them in your inbox, show you a summary card at the top of your email each day, send an email to remind you two days before the due date, and automatically add an event to your calendar so you don’t forget to pay on the actual day.

If you want to learn more about these new and improved features, with more on the way, just call Lanlogic today for a quick chat with one of our Gold Microsoft Office experts.

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How to configure your new Windows 10 laptop

By EDITOR 

Got a new laptop? Windows 10 includes some wonderful features along with a revamped interface for Microsoft’s operating system. No matter how experienced you are with Windows, you still may need help getting used to this, so let’s get you started.

#1 Check for updates

Your new laptop should check for updates automatically, but you can also check manually. Just click the gear icon above the Start button to go to the Settings, choose Update & Security > Windows Update and then click the Check for updates button. (Or, just type “updates” into the search box and click Check for updates.)

#2 System restore

If something goes wrong with your laptop, you can save a lot of time and hassle if you have a “restore point,” which is like a backup of your entire operating system.To set up a restore point, search for “restore” from the taskbar and click Create a restore point. You’ll be taken to the System Protection tab of the System Properties window.

From there you can choose what you want to be included in the back and then click the Configure button. Select the radio dial to Turn on system protection if it’s not already on. And then you can choose how much disk space to reserve, usually no more than 2 or 3 percent.

#3 Power plan

If you want to prolong your laptop’s battery life, one of the best things you can do is switch the Power Saver, High Performance, and Balanced power plans based on your needs. To choose a plan, right click the battery icon in the lower-right corner of your screen and click Power settings. Next, click Additional power settings to select a power plan.

#4 App installation tolerance level

To restrict which apps can be installed on your laptop, you can disallow anything that isn’t in the Windows Store. Go to Settings Apps Apps & features and you can choose whether to permit installations from only the Windows Store, any app installations (with a warning), or unrestricted app installations.

#5 Remove bloatware

Vendors package new laptops with lots of trial apps, which are mostly unnecessary and unwanted software called bloatware.

Windows 10 offers an easy way to see which apps are installed on your new laptop and a quick way to uninstall those you don’t want. Head to Settings Apps Apps & features and peruse the list. If you don’t want an app and are 100% certain your computer doesn’t need it, click the Uninstall button.

#6 Anti-ransomware

Ransomware is a form of malicious software (or malware) that makes all your data inaccessible until you pay a fee to hackers.

To combat it, type ‘Windows Defender Security Center’ into the search bar at the bottom of your screen, click it and go to Virus & threat protection > Virus & threat protection settings. Here, you’ll be able to enable a new option called Controlled folder access, which protects you against ransomware attacks. By default, the Desktop, Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos folders are protected, but you can add others too.

Do you know what settings to change and update to optimize your laptop? This article barely scratches the surface of Window 10’s security and efficiency settings. Call Lanlogic today for a quick chat with one of our Microsoft Gold experts about taking yours to the next level.

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How long should business phone systems last?

By EDITOR 

The phone remains one of the first points of contact businesses have with their customers. That’s why so many companies are upgrading to affordable and hi-tech “VoIP” systems. Voice over IP solutions are a smart investment given their longevity and more.

Different phone systems
Phones have come a long way, from analog landlines to digital handhelds. Today’s businesses need a phone system that can service their numerous needs, and in most cases, VoIP phones are the answer.

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a system of hardware and software that uses the internet instead of wired circuits to transmit data. VoIP does more than just transmit audio; it can also send a variety of data (video, multimedia, SMS, etc.) and perform other tasks as well.

A VoIP system’s hardware (phone units, cables, CPUs, etc.) and software (one or more applications that run the system) can be either on-premises or hosted.

  • On-Premises — Their hardware and software are physically housed within the premises of the company.
  • Hosted — Some of the hardware, like phone units and other equipment, can be found within the premises. But most, if not all, of the software are hosted online. Service providers look after hosted systems for their clients.

Lifecycles: On-premises vs. hosted
With hardware, it doesn’t matter whether it’s on-premises or hosted. Hardware is affected by the wear-and-tear of daily usage. Barring any accidents or physical damage, VoIP hardware should last as long as analog handsets, usually several years.

It’s another matter with software, which needs constant updating. It’s faster and cheaper to update software that’s hosted in the cloud versus one that’s on-premises. The differences in longevity between the two should be negligible; both can last upwards of 10 years, depending on your IT support.

Technology today vs. before
Cloud technology has fundamentally changed the way IT solutions are produced. In the past, hardware and software were built to last. Today, they’re built to adapt and change.

The effect of this shift on hardware and software is dramatic.

  • Most hardware components are very similar, with replacements and upgrades coming every 5-8 years on average.
  • Cloud software is faster, easier, and costs less to upgrade. Critical updates can be released almost constantly, with complete overhauls taking no longer than 2-3 years.

As your business grows, your phone system should be able to adapt to rapid growth, the need for more speed, and integration with the other systems in your business, like email or management software.

Be a step ahead
Your business cannot afford dropped or missed calls. Imagine what one day of phone downtime would do to your company. The time to replace your phone system is not after it fails. The best time is before that, when you can plan and budget properly.

Nowadays, it’s not longevity that’s important; it’s staying ahead of the curve. Call our experts at Lanlogic today so you can always be a step ahead.

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Highlights from Google I/O 2018

By EDITOR 

The Google I/O event brings major executives, engineers, and platform developers together to talk about the latest features and developments. This year’s conference just ended, and it looks like consumers have plenty to look forward to.

What happened at Google I/O 2018?

While the primary focus of the Google I/O conference was on the developers, every tech enthusiast in the audience had the opportunity to see what the future holds for their favorite Google products and the upcoming Android P. This year’s developer conference focused on software and new mobile technologies that will be released later in the year.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence

The keynote was kicked off by CEO Sundar Pichai, who talked about Google’s mission and how it is linked to AI. He stated that AI will help industries like healthcare predict certain events.

Pichai also stated that machine learning will play a major role in enhancing closed captioning’s ability to figure out who is talking when there are multiple people speaking on-screen.

However, tech enthusiasts were extremely excited when the Google CEO announced the following features and upgrades:

  • Google Assistant will soon get 6 new voices, including one from singer and songwriter John Legend. Users will only need to say “Hey Google” to start a conversation with the product, instead of each time it is addressed. Google Assistant can now process more than one request at a time, and it can make phone calls to book reservations and appointments for the user with a feature called ‘Duplex.’
  • Google Maps can now suggest restaurants and other noteworthy locations for the user, differentiate between car and motorbike routes, and add businesses to the map by combining satellite images and AI. Augmented reality will be integrated into Street View so that users can easily track the direction they are facing or heading toward.
  • Google News will display its top five stories as soon as the app opens. Advanced AI will push stories that it thinks are relevant to the user.
  • Google Photos will have the Suggested Actions feature which offers to add color to images that are black and white, convert documents to PDF, tweak the brightness on underexposed photos, and instantly share images with the people who are in the picture.
  • Gmail will get the Smart Compose feature that will utilize machine learning to suggest phrases when writing an email.

Public beta of Android P

The test version of Android P is currently available on Oppo, Sony, Mi, OnePlus, Essential Phone and Google Pixel handsets. The search engine giant announced that they will release the first retail version around summer this year.

Beta testers enjoyed the refreshing look of Android P, where most interactions such as switching between apps were done by gestures. A new Dashboard feature shows how long the user has been on the device, including the number of notifications received, how many times the phone was unlocked, and the time spent in a particular app. Users will also be able to set a time limit if they want to stop themselves from habitually staring at their phones.

Availability of Google Lens

In last year’s event, Google announced AI-powered technology called Google Lens which uses a mix of machine learning and the smartphone’s camera to detect a specific object, know what the object is, and provide results based on what it knows about the object.

At the time, this feature was available only in Google Pixel phones, but the search engine giant announced that more smartphones will soon have this feature built in.

Google continues to innovate and improve on its products, and Lanlogic is here to help you make sense of all the tech so you can adapt it to your lifestyle. Get in touch with us today so we can discuss this tech and how you can benefit from it.

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Simple Tricks to Create More Windows 10 Space

By EDITOR 

More room for documents and files on your desktop means more time and freedom to enjoy your Windows 10 device. Unfortunately, as total file size gets larger, keeping your hard drive clean remains a never-ending battle. Use these simple techniques to free up more space on your Windows 10 computer.

Delete junk on Files

Windows 10 includes a feature to help you create more space by erasing unnecessary files. In some cases, this feature can find and remove several gigabytes of unnecessary system files. To use the feature:

  1. Open SETTINGS and click SYSTEM.
  2. Click STORAGE
  3. Scroll down and select CHANGE HOW WE FREE UP SPACE
  4. Under TEMPORARY FILES, select the files to be deleted including temporary files, downloaded files, and items in the recycle bin.
  5. Under the FREE UP SPACE NOW, there is an option that lets you delete an older Windows 10 version.
  6. Click the CLEAN NOW button to free up space.

Use Disk Cleanup

This is a similar but slightly different tool for sniffing out unnecessary files that are taking up too much space. To give it a try:

  1. Open any desktop folder.
  2. Right-click on THIS PC in the pane on the left, then select PROPERTIES.
  3. Click the DISK CLEANUP button, then CLEAN SYSTEM FILES.
  4. The Disk Cleanup tool gives you a number of options, many of which you should consult with us before deleting. They include: Windows Update Cleanup, Downloaded Program Files,
  5. Temporary Internet Files, Recycle Bin, and Temporary files, among others.
  6. Click OK, then click DELETE FILES.

Delete applications and games

Consider uninstalling apps that are rarely or never even used. These include bloatware or pre-installed programs. You may not even realize certain games or applications are taking up hard drive space. To remove them:

  1. Open SETTINGS, then click APPS.
  2. Click APPS & FEATURES.
  3. Select the apps and games you feel comfortable removing, then click UNINSTALL.

Use “OneDrive Files” On-Demand feature

A new Windows 10 tool, OneDrive allows access to files in the cloud using File Explorer. This means your files will be stored in the OneDrive cloud and won’t take up hard drive space unless you need to download them for offline editing.

  1. Open the OneDrive application.
  2. Right-click the OneDrive icon in your task bar, select SETTINGS, and click the SETTINGS TAB.
  3. Under FILES ON-DEMAND, check SAVE SPACE AND DOWNLOADED FILES AS YOU USE THEM.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Copy and paste your documents to the OneDrive folder (located in the left-hand pane of the File Explorer), select all of them, right-click the selection, and select FREE UP SPACE.

Lastly, move apps, games, and other files to an external hard disk so the computer can create more internal space if there is an extra need for more storage on the Windows 10 device. All these tips are user-friendly, but if you need to give your Windows 10 machines a serious overhaul, give Lanlogic a call now.

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Managed services for cyber security

By EDITOR 

Ransomware, Trojan horses, spyware and malware are things small businesses like yours don’t ever want to come across. While the term cyber security was once thrown around to scare businesses into purchasing security software, today’s sophisticated threats can leave immense impact, something that antivirus solution alone can’t handle. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up top cyber attack statistics that prove you need managed services in order to remain safe and operational.

The numbers

Small businesses are not at risk of being attacked, but worse, they’ve already fallen victim to cyber threats. According to Small Business Trends, 55 percent of survey respondents say their companies have experienced cyber attack sometime between 2015 and 2016. Not only that, 50 percent reported they have experienced data breaches with customer and employee information during that time, too. The aftermath of these incidents? These companies spent an average of $879,582 to fix the damages done to their IT assets and recover their data. To make matters worse, disruption to their daily operations cost an average of $955,429.

The attacks

So what types of attack did these businesses experience? The order from most to least common are as follows: Web-based attacks, phishing, general malware, SQL injection, stolen devices, denial of services, advanced malware, malicious insider, cross-site scripting, ransomware and others.

Why managed services?

Managed services is the most effective prevention and protection from these malicious threats. They include a full range of proactive IT support that focuses on advanced security such as around the clock monitoring, data encryption and backup, real-time threat prevention and elimination, network and firewall protection and more.

Not only that, but because managed services are designed to identify weak spots in your IT infrastructure and fix them, you’ll enjoy other benefits including faster network performance, business continuity and disaster recovery as well as minimal downtime. One of the best things about managed services is the fact that you get a dedicated team of IT professionals ready to assist with any technology problems you might have. This is much more effective and budget-friendly than having an in-house personnel handling all your IT issues.

Being proactive when it comes to cyber security is the only way to protect what you’ve worked hard to built. If you’d like to know more about how Lanlogic’s managed services can benefit your business, just give us a call, we’re sure we can help.

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Is your data safe from the Facebook data breach?

By EDITOR 

Businesses have made lots of money using social media to engage with current and potential customers for years now. But after a recent breach, some users are reevaluating Facebook’s reputation. Read on to know how this concerns you and if you must do something about it.

Last month, news broke that a firm known as Cambridge Analytica collected private data from over 50 million Facebook users. The British company supposedly used this information in 2016 to influence voter behavior during the US presidential election and UK’s Brexit campaign.

How did they harvest the data?
In 2015, a Facebook personality quiz app called “This is Your Digital Life” was created by Cambridge psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan. Around 270,000 Facebook users signed up and gave information about themselves in exchange for humorous results.

What users didn’t know was that Kogan’s firm, Global Science Research, struck a deal with Cambridge Analytica to share the information that was gathered. Aside from collecting information about the Facebook users, the app also mined some data about the users’ friends.

Information collected was based on:

  • Data from other platforms that are also owned by Facebook, including Instagram and WhatsApp
  • Advertisers and other third-party partners
  • Apps and websites which use Facebook services
  • Your location
  • The devices you use for Facebook access
  • Payments handled by Facebook
  • Your Facebook connections and networks
  • Messages, photos and other content that other users send to you
  • The information you disclose to Facebook
  • Your activities on Facebook

What happened to the sourced information?
Cambridge Analytica analyzed the collected data to create psychological profiles and invent better political drives to influence whom people would vote for. Although there is still a huge debate about how effective this plans were, there’s no doubt that tens of thousands of users were manipulated into signing away their data without knowing it.

What can I do to keep my information safe?
Remove third-party apps that use your Facebook account. Visit your “Settings” menu and go to “Apps”. You should see the list of all the services that are using information about your Facebook profile. Check on each app, and if you don’t need it or use it anymore, delete it to revoke its access.

Our team works with our clients everyday on strategies that define critical data, secure it and ensure its availability. Contact us so that we can work together to protect your data.

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OneNote removed from Office 2019 and Office 365

By EDITOR 

People who use OneNote for Windows are in for a surprise. The desktop version of the app will be phased out in favor of the UWP (Universal Windows Platform) app included with Office 365 and Microsoft Office 2019.

Microsoft’s OneNote desktop application is nearing the end of its journey, as the software giant will stop developing the product line past the 2016 edition. But don’t panic just yet, OneNote 2016 will share the same lifecycle as Microsoft Office 2016. The desktop app will receive security patches and updates until October 14, 2025.

Developers are directing their efforts to the Windows 10 OneNote app, where the switchover will be formal once Microsoft releases Office 2019. The current plan is to have Office 2019 in store shelves by the second half of 2018, and most of the features in OneNote 2016 have been added to the Windows 10 version.

What requested features will eventually make it to OneNote for Windows 10?

  • All of the features that can be used in OneNote 2016 add-ons will be built into the Windows 10 app to make an improved Class Notebook.
  • Edit and view files which allow users to collaborate on attached documents together. OneNote for Windows 10 will allow users to look at live previews of Microsoft Office files, and cloud files will help save space in the notebooks.
  • “Search and insert tags” which lets users search for, create and insert custom tags. The tags created in OneNote for Windows 10 will also be synced across other OneNote devices, and tags that other users made can be accessed in a shared notebook so you don’t have to make them again.

Users who are new to Microsoft Office 2019 or Office 365 can still install the OneNote 2016 application. The Windows 10 version and the 2016 version are still compatible until further notice.

Don’t hesitate to call Lanlogic today for more information on how to keep your software up to date while securing your private data at the same time!

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