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Browse Incognito Mode Better By Enabling Your Extensions

Google Chrome ExtensionsFans of Google Chrome are familiar with using Incognito mode to cover their tracks and keep their Internet browsing private. Although, one downside of Incognito mode is that it disables your browser’s extensions by default. If this has been an annoyance for you, then you’ll be pleased to learn that switching on your extensions for Incognito Mode is easy to do.

Incognito mode might be a great way to browse the Internet with some semblance of privacy, but if it’s at the cost of your efficient browsing thanks to extensions, it’s somewhat unfortunate. Thankfully, there is a very simple way to make sure that your extensions work at all times, even when in Incognito mode.

Just follow these short directions and you’ll have extensions in your browser during Incognito mode:

  • Click Chrome’s menu button
  • Make your way to the More Tools
  • Click on Extensions
  • Go through the extensions and find the one that you want to enable in Incognito mode
  • Click on the Allow in Incognito Mode button

Well, there you have it. Now you can use your extensions even while in Incognito mode! Just keep in mind that there’s probably a very good reason why Google Chrome blocks extensions by default, so try to limit it to only extensions that you absolutely trust. The last thing you need is a security discrepancy caused by you trying to find a more convenient way to go about your daily business.

For more great tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your technology, subscribe to Excalibur Technology’s blog.


ALERT: Massive Ransomware Attack is the Biggest Ever

Creeping Virus Infecting a PCRun your Windows Updates and be very skeptical about opening unsolicited emails. Failure to do so may result in a very dangerous strain of ransomware that could infect your entire network and spread to your clients, partners, and prospects.


Microsoft has even released patches for some older, unsupported versions of Windows to combat the threat that infected PCs all over the world over the weekend.

What’s Going On?
A ransomware worm variant dubbed ‘WannaCry’ struck critical systems all around the world. While the attack has been addressed by Microsoft and halted for the time being, the threat is far from over, especially for users who don’t keep their computers updated.

Discovered early in the morning hours of Friday, May 12, WannaCry spread at a startling rate, reaching victims in 11 countries within its first few hours, and over 45,000 attacks (spread through 99 countries) after a few more hours. By Monday, over 150 countries had been hit by this global cyberattack.

There’s No Specific Target
The victims included many companies that provide utilities, like telecommunications, electrical, and gas companies. Even more frightening, WannaCry caused serious trouble in England’s healthcare systems, leading to massive numbers of non-critical patients being sent home or turned away at hospital doors. Russia found that thousands of its interior ministry computers had been infected. In the United States, the ransomware managed to infect FedEx’s systems, and these are just the big highlights. Businesses everywhere went dark as a result of this attack.

However, WannaCry did not target businesses of any specific industry. This particular ransomware worm is a threat to essentially any PC, old and new.

WannaCry was first discovered by security company Malwarebytes, whose director of malware intelligence, Adam Kujawa, had a few choice words to describe the malware, “The spread is immense. I’ve never seen anything before like this. This is nuts.” This opinion was repeated by many others in the industry.

How Do I Prevent WannaCry?
WannaCry relies on a security vulnerability in Windows. Microsoft deployed a security patch on March 14, so it is critical that users run the update, especially before putting themselves at risk and opening unsolicited emails. Computers that are patched face a significantly smaller risk of getting the ransomware. Key words here; significantly smaller, as in not totally in the clear.

To run your Windows Updates in Windows 10, open up your Start Menu and type “updates” in the search box and choose Check for Updates – system settings from the results. A window titled Windows Update should appear. From there, click the Check for updates button. If it says your device is up to date, you have the latest update. If not, you’ll need to allow your PC to install them.

Evaluating your computer and network security would be a good step in the right direction, as well as educating employees on some basic best practices like not downloading and opening unsolicited attachments.

It’s also critical that your files are backed up securely. If ransomware infects your network, it makes your files inaccessible unless you pay the ransom which only feeds into the problem. Utilizing an offsite backup solution that can easily be restored is the only way to go.

I’m Updated, am I Still at Risk?
There is also the risk that WannaCry is still waiting on some systems that have not been used since the attack began, so this initial attack is still far from over. Any PC on your network that gets infected could infect the rest. Plus, even with the patch, a user could still accidentally download an infected file. It’s also possible that those behind WannaCry will devise a workaround to the patch. Therefore, you should always be mindful as you review your incoming email and do your best to protect your network with managed IT security solutions and backing up your files.

Events like these are why we always encourage timely updates to your systems. WannaCry depended on a vulnerability in Windows, and will continue to infect outdated, unpatched PCs to be effective, and so your first defense against it is to make sure yours has the most recent security patches from Microsoft.

As Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said, “The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call.”

What If I’ve Been Infected By WannaCry?
Contact us at 877-NET-KING immediately. Under no circumstance should you attempt to pay the ransom.

If you haven’t been targeted, count your blessings. That said, it’s time to start thinking about having your IT managed and maintained to prevent issues like this. Contact Excalibur Technology at 877-NET-KING and ask how we can help prevent business-crippling issues and security threats like WannaCry.

We are happy to report that all clients under our Total Support Solution plan and Simple Service Agreement plan had the proper patches installed and were protected against these threats.


Excalibur Technology Newsletter – April 2017

Excalibur Technology April 2017 Newsletter

We invite you to read the latest edition of our newsletter, by CLICKING HERE.

Be sure to check it out!

Highlights in the April 2017 Edition Include:

– 100% Uptime Is A Myth, But Our Total Support Solution Gets You Close

– Is Your Business Prepared To Handle These 2 Challenging IT Trends?

– Here’s A Cost-Effective Alternative To Onboarding Additional IT Staff

– 3 Ways Your Business Can Secure Its Hosted VoIP System

– Give Your Staff The IT Support They Need Without Breaking The Budget

– Pair Up The Right Workers To Increase Productivity By 10%

 


Pair Up The Right Workers To Increase Productivity By 10%

Pair Up Productive WorkersKeeping your workers as productive as possible is a challenge for every employer. According to a recent study by the Harvard Business Review, there is one easy way that you can increase productivity: By keeping a productive worker in close proximity to other workers.

Such a profound discovery could be enough to shake the foundations of how you form your departments and how the interior of your office looks. Theoretically, you could simply arrange your office in a way which takes advantage of this “productivity by proximity” rule, keeping those who get the most work done at the center of the action. This could inspire your less-dutiful employees to better themselves and improve how they work.

What’s interesting is just how the study describes this phenomenon: “We saw that neighbors have a significant impact on an employee’s performance, and it can be either positive or negative. In terms of magnitude, we found that approximately ten percent of a worker’s performance spills over to her neighbors. Replacing an average performer with one who is twice as productive results in his or her neighboring workers increasing their own productivity by about ten percent, on average.”

Maybe you’re feeling that you should reevaluate how your organization is approaching the office setup, but before you go and make drastic changes, keep in mind that doing this haphazardly could actually make things worse. This study highlights the benefits of productivity by proximity, but keep in mind that it also warns of how the exact opposite can happen too. For example, an employee who wants to get the most done, for example, could be held back by a slacker that’s nearby.

You need to also consider other factors that influence worker productivity, like motivation. If you have a worker who wants to learn how to do a better job, putting them next to someone who is highly motivated and willing to go the extra mile could help dramatically. On the other hand, a worker who doesn’t care about doing a good job won’t be impressed by the positive attitude of their peers.

This is a negativity that your business can do without. In this situation, it might seem tempting to just isolate workers so they don’t influence each other. You can do this by either providing them with their own office, giving them the freedom to work remotely, or removing the problem employee from the equation completely.

As you can see, motivation is a crucial when it comes to worker productivity. It’s logical to assume that if you can provide powerful motivators, your team will be more likely to do their best work. Allowing workers to improve themselves by learning from motivated employees can be a spectacular way of improving productivity.

One last thing to consider is the technology that your organization uses. Implementing cloud-based collaboration software and communication solutions like VoIP and instant messaging can be a great way to help employees stay in touch and be more productive, regardless of where they are working. This helps your staff (especially those who might need help) stay in constant contact with those who can help them, allowing your team to be productive at all times.

To take advantage of the latest and greatest technology solutions, reach out to Excalibur Technology at (877) NET – KING.


Give Your Staff The IT Support They Need Without Breaking The Budget

Managed Services Help IT BudgetsWhat would you do if you got a surprise bill for tech support? Would you go around the office asking where it came from, or would you worry more about trying to figure out how you’re going to pay for it? Clearly someone in your office doesn’t know the proper way of asking for IT support if you are receiving mystery invoices. Regardless, it’s important that you understand that this is the norm for an organization working with a break-fix IT provider.

Basically, an employee will only contact an external tech support when you don’t designate someone to contact internally. When you don’t have any employees dedicated to keeping your technology functioning, what happens when you encounter a crippling problem that makes it more difficult for your workers to do their jobs? Your employees will try to find a solution to the issue, whether it’s in your IT budget or not. This could result in heavy blows to your bottom line, but when a project is on the line, the employee might not care. How do you stop these situations from happening?

Keeping the struggles of break-fix IT support in mind, it’s easy to see how help desk support can improve the way your organization functions. Excalibur Technology, a managed service provider, can help you keep your business’s technology troubles from breaking your budget by offering monthly, flat-rate services. This makes it so that you don’t have to worry about an employee exceeding the budget with calls to break-fix IT providers, thus mitigating phantom cost.

To further enhance the benefits of managed IT, consider the difference between paying per hour and paying per month. If your business is charged per hour for IT assistance, your employees might hope to save your organization some money by not reaching out for help at all. However, if you’re paying for something at a monthly rate, it makes the most sense to get as much out of it as possible. After all, you don’t pay for Netflix just to watch it for a day. You want to stream as much as possible and get the most value from the service. If you make a monthly payment for IT support, your workers can get the help they need when they need it, without suffering from long-term technology troubles.

Introducing “All You Can Eat” IT Support
If you want to give your team the IT support that they deserve, consider finding a service provider that gives as much support as possible for a monthly rate. This means that your IT provider won’t bill you per call and will instead charge only a flat rate that is set in stone. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and see how much value you can get out of your relationship with your managed service provider.

Excalibur Technology wants to help your organization get the most out of its technology solutions. To learn more about what we can do for your business, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.


3 Ways Your Business Can Secure Its Hosted VoIP System

VOIP SecurityHow much has your business invested in its communications technologies? If your business is like many others, it relies heavily on the functionality of its organization’s communications platforms. You might have a VoIP system filled with features, but are you taking full advantage of them? Here are three ways you can get the most out of your VoIP solution.

Keep Track of Your Usage
There’s always the possibility that your organization’s VoIP solution will get hacked. It’s safe to say that the majority of attacks you’ll run into that target your VoIP system will be ATO attacks, which basically work by pumping traffic into the phone system. This ultimately affects how much money you’re spending on your solution, as the hackers can use the phone system at will and make you foot the bill. To keep this from happening, you should keep track of your business’s VoIP usage to make sure that nothing out of the ordinary is happening behind your back. Furthermore, you should have a good, long conversation with your VoIP provider to see what they can do to keep your system secure from threats.

Implement Powerful Authentication Procedures
Security is incredibly important, especially in regard to access control. You need to make sure that only your employees are accessing your hosted VoIP system. One of the best ways you can do this is by implementing a two-factor authentication solution, or more specifically, an identity management system. By making it more difficult for people to log into your VoIP system, you can effectively keep those who aren’t supposed to have access out of it. However you decide to secure your VoIP system, you’ll need to make sure that you do the same for all outlets of access, including mobile applications, desktop apps, physical phones, or virtual solutions. This makes sure that your phone system is accessible wherever your employees are.

Take Advantage of Private VLANs
With a private VLAN, also known as a virtual local area network, your business’s IT can control your hosted VoIP system. This means that there is only one point of access and uplink for a device that’s communicating with your network or server. Once you’ve managed to single out each device, you can group them together even if they are not on same network switch. Setting up a VLAN allows for even more security, something that you can never get enough of.

Hosted VoIP is fantastic for businesses that plan on growing, but only if you’re capable of taking full advantage of the many benefits that they can provide. After all, you’re paying for the service, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting the most of it. If you want to improve the way that your business communicates, Excalibur Technology can work with you to assess ways in which you can maximize the value you get from your technology solutions. To learn more, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.


Here’s A Cost-Effective Alternative To Onboarding Additional IT Staff

Outsource IT Support To Excalibur TechnologyAn internal IT department serves two primary purposes for businesses. The first is to keep an eye on your technology problems and resolve them. The second is to plan for the future and implement new strategies that will help your organization function more effectively. The problem for the average small business is that their IT department often doesn’t have the luxury of performing both of these tasks.

The root of the problem is that most IT departments are too busy dealing with technology support issues and requests from employees to innovate. Eventually, this lack of innovation could cost your business money.

Do You Know What You’re Paying Your IT Department For?
By definition, your IT department is supposed to plan methods for your business to improve its infrastructure through any means necessary. On the side, they are supposed to help your organization by providing technical support for your assets. By adhering to this model, your IT department should be able to find ways to improve your technology infrastructure, while providing technical assistance for those who need it. The problem is that, as technology becomes more complicated, the help demanded by employees increases.

While it might seem ideal to approach IT support with an internal IT department, it rarely works out. IT departments just don’t have as much time as they need to really work toward improving anything. Often times, these issues are either recurring or resolved simply by rebooting the system, which is a waste of your IT department’s time.

Is Your IT Department Taking Your Company Nowhere?
While your IT department struggles to keep up, your team will naturally need to make forward progress. However, when all they do is respond to problems without making progress in order to prevent them, it’s easy to overlook the fact that many of these problems can be prevented in the future with a little innovation in the present. Plus, when routine maintenance is foregone for the sake of solving short-term problems, you’ll lose out in the long-term due to decreased performance and security issues.

As you can see (perhaps even from your own experience), an in-house IT department is often more distracted by problems that aren’t even theirs to resolve, which pulls them away from work that could make your business better. As a result, many organizations seek to outsource the IT work of their IT department’s in order to make up lost time. This can include innovation, but more often than not, you’ll find that outsourcing routine IT tasks and technology support to be helpful to your company’s overall goals.

After all, your technicians were hired to innovate, so why not give them the opportunity to do so?

To learn more about outsourced IT, reach out to Excalibur Technology. We can provide a help desk, network audits, and so many more valuable IT services that will help your organization improve efficiency. Call us today at (877) NET – KING.


Is Your Business Prepared To Handle These 2 Challenging IT Trends?

Thanks IT Support - Thumbs UpSmall and medium-sized business owners are finding that it’s getting more difficult to compete without the means to deploy the newest technologies. Larger organizations are finding greater market shares, but smaller businesses have some advantages, namely in terms of maneuverability. With the help of some external resources, SMBs can be operate as effectively as larger organizations.

Generally speaking, when your business faces a challenge, you might see little choice but to pick vendors who are best suited to resolve your issues at hand–even if they aren’t the most qualified solution. Worse yet, if someone is particularly skilled in a specific area and they’re not allowed to flourish due to the needful, they may find other opportunities. This makes it challenging to sustain operations, especially when you’re already strapped for resources as is.

Take, for example, the position of an IT technician. While having a competent in-house IT department is a great benefit for your organization, paying one might be ambitious. You’d be better served elsewhere in your budget. Instead of adding multiple salaries to your payroll, consider your alternative choices. Furthermore, a qualified IT professional will want to help your organization implement the best technology solutions to improve efficiency and productivity, many of which might be budget-breaking off the bat. What’s the business owner to do?

IT support is much more manageable to obtain today. For Excalibur Technology’s Managed IT Services in lieu of adding new salaries, you will only need to take on an affordable monthly payment to get the comprehensive support and management you need for your organization’s IT. However, even with IT support handled, you’ll want to know how trends will affect your business in the future. Two of the most important to consider are the proliferation of mobile devices in the workplace and Internet of Things technology.

Concerning Mobile Devices
Mobile technology is a major talking point among businesses, but this isn’t anything new. Ever since the initial surge in mobile technology began over a decade ago, IT professionals knew that someday mobile would become crucial to the success of their endeavor. While mobile devices have the potential to offer significant benefits to small businesses, they also could become huge problems in the long run, particularly in regard to network security and data leakage. Businesses that are serious about appropriately leveraging mobile devices in the workplace will want to implement a BYOD policy that allows employees to use their devices, but only by adhering to usage protocol designed to mitigate risk.

If implemented properly, mobile devices in the workplace can allow your business to improve employee morale and engagement. However, businesses that want to use mobile devices in the workplace still have their fair share of challenges. One of the clear problems associated with mobile devices is that they can become a huge time sink for your employees. Considering how the majority of the smartphone’s operations are rooted in entertainment or social media rather than productivity, you need to instill proper time management practices into your employees. Furthermore, there needs to be some sort of protocol for distributing sensitive data and establishing unified communications between your devices, so management and monitoring needs to be considered before making a commitment to mobile.

The Internet of Things
In a sense, the development of the Internet of Things trend could be considered similar to the way mobile devices entered the work environment. The Internet of Things consists of any device that can connect to a network and communicate with other similar devices, many of which are devices which wouldn’t normally have connectivity capabilities. If anything has been made clear by the explosion of device development, it’s that the Internet of Things is not going away, and that your business (just like with mobile devices) could be put at risk, or reap rewards for their effective use. The problem is determining which devices you’ll find effective for your operations.

Depending on your business’s specific needs, the Internet of Things devices that have practical use for your organization will vary. Some, however, will be interesting initiatives regardless of which industry your business falls into. Devices like remote controlled locks, thermostats, and security cameras can be effective introductions to the world of the Internet of Things. Others, however, might be more situation-specific, like card readers for point-of-sale technology. As the Internet of Things grows more popular, you can bet that more devices will be introduced over the next few years. It is predicted that as many as 20 billion devices will be implemented and connected to the Internet by 2020!

Excalibur Technology can help your small business benefit most from new technical assets. To learn more, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.


100% Uptime is a Myth, But Our Total Support Solution Gets You Close

Proactive IT SupportEvery piece of technology comes with this risk. Although, some businesses are better at mitigating this risk than others, and it’s usually based on how they approach their organization’s IT maintenance.

Unfortunately, no computer manufacturer can guarantee their equipment to be impervious to breaking down, and no IT network can deliver 100 percent uptime. It’s unrealistic to expect as much from your own technology, yet coming to terms with the reality doesn’t make it any less frustrating when you encounter an error.

When it comes to protecting your company’s productivity from the inevitable imperfections of technology, whether it be hardware failure, a data breach, user error, or a litany of other issues. Having the right approach to IT maintenance is the best way to give yourself peace of mind that issues that appear will be taken care of efficiently, before they are problems to be dealt with. Essentially, this approach must be proactive in nature, otherwise you’re doomed to deal with one unexpected technology problem after another, and at the worst possible times.

With managed IT services from Excalibur Technology, we’re able to proactively monitor and maintain your company’s technology in order to significantly reduce the risk of downtime. Admittedly, even this approach cannot guarantee that your company will never again experience a technology issue (this silver bullet doesn’t exist, unfortunately). Although, we can confidently say that by taking a proactive stance toward your technology’s maintenance, many problems will be prevented that would otherwise cause downtime.

So, while 100 percent uptime and issue-free technology is an unrealistic expectation, you can be confident that partnering with Excalibur Technology will provide your business with a dedicated team of IT professionals that do everything they can, and use every resource at their disposal to make sure your company’s technology is operating at maximum efficiency. That said, if your company’s technology is ever hit with an issue that takes your systems offline or causes downtime, know that we have a plan in place to handle such a crisis and our team of IT experts will act fast to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

Keep in mind that, even if you are faced with such a crisis, if you’ve taken the proactive approach to IT maintenance, then the number of these technology crises your business faces will be dramatically reduced. Considering how expensive downtime is for any organization to experience, you can see why taking every measure possible to prevent IT problems proves to be so valuable.

Is your business taking a proactive approach to IT maintenance, or are you handling technology issues as they happen? To equip your business with Excalibur Technology’s proactive IT solutions, give us a call today at (877) NET – KING.


Setup A New Windows 10 PC In One Hour Or Less

Windows 10 LaptopZDNet put out an interesting article today:

“How to set up a new Windows 10 PC perfectly in one hour or less” details step by (major) step directions on how to setup a new PC with Windows 10 or reload an older PC with Microsoft’s newest operating system.  While this article is definitely geared towards IT professional and power users familiar with reloading PC’s, it is still a good reference guide to review.  One hour might be a bit generous on the time.  With the install, updates, patches, software downloads and data transfers, two to three hours of time is more accurate.

Regardless of how many check lists you have available to you, there is still one best way of reloading your PC with Windows 10 – call the experts at Excalibur Technology!

View the original article by CLICKING HERE.



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