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Apple Watch Winner – Barb Jensen!

Congrats to Barb Jensen for being our first official Apple Watch winner!  Here is a picture of Don Hauserman personally delivering her Apple Watch Sport to her at work.  Look at that smile on her face!  Who would not be happy winning such a great prize!  Next Apple Watch giveaway is July 31, 2015!  Want a chance to win?  Just make sure you stay LIKED on our company FaceBook page!  What should we give away next?  An iPad?  A Surface?  An iPod?  Let us know!!

Don Hands Bard Her Apple WatchBarb Jensen - Lucky Winner in our Apple Watch Giveaway

Excalibur Technology Newsletter – May 2015

Excalibur Technology May 2015 NewsletterWe invite you to read the latest edition of our newsletter, by CLICKING HERE. Be sure to check it out!

Highlights in the May 2015 Edition Include:

– Ready or Not, Windows Server 2003 is Scheduled to Fade July 2015

– 3 Telltale Signs That Your Hard Drive is Failing

– How to Know When You Need a Consultant

– Take a Fresh Look at Your IT Security Budget

– A Reliable Computer Network Lends Itself Towards Competency

– Win an Apple Watch Contest!

A Reliable Computer Network Lends Itself Towards Competency

b2ap3_thumbnail_network_competency_400.jpgIn business, you need to be competitive to experience growth. Otherwise, your competitors might catch up and surpass you when you least expect it. When your computer network is reliable, you can know with certainty that your employees are operating at optimal efficiency. For a small or medium-sized business, this can mean all the difference.

Granted, the SMB might feel overwhelmed by the incredible advantage that major corporations have in the industry. They might be backed by buying power, but as a SMB, you have one advantage that they can’t hope to match. You can make decisions on the fly, while the enterprise is forced to muddle through chains of command to accomplish the same goal.

With so many departments, branches, and higher-ups standing in the way of integrating new corporate policies, it’s a safe bet that any big changes that will probably take a significant amount of time to get anything moving. One example of this is a major fast food chain restaurant. They might spend years upon years developing a new menu before it’s released, while the owner of a small local restaurant might only need to spend a day or two putting together exciting daily specials.

If you’re not jumping on this important, mission-critical advantage, it’s important that you do so immediately. Otherwise, you would be letting a prime opportunity go to waste due to indecision. One of the best ways you can use this choice-making authority is by improving the status of your network. InformationWeek explains:

One advantage of being an SMB is the ability to react more quickly than larger competitors. But if your company network is frequently down, sluggish, or unsecured, that competitive advantage is eroded.

Nobody wants to spend time troubleshooting their network, especially when they have so many new ideas to push their company to the forefront of the competition. When a computer network is experiencing poor maintenance, you can tell. It starts underperforming, and grows more susceptible to hacking attacks. InformationWeek describes how a network should be operating if it hopes to stay competitive:

A secure, reliable, self-defending network based on intelligent routers and switches provides your business with maximum agility by providing reliable, secure access to business intelligence. What’s more, a secure, reliable network infrastructure provides the necessary foundation for a number of efficiency-enhancing technologies and solutions, such as IP communications.

Managed IT services from Excalibur Technology can help your business achieve the highest level of competency in your designated industry. With our outsourced IT management and maintenance, your company’s network can go from being a problem to a profit center. We deal with technology issues of all kinds, and we know how to bring the best value to our customers. By concentrating less on your technology and more on your business, you can get back to what really matters: Providing the best product out there for your customers.

Contact Excalibur Technology today to schedule an IT consultation. We’ll check out your network and help you work it into something that knocks the socks off of the competition.

Ready Or Not, Windows Server 2003 Is Scheduled To Fade July 2015

b2ap3_thumbnail_get_rid_of_windows_server_2003_400.jpgSmall business owners, beware. On July 14th 2015, Microsoft will stop supporting the aging server operating system, Windows Server 2003. If your business is still operating servers using this outdated OS, you need to upgrade away from it before the end-of-support date. If you don’t, you run the risk of hacks and security discrepancies.

This end-of-support date might bring up “fond” memories of last year’s Windows XP end-of-life event. Plenty of consumers and businesses alike waited until the last minute to upgrade from the super-old operating system, and some even ran unsupported well into the year. Others paid an incredulous amounts of cash to get custom support. Either way, refusing to upgrade until the last minute was a risky and expensive endeavor, and certainly not worth it. Some businesses think that using outdated operating systems can save them money by not paying for the latest technology, but when you take into account hardware/software performance and the risk of data breaches, it’s not worth it.

However, unlike the way that Windows XP kicked the bucket, most businesses who utilize Windows Server 2003 have already taken steps toward upgrading. According to a survey by Avandade, about 80 percent of business owners are formulating plans to replace the server operating system. This shows that consumers and business owners generally have different approaches to renewing their expired technology.

With Windows Server 2003 reaching its end-of-support date in July, the question you need to address is whether or not your IT infrastructure is ready for it. Microsoft is offering support up until the expiration date, but after that, your systems will be running unsupported. This means that they will be vulnerable to emerging threats, and by de facto, so will your business’s data.

Large enterprises that have an expansive IT department might find upgrading to be simple enough; but for the small and medium-sized business, it poses a much greater challenge. While the large business has the time and expenses to afford a major IT overhaul, the smaller business doesn’t have this luxury, and tend to lack both the time and resources necessary to fulfill such a dedicated project. Ian Stephan, HP’s vice president and general manager for servers in EMEA, described this risk to

For most small companies, it’s a relatively simple transition. They are probably buying one or two servers every three or four years and the next server they buy will have an up-to-date operating system version. The customer that worries me is the one that has 30 or more servers, probably of mixed ages, and they may have heard something about the end of life deadline, but they may not be doing anything about it.

Companies that are growing will likely experience the most trouble when they are trying to upgrade from Windows Server 2003. A mid-sized company may have an in-house IT staff, but they might not be flexible enough to drop everything and immediately start a new project. Stephan explains that these smaller, growing companies tend to run several different servers that operate multiple applications and operating systems, making transitioning to a new server OS fairly difficult, and time-consuming at best.

The SMB may not have the time or expenses to dedicate to regular hardware maintenance, nor the freedom to upgrade their hardware every couple of years. As a small business ourselves, we at Excalibur Technology know how time-consuming it can be to keep up with every technological trend. We help small businesses like you by providing managed IT services. We keep you operating at maximum efficiency so your in-house IT team can concentrate on bigger, more important tasks.

Even if you’re ready to upgrade away from Windows Server 2003, it’s not always as simple as installing the OS. After all, we’re dealing with a server OS that’s over a decade old. Any hardware still running Windows Server 2003 is probably on its last leg, and will need an upgrade shortly. Stephan explains: “It probably means a box change for a lot of customers, not simply a reinstall, because the hardware is now so old it is no longer sufficient.” When such a major, expensive, and complicated task must be completed, it’s best to outsource it so that your team’s hands aren’t completely full for an extended period of time.

In this case, Excalibur Technology can get the job done with minimal hassle. We’ll help you make the Windows Server 2003 upgrade as painless as possible, whether you’ve thought about it or not. Just give us a call at (877) NET – KING to get started.

Insecure Networks On Planes?

Did a hacker take control of a plane from his seat? 
Threats are everywhere…secure your network!  We have a special focus on network and information security.  Call one of our Technology Consultants today for an assessment of your operations.

3 Telltale Signs That Your Hard Drive Is Failing

b2ap3_thumbnail_hard_drive_failing_400.jpgTechnology is vital to the success of any business, but even the most common issue can prevent users from accomplishing their day-to-day goals. Even technology that’s known to be reliable can fail at any given time. This is especially true for the notorious hard disk drive, which is required for the average workstation to function properly. In order to get the most out of your technology, and to avoid data loss, look for signs of hardware failure before the deed is done.

What’s more, technology is expensive and costly to replace. This is the primary reason that issues in your technology need to be addressed before they become an even bigger, more expensive problem. Here are three of the more common issues that your hard disk drive might face right before it croaks.

Your PC Is Slower than Usual
There are a number of reasons that your computer could be slowing down, but one of the primary reasons is that there’s something wrong inside of it. Your workstations shouldn’t be lagging. If they are, it’s important to resolve any issues before they put a damper on workplace productivity. If the system keeps freezing up, you know that there’s something wrong with the hardware that absolutely must be addressed.

The Blue Screen of Death
Obviously, continuous computer crashes aren’t a good sign. You might know this as the “blue screen of death,” which usually signals that a computer has finally met its maker, or at the very least, will do so soon (probably at the most inopportune time). One way to determine if the cause is the hard drive malfunctioning is by attempting to access files on the hard drive. If they’re inaccessible, you’ve probably found your issue. Be sure to call Excalibur Technology to figure out a solution to your predicament before attempting too complicated a procedure on your own, or else risk making the problem worse.

The PC Makes Strange Sounds
When we say strange sounds, we don’t mean older workstations sounding like airplanes taking off. We’re talking about sounds that are out of the ordinary, like clicking or grinding noises. Like any metal piece of machinery, this probably isn’t a good sign. Be aware of any strange sounds coming from your PC, and if you hear something fishy, contact the trusted IT technicians at Excalibur Technology to see what the problem is.

The Ideal IT Solution
Sure, you can spend time monitoring your technology’s every move. Nobody’s going to stop you; but is that the best use of your time? Absolutely not. You are already extremely busy, have plenty of responsibilities as is, and you definitely don’t have time to keep track of your business’s technology. With our proactive managed services, we can prevent IT issues that could be crippling later on.

Worrying about your old technology breaking down when you least expect it can negatively affect productivity, especially when you’re trying to stay competitive. Let Excalibur Technology assist you with remote maintenance and technology management services. You can get started today by calling (877) NET – KING.

Take A Fresh Look At Your IT Security Budget

b2ap3_thumbnail_losing_money_on_tech_400.jpgAs technology grows ever more complex, the average garden-variety threats grow exponentially. As such, security measures grow more comprehensive to battle the myriad of new threats that appear every day. If you’re not protecting yourself by maximizing your network security, you could be weak and vulnerable.

Due to the overwhelming amount of threats that are constantly trying to access your network, both larger enterprises and the small business have an equal need for quality network security. In fact, Gartner estimates that the average business dedicates about five percent of its annual budget toward strengthening security. Granted, each business has its own individual needs, and some might not spend nearly as much on their security. Still, the importance of your IT infrastructure’s security can’t be understated, especially today.

One of the biggest reasons why a business might not carefully consider their network security solution is due to the uncertainty that they’ll get hacked. This can make it difficult to justify integrating a security solution into your business plan, especially when you’re on a tight budget. If you think of it in terms of taking preventative measures, you’ll understand the value of network security. By being cautious now, you can avoid expensive data breaches and compliance fines later on.

Excalibur Technology has the power to help you decide how much you need to spend on your business’s IT. It all starts with a simple security assessment, and we have other services geared toward both network security and business continuity that can help your organization survive difficult times.

Get a Network Security Audit
It’s not necessarily easy putting together a solid security plan. It takes knowledge and expertise that might not be readily available to the small business owner. If you’re not entirely sure how much of your resources you should allocate toward improving security, a network security audit from Excalibur Technology is the best place to start. We can identify weak points in your network and recommend the best way to shore them up. Our trained IT professionals pride themselves in their ability to help others, and our consultation will let you make valuable, informed decisions about the future of you company’s technology.

Try a Unified Threat Management (UTM) Solution
One advantage that the large enterprise generally has over smaller businesses is a bigger budget. This leads some small and medium-sized business owners to think that an enterprise-level solution is simply too resource-intensive for their budget. One of our goals as a business is to make security measures as affordable as possible for the small business. We call this our Unified Threat Management solution. It takes an enterprise-level firewall, antivirus, spam-blocking, and a content filtering solution, and brings it to you at an affordable price.

Integrate a Backup and Disaster Recovery (BUDR) Solution
Of course, a security solution is only as valuable as your data, so what happens if all of a sudden, you have no data to protect? Even a comprehensive solution like our UTM isn’t a perfect solution. Nothing is. There’s always the possibility that a threat can somehow slip through undetected and cause mayhem. That’s why the Backup and Disaster Recovery solution from Excalibur Technology is such a valuable investment. Our BUDR takes a snapshot of your business’s data each day, and just in case the worst happens, you can restore your system from the last clean backup. This prevents expensive downtime from crippling your business.

When dealing with business technology and the risks associated with it, it’s always best to stay proactive and deal with issues before they become disasters. Excalibur Technology can help you save money on your IT by accomplishing this. Give us a call at (877) NET – KING to learn more.

Experts Believe Email Will Soon Meet Its End

b2ap3_thumbnail_email_no_more_400.jpgWith email being such a prevalent tool used in the modern office, it might seem silly to think that in just a few short years, email might not be as relevant as it used to be. However, many professionals believe that email is limping along on its last leg, waiting to be put out of its misery by a new solution. Will email be around for much longer? Should the average business prepare for a world without it?

The Future of Email Looks Bleak
John Brandon of Inc thinks that email’s time is just about up. He sees a future where email falls out of favor due to the increase in use of other communication alternatives, both formal and informal. He builds an argument from his personal experiences with email over the past few years:

In my own workday, email has become less and less important. There are entire groups of people (public relations, for one) who contact me primarily on social networks first. Friends never send email anymore. They almost always send a text or chat on Facebook. Even a few of my colleagues tend to use apps like Campfire more than email.

social media kills email

He also discusses how email isn’t a reliable method of communication, explaining that many users ignore their email or simply take forever to respond. This is especially true for the younger generation, many of which don’t even have a personal email for use outside of work or school. Finally, when users do receive email, they can be buried under spam, especially if no measures are taken to protect against it.

Yet, Email is Still Necessary in Today’s Work Environments
Improving your business’s communications is imperative to its success, and despite email’s shortcomings, it’s still one of the most used systems to date. Therefore, you want to do everything in your power to optimize its performance.

Modern managed services have given small and medium-sized organizations enterprise-level solutions designed to augment your current business practices and ensure that mission-critical systems continue operating at maximum efficiency.

Excalibur Technology understands the best ways to bring these practices into your office. If hosting your Exchange server in-house is an issue, we can remedy it by hosting it for you. We have a multitude of solutions designed to improve security by blocking spam and phishing threats. Instead of wasting precious moments of your day picking through your inbox, you can rest assured that the majority of spam will never reach your inbox in the first place.

Technology is imperative to the proper functionality of the modern office, and yours is no different. We wouldn’t necessarily say that email will be rendered obsolete in the future, but it will certainly evolve and adapt to the future technology environment. We change our strategies to match the most recent and up-to-date best practices. Email is still a valuable asset to your business, so why not let us help you make it easier and less demanding on your business? Give us a call at (877) NET – KING today.

3 Tricks to Get the Most Power Out of Your Android Device

b2ap3_thumbnail_android_battery_400.jpgSmartphones are exceptionally useful tools capable of enhancing your productivity, even while out of the office, but this comes at a steep cost. If your phone’s battery isn’t optimized to handle the workload, the multitude of apps will quickly drain it and you’ll be left with a dead device.

Thankfully, there are a ton of ways you can conserve your battery’s charge. To avoid being tethered to an outlet at all times, CNet has several suggestions for cutting down the amount of energy your battery wastes throughout the day.

Disable GPS-Based Services
Your phone will have its GPS enabled when you first receive it. This helps it communicate your location to satellites and cell phone towers. Unfortunately, all of this communication with the GPS phone chip eats up your device’s battery. Since many of these GPS features aren’t necessarily required for your device to function properly, you can get by just fine by turning them off.

Do this by going to Location reporting and Location history. These settings use your phone’s GPS alongside other Google applications to enhance your user experience, but they aren’t really necessary. Disable them by going to Settings > Location > Google Location Reporting.

in blog android

Turn Off WiFi Scanning
You probably use WiFi the most when you’re in the office or at home, but while you’re out and about, your device continuously scans for a new connection. This scanning constantly drains the battery, and automatically connecting to random WiFi networks while on the go can be a security threat.

To do this, make sure your autoconnect feature is turned off, and turn off WiFi scanning by going toWiFi settings > Advanced. If the WiFi scanning box is unchecked, you’re all set.

in blog android2

Keep Track of Your Data Sync
Android smartphones constantly sync to your Google account. This keeps your device’s data backed up and up to date, but the process of syncing your data might have unintended consequences… like a drained battery. Turning off your sync might solve this problem, but it’s more efficient to choose what data you’d like to sync.

Android allows you to filter the data sync process to certain files, like pictures and videos. Do this by heading to Settings > Accounts. Select the account to access the sync settings. You can then uncheck any items you don’t want synced, or turn it off completely if you want.

While there are plenty of ways to conserve your device’s battery, these are only three of them. For more tips and tricks on how to make your Android device as useful and efficient as possible, give us a call at (877) NET – KING.

Tesla Branches Out With Powerwall Batteries For Homes & Businesses

Tesla Powerwall Battery Emergency PowerTesla introduced their Powerwall technology last week.  Powerwall is a lithium-ion battery that is designed to power a home or business.  They come in a 10kWh or 7kWh version and multiple units can be stacked together.  Advantages:

1. It will power your home or business if there is a power loss
2. It charges with solar power to help generate power and reduce energy costs
3. You can sell excess power back to the power company
4. It will help reduce power consumption during “peak” times, also reducing energy costs
5. It will power any device that currently runs in your home or business
6. Tesla guarantees that the technology will be useable for 10 years

This is a great alternative for short term power needs where a generator would have been previously needed.  Businesses can have these installed in their server equipment rooms to help provide power during an outage.  For more information check out this article:

For additional help and answers regarding batteries, emergency power, and keeping your business running during a power loss or disaster, call the experts at Excalibur Technology today at (877) NET-KING.

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