View Excalibur Technology's Facebook page View Excalibur Technology's Twitter page View Excalibur Technology's YouTube page View Excalibur Technology's Google Plus page View Excalibur Technology's blog View Excalibur Technology's LinkedIn page

When Investigating The Root Cause Of An IT Issue, Remember To Check Company Policy

Root Cause of IT IssuesDowntime is something that no business wants to imagine, but it’s something that is practically inevitable if you don’t prepare for it. You’ll be forced to wonder how long it will take to get back in business, but how this problem occurred is also important to discuss. Understanding how IT downtime occurs within your organization is the first step toward making sure that it can’t happen again.

It’s clear that being able to diagnose IT problems is a great asset to your organization since the issue will be identified and resolved in a timely manner. This information can help you keep issues to a minimum moving forward. The act of getting to the bottom of a problem is called a root cause analysis. An analysis of this variety focuses on basic troubleshooting practices, which begin by looking at the functionality and performance of your technology infrastructure. Since networks typically expand and become more complex over time, your root cause analysis will only grow more challenging to pull off.

Let’s consider how much work goes into performing a root cause analysis for a small business with only one server and a few workstations, compared to a larger organization that implements more advanced solutions such as desktop virtualization or cloud computing. Chances are that finding the root of a problem for a larger business will be more of a problem, as there is simply more ground to cover than with a smaller organization. Plus, ensuring the quality and accuracy of your root cause analysis will be more challenging without an IT expert on-hand to oversee the process.

In these situations, it’s also important to involve IT in the decision-making process when upper-level executives are making technology-related choices. Since IT outages often extend much farther than simple equipment malfunctions, the problem area is frequently a poor IT policy–something that a trained IT professional will be able to identify and resolve as the need arises.

Even something as simple as a hardware replacement policy could be a problem if it’s not up to the requisite standards. Any good IT expert knows that hardware cannot and will not last forever and that it will start to show signs of degradation. Therefore, the need to replace technology before it breaks down and hampers progress is of the utmost importance, so as to avoid data loss and the expensive unexpected costs of replacing servers, workstations, and other major components. If these solutions are being monitored properly by trained technicians, chances are that they will see the problem and address it before it becomes a major concern.

A proper IT expert can identify and resolve the issues on your network so that they don’t grow too large and become major problems. Unfortunately, smaller organizations with less flexible budgets often can’t support this proactive maintenance in house. In situations like this, Excalibur Technology is glad to help with our managed IT services. We can monitor your network and minimize the damage that your organization experiences from hardware failures, downtime, and data loss. To learn more, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.

Microsoft OneNote May Be The Best Note-Taking Tool On The Market

OneNote Best Note Taking ToolMost modern PCs come pre-installed with a handy tool by Microsoft called OneNote (and it’s also included with Office 365). Today, we’ll run through the features that OneNote offers that make it a useful business tool.

Keep in mind, we’ll be focusing on OneNote 2016. Older versions of OneNote have some of the same features, but if you are running an older version of Office, you may want to consider upgrading.

Benefits of OneNote
OneNote was clearly designed with collaboration in mind, as you can save your Notebooks either to your local network drive, or to Microsoft’s OneDrive. You are able to share your Notebooks with others in your organization and work together, letting you collaborate on projects and share notes in the cloud.

While OneNote on its own isn’t the best word processor, spreadsheet app, or presentation software, it offers what can be described as the highlight reel of the other Office 365 applications. You can write, build simple tables, show charts and graphs, and even draw, but it won’t replace your other Office 365 applications.

Note Taking Capabilities
OneNote offers an impressive number of features that make it an excellent choice for quick note creation and organization. As you create a Notebook, you can divide it into tabs, and then divide those tabs into pages. OneNote also has premade templates for you to utilize, or you can create your own, to best arrange the particular information that note is to contain.

Of course, your notes can include more than just text. OneNote allows you to take clippings from web pages and insert them into your note. Another great thing about OneNote is you to pull text directly from images by right-clicking them, or search for text that appears in included images, with a considerably high level of success.

Plus, with the right equipment, OneNote supports handwritten note-taking, and is able to convert it into font-based text with good accuracy. The same can be said of its math function. By typing out or drawing a simple equation, the formula can be both converted to text and solved, as long as it was properly formatted.

You can format your pages to suit your needs, and OneNote also offers a very handy feature that allows you to link content on one page to content elsewhere in OneNote for quick access. Finally, for added security, notes can be password protected, so if they are shared with someone they shouldn’t be, your data is still safe.

OneNote offers plenty of highly usable features to improve your business’ organization and collaboration. So, tell us, will you try it out in your company? Would you try it out for personal use? What do you use to stay organized? Let us know in the comments!

How To Automatically Open A Windows App In Fullscreen

Open in Full ScreenIf you’re a regular user of Windows applications, you’ll notice that they will, by default, open into smaller windows, allowing users to customize the size of their windows as need be. Usually, when you want to increase the size of the app, you have to click the maximize button in the top-right corner. However, you can save a little bit of time each time you do this by setting Windows to default to full-screen mode for this application.

First, you’ll want to pick the application, and find it’s shortcut on your desktop. When we say “shortcut,” we are referring to the little icons on your desktop that open a program, like Microsoft Word or your preferred Internet browser.

Select the app’s icon and right-click it. Go to the bottom of the dropdown menu and you’ll see Properties. Click it and you’ll open a Properties window, which will open up to the Shortcut tab.

You’re looking for the Run drop-down menu. It will be just a few selections down from the top of the tab. Currently, you’ll notice that it’s set to Normal window. However, if you click on the down arrow, you’ll be shown choices for Normal Window, Minimized, or Maximized. Click on Maximized, and whenever you open the program in the future, it will default to full screen mode. Once you’ve done this, click Apply to save the changes.

ib app full screen 1

While it might not seem like it saves a lot of time, it will certainly be more convenient. Just take a moment to optimize your settings now and you’ll save a lot of time and frustration in the future. To learn more about how to save time and optimize your business technology, subscribe to Excalibur Technology’s blog.

Will Your Website’s Forms Soon Display A “Not Secure” Message?

Posted August 30, 2017 by

In January 2017, Google began to display the words “Not secure” in the address bar of its Chrome browser when you visit a web page that collects sensitive information such as login or payment information and if the page is not loaded over HTTPS. Google’s motivation for doing this was to alert the website’s users that any information they enter will be unencrypted, and to motivate website owners to implement HTTPS on their websites.

Now, Google is proceeding with the next phase of its push to encourage website owners to move their sites to HTTPS. Beginning with Chrome version 62, due for release in late October, Chrome will begin to display the same “Not secure” message on all non-HTTPS web pages that collect any information that users type into the page. This means that for a simple contact form that collects the user’s name, email address, or phone number – and even for a simple website search box – the “Not secure” message will be displayed in Chrome’s address bar if the page is not secured by HTTPS. Furthermore, the “Not secure” message will be displayed next to any typed form field (name, email, search, etc.) when the user clicks on the field. The below image shows what this will look like. You can view the entire article by CLICKING HERE.

Chrome will soon display "Not secure" when typing into input fields on HTTP pages.

What is HTTP / HTTPS?

HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol, and is the default protocol by which websites transmit information over the Internet. HTTP traffic by nature is unencrypted, meaning that any information that travels from your web browser to a website – and vice versa – is sent in plain text. So if you enter “John Doe” and “johndoe[at]mydomain[dot]com” into a contact form, for example, and someone is able to intercept the data as it is being transmitted, they will be able to read the information you entered.

The S in HTTPS stands for Secure. When a website uses HTTPS, the data that is transmitted between a user’s browser and the website is encrypted. In the example above, if someone manages to intercept the traffic of the information you enter into the form of a website that uses HTTPS, they will not be able to read what you entered because it will be encrypted rather than plain text.

Will My Site Be Impacted by This Change in Google Chrome’s Behavior?

To determine whether your website will be impacted, navigate to a page on your website that has a form that requires users to type in information. Note that if your site has a search box on all pages, any page will do. Once you have navigated to the page you want to test, click on the URL of the page in your browser’s address bar. If the URL does not begin with “https”, your site will be impacted by this change. Note that if you have a WordPress or Joomla! site, or any site that has a login page, you should perform this check on your site’s login page as well.

Do you have questions or want help moving your website from HTTP to HTTPS in order to avoid being labelled as “Not secure” in Chrome? Call the experts at Excalibur Technology today at (877) NET – KING.

You Can Now Generate Power By Literally Folding Laundry

FENG Technology Energy GenerationWouldn’t it be convenient if you could charge your smartphone just by walking down the street? How about turning your tie into a voice-recognizing security system? Michigan State University has been working toward creating some great new tech that makes these suggestions seem like real possibilities, in the form of a small device.

Nelson Sepulveda, an MSU Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, along with his team, developed a device that can create power as it is bent or folded–which means it can be used as fabric for clothing. These devices are called biocompatible ferroelectret nanogenerators, or FENG.

Power is created by the device’s layers as energy is received through other sources; for example, the user’s physical motion. This allows for countless possibilities, including the ability to charge a device through only using FENG technology.

There are other ways that this technology can be used, including security applications. FENG material is very sensitive, so it could make it almost impossible to trick a voice recognition system. FENG could also be used as a speaker, adding to its versatility. In other words, it can work from both sides of the spectrum.

It’s also likely that FENG technology can be used to aid in discovering new ways to make technology more efficient for longer periods of time. This can help businesses achieve much more overall than they were previously able to, all without losing the ever-important battery charge. Read more about FENG here.

What are your thoughts on FENG? Do you think that this will become a new standard for building new devices? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to our blog for even more great business technology information.

How The Convenience Of The Internet Of Things Can Come Back To Bite Us

Internet of Things and Security IssuesWhile the Internet of Things has made many common tasks much easier through automation, it has also increased the potency of particular cybersecurity threats. For an excellent example, one only has to turn to the increasing prevalence of botnets that are powered by IoT technology.

An Overview of the IoT, and Why It’s Great For Botnets
If you wear a fitness tracker that automatically syncs to your phone, or have an Internet-connected security camera watching your house, you are utilizing the Internet of Things. Usually labelled as ‘connected’ or ‘smart,’ these devices collect data and process that data via a connection to the Internet.

While these devices have proven to be very useful, there is a major problem with them that seems to be present throughout the IoT: a noticeable lack of security measures. Combining this lack of security precautions with their need to connect to the Internet creates the ideal conditions for a botnet to gather.

A botnet pools the resources of a large network of infected devices to overcome the target’s security through a brute force attack. The attack on Dyn that made dozens of the web’s most popular sites go dark was a botnet, proving that this method of attack is no joke.

A New-ish Face on the Scene
While there is no shortage of botnets already, a new derivative of the infamous Mirai is using the same IP cameras to infect thousands of devices in China. This particular botnet has been named Persirai, and is just one of many that warrant concern.

For example, there is another botnet that Kaspersky Lab has concluded to have infected about 300,000 IoT devices. While this botnet, codenamed Hajime, is still dormant, it could potentially rival Mirai if it were to meet the expectations of security experts and become active.

Keeping Your Business Safe
Luckily, there are a few ways you can help to reduce the impact that a botnet can have on your business. A good rule of thumb is to follow business continuity best practices. As an example, your business data shouldn’t only be kept in one place. An offsite backup solution will allow you data to be preserved if you ever are assaulted by a botnet. It always helps to have a firewall solution in place as well, as they can mitigate some botnet attacks.

If you need help protecting your business against the vulnerabilities that the IoT creates, give us a call at Excalibur Technology. Call us at (877) NET – KING to get started.

Ransomware Continues To Attack Businesses

Malware infected PCRansomware continues to be an expensive problem for large and small businesses alike.  The number of ransomware attacks continues to grown and the number of successful infections continues to rise.  Many victims have paid out hundreds to a million dollars to get their data back.  Yet the biggest cost to businesses is not the ransom paid, it is the cost of downtime, lost revenue and lost data.  Malwarebytes Labs published the following information:

“While ransomware payments will likely cost businesses several billion dollars in 2017, the cost of downtime will be much higher.

To understand the full impact of downtime from an attack, Osterman Research has developed a cost calculator that aims to quantify the cost of downtime resulting from a ransomware attack. Using data from the June 2017 survey mentioned above, as well as secondary data, we made the following assumptions for an organization of 500 users that suffer just two downtime incidents per year:

  • Mean employee hourly wage: $28.00
  • Employee productivity loss during downtime: 50 percent
  • Corporate revenue generation per hour: $24,000
  • 21 hours of downtime until full recovery
  • Impacts of ransomware:
    • 50 percent chance of employees suffering productivity loss
    • 30 percent chance that the business will shut down temporarily
    • 20 percent chance of corporate revenue loss

Based on these assumptions, we found that for a 500-employee business, the total annual impact of downtime resulting from just two ransomware infections will be $219,634, or $220 per employee. That means that just two ransomware attacks per year are costing organizations the equivalent of nearly one day’s productivity per employee, not to mention the hard-to-quantify impacts of lost future revenue, damage to corporate reputation, missed deadlines, etc.

What this also means is that if a company could deploy a technology that would prevent just one of these ransomware infections each year, and if the total cost of that solution was $50 per user per year, the organization would save $170 per user per year in downtime costs or nearly $110,000 per year.”

You can view the entire article by CLICKING HERE.  Don’t be the next victim!  Our services and programs are designed to help keep your business safe and to reduce the risk of ransomware infections by protecting your organization through a multi-layered approach.  For information about our approach to managed services and keeping your business safe, call one of our knowledgable Technology Consultants at 877-NET-KING.

Ransomware Now Targets WordPress Websites

Encrypted Website

We are sure that you have seen the recent stories about hackers attacking computers and servers, encrypting the files and then demanding a ransom be paid to (maybe) unencrypt the files.  Those scams have affected hundreds of thousands of systems across the world and caused billions of dollars worth of damage.  Unfortunately this trend is increasing and is now joined by a new attack.  Websites that use the popular WordPress platform are being attacked.  Once the hackers get in, the entire set of website files are encrypted and replaced with a horrible ransom screen.  Now, instead of your website visitors seeing your corporate page or offerings, they are greeted with an ominous looking ransom page.  Your original files are destroyed and due to the hackers being lazy, there is no way to get your files back, even if the ransom is paid.  They never bothered to finish that part of the scam!  Unfortunately website owners do not know that until they have handed over their money to the hackers.  If this happens to you and your site is hacked, you should immediately call your hosting provider and let them know.  Do not pay the ransom as it will do no good.  Hopefully your hosting company has backups of your files and can restore them for you.  Once that is done, you will need to patch your website files, WordPress files and any plug-ins you use to ensure that this does not happen to you again.   As a side note, all website owners should have a backup copy of their website files on their personal system and not solely rely on their hosting company for backups.  More information on this latest attack can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Would you like to prevent these types of issues from happening in the first place?  Call us today to find out about our Website Simple Service Agreement.  This program ensures that we have a professional website developer examine your website once per month and apply all of the available security updates to your website, your WordPress/Joomla/Drupal CMS system and to any plug-ins that you are using as well.  Since most websites are now built on a CMS (content management system), this service is urgently needed.  Do not assume that your hosting company will keep your site up to date or protect your data – they don’t!  This program also helps post new content to your site and helps implement some of the ever changing metrics that sites like Google use when ranking your position during searches.  Starting at only $125.00 per month, this service should definitely be added to the security protections of every organization.  For additional information call us at 877-NET-KING.

Options For Quieting A Noisy Computer

PC Computer FanHow much noise does your work desktop make? Chances are that the majority of it comes from the fans. These fans are designed to cool down the systems while also maintaining an acceptable noise level. However, the longer your technology lasts, you might realize that these fans seem a bit louder than usual due to your machine needing more work from them to keep the innards cool.

It’s also worth noting that your PC might be caked in dust from years of use. With the dust blockading the fans, they’ll have to work a bit harder than before to get enough airflow, which means that they will create more noise. It’s certainly worth checking out if your computer has suddenly grown louder than you’re used to.

Unlike other fans that you might have in the office, computer fans don’t have settings that you can easily adjust. Furthermore, it’s unwise to mess with your PC fan speed in general, since it’s designed to keep your PC components at an optimal temperature. It might be a better move to just replace the noisy fans and upgrade to better, more quiet fans. Since fans are one of the few mechanical parts in most modern computers, they are the components that will show significant wear and tear, even if you take proper care of your computer.

Disclaimer: If you’re looking to replace your computer’s fans or do any work requiring you to open the case and swap out parts, then it’s highly recommended that you either know what you’re doing or have the assistance of an IT professional.

If you’re seriously contemplating changing out your fans, keep the following in mind:

  • A bigger fan will move more air at lower speeds, which makes for a quieter experience. Just make sure that your computer’s tower can accommodate it.
  • Look for fans that change their speeds to the amount of heat created by the PC. This keeps the fan’s noise levels to a minimum, even when it’s not being used as much.,
  • More powerful, high-end desktops require a lot of airflow. By these, we mean PCs dedicated to intensive tasks, such as gaming or video editing. These often have to use multiple fans, so there’s no way around that. However, a technician can probably install some sound-muffling foam to keep the noise to a minimum.

While your PC’s fans could be a major source of noise, there could be other problems associated with a loud computer. If you want to get to the root of the problem, reach out to Excalibur Technology for professional technology consultation and maintenance. To learn more, call us at (877) NET – KING.

Excalibur Technology Newsletter – July 2017

July 2017 Newsletter CoverExcalibur Technology July 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 July 2017 Edition Include:

– What’s Your Personal Information Worth On The Black Market? It’s All About Supply And Demand

– Here Are Your Options For Managing Mobile Devices In The Workplace

– You Will Soon Be Able To Search The Web With Your Smartphone Camera, Thanks To Google Lens

– How Buying Bargain Technology Will Hurt Your Company In The Long Run

– Advice For Passing Your Next IT Audit With Flying Colors

– And Much More!

Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology