Monthly Archives : September 2015

Updated Microsoft Office Apple Compatibility – New Microsoft Office Software Review | BVA IT Consulting Blog

Microsoft is showing off its new updated Office software and its surprising capabilities of working well with Apple. The Office team at Microsoft have updated its features for Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote, Outlook, and Translator for you to benefit from Apple products. This is great news for Apple lovers as now you can take advantage of these refined Microsoft applications on the iPad Pro, iOS 9, and WatchOS 2.

split viewFeatures include multi-tasking functions such as the Slide Over and Split View in iOS9, which will easily allow you to toggle between Office apps on your iPad. You can work on a PowerPoint presentation as well as check your email without leaving an application by simply sliding over. As for split view, you can have two apps open at the same time. This will give you the ability to copy numbers down from an Excel Spreadsheet, for example, to a Word document.  Another helpful feature is Microsoft’s intelligent search, which will now include OneNote notes and Outlook messages in iPhone and iPad searches.

For Apple Watch users, you can literally get your incoming email directly on the watch face as well as check upcoming appointments. The newly introduced Translator service allows recent translations to be played back through the watch Office-updates-watchOS2speakers, so travelers can take advantage of the devices ability to articulate common phrases in a local language.

All the updated Office apps will be accessible along with the arrival of the new iPad Pro, iOS9, and WatchOS 2.

Top Ten Best Desktop Computers – Highest Rated Desktop Computers in 2015 | BVA IT Consulting Blog

The prices of trendy tablets are within the same range of Desktops; however, there’s no question that desktops are still very much needed to get substantial work done. Processing a word document, working on a spreadsheet, or other moderate computing duties are too unsuitable for tablets. If you want to get back to basics you can find a desktop for as low as $200 without a monitor. The affordability is due to the fact that these systems contain just the essential components to run. Although for a little more you can purchase a budget system or a compact mini PC for around $500, an option that would be good if you would just a like a PC that you can comfortably surf the web, connect to your TV, as well as get your work done. One of the drawbacks to cheaper desktop PC’s are bloatware, preinstalled applications that may clutter up your space.

For a mid-range desktop PC, you should be able to find a desktop with a multi-core CPU. You’ll be able to find an Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon processor at this price, but you’ll discover that the more powerful Intel Core i3/i5 or AMD A4/A6 processors have more capabilities. These come along with hard drives encompassing substantial capacity, 500 GB or more, and the SSD and SSD/HDD combos will accelerate your work.

For multimedia and gaming, consider a PC with a quad-core processor or a high speed dual-core processor and no less than 8GB of memory. The Intel Core i5/i7 and AMD’s A6/A8/A10 and the FX-series chips are the CPUs to look at when considering multimedia capabilities.

As for an all-in-one PC, the Apple iMac is a fashionable leader, but the Acer Aspire, the Dell Inspiron and XPS, the HP Envy and Pavilion PCs, the MSI AG and the Lenovo IdeaCentre series definitely merit some attention. Here is a list of the top ten desktops of 2015:

 

Acer Aspire ATC-605-UB11lenovo-c460-desktop

Acer Chromebox CXI-i38GKM

Acer Revo One (RL85-UR45)

Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display

Dell Optiplex 9020 Micro

Dell Precision Tower 5810

Falcon Northwest Tiki (2015)

HP Z840 Workstation

Lenovo B50

Lenovo C640

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten External Hard Drives of 2016 – Highest Rated External Hard Drives | BVA IT Consulting Blog

For many, routinely backing up your data is a must and you can do it for relatively cheap. For instance, for under $100 you can add a terabyte or more of data storage to you laptop, desktop, or tablet. There are many to choose from and a couple things to consider depending on the type of external hard drive you want.  Desktop-class drives usually culminate at 6TB. They require a power adapter and are designed to stay in one place. They also come with a built-in fan for cooling which will extend its life expectancy.  Notebook-class hard drives are powered through a connector cable, without the need of a power adapter, and come in capacities from 500GB to 2TB. Although rare because of the cost per gigabyte, external solid-state drives (SSDs) for notebook-class can be found in smaller capacities ranging from 120GB to 512 GB. Here is a list of the top external hard drives:

LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2, $1299.00

Apricorn Aegis Padlock DT FIPS (4TB), $409.00g-speed external drive

Lacie Fuel, $199.00

Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive (5TB), $219.99

Apricorn Aegis Padlock SSD (480GB), $799.00

G-Technology G-Speed Studio (24TB), $3599.00

Monster Digital Overdrive Thunderbolt (1TB), $999.99

SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive (32GB), $79.99

Seagate Backup Plus Slim (2TB), $129.99

Western Digital My Passport Pro, $429.99

Top Five Document Managers of 2015 – Highest Rated Document Managers | BVA IT Consulting Blog

Is your office in the process of becoming paperless? Dealing with digital files can be just as troublesome as the printed. As we continue to advance in the digital age it’s only rational that you benefit from the use of an efficient document manager. Your business may need a system in place that can search, manage, share, and archive files effortlessly.

Many of these document managers have specific features that may prove useful to you depending on what you need. For instance, Adobe Document Cloud Standard focuses on e-signatures and PDF file creation, and Microsoft SharePoint Online centers on creating team websites. If you need editing features consider Ascensio System OnlyOffice, Microsoft Sharepoint Online, and Zoho Docs Standard.

There are several functionalities that come along with most of these document managers such as password-protecting specific files as well as preventing access, editing, and deletion from certain users. Furthermore, you can track changes or corruption to files and add tasks for project management.

Take a look at the list compiled below as these are the top document managers of 2015. Prices will range depending on the size of your business, the amount of users, and how much cloud storage your company needs. Keep in mind that they are subscription based plans and the cost can sometimes add up quickly depending on how many users.  However, most of these plans include guest access, which allows you to share your files with anyone with no login required.  Take advantage of trying out a service before buying as most of these services provide a free trial.

document managingZoho Docs Standard, $5.00

Ascensio System Only Office, $40.00

eFileCabinet Online, $30.00

Microsoft SharePoint Online, $5.00

Adobe Document Cloud Standard, $12.00

Why Weak Passwords Are Harmful: Ashley Madison Hack IT Takeaways | BVA IT Consulting Blog

password_stolen-100577279-primary.idgeAs you may very well be aware, the Ashley Madison debacle revealing account emails of users has also divulged their passwords. A total of 11,716,208 silly, yet remarkably weak passwords were discovered. Passwords such as “password,” “123456,” and “IThinkILoveMyWife?” are a few of the many that were used.  These revelations only reinforce the importance of stronger passwords to keep your information secure. Never use weak passwords, and never underestimate hackers as I’m sure they continue to crack easy passwords like this time and time again. If you do happen to find yourself in a situation where you would use a site such as Ashely Madison create a completely randomized password yourself or use a password manager.

 

Microsoft On Malware and Protecting your Business: How To Protect Your Business From Malicious Software | BVA IT Consulting Blog

Malware is continuing to wreak havoc on devices, notably Android. So what is Microsoft doing to combat such intrusions? Prevention and understanding are key. The definition of malware has extended from the more traditional viruses to the embodiment of varied attack levels including the new, more malicious threats. The Director of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, Dennis Batchelder, says that crime syndicates, malware supply chain, antimalware vendors, and the antimalware ecosystem are the main participants involved. Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit and antimalware security software’s purpose is to proactively intercept new strains of malware. They aim to block malware, stop it in its tracks when first discovered, and seek to prosecute those involved.Malware-spy

From a business owners perspective there are a couple things you can do to protect yourself. A layered approach to cybersecurity is important. Protecting your business from various angles and the level at which you invest into an IT Staff make a big difference in your defense.  Security begins from where and how users interact with the data, to how you transmit data past firewalls, and the level of end-to-end encryption that is put in place. Data at rest must be encrypted to protect against high valued attacks on your servers, and you can complement that with the use of intrusion detection measures and data leakage monitors. The decision must be made on what the price of security is for you, depending on the value of which you want protected and what you are willing to spend for it. For big businesses, handling it in-house may seem more appropriate. However, for small businesses a manageable and more cost effective option would reasonably be hiring a managed service provider (MSP) to tend to security needs.

 

Tricky, more Advanced Malware than Ever Before: How To Combat Advance Malware | BVA IT Consulting Blog

As the world continues to exponentially develop through the rapid advancements of technology, experts have observed that innovation and high tech evolution is not without some costs. Malware, a term used to describe a variety of malicious and intrusive software, has consequently become a newer and bigger threat, as they are increasingly more creative and complex than ever before.  Research has shown that desktops are no longer the only domains at risk, but mobile phones as well.

Phishing applications pose as ostensibly harmless entities in popular Android games, often masquerading as a cheat or modification only to steal sensitive information such as your passwords, usernames, and even credit card details.

An even more disturbing malware, the so-called “crypto-ransomware” is a hostile code that holds your phone hostage, locks the screen, encrypts your data, and impels a blackmail payment of up to $500 to undo.  Simplock, a type of crypto-ransomware worms its entry into an Android devices’ administrator rights, spreading its encryption to not only your documents and multimedia, but archived files as well.movile malware

Most targeted devices of advanced attacks such as ransomware reside in the developed world, whereas the underdeveloped countries are subject to the older, well-known malware.  Statistics have shown that 77 percent of Androids affected with this sort of malware are in the United States.

New Intel Processor: 6th Gen Core Skylake Review | BVA IT Consulting Blog

intel processor family

The 6th Generation Intel Core Processor Family has been unveiled by Intel.  It is built on their new Skylake microarchitecture on the company’s 14 nm manufacturing process technology.  Together with the use of the Intel 100 Series and Intel CM 236 chip sets, the new processors promise an enhancement in performance with graphics, power efficiency, and support for a range of device designs including the compute stick, two-in-ones and All-in-One desktops, and new mobile workstations.  The company boasts that these are Intel’s best processors ever, with powerful possibilities and built-in security.  The Intel Core M processor family will include the Intel Core levels m3, m5, and m7 processors.

This generation of processors also contains a mobile “K” SKU, allowing overclocking when unlocked.  Allowing more user control, the advanced quad-core Intel Core i5 processor delivers up to 60 percent improved multitasking and the Intel Xeon E3 now powers mobile workstations.

Visually, the processors integrate the new Intel 500 Series graphics, which incorporate Intel HD graphics, Intel Iris graphics, and Intel Iris Pro graphics.  Additional fundamental features include adaptive performance, modern standby, and key feature integration such as an image signal processor and eMMC memory card interface.  Furthermore, support for DirectX 12 is available, as well as Intel Speed Shift Technology, and Thunderbolt 3 with USB-C.

The new 6th Gen Intel Core-based processors promise to deliver the most significant advancements in computing ever seen. Now, more than ever, these systems are more responsive with enhanced performance, battery life, and security. These new advances by Intel allow for contemporary and advanced new PC experiences such as logging into your computer with your face and even having a digital personal assistant responding to your voice.

Advantages of Voice Over IP and Unified Communication For Small Business – Should Small Biz Use VoIP | BVA IT Consulting Blog

Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is the delivery of voice communication or multimedia sessions through your internet network rather than a phone landline and the term Unified communications refers to a mixture of multiple types of communications such as video conferencing, email, and instant messaging.  Generally these two terms are used fittingly together, but how are they related together and in accordance to your small business?HostedVOIP

VoIP is essentially a type of Unified Communication and small businesses can greatly benefit from the use of such UC. With full integration of UC, you have the harmonious ability to switch from email to phone. Customer data from a phone representative will be consistent with that of an employee providing email support; therefore, information regarding a customer’s name, what has been purchased, or even problems they may have encountered will entirely be available and shared amongst your representatives for a seamless communicating infrastructure.  Another benefit from UC is a potential in improving productivity by condensing training. You can train your employees on learning one unified platform rather than multiple applications.  Customers will benefit from the utilization of UC in your small business because of the simplicity it will provide your employees to assist them. UC is useful for consolidating data, skipping any disarray that may come with multiple unconnected lines of communication, making it easy for your customers to contact and communicate with your representatives in the most convenient way possible. Whether it is email, phone call, or chat, your customers will have the option to do so and your employees will have to the tools to easily make it possible.

Acer Convertible Chromebook Review and Specs | BVA IT Consulting Blog

The Chromebook R 11, Acer’s first of its kind, is a portable notebook designed to modify and transition based on what is most comfortable to the user and setting. There are four modes of usage: display, laptop, pad, and tent. Although Acer already provides Chromebooks ranging from 11 to 15 inches, the convertible series provides an addition of comfort to the user as customers can manipulate the notebook through its 360-degree dual-torque hinge design.  The Convertible Chromebook not only is capable of evolving through different modes but is also portable, weighing less the 1.25 kg and as thin as 19.2mm. The computer comes equipped with an Intel Celeron processor, 2×2 MIMO 802.11ac wireless connection, and a USB 3.0 port.  The LED-backlit LCD screen uses a 10-point touch which supports Tap, Swipe, and Pinch to Zoom actions. Additionally, the notebook includes an 11.6-inch HD screen complete with an HD webcam with HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging.

Acer-R-Hands-On

 

The new and dynamic Acer Chromebook R 11 will be available in the US in October with costs starting at $299.