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iOS9 Skyrockets Cellular Usage. Wi-fi Assist Feature May Be Responsible

ios9Noticing a significant increase in data usage since installing iOS9? Wi-fi assist may be the cause.  The feature switches your iPhone to cellular usage when it detects you’re in a spot where wi-fi coverage is lacking. For those with unlimited data this wouldn’t be an issue; however, for those who are under a metered data plan this could result with an alarming bill next month.  With this setting you could potentially be consuming your data allowance even when you’re just at home or in the office.

It’s a useful feature, but may not be appropriate for all circumstances. The default for this feature is on, but you can switch it off under Settings>Cellular and scroll down to the bottom.  Also, you can check out your data usage by using the Reset Statistics feature found below the Wi-Fi- Assist if you want to keep a watchful eye.

Apple Removes Infected Malware from App Store

appsApple continues to preserve its reputation of preventing malicious intrusions from iPhones and iPads. However, there was a substantial outbreak of malware in the App Store, and Apple is persistent in its efforts to clean up the attacks. Reports have shown that 344 infected apps were removed from the store.  The said apps were carrying Xcode Ghost, a compromised copy of Apple’s Xcode that was injected prior to sending apps to the App Store, some of which were highly popular apps with iOS users. WeChat, China’s largest messaging app, was among those that had been hit.

Up until now, it is believed that only five infected apps reached the App Store. Thankfully, no real damage has been detected thus far. However, despite the fact that this intrusion didn’t have devastating effects, it does illustrate that the iOS public is not completely invulnerable to malware.

Dropbox’s New features for the Workplace

 

Dropbox is now taking steps to advance in the market as a leading means of storing files and communication. Nedropbox2w features have been launched, including its new “team” tab and account simplification in its effort to further progress into a tool that will be better for the workplace.  The new “team” tab allows users to organize into group and share files with each other, while their file separation feature distinguishes work files from personal, simplifying user accounts.  Rather than signing into separate personal and work accounts tied to different emails, you can have all your files in one place and toggle between the two.

The competition Dropbox has from tech giants such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon Race has made it difficult to stick to their original business model of selling cloud storage.  Dropbox’s new goal is to forgo finding revenue from its Pro accounts and become a service that companies will pay $15 per user each month. Dropbox wants to be more than a place to store files. They ultimately want to simplify the means with which people communicate and work with each other.

New Small Business PC Lineup Released by HP

New all-in-ones, desktops, and laptops will be launching soon from HP’s small business lineup. The HP ProOne 400 G2 is a slim, 20 inch PC that includes a new adaptable easel stand that is height adjustable. It bears a 10-point capacitive touch panel and can be configured with the 6th Generation Intel Core processors. The all-in-one also encompasses BIOS-level security features, allowing automatic detection and recovery from BIOS corruption or attacks.  The ProOne 400 G2 will be available in October starting at $649.

As for desktop space, the new ProDesk 400 series was unveiled, featuring desktops of assorted sizes including the 400 G2 Mini, the 400 G3 Small Form Factor (SFF), and the 400 G2 Microtower, all of which can also be configured with the 6th Generation Intel Core processors and DDR4 RAM. They will all feature BIOS-level security too as well as a new standard serial port, a VGA port, and DisplayPort. The ProDesk 400 Mini and Microtower will be available in October starting at $479. The SFF will be released later in 2015 starting at $549.

Lastly, the Probook 400 G3 series of business laptops focus on an airy design with 13-, 14-, 15-, and 17- inch laptops that are thinner and lighter than the previous generation.  Configuration options range from the Intel Corimagese i3 to Intel i7 processors, up to 16 GB of memory, and as much as 1 TB of storage space.  No pricing information has been released thus far, but the Probook 430 G3, 440 G3, 450 G3, and the 455 G3 are expected to launch this month. Premium features include touch displays, an aluminum reinforced, spill resistant keyboard, and soft touch Gravity Black Finish.

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.