Author: David Shelley

Symantec Website Security Software – Is Your Website Secure? | BVA INC. emPowering Your IT –

<img class="size-medium wp-image-3608 aligncenter" alt="Symantec Security Software" src="///www.bvainc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/a1-300x80.jpg" width="300" height="80" />Do you know the risks your business could be facing regarding website security? A survey conducted by IDG Connect on behalf of Symantec, explains the statistics and how not securing your websites could impact your company in a very costly way. It is extremely important to make sure you are protected and you are conducting monthly scans to ensure this. Studies show one in five companies are breached. 100 IT managers were asked how secure the websites they managed are, 55% said that their site(s) are very secure. That leaves the other half vulnerable to brute force attacks. All of the IT managers that participated in this survey came from large, mid size, and small companies. All these companies have had their websites breached at one point or another. Protect your site(s) by using Symantec security software to give you the ultimate protection so you can be worry free.

Google to Fix Battery-Killing Bug in Chrome | BVA INC. emPowering Your IT

googleGoogle announced that they will be fixing a long-ignored but in their Chrome browser that in known to eat batteries in laptops.

Chrome has a feature that reduced idle time in Windows when it was running. This made the popular browser seem faster, or peppier, than the competitors, but the cost of this was increased demand on system resources. And if you are using a laptop on battery, you are likely to see your battery life shortened because of it.

This has been known for years, with occasional blogs popping up since at least 2010, But recently a blog by Ian Morris, a contributor to Forbes, brought this back to the public’s attention: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ianmorris/2014/07/14/googles-chrome-web-browser-is-killing-your-laptop-battery/

Windows Phone 8.1 Update Announcement | BVA INC. emPowering Your IT –

<img class=" wp-image-3600 aligncenter" alt="Windows 8.1 Phone" src="///www.bvainc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/windows-8.1-300x199.jpg" width="270" height="179" />Microsoft announced the arrival of Windows Phone 8.1 Update, which will be in Developer Preview on August 4th, 2014 and is expected to be delivered through the wireless phone carriers “in the coming weeks.”

Several features are coming with this update, including Smart case support, a new Apps Corner hub,  VPN over WiFi, Smart Screen Folders and Voice over LTE.

Support for some higher screen resolutions will also be included.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone Blog has details.  http://blogs.windows.com/windows_phone/b/windowsphone/archive/2014/07/30/windows-phone-8-1-update-brings-cortana-to-new-markets-new-features.aspx

The Headsets to Beat all Headsets: Plantronics Voyager “Legend” | BVA INC. emPowering Your IT

aplantronicsIn today’s modern workplace it’s very important to be mobile and to have the ability to answer you phone from wherever you are.  You’ll find people trying to find the best headset to keep their communications going even when their running on the treadmill J  The new Plantronics Voyager Legend lets this happen with ease.  I have this headset and its used for my office calls connected to Microsoft Lync, as well as my cell phone.  One of the cool features is that you can answer your calls by saying “answer” or you can say “ignore”, if you’re not wearing the headset at the time of a call you can simply pick it up and just the movement if you attaching it to your ear will answer the call without ever touching a button.  Yes you can connect this headset to multiple devices.  If you get the Bluetooth dongle it keeps the connection to your pc and Lync much more stable.  Another cool function is you can be listening to music either from your smartphone or from your computer and when a call comes in, it will mute your music.  Try it! I think you’ll find it to be a worthy investment.  http://www.plantronics.com/us/product/voyager-legend

The Dell XPS 12 2-in-1 Ultrabook with Touch | BVA INC. emPowering Your IT

del2 dellI’ve been toying around with a Microsoft Surface for a while now, and though its powerful enough to be a full time computer, I wanted something with a little more power and even a little more screen space.  A ten-inch screen works OK, but for me and the things I do I found that after a while I was really lacking screen space.  I was out shopping with my mom and had a chance to play around with the Dell XPS 12.  Though I’m not a big Dell fan, I found this laptop pretty impressive.  Impressive enough that I brought one home with me!  This little ultrabook has a 12.5 inch screen, an i7 processor, 8gb of ram and a 256 gb SSD drive (which is upgradeable, sadly the ram is solder on so you can’t upgrade that).  The touch-screen is made of gorilla glass.  Now the cool-factor, you can flip the screen and turn the laptop into a tablet, and unlike many 2-in-1’s when you do this the keyboard is not exposed, but its protected.  Also the battery life is pretty impressive.  I had the first edition of the Microsoft Surface Pro (by the way my husband is using that now) and though it had a decent battery life 4-6 hours running at full speed, this ultrabook has it beat at 8-10 hours.  Currently I can say, I’m very impressed with this little ultrabook!!!

Amazon Fire TV| BVA INC. emPowering Your IT

fire tvI personally haven’t tried the Amazon Fire TV yet, but it’s getting rave reviews for the way it streams Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and their low cost game rentals.  The remote with this devices comes with voice recognition, so if you hate typing you, can simply speak what you’re looking for and it will find it for you.  What’s interesting about this little device is that it has a game controller you can purchase with it so you can play some pretty cool games.  The Amazon Fire also features a 1.7Ghz quad-core processor for some major streaming power.  It connects to your TV with an HDMI cable, and then to the internet via Ethernet or wifi.  Amazon Fire is relatively new but already it has hundreds of apps that you might find to your liking, so check it out if you’re in the market for a device to stream your media content.  The Amazon – Fire TV sells for $99.

Google’s Chromecast| BVA INC. emPowering Your IT

This is by far the smallest media streaming device on the market, and one of the cheapest at $35, though I have seen it for as little as $29 in some stores.  I do have this piece of hardware and I must say it’s pretty cool for something so little.  It connects directly to your tv via an HDMI port, the unit then connects to a micro usb cord for power.  You can use this device to stream online shows, movies and music using your smartphone, tablet or pc.  Currently Netflix, HBO Go, YouTube, WatchESPN and Pandora are among the favorite apps for this device, with more and more being added.  This is a plug and play device so once its plugged into the tv and connected to wifi, your all set to stream!  http://www.google.com/chrome/devices/chromecast/#cc-apps

chrome

Who Is On My Wifi| BVA INC. emPowering Your IT

wifiWhoIsOnMyWiFi.com is the site for a utility that can monitor your home network, watching for intruders. There is a free, Home-User version available at http://www.whoisonmywifi.com/download/download-complete/ which installs to a Windows computer on your network and scans for connected devices. There are paid versions as well, Single- and Multi-user, that unlock added features and also allow remote management as they grant access to the site’s console page.

The Home version installs easily, and opens up a tutorial on the setup. Once that tutorial has run, the software becomes functional. An initial scan goes through your network, itemizing connected devices. It is up to you to determine whether these are allowable connections, and to edit the list to more easily identify the devices in the future.

After that, you simply minimize the app, letting it run. It will scan the network every five minutes (or upon demand) and when a new connection appears, it sets off an alert, both a pop-up and a sound, to notify you. You can then determine whether this is a safe item – one of your kids just got home with his iPad, for example – or whether it is an unknown connection. In the left pane, there is information, like the IP and the maker of the NIC or wireless NIC that can help you to identify the intruder. There is a Block function, although I have not tried it yet – a comment online hinted that this may be something unlocked in the pay version.

A Deeper Look Into Cloud Computing| BVA INC. emPowering Your IT

cloud computingTechnology seems to breed buzzwords as a way to keep everyone guessing.  The buzzword of the year right now seems to be “cloud”, and definitely has people guessing.  It SOUNDS intriguing, but what does it really mean?

Cloud computing means that you’re using files or programs that are stored somewhere other than on your computer’s hard drive.  If you have a ‘DropBox’ or ‘Google Docs’ account, you’re already using the cloud.  If you access company files from a remote server, you could very well be using “the cloud” and not even know it.  When someone says “the cloud”, it really just refers to a remote storage location that they can access.

There are several advantages to using the cloud, but accessibility seems to be the primary one.  Storing your files on the cloud means you can access them from multiple computers or devices (phone, tablet, etc.).  You can work on a report in the office, then go home and finish up from your home computer.  When you’re on vacation, you could use the hotel’s Business Center computer to access your files, or access them from your iPad while on the airplane.

Storing your files on the cloud also gives you peace of mind with regards to data loss (assuming your cloud provider is properly protecting data on their end).  If your laptop suddenly stops working you can fire up your tablet, navigate to your cloud location, and still access that presentation you need for the meeting this morning.  Since the file is actually stored on a remote server, it is not lost when your computer crashes.

One of the reasons that companies are going to cloud environments is to eliminate the need to maintain file servers in the office.  Moving to the cloud allows companies to reduce the liabilities that come with having onsite servers.  If there is a fire in your office building, your data is safely stored in a remote data center and can be accessed without interruption.

Today’s technology supports secure, highly available data access via the cloud.  It is a concept that is here to stay because it works and has value.  If you would like to learn more about how cloud computing can help your company achieve its goals, just let us know.  The experts at BVA maintain our own cloud, as well as managing private cloud environments for our clients, and we’ll gladly help you determine if this type of environment would benefit your organization!

TelyHD Pro-Video Conferencing| BVA INC. emPowering Your IT

Video conferencing used to be for big corporations only, but the technology has been working its way into the mainstream for years now.  Advances in internet access speeds, increases in transportation costs, and increased availability of conferencing products have all contributed to video conferencing technologies becoming more prevalent.

If you use a personal video conferencing solution like Skype or Google Hangouts, you’ve probably learned more than you wanted to about troubleshooting.  From glitchy computers to intermittent internet problems, there are plenty of issues out there to deal with.  This is usually acceptable when you’re trying to initiate a call with Aunt Ethel, but takes on a more ominous tone when you’re responsible for the first call with a new client and the executive board is waiting on you.

A new product from TelyLabs (www.tely.com) called the telyHD Pro promises to simplify video conferencing for us “little people”.  It is a packaged solution that provides a hardware device you connect to your HD television.  The device itself can connect to your wired or wireless network and gives you simple menus to manage your video conferencing needs.  The proprietary interface is designed to be functional, yet easy to use, and allow you access to the benefits of video conferencing…without the headaches and false-starts.

Products like the telyHD represent an intriguing progression for many of us who have been around long enough to remember when video conferencing was a tool exclusive to corporate titans.  Today, the technology is arriving at a place where the average, small business can leverage it to grow their company and become corporate titans themselves!