ALL PC's on a business network should have a UPS (uninterruptible** power supply) as well as the servers and network hardware (such as network switches).
A workstation or PC UPS will help to protect against hardware failure, database & file corruption and lost time due to unexpected workstation power off events. Additionally (although not really measurable) a UPS can also significantly extend the life of the PC by reducing the voltage fluctuations that come in from the energy company, and the negative effect that low voltages or "sags and brownouts" have on the PC electronics.
This is the least expensive item I can find from a reputable supplier:
CyberPower 650VA Backup Utility Powerboard UPS $88 Link
However my experience with those cheap ones is that they last for the duration of the warranty but not much more, I have had to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars in the past on support costs for "cheap" UPS units that were purchased to save money.
A better quality unit would be something like this:
Socomec NeTYS PE Tower Line Interactive UPS, 650VA $139.88 (plus freight - and they are heavy so it can be expensive) Link
A premium product option that should last years and years (with replacement batteries every now and then).
APC SC620I Smart-UPS SC 620VA $289.99 (plus freight - and they are heavy so it can be expensive) Link
UPS power supply units contain a battery similar to a car battery. Like car batteries, they only last for a period of time. Testing the UPS batteries is an important part of system maintenance.
** The word uninterruptible, is a little misleading. Yes, a correctly functioning UPS will prevent interruptions in the event of a short power outage, if the correct size of UPS is purchased you can expect about 20 minutes of battery backup. Before that time the PC needs to be shut down automatic or manually.
The higher the overall "load" the less time you have, or, to put it another way the bigger the UPS (measured in "VA") the longer you will have on battery backup.
People are still falling for this type Phishing scam (see image below).
The user that sent me this email did click on the link, downloaded and opened the "zip file" but was protected from catastrophic network wide damage because I had previously refused to make him and administrator. Yes that's IT tough love.
When you install Windows 10 (even with Windows 8 or later) or setup a new Windows 8, 8.1 or 10 PC, as one final part of the setup you will see the a similar image to the one below prompting you to store your documents on OneDrive by default.
I strongly suggest that you don't use this preference. This setting synchronizes all your files up to Onedrive "cloud" storage. which creates unnecessary congestion especially on devices that are used on a cellular (mobile network) connection. Additionally depending on how many files you have you will probably get the Onedrive is full error message and "do you want to buy more space?"
If you would like to use Onedrive for online storage/backup this can be a good idea but to do that you probably want to selectively sync some folders only.
To change the default program in Windows 10 that opens a particular file type, follow the instructions below. In this example Windows 10 defaults to opening PDF files in Microsoft edge browser which significantly reduces your functionality when working with PDF's here is how to change it to Adobe PDF reader .
Your Windows PC, laptop or tablet can have a lot of external devices plugged in that will play sound here are some examples on just one of my PC's:
To tell Windows where to send your sound follow the steps here
Good (normal business grade) NBN… in my office:
I'm posting this because I have heard a number of comments about NBN being not much faster than ADSL2, of course it depends what NBN are you talking about; $20 a month, no brand, speed limited NBN or something more substantial?
The above graph shows that the measured download speed is over 2 times as fast as the fastest ADSL2 (and perhaps 3 times as fast as the typical ADSL2)
Upload speed is around 20 times as fast as ADSL2
My 39 days of no internet or phones during changeover is just a distant memory now (mostly)
A number of sources in the media are reporting a bogus email purporting to come from AGL Energy that contains malware. This malware typically installs some type of ransomware on your computer that will encrypt all the data files that it has access to (including network shares) and demand a ransom before they [promise to] unlock them.
It's been reported that this has affected over 10,000 Australians in a week. Here are some links for more information:
So "I guess", be on the lookout for this one however that's in some ways a bad approach. Being on the lookout for an AGL email when the same thing has been coming from emails purporting to be from Australia post, DHL, Telstra and others for some time now isn't very effective. A better approach is to be careful with ALL emails and have the proper prevention and mitigation strategies in place.
Here are three things you can do as a starting point:
(for your information I can recommend that dedicated antispam product for about $3.50 per user per month)
This blog post has been provided for the benefit of digitalwelcomemat IT customers. Treat this information as informative only and do not take actions or make decisions on the basis of the information contained here. All IT decisions and actions should be made after consultation with your chosen IT professional taking into account all the of the relevant factors.
PC [system software] insurance policy:
An example of [really convincing] Phishing:
Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.Wikipedia
FIVE key considerations to help with protecting your data, your network, your identity and your money.
"Take some time to think about the quality and diversity of your online
passwords would all your online accounts fall domino fashion if one was
I'm reposting this article from October 2013 even more relevant today than then...
The recent Adobe hacker-fest has again brought up the subject of passwords so here is my recommendation...
There are a full set of password rules and suggestions that are already widely recognised as being crucial for online security, see here for a great article: http://www.thegeekstuff.com/2008/06/the-ultimate-guide-for-creating-strong-passwords that pretty much says it all.
However, particularly relevant for now, you need to ensure that your passwords are always different from each other, if your Adobe password has been compromised you don't want that same password to have been used for your banking.
Take some time to think about the quality and diversity of your online passwords would all your online accounts fall domino fashion if one was breached?
If you're having difficulty in tracking all those passwords consider a password manager, there are a number of different product options. I use https://lastpass.com/ which is available in a free version or paid if you want the smartphone apps as well ($12 per year).
Finding how to logoff or switch users on Windows 10 is less "discoverable" than it could be, I have made a quick guide on how to do this here.
Q: Now that I have Windows 10 can I stop it from updating at the most inopportune times?
A: Yes and no, go to start -> settings -> "update & security" -> "Windows update" -> advanced options -> defer updates
This will defer them for a while but does not affect security updates:
"Defer upgrades in Windows 10 - Some Windows 10 editions let you defer upgrades to your PC. When you defer upgrades, new Windows features won't be downloaded or installed for several months. Deferring upgrades doesn't affect security updates. Note that deferring upgrades will prevent you from getting the latest Windows features as soon as they're available.http://windows.microsoft.com/en-au/windows-10/defer-upgrades-in-windows-10
However that's probably not want you are after. The intended approach is to leave the PC *on* overnight but *not* logged in same way Windows has handled updates for years. That way it will handle all that stuff overnight when you are not using it and restart around 3am - 4am if needed. This would require sleep setting to be set appropriately (I always recommend that sleep is turned off on PC's and laptops anyway), bear in mind that with a Windows tablet that's probably not feasible.
One of the big changes that Microsoft made in windows 10 is that it WILL do its updates eventually regardless, its created a bit of angst within the industry but the problem they were facing is that people never allowed Windows to update (mostly by turning the PC off overnight every night) and as such Windows didn't get the security fixes and PC's were often vulnerable to the bad guys long after Microsoft had released the patch.
There are a couple of ways of "hacking" this so that it won't do updates unless you manually force it, but for the reasons above it's not recommend because you really want to get the security fixes without manual intervention.
Consider leaving your laptops and desktop PC's on overnight (and logged out) or at least over "a" night during the week.
If you are a junior IT admin or an administrative staff member that needs to access the servers on occasion *and* you have Microsoft Hyper-V visualization this article may help: (It may just confuse you more as well, sorry about that if that's the case).
Interesting article from ZDNet. This is why I prefer a company specified and IT retained password for small organizations. It also means that IT support work can be done outside business hours so as not to impact on staff productivity:
Forcing users to change their passwords may do more harm than good: (ZDNet) http://www.zdnet.com/article/forcing-users-to-change-their-passwords-may-do-more-harm-than-good/
Further, Cranor notes that "There is also evidence from interview and survey studies to suggest that users who know they will have to change their password do not choose strong passwords to begin with and are more likely to write their passwords down."
I have prepared this handy flowchart to assist with resolving issues when you have to deal with your internet service provider(s) for your actual internet, Telstra for half the infrastructure and NBNco for the rest, enjoy! (After 38 days without internet I certainly am.)
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Digitalwelcomemat provides IT consultancy and services for business customers on the NSW Central Coast in Australia.