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September 10, 2020
This "IT Security Report Card" Measures How Secure You Really Are
How well does your network protect you from cyberattacks? It's hard to measure…unless you have a measurement guide! In this back-to-school edition of WOOF!, we created a report card to guide you through a quick security check. It only takes 5 minutes to grade your network, but it could save you from a business-ending cyberattack.
August 13, 2020
2020’s Ransomware Attacks, Now with Data Theft
Just when you thought ransomware attacks couldn’t get any more insidious…now they blackmail you with your own data, take payment, and expose it anyway.
June 10, 2020
Is Your IT Ready for the Next Crisis? Robert's 8 Ways to Get You There
The COVID-19 lockdown has taught every business in the world the importance of being prepared for the unexpected. As some businesses begin to reopen, our president offers his best advice on how to be prepared for the next business disruption.
May 13, 2020
A Call to America: Let's Return Tech Manufacturing to the U.S.
Right now, what our economy needs is a big opportunity. A major change that will kick-start growth, hire people who need the work, and reinvigorate our nation. We have such an opportunity right in front of us—moving technology manufacturing back to the U.S. from overseas.
April 08, 2020
Video Conference Like the Pros While Working Remotely, with Skype for Business
While everyone who can work remotely does, we must rely on email, the phone, and video conferences to keep our businesses going. How can you make your video conferencing experience the most professional? We gathered tips for presenting your "best self" on video, from our experience with a major player in the space: Microsoft's Skype for Business.
March 11, 2020
How to Verify That Your Backups Actually Work
When was the last time you tested your backups? If you're thinking, "I don't know…never?" this WOOF is for you. It's important to have daily backups of your company systems. It's also important to verify those backups will provide the business continuity you'll need in an emergency.
February 12, 2020
How to Choose Between a Cloud VPN and an On-Premise VPN
Should you use a Cloud VPN service, or run your own VPN on premise? VPNs play a critical role in online privacy, which means it's important to compare the advantages of each option, and see which fits your business better.
January 15, 2020
The 2 Most Effective Cybersecurity Solutions You Can Deploy in 2020
While we're all working on our 2020 goals, let us add an item to the list: "Defend Against Cyberattacks." They're coming whether we like it or not. You can mount an effective defense though, for low cost and not a lot of time.
December 11, 2019
The Power of a Logo Update (and When to Make One)
Like websites and marketing materials, company logos need design updates over time. Depending on the kind of update, whether a small refinement or a completely new design, logo updates can spell powerful gains to a company's perception, traffic, and sales.
November 13, 2019
Want to Supercharge Your Business? Hire Veterans
Looking for hard-working, motivated, ethical employees? Aren't we all! There's a place we can find them too, and it's open to everyone. It's our military veterans. To show our thanks this month, let's talk about how you benefit from hiring veterans.
October 09, 2019
Can "Green IT" Actually Save You Money?
Businesses adopting "Green IT" aim to use their technology in the most environmentally-friendly way as possible. Admirable, but doesn't that raise IT costs? Not necessarily. In fact, Green IT technologies can deliver a notable cost savings if done right.
September 11, 2019
The Truth Behind the "Ransomware Plague" on Our Cities
If you work at a municipality (city office, school district, etc.) or your company works on a shoestring IT budget, you need to read this article. Municipal networks face a relentless wave of ransomware attacks…and they're losing the battle. We're laying out the reasons behind this "plague" – and 5 ways to avoid becoming the next victim.
August 14, 2019
Beware These 6 Signs of Impending IT Disaster!
We asked PlanetMagpie’s IT Consultants for the top signs of impending disaster they see when visiting new customer sites. Take heed! If your IT has any of these "danger signs," act now to avoid an oncoming IT disaster.
July 10, 2019
Where to Get Computer Components Made in the USA
Why would you want computers made in America? To avoid spying & security risks, for one. To support the American economy, for two. To help protect the environment, for three. Luckily for all of us, a few brands still make their computers & parts in the U.S.
June 12, 2019
How to Order Internet Bandwidth for New Offices (Part 2 of 2)
In Part 2 you'll learn how to order Internet service for new offices, and how IT Consultants can save you money & make for a smoother turn up.
May 08, 2019
How to Order Internet Bandwidth for New Offices (Part 1 of 2)
It's time to move to a new office. Right away you have a challenge to overcome: the new office needs Internet access. How much bandwidth will you need? What will the process entail? This two-part article will lay it all out for you.
April 10, 2019
Are You a De Facto IT Manager?
When coworkers have an IT issue, do they call you? Even though you’re not an IT professional, you want to help when they call. Then you help with another issue, and another. Over time, you may have unwittingly become your company’s De Facto IT Manager!
March 06, 2019
Top 6 Causes for Computer Slowdowns
Lots of things can slow a computer down. Some are innocuous and temporary; some signal a growing problem. Which do you have? Use this checklist to find out.
February 07, 2019
Why and How Macs Increase IT Support Costs
Almost every application you can run on a PC is also available on a Mac. But do they operate the same in business environments? No . . . and that's part of what drives up Mac IT support costs.
January 09, 2019
Block Online Trackers & Protect Your Privacy – With Brave and DuckDuckGo
Want to protect your privacy while online? Sure you do. What if you could cut off the biggest privacy violators—online activity trackers—with just two changes to your daily browsing?
December 12, 2018
How to Protect Everyone's Office 365 Email Accounts—With One Device
Cybercriminals attack Office 365 email servers constantly. While Microsoft's internal security is good, it's not perfect. Your email can become vulnerable. Unless you use a third-party device to "detour" those cyberattacks before they reach your email.
November 07, 2018
How Will the China Tariffs Affect Your Next IT Hardware Purchase?
The tariffs are coming! Tariffs on thousands of products imported from China have just started up. How does that work out for buying laptops, phones, or networking equipment?
October 10, 2018
How to Relocate Your IT to a New Office Safely
During an office relocation, don't treat your computers & servers like furniture. Moving IT hardware improperly can wreak havoc on your systems. Avoid damaging your IT during a move with these safety precautions.
September 12, 2018
The Damage Power Outages Inflict on IT Hardware
Power outages can damage your IT at two points – when the power goes out, and when the power comes back on. You can guard against both if you know where & how to protect your servers, PCs, and networking equipment.
August 07, 2018
How Often Should You Replace Your Company PCs?
All company PCs need replacing eventually. But when—after they die? Waiting too long can hamper workers’ productivity, and balloon your support costs. Instead, use a simple replacement strategy and save on TCO.
July 12, 2018
Do You Need to Backup Files on Office 365?
Since Office 365 is cloud-based, all data you save to your account is automatically backed up, right? Well, not exactly. Here are 6 reasons you need a separate cloud backup.
June 07, 2018
How to Stop Cyberattacks with Only 3 Safeguards
In this issue, we detail how a Bay Area hotel suffered a ransomware attack. It took days to clean off their systems, taking data with it. Avoid the same fate with three safeguards protecting against cyberattack.
May 10, 2018
Why Business-Grade IT Lowers Your TCO
Many companies try to reduce their IT costs by buying consumer-grade hardware and software, but they only end up spending more over time. Part 2 of 2.
April 05, 2018
Standardize Your IT Environment (and Lower Your TCO)
When it comes to your company’s IT hardware/software, think Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Allowing employees to pick a PC or a Mac, or saving a little money by buying home-grade computers or software, creates a mixed environment…which may dramatically increase your costs over time. Part 1 of 2.
March 08, 2018
The Net Neutrality War: Private Enterprise vs. Government Bureaucracy
The FCC has rolled back the power of government to control the Internet. States and big tech companies want to reinstitute "Net Neutrality." But they're missing something important about private enterprise vs. government bureaucracy.
February 08, 2018
Say Goodbye to 3-Year SSL Certificates
SSL Certificates protect your website, email, and more. In the past you could buy them for a 3-year term called a 'lifetime.' The authorities controlling SSL certificate distribution voted to reduce that to 825 days. Here's why, and what it means for your website's security.
January 11, 2018
How Disaster Preparedness Ensured Business Continuity in the Thomas Fire [Case Study]
California's 2017 fires wreaked havoc across the State. Many businesses will never reopen. But one will, because it put disaster recovery plans in place beforehand. Here's how they did it.
December 07, 2017
Fight Mailbox Bloat: Why Outlook Slows Down Over Time
Outlook can slow down if you have an extremely large Exchange mailbox. Some users have tens or even hundreds of thousands of business emails from many years of work. Without an archiving solution, those accounts may experience performance issues due to “Mailbox Bloat”!
November 09, 2017
The 4 Critical Elements of a Data Protection Plan
Do you have a data protection plan in place? If you don’t, how will your company recover if a disaster strikes (natural or man-made)? Without data protection, your business can easily go the way of the dinosaurs.
October 05, 2017
6 IT Safety Measures to Protect your IT in Case of Disaster
Businesses that plan for disasters minimize their IT losses. Preparations like cloud backups today, can mean the difference between your business surviving a disaster . . . or crumbling in its wake.
September 07, 2017
In-House IT Staff, or IT Consultants: Which Support Option Works Best?
Depending on the growth stage of your business, using IT consultants may save you money and give better support. Let's look at both support options.
August 03, 2017
Your Company Brand: 5 Signs It’s Time for a Refresh
A company’s visual identity is the most recognizable part of their brand. Over time, a brand can become stale and lose its impact. When that happens, it’s time for a brand refresh. These are the signs to watch out for.
July 06, 2017
Tech Week at the White House: Upgrading the U.S. IT Infrastructure
The American Technology Council is a new entity, tasked with modernizing government IT services and protecting the U.S. from cyberattack. To kick it off, President Trump asked for the help of major technology executives. Are they up to the job?
June 07, 2017
4 Ways to Protect Your Network from Shadow IT
Shadow IT damages a business’ bandwidth, drains its productivity, and puts you at risk of cyberattack. Stopping it requires oversight, access control, network testing, and good backups. (Part 2 of 2)
May 11, 2017
What is ‘Shadow IT’?
Shadow IT isn’t some masked intruder stealing your data. It’s your own employees eating up bandwidth and placing your data’s security in jeopardy. (Part 1 of 2)
April 06, 2017
Avoid Laptop Theft When Traveling: 7 Precautions to Take
Need some tips on how to keep your laptop safe while traveling for work? We've got 7!
March 09, 2017
5 Big Benefits Your Company Gains from SOX
For publicly-traded companies, SOX is a necessity, but there are some unexpected benefits. Five to be exact.
February 09, 2017
How to Defend Against Ransomware—With Versioning
Defense against ransomware involves more than backing up data. Versioning of backups is the practice that can make your data ransom-proof.
January 10, 2017
Sorry! A USB Drive is Not a Safe Business Backup
Where are your backups stored? If they're on an external drive in the server room, your data is still at risk. Start 2017 off right—make sure your backups are tested, reliable, and off-site!
December 06, 2016
Are There Holes in Your Network? Locate Them Now with Vulnerability Testing
Vulnerability testing can help locate potential security holes in your network. Running vulnerability tests regularly means you close those holes before a cybercriminal breaches your network!
November 02, 2016
The Dangers of Using Outdated Software
Even software has a lifespan. Some people still decide to put off the inevitable and not upgrade, and do so for several reasons. In this month's WOOF! article, we provide reasons people don't upgrade, as well as the potential ramifications.
October 07, 2016
When it’s Time to Replace Servers: Should You Move to the Cloud?
When it's time to replace servers, which is better? Staying on-premise, or moving servers to the cloud? The answer depends on how your business operates, and what goals you have. In this month's WOOF! article we lay out criteria to help you make the choice.
September 08, 2016
When is an "Old Server" Too Old?
How old are your servers? If they're over 3 years old, you may need replacements soon. Why so short a lifespan? Many factors affect servers as they age. Find out how to tell if your server needs replacing in this month's WOOF.
July 05, 2016
5 Reasons Microsoft Bought LinkedIn (and What the Acquisition Means for Businesses Who Use It)
Now that Microsoft has acquired LinkedIn, what changes should we expect? LinkedIn News in Office 365? Cortana with full access to your LinkedIn profile (and everyone else's)? In this month's WOOF! we address the potential reasons for the acquisition, and the potential risks to your privacy they create.
May 31, 2016
H-1B Visa Fraud, Abuse and Government Corruption: Highlights from "Sold Out"
"Sold Out" lays bare the true extent of government-corporate collusion on H-1B visa fraud. It goes further than even we knew. American IT workers face a growing threat to their livelihoods and futures. Read the details for yourself, right here in WOOF!.
April 29, 2016
The Malware War: The State of Malware on Mac
We interviewed Thomas Reed, Malwarebytes' Director of Mac Offerings, about the state of malware on Mac & mobile. He said that for a while Mac users only had to deal with adware. But now, the Mac malware's growing.
March 28, 2016
The Malware War: Expert Advice from the Front Lines
We interviewed Adam Kujawa, Head of Malwarebytes Intelligence, on the growing dangers of ransomware. He urges everyone to take it seriously. Ransomware doesn't target computers...it targets YOU.
February 23, 2016
"Smart" Network Camera Security to Protect Your Business
Video surveillance has become "smart." Now you can watch your building for your phone, record video in HD, store footage on your servers instead of tapes, and more. In this WOOF! issue we look at the video surveillance's advancements, and what they can do to protect your business.
January 25, 2016
Windows Server 2016 Coming Soon! Should You Prepare?
The next version of Windows Server will release this year. With all the new capabilities - new virtualization tools, easier upgrade process - we recommend you start preparing now.
December 17, 2015
9 Technology Changes We’re Thankful For
2015 saw tremendous technology changes, both for good (new software, cloud services, cybersecurity) and bad (malware, data breaches). In our December WOOF! we're highlighting 9 of those technology changes for which we're thankful - like the new Skype for Business, iOS 9, ransomware defenses and more.
November 24, 2015
Be On Guard for New Cybersecurity Threats in 2016
As technology evolves, so do cybersecurity threats. Research indicates that not only are threats like ransomware and integrity attacks evolving, but new threats are on the horizon. Here's what to expect, and some advice on how you can stay on-guard.
October 23, 2015
IT Survival Guide: Document Your Network Now
If your IT manager had an accident, could someone else do their job? Yes, if you document your critical IT processes. Here's the mission-critical IT to document, and the reasons you must do so before anything happens.
September 28, 2015
Servers Racked in the Bathroom, and Other Bad Ideas
Is a bathroom a good place to put a server? Of course not. Yet some businesses place servers in downright toxic environments. In this WOOF! we discuss "Bad Ideas" for server conditions, and the environmental risks to watch out for.
August 06, 2015
Hardware/Software Leasing: When Does It Make Sense?
Buying new IT hardware costs a lot up front. What if you could cut that cost down - by leasing the hardware instead? In this month's WOOF! we ask a leasing agency about the pros & cons of leasing IT hardware.
July 15, 2015
What You Need to Know About Windows 10
Windows 10 launches July 29. Coming to a Windows 7 or 8.1 PC/tablet near you. In this WOOF! article we talk about the six Windows 10 versions (or Editions), what features to look forward to in each, and which version you'll get.
June 03, 2015
Are Coffee Shop Wi-Fi Connections Safe for Work? Umm, No.
Using free Wi-Fi at the coffee shop, hotels & airport is convenient. It's also a huge security risk. You could have data stolen right off your computer in a matter of minutes, and you'd never know it. These are the dangers lurking on public Wi-Fi networks, and how you can protect yourself.
May 07, 2015
Introducing Skype for Business: Microsoft's Universal Communications Platform
Skype for Business 2015 is replacing Lync Server 2013. A new client look & feel, Skype connectivity, and new calling features for users. But what's Microsoft's goal with the new version? Every communications tool you'd need, no matter where you are.
April 08, 2015
Corporate Lessons from the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal
Hillary Clinton used personal email while Secretary of State. Exposing her office to theft, spying and legal trouble--risks that can affect your business as well, if anyone in the office uses a personal email account for work purposes. Read about these risks, and 7 things you can do to prevent them.
February 03, 2015
Custom Web Design vs. Templates
"Should I use a template for our new site?" While website templates are easy to work with, they can make your business look like a thousand others. In this WOOF! we make the case for custom web design...how "what you see" (branding, content) makes a custom site better than a template.
November 19, 2014
How to Manage Your Passwords (and Why You Need To)
When did you last change your work password? If you aren't sure when, you need to read this WOOF. Using multiple passwords, and changing them frequently, is one of the most important - and least used - cybersecurity practices.
October 02, 2014
U.S. Networks are Vulnerable to Offshore Cyberattacks. So is our Power Grid.
Hundreds of cyberattacks are taking place right now. Most target datacenters, particularly in the U.S., after private data. But datacenters aren't the only target of attackers--power grids are also at risk. And the U.S. electrical grid is vulnerable.
September 03, 2014
16 Ways to Reduce Your Desktop Support Costs
IT Support is necessary for businesses. But that doesn't mean you have to pay high support costs. In fact, some simple practices will help you reduce IT support costs. Here are 16 examples, direct from PlanetMagpie's own Support Team.
July 28, 2014
3 Reasons to Limit Social Media Use in the Office
Facebook and other social media networks drain away employees' time through addictive means. And malware is flooding in. What can we do to curb social media use in the office?
June 30, 2014
Where IT Hardware is Made and Why It’s Important
Where do your computers come from? Your servers? Wireless? Where a piece of hardware is made, and who makes it, is more important to your business' operations and security than you might think.
May 30, 2014
Should the Internet be Open or Closed?
Should the Internet be open (Net Neutrality) or closed (paid priority)? Most Web users are on the side of Net Neutrality...but if we look closer, the issue is not so black-and-white. This WOOF examines the possible consequences of Net Neutrality, and what the future may hold.
May 01, 2014
ICANN Looking for a New Home – What Does This Mean for the Internet?
ICANN, the organization responsible for the "roots" of the Internet, is looking for a new oversight body. The U.S. has decided to transition ICANN to a more global governance. Does this move risk the Internet's safety?
March 25, 2014
Does Using XP after April 8 Force Healthcare Organizations Out of HIPAA Compliance?
If you're a healthcare organization (and thus subject to HIPAA regulations), using Windows XP after the April 8 deadline may push you out of HIPAA compliance. Is this really true? Yes, in some cases. Read this WOOF! to find out what you can (and should) do about it.
February 26, 2014
Why Sending Emails to 50 or More People from Outlook/Exchange is Bad News
"Why do we need MailChimp? We can send our newsletter from Outlook, right?" Wrong. Don't do that. You can destroy your entire business' ability to send ANY emails!
January 16, 2014
Starting Smart & Secure: IT Recommendations for Startups
Many startups use public cloud services like Google Apps and Amazon to get started fast. But these services pose a serious security risk for a startup's new intellectual property. There's a smarter way to start.
December 04, 2013
Why and How to Add Video to Your Web Marketing
Do you use video in your online marketing? If not, now's the time to start. Video is one of the most powerful marketing tools on the Web - and more affordable to make than ever.
October 31, 2013
Are You Archiving All Your Email? The Electronic Discovery Act Requires It
Are you archiving all emails, instant messages and blog posts into your regular backups? Could you find a specific email if needed? The California Electronic Discovery Act says you must be able to do so. Here's what the Act is about, and how you can stay in compliance.
October 27, 2013
Is It Time to Upgrade Your Network? – Part 2: Things You Need to Know
So you've determined that you need help with your network. To save time and money, it's best to have some technical information on-hand when a networking consultant arrives. What kind? That's what this Network Upgrade Checklist will help you with.
September 30, 2013
The Dangers of Using Personal Email for Work
What's the harm in employees using personal email for work purposes? Plenty: privacy violations, disrupting legal compliance, potential for data theft, and more. This WOOF! article documents the risks, and gives you some ways to stop employees from using personal email at work.
August 26, 2013
10 Ways BYOD Threatens Network Security AND Your Private Data
How dangerous is BYOD? We know of 10 ways employees using personal devices risks network security and your data's privacy. You'll also find several ways to protect against privacy threats...and none require overhauling the network.
May 30, 2013
Time to Secure Your Network? Part 2: The Very Real Threat of Cyber Espionage
We often think of cybercriminals as a Hollywood archetype. But they're very real, and very damaging. Cyber-espionage is running rampant, threatening thousands of businesses every day. Read about where cyber-espionage comes from, how it works & and what you can do to stop it.
April 09, 2013
Time to Secure Your Network? Part 1: Protecting Trade Secrets from Employee Theft
No one wants to suspect their own employees of violating security. But the scary fact is, U.S. businesses lost $300 billion to trade secret theft in 2012...and most of that came from internal theft. This is how it happens, why, and what you can do.
February 06, 2013
Is It Time to Upgrade Your Network? – Part 1: Things to Think About
Slow Internet speeds? Dropped connections? Errors popping up on workstations? Your network is showing signs of age. In this WOOF! Bill Wester, a 20-year networking expert, talks network hardware & upgrades to think about.
June 27, 2012
Inside the Mind of an Award-Winning Web Designer
We're taking a break from our usual fare in WOOF! this month. Instead of a big informative article on web design, we went straight to our own award-winning web designer, Mike Woodburn. And asked him what's happening with web design.
May 03, 2012
Does Private Cloud Service Trump the Public Cloud?
Despite the similar names, big differences exist between the public cloud and private cloud service. Private Clouds are better on security, and you have more control over which applications to run.
March 01, 2012
The 4 IT Staffing Models: Pros & Cons
Your IT Staffing Model determines who you hire (and when) to build and support your technology infrastructure. What's the best approach: full-time workers only? Outsource to IT consultants? A mix of both? And how does the Cloud play into it?
February 02, 2012
What Connects Your Office? A Primer on IT Communications Hardware
It's easy to overspend on communications hardware if you don't know the ins and outs. These are the technologies that bring the Internet to your office, and make communication within the office possible.
December 01, 2011
What to Know Before You Write Next Year's IT Budget
Are you budgeting out the next year's IT expenses? We researched IT spending trends & predictions for 2012-2014. Find out what your competitors will spend on IT in this month's WOOF!.
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