5 Biggest Questions About Windows 11 Answered

5 Biggest Questions About Windows 11 Answered

Dec 12, 2021 by Patrick

Microsoft’s latest operating system is starting to take the world by storm. But before jumping ship and upgrading to the new OS, better read this first.

It’s finally here.

After six years, Microsoft has just released the latest version of its operating system — Windows 11.

At a time when computers and technology play a more central role in human lives, tech companies are scrambling to deliver the best user experience possible to capture the ever-expanding market.

Microsoft’s answer to the growing demand for better technology for home and business use is Windows 11.

Microsoft dubs their latest operating system as the “Windows that brings you closer to what you love.” But are they actually able to achieve that?

I know you have a lot more burning questions about this latest OS from Microsoft. So without further ado, let’s jump right into answering the five biggest questions you may have about Windows 11.

THE FIVE QUESTIONS ABOUT WINDOWS 11

QUESTION #1 – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WINDOWS 10 AND 11?

Windows 11 gets a significant boost in performance, functionality, and style compared to Windows 10. Here’s a small rundown of the critical upgrades Microsoft made for its latest OS:

  • Windows gets a makeover: If you’ve used Apple before, you might see the similarities between the design of the macOS and the latest Windows model. Windows now also sport tightly rounded corners and the taskbar icons are permanently centered. But at least the ever-handy Start button is here to stay.
  • Streamlined Productivity Functions: There are many small but significant upgrades that Microsoft did for Windows 11. For one, your PC will now remember the last layout of your choice when docking. Each of your virtual desktops can also have a different background. Also, widgets are back like never before. And Windows 11 features a Snap Layout function that lets users choose from a variety of layout options at the click of a button.
  • New and Improved Teams: With hybrid work becoming the new normal around the world. Teams entered the spotlight. Because of this, Microsoft made sure to include reasonable upgrades to the application. For example, Teams is now integrated into the operating system, making it easier to communicate with family, friends, and colleagues.
  • Better Gaming Experience: Microsoft made sure to think about not just business people and workers when designing the new Windows 11. Gamers will love the fact that playing games on Windows is made even better, with Xbox Game pass and Cloud gaming supported on the Xbox app in Windows 11.
  • Android Apps on Your PC: Aside from offering better compatibility with the Xbox, Microsoft has successfully integrated Android apps on your PC using Windows 11. But here’s the catch: We’re not yet sure if these Android apps would work optimally on PC.

QUESTION #2 – DO I NEED TO MAKE HARDWARE CHANGES TO SWITCH TO WINDOWS 11?

It depends. Here’s an essential checklist of what you need to have to run Windows 11 smoothly:

  • At least a 1GHZ dual-core processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • At least 64 GB of storage
  • A graphics card compatible with DirectX 12 or later, with a WDDM 2.0 driver
  • 720p display, at least 9” diagonal size, with 8 bits per color channel
  • TPM version 2.0
  • UEFI, Secure Boot capable firmware

If your PC or laptop covers or does more than what’s listed above, then you can safely upgrade to Windows 11, worry-free.

On the other hand, you might have to make some hardware upgrades or buy a new device altogether if your current one does not meet the minimum requirements.

Our customers have experienced issues upgrading because of two component issues: TPM and CPU generation.

QUESTION #3 – IS THE MICROSOFT OFFICE SUITE AVAILABLE ON WINDOWS 11?

No. You have to pay for a Microsoft Office subscription first.

But if you have an existing subscription to Microsoft 365, then you’re all set. You just need to install the Office suite after upgrading to Windows 11.

Note that support for older versions of Office (2010 and below) has been discontinued since last year. So if you’re still using that, I suggest you make necessary changes to avoid making yourself vulnerable to security risks. You can schedule a call either filling out our contact us form or call us at 414-76-4465 we can discuss your options.

QUESTION #4 – HOW CAN I SWITCH FROM WINDOWS 10 TO  11?

If you’re looking to upgrade from Windows 10 to 11, you have nothing to worry about.

You just need to go to the Windows Update section of your Settings and click “Check for Updates.” Windows 11 will just be there available in the upgrade section.

Click the “Download and Install” button, and that’s it.

QUESTION #5 – DO I REALLY NEED TO SWITCH TO WINDOWS 11?

No. If your computer is not compatible or can’t run Windows 11, you don’t have to upgrade.

On the other hand, if your PC is compatible with Windows 11 but you find the upgrades unnecessary for your current workflow, there’s nothing wrong with staying with Windows 10.

Even Microsoft said that Windows 10 is still the right choice for those who aren’t ready to transition to a new operating system. In fact, they made sure of this by scheduling an update for Windows 10 later this year. At the same time, the company will continue supporting Windows 10 until October 14, 2025.

This gives you about four years to think about upgrading to Windows 11 or switching operating systems altogether.

TECHNOLOGY THAT WORKS FOR YOU

The new era of Windows has finally arrived.

Microsoft made it a point to make their latest OS worth it for old and new Windows users. And with these new updates, it is clear that the company has made an effort to find out its users’ pain points and address them.

But despite these new features, you have to understand one thing:

Technology is just a tool used to increase our everyday productivity and efficiency.

That means you don’t need to jump ship to Windows 11 if you’re not ready to do so outright. Technology is only as effective as how much you use it. So if you’re already a master of Windows 10 and it makes you 100% productive, then change is unnecessary.

Now, suppose you’re seriously thinking about making the switch to Windows 11. But you want to know more about its hardware compatibility and security updates. In that case, you need an IT service provider that’s willing to talk you through it.

If you need any help in fully understanding the pros and cons of switching (or not changing) to Windows 11, schedule a 15-minute, no-obligation conversation with our team today.

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

7 things you need to understand about IT compliance

Dec 12, 2021 by Patrick

Conducting business operations in the digital world is prone to security risks. Mitigating them would be impossible if you don’t have an IT compliance policy.

Setting up a robust IT compliance policy in your business is more important now than ever. And it’s because most organizations now depend on digitized services. 

Online companies rely on e-commerce websites to do business by taking orders and receiving payments. Even brick-and-mortar organizations utilize software to perform various activities, such as order management and back-office accounting. 

In such tech-driven environments, a lack of proper security measures jeopardizes the business leader’s position. Their IT systems get abused, and their technology often becomes a source of scandals. 

The only way to avoid this possibility is to create a strong IT compliance policy. 

This article will cover key considerations when developing your system of IT compliance.

WHAT YOU NEED TO CONSIDER FOR IT COMPLIANCE POLICIES

FACTOR #1 – PEOPLE, PROCESSES, AND HOW THEY ALIGN TO TECH

IT compliance isn’t just about technology – it also involves people and processes. And the reality is that many organizations focus heavily on their tech, resulting in failed audits due to their failure to consider the other two aspects. This makes the compliance world more complex. 

Taking the correct approach can help ensure your enterprise abides by the necessary standards. 

FACTOR #2 – RELEVANT LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Laws and regulations stipulate the policies that govern IT compliance requirements. Here are the most common ones: 

  • The Sarbanes-Oxley Act – regulating financial reporting
  • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act – governing non-public personal information and financial data
  • The Health Insurance and Accountability ACT – regulating health information that healthcare organizations process

Ultimately, you can’t start your compliance process without understanding the laws and regulations applicable to your organization.

You should also ascertain the controls that apply to these laws and regulations. They are process-oriented and technical means to adhere to your policies. 

There are various industry and government standards that specify them, including: 

  • Control Objectives for Information and Related IT 
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology 
  • Payment Card Industry Data 

These can have a massive bearing on your sector. Therefore, make sure to familiarize yourself with all relevant controls.

FACTOR #3 – RAISING EMPLOYEE AWARENESS OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE POLICY

One of the biggest threats to your data security is having untrained employees. Their actions can have a huge impact on cybersecurity. For instance, improper software upload, sharing, download, and storing can jeopardize critical information.

The reality is, many employees opt for insecure data transfer methods due to their convenience. Some of the tools they use are personal emails, consumer-grade collaboration apps, and instant messaging. All of these are ideal targets for cybercriminals. 

To prevent your business from becoming a victim, your users must learn and understand where various threats originate from. They should especially understand the actions that can give rise to vulnerabilities. 

Making file sharing a top priority and investing in proper education demonstrates the significance of IT compliance. Your efforts can help team members willing to adopt the best practices in this field. 

When developing your training plan, make sure to include several key topics: 

  • How insecure file transfer methods expose your company to risks 
  • Avoiding phishing scams
  • Precautions to exercise before using or downloading unsanctioned applications
  • The conditions for using and creating strong passwords.

FACTOR #4 – HOW YOUR IT POLICY ALIGNS WITH THE COMPANY’S SECURITY POLICIES

Aligning IT compliance with your business operations involves understanding the culture of your organization. For example, your environment can revolve around either processes or ad-hoc ways of doing things. 

Enterprises aligning with the former are best off issuing in-depth policies to ensure compliance. 

By contrast, companies that match the latter require detective and preventive controls. They need to address specific risks associated with your policy. It helps various auditors understand why you’ve deployed a particular control or decided to face certain risks. 

FACTOR #5 – UNDERSTANDING OF THE IT ENVIRONMENT

IT environments directly affect your IT policy compliance design. That said, there are two main kinds of environments: 

  • Homogeneous environments – These consist of standardized vendors, configurations, and models. They’re largely consistent with your IT deployment. 
  • Heterogeneous environments – The other type uses a wide range of security and compliance applications, versions, and technologies. 

Generally, compliance costs are lower in homogeneous environments. Fewer vendors and technology add-ons provide less complexity and fewer policies. As a result, the price of security and compliance per system isn’t as high as with heterogeneous solutions.

Regardless of your environment, your policy needs to appropriately tackle new technologies, including virtualization and cloud computing. 

FACTOR #6 – ESTABLISHMENT OF ACCOUNTABILITY

IT policy compliance doesn’t function without accountability. It entails defining organizational responsibilities and roles that determine the assets individuals need to protect. It also establishes who has the power to make crucial decisions. 

Accountability begins from the top and encompasses executives. And the best way to guarantee involvement is to cast IT policy compliance programs in terms of risks instead of technology. 

As for your IT providers, they have two pivotal roles: 

  • Data/system owners – The owner is part of your management team that’s responsible for data usage and care. Plus, they’re accountable for protecting and managing information. 
  • Data/system custodians – Custodial roles can entail several duties, such as system administration, security analysis, legal counseling, and internal auditing. 

These responsibilities are essential for IT policy compliance. For example, auditors need to carefully verify compliance activity execution. Otherwise, there’s no way to ensure the implementation is going according to plan.

FACTOR #7 – AUTOMATION OF THE COMPLIANCE PROCESS

Your IT continually evolves and grows. Internal auditors can only review a small number of user accounts and system configurations. 

Automation is the only way to ensure you can evaluate enough systems regularly. 

BREEZE THROUGH YOUR BUSINESS’S IT COMPLIANCE

Setting up well-designed IT compliance may be a long process, but it can make a world of difference in terms of business security. It keeps your business reputation intact and allows you to avoid penalties and fines. 

However, you’ll need to pay special attention to several aspects. And one of the most significant ones is your IT provider. 

If your IT isn’t living up to its potential, you’re bound to face compliance issues. This can cause tremendous stress and halt your operations. 

Luckily, there might be an easy way out of your predicament. Schedule a quick call 414-764-4465 to chat with us to discuss your IT problems and find out how to get more out of your provider.

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

Also, if you have not received my eBook on a few important IT Security Basics, request it here for free.

Gen Z is Most Likely to Be Scammed

Nov 28, 2021 by Patrick

If you were born after 1997, you grew up inundated with exploding technology. You are probably more tech savvy than your older friends and family members…

You have probably had the older generation ask you to help them with something computer related on more than one occasion.

Which is why it might be shocking to learn – young people are most likely to succumb to scams online, via email and text messaging. 

If you have not received my eBook on a few important IT Security Basics, request it here for free.

Why? Studies are showing – young scam victims suffer from “optimism bias”…meaning they have an overly positive outlook, reducing their sense of vulnerability and causing them to act without precaution.

As Gen Z’s take over the business world, employee awareness training is becoming more critical than ever.

Digital threats are constantly changing – so our education needs to keep up with the threat landscape.

(Read a more detailed article here)

Cybersecurity experts advise beginning this kind of education during the onboarding/hiring process, and routinely adding to it.

Also, if you have not received my eBook on a few important IT Security Basics, request it here for free.

Favorite Home Hideouts for Attackers

Nov 28, 2021 by Patrick

Hackers love private homes. In fact, their favorite spots to hide are most likely in your house…

Not only is your house chock full of personal private information (banking info, personal records, etc.), it is probably also become your workplace at least some of the time in the past two years.

Which means hackers can get your personal stuff AND your business data in one shot. Two birds, one stone.

Recent studies show favorite hiding places include…

  • Your Home PC or desktop computer
  • Your wireless printer – of course, connected to your computer and maybe your phone
  • Your cable modems – specifically when used to play games
  • Network connected door-locks
  • Your HVAC system (no kidding…really?)

(Read a more extensive article here)

Why would a hacker care about your air conditioning or your door locks? 

All of these third-party systems are connected using your main network – meaning attackers can hop from one to the other.

Trouble accessing the home computer? No problem for the hacker…your HVAC password was set and forgotten the day you installed it. Once the attacker gains access through a less secure entry point, the rest is easy.

In our digital world, staying alert is critical – especially at home – where we tend to let our guard down.

Hackers are hiding in your weakest devices – make sure you know what they are so you can monitor them proactively!

Also, if you have not received my eBook on a few important IT Security Basics, request it here for free.

Critical Security Patch, Update Microsoft Exchange Server

Nov 28, 2021 by Patrick

Does your organization use Exchange Server to handle your company’s email? If so then you are probably already aware of the critical security flaw that has been discovered and it puts your server at risk.

This year has not been good for Microsoft Exchange. Vulnerability CVE-2021-42321 has been found to impact both Exchange Server 2016 and 2019.

Adding to the criticality is that Microsoft is now reporting that this issue has been found being exploiting impacted servers in the wild. If there is a bright side to this security flaw it only impacts “on-premises” and “Hybrid mode” Exchange Servers, Exchange Online you are not at risk.

The problems for Exchange began in March 2021, in one Forbes article in March 2021 they noted the company faced a massive wave of attacks that were apparently launched by a number of state-backed threat actors, China being one. This first wave of attacks relied on ProxyLogon exploits, if an attacker was successful they would deployed ransomware, cryptominers, and other malware strains. They attempted to infected as many targets as they could.

When admins thought the attacks were over July 2021 introduced a new wave of attacks that targeted the US and Asia. Not surprising the attacks appeared to be coming from China. These attacks relied on the Windows PetitPotam exploits and attempted to deploy LockFile ransomware on infected systems.

In the beginning if you have an Exchange administrator they were probably overwhelmed, until the patch was available. Finally some good news all of the patches released in March and August seemed to fix any issues..

Lesson of the day, if you run an Exchange Server that is on-site or Hybrid Mode verify with your IT department or IT consulting company you have applied all of the latest patches for Exchange. There might be a little downtime as the server(s) reboot, but it is better than being exploited and have to clean up from a ransomware attack. Keep in mind that just because you patch, you are never done, but this should minimize your risk of being exploited.

If you need assistance feel free to reach out to us, we will be happy to consult with you. Our managed service plans would ensure your servers are patched and if a threat is found on your server, we would detect it.

Also, if you have not received my eBook on a few important IT Security Basics, request it here for free.

6 Ways Online Banking Thieves Try to Steal Your Money

Nov 7, 2021 by Patrick

Do you use an online banking app?

Almost everyone does. Online banking from personal devices started ramping up a decade ago and has only grown since. Let’s be honest…who wants to actually go into a physical bank?

But with online banking comes security challenges – and hackers are smart.

Security experts identified 8 common ways cybercriminals steal money through online banking. These are recurring patterns, so take note!:

  1. Phishing Emails – fraudulent links received via email tell banking customers their account needs URGENT attention. Would you click?
  2. Fake Website Attacks – performed with a trojan, a fake pop up website resembling your bank asks for your personal details. Always make sure you are accessing your bank account from a verified browser or app.
  3. Keylogger Trojans – these guys are the equivalent of someone looking over your shoulder at the ATM. They get in through seedy websites – tricking you into installing them – then track every movement of your keyboard.
  4. Stolen Passwords – DO NOT use one password on every website!
  5. Insecure Wi-Fi – Don’t click on just any old network when you are out in public. Visiting the small coffee shop on the corner? VERIFY the network with your friendly barista before connecting. That network listed as “COFFEESHOP-guest” might be the creepy guy two tables down.
  6. Fake Texts – most banks use text messages to confirm transactions or prompt you to update account information. Fake texts are much like phishing. They look authentic, but they are not. Stay alert!

What does all this mean for your banking security?

Remember – Banks will never ask you to provide SECRET information, such as your PIN. Genuine banking websites always feature a security certificate. Additionally, authentic banks will not send you PDF attachments, links not matching their real website, instructions to install software, or emails/texts pressuring you to act immediately.

Banks want to keep you safe – so they will encourage maximum security measures such as frequent password updates, 2-factor authentication, secure network use, etc. Follow their guidelines and don’t take shortcuts – keep your account and your money SAFE.

Also, if you have not received my eBook on a few important IT Security Basics, request it here for free.

A Huge Database of Fitness App Information Has Been Found Unprotected…

Oct 8, 2021 by Patrick

If you use any type of fitness app, you will want to check this out…

GetHealth, an American based company that collects information from fitness wearables, helps users record the data on their computers.

Recently, security researchers located over 61 million user records in the Internet – UNPROTECTED – including passwords, dates of birth, names, and other identifiable information.

There is no real way to know if you were one of those people – but here is what you CAN do…

Update everything:

  • Chrome just put out an important update that patches a significant vulnerability.
  • Microsoft also put out multiple new updates.
  • Apple was compromised last week and also released an update.

Why do these updates matter? 

Your fit device is sending your personal information to the platforms you use to organize it. Maybe it is a Gmail, maybe it’s an Apple phone. By updating your software regularly, you’re consistently installing new patches that reduce your vulnerability to hackers skimming info off the web.

Also, if you’ve not received my eBook on a few important IT Security Basics, request it here for free.

Free Download? Or Fake Download?

Sep 10, 2021 by Patrick

You know that movie you have been dying to see…but it is not free through any of your subscription services?

So you search for the title + “Full Length Free.”

We have all done it. And it is not just movies. Music…books…games…

Sometimes you find what you are looking for, available on one of those seedy websites with a billion ads. All you have to do is hit “Play” and you are in – SUDDENLY an unwanted download occurs.

Hackers exploit user anticipation. Which is exactly what they are doing right now with Kanye’s newest album, Donda.

By seeding the Internet with fake, malicious download links, cybercriminals are gaining access to user data.

Ironically, some of the fake downloads even include user surveys requiring them to prove they are not a robot. Features like these give users a false sense of security, increasing the likelihood they will go through with the download.

Excitement causes users to disregard the sources they are using. An obvious safeguard for situations like this one is to only use trusted sources such as Apple, Google or Spotify. However, “trusted” is not always as  trusted as you would like. Today’s ZERO TRUST computing world demands new technologies designed to detect malicious activities initiated by these types of attacks!

Also, if you’ve not received my eBook on a few important IT Security Basics, request it here for free.