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Farewell to Microsoft Server 2003 (1/15)

Support for Windows Server 2003 is ending on July 14, 2015. What does this mean? Microsoft will no longer patching or updating Server 2003, so if you are running it your IT network will no longer be secure. Hackers target out-of-date operating systems. We are working with our clients for plans for their remaining 2003 servers, but if you would like to discuss your specific situation please give us a call.

Microsoft takes action against tech support scammers (1/15)

Microsoft recently filed a lawsuit against Omnitech Support, a tech support company, accusing them of unfair and deceptive business practices and trademark infringement. Omnitech is accused of confusing prospective customers about their affiliation with Microsoft, using that affiliation to convince consumers that their PCs were infected with malware in order to sell them unnecessary security services to clean their computers. Even worse, Omnitech actually introduced security issues that weren’t previously there.

The lesson? Here is a summary of the advice that Microsoft offers:

  • Never hire someone to work on your computer who approaches you online or via the phone.
  • Do not purchase any software or services
  • Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the “service” — if there is, hang up
  • Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it’s a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer
  • Take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities
  • Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.

See this article for more details.

Guide to Headphones (1/15)

PC Magazine has a great guide to headphones in a recent issue. Here is a list of the articles:

Farewell to Microsoft Server 2003 (12/14)

Support for Windows Server 2003 is ending on July 14, 2015. What does this mean? Microsoft will no longer patching or updating Server 2003, so if you are running it your IT network will no longer be secure. Hackers target out-of-date operating systems. We are working with our clients for plans for their remaining 2003 servers, but if you would like to discuss your specific situation please give us a call.

Microsoft EOP – checking your quarantine (10/14)

Many of our clients use Microsoft’s Exchange Online Protection, which is Microsoft’s cloud-based spam and virus filtering for email – it was formerly known as Microsoft Forefront. It works both as part of Office 365 and on a stand-alone basis with on-premise Exchange. The default method of letting you know what is being blocked as spam is to have an email delivered every three days (or less frequently, this is configurable between 3 and 7 days).

However, some people need to review their spam more frequently. To do this users must have a valid Office 365 user ID and password – note that Exchange-on premise users often are NOT setup with this information. Your network administrator (BEI if you are a client) can take care of this for you. If you do have an Office 365 user ID and password, you can login here and check your spam quarantine anytime you want!

Microsoft Azure – what’s it all about? (10/14)

Azure is Microsoft’s cloud platform. You can use Azure to put a server in the cloud – and you can use that server to host an application or a website, store data, backup another server or provide single sign-on for all of your resources.

Azure can be setup very quickly, so you don’t have to wait for a physical server to be delivered. It can grow as your needs change, so there is no need to buy a server that is too big for now, but might be needed in three years. You can buy what you need now and scale it up when you need to. You can also turn it off when it is not needed, and turn it back on what you do – making it ideal for seasonal or other needs that change.

Azure competes with Amazon Web Services and Google’s Cloud Platform. Microsoft has committed to meeting or beating the pricing for each of those services, but with better performance.

Interested in taking a closer look? Contact Jonathan Krasner at jonathan.krasner@beinetworks.com and we’d be glad to discuss how your business might be able to use Azure.

Farewell to Microsoft Server 2003 (10/14)

Support for Windows Server 2003 is ending on July 14, 2015. What does this mean? Microsoft will no longer patching or updating Server 2003, so if you are running it your IT network will no longer be secure. Hackers target out-of-date operating systems. We are working with our clients for plans for their remaining 2003 servers, but if you would like to discuss your specific situation please give us a call.

iPhone Tricks you may not know (7/14)

This article has a long list of cool tricks – chances are that there is one you don’t know! Here is a sampling:

  • Shake to undo. If you make a mistake while typing or editing a picture just give your phone a little shake and you’ll be asked if want to “undo” your typing.
  • Recharge your battery faster by switching to airplane mode – this works for many devices.
  • Find out what flights are overhead – ask Siri “What flights are above me” or “Planes overhead”. A real time waster, but pretty cool.

Surface Pro 3 now available! (6/14)

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 is currently available. The version that is based on the Intel i5 chipset is currently shipping, the i3 and i7 will be available on August 1.

Below are some highlights of the Surface Pro 3:

1.76 pounds

12″ display

Runs all your favorite programs – it really is a full laptop replacement

Multi-position (redesigned kickstand)

Up to 9 hours of web browsing on batter

Handwriting recognition that really replaces traditional note taking

Lighter and thinner than the Macbook Air!

We are hoping to offer a special session at the Microsoft store for a demo and hands-on time with the Surface Pro 3. If this is of interest to you please fill out this short form and we’ll keep you posted about that event.

Windows XP Retirement – almost here! (3/14)

We’ve seen a wave of clients replacing Windows XP machines over the past year, but there are still lots out there! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, April 8 is the date. After that, Microsoft won’t patch the Windows XP Operating System, which means it will become a target for hackers. If you are still running Windows XP in your network, the biggest risk is infecting other computers – even your entire network.

So, given that April 8 is about two weeks away – what does this mean and what should you do?

  • Microsoft will not issue updates that address newly discovered security flaws in Windows XP or Office 2003. Hackers spend their time trying to exploit security holes and embed viruses and other malware in software. As they do this, firms such as Microsoft issue updates that plug these holes. After April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer do this for Windows XP or Office 2003. If you are running Windows XP or Office 2003 after April 8 you will be more susceptible to viruses and other malware.
  • Your computer will continue to run, it will just be more vulnerable.
  • As more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize their products for more recent versions of Windows, you can expect to encounter greater numbers of applications and devices that do not work with Windows XP or work less efficiently on Windows XP.
  • Most major antivirus vendors will continue to support Windows XP, but because Microsoft won’t issue security updates for Windows XP your network will still be at greater risk of attack and infection than it is today.
  • Make sure that you consider your entire network, because running XP machines exposes EVERYTHING to an increased level of threats, not just the XP machine.
  • If you are in a regulated industry this lack of support from Microsoft may result in an officially recognized control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of your organization’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information. Running Windows XP may be considered a HIPAA violation.

So what should you do?

  • Start planning now to replace your Windows XP workstations. Very likely the system running Windows XP is old enough that it is more cost effective to buy new hardware than to just update the operating system. Take advantage of Microsoft’s buyback program and get back up to $350 per Windows 8 machine.
  • Send an email to sales@beinetworks.com and we’ll review your particular situation and make recommendations.
  • Consider the ramifications to your business if your data is compromised.




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