1) In 2013, 37 critical updates were released for Windows 2003. As of July 14, 2015, no new updates will be released for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Small Business Server 2003.
2) Unsupported products are more likely to be attacked by malicious parties, which may increase the cyber security risk to your business.
3) Payment processors may not do business with you if your payments are going through an unsupported server. Your business may not pass a business audit if you do not transition from unsupported software
4) An average security breach costs an SMB $50,000. Running unsupported software and old hardware can be more expensive than upgrading to a modern technology platform
5) Improved performance, simplified management, and more affordable storage choices.
Our July Client of the Month is Jackie Gregg, Controller at Control Chief, a manufacturer of industrial crane remote control and locomotive remote control solutions. We have had the pleasure of working with Jackie since the early days of Databranch and have enjoyed partnering with Control Chief for their IT needs since 2009. Our mission is to help our clients succeed through effective planning, implementation and management of their technology and as Jackie says in the video below, “What do I have? I have peace of mind. I can go on vacation for a week and know that my servers are going to run and my people are going to keep working. If there’s a problem all I have to do is pick up the phone and I’m going to have someone here onsite with the problem fixed and that’s well worth the price we pay you every month. Would I recommend Databranch? Highly.”
Recently, a few of our Office 365 Exchange Online clients have been receiving correspondence from Microsoft concerning the version of Outlook they are using. The message is Outlook 2007 and 2010 are out of mainstream support and their users might start experiencing reduced functionality. In this post, I’ll answer the two biggest questions we have been receiving from our clients, “What does this mean for me? and What do you recommend I do?”
What does the end of mainstream support for Outlook 2010 mean for my organization?
In general, there are two levels of end of support Microsoft products move into: End of Mainstream Support and End of Extended Support. When a product enters into the end of mainstream support it means Microsoft will no longer be releasing any non-security updates or new software design changes. The program will still function and is not a security risk to your network since Microsoft keeps releasing security fixes until the End of Extended Support date but because new features will not be added the software may not be as compatible with newer programs like Office 365 Exchange Online which is constantly being updated and improved to provide the highest level of service to subscription customers. This is why Microsoft is urging clients using their hosted email platform to upgrade their Outlook clients. Even though you will still be able to use Office 365 and connect to the platform for email, your experience will diminish over time and Microsoft won’t provide code fixes to resolve non-security related problems.
What does Databranch recommend our clients to do?
We recommend that organizations start upgrading their Outlook to a client that is still in Mainstream Support like Outlook 2013 or 2016 or start budgeting for Office upgrades. Like Windows 7, Outlook 2010 will be in Extended Support until 2020 and all users will want to be upgraded prior to the end of support date in October of that year.
Is your organization looking to migrate your email platform to Office 365? Databranch is a Microsoft Certified Silver Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions Provider and is ready to assist with your migration. A Databranch Cloud Solutions specialist can be reached at 716-373-4467 ext. 15, firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here to get started.
Our June Client of the Month is Mary Comstock, Treasurer at Dura-Bilt Products, Inc., a manufacturer of aluminum products including awnings, sun rooms, screen rooms, storm windows, and doors. Dura-Bilt has been in business since 1958 and Databranch has had the pleasure of partnering with them for their IT needs since 2004 and their DSL days. The key to our longstanding relationship according to Mary, “You guys treat us very well. It’s the service that we’ve gotten that keeps us here with you and loyal. If you see an issue you’re reaching out to us immediately to get it resolved. You’re more of a proactive than reactive provider and I feel like family in the sense that we know about each other’s personal lives outside of business relationships. Can you go someplace else and find IT cheaper, probably, but will they give you the same service probably not.”
Since becoming a Databranch Comprehensive Care client Dura-Bilt has seen many benefits including speed of reaction time, employee productivity, and peace of mind. From Mary’s perspective, “When we have an issue it’s addressed very quickly which really makes a big difference. I can call and talk to someone immediately and I don’t think I’ve ever waited more than an hour for a response. Employee productivity has gone up because we have less downtime from computer issues and everything seems to run smoothly. Just knowing I have people out there who are very knowledgeable and take care of our needs very quickly gives me peace of mind that we can get back into business processes very quickly”
One memorable service challenge our businesses worked through together occurred in 2011 when the Dura-Bilt office flooded. During our interview Mary recalled, “We needed to setup a makeshift office and you guided us through what steps we should take to make sure that we kept any damage to a minimum and it worked. We were back up and running the next day. We had computers in the break room, walls were torn down, and we were working at coffee tables but I give a lot of credit to your team for being there for us and walking us through all the steps we needed to take to make it through that.”
Databranch makes it a priority to stay up-to-date with the latest technology especially in the area of business continuity and Mary emphasized how valuable this is to her and Dura-Bilt. “Your team is always looking at what the next step is before I would even think of it. For example with the Datto, our latest device for backups. We always had an in-house backup and we’d have to take the drive out and off-premises and now we don’t need to worry about that since we have the cloud backup and the Datto machine itself. You guys are always one step ahead of us which says a lot.”
When asked about Databranch’s relationship with Dura-Bilt, Databranch President David Prince had the following to say, “We are grateful for our long standing partnership with Mary and Dura-Bilt Products. They are truly one of our favorite clients and a pleasure to work with. If a measure of success is the quality and strength of the relationships you develop along the way, we have a very successful relationship with Dura-Bilt and we look forward to continuing to serve them.”
Small businesses are under attack. Right now, extremely dangerous and well-funded cybercrime rings in China, Russia and the Ukraine are using sophisticated software systems to hack into thousands of small businesses to steal credit cards, client information, and swindle money directly out of your bank account. Some are even being funded by their own government to attack small, virtually defenseless businesses.
Don’t think you’re in danger because you’re “small” and not a big target like a Target or Home Depot? Think again. 82,000 NEW malware threats are being released every single day and HALF of the cyber-attacks occurring are aimed at small businesses; you just don’t hear about it because it’s kept quiet for fear of attracting bad PR, lawsuits, data-breach fines and out of sheer embarrassment.
In fact, the National Cyber Security Alliance reports that one in five small businesses have been victims of cybercrime in the last year – and that number is growing rapidly as more businesses utilized cloud computing, mobile devices and store more information online. Quite simply, most small businesses are low-hanging fruit to hackers due to their lack of adequate security systems.
As a local IT support company, we work day and night to protect our clients from these attacks – and unfortunately we see, on a regular basis, hardworking entrepreneurs being financially devastated by these lawless scumbags – We are determined to WARN as many businesses as possible of the VERY REAL threats facing their organization so they have a chance to protect themselves and everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Free Report Reveals The Critical Protections Small Businesses Need Today
We want to do everything that we can to stop cybercrime, so we have put together a FREE Executive Report titled “7 Urgent Security Protections Every Business Should Have In Place Now” that we have made available at no charge here on our website at www.databranch.com/sittingduck.
During this time of year the threat of fire, flood, severe storms, water damage from office sprinklers, and even theft is very real.
One of the most valuable assets for any company is its data. Hardware and software can easily be replaced, but a company’s data cannot!
As a reminder to all of our clients and friends, here are some simple things you should do to make sure your company is ready for any natural disaster.
Back Up Your Data Remotely! Everyone knows that data should be backed up on a daily basis, but many people still use in-house backup systems that will get damaged in a natural disaster or fire, and can easily be stolen. We recommend backing up all data to an off-site location, and we offer this as a service to our clients.
Use a Quality Surge Protector With Uninterruptible Power Supply Battery. A high quality surge protector combined with an uninterruptible power supply battery backup will go a long way in protecting sensitive electronic equipment from surges and other electronic irregularities that can destroy your computer’s circuitry.
Make Sure Your Servers Are Off The Floor Or In The Cloud. If your office gets flooded, having your equipment off the floor will prevent it from being completely destroyed. Server racks can be purchased and installed very inexpensively. Or consider moving your critical server equipment to the cloud and be protected no matter the weather!
Have A Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan. Every business should have some type of plan in place for continued operation after a disaster. Would people know where to go? Who to call? How to log in and access data remotely? Hopefully you’ll never need it, but having a simple plan will make you sleep a lot easier at night knowing you have a way to continue to operate when disaster strikes.
FREE Report: The 10 Disaster Planning Essentials For Any Small Business
Don’t lose everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve in an instant! This report will reveal important planning strategies you should have in place now to protect yourself from common data-erasing disasters including natural hazards, human error, cyber criminals, hardware failure, software corruption and other IT failures.
When it comes to avoiding downtime, Databranch, Inc. is among the best of the best. The IT consulting/outsourcing provider and Datto partner has been operating out of western New York for over 30 years, delivering managed services, networking and security.
David Prince, President of Databranch, is a big fan of the Datto business continuity solution. “We’ve been doing this for a long time, so we have a good idea of what does and doesn’t work. Tape backup has proven to be unreliable and can add days to the recovery process. For years, I was on a quest to find something better, and Datto has been that and more ever since we’ve partnered with them,” according to Prince.
He cites the ability to extend support to clients remotely as one of the biggest features that help his business thrive. According to Prince, Datto has helped grow his business, and differentiate Databranch from other MSPs.
“Datto has been a lifesaver for us ever since we adopted the solution. It’s given me peace of mind knowing we can recover in any situation. Since we cover such a large geographical region, being able to get a client back up and running remotely has saved valuable time and money for our clients; especially when dealing with inclement weather or urgent issues,” said Prince.
Working in such a large and diverse region, Databranch serves a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing. One of those clients is Clarion Sintered Metals, a powdered-metal manufacturer located in Pennsylvania. Clarion runs a 24/7/365 operation, so downtime is never an option.
When Clarion’s servers crashed, Databranch was there to save the day and keep operations running as normal. Thanks to a proactive MSP and their Datto solution, Clarion didn’t suffer any downtime.
To learn how Databranch and Datto protected Clarion, download the full success story here.
To receive more information about how Databranch and Datto can help your organization fill out the form below to be contacted by a Databranch business continuity expert!
Today we’re launching a new monthly series on the blog called “Ask a Databranch Engineer”. During these posts we’ll compile frequently asked questions from our clients and answer your top questions about information technology in the workplace.
Anyone who watches the news has become all too familiar with this headline, “Data Breach at Company X”. From Target to the FBI, personal identifying information is being exposed at a rapid rate and a top question from our clients is, “What is one thing I can do as a small business to protect my organization’s valuable company data?” Here’s what our team had to say:
Aaron Duell (Systems Engineer): “If you’re not expecting an email and you don’t know the sender, don’t open the email!”
Jason Aderman (Systems Engineer): “Set-up a password protected screen saver. Users should never step away from their computer without locking their desktop and if you do happen to leave your computer unattended an automated screen saver with a password will ensure your computer is protected.”
Matt Hillman (Senior Systems Engineer): “I would rate the need for a complex password as a high security priority. Too many times we find the password is “password”, or the name of the person’s pet, or worse yet, written down right at their desk! A password should be at least 8 characters long, include a combination of upper case, lower case, and numbers, should not be a word easily identified in the dictionary, and is not a variation of the user’s name. Best practice now is to also include spaces and create a phrase, rather than use a single word. Recent operating systems require more complex passwords, but applying these basic rules will make it even more difficult for someone with malicious intent to guess a user’s password. And, it seems to be common sense, but a password should never be shared!”
David Prince (President): “If you get an email with an attachment (doc., PDF., etc.) be very careful and suspicious. If it appears to come from someone you know, I recommend contacting the sender to confirm they sent you an email with an attachment.”
Have a technology question you’ve always wanted answered? Reach out to Amanda Lasky at 716-373-4467 ext. 15 or email@example.com.
Next month our engineers will be answering the following questions, “Should I turn my computer off when I leave the office at night?” and “How can I be sure my data is protected in the cloud?”,as well as any other questions we receive in February.
Many of our customers have been experience some frustrations with Office 2013. The most common complaint has been concerning the new Excel Animations.
To minimize these animations, you can follow these steps:
1. Access the Windows Control Panel:
Windows 7: Click Start, and then Control Panel.
Windows 8: From the desktop right-click the Windows button and choose Control Panel. Or, from the Start screen (also known as the Metro interface), start typing the words Control Panel to make a Control Panel icon appear.
2. Choose Ease of Access Center within the Control Panel (Keyboard shortcut: press Windows-U to hop directly to this window without first launching the Control Panel in step 1 above.)
3. Scroll down and click the Use This Computer Without a Display link.
4. Scroll down and click the Turn Off All Unnecessary Animations (When Possible) checkbox.
5. Click OK as needed or close any onscreen windows.
For other tips and tricks including how to turn off read mode, check out this PC World Article: “12 infuriating Office 2013 flaws (and how to fix them)”
Windows 10 debuted last week leaving many excited but also a bit confused about when/if they should upgrade their devices. Most Windows 7 and 8 devices are eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 but we’re recommending that our clients wait for a few reasons.
1.You have a whole year to upgrade.
All users with eligible devices for a free Windows 10 upgrade have one year to transition to the new operating system. This means there is plenty of time to prepare and no need to rush the install. Prior to upgrading users will want to make sure they have a complete backup of their system and that they have allocated time to be away from their computer while the upgrade completes.
2. It won’t be perfect right away.
Microsoft has been testing and demoing Windows 10 for months now, but there are always unforeseen issues that rise to the surface when a new operating system is released. Windows 10.1 is expected to come out in October and by waiting for the first service pack before converting you can let others identify any initial bugs that need to be worked out. Once the operating system is more stable and less work in progress an upgrade to Windows 10 will be ideal for organizations looking to upgrade from Windows 8 and something to consider when purchasing new hardware.
3. All applications and external devices won’t be compatible.
Uptime for critical business applications is crucial for organizations large and small. Before upgrading to Windows 10 it is very important to determine that all necessary applications and programs will run on this new operating system. Databranch can work with your business to determine compatibility for key apps and prepare an upgrade path. It is also important to research and be prepared to install new drivers for external devices like printers. If you do not take this step, there is a chance your previously purchased devices like monitors and printers will no longer work causing pain and unplanned expenses to replace the faulty units.
Databranch is excited to work with our clients to plan future upgrades to Windows 10. As a longstanding Microsoft partner we are looking forward to the benefits this new operating system will bring to our clients but we are advising that for now you wait and take this software launch as an opportunity to look ahead, plan, and prepare for a smooth transition. To speak with one of our consultants, call 716-373-4467, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here to start your Windows 10 upgrade conversation.
Have you upgraded to Windows 10? Share your story in the comments!
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