Blog

January 6th, 2014

Happy New Year valued LANPRO clients, vendors, and partners! We’d like to thank you for a very successful year in 2013 and wish you all a prosperous, fun-filled year moving forward in 2014.

Sincerely,

The LANPRO Systems Managed Services Team

Topic Articles
October 24th, 2013

CryptoLocker-thmb

Don’t open that email attachment.

The recent release of a new ransomware actually executes its threat. For years, we’ve seen “ransomware” malware that offers to “clean” your computer of all the viruses it has detected for a fee. These viruses are fake, and once removed , the computer is fine.

Cryptolocker is different – it carries out the threat, and if a user doesn’t pay, files are encrypted with a extremely tough to break key. Simply removing the virus does not make the files recoverable. Furthermore, there is a time deadline of approximately 72 hours to pay or lose the files forever.

How Does Cryptolocker Spread?

Simply put, be VERY LEARY of any emails received that appear to be coming from a disgruntled customer.

Cryptolocker is cleverly crafted to exploit business users – the ones most likely to be able to afford the $300 extortion fee – by sending an email to an employee that appears to be from a disgruntled customer. The email has an attachment that purports to contain more details of the complaint.

Once the attachment is opened, the virus goes to work silently, encrypting the users files – Word files, AutoCAD files, photos, etc., on not only the local PC, but potentially any network drives that the PC can access. Once the files are encrypted (this process may take days), it presents itself, asking for the money to decrypt the files. The money is sent via untraceable types of exchanges, such as Bitcoin.

Removal of the virus is relatively easy, but decrypting the files is not. In fact, as of this writing, we know of no way to recover the encrypted files.

How can I stop Cryptolocker from infecting my computer?

This is a relatively new virus, and some people are speculating that the outbreaks that have occurred during the past few weeks may be just a test run. As far as we know, there is NO antivirus program that can intercept and stop the virus from infecting the computer and encrypting the files. We are unsure if anti-spam filters can or will trap the emails, either (this likely varies by filter anyway).

Reliable, continuous backups are the only way of protecting your files right now.

We will post more information on the LANPRO Blog as it becomes available.

Topic Articles
January 2nd, 2013

We have some exciting plans for our clients in 2013 and look forward to taking our Managed Service offerings to the next level. We would like to thank you all again for your continued business and here’s to a prosperous and fun-filled business year.

Topic Articles
June 6th, 2012

Source: www.appassure.com

We found it folks! The last piece of server backup software you’ll ever need! After months of internal testing, we have committed to standardizing on the Dell AppAssure data backup solution for our new and existing clientele. Protecting our client’s data is by far one of the biggest responsibilities we have as an Managed Service Provider (MSP) and our lab testing results have shown that we are able to get faster, more reliable, feature packed backup routines with AppAssure than we have with any other backup solution utilized to date.

We have already started aggressively rolling out the new Dell AppAssure product across many of our existing Managed Service client server platforms and if you haven’t already received a proposal from the LANPRO sales team, you will be in the not so distant future; especially for those of you that have backup software renewals coming up here soon. For any immediate inquiries you have on AppAssure, please direct your questions to your LANPRO sales rep or shoot us an email at Sales@lanprosystems.com

Topic Articles
May 20th, 2012

Source: howto.cnet.com
Author: Sharon Vaknin

Find out how your password security can be compromised, and how to create and manage secure passwords.

In a better world, vulnerable accounts like banks, medical records, e-mail, and cloud drives would be protected with biometric systems. A swipe of a finger or a retina scan would allow access to your most important data.

Alas, eight-or-more-character passwords still dominate Web service log-ins. Anything from your investment portfolio to your Facebook account is simply accessed with an e-mail address (or username) and a few characters.

Read more…

Topic Articles
May 15th, 2012

Source: www.pcworld.com
Author: Ian Paul

Microsoft is warning about a new Internet phone scam that could cost you $875 in stolen money and as much as $4,800 in computer repair bills to undo the damage.

Here’s how the scam works:

Scammers call your house and ask for you by name posing as computer security pros from legitimate companies. The fake security experts claim that you’re at risk for a computer security threat and offer to help you solve the problem. The criminals then ask you to perform a variety of tasks to help combat the bogus threat such as giving the thieves remote access to your computer, tricking you into downloading malware, and even asking for your credit card information.

Read more…

Topic Articles
August 29th, 2011

Email plays a big role in the way people do business. Whether you work from a fixed location at an office desk or from a mobile device on the go, the kind of email you use can define your level of productivity. Are you sure that the email system you are using is the right one for you?

Whether you work from an office or are productive while on the go, email most likely plays a big factor in the way you go about your business. Unbeknownst to many, some types of email systems have certain limitations that by extension can also limit the level of productivity of your business, and especially for people in the organization who must also work while out in the field.

One major issue for many people is synchronicity. Many people need their emails to be accessible on their mobile phones, PDAs, or other mobile devices, and they need them to be properly synchronized with their desktop workstations. The need to constantly update conversations and email threads from mobile devices to desktops with certain types of email can prove to be tedious and unproductive– and some email system types don’t include this ability at all.

Depending on the way you use your email, especially when on the go, having full access and full control of your account can define how productive you and others in your organization can be. Besides providing a much better degree of synchronization and integration with mobile devices, certain types of email systems also have features for sharing and collaboration features that allow you to set schedules and share files from your mailbox, as well as central storage for emails that allows you to access your account seamlessly with any mobile device, regardless of where you are located.

Of course, having a full-featured email system might not be best for everyone. The key is to know whether adapting a more bare-bones system is cost-effective for your business (especially in the long run). Sometimes the top of the line may be needed, and sometimes all you need is a bit of tweaking on your less fully featured system. Not sure which is best? Call us and we’ll be glad to sit down with you and assess what kind of email system is best suited for you and your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
August 23rd, 2011

Someone, somewhere could be talking about you or your company, anddepending on what’s being saidit can be either helpful or damaging to you or your business. This is of special concern in the online world, as the proliferation of websites and social media tools make it easy to share opinions with the world. In this article we point you to tools and online resources to help monitor and manage what’s being said about you or your businessand thereby build or defend your reputation.

Besides your own eyes and ears, there are plenty of toolsfor free or for a priceavailable to help you monitor your presence online. The simplest of these is your familiar search engines such as Google or Bing. By simply searching online, you can find where your name or your company’s name appears in various websites. With Google in particular, you can set up “alerts” which will email you when a specific word or term appears in their website index.

What words or terms should you use? Start with your name, or your company name, then try the name of your products and/or services, and maybe even the names of your employees, directors, and other stakeholders. It might also be helpful to search for the competition as well. As results come in you can refine your search by expanding or narrowing the scope of terms you would like to search or be alerted on. If you want to be able to search across all different search engines and not just one or two, you can use Monitor This.

Next you can use specialized website or social media monitoring tools to search only specific sites or services as opposed to the entire Internet. One example is Greplin, which allows you to search all of your accounts or accounts that you own. This is very helpful to be able to execute highly filtered searches on specific information in your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, or your blog. Another option is Rollyo, which allows you to set up your own specialized search engines that cull content from public or open websites of your choosing.

Other more generalized tools include RSS feed readers—which allow you to consume news or information feeds from news sites or blogs. Examples include Newsgator.com, Bloglines.com, Google Reader or Pluck.com. Other generalized tools include those that monitor specific newsgroups or message boards like BoardReader.com, ForumFind.com, Big-Boards.com, BoardTracker.com, iVillage, Yahoo Message Boards, and MSN Money. Still others track changes to content of specific sites (Copernic Tracker, Website Watcher and WatchThatPage.com), as well as their domain information (DomainTools.com and BetterWhois.com).

The really interesting new services actually give you an explicit idea of the status of your reputationespecially if you are a relatively well known name or your business has an established brand. In this category are sites like Amplicate, which monitors general feelings or impressions about brands, businesses, or services; Klout, which tries to measure the influence of individuals based on their social interactions; and SendLove.to, which focuses on celebrities and media personalities.

There are literally dozens more tools you can use to monitor and manage your reputation online. To find out more, a great resource is here at the Duct Tape Marketing blog. If you have any additional suggestions, feel free to let us know!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
August 17th, 2011

For companies interested in trying out cloud-based services, email maybe something worth trying. Here’s a breakdown of two options from two industry giants that may be worth considering.

Google Apps
Google Apps is a service from Google that started in 2006, with the introduction of Gmail—a hosted email service, and which later incorporated other apps such as Google Calendar, Groups, Talk, Docs and Sites. Google Apps allow customers an independently customizable version of these Google products under their own domain name. The entry level option is free, but the package offered for Businesses is a paid service with an annual fee per user and additional storage space.

  1. Storage. Gmail, Google Apps’ email service starts with a sizable 7GB of free storage. Business users get 25GB. Bear in mind however that this storage space is shared with any data you have in other Google properties such as Picasa Web Album and Google Docs. Extra space can be bought however starting with USD $5 per year for an extra 20GB of storage. E-mail attachment sizes are limited to 25MB.
  2. Calendaring and Task Management. Gmail can be integrated with the overall excellent Google Calendar application. Google Calendar allows you to easily share personal calendars with colleagues, or create shared calendars used by groups of people (such as a calendar to track meeting room reservations, marketing events and others). Google Calendar also offers a built-in, but somewhat underpowered task management tool. Tasks can readily be added with due dates, but not readily shared or cannot be nested or linked with other tasks.
  3. Spam filtering, security and reliability. Gmail’s spam filtering features a community-driven system. Email tagged as spam by users help identifies similar messages as Spam for all other Gmail users. Generally the system works well, although some have complained that it can get over aggressive in its filters. In terms of security and reliabilityGmail has been criticized in the past with showing ads in its free Gmail service that display based on key words in the user’s messagespotentially violating their privacy. Its paid service offers however the option of disable these ads. Reliability is generally good with very few, but widely publicized disruptions in service.
  4. Usability. Gmail offers a host of unique usability enhancements that make it different from most other mail services. For one for a web app it loads really fast, as Google has been known to studiously optimize web page loading performance for their products. Another is that it offers a threaded view of messages by default. It also uses a starring/labeling system to tag and segregate messages instead of using folders. Another interesting enhancement done recently is the ability to sort messages by “importance” where it learns based on your usage over time what email messages it thinks you think are important.
  5. Mobile access. Gmail offers a version optimized for mobile devices, as well as support for a variety of devices for their native mail applications such as iOS and Android.

Overall Gmail is a solid mature choice if you are thinking of moving email to the cloud and are not afraid of being on the bleeding edge of cloud services and technology.

Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365, like Google Apps, offers a host of applications such as online versions of productivity tools which we all already know and use such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Most however work best when they are used in conjunction with your desktop-installed Office applications. Focusing on email, Office 365 offers a Hosted Exchange service, which transforms the mature, business-proven on-premise application to an on-demand service. Compared to Google Apps, it is quite newbeing introduced only last June this year, although its suite of products in an alternate form has been around for much earlier.

  1. Storage. Microsoft’s Hosted Exchange email service gives users 25GB of storage. Attachment file sizes are limited to 35MB. Additional storage can be purchased for $2.5 per GB per user per month.
  2. Calendaring and Task Management. Exchange integrates a mature feature set for personal productivity including calendaring, resource management, and task management. As an example tasks can be grouped, color coded and easily sorted. Emails can be converted as tasks and so on.
  3. Spam filtering, security and reliability. This is an area where perhaps Microsoft easily outshines Google with Exchange’s roots as an enterprise-class application. It offers spam protection, antivirus and others via Microsoft’s Forefore Online Protection for Exchange technology. It offers other features such as more full features user management, identity access management, mail archiving, etc. If you are in a highly regulated industry like financial services or healthcare these features may be essential for your business.
  4. Usability. While the web apps of Office 365 is not as fast loading or as slick as Google, it does offer familiarity. Modeled after their desktop brethren, or directly integrating with themthey offer a smoother migration experience for users specially if they have been weaned on Outlook.
  5. Mobile access. Like Gmail Microsoft made sure to support a variety of devices on launch, as well as integration with a variety of devicesspecially enterprise stalwarts like Blackberry mobile phones.

Overall Office 365 is a solid choice if you are thinking of moving email to the cloud but may be hesitant with changing the apps your users already know and use. Also if you are a business with strict policies related to security and compliancethis service may be something your auditors and IT people may be more comfortable with.

Interested in learning more? Can’t decide which to try? Let us know and find out how we can help get you the right balance between your existing IT systems and infrastructure and the cloud.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
August 15th, 2011

Smaller businesses usually face the difficulty of having their voices heard in the market today. While traditional marketing and advertising methods cost a lot more than many of these firms can afford, an effective alternative has arisen that is both efficient and cost-effective: marketing through social networking.

One of the most difficult challenges smaller businesses face is having a bigger presence in the market. While many of these companies offer good, quality services at much more affordable rates, they are many times overshadowed by larger firms that have bigger budgets to spend on marketing, advertising, and the like.

Things have changed, though, with the advent of social networking. What was once a simple, social, get-to-know-each-other tool between people on the internet has now evolved into a tool that small businesses can take advantage of in order to get their voices heard.

The gist of social networking for business is the simple concept of reaching potentially millions of people at a mere fraction of what is normally spent on advertising and traditional marketing. The wide reach of social media allows businesses to find their voices and showcase what they can do. The playing field then moves from an unfair balance of advertising budgets to a battle of service quality and value for money, as it should be and many smaller firms can compete effectively in this arena.

There are many ways to tap into the social networking phenomenon to boost your online presence and aid in your marketing. If you are interested in knowing more about this, please contact us and we’ll be glad to assist you in developing strategies that fit your specific requirements and needs.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles