Monthly Archives: November 2012

BitLocker Drive Encryption: What it is, Where to get it, and Why you need it

BitLocker Drive Encryption

Image Credit: jeffwilcox

If you allow your employees to use laptops or other mobile devices to access the office, what would happen if one of these items were lost or stolen? While concerns often immediately surround replacing the device in situations like this, what about the actual data that was on the lost or stolen item? Is the data safe and secure from prying eyes?

This scenario is more common that you might think. Unless there is something in place on the machine to protect your data, it is wide open for anyone who knows how to access and/ or remove the data.

That’s where BitLocker comes into play. Available for Windows Vista, 7, 8, and Server 2008 and newer, BitLocker is data encryption software that can be installed and configured to protect your offline data. With the proper version of Windows 8, BitLocker is already natively installed, saving you a little time.

How BitLocker works is that it protects your data offline, from hackers and other people who might be trying to access your information. For example, let’s say that an employee’s laptop was stolen. If BitLocker was installed, it would prevent the thief from gaining access to your data, even if they remove the hard drive from the laptop and put it into another machine to access. Additionally, BitLocker prevents the thief from installing the hard drive into a computer running and alternate operating system and other software designed to help mine data.

However, it is important to keep in mind

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that BitLocker prevents offline attacks only. It is not intended to prevent an attack that is happening from inside your computer network, and will not protect your computer if your password conventions are non-existent or easy to guess. It is important to use BitLocker as one component of your overall data protection plan, but not as your only piece of security.

Another thing to

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keep in mind is that BitLocker should be managed by a professional that knows their way around the system. Do not

just let your employees activate and start using BitLocker. The software has some confusing settings and message screens, and requires specialized knowledge to setup. An attempt to setup the software on your own could result in hours of frustration, and long calls to the help desk. Even then, it may not be correctly setup, which is even worse because it actually leaves you unprotected, despite the fact that you think you are.

If you want to know more about how BitLocker can help protect your data, or if you think it might be right for your business, contact us today. We can help you determine a data protection solution that is designed for your specific needs and concerns.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you protect your business and technology. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.

Exploring Windows 8: The Differences Between the Standard, Pro, and RT Versions

 

Windows 8

Image Credit: Microsoft Sweeden

A new version of Windows was released on October 26 known as Windows 8, and it has a completely different look than previous versions. The operating system is packed full of features poised to take advantage of the newest technology, including touch-screen features, social media integration, and more.

However, before you just rush right out and purchase Windows 8, you may want to know a few things about the different versions available so that you buy the one that is right for you.

Windows 8 comes in three basic “flavors”: Windows 8 (basic), Windows 8 Pro, and Windows RT. So what’s the difference between the three?

Windows 8

This is the basic version of the operating system that will most likely be rolled out with home and consumer level machines. The features within the OS are geared for home users, and the features are a little stripped down compared to Pro.

Please note, however, that at the time of this article, the pricing and availability for Windows 8 has yet to be announced.

Windows 8 Pro

A bit more robust than the basic version, Windows 8 Pro includes all the features of the basic version, combined with power-user features, such as BitLocker, domain join, encrypting file system, support for group policy, remote desktop hosting and more. Because of the advanced features of Pro, this version would be best for power-users, as well as office users needing extra support.

Currently, this is the only full version of Windows 8 available.

Windows RT

Loaded on tablets, Windows RT is a scaled down version of Windows 8. While it may look, feel, and share some of the same code as Windows 8, RT is scaled down, and made for mobile devices.

The biggest difference with Windows RT is that it will not allow you to load or use any actual computer software on your mobile device. Instead, you can choose to install software in the form of apps from the Windows Store. However, it does come with a scaled down version of Office.

RT primarily comes installed on the new Windows Surface tablet, but may become available on other mobile devices given time.

In a nutshell, those are the main differences between the Windows 8 versions. Hopefully this review will help you make an informed decision by the time you are ready to upgrade to the newest version of Windows.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you learn more about your technology options. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.

The Difference Between Break-Fix and Flat-Rate IT Services

Broken Computer

Image Credit: miss_rogue

For many years, IT companies everywhere used the Break-Fix model to provide services because it only made sense to fix computers and other technology items once they were actually broken. However, as technology has grown, changed, and implemented great reporting tools along the way, a new model is emerging – Flat-Rate IT – and it’s sure to change how the IT industry does business.

Break-Fix

The Break-Fix model of IT support is exactly what it sounds like – your IT Company is only called to fix an item when it is actually broken. While this is currently the industry norm, this model can create lots of problems for the businesses receiving services.

Under the Break-Fix model, businesses are at the mercy of their tech problems. If something breaks, that section of the business is down for an unknown amount of time until the IT Company can send someone out to fix the problem.

What’s more, under this model the IT Company only wins when your business is down. There is no incentive for them to keep you up and running properly, because they don’t make money when your business is stable. Instead, the IT Company is only profitable when you need services.

And that’s the flaw of the Break-Fix model, the IT Company isn’t a true partner of the business they provide services to because they don’t have their best interests in mind. They are only profitable when your business is down and have no incentive to ensure that your equipment is well maintained.

Flat-Rate

However, there is a new model that is being adopted by IT companies everywhere, known as Flat-Rate IT. Under this model, businesses pay a reoccurring monthly fee for monitoring, maintenance, and support. This model allows the entire network, including all office computers, to be monitored on a regular basis.

If something small needs fixing, like applying software updates or running scans, the technician can do so remotely, often after hours, so they don’t impact your staff’s busy day.

However, the beauty of the Flat-Rate model is when big problems

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occur. With Flat-Rate IT, it is easy to predict big problems before they get worse because of all the monitoring and reporting that is happening on the network. Often, this means that parts can be ordered and service can be scheduled prior to the problem getting so big that it takes down the entire office.

And that’s the beauty of the Flat-Rate model – your IT Company only makes money when you are up and running seamlessly, not the other way around. This model allows your IT Company to become a trusted business advisor that truly has your businesses best interests at heart and gives them incentive to keep your computers maintained and running well.

At TechQuility, while we can provide services under the traditional Break-Fix model, we prefer the Flat-Rate model so that we can partner with the businesses we serve and give them the best technology foundation possible. If you’re ready to break free from tradition and discover all the benefits of Flat-Rate IT, contact us today.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you learn more about your technology options. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.