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
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.
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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.
Welcome to the second part of our discussion, Which Version of Windows 7 Should You Choose?
If you haven’t already done so, please read Part I for some great reasons to upgrade, before continuing.
How to Choose
Maybe you’re ready to upgrade, but are daunted by all of the different editions of Windows 7. Here is a quick rundown which will hopefully help shed some new light.
First off, it is important to note that the features for all editions of Windows 7 are included, regardless of which edition you are using. Your license key type is what determines which features you can actually access.
Windows 7 Home Premium: This edition is geared toward home users and contains some basic Windows 7 features, like Windows Media Center. Home Premium can join a basic home workgroup, but not an actual server run domain (like a business domain).
Windows 7 Professional: Created for high-end users and small-business, this edition provides all the features of Home, but with additional business features, like being able to join domains, run programs in XP mode, activate Software Restriction Policies and more.
Windows 7 Enterprise: This edition is only sold to companies with a Software Assurance contract with Microsoft. Enterprise is is packed with even more business and enterprise level features, like data encryption with BitLocker, Unix application support, the ability to run virtual machines, and more.
Windows 7 Ultimate: Contains all features of the previous editions of Windows 7. If you want to use Windows 7 without limitations, this is the version to purchase.
Which Bit is Best?
On top of all the editions, there are also two different versions of Windows 7 – 32-bit and 64-bit. However, determining which version is for you depends on your computer.
There is no point in getting a 64-bit operating system, if you don’t have a processor capable of running 64-bit.
You can test your computer’s compatibility before upgrading with Microsoft’s Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.
Other Reasons to Upgrade
Just in case you’re still on the fence about upgrading, here are a few other reasons to think about.
Installation is so fast, you’ll be amazed. Finally, Microsoft came out with a version of Windows which doesn’t take forever to install. Typically you can be using your computer again, after a fresh install of Windows 7, in as little as 30 minutes (or less).
Student pricing allows you to purchase Windows 7 for cheap – under 75 dollars, depending on edition and school deals. Microsoft also offers student discounts for other Microsoft programs, but you must actually be a student, and your school has to participate in Microsoft’s program. Check out Microsoft’s student discounts.
It’s just better. Windows 7 is simply a superior operating system. While it might look quite different from Windows XP, it is an easier system for users to navigate, making your time on the computer enjoyable. (Writer’s note: trust me on this one; I wasn’t a big Windows or Microsoft fan until Windows 7 came onto the scene, and I’ve used all of the other versions of Windows.)
Hopefully this post gave you enough information to finally consider taking the plunge, and upgrading to Windows 7. Once you finally do, you’ll wonder why you waited so long.
Are you in love with Windows 7 because of a recent upgrade? Leave us a comment and tell us about your experience.
Would it surprise you to learn that over 44% of all Windows users are still using Windows XP, an operating system which is over 11 years old! If you one of the many who favor Windows XP, you may want to consider upgrading.
Leap Now, Instead of Later
If you have no other reason for upgrading, consider this scenario. Computers are constantly being upgraded and with these upgrades often come appearance changes.
Instead of being behind the curve, upgrading is a great way to ensure you adapt and learn the major changes, instead of feeling frustrated and lost when you finally decide to upgrade.
Reasons to Switch
Unlike previous versions of Windows, Microsoft finally did something right when they released Windows 7. It is packed full of rich features which makes computing easier.
Features like the upgraded Start Menu, which allows you to quickly call up programs and search for documents and emails, without having to look in a million different places.
Click on the Windows Icon in the bottom left corner, and when the Start Menu appears, just start typing. The system will automatically generate a list of items based upon criteria you’ve given.
We often post articles discussing the features of Windows 7, like these:
Windows 7 Shortcuts: Learn some useful tricks and keyboard commands.
Windows 7 Calculator: Even the calculator has some rich features in Windows 7.
Pinning in Windows 7: Never search for your frequently used folders or documents again.
Windows 7 Problem Solving Tips and Tricks: Learn about the ways Windows 7 can help you diagnose and fix problems.
There is so much more to deciding which edition of Windows 7 to use. Stay tuned for the second half of our article, which will be posted on Monday.
Are you already using Windows 7? Leave us a comment telling us what your upgrade experience was like.