Category Archives: IT Support

Windows 10 Privacy & Security Alert

Windows 10 Privacy & Security Alert

Of all the technology insights we at 8th Domain Technology have to share, this article is one the most important in our humble opinion. It has to do to privacy. YOUR privacy. And right now your business and personal information is at risk.

If you’re using Windows 10, depending on how your computer was setup, it provides an open door to Microsoft (and other 3rd parties) for everything on your computer and everything you do with it.  What does “everything” equate to you might be thinking?  Hold onto your hats… Here we go… Let’s start with access to all your contacts, access to your calendar items, connections to your contacts networks, and even a history of every keyboard key typed. Yikes!!!  Did you know this? Did you also know all this information is being stored in the cloud. Microsoft says they use this information to enhance your experience while using the computer. Humm.

If you set your computer using Microsoft’s recommended options (to make setup faster they say), you are exposing yourself far beyond what is “normal” in our opinion. If you have an IT staff or outsourced IT service provider, how did they setup your computers? Do you know? It maybe something worth asking.

Sounds alarming doesn’t it? It does, and it is. But there is a light at the end of this tunnel. And there’s no need to throw your computer into the trash and move to Montana {just yet}. Let’s take a look at these original setup options so you can see what you signed up for along with recommendations for disabling them.

First, when presented with this screen (pictured below) we suggest, again, not using the recommended install options and clicking on the “custom settings” link. If you are already using Windows 10 and either you or someone else setup your computer, we’ll show you how to alter these settings to get your privacy back towards the end of this article.

On the next setup screen (pictured below) we recommend turning off every item. Take a moment now to read, really read, each of these items.

The next screen (pictured below) deals with browser and protection settings, as well as connectivity and error reporting. Again, we recommend turning all these items off. Worth noting the first option for “smart screen services” pertains only when using Microsoft’s Edge browser to access the internet. We recommend this not just be turned off, but that you use either Google Chrome’s Internet browser or Mozilla Firefox’s browser. From our experience, these are both much safer than using Microsoft’s older Internet Explorer browser or their newer version called Edge.

Now what?  How about a fix 🙂

If you (or your IT support provider) previously chose these express settings to set up your windows 10 computer and you want to opt out of some or all of these, all is not lost. You can still go into the settings and change things.

To turn off the first item found in the Personalization settings, you will need to open the Privacy group in Settings and then “Speech, inking, & typing”.

Click or tap “Stop getting to know me”.

To turn off the “advertising ID” and “send typing and inking data” options, you will need to do that in the General privacy section. You will also find the option to turn off (or on) the SmartScreen filter here.

The Location settings can be turned off under the “Location” section.

Now let’s modify the “Network & Internet” settings to prevent others from gaining access to our network.

Tap or click “Wi-Fi” and then (if necessary) scroll down to “Manage Wi-Fi settings”.

Then tap or click “Off” the two options shown in the screenshot below.

Finally, there’s one more spot in the privacy settings called “Feedback & diagnostics” where you can adjust the final option in the customized setup to NOT use the recommended option.

 

There ya go!  You are safe once again from the prying eyes of big brother. Keep vigilant and keep tuned to 8th Domain Technology’s insights blog for news and updates that are actual useful. Both at work AND at home.

Want us to do this for you? We’d love to help get your privacy back. Give us a call at (800) 639-1046 or email us at contact@8thdomaintechnology.com and we’ll be there.

Real Cost of IT Support

Real Cost of IT Support

One of the greatest challenges among small business owners today is making the decision about IT support and maintenance of the information system; whether to hire an in-house IT tech or to outsource IT support for their business. With the relatively recent availability of Managed Services for small business, the list of choices – and decisions – has grown once again. Let’s take a look at the IT support choices currently available, as well as some of the costs involved. (Although we have tried to give you some idea of the costs involved, please remember that these are merely estimates based on averages, and that the actual cost of IT support services can vary greatly, based on needs.)

Option (1) Self-managed IT Support:

According to PayScale.com, the national median income for an in-house IT tech is currently running at a bit over $50,000 per year, with the upper end of that range reaching nearly $70,000 annually. For more experienced technicians, the median pay rate is above $56,000 annually, with the upper range much closer to $75,000 yearly. These pay ranges include salary, bonuses, and profit sharing for in-house employees, but do not include benefits, such as health insurance. If we choose a salary of $55,000 for the purpose of this comparison, we must then add benefits, sick pay, vacation time, and your annual payroll tax. These will total approximately $15,000 a year. Total cost of salary and benefits for your new IT specialist would be about $70,000 per year, though it could be more.

Option (2) Outsourcing your IT Support:

For many small business owners, outsourcing their IT support needs may seem extravagant due to the hourly rate that such companies charge. However, this type of support can be extremely cost-effective because of the expertise being purchased, the experience the techs who visit are able to offer, and the backup provided by the team that supports them. Further, as a small business owner, you should easily be able to budget for the monthly expense, based on the system evaluation and recommendations of the company you employ as your IT support team. A responsible IT support company will always begin with an objective assessment of your information system, along with recommendations for the work they will perform to meet your needs. In other words, they will not “pad” the bill, but will only perform the tasks you request of them. This can greatly reduce the cost of IT support for your small business, rather than hiring an in-house tech and paying an annual salary, as discussed above. Beyond this, a reputable IT support company will guarantee the expertise of the tech they send you. The tech will also possess a great deal more experience than an employee, as they deal with a variety of systems every day. In most cases, there will be little they have not seen, which will allow them to handle your specific needs more efficiently. Further, they will most likely assign a particular technician to your account, someone who will visit you regularly, allowing them to become intimately familiar with your information system and the needs of your business, and with whom you will build a relationship of trust over time. Best of all, your service will always be hands-on, with a live human being in place to answer your questions. The cost of this type of support can vary greatly, depending upon the age and number of servers and desktops being used in your organization. However, you will usually be able to save money by purchasing blocks of time in advance and only using the hours purchased on as as-needed basis. For the average small business, you should probably budget for something between $500 and $1000 per month, a vast savings over hiring an in-house IT tech.

Option (3) Managed Services IT Support:

With remote monitoring of your small business information system now available 24/7, 365, this option has become one of the more cost-effective and appealing choices among small business owners in today’s marketplace. For a flat rate monthly fee, business owners and IT managers can now purchase pro-active monitoring and maintenance of servers, desktops, and remote machines being used by their company. In addition to this, a business may also subscribe to this type of service in a graduated, piecemeal fashion; perhaps beginning with managed antivirus protection, then gradually adding email monitoring for spam and continuity, email archiving, desktop monitoring, mobile device monitoring, online data backup services, and more. By using such a service, your small business will find it very easy to budget for them. Because of the flat rate subscription fee you will pay each month, there will be no budget-busting surprises. As each of the managed services you’re using begins to save you money, by reducing system downtime and increasing productivity, you’ll be able to add another layer of protection, without having to invest in expensive an all-in-one package. The most important benefit of a managed services program is that it is fully automated and never rests. The system is working on your behalf 24/7, 365, monitoring and maintaining your information system even while you sleep. You will also receive notification of impending problems, allowing you to intervene before your system goes down. Once again, the cost of a managed services package for your small business will have a number of determining factors. Beginning with the age of your equipment and software, as well as the number of machines and users, to the selection of the various management and maintenance services to which you subscribe these will determine the monthly cost of your choices. For the average small business, your monthly cost may range from $1000 to $2000 per month for ‘round-the-clock protection of your information system, data, and workstations. You should consult with an IT support provider for more information on a managed services package features and costs.

IT Support Service Packages – Summary

For most of our South Florida small business clients, a combination of outsourcing their IT support to us, along with one of our proactive managed services packages has been the ultimate solution to their IT needs. This type of cost-effective combination of support services has provided them expert IT support when needed on-site, as well as the 24 hour protection of their information system that they need for their peace of mind. “It’s good to sleep again at night!” they tell us. If this information has been helpful, and you would like to know more about how Managed Services and IT support service packages from 8th Domain Technology could benefit you and your business, the IT experts at 8th Domain Technology are here to help you with all of your South Florida Small Business IT support needs. Please do not hesitate to contact us with your IT service request for help with your operating system, apps, servers, VoIP system or any other IT issues you may have. Contact us online or via phone at (800) 639-1046 | (954) 616-8023 for a free estimate today.