Summer is right around the corner. If you haven’t tackled Spring cleaning yet, now is your opportunity! Here are a few ways to clean up your system and improve its overall performance with regular maintenance:
Dust with compressed air and wipe down the monitor
Starting with the outside of your system, dust the keyboard and mouse with a can of compressed air. Compressed air is strong and will clean out any built up dust particles and other grime. You may also consider wiping down your keyboard and mouse with an antibacterial solution, to rid the surfaces of germs and bacteria. Avoid spraying the keyboard and mouse directly — instead, lightly spritz a rag and wipe. Wipe down your monitor with a microfiber cloth to remove fingerprints and anything else that may be crusted to the monitor.
Clean hardware system
Once you have dusted the outside of your system, you should focus on cleaning your hardware. Before you begin, close any active programs/files, shut your computer down, and unplug the computer from the wall. Unscrew the hardware casing and use compressed air to dust all the nooks and crannies of your system. Compressed air is safe to use on hardware and should not cause any damage.
Turn your computer off or restart regularly
Simply putting your computer to sleep while it is not in use will cause your system minimal damage. However, you should make a habit of restarting or shutting your system down every now and then — especially if you use an older system. Rebooting your computer will prevent overheating and will allow your system to refresh its settings and resources. Allowing your computer to reboot and refresh will improve its overall performance.
Clear up drive space
One thing that will slow your computer’s performance is a full drive. Improve your computer’s performance by clearing up drive space regularly — there’s no reason to hold on to files and downloads you no longer need! Delete any unnecessary files and consider moving files you wish to keep to an external harddrive.
Remove malware and viruses
Malware can affect operability and cause data loss or theft. There are a number of ways your system can be infected by malware and other viruses. Therefore, it is important that you use antivirus software to protect your computer and remove any potential threats. This software will run diagnostics, identify viruses, and resolve these.
It is important that you install program updates regularly, as to ensure all programs are running efficiently. Failing to install new updates can affect the speed and performance of your programs. Most programs have regular updates that will address security holes and minimize unnecessary features.
At WesTec Services, we believe regular maintenance is crucial for maintaining the health of your system. With regular maintenance, you can prevent the worst from happening — and prevention is key!
Most IT consultants simply put band-aid fixes on computer network problems and react to problems instead of looking for ways to prevent them from happening in the first place. As with most things in life, prevention really is better than cure — and it’s no surprise to find that prevention is the secret of good IT support too. Interested in learning more about our IT services? Contact us today!
Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!
If you work on a computer all day long, you’re likely to encounter tech issues. At WesTec, we believe knowledge is power. Therefore, we have compiled a list of a few quick fixes to common tech issues:
For a number of reasons, you may receive a dialogue box stating that the application you are trying to use is unresponsive. This issue will prevent you from using the application and will likely slow the performance of your system. Fortunately, there’s no need to call IT support, as this issue has an easy fix!
On PC, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete in order to access your Task Manager. From this dialogue box, you can end specific tasks. Your Task Manager will indicate which applications are unresponsive, and you can hit “End Task” to close the application.
On Mac, you can achieve the same result by pressing Command + Option + Esc. You will receive a pop-up displaying active applications. Select the unresponsive application and click “Force Quit.”
Slow or poor internet connection
There’s nothing more disruptive than a slow or poor internet connection. When you encounter this issue, minimize downtime with this quick fix.
Your wireless internet connection is supported by a router. Restart your router by unplugging its power source for 30 – 60 seconds. Then, plug the router back in. You will notice it may take a few minutes before you have a stable internet connection. If this does not work, try restarting your computer and checking your connection again.
You may also consider clearing your browsing history and cache. A collection of cookies and cache could be slowing specific sites. Every internet browser is different, but you can easily clear your cache in your general settings.
Slow computer performance
Is your system underperforming? There could be several reasons for this! Before calling IT, there are a few things you can try in order to improve the speed of your computer.
If you have too many windows or programs open and running at once, this could be affecting your computer’s performance. Close any windows or programs you are not using. If your computer is full of downloads, try deleting any files you no longer need and empty your trash bin. This will likely improve your computer’s performance, but it also wouldn’t hurt to restart your computer.
If this issue persists, we recommend calling IT, as you may have a virus that is affecting your system.
Struggling to troubleshoot your tech issues? Minimize the downtime spent searching for solutions and outsource IT support with WesTec Services! Interested in learning more? Contact us today!
Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!
Even the “smartest” devices fail sometimes, and when this occurs, your business is at risk for data loss. This can be catastrophic for productivity and revenue. Therefore, it is crucial that businesses implement a data recovery strategy. Here are five facts you need to know about data loss and recovery:
78% of data loss is a result of system failure or malfunction
You heard that right — well over half of data loss is a result of system failure! System failure is unpredictable, meaning that it is beyond human control. The only safe way to prevent data loss of this kind is be proactive and prepared for the unexpected.
60% of companies that experience data loss will go out of business within six months
In 2021, we rely on technology for almost everything. Businesses often store important or confidential information in their computer systems with no physical copies for backup. When disaster strikes, companies have a lot more to lose than just their data. In fact, 60% of companies that experience this loss will go out of business within six months.
50% of backup restores fail
Backing up your files is one of the best ways to ensure your data is safe if system failure were to occur. However, data backup is not as simple as backing up your files one time! Half of all backup restores fail. Therefore, you must regularly backup your files on several devices and servers.
1 in 5 businesses do not have a recovery plan
In an effort to cut costs, many businesses have no data recovery plan in place — as many as 1 in 5! However, not having a plan can actually be more costly, as data loss often results in downtime and even closures. Preparation and taking preventative measures is the only way to safeguard your systems and business.
96% of businesses with a recovery plan fully recover
It’s no surprise that businesses that develop and implement a data loss recovery plan are far more likely to recover after disaster. Are you prepared?
WesTec Services wants to help you safeguard your data! The professionals at WesTec Services specialize in data backup and recovery, and serve firms all across Houston. Don’t put your business at risk by being ill-prepared — schedule a call with one of our professionals today!
Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!
Most technology users are aware of the need to protect their devices but fail to understand that the mobile device can be a much bigger, and different, risk than a work desktop computer. Learn more about mobile security threats and how you can avoid them:
Is mobile security important?
While many people choose easy passwords or fail to password-protect their phone at all, mobile devices are a host to some of our most personal and sensitive data. Most users keep passwords, credit cards, and personal information all in their phones, a gold mine of information for any cyber-criminal. Protecting your cell phone is more important now than ever due to the increase of valuable data we store on it as well as the increase in mobile security breaches and cyber-criminals.
Mobile Security Breaches
Mobile security breaches are completely different from desktops. On mobile phones, there is not much need to log on, especially if the user does not have a password. Furthermore, most times apps are constantly running in the background and do not require passwords to access all of your different accounts.
Secondly, most mobile users are less likely to check the validity of a link before it is clicked on. The small phone screen makes it difficult to see an entire link and pages often show up differently or incorrectly on mobile. This makes it much easier for fake links and phishing schemes to attack your phone and threaten your security.
How to Protect Your Information
A key part of avoiding mobile security threats is understanding what apps are tracking your information and which information they are using. Many apps use information such as pictures, contacts, and internet data to make decisions about what to show you. It is important that users understand how their information is being used.
Another security recommendation is to avoid malicious apps. There are third-party app stores available on the internet with many different offerings but it is recommended that you only buy from official app stores like Apple or Google Play. These app stores are much more closely monitored and therefore safer than apps downloaded from deep in the Web.
If possible, avoid using public wifi networks. Using unsecured public WiFi can give people the opportunity to intercept your information and easily gain access to it. If you must use public WiFi, download a VPN. A VPN, or virtual private network, creates a private network from the public internet, allowing you to establish an encrypted and secure connection while accessing the public internet.
Mobile security threats are very real and can very dangerous to the privacy of your personal information. Choose a business technology provider that you can trust. WesTec offers many different services, from IT consulting to smartphone support. For more information, visit our website or contact us today.
As our society leans more on technology, the opportunities for threats to interfere continue to increase. Safe computing requires more user awareness than ever before as well as maintenance of passwords and data security.
Here are a few tips on how you can keep your information safe online:
Secure your passwords.
Password hacking is the easiest way for anyone to access your information and cause damage. Switch up your password on each website you use, store them in a safe place, and be sure to change them frequently for the most security. Include both uppercase and lowercase, symbols, and numbers for the most difficult-to-guess passwords.
Automatically download important updates.
Updates such as MacOS are critical to the integrity of your computer and should therefore be completed as soon as they become available. Adjust your updates in settings to download automatically.
Never access sensitive websites on public WiFi.
Your data could be easily copied or stolen on a sensitive network. In addition, do not access or share sensitive data on unreliable networks.
Be aware of phishing attempts.
Never open an email from someone you do not know. If there is a link or document attached in the email, absolutely do not open it. Hackers often use this to automatically download malware onto your computer when opened and to access your information or ruin it altogether.
Back up your important information onto an external drive.
Whether it be a full backup hard drive or a flash drive, secure sensitive data onto a protected drive in case of emergency and for extra protection.
Don’t let yourself become the next hacked credit card or identity theft. Practice safe computing and protect your valuable information with the security it deserves. WesTec Services is a trusted and experienced IT services provider located in the Houston area. Allow us to keep your data safe by giving us a call today or visiting our website.
With the rise of COVID-19, cloud-based remote work has become increasingly popular and necessary. With new and emerging cloud-based technology comes new cybersecurity threats, like “cloud jacking.”
What is cloud jacking?
Cloud jacking occurs when a hacker steals the information of a cloud account holder and gains access to the server. Hackers often use this act as a means to conduct criminal activities, such as identity theft.
Because businesses often store confidential, sensitive information on cloud servers, they are major targets for cloud jacking. When it relates to sensitive information, these kinds of security breaches can be devastating for a business’ clients, partners, and reputation. Cloud jacking is not simply a one-time offense, as it creates a web of victims.
How do I protect myself against cloud jacking?
There are several things you can do to protect your business, clients, and partners from falling victim:
- Require strict, multi-factor user authentication
- Limit internal access to your cloud server
- Perform background checks before granting anyone access to your cloud server
- Backup all data stored on the server, in the event that there is data loss
- Use encryption to secure all data before storing on your server
- Require all users to create strong, secure passwords
- Here are the properties of a strong password:
- The longer, the better
- A combination of lowercase and uppercase letters
- Numbers and symbols
- Avoid words or terms that could be easily linked to your identity
The professionals at WesTec Services want to help you protect your network and business. We provide vital business technology and consulting services that can be tailored to your needs and budget. Interested in learning more? Contact us today!
Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!
A security threat of any kind can disrupt productivity and impact business. What precautions are you taking to ensure your company does not fall victim to these disruptions? Here are 3 security solutions you should employ as a business owner:
System failure can occur for a variety of reasons, such as virus infection, human error, and natural disaster. Regardless, system failure occurs without warning and could easily put you out of business if you are not prepared. Therefore, it is crucial you implement some sort of backup and data recovery software to protect your network. If you store important or confidential files on your computers, you simply cannot afford to be without backup and data recovery.
Access Control Systems
Another way to protect your business against security threats would be to implement an access control system. With access control systems, facility owners may install security technology such as ID key entries and finger-printing scanners in order to track who enters the building. This technology can also record the time and date guests arrive and leave.
CCTV or IP Security System
Video surveillance is another great solution for businesses looking to increase security efforts, especially when paired with access control systems. Installing cameras at key entrances and exits will allow a facility owner to better monitor who enters the building. Unlike backup disaster/recovery, access control systems and CCTV protect against external security threats.
Why wait until you need a solution in order to implement preventative measures? Most IT consultants simply react to problems instead of looking for ways to prevent them from happening in the first place. At WesTec Services, we believe prevention is better than a cure; prevention is key to maintaining productivity and cash flow. Protect your assets – call WesTec Services and schedule a meeting with one of our IT professionals to discuss what security solutions are best suited for your business!
As business continues to shift towards long term remote work practices, our tendency to fall for phishing scams has risen exponentially. While many businesses used to have one or two locations, workers are now spread out all over the country, working from their home phones and computers. While we now see more screen sharing services and video conferencing, a lot of these newer services are still perfecting their security measures. Here are a few changes businesses can make to protect company security during remote work conditions:
Use video conferencing passwords
Video conferencing apps such as Zoom or WebEx have had security breaches in the past, random people joining a call without invitation and “bombing” it. Many of these services have already made improvements to prevent this, but when possible, enable a meeting password and share it only with those welcome on the call.
When possible, protect equipment and increase security
Many employees do not have the necessary equipment at home, such as computers and monitors, to work as efficiently in the office. By allowing employees to bring home computers from the office or providing them with security for their home computers, the business can feel more confident in the security of their data. It is also common that home computers lack the security measures of work equipment, making them easier for hackers to access and leak valuable information. Whether you are using company equipment or your own, talk to your company and discuss how to best protect sensitive company data from your home.
Be cautious opening emails
With basically all office communication occurring now through email, employees are much more active, and most likely responsive, on their inboxes. This provides more opportunities for phishing scams to sneak in and imitate legitimate people or companies.Use caution when opening emails from unknown addresses, and if it seems unsafe, never click on a link or download. While transitioning to remote work may be difficult, the security of your data does not have to be. WesTec Services have been providing technology services for over 20 years. To discuss your IT, business telephone, or video security needs, contact WesTec today.
A Password meter is an indicator of the strength of a password entered by a user on a website. In most cases, meters estimate the amount of tries necessary for your password to be guessed by an attacker by factoring in password length and complexity. A University of Plymouth study tested 16 of the most encountered password meters on the internet to test their effectiveness. Based on the results, here are a few tips on how to keep your passwords secure, regardless of an “approval” given by the password meter:
Do not always trust the password meter
Just because a password meter says “strong password” does not mean it is. The meters can be helpful but are also extremely flawed, giving you a sense of false security. When deciding on a password, do not base it solely on the rating given by the website.
Avoid using keyboard patterns
On many password meters, passwords such as “querty”, “abc123”, and “Password” sometimes cannot be detected as problematic. Common letter combinations, such as going down a row of the keyword or commonly used words, are easily guessed and not always flagged on the meters.
Make passwords complicated and personal
The most secure passwords are those with a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols. Choose combinations that seem difficult to guess by an outside person or computer. The more complicated and seemingly random the password, the stronger it will be.
In addition to character variation, do not use the same password for all of your accounts. Change up your passwords so that if one is discovered, not all of your information is at risk.
Secure your valuable data with the protection it deserves. Do you part to protect your information with a strong password, WesTec is here to do the rest. WesTec Services is dedicated to providing the highest quality of IT consulting as well as backup disaster and recovery planning. Give WesTecCall a call today to discover more about our available services.
Have you ever accidentally deleted a file and then realized you need it back? Unfortunately, it’s happened to most of us at least once–and we’ve all experienced the headache that follows.
Here are a few tips that can help you try to recover a deleted file from your device:
To continually ensure the security of business data and important files, it is recommended to perform regular data backups to your computer. If you feel that you don’t have the time or expertise, WesTec Services performs data backup and recovery services provided by our expert IT consultants.
- Make sure the file is really deleted – If you’re not sure whether you permanently deleted a file, be sure to look for it before making an assumption. When attempting to recover deleted files, check the Recycle Bin or Trash on your computer. Typically, you can choose the filter “Date Deleted” to make your search easier. If your file was stored in a cloud storage like Dropbox or Google Drive, check your deleted files there–it may still be recoverable.
- Check your backups – Making regular backups of your most important files on your device can prevent you from losing critical data when you need it. If you do have a backup, you may be able to recover your deleted files. if you don’t have a backup, now may be the time to implement one.
- Try to recover the file – If you deleted a file on a magnetic hard drive, shut down the computer immediately. With the computer shut down, you should remove the hard drive from the computer entirely and place it in another computer as a secondary drive. Use file-recovery software to scan the drive. If you deleted the file recently and haven’t written to the drive much, you have a fairly good chance of recovering it.
- Professionally recover the file – If all other methods were not successful in recovering the deleted files, you may want to consider a professional data recovery service. Professional data recovery services deal with everything from deleted and overwritten files to dying hard drives that need to be disassembled and repaired.
For more information on our data backup or recovery services, contact the experts at WesTec today.