(713) 682-4000 sales@westecservices.net

Last-Minute Spring Cleaning: Maintaining Your Business Technology

Quick Fixes to Common Tech Issues

PC vs. Mac: Which is the Right Option for Me?

4 Things Your IT Support Team Wants You to Know

6 Things Every Computer User Should Know How to Do

Easy Ways to Protect the Health of Your Computer

What Are Deepfakes?

Outsourcing Your Technical Support with IT Consulting

Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach

Why Should I Outsource My IT Needs

Posts Tagged ‘it’

Last-Minute Spring Cleaning: Maintaining Your Business Technology - Westec Services

Last-Minute Spring Cleaning: Maintaining Your Business Technology

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:

 

Business Technology MaintenanceDust 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.

 

Business Technology MaintenanceClear 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.

 

Install updates

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!

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Quick Fixes to Common Tech Issues - WesTec Services

Quick Fixes to Common Tech Issues

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:

 

Unresponsive applications

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!

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PC vs. Mac: Which is the Right Option for Me? - WesTec Services

PC vs. Mac: Which is the Right Option for Me?

The PC vs. Mac debate has the tech world divided. Whether it’s PC or Mac, users are loyal to their system. This begs the question: which system is better? What are the pros and cons of each system? WesTec Services has created a breakdown for each computer:

PC

One of the most obvious benefits to purchasing a PC is the price. PCs not only offer a wide range of products, but these products are more affordable than Mac products. According to VoltCave, a standard PC in 2021 costs anywhere from $500-$1000. Meanwhile, a Mac starts at $1299.

PCs also offer better hardware and configuration than Mac products. Boasting superior hardware and graphics cards, a PC is the better option for someone with interests in gaming. 

PCs use Windows operating systems, which allows users more freedom to customize and modify their system’s functionality and storage. Since Windows is the most commonly used operating system, there is more compatible software available for PCs.

Mac

Apple is known for their user-friendly, intuitive systems, making Mac computers the obvious choice for beginners. Meanwhile, PCs using Windows operating systems come with a bit of learning curve.

Though superficial, Mac is the preferred choice for its sleek appearance, as Mac products are more aesthetically pleasing than most PCs. For those with iPhones, iPads, or iPods, Mac’s easy multi-device integration allows its users to seamlessly sync all their Apple products together. When integrating devices, users can place calls and send iMessages directly from their computer, and easily access/share files directly from their devices. 

Additionally, Mac systems boast clear, built-in “Retina” displays. Therefore, these systems are ideal for those who require superior visual elements, such as graphic designers and artists.

 

When choosing between PC and Mac, it’s important to understand that not one system is better than the other — you simply must consider what system meets your needs and budget! Regardless of what system your company favors, WesTec Services is here to provide superior IT support. Interested in learning more about our Managed Services or IT Consulting? Contact us today!

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4 Things Your IT Support Team Wants You to Know - WesTec Services

4 Things Your IT Support Team Wants You to Know

For many computer novices, IT protocol is widely misunderstood. Given the complexity of some of these procedures, computer users are left feeling frustrated with IT support. However, IT is only here to help! Here are 4 things your IT support team wants you to know:

 

Your network is being monitored

Whether you have an internal IT department or you outsource your IT support, there is a chance that your network is being monitored around the clock. This often does not occur to many people. Therefore, you should avoid storing personal information or searching sensitive material on your work computer. If you wouldn’t want your boss or coworkers seeing it, it’s safe to say it shouldn’t be on your work computer.

 

IT has to assume you have zero tech knowledge

In order for your IT support team to assist you in resolving issues, they must first assume you have very little knowledge of computers. This means they will offer simple solutions to start. For someone with a basic understanding of computer functions, it may be frustrating to be asked, “Have you tried restarting your computer?” These questions seem like no-brainers, but IT wants to find the solution to your problem as quickly and efficiently as possible. If there’s a quick fix, they can find this solution by asking basic questions.  

They’re not magicians

For IT professionals with years of knowledge and experience, most tech issues will have easy, obvious solutions. However, that does not mean IT won’t encounter issues from time to time that require a little more thought and effort. Be patient with IT — they want to find a solution to your problem just as badly as you do. Remember, they’re people, not miracle workers.

 

Suggestions are meant to help you, not make your job harder

There’s a reason IT recommends you update your passwords regularly and perform program updates — they want to ensure your computer is secure and performing as it should be! When you take these suggestions seriously, you spend less time on the phone with IT resolving issues that could have been avoided to begin with; less time on the phone with IT means less downtime.

 

WesTec Services is your one-stop-source for all things IT support & consulting in Houston! Does your business require network installation, backup & disaster recovery, managed services, consulting, and more? We’ve got you covered! Contact us today.

 

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6 Things Every Computer User Should Know How to Do - WesTec Services

6 Things Every Computer User Should Know How to Do

With emerging technology, comes a major learning curve. For many, it’s difficult to even keep up! No worries — WesTec has got you covered and our IT support professionals are keeping it simple. Here are 6 things every computer user should know how to do in 2021:

IT support

Setup Your Wireless Network

If computer users must know one thing, it should be how to setup a wireless network and resolve wifi issues. A wireless connection is supported by a router; this router must be plugged in for users to access the internet. Most routers have several lights on the front that indicate the strength of the connection. If these lights are not on, the user should unplug and reset the router. Your computer will also indicate whether you are connected to the wireless network. On PC, the status of your connection can be found in the bottom right corner. On Mac, it can be found in the upper right corner.

 

Perform a Data Backup

System failure and natural disaster often strike with little to no warning. Therefore, it is crucial you know how to perform regular data backups. You can backup important data and files on flash drives and external hard drives. PC and Mac also offer software and servers that you can use to backup your data.

 

Install Antivirus Software

According to InfoWorld, 30% of computers in the United States are infected by some type of virus. Therefore, antivirus software is a must! Any IT professional would be happy to install your anti-virus software, but this process is actually pretty beginner-friendly. Antivirus software, like McAfee and Norton, can be downloaded directly from the internet and installed with ease. Dialogue boxes will walk you through the installation process.

IT support

Basic Troubleshooting

IT support professionals troubleshoot computer issues all the time, but it doesn’t hurt for a computer user to know basic troubleshooting skills. If your programs are failing or you are encountering an issue you cannot resolve, you must troubleshoot. Troubleshooting will identify what the problem is. To troubleshoot on PC, open your Start menu, then select “Settings” > “Update & Security” > “Troubleshoot.” On Mac, open your Apple menu and select “Restart.” Then, press and hold the “D” key while your Mac restarts. A screen with a list of languages will appear. Select your language of choice and your computer will begin running diagnostics.

 

Change Basic Settings

If you own a computer, you must know how to change your settings. Whether it’s adjusting sound levels or connecting a printer, knowing how to change basic settings comes in handy. On PC, open your Start menu and select “Settings” or “Control Panel” to make these necessary adjustments. On Mac, simply select the Preferences application, which can be found on your Dock.

 

Access Task Manager

If your computer is slow or unresponsive, you may have too many active programs open or a specific program has failed. Before calling your IT support team, try accessing your computer’s Task Manager. The Task Manager allows you to view active programs and force quit specific programs if necessary. On PC, you can access the Task Manager by holding Ctrl + Alt + Delete. On Mac, hold Command + Option + Esc. 

 

It’s helpful to know how to perform a few basic computer tasks, but if you’re just not tech-savvy, WesTec Services can help! We offer a variety of IT support services that can be tailored to your needs. Interested in learning more? Contact us today!

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Easy Ways to Protect the Health of Your Computer - WesTec Services

Easy Ways to Protect the Health of Your Computer

man using access control systemMaintaining your computer’s health requires regular care and maintenance. Here are a few things you can do to protect the health of your computer on a daily basis:

 

Routine deep cleans

You would be surprised by the number of files that collect on a computer over time. Too many files and programs can actually affect a computer’s load speed and overall performance. Therefore, it is crucial that you perform routine deep cleans on your system. Delete any files that you no longer need and are simply taking up space. If there are files you would like to keep, store these on an external hard drive (and back this drive up) before removing the files from your system.  

 

Download security updates

You’ve likely received notifications to download new security updates and declined for the sake of time and convenience. If you do not regularly download security updates, your computer may be vulnerable to hacking. These updates work to “patch” any holes in your computer’s security. Without these updates, hackers can intercept your security and access your information, files, programs, etc.

 

Install and update antivirus software

Viruses and malware can affect your computer’s overall performance, which can disrupt productivity. Therefore, it is important that you install an antivirus software and update this software regularly. Antivirus software will scan your computer for existing viruses, resolve these issues, and block more viruses from infecting your computer. 

 

When you fail to perform routine deep cleans and maintain your antivirus and security software, your computer is at risk of system failure. At WesTec Services, we understand it can be easy to forget to do these things. Don’t neglect your computer any longer — outsource IT support with WesTec Services! From IT consulting services and network installation to backup & disaster recovery, we’ve got you covered. Protect your computer’s health with WesTec Services. Contact us today!

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What Are Deepfakes? - WesTec Services

What Are Deepfakes?

With the advancement of technology over time, new types of cybersecurity threats emerge for consumers and businesses to worry about. Lately, deepfake cybersecurity breaches have become more common. According to Tech Beacon, deepfakes are defined as “synthetic media in which a person in a video or audio is replaced with someone else’s likeness or voice.” This type of threat can ruin businesses quickly due to how convincing the synthetic media are.

The Dangers

Due to the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, cyberhackers and criminals can create false audio and images pretending to be you or another coworker. Hackers are so precise, they can perform flawless impersonations. The frustrating part of the process is that if you don’t know this is a false video call or audio, hackers can easily obtain the information they need. Once financial details or unreleased company information falls into the wrong hands, it can be disastrous. 

Experts found that deepfake hacking methods have increased by 84% between December 2018 and October 2019. Research estimates $250 million in losses, as a result of deepfake hacking for the 2020 fiscal year.

 

Why It’s Popular Among Hackers

Businesses still struggle with high-level email phishing scams, making deepfakes harder to prevent. Due to the lack of knowledge surrounding this threat, deepfakes are becoming a new favorite method for cybercriminals who have the time and patience to implement this method. Deepfake hackers attack businesses in these ways:

  • Impersonating clients or suppliers asking for payments
  • Pretending to be supervisors and business owners, asking for fund transfers or sensitive information
  • Using fake blackmail audio and videos for extortion
  • Presenting fake pictures, videos, and audio files on social media to create slander campaigns

 

The Solution

The first step in preventing deepfake attacks is to be aware it is a method of cybersecurity destruction. Once you are informed, the next question is how you can protect your business. There are a few available solutions, like Deeptrace or Cogito. These software programs can be expensive for small- and medium-sized businesses. For those on a limited budget, here are some things to consider executing immediately:

  • Educate staff members about deepfakes, reporting odd situations before proceeding with any actions asked
  • Add two-step verification to your system for emails, phone calls, and video sessions, ensuring none provided over these communication methods are used over existing ones
  • Strengthen security measures for cybersecurity, adding systems if you currently have none or looking into upgrades for your current system
  • Add additional steps for fund transfer verification — this helps ensure the transfer is supposed to occur and can save your business thousands of dollars, if not.

Taking action now is the best thing you can do for your business. Employees and business owners should also periodically check in on the issue to see if better methods of protection are discovered. 

 

As new threats arise, you must be proactive! At WesTec Services, our IT professionals want to help you safeguard your business and its assets. If you’re unsure how to get started, contact us today.

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Outsourcing Your Technical Support with IT Consulting - WesTec Services

Outsourcing Your Technical Support with IT Consulting

Modern technology is a huge asset for businesses across all industries. However, with implementing new technology comes a major learning curve. So how do businesses properly execute new technology implementation in order to achieve the maximum sustainable results?   As a business owner, outsourcing your technical support is not only cost-efficient, but will allow you to prioritize your business objectives. Here are a few benefits of IT consulting:  

Expertise

With IT consulting, you can rely on the expertise of seasoned IT professionals. When an IT mishap occurs or you simply require guidance, IT professionals can assist you in making decisions and producing solutions that will allow you to optimize your technology in order to support the growth of your company.     

Cost

In an effort to cut costs, many companies are hesitant to invest in quality IT consulting. However, IT consulting can actually save you money! Without proper guidance on how to optimize your new business technology, you will be left to find solutions to problems you may not know how to address – and a simple human error can end up costing you a lot of money! Reduce unnecessary spending and consult with an IT professional.     

Time

With limited knowledge, you will likely encounter issues navigating your new business technology – and searching for solutions can take hours or even days! An IT mishap can put you behind schedule or even cause you to miss major deadlines. IT consulting is convenient, as you can team up with a professional to develop quick solutions that will put you and your business back on track.   WesTec Services offers customized IT consulting for small and large businesses. Our professionals are trained to effectively guide clients in positioning their strengths so they can properly utilize their technology to meet the constantly changing marketplace and the influence of technology. Interested in learning more about IT consulting? Contact us today and schedule a call with one of our professionals!
Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach - WesTec Services

Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach

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.   Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach - WesTec Services

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.   
Why Should I Outsource My IT Needs? - WesTec

Why Should I Outsource My IT Needs

Does your company have its own internal IT department? Do you feel that there is a misuse of time and resources due to inefficient practices within your company? Consider outsourcing your needs to someone with knowledge and focus on how to benefit your organization’s current technology needs. There are four main reasons why you should consider outsourcing your IT needs:

Reduce Costs

Outsourcing to someone who specifically handles and is knowledgeable about technology is cheaper than hiring and training someone to handle it internally.

Avoid RiskWhy Should I Outsource My IT Needs - WesTec Services

Having on-call technicians with training in the technology field will help avoid problems and system failures. The outsourced IT company will usually be knowledgeable in information backups and recovery in the case of a disaster. In addition, outside companies can more easily avoid the bad situations all together by being prepared specifically for them.

Increase Productivity

You decide how involved or not involved the outsourced company is in your day-to-day operations. Your company sets the pace and the outsourced support caters to your needs. You create the plan that best suits your business, allowing for the most optimal levels of business productivity and desired interaction between business and IT.

Remain Focused on Business

When delegating technology services to someone else, you are able to focus time and effort on the business side of things. No need to worry about the technology when you have a more knowledgable third-party source to handle it. Focus on what you know to optimize your time and efforts   and allow for the best use of company time. WesTec Services is skilled in handling all our outsources IT needs. We offer a full range of services and plans to handle your office technology. To learn more, contact WesTec Services today.

Mission: WesTec will be a “turn-key” solution for all of its clients’ business connectivity needs. It will offer efficient and effective solutions, directly and with strategic partners, that create tangible value for its clients at every point of contact. Westec will serve all people and entities with a servant’s heart.

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