How to Avoid Getting a Computer Virus

A computer virus will lay dormant on your computer until you do something to activate it. The simple act of opening an email can make a computer virus active. Once a virus is activated, it will send itself to people you know, and it will infect their computers like it infected yours. Here are some helpful tips you can use to prevent computer viruses from troubling you:

  • Go directly to a company’s website if you want to download one of their programs. Don’t download a program from some other website. When a site is reputable, it will usually scan its computer for viruses and remove them.
  • Make sure the music or videos you download are from well-known and reputable websites. Networks designed to share music and videos often carry viruses. These sites are also known to carry spyware.
  • Stay away from programs you find on forums or blogs. These programs may be infected with a virus. No matter how tempting these programs are, do not initiate these them.
  • Make sure you have antivirus protection. Protection such as this can be purchased or downloaded for free. Once installed, an antivirus program should be updated regularly. Updates may be done automatically.
  • Don’t download a program a friend sent you. Your friend’s intentions may be good, but there could be a virus on your friend’s computer that unknowingly infected the program you received. If you feel you must have that program, find out which website your friend found it on and download it from there.
  • Never open an attachment you receive from an unknown source. If you have no idea who sent the attachment, don’t be curious to find out what it is about and click on it. Just delete it and forget about it. Don’t open attachments you get via email even if you do know who they’re coming from, as there are viruses that can get email addresses from a computer and infect other computers. Some viruses can send out virus infected emails without the owner of the infected computer knowing about it.

Be cautious of links you receive in emails, as emails are sometimes used to send viruses. If you happen to click on a link that came to you in an email and it asks for personal information, don’t give it out. Don’t click on the link if you are not absolutely sure you know where it will take you.   If you concerned about your computer and network security, contact Elevated Technologies today for a no cost, non-intrusive tune up!


Elevated Technologies Ranked Among Top 100 Cloud Services Providers

cloud services providers top 100 list

7th Annual Talkin’ Cloud 100 Report Identifies Top Cloud Services Providers

December 5, 2017: Elevated Technologies ranks among the world’s Top 100 cloud services providers (CSPs), according to Channel Futures seventh-annual Talkin’ Cloud (TC) 100 report.

The full report is available now by visiting ChannelFutures.com.

Based on data from Channel Futures’ online survey, conducted between August to October 2017, the TC 100 list recognizes top cloud services providers (CSPs), including MSPs, hosting companies, cloud consultants and more. Rankings are based on annual cloud services revenue growth, and input from Channel Futures editors.

“This is a great honor and very humbling to be mentioned alongside other great CSPs around the globe,” said Jason Rorie, Founder, Elevated Technologies. “We are dedicated to providing the best solutions for our clients.  Leveraging our CSP and MSP practices, allows us to do just that – be the best IT partner possible.”

“On behalf of Channel Futures, I would like to congratulate Elevated Technologies for its recognition as a Talkin’ Cloud 100 honoree,” said Nicole Henderson, a contributing editor at Channel Futures who oversees the TC 100 project. “The organizations on this year’s list demonstrate everything from technological prowess to thought leadership to business excellence across a number of functional disciplines. If you want to understand where the market is heading, watch these companies in 2018.”

About Elevated Technologies

If you want more from your IT support company and are in need of a robust system to solve even your most challenging technology problems, your solution starts with Elevated Technologies. With Houston’s most advanced team of IT support experts and one-of-a-kind IT solutions, even your most challenging technology problems are no match for Elevated Tech. Our team of IT support experts implement advanced technology strategies, leveraging IT as a competitive advantage. Our mission is to create a personal, trusting relationship with every client in order to serve each business to the fullest.

About Informa

The Channel Futures brand is part of Informa which operates at the heart of the Knowledge and Information Economy. It is a leading business intelligence, academic publishing, knowledge and events business. With more than 7,500 employees globally, it has a presence in all major geographies, including North America, South America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  For additional information on Informa, visit www.Informa.com and for information on Channel Futures, visit www.ChannelFutures.com.

 Contacts:

Elevated Technologies:

Elevated Technologies Marketing

marketing@elevated-tech.com

Channel Futures:

Nicole Henderson, Content Director, Channel Futures and ITPro

nicole.henderson@informa.com


Cybercrime 101: Recognizing Malware

recognizing malware

The word malware means mysterious sounds, blank screens, and crashing computers to many people. What they often don’t realize is the subtle nature of cybercrime. Malware creators don’t want their victims to find their malicious software: it can’t do its damaging and lucrative work if they discover it too quickly. Thankfully, anyone can learn how to recognize malware in all its forms and avoid becoming the next victim of cybercrime.  If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms on your IT network, contact us immediately!

Sudden Poor Performance

Most computer owners experience performance issues because they either install too many programs or run software that uses too much of the computer’s resources. Malware, however, will run silently as a background program and use up your computer’s processing power, which can lead to several problems if your machine can’t handle the extra load. If your computer suddenly struggles to run web pages and programs as well as it did before, you probably have malware.

New, Unwanted Toolbars

Many programs install toolbars, but malware versions are almost impossible to remove. If an unexpected toolbar appears that you can’t uninstall, or if it keeps reappearing after you delete it, you probably have malware somewhere on your computer.

Unexplained Pop-ups

Malware creators love pop-ups, though they aren’t as common today as they were a few years ago. Although being bombarded with mysterious pop-ups is annoying enough, malware ads will sometimes link to websites that will install more malicious software on your computer. Thankfully, it is easy to recognize malicious pop-ups since they commonly appear when no internet browser is open.

Scary Security Warnings

Installing fake security programs is one popular method criminals use to extract money from their victims. Malware security programs usually appear with no warning; they typically come with downloads from file sharing sites and display scary warnings about fake problems. These programs will scan your computer much more quickly than safe software since they’re not looking for anything, and there’s nothing to find.

You Lose Access To Your Computer

Some malware programs work by holding computers hostage. They will restrict access in some way until their victim pays a ransom. Corrupting personal files and permanently blocking the computer screen with large, immovable warning signs are their favorite techniques. The images they display often claim to represent a law enforcement agency, like the FBI, and will accuse the victim of committing a cybercrime. They will then ask the victim to pay a fine. Of course, paying them off is no guarantee that they will release your property.

Your Online Contacts Receive Erratic Messages

Scammers sometimes use spamming email and social media contacts to deceive their victims. If your contacts claim they are receiving messages from you that you haven’t sent, your computer is either infected with malware or a criminal has your account details. Malware often hides in messages sent this way and will activate if someone opens an infected attachment or navigates to a malicious website.

Malware messages share a few characteristics and learning them is the best way to avoid becoming a victim. Oddly enough, some messages will warn you that your computer has malware on it, and will install software when you open an attachment or navigate to their website to fix the problem. Others will imitate transaction confirmations or software updates from bogus companies. Some even hack email accounts so they can spam your inbox with messages from your contacts that don’t match their usual tone or writing style.

Malware isn’t merely an annoyance. Not only can it destroy your files, but it sometimes even leads to identity theft and extortion. That is why it is so important that you understand malware’s warning signs so you can react quickly and limit the damage.

Elevated Technologies Managed Network Security – Contact Us Today!


Improving and Optimizing Your Windows 10 Experience

improving and optimizing windows 10

The improvement features introduced in Windows 10 make it one of Microsoft’s most successful operating systems. However, poor PC management practices can still detract from the user experience. Here are several ways to improve these practices and ensure a high quality operating system.

Windows 10 has advanced security features, but it can still experience issues when you are not up-to-date on the latest protection and practices. Many forms of malware or viruses can enter this operating system, so consider doing a thorough scanning of your PC at weekly or bi-monthly intervals. If you make a habit of scanning your PC and updating antivirus programs, you can improve your chances of staying virus-free. Please contact us at Elevated Technologies with any questions or concerns about malware or viruses.

Another measure of PC performance is the amount of RAM space you have. Having more RAM equates to a faster PC. Consider adding at least 4 gigabytes of RAM for a 32-bit PC, or 8 gigabytes for a 64-bit system. You can look into adding more if you plan on using your PC for design, video-editing, gaming, or other intensive processes. You can also monitor the bandwidth MHz rating of your PC’s memory. The higher the MHz rating is, the better your PC will perform.

If you have not installed Windows 10 yet, then this next step can apply to you. Before installing the operating system, determine whether you have a hard disk drive (HDD), or solid state drive (SSD). Generally, Windows 10 performs at a more optimized level on an SSD over an HDD.

Keeping drivers for your devices and motherboard updated is also essential for an optimized PC. You can find updated drivers by simply going to your device manufacturer’s website. Each driver update can help keep your PC components running efficiently. Before downloading a driver update, look into whether it is compatible for a 32-bit or 64-bit Windows operating system.

Many internet service providers (ISPs) promote fast bandwidth, but they can also overwhelm your system. When this happens, the loading speeds of programs can be affected. To prevent this, use a faster DNS server such as Google Public DNS. Once you have found the one you want to run with, set it as your primary DNS server in your TCP/IP settings.  Questions about your IT network configuration can be solved by Elevated Technologies’ Managed IT Services

Lastly, one of the most important factors to maintaining a perfectly running PC is to ensure the operating system itself is updated. These updates are critical since they can fix bugs and patch up security vulnerabilities. Windows 10 updates are generally available on the second Tuesday of every month, but other updates can be released as a response to security threats. Be sure to make the time to install these updates, as they can extend the life of your operating system. Once you have developed a habit of making regular security updates and upgrading to the most compatible hardware, you can ensure the best Windows 10 experience.


How Small Businesses Can Stay Safe from Hackers This Holiday Season

small business protected from hackers

Do you realize the holidays are one of the most popular times for hackers to target small businesses? With these tips, your small business can stay safe from hackers this holiday season. Digital media professionals recommend owners step-up cybersecurity measures to safeguard their business from attack while the festive season reigns. Here’s how you can protect the well-being of your enterprise and stay safe.

Key cyber security tips

Boredom is an issue among workers as the holidays approach. They surf the Internet, checking their Twitter and Facebook accounts and looking at personal emails which may contain malware. Doing so allows hackers to gain entry into computer systems. Millions of businesses are at risk and can benefit from the following advice.

  • Use data protection strategies to match the information your business keeps. Data encryption, encryption keys, and multi-factor identification, for instance, can defend sensitive files. Thieves might steal them, but they won’t be able to gain access to records.
  • Educate staff about staying alert to the possibility of hackers using them to break into computer systems. Teach them about the methods hackers’ use, such as sending personalized emails and pretending they are associates.
  • Monitor your small business well using passwords and malware defense. Also, make sure firewalls are in place, and antivirus software and network security certificates are up-to-date.
  • Restrict admission to vital data via employee’s mobile phones. Be wise and invest in a centrally controlled system that allows IT departments to wipe stolen devices remotely.
  • Carefully dispose of sensitive data. You might imagine information disappears from your computer when you erase files, but, until the disk space it took up is reused, it can be found.

Don’t let hackers spoil the holidays. Contact Elevated Technologies today to protect your IT network from today’s cyber threats! Keep your enterprise secure, and you can enjoy peace of mind.

 


Elevated Tech Named to 2017 CRN Next-Gen 250 List

Elevated Technologies Recognized on 2017 CRN Next-Gen 250 List

Annual List Features Trailblazing Solution Providers Transforming Business with Emerging Technologies

Houston, TX, November 8, 2017 – Elevated Technologies, announced today that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Elevated Technologies to its 2017 Next-Gen 250 list. The annual list recognizes standout IT solution providers who have successfully transformed their businesses to meet the demands of emerging technologies such as cloud computing, IoT, virtualization, mobility, business analytics and business intelligence. These solution providers, all in business for fewer than 20 years, have adapted to an evolving marketplace with a notable penchant for bringing key technologies to their clients before they become mainstream.

Elevated Technologies has provided Houston businesses with innovative IT support and technology solutions since 2006. Our IT leadership team strives to offer our high-end technology services at a price point that fits seamlessly into your’ business initiatives.  We believe in providing the most powerful IT support systems with delivery that focuses on providing distinct solutions to meet the unique IT needs of each individual client.

“We are honored and humbled to be part of this list,” said Jason Rorie, Founder of Elevated Technologies.  “We strive to say on the cutting edge of technology to best serve our clients.”

“This group of solution providers is leading the way when it comes to emerging technologies, bravely stepping into the uncharted territory of next-generation IT solutions ahead of their peers,” said Robert Faletra, CEO of The Channel Company. “Our 2017 Next-Gen 250 list is comprised of relatively new companies as well as established ones, all sharing the common thread of successful, trailblazing solutions designed to meet an unprecedented set of customer needs. We congratulate each team on its vision and contribution to the overall advancement of the IT channel.”

A sampling of the Next-Gen 250 list will be featured in the December issue of CRN. The complete list will be available online at www.crn.com/nextgen250.

 Tweet This:

@TheChannelCo recognizes @elevatedtech in 2017 @CRN #CRNNextGen250 www.crn.com/nextgen250

About the Channel Company

The Channel Company enables breakthrough IT channel performance with our dominant media, engaging events, expert consulting and education, and innovative marketing services and platforms. As the channel catalyst, we connect and empower technology suppliers, solution providers and end users. Backed by more than 30 years of unequaled channel experience, we draw from our deep knowledge to envision innovative new solutions for ever-evolving challenges in the technology marketplace. www.thechannelco.com

Follow The Channel Company: Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook

Melanie Turpin

The Channel Company

(508) 416-1195

mturpin@thechannelco.com


Elevated Technologies Launches New Website and Branding Initiative.

Elevated Technologies Launches New Website & Branding

Elevated Technologies, a company that provides Managed IT and Cloud Services, announces today the launch of its new website and branding initiatives. This newly redesigned website offers quick and easy access to essential information and features that offers a more comprehensive understanding of the company’s core services.

The new site has a clean uncluttered design, improved functionality and enhanced rich content focused on the company’s mission to provide word class IT services to the Houston market. The new website goes live today, November 1, 2017 and is located at the same address: http://www.elevated-tech.com/.

We are excited about our new website launch and new branding.  We feel this website conveys the message we want to stress to our clients and future potential clients.  Elevated Technologies is all about the relationship, correct level of service and understanding budgets.

Elevated Tech’s new website will be updated on a regular basis with news of product launches, business activity, corporate milestones and events. Visitors are encouraged to explore the website and sign up for direct emails from the company HERE.


The Benefits of Technology for Business Owners

Learn about the benefits of technology for small business owners.

Some business owners see technology as a necessary evil, but others view it as a trusted friend and partner. No matter which camp you fall into, there are plenty of proven benefits of incorporating the right technology into your daily operations. Read on to learn more about the benefits of technology for business owners.

These days, just about every business uses technology in one way or another. Online businesses may use technology in different ways, but even the most old-school firm uses computers, servers and other equipment to store customer data, safeguard employment information, and keep the back-office operations running smoothly. Here are some of the biggest benefits your business can enjoy by using the latest technology:

Lower Personnel Costs with Technology

Personnel costs are the biggest expense many small businesses face, but technology can lower those costs significantly. Whether you are running a brand new startup and building a great team, or are the owner of an existing business trying to cut costs, the right technology for your business can reduce expenses and help you do more with less.

If you run a large call center, you could ramp up (and staff up) during periods of high activity. Or, you could harness the power of technology, implementing a voice response system that expertly routes calls to the correct staff members. That simple change could increase the productivity of your existing staff by 25-30%. More importantly, that increase in existing staff productivity could eliminate the need to hire additional workers during periods of peak activity.

Greater Productivity with Modern Technology for Business

It has never been more important for business owners to do more with fewer resources. Increased competition from the internet and elsewhere has created a difficult environment for businesses who are unable to adequately control their costs, as well as those who are unable to get lean and mean when facing an uncertain future.

The right technology for your business can greatly increase productivity, lowering costs and boosting profits in the process. Moving your data from local storage to the cloud gives your workforce the ability to work from anywhere, whether they are in the office, on vacation or at home with their families. This increase in productivity translates directly into higher profits, a big advantage for any growing business.

Lower Hardware Costs

Hardware costs can be a killer for any small business and even some larger firms. While the price of computer equipment—including desktops, laptops and servers—has dropped in recent years, business-class equipment is still quite pricey, especially when you add the cost of specialty software and per-seat licensing.

In response to these rising costs, a growing number of businesses have adopted a bring your own device (BYOD) approach to hardware acquisition. Since every new hire already has a computer in their pocket, the thinking goes, why purchase additional hardware when we do not have to?

The BYOD approach makes a lot of sense for businesses, and advances in technology have made the option more attractive than ever before. The growing capabilities of smartphones and tablets have made them more powerful than ever, reducing or even eliminating the need for a desktop computer in every cubicle.

A Better Work/Life Balance with Technology Enhancements

Maintaining a quality work/life balance is an important part of business in the 21st century. Parents are increasingly willing to trade extra pay for more time off, and older workers are actively seeking alternatives to retirement.

Whether the goal is facilitating phased retirement for your baby boomer employees or helping the new mom stay at home and still keep her job, technology can be a big help. The new mother who wants to stay at home with her newborn will benefit mightily from a self-contained workspace that can she can install on her own. The baby boomer looking for a phased exit from the workforce can take advantage of technology to work part time from home and part time in the office.

This ability to maintain a quality work/life balance is good for workers, but it is also good for businesses and the bottom line. The cost of recruiting and training a new employee can be as much as 10 times the cost of retaining an existing worker, so the benefits are easy to see.

Making adjustments for the needs of individual workers can also enhance the reputation of the business and make future recruiting efforts easier and more successful. Finding qualified workers may not be a problem during periods of economic downturn, but when things pick up, businesses often experience a shortage of good workers. Creating a workplace that values work/life balance could put your firm at the top of the list and help you find the workers you need no matter how low the unemployment rate gets.

More Efficient Use of Space

Paper files for one business could easily fill up several rooms, but a computer can store all of those files and more easily fit on a desktop. With every square foot of space an added expense, it is easy to see how shrinking your space requirements will benefit the bottom line.

More efficient use of space is one of the biggest, yet most often overlooked, benefits of business technology. If you are running a brand new startup, you can get by with a small rented office space instead of a larger and more expensive one. If you are trying to cut costs in an established business, you can use technology to reduce your space requirements, and every square foot you lose is more money in your pocket.

As you can see, technology can benefit your business in many different ways. No matter what kind of firm you own or how long you have been in business, improving your technology can lower your costs, enhance your productivity, boost your profits and allow your employees to work from anywhere.


Wi-Fi Attack Vulnerability


Understanding KRACK: What Does the WPA2 Security Breach Mean For The Average Person?

Researchers from Belgium’s KU Leaven university sent the internet into a panic the morning of October 16 when they announced that they had found a core vulnerability in WPA2. Sensational headlines quickly proclaimed that any device using WiFi was now open to attack, but that isn’t really the case. It’s technically true that any network using the WPA2 protocol can be exploited, but it’s far from the end of the internet as we know it.

What is WPA2?

WPA2 is the security protocol used by just about all modern devices (computers, phones and tablets) when they connect to a network to get onto the internet. WPA2 encrypts all the communications between your device and the network, so that other people on the network can’t snoop into them or manipulate them while in transit.

The exploit that the security researchers discovered, called KRACK, is a core flaw in the protocol. To simplify it as much as possible, it allows someone on the network to capture the encryption keys needed for communication, making it possible for them to see and manipulate the data people are passing. If you were on a network compromised by KRACK, the attacker would be able to see everything you are doing on the internet, and would be able to capture anything you entered or uploaded (like passwords).

Is All WiFi Insecure Now?

That sounds bad enough to be the death of all WiFi, but there are a few mitigating factors that make this not nearly as bad as it initially appears.

The first thing to know is that not all devices are equally affected by this exploit. While anything using WPA2 can potentially be attacked, it seems to be a very difficult attack to pull off on many devices. Older devices running Android and Linux seem to be disproportionately vulnerable to it, while newer Windows devices are less vulnerable.

The second thing to know is that this vulnerability can be patched, and hardware vendors began scrambling to do so before it was even announced. Fortunately, a team of university researchers discovered this and kept it from the general public, but gave weeks of advance notice to major hardware and software companies before publishing their findings. For example, on the day the vulnerability was announced, Microsoft announced that they had patched Windows to secure against it a week earlier. Once a device is patched, it is no longer vulnerable, and this exploit had never been seen in the wild prior to the publication of the research paper. So a lot of devices will be securely patched before it can even be widely deployed by criminals.

The third thing to know is that the attacker needs to be an authorized user directly connected to the network they are attacking. If you have a home WiFi network that only you and your family have the passwords for, it is extremely unlikely anyone could run this exploit on you. The biggest threat is to public networks that anyone can access, like those at coffee shops, airports and shopping malls. The attacker also has to be physically close enough to the device they are targeting, as they have to be able to get in the middle of its communications with the network.

What Should You Do About This?

The first thing to do is to see if patches to your devices are available. This will likely involve an update to your operating system, like Windows or Android. A patched device can still safely communicate with an unpatched network. Unsure about patching? Contact Elevated Technologies.

Some devices will not be able to be patched, such as phones and tablets running old versions of Android that have been abandoned by their hardware manufacturers. If you have a device that can’t be patched, you will need to be more cautious about connecting to wireless networks with it. If you need to use a particular public WiFi network, ask the company hosting it if they have patched their routers to secure against it.

Though there is an outside chance that an attacker could inject malicious code (like malware or ransomware) by intercepting your transmissions with a network, the biggest issue is privacy. If you are using an unpatched device on an unknown network, assume that anyone can see what you are doing.

In other words, stick to what was standard common-sense security protocol prior to this, which is to never enter sensitive personal, financial or account login information while on a public network!


9 Ways Managed Cloud Solutions Benefit Your Business

Managed cloud solutions can benefit your business, and your bottom line.

 

If you are part of a small business, you already understand how challenging your job can be. Small business owners and employees wear many hats, from front-line customer service representative and salesperson to human resources and hiring manager. However, there are many ways managed cloud solutions benefit your business and can take some things off your plate.

The good news is you do not have to add IT specialist and network engineer to the list of duties. In fact, trying to serve as your own IT specialist can be counterproductive and dangerous. If you want to keep your data safe, accessible and backed up, managed cloud solutions is the right choice for your Houston business.

Some small business owners believe managed cloud solutions are only for large corporations, and the benefits of storing data in the cloud do not apply to them. In fact, the opposite is often true—small businesses have a great deal to gain from cloud storage solutions.

  1. Greater Security with Managed Cloud Solutions

The security of your data is key to your success, and cloud storage can provide the safety you need to protect your customers, your employees and your proprietary trade information.

  1. Ease of Compliance with a Cloud Solutions Provider

Many fields require specific compliance with privacy laws and industry regulations, and meeting those requirements on your own can be tough. By working with an established cloud solutions provider such as Elevated Technologies, you can make compliance easier and give yourself one less thing to worry about.

  1. Managed Cloud Solutions Expertise

You may be an expert in your industry, but you are most likely not a data storage expert. Working with a cloud solutions provider gives you access to specific expertise, so you can focus on doing what you do best.

  1. Predictable Costs for Your Cloud Solutions Program

The cost of data storage can ramp up quickly when you do it on your own, but cloud storage costs are much easier to predict. The fixed-cost nature of cloud solutions can make budgeting a lot easier.

  1. Ransomware Protection

Ransomware is a growing threat for small businesses, but cloud storage is a great way to stay protected. When you have recent backups of all your files stored in the cloud, the ransom threat loses its immediacy.

  1. Secure Data Backup with Managed Cloud Solutions

Backing up your files is essential to protecting your data, but it is easy to let those backups slide. When your data is stored in the cloud, you can put your backups on automatic, so you will not have to worry.

  1. Simpler Disaster Recovery Solutions

Disasters happen, so it is important to be prepared. Cloud solutions can simplify your disaster recovery process and give you extra peace of mind.

  1. Established Technology

The cloud is no longer a new concept, and Elevated Technologies has a strong track record of success and secure data storage.

  1. Remote Access with the Cloud

When your data lives in the cloud, your employees can access that information from anywhere. Whether they are at the local coffee shop, on the road or in a hotel room, your employees can get the information they need no matter where they go.

With Elevated Technologies by your side moving your data from the desktop and server to the cloud makes a great deal of sense. Falling cloud solutions pricing and expanded capabilities have put cloud storage within reach for even the smallest firm, so there is no reason to put off the move any longer.

Are you ready to take the leap? Request a quote today on our website—we are ready to serve your technology needs.


Your IT Ally in the Cloud