We’ve been nominated for Best of the Upstate – Best computer service!

JohnMHoyt Computer Repair, Computer Service, Computer Support, Fun Stuff, Homeland Secure IT, John M. Hoyt's Personal Stuff, Pamela M. Hoyt's Personal Stuff, Pamela's Personal Stuff Leave a Comment

Best Computer Services - Best of the Upstate 2015Last year, someone nominated Homeland Secure IT, LLC for the Greenville News “Best of the Upstate” award for Best Computer Service.

Thanks to our friends, family, customers and vendors, we actually won!

Honestly, I didn’t think we would. It’s not because I don’t believe we are the best, it’s because the other fine service providers have many advantages over us. Some are larger, thus more votes. Some have simply been been around forever, and therefore have huge followings.

But us, we’re fairly new on the scene, we’ve been in business at this location since 2009, and there’s less than a handful of us, so even if the owners and employees vote every day, that’s not much.

On the other hand, we have a loyal following of incredible people who could help us out. So, who knows, with your help, maybe, just maybe, we could be voted Best Computer Services for 2016!

If you would be so kind as to cast your vote our direction, we would appreciate it!

You can find the ballot here:

Best of the Upstate 2016 Ballot

The rules are simple. You can vote once per day through the 19th, from a registered email address only.

You can find Homeland Secure IT, LLC in the SERVICES category under “Best Computer Services”.

While you’re there, check out a few other nominations that affect me and my family:

Culture Arts & Entertainment:
Best Local Band – Hot As A Pepper (This is my band – come see us if you haven’t!)
Best Jazz Band – Hot As A Pepper (Uhmm we’re NOT a jazz band, but….)
Best Musical Instruction – Richard Young Jr. (Hot As A Pepper’s guitarist!)

Shops & Wares:
Best Carpet Store – McAbee’s Custom Carpets – Pamela’s Family Business

Upstate Living:
Best Place to Work – Homeland Secure IT, LLC (not a chance here!)

Services:
Best Carpet/Upholstery Cleaner – McAbee’s Custom Carpet
Best Computer Services – Homeland Secure IT, LLC
Best Photographer – John M. Hoyt

I have been voting for a slew of my personal friends and places I do business that I believe are THE BEST OF THE UPSTATE…   These include a lot of Homeland Secure IT’s customers.

If you would like me to share with you who I vote for or if you think I should be voting for you or your business, please email me!

Thanks again for the support you have given to me and my family, my band and our business over the years!

-John

 

Microsoft Windows 10 Update Got You Down?

JohnMHoyt Business, Computer Repair, Computer Security, Computer Service, Computer Support, Microsoft, security, Windows Leave a Comment

Microsoft Windows 10 LogoIf you are using Microsoft Windows 7, 8 or 8.1, you have been probably been harassed prompted to install Microsoft Windows 10 by now.

In fact, we have had people call who said that their operating system didn’t even prompt them, it actually gave them a countdown and said it was going to install, and it did. Others claim that they were given no option to cancel the upgrade.

While the upgrade is free, it might not be what you want. It may not work flawlessly with your other installed software or devices such as printers, or you may feel that the data collected by Microsoft could be intrusive.

Whatever the reason you don’t want or don’t need it, once it is installed, your options are to either live with the new Windows 10, or revert back to the previous operating system, or even to go with alternative operating system, such as Linux.

Some people who have reverted back, have lost files, which we have been able to recover for them, but that is one thing to consider.

What if you have not upgraded and don’t want to, what are your options? Corporate versions of Windows, like Pro and Enterprise, have the ability for system administrators to set an entire business to NOT upgrade at all.

Home users have taken measures such as completely disabling updates, which we highly recommend you do not do, since your machine will be vulnerable to malware without the necessary updates.

An alternative that may work for you is to use Never10. It can be found here: Gibson Research Corporation Never10

While not endorsing the software, Never10 is offered from a well respected developer with a long history in our industry. It might be perfect for you.

Should you have questions about upgrading (or downgrading) from Windows 10, or if you have problems with Windows operating systems at your business or home, or need computer or network support, please call us at 864-990-4748.

Malware found on IP cameras

JohnMHoyt Computer Security, IoT, IP Surveillance, security, Technology Leave a Comment

compromised_ip_cameraMike Olson has a post entitled “Beware, even things on Amazon come with embedded malware” over on artfulhacker.com about purchasing a few PoE IP Cameras off of Amazon, and how they came complete with malware embedded on them.

The “Internet Of Things” (IoT) offers a lot of opportunity for this to happen. The malware could be intentionally placed there by the manufacturer, where they fully intend to obtain information from the buyers that they use themselves, or sell to marketers or bad guys. Optionally, somewhere along the supply chain the components could be compromised and then pushed out to unwitting buyers.

Many of these products are made in South Korea, China, etc., so who’s to say a government wouldn’t be interested.

It’s not just cameras… IP phones, access controls, thermostats, intercoms, storage devices, media streamers, sensors, appliances, lighting and more are now connected and each one of those devices could either come pre-exploited, or become compromised at some point.

Buying quality products from trusted manufacturers and vendors is one way to reduce the threat, but even then, it’s always best to stay diligent.

Need IP cameras, IP phones or other products in the Upstate / Greenville SC area?  Call us today at 864-990-4748 or use our handy contact form.

Public Service Announcement – It’s Internet Spring Cleaning Time Once Again!

JohnMHoyt Business, Computer Repair, Computer Service, Computer Support, Fun Stuff, Homeland Secure IT, Technology Leave a Comment

Public Service AnnouncementSpring has sprung and with it comes Annual International Internet Spring Cleaning Day!

This year ISPs (Internet Service Providers) around the world are increasing their efforts to keep our networks in tip-top shape so that they perform as fast as possible.

Perhaps you may have missed the stories on the news and the endless emails flying around for the last week or so, I will go over the details here.

In the past, Internet Cleaning Day has taken place during a 24hr period, but due to new techniques, ISPs have managed to compress the process down to only 1 hour which they have conveniently scheduled for 12pm to 1pm in each time zone.

So with that said, on Wednesday (2016-04-01), at noon, before you leave your office for lunch, you should take some precautions to protect your electronics and fine furnishings from the chemicals that are blown through the lines. We have found that simply unplugging the network cable from the back of your computer and placing it into a trashcan with a liner is best, but you can use an empty water bottle or even a coffee cup in a pinch. If using a coffee cup, or bottle though, you may want to put a layer of newspaper or other papers under it in case of any splashes or spills.

While normal analog phone systems are not going to be affected, VoIP systems WILL be… This is often overlooked! You should follow the same procedure if your business is using Voice over IP technology. If you are unsure, it is best to disconnect the cables and place in the same container as your network cables.

If you are using wireless devices, simply turning off the radio or disconnecting from all access points should work, but to be on the safe side, we recommend that you turn it off completely.
Should you require assistance with computer, server, network or even your internet spring cleaning in the Greenville, SC or Upstate, SC area, please call us at 864.990.4748

FTC Security Guide for Business Released

JohnMHoyt Business, Computer Security, Computer Support, Homeland Secure IT, Microsoft, security Leave a Comment

Security-Checkup

The Federal Trade Commission has released a new document which may be worth a read for anyone looking for a place to start for improving their Business Security.

He’s the rundown of what is covered:

1. Start with security.
2. Control access to data sensibly.
3. Require secure passwords and authentication.
4. Store sensitive personal information securely and protect it during transmission.
5. Segment your network and monitor who’s trying to get in and out.
6. Secure remote access to your network.
7. Apply sound security practices when developing new products.
8. Make sure your service providers implement reasonable security measures.
9. Put procedures in place to keep your security current and address vulnerabilities that may arise.
10. Secure paper, physical media, and devices.

You can find the entire document here.

If you would like to enlist the assistance of professionals to help evaluate or improve your business network security here in the Greenville / Upstate SC area, please call us today at 864.990.4748 or use our contact form.

How are those new year resolutions going for you?

JohnMHoyt Business, Computer Sales, Computer Security, Computer Service, Homeland Secure IT, Microsoft, Microsoft Exchange, Office, Sales, Windows, Windows Server Leave a Comment

New Years ResolutionsLast year, when speaking with our clients, business owners and IT directors, I made note of some of the plans they had for their IT infrastructures. Now that we’re already done with the first month of 2016, I started making calls and sending emails to see how many have followed through and offering any assistance we could.

Some of the 2016 “resolutions” were simple, and some were more complex.  Here’s a few of the more common items of interest:

Number one on the list was backing up data. Whether it was to actually get a backup plan in place for the first time, or to start backing up images of servers or workstations in addition to existing file backups, or to increase retention periods or to explore off-site cloud backups, I heard all through 2015 that 2016 was the year people planned on doing that.

Number two was to improve security. That took many forms as well, including updating firewalls, changing anti-virus, tightening policies, encrypting drives, you name it.

Number three was a combination of hardware and operation system / software updates, mostly updating workstations, notebooks and servers to newer machines with the latest versions of Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Server, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Office.

A ways down the list were adding new technology, such as Microsoft Surface or Apple iPad tablets, increasing network throughput with gigabit switches and faster Wi-Fi, implementing video surveillance or voice over IP phone systems (VoIP).

If you have not begun or completed your 2016 IT plans, why not? What can we do to help you?  Need a source to purchase the equipment from, or help deploying the technology, or both? Give us a call. We can even help with financing through our leasing partners.

Don’t put improving your network security off. Don’t risk aging equipment causing you costly downtime. Don’t risk losing your important data.   We are here for you!

Give us a call at 864.990.4748 or use our CONTACT FORM for more information. We serve the Greenville and Upstate SC area with computer, server and network support, sales & consultation.

Merry Christmas from Homeland Secure IT!

JohnMHoyt Business, Computer Sales, Computer Service, Computer Support, Homeland Secure IT, John M. Hoyt's Personal Stuff, Pamela M. Hoyt's Personal Stuff Leave a Comment

An Early Christmas for Ryan

Merry Christmas – Happy Festivus!

Merry Christmas from everyone here at Homeland Secure IT!

We hope your holiday will be filled with joy and happiness, and your time spent with family & friends.

Safe travels if you are hitting the road.

We will be closing the office early on Wednesday the 23rd and return to work on Monday the 28th. However, if you need us for computer or network support, you can leave a message for us at 864-990-4748 or email us and we will get back to you promptly!

If you don’t get everything you are hoping for from Santa, such as a the shiny new notebook computer, call us on Monday!

Time to bid Microsoft Windows 7 – 8.1 farewell

JohnMHoyt Computer Sales, Microsoft, Sales, Windows Leave a Comment

So, if you are in love with the older operating systems, or you have software which requires it, you should plan accordingly.

Homeland Secure IT can help your business prepare for the demise of these legacy operating systems. Please give us a call at 864-990-4748 or use our CONTACT FORM.

Trend Micro Worry Free Business Security Service Pack 2 & Critical Update available!

JohnMHoyt Business, Computer Security, Computer Service, Computer Support, Homeland Secure IT, Microsoft, Microsoft Exchange, Secure IT Alert, Trend Micro, Windows, Windows Server Leave a Comment

Trend Micro SecurityMany of the businesses that Homeland Secure IT serves are using Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security as their weapon of choice against malware and even spam. Once the product is loaded on their server and installed on their desktops, it will generally automatically download the security updates required to keep it current.

However, every once in a while, Trend Micro will release an update to the entire system, which requires manual installation.  This is keeps updates which might interfere with critical systems from being installed, and it also insures that new settings that require configuration are not put into the wrong state, crippling your network.

Currently, those who are running Worry-Free Business Security 9.0 Standard or Advanced, may be in need of two updates.

Service Pack 2, released in August, offers support for Windows 10 machines and enhanced ransomware protection.

Enhanced scan features can identify and block ransomware programs that target documents that run on endpoints by identifying common behaviors and blocking processes commonly associated with ransomware programs

In addition to the Service Pack 2 release, a Critical Patch was released on 8/31, which should also be applied to your Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security servers.

Should you require assistance with this, Homeland Secure IT is happy to help!  We can work with you in and around the Greenville SC area, or remotely if need be just about anywhere in the world!

If you are not using Trend Micro’s security products and would like more information about what it can do for your company, use our contact form or give us a call at 864-990-4748!

Watch out for fake Microsoft Windows 10 update email – Malware Warning!

JohnMHoyt Business, Computer Security, Computer Service, Computer Support, Homeland Secure IT, Microsoft, Secure IT Alert, security, Windows Leave a Comment

Windows 10 Malware Email WarningWith all the excitement about Microsoft Windows 10 being a FREE update, some people signed up for the “Get Windows 10” promotion as prompted in their taskbar, to be put on a waiting list. So it’s not surprising that when an email comes in that looks legit, that someone might follow the link and attempt to install it.

 

Unfortunately for them, a form of malware called “RansomWare” is being deployed via the zip file included in the email – if their anti-virus doesn’t strip it out, they may actually fall for it as it is very convincing as the email appears to come from Microsoft.

From: Microsoft <update@microsoft.com>

Upgrade to Windows 10 for free

Windows 10 is familiar and easy to use. It includes an improved Start menu and is designed to startup and resume fast. it’s packed with new innovations including Microsoft Edge – an all-new browser. Your personal files and apps you’ve installed will all be waiting for you. We’ve designed the upgrade to be easy and compatible with the hardware and software you already use.

Don’t miss out as this free offer won’t last forever. Upgrade today. Follow the attached installer and get started.

Upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8? You will love Windows 10!

If you are an individual, you are now warned and won’t do that, but what about companies who have many computers?

KnowBe4 has crafted the following email that they suggest system administrators of businesses send to their end users:

Microsoft is in the process of releasing their new Windows 10 Operating System. This is an upgrade that you do not pay for, promises to fix problems with earlier versions, and claims to be more secure. They plan to upgrade a billion personal computers, causing inevitable confusion among PC users.

“Bad guys are trying to exploit this confusion. You might get calls from scammers that claim to be Microsoft tech support and try to charge you for the upgrade using your credit card. 

“Be very careful with any email claiming to be from Microsoft about “your Windows 10 Upgrade”. Make sure that any links in the email really go to Microsoft. Better yet, do not click on any link or open any attachment, but go to the Microsoft website for more information.” Here is the link:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-upgrade?

As always, should you have questions or need assistance with this or any other Microsoft or Network Security issue, or want to know if Windows 10 is right for you or your business, please do not hesitate to contact us!  You can reach us at 864-990-4748.