HP still top PC manufacturer worldwide in a slowing market

Despite internal issues, HP remained the top manufacturer of PCs worldwide in Q4 of 2012 followed by Lenovo (the Chinese firm that purchased IBM’s PC business in 2005) and then Dell. Overall, PC shipments dropped 6.4% from Q4 of 2011.

Dan Reisinger of eWeek notes that Q4 of 2012 is the first time in five years where the PC market declined; possibly due to economic conditions or the increasing popularity of tablets. Other potential factors noted by Mr. Reisinger:

  • Declining innovation in PCs
  • PCs last longer, slowing replacement
  • PCs are a boring commodity, no longer competing for mainstream interests

Go to HP tops Lenovo in lackluster PC market for the full briefing from Lance Whitney at CNet News. Visit HP barely maintains PC lead over Lenovo in Q4, says IDC for a related article from Sharon Gaudin at ComputerWorld. Visit PC Sales Persistently Declining: 10 Reasons Why for more from Don Reisinger of eWeek.

Preview into Microsoft Office 2013

In addition to Windows 8, I have also been using Office 2013 over the past few months; I like some things, but not everything:
• Excel updates ripple slowly down the page; they seemed to run a bit faster in previous versions.
• The top-right Window icons have shifted somewhat; the Minimize icon ( _ ) is now in the middle rather than on the left while the Help icon is now on the left.
Since I rarely use the Help icon, but occasionally use the Minimize icon, I dislike this change

Booting Windows 8 into Safe Mode

Safe Mode is useful for diagnosing PC problems. Because Windows 8 starts quickly, you cannot get into Safe Mode by pressing [F8] during the boot-up process (as you could with previous versions of Windows). The new procedure:

  • Go to Settings and then select Power
  • Hold [Shift] and then press Restart to open System Recovery Options
  • Select Troubleshoot from System Recovery Options
  • Select Advanced options
  • Select Startup Settings
  • Enable Safe Mode

$295 Raised for Hudson Charities by Bryley Systems Inc. and Yours for Children, Inc.

Bryley Systems and Yours for Children together raised $295 for the Hudson Food Bank and the Hudson Boys & Girls Club.  The money was generated through a free giveaway of refurbished PCs in exchange for the suggested donation of $35 to either Hudson non-profit organization.  

With the generous contribution of 9 used PCs by Yours for Children, Bryley Systems was able to rebuild and provide the PCs for the donations.  Not only did the swap prove successful, but it also promotes a greener solution to the removal of office equipment via renewal and recycling.  Bryley Systems has performed this PC-for-donations fundraising twice in 2012 and approximately annually since October 2002 and this will not be the last time that such a fundraising strategy is demonstrated.

Yours for Children, a nonprofit Massachusetts sponsor of the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program is located at 303-313 Washington Street in Auburn, MA.  Bryley Systems, a Managed IT Service Provider, is located at 12 Main Street in downtown Hudson.

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Garin Livingston, Bryley’s Senior Tech, rebuilds donated PCs.

http://www.wbjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130218/PRINTEDITION/130219952/0/FRONTPAGE

 

Job Promotion at Bryley Systems

I am very pleased to announce that Michelle Denio has been promoted to the position of Administrative Support Technician. Michelle is a key member of Bryley’s Technical Service Department and with this new expanded role she will be able to use her expertise and knowledge of Bryley’s clients to everyone’s advantage.   Congratulations!!!!

52_BryleySystems2

 

Hudson Sun

System Builders Await Surface’s Impact

Gavin Livingstone, President of Bryley Systems, talks to Channel Pro Networkabout Microsoft’s Surface tablet.  Read the full article System Builders Await Surface’s Impact

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Garin Livingstone Passes his Windows 7 Exam!

Congrats Garin Livingstone, Bryley Systems Senior Tech, for successfully completing and passing your Windows 7 configuring class and test!!! image

Migrating Postini users to Google Apps for Business; also, an alternative

As mentioned in our August 2012 Bryley Tips and Information, Google has moved Google Message Security (GMS)/Postini into Google Apps for Business and will migrate all GMS/Postini customers to Google Apps for Business by the end of 2013.

 

Google will migrate GMS/Postini users gradually, focusing initially on its large, direct-billed customers and eventually tackling those customers purchasing through GMS/Postini resellers (Bryley Systems is a GMS/Postini reseller.).  By December 31, 2013, all former GMS/Postini customers should be migrated.

 

Google has not yet disclosed significant details about this migration process, but we believe that it will require, at a minimum, these steps for each customer:

  • Setup a Google Apps for Business account
  • Export GMS/Postini rules and import them into Google Apps for Business
  • Migrate user accounts from GMS/Postini to Google Apps for Business
  • Change the MX Record for the email-server address

 

If you use Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes for your email, the email-protection-and-filtering component of Google Apps for Business will be available at the same price through your agreement term.  However, your price could increase if you add any other Google Apps for Business features to your account.

 

McAfee, a security company owned by Intel Corporation, offers an alternative to those that do not wish to migrate to Google Apps for Business.  Their service is McAfee® SaaS Email Protection and Continuity(MEPC).  (Bryley Systems is a long-term reseller of MEPC and other McAfee security products.)

 

MEPC features include:

  • Spam filtering,
  • Protection against malware and SMTP-based attacks, and
  • Continuity.  (Continuity provides web-based access to email, both receiving as well as sending, when your email server is down.  Also, once your email server is running, your web-based emails automatically resynchronize with your email server.)

 

McAfee also offers:

  • McAfee® SaaS Web Protection – Web-content filtering
  • McAfee® SaaS Email Archiving – Stand-along email archiving
  • McAfee® SaaS Email Encryption Service – Email encryption add-on to MEPC

 

For details, please call us at 978.562.6077.  Or, email Sales@Bryley.com.

Protect your mobile device – Part 3: Enforcement, Tools, and First Steps

We have explored the importance of setting policies and training users on mobile device security and management; now, we wrap-up with how to enforce these policies, recommended tools, and first steps to mobile device security.

 

Enforcement

 

Enforcement is usually assisted through a Mobile Device Management (MDM) tool; typically a software-based application that requires an agent be installed to the mobile device.  Once installed, this agent connects back (remotely) to a central console from which an administrator can monitor, manage, and secure the mobile device and also support its user.

 

MDM features typically include:

  • Enforce user security policy:

o   Require complex password with frequent changes

o   Permit remote access only via SSL or VPN

o   Lock-down browser settings

o   Enable encryption

  • Recover lost or stolen devices:

o   Activate alarm (set off an audible alarm on the device)

o   Enable track and locate (track and locate the device via GPS)

o   Permit remote wipe (complete erasure of the device as a last resort)

  • Control mobile device applications:

o   Recognize and prevent installation of unauthorized applications

o   Permit whitelisting and blacklisting of application

o   Restrict or block application stores

  • Remotely deploy and configure applications (email, etc.)
  • Audit the mobile device for installed software, configuration, and capacity

 

ComputerWorld has a comprehensive article on the challenges of MDM. View it at

Mobile device management: Getting started.

 

To support our mobile device clients, we use the MDM capabilities built intoKaseya, our Remote Monitoring and Management tool.  Other MDM providers include:

  • AirWatch
  • LabTech
  • MobileIron
  • Symantec
  • Zenprise

 

While MDM provides a comprehensive tool, it can be costly to procure and support.  Many companies utilize a trusted business partner (like Bryley) to provide MDM tooling, monitoring, and support for their mobile devices on an ongoing basis with pricing that ranges from $15 (in quantity) to $75 per device per month.

 

Non-MDM Tools

 

Alternatively, Microsoft Exchange 2010 offers many MDM-type features through Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), an included protocol that licenses by end-user or end-device Client Access License (CAL).  The Exchange 2010 Standard CAL licenses:

  • Password security policies
  • Encryption required
  • Remote wipe

 

The Exchange 2010 Enterprise Add-On CAL licenses advanced features including:

  • Allow/disallow Internet browser, consumer email, unsigned installation, etc.
  • Allow/disallow removable storage, Wi-Fi, Internet sharing, etc.
  • Allow/block specific applications
  • Per-user journaling
  • Integrated archive

 

Exchange Server Standard 2010 is $709; Standard CALs are $68 each while the Enterprise Add-On CAL is an additional $42 each (based on list prices for business).

 

Main difference between MDM and EAS: Most MDM tools provide greater control over the mobile device during its lifecycle and can provide control over the device even before email is configured.

 

Other recommended tools include:

  • Anti-malware: AVG Mobilation – From free to $9.99 for Pro version
  • Protect and find phone via key-case fob – Kensington Bungee Air at $79.99

 

First step suggestions

 

These are our minimum, first-step suggestions:

  • Deploy anti-malware software immediately and manage it continuously
  • Require password to activate the device with a low auto-lock time
  • Update mobile devices through vendor-approved patching
  • Enable on-board encryption if handling sensitive data

 

Visit 10 Steps to Secure Your Mobile Device for detailed recommendations on securing your mobile device.

Microsoft Streamlines Windows Server Options, Kills Versions for Home and Small Business

Microsoft has revealed that the Windows Server 2012 options will be drastically streamlined from the myriad choices of its predecessor. In the paring down, though, Microsoft is killing off Windows Small Business Server, and Windows Home Server–the two most popular versions for small and medium businesses (SMBs).

On the one hand, the news is quite welcome. Variety may be the spice of life, but when it comes to choosing which version of Microsoft’s server operating system is right for you business it’s just confusing. Choice is one thing, but too many choices makes the decision much more complicated than it needs to be.

With Windows Server 2012, Microsoft will only offer four versions: Datacenter, Standard, Essentials, and Foundation. Even better, the versions are all equipped with essentially the same features and capabilities, and the only real difference is the number of virtual machines each can handle. That means that Windows Server 12 Standard Edition will include features like Windows Server failover clustering, and BranchCache hosted cache server that were previously reserved only for the Datacenter and Enterprise versions.

For the most part, though, SMBs aren’t really interested in those enterprise-class capabilities, and they’ve been satisfied working with Windows Home Server, or Windows Small Business Server–which includes core functionality of Exchange Server and SharePoint Server. These organizations are going to have to make a switch, though, when it comes time to upgrade.

According to a PDF from Microsoft titledWindows Server 2012 Essentials: Frequently Asked Questions, both of these versions are superseded by Windows Server 2012 Essentials. Microsoft explains that it has focused on making Windows Server 2012 Essentials the ideal operating system platform for both small businesses and home users.

The decision is driven–at least in part–by current tech trends, and Microsoft’s own focus on cloud-based tools and services. Microsoft explains, “With Windows Server 2012 Essentials, customers can take advantage of the same type of integrated management experience whether they choose to run an on-premises copy of Exchange Server, subscribe to a hosted Exchange service, or subscribe to Office 365.”

The bottom line is that SMBs don’t need to have Exchange or SharePoint bundled with Windows Server. Windows Server 2012 Essentials will meet the server platform needs of most organizatons–even better than its predecessor thanks to the across the board feature parity–and an Office 365 subscription can deliver Exchange, SharePoint, and Office as a hosted service.

References: PC World: Business Center