Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10? Eeny, meeny, miny, moe?

By Anna D, Client Relationship Manager, Bryley Systems

Choosing which Windows operating system (OS) to install on your computer is not child’s play.

I know, because as the Bryley Systems’ Client Relationship Manager, I have this conversation with clients over and over again, especially when clients are purchasing new computers.

Here’s what I recommend.

If you are purchasing new computers for your organization, you should seriously consider installing Windows 10. 

Some clients want to install Windows 7, perhaps because they’re familiar with it. However, Windows 7 has a relatively short lifespan. It will be at “end of life” on January 14th, 2020.  This means that Microsoft will no longer be providing security updates for that operating system, in which case your computer will be more susceptible to viruses and your organization will not be compliant.  In 3 years, you will have to upgrade that operating system. An upgrade involves labor costs, software licensing, and employee downtime. Not the best idea.

What about Windows 8? Good question. Windows 8 was the operating system that Microsoft “abandoned,” probably because it was not well received. Windows 8 was only around for 3 years, making it one of the most short-lived operating system licenses that Microsoft has ever released. What’s more, many distributors are not stocking their inventory with computers that have Windows 8 or 8.1 pre-installed. That’s a problem.

That brings us to Windows 10, which is definitely my recommendation. Of course, prior to installing Windows 10, you need to find out if all of your applications are compatible with this newest operating system.  We can help you make that determination.

Transitioning to a new operating system isn’t always easy, but it is a best practice and we can guide you through the process. For more information, please call Bryley Systems at 978-562-6077 or toll free at 844-449-8770. Of course, you can also email us at

IT Budgeting Made Easy

We know that budgeting can be a daunting task. That is why the Bryley Systems’ motto is “Dependable IT at a Predictable Cost”. Our fixed-price IT support programs make IT budgeting a breeze.

We understand that in order to have an accurate, working budget, the finance and IT teams need to come together to get an idea of the full picture.

Why does IT budgeting matter?

Without a budget, IT leaders will have to justify every IT expenditure as it arises, creating unnecessary bottlenecks.  Furthermore, “you may be forced to request and justify every IT expenditure as it arises, which makes for significant unnecessary overhead. Smaller organizations may find themselves willingly migrating into a periodic budgeting process, as IT expenditures that were once simply spent as incurred, or justified with a 30-second hallway conversation, blossom into significant IT spending that can be consolidated and made more transparent through a budgeting process.”1

IT budgeting affects more than just your department

When creating an IT budget, it’s important to think of how it will tie into other departments.  The budget will directly impact employees and initiatives that your organization has.  It’s easy to see the budget as a mere spreadsheet. But remember, there are real consequences for every number that is either increased or decreased.

Think of IT budgeting as financial planning

Consider IT spending as an investment for your organization’s future, much in the same way as you would with your personal financial planning. “Only after gaining an understanding of the organization’s short- and long-term goals can [business leaders] help ensure that the organization is aligning its IT strategy with its business strategy, resulting in the right IT investment decisions.”2 Consider, “What is the organization’s cash flow? How will IT spending impact the organization’s overall capital and operating budgets? Are any major projects on the horizon that might impact the IT infrastructure? Remember to consider both the financial and non-financial implications of IT-related initiatives.”2 Another aspect that should not be overlooked is the human component.  Does the organization plan on making any changes that could impact an employee’s ability to fully utilize new software? And, how will new initiatives impact employees’ work lives?

Creating budgets also helps to establish and understand priorities. “Instead of looking at the budget solely as an administrative process, regard it as a validation and support tool for your IT strategy. If you don’t have a formal or informal IT strategy in place, the budgeting process is as good a place as any to start investigating areas for improvement that will be cornerstones of your first attempts at more strategic IT management.”1

Align IT with organizational strategy

IT budgeting should not be performed in a bubble; but rather performed with the entire organization in mind.  Once the IT budget is prepared, compare it to the overall budget to ensure the goals are aligned.  Key questions to ask are “Do the selected IT initiatives align with and support the organization’s strategic objectives? Should any initiatives that weren’t selected for the budget be reconsidered? Would any of the organization’s strategic initiatives make one of the selected IT initiatives obsolete?”2 It is best to think of your IT budget in three sections:

  • Run – What it takes to keep the organization running. This should be the last place to trim as doing so could create unnecessary operational risk.  Items included in this group are considered mission-critical: server replacements, key software upgrades, personnel costs.
  • Grow – introduce new capabilities and improve existing ones. These are often more flexible and are easily added or trimmed depending on cash flow.  Items in this section include implementing new software for optimization, purchasing a firewall for additional protection, and upgrading the website to attract more customers.
  • Transform – This is more of a long-term project for research and development endeavors. Unless associated with key organizational initiatives, these are the first to be cut when budgets are trimmed.  These initiatives are ones in which the organization believes it will benefit from in the future.  Examples include new product offerings, , redundancy, , and the like.

Tips and best practices

When considering the impact the budget will have on the organization as a whole, it is imperative to put forth significant time and due diligence into its creation.  It’s too simple to see the budgeting exercise as just another painful administrative duty that one must accomplish. But it is really much more than that.  A budget “is the financial manifestation of the strategy and direction your department or organization will take over the coming year.”1

  • Use last year’s budget. This will give you a rough idea of what you want the upcoming budget to look like. It will also provident insight into areas to pad as well as those that can be reduced.
  • Spreadsheets are your friends. Excel spreadsheets will prove invaluable when it comes to updating and creating a budget. It is beneficial to have previous years’ budgets listed as it will indicate long-term trends and the ability to predict future expenses.
  • Factor in slack. Once a budget is set, it is generally difficult to go back for more funds.  Consider, carefully, the amounts requested to ensure they are sufficient to accomplish the objectives.
  • Seek expert advice. You can’t be expected to know everything about the realm of IT and budgeting, so don’t be afraid to seek out the advice of experts.  They will offer guidance and work with you to identify key initiatives and allocations for your future success.

Creating an IT budget can be a daunting task, but you are not alone.  Bryley Systems’ experts will work with you to determine your priorities and build a budget accordingly.  It’s easy with our fixed-price IT support programs.

We are your technology partner. Please contact us at 844.449.8770 or by email at

We’re here for you with “Dependable IT at a Predictable Cost.”




Bryley Basics: How to get the most life out of your computer

Have you noticed that you have been able to squeeze more life out of your technology devices than ever before? According to Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, the cycle has expanded 20% from four years to five or six1. In our experience, upgrading an operating system on a Windows PC can often cost more than replacing the PC with a PC that has a newer OS. This is often because OS upgrades are not always reliable, particularly with legacy applications, or drivers that are no longer available for older hardware. For business users, we typically wipe the drive clean and then reinstall a new OS rather than upgrade.

Another way to extend the life of your device is to take care of the battery. Having the battery constantly plugged in actually does more harm than good and decreases the overall lifespan of the device. For long term battery life, it is recommended that you regularly allow your battery to drain.

You can further extend the life of your machine by completing incremental upgrades such as adding more memory, upgrading graphics cards, and replacing older hard drives with SSDs.

These tips are aimed at helping you extend the life of your devices and are not meant to keep them on “life support.” There will come a time when you have diminishing returns and will need to replace the devices.

Remember, we are here to help; please reach out to us at 978.562.6077 or email


  1. Computer World. 1 June 2016. “The PC upgrade cycle slows to every five or six years, Intel’s CEO says.”

Bryley Basics: How to Clean your computer to ensure optimal efficiency

Technology was designed to make our lives easier and more efficient, but it can only do that if it’s maintained. As the winter months approach, it’s a perfect time to ensure your computer is running efficiently.

What needs to be cleaned?

  • Keyboard. Do you eat on or near your computer? If so, crumbs may have inadvertently fallen underneath them and could be impeding their function. Once a month, turn the keyboard upside down and gently shake it to remove the bigger crumbs. If the keys are still sticking, use a can of compressed air to gently remove the dust and other debris that is out of reach. Don’t forget to disinfect the keys! This can be performed using a Q-Tip, or other cotton swab, and some rubbing alcohol. Make sure you do not saturate the Q-Tip as you only want the alcohol to go on the keyboard surface, not inside!1
  • Defrag your computer. If you notice a drop in speed, and you have a SETA drive (one that spins, not an SSD drive) it may be time to defrag your computer. Fragmentation occurs when there is not enough contiguous space to hold the complete file. An algorithm is then used to break that data so that it fits into the available space.2 The slowness is caused upon retrieval; the computer must search the entire hard drive to find all the pieces of the data or file. “When you defrag your computer you not only increase the speed of the computer but you also keep your hard drive healthy and extend its lifespan. The wear and tear of fragmentation will eventually shorten its life but with proper maintenance you keep it running smooth and steady.”3 The general rule of thumb is to defrag when your disk is more than 10% fragmented.4 The frequency of running a defrag depends upon the usage of the computer. If the machine’s main duties are for general use (web browsing, email, games, etc.), completing a defrag every month is recommended. If you use it more often (8 hours per day), it should be performed roughly every two weeks. It is important to know that a defrag may take a few hours to complete so it is best to perform this overnight. Just make sure energy-saving features such as a screen saver are temporarily turned off as this may cause the defragmentor to stop and restart the process.5 Make it easy and set up an automatic defrag schedule.
  • Cleanup your folders. Take regular stock of what is housed on your computer. If you have files that you haven’t touched in months or even years and are not necessary to keep, delete them from your computer. Having too many files will slow your machine as it needs to sort through them all when conducting a search.
  • Delete Programs you no longer use. Similar to files that you haven’t opened in a long time, go through your programs and delete ones that you have not used. Maybe this will give you the added push to learn that software you downloaded months ago, but never pursued.
  • Cleanup your desktop. While keeping files on the desktop can make files easier to find, but can quickly become overwhelming and inefficient. The last thing you want to do is to be rifling through icons looking for that one document. Instead, place them in subfolders within “My Documents.” By creating a file system, it will be easier to find the folders and will take up less space on your hard drive. Additionally, files on the desktop are not as protected as those in “My Documents” or “My Pictures. “For instance, if you use System Restore to return Windows to its state as of last Wednesday, the feature will remove any files added to the desktop since that date. The files in My Documents will be left untouched.”6
  • Cleanup your browser. Similar to cleaning your desktop, it is recommended that you regularly check your browswer applications to see if there’s any that can be removed. This will streamline your browser and lower the demands on the hard drive.
  • Install Updates. Just because your system appears to be running well, doesn’t mean you should ignore system updates. “Staying current on updates will not only keep your computer running well today, it will fend off unforeseen problems tomorrow.”7

By performing these tasks regularly, you will be able to extend the life of your hard drive, and be more efficient. There’s nothing worse than replacing a device far sooner than you expected because preventative care measures weren’t taken.

1 Maldarelli, Claire. Popular Science. 10 March 2017.








Bryley Basics: Working with Webroot

Greg Livingstone (Engineer) and Gavin Livingstone (President), Bryley Systems Inc.

Webroot1 is a cybersecurity firm with “…leadership in developing next-generation approaches to prevent attacks, and a proven technology base that spans millions.”2

Webroot’s SecureAnywhere® Nex-Gen Endpoint Security (NGES) is a small-footprint (<1Mb) agent with Cloud-based threat intelligence designed to deliver advanced, next-generation, endpoint security. Webroot NGES offers these advantages:

  • Detection – Behavior-based, predictive/proactive detection
  • Management – Minimal impact with no signature updates
  • Protection – Collective protection among Secured EndPoints
  • Remediation – New threats are journaled to facilitate rollback
  • Threat Intelligence – Machine learning

With its innovative, predictive capabilities, it is becoming the standard end-point protection application of many IT-service providers, including Bryley Systems.

Webroot basics

When Webroot is deployed, this Webroot icon webroot-logo displays on the bottom-right taskbar. Right-clicking on the Webroot icon exposes these options:

  • Scan now – Perform a malware scan
  • Open – Open the SecureAnywhere console
  • Help and support – Show the online help site
  • About – Display the current Webroot version
  • Refresh configuration – Refresh Webroot version*
  • Save a Scan Log – Save scan results to a log file
  • Shutdown Protection – Disable Webroot



*Refreshing the configuration uploads the current profile, resulting in this message:


Webroot SecureAnywhere console

Selecting Open displays the Webroot SecureAnywhere console, which may also appear in the bottom, right-hand corner during scans. The SecureAnywhere console displays current protection information.


Webroot Browsing Security

Webroot SecureAnywhere includes BrightCloud® Threat Intelligence, an add-in for Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer to warn against unsafe browsing.

When enabled, BrightCloud shows the following Reputation icons prefixed to web sites. Hovering over the icon will display a risk statement:

trustworthy Reputation: TRUSTWORTHY – When visiting this website there is a very low probability that you will be exposed to malicious links or payloads.

low-risk Reputation: LOW RISK – When visiting this website there is a low probability that you will be exposed to malicious links or payloads.

moderate Reputation: MODERATE RISK – When visiting this website there is some probability that you will be exposed to malicious links or payloads.

suspicious Reputation: SUSPICIOUS – When visiting this website there is higher than average probability that you will be exposed to malicious links/payloads.

high-risk Reputation: HIGH RISK – This website is a “Malware Site”; there is a high probability that you will be exposed to malicious links or payloads.

These icons are displayed on your Internet browser pages and define the risk associated with clicking on a particular site.


By default, HIGH RISK sites are blocked with the following pop-up.



1Wikipedia history of Webroot.

2Please see the 2015 Frost and Sullivan review WebRoot Smarter CyberSecurity.