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How to Keep Your Business Computers Healthy

Every winter, we do everything we can to avoid catching a virus. We buy the extra-super-mega-strength hand-soap. We wipe down every available surface with disinfectant wipes. We steer clear of anyone sniffling.

Then flu season passes, spring arrives, and we all breathe a sigh of relief. Why? Because we avoided catching one of America’s most common viruses. We avoided countless sick days, canceled plans, lost time, and wasted money.

We avoided a giant headache.

Question: Are you doing everything you can to protect your business from catching a virus?

What is a virus?

A computer virus is a malicious code or program designed to alter the function of a computer. Much like the flu, a computer virus can spread quickly from one computer to another. This can cause significant damage to data and software.

Want to avoid a huge software headache? Here are three simple ways to avoid catching a computer virus:

#1: Use strong passwords.

Passwords are the first line of defense for your network security. It can seem helpful to create easy-to-memorize passwords out of short, simple phrases. However, it’s critical that you use a complex combination of letters and numbers to boost security.

#2: Keep software up-to-date.

Software companies regularly release updates that fix bugs. These updates prevent hacking and malware. Stay up-to-date: set your computers to automatically install trusted updates.

#3: Never click on links from unknown email addresses.

According to Microsoft, almost 45% of virus infections are spread from email links. If you don’t recognize the sender of an email, don’t click links or open attachments.

Want to keep your network secure? We can help.

We can protect your servers, networks, and work stations. iPoint Technology provides 24/7 iNetwork Monitoring. We’ll guard your business against viruses, security breaches, data loss, and more. Call us at 970-266-0703 to learn more about our affordable network monitoring services.

5th Annual Flowers for Towers

Is an old computer sitting in your garage collecting dust? Is your broken laptop moonlighting as a table coaster? We’ve got you covered this Earth Day weekend. iPoint is announcing our 5th annual Flowers for Towers.

What is Flowers for Towers?

We designed Flowers for Towers to empower our communities to properly dispose of toxic materials and better the environment.

Not only does Flowers for Towers prevent dangerous toxins from ending up in landfills, but it saves you money. Most local recyclers charge a minimum of $15 per laptop; we’re helping you protect the planet for free. We’ll even throw in a $5 gift card to the Fort Collins Nursery. Then you can better the local environment with flowers, trees, and vegetables.

Why should I recycle my e-waste?

It takes around 539 pounds of fossil fuels, 48 chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water to create just one computer. E-waste contains toxins like mercury that can seriously harm the environment, yet only 20% of the world’s laptops, cell phones, and towers are recycled.

Worldwide, we throw over 50 million metric tons of e-waste into landfills each year. That waste contributes to 70% of all toxic waste. By recycling your old computers, we can minimize our carbon footprint, preserving our planet for the next generation.

What was our impact last year?

Our goal is to recycle 100,000 pounds by 2020, and we are well on our way. Since 2014, we’ve collected over 54,000 pounds of e-waste.

What do you accept?

We accept PC’s, laptops and servers. We’ll even securely wipe your hard-drive. No one will be able to access your personal information. We do not accept monitors or printers.

Bring your old electronic equipment to iPoint Technologies April 20th – 21st from 10 am to 4 pm. We’ll help you unload your equipment, get you a free gift card, and even enter you into some fun raffles to win prizes. See you there!

5 Incredible Ways that Drones are Taking Off

Drone technology is really taking off (pun intended). New technology has expanded the horizons of what these once-simple flying machines can accomplish, and business prioritizing growth are learning to incorporate this valuable new technology. In 2018, we’ll see Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) conquer new and exciting feats in industry and tech. From big-name Hollywood to rural Nebraska, here are the top five industries that drones will impact in 2018.

#1: Natural disaster response

More and more insurance companies are partnering with drone businesses to assess structural damage in the wake of devastating hurricanes like Irma, Jose and Maria. Drones are safer, faster and more accurate than the traditional methods, providing additional detail and precision.

#2: Security

The 2018 Winter Olympics kicked off last week in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This celebration of human athleticism has also become a celebration of modern technology. If you look to the skies, you’ll see drones flying overhead to monitor the Olympic airspace. Their use isn’t limited to protecting ice skaters and skiers; drones are being utilized to bolster security by police departments, government agencies and even private home-security systems.

#3: Agriculture

In the future, up to 70% of drone usage could be in agriculture. Unmanned aircrafts give farmers a bird’s-eye view of their land, enabling more efficient irrigation and planting practices. It also saves time; instead of wading miles through their crops, landowners can hire an agency to survey the land with a drone.

#4: Entertainment

Remember the flying car scene in Harry Potter? The epic car chases in Fast and Furious 6? The opening sequence of Skyfall? All drone shots. Drones give audiences the feeling of flying and capture scenic images with detail that was once impossible. Innovations in drone technology—and a subsequent drop in price—have made it possible for smaller studios to secure incredible shots as easily as big-name production companies.

#5: Construction

Drone usage in construction comes with several unique advantages. Flyovers make 3D modeling, progress monitoring and orthomosaic imaging possible with remarkable ease. This information can increase productivity, speed up construction time and decrease workplace injuries.

Security. Agriculture. Entertainment. Drone usage is expected to skyrocket in the next few years, and AirPoint is ahead of the curve servicing Northern Colorado’s needs. Whether you need an UAV for one of the industries mentioned above or for something else entirely, we can help!

Storing Your Server

Some of the most common problems that our network department handles are issues related to bad server maintenance. Many times, these issues could have been prevented with even the simplest regards to care for the server. It is important to understand what a network server is and how it is different from a typical computer. If you don’t know the exact difference, this article can help clear up the difference.

Here are a few easy tips that you can consider when installing your server.

Servers are different from traditional desktop PC’s, and they require a different level of care. Typically they run much warmer than a desktop. Sometimes, much warmer. Therefore, proper ventilation should be put into place in order to ensure that your server runs at peak performance. It is all too common for people get a new server for their company, and treat it like any other computer by setting it in the back office or a closet out of the way. It should be no surprise that they often overheat in these conditions.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a dedicated server room. Just simply make sure that the room where the server is placed has some type of proper ventilation or air conditioning. Servers run best in cooler environments; somewhere between 68-71®. This can be harder in the summer months for buildings that do not have air conditioning. If so, look into purchasing a server cooling system, or at least investing in a swamp cooler for the server room.

Remember that a server is not a desktop computer. It should be stored away in a dedicated area. Never use a server to browse the internet or perform the operations that a normal PC would. This is for security reasons. A server operating system is not designed the same way as user operating systems. If a virus were to infect the server, your entire business could be at risk.

Basic IT Maintenance Tips

IT maintenance

Do you have a computer that feels like it is not running as fast as it used to? One of the biggest reasons that they start to slow down over time is neglect. Computers need a little care and IT maintenance every now and then in order to perform well. It is just like cars. Everyone knows that cars need their oil changed every so often, tires rotated/changed, and brakes checked, so why don’t people treat their PC’s with the same care?

Part of the problem is that people just don’t know what is involved in maintaining a computer. Getting a computer fixed from a professional can be costly and inconvenient. It is much better to do a little maintenance yourself. Here is a list of things you can easily do yourself, even with little computer knowledge, to make sure your computer stays running like new:

 

Keep windows updated with latest patches

Windows provides a program called Microsoft Update that will periodically search for, and install updated to your computer. You can schedule these updates to run while you are sleeping so that they do not interfere with your usage.

Keep your spyware and antivirus programs updated

You should be using some type of program on your computer to regularly scan for spyware and viruses. These programs can also be scheduled to run overnight. Keeping these up to date can drastically help improve the performance of your PC.

 

Remove unused applications and other junk

Your PC likely has a lot of old non-essential files that pile up and slow it down. For example, Windows Internet Explorer stores copies of the pages and media that you visit so that it will load faster on your next visit. Cleaning these up can provide a nice boost to your PC performance. There are many free programs that can clean up your computer. One of the most popular and recommended is CCleaner.

Pay attention to the software you install

The biggest source of viruses and spyware comes from users themselves. Many programs like to install additional software on your computer. Pay attention when you are installing software and programs to ensure that no extras are being installed as well.