SMART Blog

Smart Services has been providing independent agents with proactive, fast, and expert technology services since 1991.

It’s Time to Retire Windows XP

b2ap3_thumbnail_xp400.jpgIf you haven't yet upgraded from Windows XP, then you (and 500 million users) must have strong reasons for hanging on to a twelve year old product. Unfortunately, everybody's strong reasons won't hold water come April 8th, 2014 when Microsoft stops supporting XP with new security patches.

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Important information about CryptoLocker virus!

Important information about CryptoLocker virus!

As many of you know first-hand, virus and malware infections are an annoying and painful part of computer use in this day and age.  Because there are so many infections floating around the internet, and due to the wide variety of infection types, we usually don't send out messages like this one targeting a specific type of infection.  Even the recent "FBI" virus did not warrant an alert, since those infections are simple to remove.  However, the new CryptoLocker infection does warrant an alert, which is why we are writing to you today.

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New Windows 8.1 Release Looks to Address User Issues

b2ap3_thumbnail_8point1-400.jpgOn October 17, Microsoft publicly released the Windows 8.1 update. It is the first major update for Windows 8 and Windows RT. The Windows 8.1 update was designed to confront some of the usability issues that Windows 8 PC users have encountered since the release of the OS, last year.

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4 Ways Hackers Can Disrupt Your Life

b2ap3_thumbnail_cybercrime400.jpgIf a hacker manages to get their grubby hands on your computer, you're going to have a bad time. Of course, how bad of a time you have depends on your hacker's intentions. There are several things hackers can do to harm you, here are four of the most common ways hackers can disrupt your life.

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3 Ways We Relieve Your Pain Points!

b2ap3_thumbnail_solutions400.jpgWhat are your business' biggest pain points? Some pain points are obvious, like the issue keeping you up at night. Other pain points are smaller; you may not worry about them as much, but they still negatively affect your bottom line. Here are three ways we can help identify and find solutions for your company's pain points.

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Shock: The Smartphone was Conceived a Century Ago

b2ap3_thumbnail_tesla400.jpgMost people believe that the internet, cellphones, smartphones, and other mobile devices are today's technology. What they may not know is that the very concept of wireless communication and data transmission was being experimented with in the late 1800's to the early 1900's by Nikola Tesla.

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Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late for IT Support

b2ap3_thumbnail_ITknot400.jpgIf you are a business that doesn't have an IT support plan, then you're running on borrowed time. It's the nature of technology to eventually break, and when it does, it can disrupt the entire flow of your business. A reliable IT support plan is crucial to your business continuity plan. Without a plan, you will have a big mess on your hands.

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A Gracious Host: 3 Ways Cloud Computing Can Help Your Business

b2ap3_thumbnail_cloud400.jpgMuch has been made of the cloud recently and you see more and more that companies of all sizes are beginning to utilize cloud computing services in some fashion. Whether it's simply the incorporation of web-based social networking interfaces as inexpensive (and seemingly valuable) marketing tools, or the complex hosting of your company's entire computing infrastructure, the cloud has several options that can work for your business. Below are three ways in which the cloud can present your organization reasonably valuable solutions.

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5 Business Technology Trends

b2ap3_thumbnail_trends4002.jpgIn a recent economics survey of small to medium-sized businesses by Oxford University, it was discovered that two-thirds of companies believe that technology is the key to transforming their business in order to "achieve longevity and sustainable growth." This survey reveals a lot about how businesses worldwide feel about technology. Does your business identify with any these trends?

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Do you Still Use a VCR?

b2ap3_thumbnail_vcr400.jpgIt wasn't too long ago when a person could go to his or her local supermarket and rent a copy of their favorite movie on VHS. When that novelty fell off, you could still get the movies at your local video store. Every town had one. Whether it was a chain such as Blockbuster or a locally owned store, millions of people relied on the video store in their town for entertainment for the better part of a quarter of a century.

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The Business of Malware and Your Mobile Device

b2ap3_thumbnail_phonejack400.pngWe often view hackers as creeps who are bent on spreading viruses to disrupt everyone's lives, perhaps for the sake of anarchy or some extreme ideology. But when it comes down to it, most hackers are in it for the money and are just trying to make a quick buck. In fact, hacking groups may even be more organized than your business!

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Tip: Use Word to Fill in Scanned Documents

b2ap3_thumbnail_word400.pngHave you ever got stuck having to fill out a paper document, only to butcher it with your handwriting? Paper forms filled out with sloppy handwriting are unprofessional and may even miscommunicate an important detail. To help your paper forms look professional, Microsoft Word allows you to scan the doc and then enter text; we'll show you how!

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Protect Your Business from BYOD Lawsuits

b2ap3_thumbnail_lawsuit400.pngMany businesses are discovering how great it is for employees to use their personal devices to accomplish work. BYOD has been proven to improve productivity and worker satisfaction; but like so many great things, these BYOD benefits are in danger of being shut down as employers are becoming concerned about being sued. How can you still benefit from BYOD while being protected from lawsuits?

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What Goes on in Your Office at Night?

b2ap3_thumbnail_Camera400.jpgWhen you go home for the night and lock your office door, what happens in your office under the cover of darkness? During the day, you are present to monitor what goes on and control the chaos, but what kind of monitoring and controls are in place for your office at night?

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Are you prepared for the Zombocalypse?

b2ap3_thumbnail_zombie400.jpgAre you going to make sure your machete is handy and start boarding up your windows for the coming of George Romero's slow-moving walking dead, or will you load up on ammo and lock yourself in a bunker for the more active and feral Max Brooks-type zombies? What about your data, like your Zombie Survival Guide E-book? Is it safe?

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The 5 Most Common Causes of Data Loss

b2ap3_thumbnail_PCleak400.jpgThe majority of businesses that experience data loss will not recover. You may think that, if you are careful, then you will not need a backup solution, but statistics say otherwise. A 2009 study by Blackblaze.com revealed that 46% of users experience data loss every year! This figure makes sense when you consider the five most common factors of data loss.

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The Internet of Things as the Next Big Thing

b2ap3_thumbnail_IoT400.jpgWhen you hear the phrase, "The machines are taking over," you may think of science fiction stories where robots become self-aware and enslave humanity. You may not have realized it, but the machines have already taken over; not with a violent uprising, but through what's called the Internet of Things (IoT).

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Windows is Feeling Blue about the Start Button

b2ap3_thumbnail_W8Blue400.jpgIt takes a big person to admit when they're wrong, and there's nothing bigger than Microsoft. Windows 8 hasn't sold like Microsoft anticipated, and users pin the blame solely on one little button, the Start button, or the lack thereof. With Windows Blue (officially previewing June 26), it's rumored that Microsoft is remorsefully bringing back the button.

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Your Tape Backup is a Business Risk

There was a time when tape backup was the cheapest and the standard data backup solution for businesses. Over the years, cloud services have become more affordable, and now cloud backup solutions like a BDR are cheaper and give businesses more security features. If you are still backing up with tape, then you may be losing money and even putting your business at risk!

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4 Oversights that will Harm Your Network

4 Oversights that will Harm Your Network

With all the attention that hackers receive, you would think that they are solely responsible for every network security breach, but the truth of the matter is that most damages to company networks are due to negligence. Here are the four most common IT security oversights that can lead to major damages to your network.

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