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West Michigan Users Group – Cisco UCS

Monday, August 27, 2012

This summer, Carolyn Martin from the IT Resource Sales Team went to Davenport University to attend a West Michigan Cisco Users Group meeting. As a Cisco Sales Expert, her hope was to increase her knowledge on some of the technology solutions today and how they can benefit our company. The topic of that particular meeting was Cisco UCS (Unified Computing and Servers).

The main idea behind Cisco UCS is to have a central location where users can access their ‘Desktop’ from anywhere. Instead of having a local computer users log into when they’re at work, they will log onto their account from any computer and have access to all of their files, settings, and saved work no matter where they are. This is incredibly useful for employees traveling or users who work from home. Since the workforce is moving toward mobile computing, it would make sense to move with it!

Here are some of the benefits to Cisco UCS
• Centralized Management for IT
• Any Device can connect – Android, iOS Devices, Apple Computers, Windows PC’s, Linux PC’s, etc…
• Secure Universal Access
• Constant Experience delivered to users
• Smaller and less hardware (Blade Servers)

The big names in VDI (Virtual Desktop Interface) right now are VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix. Cisco’s UCS supports all of these hypervisors on their hardware and each work in different ways depending on the hypervisor. IT Resource has many Cisco devices and some of our engineers are well versed in Cisco certifications. The technology world is moving in the virtual direction and Cisco UCS is leading the way!

If you are interested in learning more about the West Michigan Cisco Users Group, this month is the perfect time to attend as IT Resource will be the featured sponsor at their August event, which takes place on the 29th at 5:30, at Davenport University, 6191 Kraft in Caledonia. For more information visit WMCUG, or contact Carolyn.

A New Outlook on Mail

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Just recently Microsoft has been testing a new mail service called Outlook.com. Not to be confused with Microsoft Outlook, Outlook.com is a brand new email service created to eventually replace Microsoft’s dated email service Hotmail. Hotmail has sort of earned itself the reputation for being ad-filled, slow, and hard to navigate. Microsoft wanted to create a new email service that focused more on messages themselves and the overall design of the website. With a more intuitive look and cleaner layout, Microsoft would like to steal the thunder from Google’s email service; Gmail.

If you have an existing Microsoft Hotmail or Live account, you can log into it right now and check it out. I was able to jump in with my existing Live account and see what all the buzz was about. You are also welcome to make a completely new account using the @Outlook.com domain if you’d like. Some of the great features of Outlook.com are the integration with social websites and apps like Facebook and Skype.

Microsoft’s plan is to eventually wipe out Hotmail and Live mail. If you currently have either a Hotmail or Live mail account, don’t worry, you’ll eventually be able to pull all your contact and emails over and keep your email as well. If you’re ready to give it a try, head on over to outlook.com and check it out!

A Flame is Growing

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A new virus has shown up in the technological world that has professionals baffled and amazed at the severity and complexity. Flame, also known as Flamer, sKyWIper or Skywiper is a piece of malware that was discovered in 2012, yet appears to have been active as far back as 2010. Flame affects Microsoft Windows PC’s and can spread through a local network or via a USB drive and is mainly targeting cyber espionage in the Middle Eastern Countries. This piece of malware can record audio, screenshots, keyboard activity, and network traffic. It can also record Skype conversations as well. (Gostev, 2012)

Recently, however, the infection has worked its way into Microsoft Updates and can now spread through said means. Attackers located a flaw within Microsoft’s Terminal Services licensing certificate authority that allowed them to create their own ‘valid’ certificates. (Keizer, 2012) From there, they could fool the Microsoft machine to believing their malware was a legitimate Microsoft Update. Following that, the infected machine could then trick neighboring machines to thinking the infected machine was a Windows Update machine, and pass off the malware to other machines.

Researchers are saying this is one of the most complex and largest malware infections they’ve seen. While most infections are less than 1mb in size, Flame is right around 20mb. Professionals estimate around 1 year just to analyze the code of the infection. Microsoft has taken the necessary steps to stop the false certificates from registering within their Operating System to minimize infections. At this point, the best preventive measures include having up-to-date antivirus, monitor which websites you visit, and continue to receive Windows updates straight from Microsoft’s website. While the malware infection may not seem to be affecting the North American continent for now, there’s no saying the attackers will focus their attacks elsewhere. Always stay protected!

Breakfast is on us...be our guest!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Join us at the Coopersville Area Chamber of Commerce Third Thursday Breakfast, where we will be the keynote speakers. Our presentation will focus on maximizing your IT investment. The breakfast takes place on May 17, 7:30-9:00 a.m. at 327 Pizza & Pub (327 Main, Coopersville, MI 49404).

Learn how to make the most from your current Information Technology systems as well as understand what questions you need to ask to evaluate future IT investments. IT is one of the top 5 business expenses annually. Let IT Resource help you determine how to leverage your business’s investment wisely!

The event promises knowledgeable speakers, great networking opportunities and an impressive buffet breakfast, catered by 327 Pizza & Pub, of Coopersville. We would be happy to have you attend this event as our guest. Please contact Carolyn to RSVP at 616-837-6930 or carolynm@itrw.net.

Simplify IT: Business & Technology Event

Monday, March 05, 2012

Proper IT solutions are an integral part of your business, yet something that is often overlooked. If your IT solution has you puzzled you'll want to attend our business & technology event: Simplify IT. 

In this presentation attendees will learn how to increase IT reliability and more easily protect information with Microsoft Online Services and server solutions. The presentation will be Wednesday, March 28 from 7:30am to 9:00am. A continental breakfast and networking will begin at 7am.

Join us and you'll learn how to minimize IT maintenance by using fewer physical servers and getting everyone on the same platform, make it easier to protect your information by centralizing data storage, and save technology resources by keeping tabs on your entire IT environment with easy-to-use IT management tools. Key solutions include centralizing business data, standardizing user desktops, and using modern management tools (features Windows Small Business Server).

The presentation will be held at the Coopersville Farm Museum at 375 Main Street, in Coopersville. This event is free of charge, but you must register before March 26 by contacting IT Resource at 616-837-6930 or carolynm@itrw.net.

Is This A Virus?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I’ve worked in the computer world for several years. Whether it has been with a company or on my own; I’ve come across a large number of infections that can render a computer useless. Recently, the creators of these viruses have become more clever in disguising their viruses to the user; particularly, in the naming scheme. Names like Anti-Virus 2011 or Windows Anti-Virus 2012 can trick people into thinking they’re real programs, when in fact, they are viruses themselves.


An Example of a virus appearing to be Anti-Virus

Viruses like this can appear out of nowhere and sometimes install without warning. Once installed, the program will find several ‘viruses’ and prompt the user to pay a certain amount of money to have the program remove the ‘viruses.’ In reality, the program doing the virus removal is actually a virus in itself.

When this happens, it’s best to have a good, authentic, business class anti-virus program and removal tool to help identify and remove these pesky programs. There are two pieces of software I can suggest. Microsoft Security Essentials is a great free anti-virus tool that runs in the background on your computer and protects from intruders while you work. In the case the computer is already infected, another great tool is Malwarebytes. Malwarebytes does a good job of removing what may already be on the computer.

However, this isn’t the solution every time. Sometimes, a virus is trickier than a program can remove, and professional assistance from an experienced individual or company like IT Resource is required. We've seen our share of viruses doing damage. What kinds of viruses or infections have you crossed paths with?

Save Coin With The Big Easy

Friday, October 28, 2011

Its that time of year again friends! Fall leaves and chilly evenings indicate the start of the 4th quarter in the business world. That means its time for us to once again partner with Microsoft for The Big Easy. This annual program is designed to save you money on a variety of Microsoft products.

If you have been considering upgrading your server or purchasing new software licenses, now is the time to take action. The Big Easy Offer allows you to choose from a variety of Microsoft products and solutions while earning money back as a subsidy on qualifying purchases. This subsidy from Microsoft can be used towards software, hardware or services from IT Resource. Eligible products that might interest you include: Microsoft Office, Windows 7, Project, Visio, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Lync, Microsoft SQL and Microsoft SharePoint.

Customers that take advantage of this promotion can save up to 20% on total engineering service fees. If you are considering upgrading your current licensing and/or purchasing new Microsoft products, now is the time! To learn more about this subsidy, feel free to contact us directly and we can walk you through it and show you the benefits. Keep in mind, purchases must be made by December 31, 2011 in order to receive your subsidy check, so act now!