Monthly Archives: September 2013

Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 8.1

If you are running Windows XP on your computer, you are not alone.  It is estimated that 33% of all PCs still run on Windows XP.  Many businesses are considering upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 8.1.  Microsoft has different plans in mind.  According to Microsoft pre-release documentation, upgrading from Windows XP and Windows Vista are not supported.  This means XP users will need a clean installation of Windows 8.1 instead.  So what choices do XP users have?

Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 8.1 – Microsoft will Have a Clean Install Option for Windows 8.1

You may consider installing Windows 8.1 on your existing hardware.  Depending on your configuration, you may need to upgrade your RAM and increase your hard drive capacity and ensure you meet minimum system requirements for Windows 8.1.  While this option may breathe additional life into your existing personal computers, you may have difficulty finding support for some of your drivers and peripherals.  You will also need to evaluate support for your existing software applications to determine if they are compatible with Windows 8.1.

If you consider this option please remember It is vital to that you must backup all of your applications and data prior to performing the migration from XP.

Consider a Virtual Desktop Solution for Your Business

Cloud computing experts claim you can leverage your existing XP machines to access the latest software and services in the cloud.  By connecting to a virtual desktop you may avoid some of the security risks associated with Windows XP.  Additionally, you will have the benefit of accessing the latest operating system and office productivity applications in the cloud.  This is an economical choice for many small businesses currently running XP.  You avoid many of the hassles of hardware limitations and migration considerations.  However, you should ensure you have adequate internet bandwidth and connectivity in addition to proper network security, to ensure overall compliance and productivity for your company.

Consider Replacing your XP Machines with Devices Built for Windows 8.1

Computer manufacturers have launched lines of PCs, Laptops, Tablets and Convertibles designed to take advantage of the new Touch Interface associated with Windows 8.1.  Touch technologies provide enhanced productivity, are easier to learn and can improve data accuracy over mouse and keyboard counterparts.  These touch enabled devices are ideal for solutions where there is limited desk or counter space, mobile and field deployments, factory, retail and service deployments and in environments where devices may need to be cleaned regularly or kept sterile.  In addition, across the board improvements make Windows 8.1 a logical choice.

There are many considerations for migrating to Windows 8.1 including security, compliance, application and data migration, user training and more.  To ensure you get the most from your migration from XP to Windows 8.1 contact your IT Service professional today.

Apple Enhances Mobile Security with iPhone 5s

Earlier this week Apple announced their new line up of iPhones.  The iPhone 5c is a new model catering to smartphone users on a budget, while the iPhone 5s is their newest flagship product.  The iPhone 5s features a new fingerprint sensor known as “Touch ID”  designed to provide access to your new iPhone 5s with the touch of a finger versus a four digit passcode.

Mobile Security  Concerns

According to research by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) mobile device theft or loss is a top concern among IT professionals and small business owners.  CompTIA research also indicates that requiring a pass code to unlock a mobile device passcode is the most utilized defense according to 76% of those surveyed.  But is a four digit passcode enough?

Apple “Touch ID” improves  Mobile Security

Biometrics are far from perfect however, Apple Touch ID is expected to increase mobile security over a four digit pass code.  Apple’s four digit passcode is limited to 10,000 combinations and can be cracked by an expert in under six minutes.  Because some are concerned that Apple Touch ID stores fingerprints on its’ new A7 processor Apple will continue to provide the four digit pass code option for those who choose not use use Apple Touch ID.

Other Mobile Security Concerns

Through cloud sharing applications, Social Media, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) adoption and other mobility trends, mobile devices can create a hole in your company’s IT security architecture.  Access to corporate applications and their data, privacy information and commingling of personal and company assets add to the mobile security challenge.  Mobile devices are the target of mobile threats including: malware, viruses and phishing schemes.  Because of the rapid adoption of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, mobile security is an important issue for businesses today.

Mitigating Mobile Security Risks

Companies are reaping the improved productivity, connectivity and communications by adopting a mobile device strategy within their business.  To mitigate security risks, it is important to have a mobile device policy and mobile device plan within your company.  This includes mobile lifecycle management, mobile application policies, mobile accepted use policies and mobile security training for your employees.  If you use mobile devices within your company (as most companies do) ensure you are doing so in a secure manner by having your IT service professional review your mobile security practices.