Archive for March, 2010

Fighting Spam

March 31, 2010

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Over 90% of email is unsolicited and unwanted. Junk emails flood the electronic delivery system with messages that we just don’t want and phishing schemes fool millions each year.  These abuses waste time and resources and are one of the biggest productivity drains that businesses face.

Unfortunately, you can’t get rid of all spam but you can manage the problem and protect your business from incidental damage.  Make sure you have a clear email policy and train users so they don’t fall for spam tricks. 

  1. Use a Spam Filter – although spammers work on beating the filter, this is your best first defense.
  2. Never reply to spam, not even to unsubscribe – often this just confirms your email is valid.
  3. Disable automatic downloading of HTML pictures –  spammers get confirmation that you opened the message if the graphics (pictures) are downloaded.
  4. Don’t participate in chain emails – these often harvest email address and many recipients find them irritating.
  5. Don’t respond to email requests that ask for personal information or money – this is the most common phishing scam.
  6. Use privacy settings on your accounts – especially for social media sites, don’t publically list your email address.
  7. Use care when giving your email – if you list your email on any site (or on your business card) remember it increases your chances of being spammed.
  8. Don’t spam others – if you have a eNewsletter or send email information be sure you follow proper protocol and allow your recipients to easily unsubscribe.
  9. Turn off read and delivery receipts and automatic response to meeting requests – these responses are used to validate your email address.
  10. If you receive spam in your inbox, you can forward it with the proper header to uce@ftc.gov.

More technical notes at www.lansystems.com/technotes.html

March Puzzle

March 21, 2010
For our first puzzle, we’ll start with an easy one!
If:
2 + 3 = 10
7 + 2 = 63
6 + 5 = 66
8 + 4 = 96
Then:
9 + 7 = ??
Send your answer to puzzle@lansystems.com.  All correct answers will be entered in our monthly drawing.

Look for our new puzzle each month at: http://www.lansystems.com/Monthly_puzzle.html

Desktop Upgrades

March 20, 2010

[tweetmeme source=lansystems only_single=false]You’ve had your business desktops for a couple of years and they have gotten noticeably slower.  The staff wants new, fast and fancy PCs but you are just not sure if that is a good use of your resources.  You want everyone to be as efficient and productive as possible so it’s time to do a computer ROI analysis.

When discussing desktop upgrades, there are several strategies to use and many ways to mix-n-match them. You can upgrade your existing desktop to extend its life, you can move to a desktop virtualized environment, you can use online software services or you can use a combination of all.  Our overview gives some of the most common choices, but it is not exhaustive. There are many ways to solve this complex issue. 

1)   If you have desktops that the user accesses for programs and files, consider these ideas:

a) Upgrade memory

b) Move local disk storage to a server

c) Use external drives to expand data storage

d) Replace CRT monitors with LCD panels.  Consider dual monitors for users that use many application windows or do considerable cut-and-paste. Most users that use the dual monitor arrangement declare it makes them more productive and less likely to make mistakes.

e) Tune-up the PC.  Scan, clean and remove unneeded programs and files.  Sometimes reinstalling the operating system and applications can fix a host of problems, but it can be time consuming.

f)  If you are looking at upgrading the operating system or application software, consider going to desktop virtualization or purchasing a new desktop.  Often, these choices can be a more cost-effective solution.

g) If the desktop is not worth upgrading, consider donating to a non-profit that can make good use of the equipment. LAN Systems can assist, we have a program with a nominal fee to remove data and verify software licenses.

h) If you have to dispose of computers and electronics, please choose a responsible recycling program. LAN Systems has a free program to recycle.

2)   If you are considering desktop virtualization on your own server, you should know:

a) This strategy can significantly extend the life of the desktop

b) The user will get their desktop and applications from the central server not locally.  Most of the processing is done by the server, so the desktop only uses a small amount of resources.

c) Choosing the right desktop virtualization software is essential.  There are many different offerings with different feature sets.

d) Review application licensing to see what costs will be incurred in going virtual

e) Do a complete cost analysis to make sure you get your ROI

3)   Consider online software services (SAAS):

a) Evaluation costs over your ROI period

b) Consider hosted email, spam and virus protection

c) Look at other hosted software like email marketing, sales, contact management, and accounting to replace in-house software

If used wisely, your computer system can be one of your best competitive advantages.  Often minor changes or upgrades that are quite economical can give you the biggest returns.  For more technical tips, go to:  http://www.lansystems.com

If want to discuss these and other ideas, please email me at mary@lansystems.com.