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Section 179 Deduction

NEPA Section 179 Deduction

It is a great time of year to take advantage of the section 179 deduction. If you purchase software or equipment by December 31rst, you can deduct the full purchase price and a bonus depreciation. Section 179 is the product of a recent stimulus bill that is geared to help small business grow.

There are limits to what you can purchase. Most computer equipment qualifies. Most “off-the-shelf” software qualifies. PC, Laptops, Servers, and network equipment all qualify. Custom software does not but server-based software, PC operating system upgrades, MS office products, and accounting software like QuickBooks all do.

How about a business class i7-6700, 8GB ram, 250GB SSD with windows 10 pro with a 5-year parts warranty?

business class i7-6700, 8GB, 250GB SSD with windows 10 pro

Or maybe you need a new rack mount server with a Xeon Processor, 32 GB ram, 8TB hot swap raid 5 for your new virtual server host.

 Xeon Processor, 32 GB ram, 8TB hot swap raid 5

Or it could be time to upgrade your aging routers. Maybe a new SG-3100 pfSense router with 2x1GbE (gigabit ethernet) internet ports so that you can keep your business running on a backup internet connection even when the main lines goes down?

SG-3100 pfSense

Or maybe you have read some of my ransomware articles and now you are ready to have a serious disaster recovery system in place. We can configure a local backup system and supplement it with online backup. The hardware for the local backup could fall into the section 179 deduction.

Onsite Bare-Metal Recovery with Cloud Replication
We can source you other products as well. Ready for your Dual monitor setup? How about upgrading your laptop to an SSD drive? Maybe it is time to upgrade the memory on your unit?

Dual Monitor

Contact us now and we will be more than happy to configure a custom quote for whatever you need so you can take advantage of the section 179 deduction this year. Contact us here…

 

 

 

 

 

WannaCry Ransomware Explained: Is Your Business At Risk?

You’d be hard-pressed to miss last week’s biggest headline, the WannaCry cyber-attack sent shockwaves around the globe. Businesses of all sizes and even police departments found themselves crippled without warning.

Among the most prominent victims were many NHS hospitals in the UK, affecting up to 70,000 individual devices such as essential MRI scanners and blood-storage refrigerators. But by the time it hit the news, it was too late – either your system was protected, or it was infected. Here’s how it all went so wrong.

What is WannaCry?

The WannaCry cyber-attack was a type of malware (the collective name for computer viruses & bad juju) called ‘ransomware’. Just like the name suggests, it’s actually a demand for money. Like all ransomware attacks, WannaCry encrypts your files and holds them hostage until you pay. In this case, the price was set at $300, payable with internet currency Bitcoin, and you had 3 days to pay before it doubled. If you didn’t pay, the ransomware threatened to delete your files permanently. It’s yet unknown how much money the WannaCry hackers have earned with their latest attack, but you can be sure plenty of people have paid the ransom. Even the FBI recommends paying the ransom, especially if the ransomed files are of a sensitive nature or weren’t backed up.

How It Spread So Fast

It seems WannaCry may be a ‘computer worm’ that self-replicates and spreads, rather than a phishing attack that needs to be activated with a click. So far, no common trigger has been identified, as is normally the case with phishing links. WannaCry moved rapidly from system to system, spreading out through the entire network, including all connected backups and storage devices. At the same time, it spread out to infect other networks, who then spread it further, and so on. Given the nature of the internet, it was everywhere within hours.

Why Some Businesses Were Safe

WannaCry could ONLY infect systems that have fallen 2 months behind in their Windows updates. This is because it was created to take advantage of a specific vulnerability in Windows, one which Microsoft patched months ago. Without that patch, the ransomware could waltz right past the firewall, past the anti-virus and directly into the system (the NHS were reportedly running Windows XP – no longer supported). Those running Windows 10 or a fully patched, recent version of Windows were completely unaffected – the virus literally had no way in

It just goes to show the importance of staying up to date. We haven’t seen a second spike in WannaCry attacks yet, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be one. A quick update could protect your business from weeks of downtime and lost revenue, making attacks like this a non-issue.

With our managed services, we can make sure you stay up to date – and protected. Give us a call today at 570-779-4018.

Windows Vista End-of-Life: What This Means For You

The countdown is on for Windows Vista users. On 11th April 2017, Microsoft will cease all support and security patching, just like they did with previous Windows versions. Naturally, you’re rather attached to your current operating system and not exactly leaping for joy at this news!

Unfortunately, the longer your computer goes without an upgrade, the higher the chance of a complete system breach. While you’re watching the count-down and thinking about scheduling an upgrade sometime soon, cyber-criminals are making plans of their own. As time progresses, they’ll actively target out-of-date systems and search for vulnerabilities.

Even the most stalwart Vista user must finally upgrade, as continuing to use it will expose your computer to some pretty confronting risks, including:

Security risks: While Microsoft may have patched the gaps exploited during the Vista lifetime, there are many more just waiting to be discovered. It gets worse: your antivirus program is unlikely to intercept these attacks. Hackers are extremely fast to exploit newly-discovered vulnerabilities and without Microsoft working just as fast to close them, the risk increases exponentially every time you turn the computer on.

Compliance risks: For business users, this is a big one. Many businesses are subject to conditions that require them to run an operating system that’s regularly patched. For those working with sensitive, legal or private data, this is even more important. Continuing to use an unsupported OS places not just the system security at risk, but also the entire business.

Software incompatibility: New applications are created exclusively for current operating systems. This means you can’t upgrade past the software you now have, and will soon be phased out of new updates and options across all application types.

No support: Vista mainstream support was stopped back in 2012 but there were always avenues if you were really stuck with something. A quick Google search, an expert on call or even sympathetic support staff at Microsoft helpdesk willing to bend the rules; as of 11 April though, that all stops. The only support available will be outdated pieces you can locate with Google, solutions which may send you in circles with no resolution.

Windows Vista End-of-Life: What This Means For You

The solution is quite simple: upgrade your computers to Windows 10 well before the April 11 deadline.

Windows 10 is the latest release and will give your upgrade investment the most value over time, as well as the best security Windows users have ever seen. Vista will continue to work after April 11, but every day you use it puts your system at increasingly higher levels of risk.

Get in contact by calling us at 570-779-4018 to upgrade your Windows.

Did you install Windows 10 yet?

Did you install Windows 10 yet? My personal view is that it is the best Microsft OS (Operating System) so far. I had been warning people to wait for a few months since a new OS release is usually rocky. That does not seem to be the case this time. Sure Microsoft just released a patch, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t working. I did have an issue with Google Chrome, but disabling hardware acceleration in the Chrome settings cleared that up. Everything else has been running smoothly. It does appear that some things run a bit slower, but I am blaming that on driver issues. I do not feel there is a strong case not to upgrade.

File Copy window | windows 10
Windows 10 File Copy Dialog

Windows 10 includes some the best of Windows 7 and Windows 8 (yes there were good things about Windows 8). One of my favorite features is the file copy dialog. You can pause and resume the copy at will. The new task manager is much better than Windows 7.  The interface in feels clean. Touch is taken into account in Windows 10 as well. Windows 7 and touch screens never worked very well or at least I didn’t like it. Windows 8 was much better, but you had to deal with metro and other Windows 8 oddities. Another great thing is the way that Windows 10 deals with multiple screens and multiple windows. It is really an upgrade from 7 and 8, works much smoother and allows for multiple desktops as well as multiple screens.  Very nice if you like that sort of thing. Don’t get me wrong, I still think windows 7 is still a great OS. I just think Microsoft did it right this time.  It is almost like they listened to me and decided to celebrate the power of the PC desktop instead of hiding it.

There are some things I don’t like. I am not a fan of Edge. It seems to work fine and it is fast, but I need my browser plugins to function the way I want to. The windows 10 apps work ok, but I feel most of the apps I want are redundant. Either there is already a program I use instead of the app or I directly connect to the company via a web browser.  I am sure the apps are much more useful on phones and tablets.  I do like how the apps function on the desktop 100 times better than window 8.

For those of you that worry about privacy on your smartphone, you should worry about it on windows 10 as well. Most of the privacy settings are out in the open, but a few are down deep in the applications. Here is a very good link about configuring a number of them: http://ht.ly/QO7Mx

If you are interested in upgrading your PC to windows 10, but you don’t know where to start, give us a call!  We can help!

Do you have enough ram for Windows 10?

ram for windows 10In the Microsoft system requirements, it states you need 2 GB (64-bit systems) of ram for Windows 10. Is this enough? From our research and testing, it seems that 2GB will just barely function. Add some background programs and start to open other programs and the system will start to struggle. Forget about opening a modern web browser with a few tabs. This will just chew up any reserve memory you might have had. We recommend 4GB at a minimum if you plan on upgrading on or after this July 29th (P.S. not everyone will get windows 10 July 29th even if you reserved a copy). Please let us know if you need help determining if you have enough ram for Windows 10 or checking to see if you meet the other system requirements.

Are you ready for Windows 10?

Windows 10 The rumor is that windows 10 is going to be released in July just in time for back-to-school shopping. It is going to be a free upgrade for most users. Are you ready to switch?  Is your computer capable of running it as is?

The system requirements are rather moderate:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster

  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)

  • Free hard disk space: 16 GB

  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

  • A Microsoft account and Internet access

If you are able to run Windows 8/8.1 you will be able to run windows 10.  If you are running some previous operating system, the windows 8 upgrade assistant can help you determine if you will be able to use it without issues.

 

 

 

Windows 10 Preview

I downloaded the new Windows 10 preview and took a peak.  The file copy and task manger are still there.  The start menu feels nice.  It it a little different then the windows 7 menu.  There is a mini version of metro (looks more like a windows phone screen) on the start menu.  I didn’t play with it too much but I didn’t mind it there.  The apps behave like normal programs rather then gobbling up the whole screen.  You can re-size them and and minimize them.  So far I am pretty happy with what I am seeing. The install still prompts you for a Microsoft account and to download and install apps you still need to be signed in.  Not my favorite thing but I guess it is true of all the app based software.

I will update after I have looked at it and installed some more software.