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Last Chance for Windows 10 upgrade for 10% off labor costs

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Thanks for being a loyal customer.

We hope you enjoy this discount on our Windows 10 upgrade support and solutions like our previous special deal. We still  have a special for support in the upgrade for 10% off labor costs, ending July 29th, 2016.

The new information that can come out from Microsoft is, it will be a subscription. There has been MUCH speculation on what is to TRULY happen in the next few last weeks for the upgrade once it is no longer free.  One of the options now is a $7/mo/seat subscription.


More Update on Windows 10

From PC Magazine, in an interview with Microsoft:

“Windows 10 Enterprise E3 for CSP is for business customers of any size (including one person) to get enterprise features and functionality on a per monthly/per seat cost,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said via email. “This new subscription model is not associated with our current upgrade offering or applicable to the Windows 10 consumer edition.”


When is it a Scam?

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There are all sorts of scams that come through email, but which ones are scams and which ones are legitimate? In most cases the first sign is its being from an anonymous sender, it is unsolicited and it is generally a mass mailing. All of those signals aside, the subject line tends to give away the suspicious email.

Mark Zuckerberg Is Giving Away Money!

Mark Zuckerberg Is Giving Away Money!

YOU are the Lucky Winner! Free iPads from Mark Zuckerberg, Miraculous drug for weight loss or male enhancement, or sometimes both. The Nigerian prince that is a long lost relative has died and you are the last known family member and will be receiving his millions stored in an off shore account.

As much as we would like to believe these stories are truly meant for us and there is a shred of validity to the email, chances are it is a phishing scam, or it is laced with a virus that is just awaiting your double clicking the attachment describing these awaiting riches or physical enhancements.

In some cases, the emails are far more malicious than promising wealth and other unrealistic notions. Imagine being a company working on a project, in the finance department and trying to get the month closed out. You receive an email from the supposed client letting them know the bank account and routing numbers for transfers had changed, and could $30,000 be transferred for payment as soon as possible. The email has the “correct” logo, mailing address and other pertinent information, yet… it was not. Upon further research, after the $30,000 had already been wired, the domain name was spelled incorrectly and originated in Russia, other than that, it seemed credible. The money is lost and a hard lesson is learned. This is an extreme and a very frustrating and hard lesson to learn, yet there are ways to prevent this. Always check with the sender, even if it means picking up the phone and speaking to someone in their accounting department.

Some things to watch out for

  • If it is a bank or credit card company, they will NEVER ask you to email your credentials.
  • If you are asked to logon to a site and verify your information, do NOT follow the link. Open a new browser window in a different browser and loon to the company site to verify. Be SURE you actually have an account in said business.
  • If you do not know the sender, do not open the attachments or send any personal information.
  • If there is a phone number to confirm, call it and verify the urgency. Also, find the phone number on another source and verify it.
  • If the email is garble, delete it.

    Garbled phishing email.

    Garbled phishing email. Click to view example larger

  • If it is a friend who seems to have lost their wallet in another country and are stuck there without a Visa. Advise them to go to the American Embassy, OR call their cell.
  • If a window pops up stating what type of damage it will do (steal credit card information, personal information, delete data etc.), it is a scam. Legitimate antivirus programs do not list the destruction they will cause. If that information comes up suggesting you have a virus, then the popup IS a virus.



Why do I need more than one backup?

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“My IT Company is crazy! They want me to have multiple backups… I use my flash drive nightly, and am ok.”

“I know I have backups, someone set it up years ago and it runs automatically… I think.”

“What, you should test your backups?”

Yes, backing up can be a pain, but unless you are willing to use all your hard work, or memories, it might be worth it. If your home or office burns down, what will you be able to retrieve if you don’t have multiple backups.

Types of data to backup:

System State:

This is a copy of the configuration of your machine. In the event of failure, sometimes the COST of rebuilding the machine and the programs is the most expensive element.


This is your documents, pictures, music libraries and company data. One should always create multiple backups for such data.

Application based backup:

Many applications have their own backup, and for restoration purposes, need the backup in their proprietary format in order to restore the data. If this is the case with the applications, you should run the application-specific backup, and then backup the data file set it produces on another medium.

Types of backups (Media)

USB Drive:

Great for second copies of data and system state and data. Do realize that after the USB Devices fall from the top of the cabinet once, they can mechanically stop working and become DOA. Not a good place for your only backup, and definitely not a good place for original files and music libraries!

Tape Drives

These have been in service for years, and still work. Unfortunately, they do rely on complicated restores of data, and offsite storage. Nothing says failure when your backup tapes are on top of the server you are backing up. Very expensive fire | storm | water victim when the tapes are ruined with the server they are backing up. Can be very expensive for both tapes and tape drives.


Not again! What is this Crypto-Locker doing and what is Ransomware?

Masked Man Cryto LockerHELP!

Here we go again.  Crypto Locker.  I know of 3 more organizations this week who have been hit with it.  What is Crypto Locker?  It is a virus that encrypts all of your files, and then a ransom note is left behind.  Unless you pay the ransom, you lose all of your files.  Is it possible to 100% protect yourself?  Maybe not 100%, but you can surely recover without paying ransom.  Listed below are some ways to protect yourself.

Don’t Click!

There are so many things going around that look like the real McCoy.   If you even slightly suspect that your great aunt Mickey would never send you something like that, she probably didn’t.  Call and ask before opening that attachment of the keg party.  Chances are, she was not there and did not take the picture.  If you can’t ask her, contact your IT Administrator and ask.  The same goes for suspicious pop ups and controls that want to install when you browse the web.  No computer should have pop-ups appearing all the time.  If your computer is doing this, you have some type of virus or malware.  If you are not trained in its removal, consult a professional.  Does this pop up describe in detail all the things that you are not protected against?  Is it threatening personal data, credit cards?  Real Anti-Virus programs don’t do it that way.  Does it tell you that unless you pay you will lose all your files?  Again, not the language of a legitimate program. Don’t fall for it.

Anti-Virus Programs:

Most Up to date Anti-Virus programs can, in fact, catch Crypto Locker.  The problem is, there are many variants being released.  This is why it is important to always run up to date Virus Software, and up to date Virus definitions.  As a new variant is discovered, an up to date definition is released.  If you update daily, then you will have the protection that you need.  Updates can be scheduled and automatic. What if you are up to date, but are the lucky one who discovers a new variant before the Anti-Virus software company does?  With up to date software, comes support.  They will still assist in removal, and, they get to document the case you just found in order to create new definitions.  It takes a community.

Windows Updates and Program Updates

Windows updates are critical to the safety of your computer.  As hackers find vulnerabilities in program code, they are exposed.  Windows Updates closes them right back down, just like updating your virus definitions. This is the same for any program you run on the computer.  Always keep the programs up to date.

Application Safety Controls

Ever notice that Outlook does not display pictures or links unless you give it permission to?  Word and Excel open, blocking all editing or macros until you give it permission?  That is because hackers hide code in Macros, or in downloaded content to an email message.  This allows another layer of security so that you have the control on what you trust and what you don’t.  You can turn off these features, and it would seem more convenient than just enabling content as you need.  Keep in mind, it is more convenient to respond to those prompts then it is to rebuild your data once you have allowed the malicious code through.

Offsite Backups

Do you really think that flash drive is your best defense?  I guess it is better than no defense, but there has to be more.  Offsite Encrypted backups allow you to keep your data safe and off the computer.  If you get a virus infected file, and the file is backed up, with the right backup program it is not a problem.  If the offsite backups are encrypted, and isolated, that means todays backup might contain infected files, but yesterday’s files are still safe and can be recovered.

Local Backups

If a virus hits the entire operating system, you need to be able to roll right back to where you were before this bad-dream-of-a-virus happened.  However, code like Crypto Locker knows how to crawl through your network and reach out to all hard drives and mapped drives the computer can see.  You need a backup program that knows how to ‘hide’ the backup drive to all but the backup program.  Many of the expensive ones do this, but so does the Windows Backup Program.  And its free.

What about our Clients?

Can I safely say that Sandra Network clients have never caught this virus?  We certainly can’t.  We can’t protect users from opening up that email from “Aunt Mickey”, no matter how hard we try..  Can I say that Sandra Network clients have NEVER had to pay ransomware prices?  Yes, I can.  Can I say that Sandra Network clients have never lost all their data or had full loss of business over it?  Yes I can.  We update, implement, train the employees, and are always watching out for our clients.  All safety controls in place, all the time.  That is what we do.

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