Technology Articles from MPA Networks

Managing Automatic Updates: Balancing Security With Convenience

July 10th, 2018 by admin

Business mobile phones and other items on a table

Running automatic updates for applications and operating systems helps protect your company's digital devices, but those updates can harm productivity if not well managed. Unpatched software is the single biggest security risk in the workplace, so it's...

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Posted in: Cyber and Data Security

Spectre and Meltdown: Valuable Lessons for Your IT Security Team

February 12th, 2018 by admin

White lock icon on a backdrop of code snippets

At the end of 2017, the world learned about Spectre and Meltdown: two far-reaching security threats that exploit how CPUs work to expose protected information on nearly every recent PC, server and smartphone. Hackers can use these exploits to do things...

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Posted in: Cyber and Data Security

Four Security Threats Your Company Could Face in 2018

January 16th, 2018 by admin

Close up view of network ethernet cables plugged into ports on a switch/router

Hot off the tail of the massive 2017 Equifax breach that exposed personal information of 143 million customers, businesses are on high alert concerning IT security in 2018. While the IT security industry has been successful in mitigating and cracking...

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Posted in: Cyber and Data Security

Screen Mirroring Mini-Guide

September 19th, 2017 by admin

Conference room with dark wood table, black and silver chairs, a speaker phone, and a tv display on the far wall

Setting up your conference room for wireless screen mirroring is the answer to employees sharing in a collective groan when it's time to connect a computer or mobile device to show a presentation. While setting up the conference room television or projector...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

When Windows 10 Support Stops

August 22nd, 2017 by admin

Dark wood desk with a Mac desktop, a gray MacBook Pro, and a white table resting on it

In July of 2017, some Windows 10 users received an error message when trying to install the Creators Update, stating, "Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC." This first-of-its-kind problem stems from an incompatibility with a handful of Intel's...

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Posted in: Cyber and Data Security, Hardware and Software

Amazon Alexa in the Workplace: What Could You Do With a Virtual Assistant?

June 20th, 2017 by admin

Graphic of six people-shaped figures with question speech bubbles above them

Amazon Alexa, the voice-based intelligent personal assistant you may have seen an early adopter friend use at home, has surprising business use potential to increase productivity in the workplace. Like Apple's Siri, Google Assistant, and Microsoft's...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

Scheduling Security: Take Control of Your OS Updates

May 10th, 2017 by admin

The word 'update' written in chalk on a blackboard, with a red analog clock between the 'p' and 'd' letters

It happens to everyone: You turn your computer back on after you intended to leave the office, or come in early to get a head start on a new project, only to be greeted by a 20-minute operating system (OS) update session. This common workplace frustration...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

This Is the End: Microsoft Takes a Hard Stance on Phasing Out Older Windows Versions

April 11th, 2017 by admin

Stylized depiction of Windows 10's start menu on a desktop monitor

If your business hasn't already made the switch from Windows 10's predecessors to a new operating system, it's time to make the initiative a priority. While your IT staff doesn't need to upgrade every computer in your office, it's necessary to make sure...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

Avoiding Disaster: Overheating Computers

April 5th, 2017 by admin

Shiny, red fire extinguisher with a yelling cartoon face on the side

If one of your office computers always seems to shut down or slow to a crawl at the busiest of times, you may have a case of overheating on your hands—especially if IT can't find anything wrong on the software level. Performance hiccups might seem like...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

Getting a Clean Start: Managing Windows Startup Programs

February 23rd, 2017 by admin

Stylized depiction of the Windows 8 start menu on a desktop monitor

It's quite common that, over time, Windows systems accumulate a laundry list of programs that load when a user signs in. While generally benign, most of these "startup" programs are unlikely to actually benefit the user—so the computer ends up...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

Digital Sticky Notes: A Time-Saver for Your Entire Team

February 15th, 2017 by admin

Stylized depiction of nine sticky notes in various colors

It's a familiar sighting in the workplace: the employee with half a dozen sticky notes attached to their computer monitor. While not the most confidential or elegant solution, these employees are on to something. Fortunately, technology has stepped in...

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Posted in: Cyber and Data Security

Breathing New Life into Middle-Aged Computers

February 8th, 2017 by admin

Stylized depiction of an old-style CRT monitor

Your employees' computers may not be up to speed anymore after two or three years of use, but in many cases your staff can upgrade or tune up these devices to keep pace with work demands. Upgrades can often be purchased and installed for under $100 a...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

Using Snap and Split-Screen Modes for Increased Productivity

February 1st, 2017 by admin

Stylized sliding drawers stacked one atop the other, in blue and gray

Multi-tasking wizards have a secret: Modern operating systems offer a handy technique for managing multiple windows while maximizing available screen space, significantly increasing productivity. Depending on the OS, this feature may be referred to as...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

Boost Productivity and Security with Google's Cloud Applications

January 11th, 2017 by admin

Color logo of Google Drive(tm)

For anyone unfamiliar with the Google Applications platform, Google Docs et al. are a Cloud-based spin on mainstay office suite programs that can help your staff work better together. With a zero-dollar price tag (compared with Microsoft Office's...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

A Primer on Phishing Attacks

December 21st, 2016 by admin

Credit cards with a lock resting on top of them

Phishing attacks are a dangerous and devastating method hackers use to steal personal information and accounts—primarily by striking the user instead of the machine. According to the APWG Phishing Activity Trends Report, the first quarter of 2016 saw...

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Posted in: Cyber and Data Security

Low Battery Life: Bringing Productivity to a Halt

October 26th, 2016 by admin

Stylized graphic of a AA battery with a green cape flying through the air

Work-disrupting messages like “please connect charger” and “plug in or find another power source” can be a huge source of frustration—not to mention a major productivity killer—for employees on the go. Nobody wants to see their phone battery go belly-up...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

Think Manually Running Hard Drive Defragmentation Is a Big Deal? Think Again

October 19th, 2016 by admin

Open hard drive sitting on a table with its internals exposed

Good news: Your IT staff can stop running regular hard drive defragmentation on your office computers. Improvements in technology have rendered this decade-old practice largely irrelevant. One less thing to worry about, as far as we’re concerned. Hard...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

Troubleshooting Step 1: Reboot

October 12th, 2016 by admin

Stylized graphic of two power buttons side-by-side, the one on the right one lit up in blue

While modern computers are much more stable than their ancestors, trying to get work done on a slow, malfunctioning computer is still a business world rite of passage. Troubleshooting bad behavior on your work computer can, of course, be a tedious...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

How To Select a Second Monitor

August 24th, 2016 by admin

White office desktop with 2 Dell monitors and an Apple keyboard around a coffee cup

Secondary monitors have incredible potential to increase productivity in the workplace. It might not seem like much, but minimizing, maximizing, and arranging application windows on a single computer monitor can take up a significant amount of time....

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

Data Sanitization: Are You Erasing Your Old PCs COMPLETELY?

June 7th, 2016 by admin

Sepia-tinted close up of an eraser on the back of a pencil

One of our pet peeves with some of our new customers is that once we come in to upgrade their IT network, they're careless about disposing their old hardware—specifically, their PC hard drives. They think that by simply deleting their existing files—email,...

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Posted in: Cyber and Data Security, Hardware and Software

Windows 10 Free Upgrade Window Comes to an End

May 24th, 2016 by admin

Stylized depiction of the modern Windows start menu with a blue '10' overlaid

Those “Upgrade to Windows 10” notifications seem to be showing up everywhere, even in the middle of a weather forecast on Iowa television. What would’ve otherwise been an embarrassing interruption turned into a watercooler moment that anyone who used...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

URGENT: Uninstall QuickTime for Windows NOW

May 3rd, 2016 by admin

Red and yellow depiction of a ringing alarm clock with hands at 12:15

Today we'd like to pass along a critical security advisory to all our customers: If any of your company's Windows systems still retain Apple's QuickTime for Windows software, uninstall it immediately—as soon as you finish reading this post (if not...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

The Best Way to Check Your PCs for Malware - Fast and FREE

April 12th, 2016 by admin

Clip art of two badges, one red with an 'X' and the other green with a check mark

A couple months back, we touched on the story of our normally tech-savvy friend who got tricked into allowing his desktop PC to be infected with obvious malware. At first, he had the sickening feeling that comes with a virus-infected computer—but thanks...

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Posted in: Cyber and Data Security

Internet Explorer: Upgrade Your Relationship or Break Up?

February 25th, 2016 by admin

A compass surrounded by the logos for Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome

The end is here for all versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer outside of the most recent version. If your business is still using older versions of the browser, it’s important to switch to a different browser—or upgrade to maintain the latest in...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

Upgrading to Windows 10: Why You Should (Still) Wait

February 11th, 2016 by admin

Red sign depicting in white lettering 'Do Not Enter'

We were as optimistic as anyone about Microsoft's long-awaited release of the Windows 10 operating system. As we discussed last May, we looked forward to real improvements—chiefly a better desktop interface—over its widely unloved predecessor, Windows...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

The Dangers of Free Public Wi-Fi: How To Protect Your Network

February 2nd, 2016 by admin

Light blue depiction of a wireless symbol

How dependent have you and your employees become on public Wi-Fi outside the office? Mobile hotspots are almost everywhere now—from coffee houses and fast-food restaurants to hotels and airports (and even aboard most planes). Without Wi-Fi access,...

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Posted in: Cyber and Data Security

Blurring the Lines: Hybrid Devices in the Workplace

December 10th, 2015 by admin

Wooden desk with a gray MacBook Pro, Apple display, iPad, and Mac peripherals sitting on it

Apple announced the iPad Pro in September of 2015. Microsoft announced the Surface Book just a month later. Both devices are blurring the lines between tablets and laptops, offering interesting new opportunities for technology use in the workplace and...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

Playing It Safe with Windows 10: Upgrading or Maintaining Your OS with Minimal Pain

October 27th, 2015 by admin

Windows(tm) logo in blue

Now that the dust has settled around the release of Windows 10, your SMB may be looking to increase productivity by upgrading your OS. Still, you should proceed with caution. The latest version of the operating system offers a more secure computing...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

The “Redirect to SMB” Bug: New Windows, Same Danger

October 6th, 2015 by admin

Icon of a bug with the red, green, blue, yellow Windows logo on its carapace

The big news out of Microsoft over the past couple of months is the much-ballyhooed release of Windows 10. While “Win10” finally addresses those annoying shortcomings of its predecessor Windows 8 (as we've discussed), it still hasn't corrected a dangerous...

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Posted in: Cyber and Data Security

Changes Ahead for Windows: A First Look

May 13th, 2015 by admin

Graphic of an old-style, black CRT monitor with 'Microsoft Windows XP' prominently displayed

It was about a year ago that Microsoft officially ended support (most importantly, automatic security patches) for Windows XP. Particularly for business users, running a computer on XP after April 8, 2014, became about as wise as leaving keys dangling...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

Increase Productivity with Cloud Systems

December 23rd, 2014 by admin

Blue inked drawing of various icons with arrows pointing to a cloud

Cloud-based applications have the potential to increase productivity for your business. By de-localizing your computing resources, your employees can benefit from ease of access, broader device compatibility, and reliance on local hardware. IT Managed...

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Posted in: Hardware and Software

Homeland Security Issues Warning Over Serious Internet Explorer Bug

April 30th, 2014 by admin

Cartoon of the blue Internet Explorer icon with 3 insect legs extending from either side of it

Serious Security Flaw Found in IE A security flaw or bug has been discovered in Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), which affects all versions of IE from 6 to 11. This flaw allows a hacker to potentially gain access to your computer and hard drive when...

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Posted in: Cyber and Data Security

R.I.P. Windows XP. Current Users Now at Greater Cyber Risk

April 8th, 2014 by admin

The words 'Microsoft Windows XP', with logo floating above them

Microsoft Corporation has just announced it will stop supporting Windows XP, one of the world's most popular and successful operating systems. Though Microsoft XP will not magically disappear from the desktops of anyone currently using it (which is...

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Posted in: Cyber and Data Security, Hardware and Software