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1st Quarter 2014 - January Issue

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Network & Equipment Planning for the New Year

2014 is underway, and the question you have to ask is, what part of my computer network will fail this year? If you’re like many businesses, you have computers and laptops that are over 5 years old, as well as printers, faxes, scanners, and peripherals that have been in daily use for years. If you have a network server, it may be in declining health too.

Because it runs fast, hot, and is exposed to constant use, computer equipment has a short life span, much like many small and agile creatures in the animal kingdom. To a computer, 5 years is a long time! Motherboard capacitors can begin to leak and burst. Your hard drive has been spinning at 7200 rpm somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 hours!

In addition to natural aging, your computer has spent its lifetime battling viruses and picking up spyware and malware. No wonder it’s starting to run slow.

At Shiloh Service, our experience over 43 years of serving Pittsburgh area businesses is clear: planning for replacement is always less costly than responding to emergencies.

Emergencies mean higher service rates and quick decisions that are often not the best answers, Pittsburgh IT services because there’s no time to take in the big picture. Emergency solutions often add more costs down the road, because future software needs and essential services are not completely thought out in the rush to limit downtime. And if you lose critical business data in a hard drive crash or backup failure… the cost could be enormous.

Shiloh Service specializes in exactly the type of planning, evaluation, monitoring, and maintenance that keeps business networks running smoothly, year-in and year-out. Over the long term, that costs less than putting out fires, both in dollars spent and the headaches and heartaches that come with dealing with too many troublesome problems all in the same day (and you know those days are coming).

Interested in removing your computers and office network from 2014’s list of possible disasters? Call Shiloh Service today at 1-888-374-4564 and learn about our Premier Maintenance Plan or our Basic Maintenance Plan. At Shiloh, our Maintenance Plans are geared to keep you running smoothly, securely, and reliably. We believe one monthly payment is better than the panic and unexpected expense of a computer systems failure.

End-of-Life Software in 2014

Shiloh service it software supportComputers and network servers are not the only things that age and need replacing. Software too has a limited shelf life. Microsoft, for example, has been supporting Windows XP for over 12 years now, and its service life has finally come to an end along with several other Microsoft staples.

On April 8th, 2014, Microsoft will end support for Windows XP, Microsoft Office 2003 (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and more), and Exchange 2003 (email server).

What does this mean for your business?

While these programs will continue to function on computers and servers after 4/8/14, unsupported versions of Windows, Office, and other Microsoft wares will no longer receive software updates. These include security updates that help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. No longer will the latest patches be available to improve the reliability of Windows, including new drivers for your hardware and peripherals. Customer support, whether online or by phone, will no longer be available. Finally, as new computers and operating systems enter the market, your old software will be less and less likely to run on them.

One good example is Internet Explorer. While the I.E. web browser is now on Version 11, Windows XP can only use up to Version 8.

For more information, visit Microsoft’s page on End of Support.

At Shiloh Service, we are experts at helping you plan for software obsolescence. We know when a loss of support could be a danger to your business or it’s safe to stretch a year or two out of older products. For a FREE evaluation of the state of your business software, contact Shiloh today, or call us at 1-888-374-4564.

Viruses Evolve to Criminal Extortion

Shiloh sound newsletter virus cryptolockerFor small business, one of the worst virus attacks in 2013 was known as Cryptolocker, a new kind of Ransomware that succeeded at direct extortion.

First surfacing in September of 2013, Cryptolocker has several ways of infecting your computer, the most typical being from a scam email attachment designed to look legitimate. Once on your computer, the virus seals your data behind an unbreakable code, making it impossible to access any of your business information.

The only way to get your data “unlocked” is to pay a ransom, often hundreds of dollars, by a specified deadline.

While the virus itself is easy for a qualified technician to remove, the only known way to regain access to your information is to pay the ransom. If you have a complete recent backup of your data which has not been infected, then the locked-out data can be deleted and the backup restored.

We have heard of some businesses getting infected more than once, spending time and money to clean the infection and pay the ransom, only to have the same virus reappear only a few days later and go through the whole nightmare again.

How can you protect yourself from Cryptolocker and other new generation viruses? At Shiloh Service, we offer our clients the best in advanced anti-virus and anti-spam protection, and our highly trained staff is always ready to deal with the latest threats. To learn more, give us a call today at 1-888-374-4564.

System Backup Drills find Critical Weaknesses

You invested in a backup system, one of the latest and greatest you were told. Now one of your aging computers blows a capacitor or loses a hard drive. The Cryptolocker virus hides all of your business data from you and demands hundreds of dollars to give it back. No problem, you say, we’ll go with the backup.

Problem. No one has looked at the backup for months. It had a glitch or stopped running weeks ago. Someone misplaced one of the drives used in the backup rotation. A setting was incorrect and it backed up everything but the critical records you need to keep your business running. These scenarios are more than scary stories; they happen more often than you think!
Shiloh services pittsburgh it specialist
Backup drills can be essential to find problems as they develop and overcome them. It’s simple: the operation of your backup system should be checked on a regular basis to make sure the system is still set and operating correctly. A portion of critical data should be restored to a test folder, giving you the assurance and confidence that when needed the backup actually works.

If your business routinely does fire and disaster drills, shouldn’t you consider a backup drill to make sure the information you need to keep running is there when you need it?

Shiloh Service provides, monitors, and maintains state-of-the-art backup systems for our clients and is well versed in the skills of data recovery when disaster strikes. Shouldn’t you have Shiloh on your team? Call us today at 1-888-374-4564.

The Incredible new $50 Computer

Raspberry Pi may sound like one of the desserts you enjoyed over the holidays, but it’s actually a credit-card sized, single-board computer developed in the UK with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools.

Shiloh service newsletter raspberry piFor parents with kids interested in computer hardware and programming, the Raspberry Pi is an inexpensive investment in a powerful learning tool and a practical little computer. It can be used as the heart of a home weather station, to do home automation tasks, build robotic projects, develop arcade game simulations, learn basic server functionality, serve as a media center controller, and more.

Raspberry Pi takes us back to the days of do-it-yourself computing, as even the most basic peripherals like a screen and keyboard are up to the user to find, connect, and get working. Of course, for a budding electronic genius, that’s exactly the kind of challenge they need to build valuable skills.

While it may sound like a toy, the Raspberry Pi has surprising potential. It can run Windows 3.0 and multiple Raspberry Pi’s can be networked into a single Raspberry Supercomputer. Various packages and add-ons are becoming available as the popularity of the little machine takes off.

You can learn more about the Raspberry Pi by visiting the FAQ sheet at RapberryPi.org
Raspberry Pi computers and peripherals can be purchased at many places online, including www.newark.com

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