IT 4 Offices

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When your password isn’t enough to protect your identity

Even using a password manager won’t protect your account 100%.  People will still fall for a phishing attack, or a brute force attack.  This is easily done by clicking a fake link provided or downloading unsafe software.

It’s also possible that your credentials will be stolen from a service provider.  Sites experiencing data breaches and losing customer names and passwords barely make the news as it’s becoming more common.

These compromises are why changing your passwords and using different passwords for every account are considered best practises, especially within the workplace.

If a breach is discovered, change your password and consider employing something even more secure such as multi-factor authentication.

Read more: When your password isn’t enough to protect your identity

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 End of support life

Over the years Microsoft have developed a wide range of software products for PCs, laptops and Servers, each product has a product life cycle which provides the users with the security and bug fix updates to ensure their data is safe and secure. 


What is Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008?

Windows Server 2008R2 End Of lifeWindows 7 is the desktop PC/Laptop operating system which is used, it allows users to run applications such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, Adobe Reader, Word, Excel, Outlook.  Windows 7 was initially released on 22 July 2009 to enterprises and was available to everyone from October 2009. 


Windows Server 2008 is used on servers and has many functions, most businesses will use it as File Server, Print server, Web Server and Active Directory.  The server functions can be extended by running applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server or Microsoft SQL Server.  Windows Server 2008 was released on 27 February 2008 and R2 (release 2) was released on 22 October 2009.


When is the End Of Support life?

Many thousands of devices still run Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 the official End of Extended support is 14 Jan 2020. 


Read more: Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 End of support life

How to spot malicious or phishing emails

In any business we find ourselves relying on email for a vast amount of communication, however it is inevitable that as much as we embrace the advantages we become increasingly aware of the downsides.  One of those downsides is the constant increase in spam, phishing, and malicious emails.

Unsolicited commercial spam is generally easy to recognise, report and then discard.  But how can you determine if an email contains a malicious link or attachment?  How do you know if it is trying to scam you out of money, or your personal information?


Read more: How to spot malicious or phishing emails

GDPR - Secure your data

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effective on 25/05/18.  Many UK businesses are getting ready and while others may not yet heard of it or this is does not relate to them.  Tougher fines and stricter regulations effect all businesses, across all industries and countries. 

Remember, your business needs to take into account past and present employees and suppliers as well as customers (and anyone else’s data you’re getting hold of, storing and using)

Look hard at your security measures and policies. You’ll need to update these to be GDPR-compliant, and if you don’t currently have any, get them in place. Broad use of encryption could be a good way to reduce the likelihood of a big penalty in the event of a breach.

Read more: GDPR - Secure your data

Cyber security for SMEs

In September 2012, UK Government department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Cabinet Office and CESG (the information security department of GCHQ) published guidance on 10 steps to cyber security.  The steps can substantially reduce the risks by helping to prevent or deter the majority of types of attacks.  

10 Steps to Cyber Security

The full article: 

Read more: Cyber security for SMEs

Small Business Server versions

Over the past 20 years Microsoft have continually developed their Windows Server range of products and each time the new version is released most have had a "small business" edition.  

SBS Version Windows Server version Exchange SQL Server Max users Notes
Backoffice Small Business Server 4.0 NT 4 SP3 5.0 6.5 25  
BackOffice Small Business Server 4.5 NT 4 SP4 5.5 7.0 50  
Microsoft Small Business Server 2000 2000 2000 2000 50  
Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 2003 2003 2000* 75 *SQL available in premium edition add on
Microsoft Small Business Server 2008 Standard 2008 2007 2008* 75 *SQL available in premium edition
Microsoft Small Business Server 2011 Standard 2008 R2 2010 2008 R2* 75 *SQL available in premium edition
Microsoft Small Business Server 2011 Essentials 2008 R2 25 Limited version
Microsoft Server 2012 Essentials 2012 - - 25 Limited version
Microsoft 2012 R2 Essentials 2012 R2 - - 50 Limited version
Microsoft 2016 Essentials 2016     25 Limited to 25 Users or 50 devices
Microsfot 2019 Essentials 2019     25 Limited to 25 Users or 50 devices


Read more: Small Business Server versions

Good Passwords

We often find users have difficulty remembering passwords and end up using the same password for their pc login and email accounts and every website including important sites such as their bank and credit cards.  As a result we have heard of individuals getting caught out by the "social" hackers tricks, where you sign up for something linked to facebook or twitter.  This is where someone will create a website which may look fairly harmless but will require you to subscribe and setup a password.  All the hacker needs to do is try the same password you have willingly supplied to your email and they could be in the money.  

If someone gets access or control of your email account then this can be used with the forgotten password links on most websites.  If the site also has a forgotten username link then this may also be used.

Most of us will happily give our email details out to anyone, assuming that junk filters and antivirus will capture anything bad, having a password of 8 complex characters may not save you from some attacks.  There are even lists of encrypted passwords available which translate an encoded password back into readable characters.

Read more: Good Passwords

PC Car analagy

I often get asked by customer who are trying to understand what they need to know when buying a PC or Laptop, I normally talk them through a simple analagy relating to cars (which most people understand):

The PC Car analagy

The CPU within a computer is like a cars engine, the faster it runs, the more you can do with it. The CPU is normally measured in Gigahertz/Ghz (although when I first started this was Megahertz/Mhz)

Read more: PC Car analagy

HP Vlan and Avaya

This week I've mainly been working with the wonderfull world of VLANs.

When a network grows to a certain size or your running VOIP on your network you may consider separation of the data to improve the network performance. You can do this either by buying separate switches and if you need to connect them use a router to ensure the data is kept apart. However VLAN technology has been around for a few years now and the price of a good managed switch is within the reach of most IT departments. Most managed switches will work at (ISO) Layer 2 - mac address. If your even lucky you can find a layer 3 light or full layer 3 switch - IP address routing. (For more info on ISO Layers)

Read more: HP Vlan and Avaya

Root kits from Hell

Just had one of them days today, I have a pretty good grasp of windows and spotting the odd trojan or virus however rootkits are harder to spot.

I generally run good old combofix on a pc when I get a call from a user saying there is an issue, but what happens when that wont run?

Most of the manufacturers of antivirus product have their own rootkit program to discover the problem but not always to fix them.

Read more: Root kits from Hell

SMB IT Support

If you are a business owner/manager and would like to discuss outsourcing your IT support, give us a call and speak to one of our team

SMB IT Support   Ad-hoc Support

IT Supply

If you have a hardware or software requirement or have a project you would like to discuss, give our team a call

Hardware   Software   Hosting


At IT 4 Offices, we have formed strong relationships with industry recognised businesses to provide our clients with the best systems that they require to run their daily business tasks.

 HP Cisco
Draytek Synology

Contact Us

Call on 0333 332 6600

52 Halcyon Close
Essex. CM8 1GY

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