windows

Computer Equipment Pricing and Availability Challenges Ahead?

It is very likely that we will be seeing computer equipment price increases and potential equipment shortages in the upcoming months. With the new trade tariffs, on Chinese products, that took place on May 10th it is likely that equipment pricing may increase 15 to 25%.  Equipment shipped and in transit prior to May 10th are not affected by the new tariff rate. The tariff rate in January was 10%. On May 1st the tariff was increased to 25%. It is not clear when we will be seeing price increases.

To make matters worse,  the IT industry is coming up on a critical date, January 13, 2020. January 13th is the last official day that Microsoft will release security updates for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 (all versions). After this final release Microsoft will no longer provide any support for these older operating systems making the vulnerable to new threats.  Many older computers do not have the resources to run the new server and desktop operating systems and many systems will have to be replaced. If you are still running on these older operating systems, you should plan accordingly to minimize the impact of the new tariff rate.

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Posted by Jack Gerbs in Cybersecurity, Information Security, Small Business

Windows 10 to Uninstall Buggy Updates

For those of you who have been following the challenges with Microsoft’s Windows 10 updates, there is help on the horizon. For those of you who weren’t following the issues, simply put, some of the updates broke hardware drivers. The hardware driver issues only affected certain accessories in the computer. The range of problems created are from sound cards not working to computers not booting (fully turning on).

While the Microsoft updates created the issues, the problems were not entirely Microsoft’s fault. Microsoft was supplied with updated drivers from major vendors, and it was these drivers that created the incompatibility issues.

With Microsoft’s next update (1903), which should be released in the next few months, they have included a roll-back feature. At this point, the roll-back feature is limited to systems that won’t complete their boot cycle. If the operating system determines that there is an issue and the boot cycle terminates, it will automatically roll back the last update making the computer usable again. This new feature will also stop the automated update process for 30 days to protect itself from re-downloading the same update.

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Posted by Jack Gerbs in Recent Posts

Windows 7, Windows Server 2008R2 and Office 2010 are Reaching End of Extended Support

The time is quickly approaching when Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and 2008R2 will no longer be supported. Technically these products are reaching the end of their extended support. Microsoft gradually ends support on their products. There is an official date for end of main stream support and another date for end of extended support. Extended support ends on January 13th, 2020 for Windows 7 and Server 2008. Extended support will end on October 13th, 2020 for Office 2010.

End of main stream support means that there will be no feature enhancements added to the product. Microsoft will continue to release patches that fix stability and vulnerability issues as they are found. End of extended support is defined as Microsoft will not issue stability or vulnerability updates.

Running software that is no longer supported represents a great risk to organizations and the end user. When criminals know that security patches will no longer be developed, they begin to work very hard at finding new vulnerabilities and will continue to do so. The new exploits that are discovered, near the end of support date, won’t likely be released immediately. The criminals will release them after the end of support date, because the vendor will no longer be supporting the product. These new exploits will be used to target Windows 7 systems, fully knowing that the systems are vulnerable.

Businesses, if you must run Windows 7 or Server 2008 after the end of extended support, there are a few things you can do to keep these older systems protected.  If you already have a good security stack installed, like our Q-Stack, the likelihood of a successful attack is reduced, but that is still not good enough. An additional firewall will need to be installed to separate the Windows 7 and Server 2008 devices. This firewall will require very tight rules that limit the device’s access to the internal network and the Internet. Depending on the type of firewall you have, it may be possible to create a virtual firewall on your existing device to create this additional layer of protection.

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Posted by Jack Gerbs in Recent Posts