Security for a Mobile World

by Justin Nescott 30. July 2012 10:00
What mobile devices do you own? A smartphone? Tablet or iPad? Laptop? MP3 player or iPod? How many do you have protected in the event that you lose the device or have the ability to locate or wipe it remotely if all else fails? A group of CPAs agreed that IT security is the #1 technology concern on the AICPA’s “2012 Top Technology Initiatives Survey.” Because of the advances in technology, security for various devices struggles to keep current. With the spread of new technology, sensitive data is stored on devices from phones to tablets to laptops, which allow us instant connectivity, but increases the possibility of data loss. Here are two suggestions to improve security on mobile devices (although not a fix all, both options help secure data on otherwise insecure devices). Screen lock is a standard feature on many devices, but there are applications that create a login option on older devices. You may also be able to upgrade the software on the device to get new security updates and features. There are also applications and built-in features that allow you to find your phone through its GPS system or remotely wipe the device’s data. Please see the Ohio Society of CPA’s article “Keep your info safe if you lose your phone” for more information on security for your phone. For other mobile devices, there are suggestions on how to improve security on the internet.
Categories: Tech Tips

Early Reviews of Windows 8

by Justin Nescott 23. April 2012 09:55
  In late February, Windows launched the consumer preview of Windows 8. The major redesign was to move the popular operating system that is available for Windows’ tablets and mobile devices to the desktop and laptop. This will feature and continue the growth of touch screen desktops and laptops. The “Metro design” will replace the traditional “start” button and the applications and programs will be contained on the desktop as colorful blocks. With the growth of applications for computers, Windows 8 focused on incorporating the ease of use into the new OS. Windows recently launched a Windows Application Store to make downloading new apps as easy as possible. The convenience of complete customization for the start screen of Windows 8 allows the user to decide which apps and common contacts appear. The initial reviews, although mostly positive, vary greatly. PCMag questions whether Windows 8 will fail, comparing it to a Windows 95 failed add-on, Bob. It points out that the touch screen works great, but the user will encounter problems if they have to use a mouse or trackpad. This will put pressure on manufacturers to include touch screens to new laptops and desktops, which will add between $100-$150 to the price of the unit, which would be passed to the consumer. Microsoft did release a recommended specification for new trackpads that would work better with the Metro Touch; however, because of the late release, many laptops will not include this new design that may be released with Windows 8. Also, by removing the Start button, the user has to click on more options to find similar functions in the new Metro layout. Hopefully, when Windows does roll out Windows 8, these problems will be resolved and the initial beta testing will help them develop Metro Touch for laptops and desktops that is on par with mobile devices and tablets. Make sure that if you are, or will be in the market for a computer in the next few months, you are aware of the OS that you will be purchasing and if you will run into any problems with the computer designs. 
Categories: Tech Tips

Does Your Browser Look Different? IE has changed again.

by Justin Nescott 17. February 2012 11:00
  For the first time ever, Windows will be using its Windows Update feature to automatically upgrade Internet Explorer to either IE 8 or IE 9 on all computers. Although the rollout began January 17, you will not notice a difference until you receive your next Windows Update. Note that Windows XP users will only be upgraded to IE 8 because IE 9 is not compatible, while Windows Vista and Windows 7 users will be upgraded to IE 9. If you had previously selected not to be upgraded to IE 8 on XP or IE 9 on Vista or Windows 7, Windows will not update your system.   Over the years, Internet Explorer’s interface has looked very much the same after updates, as most changes were made in the programming (e.g. upgrade from IE 7 to IE 8 left physical appearance the same). However, with the upgrade from IE 8 to IE 9, users may not recognize the new Internet Explorer. To compete better with popular browsers Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari, IE developed an interface that was stripped to the bear basics (similar to Google Chrome) while some speed tests say that IE 9 is faster than Chrome and Firefox. However, IE is still limited in the variety of extensions offered (downloads that let the user customize the browser), a feature that has helped Chrome and Firefox continue successful growth.   With the upgrades being automatically installed for most users, be aware of features that might change because of the upgrade. To see how you can customize your new browser, read more on Windows Secrets’ blog – Ready or not, you’re getting IE 8 or 9. To see a comparison of Firefox, Chrome, and IE 9, please visit Microsoft’s website.
Categories: Productivity