New Mac Pro speculations

Since 2013 when the current Mac Pro model was released, nothing has been confirmed regarding the progeny of the high-end workstation, until now. When will the new Mac Pro be released? What can you expect under the hood? How much will it cost? We answer all that and more.

Processor

The new Mac Pro is rumored to feature the next-generation Intel Xeon E5 processor. While the current models are configurable up to 3.5GHz for the six-core option, 3.0GHz for the eight-core option, and 2.7GHz for the 12-core option, the 2018 model could offer up to 14 or 18 cores per processor. What’s more, each model will likely come equipped with the Iris Pro Graphics P580, a highly powerful graphics processing unit (GPU) that will make heavy file renders a breeze.

However, there’s a small chance that Apple might abandon Intel chips altogether and move to AMD’s RYZEN 7 CPUs, which just set a new standard for high performing CPU processors.

RAM and storage

The new Intel Xeon chips are rumored to have DDR4 memory controllers, and if that’s true, you can expect uber fast memory and low latency without having to worry about issues with overheating. Currently, the 15-inch MacBook Pro comes with 16GB RAM, so it’s likely that you could expect the same RAM with the updated entry-level model of the Mac Pro. And because Apple knows that users usually work with very large files, an option for 2TB flash storage could be possible.

Ports

Claims that the new Mac Pro might offer more Thunderbolt ports in the form of USB-3 are also up in the air. This makes sense as it brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at 40Gbps which ensures faster data transfer speed.

While a number of users wish Apple would offer PCI slots so they could add faster SSDs and more powerful video cards, looking back at the company’s previous releases, we don’t think you should get your hopes up just yet.

Design

According to Apple, the triangular design of the Mac Pro’s thermal core was what limited them from offering updates to the machine. Because of that, we’ll probably see a completely new design in the 2018 model.

Prices

Apple just rolled out some minor updates to the current Mac Pro, including enhanced specs at lower price points. For the $2,999, you now get a 6-core Intel Xeon processor, dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs and 16GB of memory. And for $3,999, you now get an 8-core processor and dual D700 GPUs.

Having said that, you can expect slightly higher prices for the new Mac Pro than the current models, like with most new Apple releases.

Release date

The timeframe is 2018, but keep in mind that the present Mac Pro was unveiled at WWDC in 2013 and supply was so restrained that people didn’t get theirs until the following spring. Therefore it’s highly possible that the new model will be launched at WWDC 2018 during summer and won’t probably ship until the end of the year.

Stay tuned for more updates on the new Mac Pro. And if you’d like to know more about other Apple products, or learn how they can streamline your operations, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Posted in Apple, General Articles C | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

New Mac Pro: latest rumors

For years, Apple users have been holding on to nothing but online rumors concerning the release date of the new Mac Pro. Thankfully, Apple just confirmed a radical revamp of its high-end workstation. Although official information on the different models’ specs and features have not been confirmed, hints have been made about what could be in store for Mac Pro users.

Processor

The new Mac Pro is rumored to feature the next-generation Intel Xeon E5 processor. While the current models are configurable up to 3.5GHz for the six-core option, 3.0GHz for the eight-core option, and 2.7GHz for the 12-core option, the 2018 model could offer up to 14 or 18 cores per processor. What’s more, each model will likely come equipped with the Iris Pro Graphics P580, a highly powerful graphics processing unit (GPU) that will make heavy file renders a breeze.

However, there’s a small chance that Apple might abandon Intel chips altogether and move to AMD’s RYZEN 7 CPUs, which just set a new standard for high performing CPU processors.

RAM and storage

The new Intel Xeon chips are rumored to have DDR4 memory controllers, and if that’s true, you can expect uber fast memory and low latency without having to worry about issues with overheating. Currently, the 15-inch MacBook Pro comes with 16GB RAM, so it’s likely that you could expect the same RAM with the updated entry-level model of the Mac Pro. And because Apple knows that users usually work with very large files, an option for 2TB flash storage could be possible.

Ports

Claims that the new Mac Pro might offer more Thunderbolt ports in the form of USB-3 are also up in the air. This makes sense as it brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at 40Gbps which ensures faster data transfer speed.

While a number of users wish Apple would offer PCI slots so they could add faster SSDs and more powerful video cards, looking back at the company’s previous releases, we don’t think you should get your hopes up just yet.

Design

According to Apple, the triangular design of the Mac Pro’s thermal core was what limited them from offering updates to the machine. Because of that, we’ll probably see a completely new design in the 2018 model.

Prices

Apple just rolled out some minor updates to the current Mac Pro, including enhanced specs at lower price points. For the $2,999, you now get a 6-core Intel Xeon processor, dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs and 16GB of memory. And for $3,999, you now get an 8-core processor and dual D700 GPUs.

Having said that, you can expect slightly higher prices for the new Mac Pro than the current models, like with most new Apple releases.

Release date

The timeframe is 2018, but keep in mind that the present Mac Pro was unveiled at WWDC in 2013 and supply was so restrained that people didn’t get theirs until the following spring. Therefore it’s highly possible that the new model will be launched at WWDC 2018 during summer and won’t probably ship until the end of the year.

Stay tuned for more updates on the new Mac Pro. And if you’d like to know more about other Apple products, or learn how they can streamline your operations, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Posted in Apple, General Articles B | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Reasons to back up your mobile devices

2017April20Business_CIt makes a lot of sense for electronics firms to pack a variety of functions into mobile devices and expand their usefulness. Instead of confining their use to communications, companies such as Apple, Samsung, and others have turned mobile phones into mini-computers that can serve as a substitute for your laptop, or as a storage device. If you’re using mobile phones as a communications and storage device, backing up now would be a wise move.

Malware on mobile

More than 50% of the world’s adult population use a mobile phone with internet connection, so dangers in these handy devices are to be expected. Scarier than the thought of being offline is being online and exposed to malware.

If you use your mobile devices as an extension of your work computers, backing up is a must. Mobile phones have become as vulnerable to malware as laptops and desktops have, especially if you consider the fact that many professionals and business owners use them for emailing confidential documents and storing business-critical files.

Device disasters

Other than malware, other types of disasters can happen on your device. Because you carry it wherever your go, your device can easily be stolen, misplaced, or damaged. They may be easily replaceable, but the data contained in them may not. Having completely backed up data on your devices helps prevent a minor inconvenience from turning into a disastrous situation.

Backup options

Performing backups in iPhone and Android devices is a seamless process. Their operating systems require only minimal effort from users, and backing up entails nothing more than logging into their Apple or Google account. However, other users have different devices with different operating systems, slightly complicating the process.

Mobile devices’ safety is essential to business continuity plans. So whether your office users are tied to a single operating system or prefer different devices, there are options to back up all your organization’s mobile devices. There are cloud backup services that enable syncing of all devices and that back up files, contacts, photos, videos, and other critical files in one neat backup system. These mobile backup tools are offered on monthly or lifetime subscription schemes, which provides small businesses with enough flexibility to ensure protection.

Mobile phones have become so ubiquitous to how people function that many feel the need to have two or more phones, mostly to have one for personal use and another for business. With all these options on hand, there’s no excuse for not backing up data on your mobile devices.

Our experts can provide practical advice on security for your business’s computers and mobile devices. Call us for mobile backup and other security solutions today.

Posted in Business, General Articles C | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Back up your mobile devices now

2017April20Business_BMobile phones’ sizes and styles went through massive changes in the last few years. And as their looks and dimensions changed, so did their functions. With better capacity and bigger storage, mobile phones turned into veritable mini-computers that businesses were quick to adopt as a vital office tool. Naturally, hackers got the memo. With new schemes targeted specifically towards mobile devices, you’d be well served backing up the files in your mobile device, now.

Malware on mobile

More than 50% of the world’s adult population use a mobile phone with internet connection, so dangers in these handy devices are to be expected. Scarier than the thought of being offline is being online and exposed to malware.

If you use your mobile devices as an extension of your work computers, backing up is a must. Mobile phones have become as vulnerable to malware as laptops and desktops have, especially if you consider the fact that many professionals and business owners use them for emailing confidential documents and storing business-critical files.

Device disasters

Other than malware, other types of disasters can happen on your device. Because you carry it wherever your go, your device can easily be stolen, misplaced, or damaged. They may be easily replaceable, but the data contained in them may not. Having completely backed up data on your devices helps prevent a minor inconvenience from turning into a disastrous situation.

Backup options

Performing backups in iPhone and Android devices is a seamless process. Their operating systems require only minimal effort from users, and backing up entails nothing more than logging into their Apple or Google account. However, other users have different devices with different operating systems, slightly complicating the process.

Mobile devices’ safety is essential to business continuity plans. So whether your office users are tied to a single operating system or prefer different devices, there are options to back up all your organization’s mobile devices. There are cloud backup services that enable syncing of all devices and that back up files, contacts, photos, videos, and other critical files in one neat backup system. These mobile backup tools are offered on monthly or lifetime subscription schemes, which provides small businesses with enough flexibility to ensure protection.

Mobile phones have become so ubiquitous to how people function that many feel the need to have two or more phones, mostly to have one for personal use and another for business. With all these options on hand, there’s no excuse for not backing up data on your mobile devices.

Our experts can provide practical advice on security for your business’s computers and mobile devices. Call us for mobile backup and other security solutions today.

Posted in Business, General Articles B | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Why you need to back up your mobile devices

2017April20Business_AThere was a time when mobile phones were used exclusively for calling and texting. Now, they can do so much more. Regardless of your level of tolerance or skill for managing documents in such a small gadget, mobile devices allow you to send and receive email, download and upload media files, store data, and even close business deals. As mobile devices became indispensable in everyone’s personal and professional life, the security risks have also increased — and backing up became more critical than ever.

Malware on mobile

More than 50% of the world’s adult population use a mobile phone with internet connection, so dangers in these handy devices are to be expected. Scarier than the thought of being offline is being online and exposed to malware.

If you use your mobile devices as an extension of your work computers, backing up is a must. Mobile phones have become as vulnerable to malware as laptops and desktops have, especially if you consider the fact that many professionals and business owners use them for emailing confidential documents and storing business-critical files.

Device disasters

Other than malware, other types of disasters can happen on your device. Because you carry it wherever your go, your device can easily be stolen, misplaced, or damaged. They may be easily replaceable, but the data contained in them may not. Having completely backed up data on your devices helps prevent a minor inconvenience from turning into a disastrous situation.

Backup options

Performing backups in iPhone and Android devices is a seamless process. Their operating systems require only minimal effort from users, and backing up entails nothing more than logging into their Apple or Google account. However, other users have different devices with different operating systems, slightly complicating the process.

Mobile devices’ safety is essential to business continuity plans. So whether your office users are tied to a single operating system or prefer different devices, there are options to back up all your organization’s mobile devices. There are cloud backup services that enable syncing of all devices and that back up files, contacts, photos, videos, and other critical files in one neat backup system. These mobile backup tools are offered on monthly or lifetime subscription schemes, which provides small businesses with enough flexibility to ensure protection.

Mobile phones have become so ubiquitous to how people function that many feel the need to have two or more phones, mostly to have one for personal use and another for business. With all these options on hand, there’s no excuse for not backing up data on your mobile devices.

Our experts can provide practical advice on security for your business’s computers and mobile devices. Call us for mobile backup and other security solutions today.

Posted in Business, General Articles A | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

An essential checklist for WordPress users

170px_shutterstock_387379513Wake up. Take a shower. Get dressed. These are just some of the numerous tasks we do every single day. They may not be fun, but they are essential to our daily routine. Managing a website is very much the same. By going through the necessary steps, you can ensure the speed and security of your website. Also, it doesn’t take long to complete!

Make backups
It’s crucial that you perform a daily offsite backup of your WordPress files and database. This ensures data security in the event of a network breach or natural disaster and facilitates the resumption of your business’s regular operations. Although plugins like BackUpWordPress and hosting servers like SiteGround automate the backup process, you should still perform manual backups.

Verify backups
Not only should you be making backups, you should also be verifying them. By doing so, you are making sure that the backed up files are going where they are supposed to, and backups are being restored. The last thing you need is a failed backup strategy on the day you need it most!

Daily security reports
If you ask any cybersecurity expert, “Is it crucial to maintain a daily network security report?” the answer will be a resounding YES. While you might not have enough time to carry out thorough inspections and create these reports yourself, you can rely on security monitoring services like Securi. Not only does it carry out the inspections, it sends an SMS notification of any suspicious activity and even emails you a daily status report.

Malware scans
Cybercriminals are growing in both number and sophistication. With every passing day, new strains of malware are developed and released onto small- or medium-sized businesses. Unless you are a bonafide hacker yourself, detecting malware might be a little tricky. WordPress plugins like Wordfence keeps your website safe using the latest firewall rules, malware signatures, and malicious IP addresses.

Speed audits
Slow and steady might be qualities valued by some, but not so much for your website. Plugins like Google PageSpeed Insights test how fast your site loads. Because if it takes more than five seconds, you should consider implementing caching and other measures to speed up your site. Slow sites put off visitors and lower search rankings.

Review your site
For this step, sit down with an impartial friend and let them explore your website. A fresh pair of eyes might highlight issues you might have overlooked, such as forgetting to update the copyright date in your footer.

Forbes, National Geographic, and The New York Times are all powered by WordPress, which means you are in good company. By sticking to the checklist, you too can harness the power of this online, open-source website creation tool. Or, instead of signing up for half a dozen services that need daily check-ins, why not have us take care of all of it for you? If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to send us an email or give us a call!

Posted in General Articles A, Web & Cloud | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Manage your WordPress with this checklist

170px_shutterstock_313698662WordPress is one of the most powerful blogging and content management systems (CMS) to date. Since it powers approximately 27% of all websites, there’s no room for sluggish load times, potential security vulnerabilities, or search engine delistings. To avoid these problems altogether, sticking to the following checklists might help.

Make backups
It’s crucial that you perform a daily offsite backup of your WordPress files and database. This ensures data security in the event of a network breach or natural disaster and facilitates the resumption of your business’s regular operations. Although plugins like BackUpWordPress and hosting servers like SiteGround automate the backup process, you should still perform manual backups.

Verify backups
Not only should you be making backups, you should also be verifying them. By doing so, you are making sure that the backed up files are going where they are supposed to, and backups are being restored. The last thing you need is a failed backup strategy on the day you need it most!

Daily security reports
If you ask any cybersecurity expert, “Is it crucial to maintain a daily network security report?” the answer will be a resounding YES. While you might not have enough time to carry out thorough inspections and create these reports yourself, you can rely on security monitoring services like Securi. Not only does it carry out the inspections, it sends an SMS notification of any suspicious activity and even emails you a daily status report.

Malware scans
Cybercriminals are growing in both number and sophistication. With every passing day, new strains of malware are developed and released onto small- or medium-sized businesses. Unless you are a bonafide hacker yourself, detecting malware might be a little tricky. WordPress plugins like Wordfence keeps your website safe using the latest firewall rules, malware signatures, and malicious IP addresses.

Speed audits
Slow and steady might be qualities valued by some, but not so much for your website. Plugins like Google PageSpeed Insights test how fast your site loads. Because if it takes more than five seconds, you should consider implementing caching and other measures to speed up your site. Slow sites put off visitors and lower search rankings.

Review your site
For this step, sit down with an impartial friend and let them explore your website. A fresh pair of eyes might highlight issues you might have overlooked, such as forgetting to update the copyright date in your footer.

Forbes, National Geographic, and The New York Times are all powered by WordPress, which means you are in good company. By sticking to the checklist, you too can harness the power of this online, open-source website creation tool. Or, instead of signing up for half a dozen services that need daily check-ins, why not have us take care of all of it for you? If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to send us an email or give us a call!

Posted in General Articles C, Web & Cloud | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Are you using this WordPress checklist yet?

170px_shutterstock_350982164Many would initially blame hackers for an extremely slow website or being delisted from search engines, but that’s not always the case. When it comes to managing your website, how sure are you that all your bases are covered? If you are unsure, you might want to give this WordPress maintenance checklist a try.

Make backups
It’s crucial that you perform a daily offsite backup of your WordPress files and database. This ensures data security in the event of a network breach or natural disaster and facilitates the resumption of your business’s regular operations. Although plugins like BackUpWordPress and hosting servers like SiteGround automate the backup process, you should still perform manual backups.

Verify backups
Not only should you be making backups, you should also be verifying them. By doing so, you are making sure that the backed up files are going where they are supposed to, and backups are being restored. The last thing you need is a failed backup strategy on the day you need it most!

Daily security reports
If you ask any cybersecurity expert, “Is it crucial to maintain a daily network security report?” the answer will be a resounding YES. While you might not have enough time to carry out thorough inspections and create these reports yourself, you can rely on security monitoring services like Securi. Not only does it carry out the inspections, it sends an SMS notification of any suspicious activity and even emails you a daily status report.

Malware scans
Cybercriminals are growing in both number and sophistication. With every passing day, new strains of malware are developed and released onto small- or medium-sized businesses. Unless you are a bonafide hacker yourself, detecting malware might be a little tricky. WordPress plugins like Wordfence keeps your website safe using the latest firewall rules, malware signatures, and malicious IP addresses.

Speed audits
Slow and steady might be qualities valued by some, but not so much for your website. Plugins like Google PageSpeed Insights test how fast your site loads. Because if it takes more than five seconds, you should consider implementing caching and other measures to speed up your site. Slow sites put off visitors and lower search rankings.

Review your site
For this step, sit down with an impartial friend and let them explore your website. A fresh pair of eyes might highlight issues you might have overlooked, such as forgetting to update the copyright date in your footer.

Forbes, National Geographic, and The New York Times are all powered by WordPress, which means you are in good company. By sticking to the checklist, you too can harness the power of this online, open-source website creation tool. Or, instead of signing up for half a dozen services that need daily check-ins, why not have us take care of all of it for you? If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to send us an email or give us a call!

Posted in General Articles B, Web & Cloud | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Firmware: the threat most users overlook

2017April18Hardware_AFor decades, one of the most foundational principles of cyber security has remained the same: Always update and patch your software. But for most people, hardware is exempt from this process. They think of hardware as nothing more than a vessel for software to occupy — and that’s totally incorrect. Read on to learn more about this oft-neglected aspect of IT security.

What is firmware?

Firmware is a very basic type of software that is embedded into every piece of hardware. It cannot be uninstalled or removed, and is only compatible with the make and model of the hardware it is installed on. Think of it like a translator between your stiff and unchanging hardware and your fluid and evolving software.

For example, Windows can be installed on almost any computer, and it helps users surf the internet and watch YouTube videos. But how does Windows know how to communicate and connect with your hardware router to do all that? Firmware on your router allows you to update and modify settings so other, more high-level, pieces of software can interact with it.

Why is firmware security so important?

Firmware installed on a router is a great example of why addressing this issue is so critical. When you buy a router and plug it in, it should be able to connect devices to your wireless network with almost zero input from you. However, leaving default settings such as the username and password for web browser access will leave you woefully exposed.

And the username and password example is just one of a hundred. More experienced hackers can exploit holes that even experienced users have no way of fixing. The only way to secure these hardware security gaps is with firmware updates from the device’s manufacturer.

How do I protect myself?

Firmware exploits are not rare occurrences. Not too long ago, a cyber security professional discovered that sending a 33-character text message to a router generated an SMS response that included the administrator username and password.

Unfortunately, every manufacturer has different procedures for checking and updating firmware. The best place to start is Googling “[manufacturer name] router firmware update.” For instance, if you have a DLink of Netgear router, typing “192.168.0.1” into a web browser will allow you to access its firmware and update process, assuming you have the username and password.

Remember that routers are just one example of how firmware affects your cyber security posture. Hard drives, motherboards, even mouses and keyboards need to be checked. Routinely checking all your devices for firmware updates should be combined with the same process you use to check for software updates.

It can be a tedious process, and we highly recommend hiring an IT provider to take care of it for you. If you’re curious about what else we can do to help, give us a call today!

Posted in General Articles A, Hardware | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Outdated firmware is worse than you realize

2017April18Hardware_CAs workplace IT gets more and more hi-tech, the average user gets further from the building blocks that keep it running. At times that seems like a good thing, but if you aren’t aware of the most basic aspects of your hardware, you could be vulnerable to a nasty cyber attack. Make sure you’re secure with the help of our firmware advice.

What is firmware?

Firmware is a very basic type of software that is embedded into every piece of hardware. It cannot be uninstalled or removed, and is only compatible with the make and model of the hardware it is installed on. Think of it like a translator between your stiff and unchanging hardware and your fluid and evolving software.

For example, Windows can be installed on almost any computer, and it helps users surf the internet and watch YouTube videos. But how does Windows know how to communicate and connect with your hardware router to do all that? Firmware on your router allows you to update and modify settings so other, more high-level, pieces of software can interact with it.

Why is firmware security so important?

Firmware installed on a router is a great example of why addressing this issue is so critical. When you buy a router and plug it in, it should be able to connect devices to your wireless network with almost zero input from you. However, leaving default settings such as the username and password for web browser access will leave you woefully exposed.

And the username and password example is just one of a hundred. More experienced hackers can exploit holes that even experienced users have no way of fixing. The only way to secure these hardware security gaps is with firmware updates from the device’s manufacturer.

How do I protect myself?

Firmware exploits are not rare occurrences. Not too long ago, a cyber security professional discovered that sending a 33-character text message to a router generated an SMS response that included the administrator username and password.

Unfortunately, every manufacturer has different procedures for checking and updating firmware. The best place to start is Googling “[manufacturer name] router firmware update.” For instance, if you have a DLink of Netgear router, typing “192.168.0.1” into a web browser will allow you to access its firmware and update process, assuming you have the username and password.

Remember that routers are just one example of how firmware affects your cyber security posture. Hard drives, motherboards, even mouses and keyboards need to be checked. Routinely checking all your devices for firmware updates should be combined with the same process you use to check for software updates.

It can be a tedious process, and we highly recommend hiring an IT provider to take care of it for you. If you’re curious about what else we can do to help, give us a call today!

Posted in General Articles C, Hardware | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed
  • Internet Presence Management for Small Business Owners

    pronto logoFull-service, pay-as-you-go all inclusive websites, from design and content to SEO and social media management for one low monthly price.

    Learn more about our small business online marketing services.