IT solutions Blog Page

My Computer is Running Slow

How to Speed Up Your Computer 

Note: This page will cover steps for an overall slow computer but does not address computers that have a slow boot up or slow internet.

It is important that your computer run at its best. Over time, regular use of your computer will build up unneeded files and clutter your hard-drive. Bad Computer habits also can contribute to a slow computer. Using multiple programs at once, or putting your computer to sleep instead of rebooting regularly are examples of things that can slow your machine down.

Here is a list of steps you can take to speed up your computer, if you are still having trouble with your computer please give us a call at: (888) 799-4777


Reboot

If you have not rebooted your computer recently, make sure that you plan a time to reboot it before following the article below.

Background Programs

One of the most reasons for a slow computer is that programs are running in the background. One option is to have your disable programs that automatically start each time the computer boots.

In addition, if you have an antivirus program, or spyware protection program on your computer, make sure it is not scanning your machine in the background. If the scan is in progress, it can decrease the overall performance of your computer. If this is the case, allow the scan to complete, and the computer’s performance should improve.

Note: You can see what programs are running in the background and how much memory they are using, through the Task Manager. If you are running the current version of windows you can use the Resource Monitor to see a better breakdown of how your computer’s memory is being used.

Delete Temporary Files

As a computer runs a program, temporary files are then stored on the computer’s hard drive. Deleting these files can help speed up your machine.

We don’t typically suggest deleting these files yourself as there are some critical files that if deleted can cause damage. However, if attempting this process, yourself, we suggest using the Windows Disk Cleanup utility to remove temporary files and other files that are no longer needed on your computer.

Scan for Viruses

If your computer is infected with a virus, this can cause the machine to run slowly.

For more information on best security practices check out our Network Security Page.

Update Your Drivers

Make sure you have the latest drivers and updates available for your computer hardware. Having out dated drivers can cause an array of issues, including slow performance, glitches or display issues.

Check Hard Drive Space

Make sure that there is at the very least, 250-500MB of free hard drive space. This available space allows the computer to have room for the operations to increase in size as well as room for temporary files.

Check Hardware

If you have had your computer for more than two years, you may need more memory. Today, we suggest that computers have a minimum of 2GB of memory (RAM) installed. The more memory the computer has the more ability to compute multiple actions at the same time. If your computer is running low on memory, it may become slow when multiple windows or programs are open at the same time.

Old Machine

If your computer is more than 5-7 years old, the age of the computer could be the cause of the slow performance. As more advanced technology and software programs are released, they are designed to run on newer computers. Older computers are not able to run these newer programs, which can cause them to perform slowly. If you believe your computer is need of replacing, we can help, AZCOMP Technologies is a Dell Certified Vendor and can help get you the right hardware for your needs.


Need more help?

Our IT technicians are here to assist you in resolving your computer or network issues!

 

September 2017 Cyber Security Webinar

In the last 12 months, hackers have breached half of all small businesses in the United States.

– 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity Report

Join us for our free Executive Webinar: 7 Critical IT Security Protections EVERY Small Business Must Have in Place NOW to Avoid Cyber Attacks, Data Breach Lawsuits, Bank Fraud and Compliance Penalties.

Healthcare providers have a lot to worry about, including HIPAA compliance, avoiding data breach to protect patient PHI, and keeping your computer network safe from all the cybercrime that is going on. If you’re not in healthcare, you have a lot of the same issues to worry about like protecting customer credit card data and other important business data, your bank account, your computer network.

That is why we are hosting this free executive webinar.

There are a lot of threats to your network, every day, and we can almost guarantee that your business isn’t aware of all the threats. Therefore, you are at risk of losing EVERYTHING in an instant! Your bank account, your patient information, your billing and claims information (accounts receivable), everything you need to keep your practice running could all be wiped out and gone forever when you’re not doing the right things to protect yourself and your business.

The good news is there are some SIMPLE protections and precautions you can put in place to drastically reduce your chances of being a victim – which is what we’re going to show you at this webinar.

In a little more detail – here’s what we’re going to cover:

  • The #1 security threat to your business that antivirus, firewalls and other security protocols are defenseless against.
  • A SHOCKING truth about bank fraud that most businesses don’t know about that could (literally) wipe out your bank account.
  • How Mobile Phones and Cloud Apps are seriously jeopardizing your security and data protection- and what you need to do to protect yourself.
  • Why firewalls and antivirus software give you a false sense of security- and what it REALLY takes to protect your organization against new threats and today’s sophisticated cyber crime rings.
  • 7 critical IT security protections that EVERY small business must have in order to avoid cyber attacks and cyber crime.

Cyber Security Webinar Registration

The webinar is free, but you must register to attend. Go to our website to get all the details and to register. The webinar is being held on September 8th. Be sure to register and mark your calendars today!

Network Security

Understanding Network Security

These days, businesses are often so concerned with day-to-day operations that they have forgotten to invest in network security. Others understand the need for complete network security, but have a relaxed strategy in regards to their IT, which can be just as dangerous in the event of a data leak or issue.

What is Network Security?

  • It’s protection from getting hacked and helps keep the bad guys out
  • It’s keeping your data secure and backed up, automatically
  • It’s preventing your system from getting infected by a virus or malware attack
  • It’s performing routine maintenance and patching to keep your system up to date
  • It’s about being aware of possible security threats – Not sure how to do this? Click Here for a free IT Report on how to protect and preserve your data!

Network Security

What Can Network Security Protect Your Business From?

Bugs, Viruses, and other vulnerabilities have all existed since the beginning of computing, but the threats found in today’s technology world have vastly outnumbered and outperformed them.

In part, this is due to how society has grown heavily reliant on the internet and technology. Here are some of the threats which proper network security can protect your business from:

  • Spyware and Adware: While not particularly threatening they can invade your privacy and pave the way for more dangerous infections to enter the network. Spyware can log your keystrokes, providing the bad guys with your valuable information. While adware is simply an annoying means to gain profit, through things like pop-ups.
  • Phishing and Identity Theft: Hackers will often try to pose as a reputable institution which your business has relations with in attempt to steal information from you such as your credit card numbers, banking information, or passwords. They do this by appearing legitimate through an email address or a website designed to look like the real thing.
  • Viruses, Malware, and Exploitation of Vulnerabilities: The goal of the hacker is to infiltrate your databases and steal your information, or to leave behind a backdoor for later access at their leisure. Hackers often infect systems with viruses or malware which can either cause damage or allow for the hacker to gain remote control to the machine. These measures are difficult to remove as they are often implanted into several areas of the machine and hidden very well.

Network Security from AZCOMP Technologies

At AZCOMP Technologies, we take security very seriously. We take preventative measures to keep the threats from ever entering your system in the first place.

This lets you avoid costly repairs or downtime that often follow a hacking attack. We offer a comprehensive network security solution, that keeps threats of all kinds from entering your network and neutralizing those that already have. Some of things included in our network security solution are:

  • Next Generation Firewalls:  Firewalls are your first line of defense against outside threats. A firewall will analyze the traffic and data going to and from your network. You can think of it like a virtual bouncer which keeps dangerous things from entering your network.
  • Antivirus Software: If a virus or piece of malware does manage to get through your firewall, it can be killed off quickly with an enterprise-level antivirus software. An antivirus eliminates threats as quickly as possible while limiting the damage done.
  • Spam Blocking: Not only is spam annoying and useless, some phishing emails might slip through your defenses. Instead of going directly to the inbox where it may be accidentally opened, it goes to the spam folder, where it can be promptly ignored or deleted.
  • Content Filtering: Not all web content is safe for viewing, so it’s important that your team can tell when a site is fake and when they are real. Content filtering allows you to block certain websites from accessing your data. It’s also good for increasing productivity in the office by limiting employee access to time-wasting websites like Facebook, BuzzFeed, etc.
  • Security Patching: We ensure that your machines are up to date with the latest security patches available to help keep your network as secure as possible!

 

A Healthy network is a strong network, AZCOMP Technologies can handle all this technical information for you while you reap the benefits of a protected network.

Give us a call at 480.730.3055 or click below to receive your free report on what every small business owner must know about protecting and preserving critical data!

 

The Cloud Makes Computing Easier

Cloud Computing

One of the biggest problems a business has with its IT infrastructure is the lack of funds a business has to commit to obtaining and maintaining the necessary computing infrastructure. Whether they’re trying to run resource-intensive application, or simply need more storage space than they can manage independently, the cloud can provide them with the means to do so.

What if you could leverage the power of tens, dozens, or hundreds of computers dedicated to completing the processes your business undertakes? What if issues could be resolved seemingly instantaneously? What if you didn’t have to manage an in-house server, and that it was maintained on your behalf–often with an up-time guarantee?

With a cloud solution, this can all be a reality.

A cloud provider can enable you to leverage their computing resources for far less capital investment than it would require you to create the same caliber of infrastructure for yourself. As a result, you are able to utilize a far more powerful solution to complete your necessary tasks. Your resource usage can even shift, depending on your needs at the moment. So, if you suddenly need more resources to complete a task, you no longer need to make alterations to your internal infrastructure. Instead, your cloud provider can simply allocate more of their resources to you (possibly increasing the rate that you will have to pay them), but ultimately allowing you to accomplish what your business needs.

Finally, you can expect most cloud providers to pass along the savings to you, as the technology they rely upon to function decreases in price. Therefore, as they are able to support more for less, they are apt to decrease their pricing in order to attract more, larger service agreements.

In essence, the cloud is made up of separate computing assets (that are meticulously cared for) that you are able to leverage for a fee. Should the server your computing infrastructure is allocated to fail, your resources are quickly migrated to another, minimizing the effect that you experience on your end.

Integrating a cloud solution into your IT strategy can have many more benefits to you and your business. To learn more about how the cloud can help your business, reach out to us at AZCOMP Technologies by calling (888) 799-4777.

Why Does Restarting a Computer Fix So Many Issues?

“Try Restarting Your Computer”

Few things cause more eye rolls than being told to restart a device. Most of us are used to hearing it by now. Many of the people that we help have already restarted their computers before they even call us, and there are some people that tend to have a “face-palm” moment when they’ve forgotten this technology fix-all.

Other people almost seem to take offense when they hear it, like they’ve somehow been insulted with this too-simple-to-help advice.

But guess what? It Does Work! We estimate that more than half of all issues in technology can are fixable with a simple reboot.

But why does rebooting fix problems?

When you are using your computer, you’re opening programs, installing and installing software, and moving files around. Sometimes windows like, internet browsers are open for hours, or even days at a time. There are a lot of background services that stop and start too, but you never really see these services.

We use our computers a lot, especially over the course of weeks or months.

What you may not realize, is that a lot of what you and your operating system does, is leaving behind a footprint. Usually this footprint is in the form of background processes you don’t really need running anymore or programs that didn’t quite close all the way.

These “left-over” items hog your system resources, and usually, your RAM.

When too much of this happens, you start to get problems, like a sluggish system, programs that won’t open anymore, etc.

When you reboot your computer, every single program and process ends as the power leaves your computer during the restart process.

Once the computer starts back up, you will have a clean state (of sorts) and more than not, a faster, better working computer.

Note: Restarting your PC is the same as rebooting or powering it off and then on. Restarting is not the same as resetting, which is a much larger process and usually includes erasing everything and returning to “factory defaults”.

 

Frequently Restarting May Indicate a Bigger Issue

Restarting your computer occasionally, is perfectly normal, and if you’re doing the type of work that requires multiple programs, it is encouraged.

However, if you find that the reboot is only a temporary fix for you, there may be a bigger problem at hand.

Hardware may be failing; important operating system files may be damaged or you may even have virus or malware files on your machine.

Give us a call, and we will work with you to find a solution any computer or network issues impacting your business. We’ll get the computer problems slowing down your office resolved quickly, and if you’ll allow us to, we’ll perform an assessment to determine what is causing your problems in the first place. This is called an IT Network Assessment, and we’ll do it for FREE! Call us now at (888) 799-4777 and we’ll start working on resolving your pressing computer issues.

 

How To Grow Your Business With Technology

How To Grow Your Business With Technology

Today the business environment is more competitive than ever before, and one of the ways that organizations are attempting to overtake others in their industry is through the use of strategic technology solutions. By effectively leveraging productivity tools, employees can collaborate in never before seen ways and exceed all expectations.

Due to this increase in competition, there has been more of a demand for productivity-increasing software, especially in more recent years. Small businesses can implement task management applications and other productivity software to great effect, allowing them to better manage their workforce and allow for company growth in the long run. Here are three ways that productivity technology can help your business grow and achieve spectacular results.

 

Cloud-Based Productivity Applications

The cloud allows for access to important productivity tools, like Microsoft Office 365 and Google’s G-Suite, from any location with an Internet connection. The cloud is great for any application that many people need to access, simply because they don’t need the application installed on their desktop. All they need is credentials to access it in their web browser through an Internet connection, which offers employees the flexibility to work anywhere at any time.

 

Communication Applications

When work is being done from multiple locations, you need communications solutions to keep in touch with project teams and anyone with their hands on a project. Solutions such as email, instant messaging, and conferencing allow employees to get more out of meetings and keep each other up to date on the progress of a project. It can make all the difference when ensuring that a project is finished on time and on budget.

 

Project and Task Management Applications

Having a clear-cut list of what needs to be done for a project or implementation process can be incredibly important in the face of deadlines. This software allows your employees to stay on task, and ensure that project managers can meet all obligations in time and on budget. Otherwise, you’re merely assuming that work will be done properly, when in reality it could be done improperly or get out of control.

No two businesses are created equal, so often solutions like these need to be carefully vetted between those that manage your company and those that manage your IT.

If your business wants to take productivity to the next level and create more opportunities for growth in the future, AZCOMP Technologies can help. To learn more about how your organization can get its hands on great tools like these, reach out to us at 480-730-3055.

Password Tips to Keep You Secure Online

How to Keep your Passwords Safe Online

  1. Create strong passwords

Strong passwords, by definition, have at least eight characters, with a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letter, numbers, and symbols. They also avoid the use of personal information, such as birthdays, first, middle, or last names. Create strong, secure passwords that you’ll remember.

  1. Use a different password for each account

Using a different password for each online account is important because, if you share passwords across accounts, one compromised password can be used to log into another account. This is especially important regarding online banking and financial accounts.

  1. Get a password manager

Password managers, like LastPass or 1Password for example, can help you store multiple passwords, often in an encrypted manner, for easy access. Typically, they will require one master password with additional layer of authentication to access the stored passwords.

  1. Turn on multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor Authentication adds an additional layer of security on top of your standard password. For example, an app may require you answer a security question, input a unique code, or use a fingerprint scanner on top of using your password. Check the security settings of your favorite apps and passwords to see if multi-factor authentication is available.

Join Us For a Free Lunch n Learn Training!

The #1 biggest threat to your network is what your employees allow in. Training them on how to recognize potentially dangerous emails and online scams is critical. Protect your business with this important online safety training.

think before you click training

Technology Issues Every Business Must Plan For

Every Business Must Plan for these Technology Issues

Managing a business is difficult enough without technology issues complicating the way of operations. Here are a few common issues that have been known to cause problems for businesses more than they should.

Data leaks and security issues: Considering the vast number of businesses with valuable data out there to steal, many decision makers fall into a false sense of security by thinking that their company will be overlooked on account of its size. As a result, these companies may have substandard or outdated security solutions put in place that simply are not adequate protection for the data they have.

These companies are often prone to have their data compromised because of their lax security, damaging their reputation and, by extension, the business itself. After all, if you were doing business with a company and they allowed your credit card information to be compromised, would you feel inclined to continue doing business with them?

Inadequate hardware and software: It only makes sense that many companies will put off buying hardware until they absolutely to. However, this strategy is risky, and will much more likely end up costing these companies more over time.

Not only is it more difficult to repair older hardware, as the components involved will become harder to find and more expensive to purchase, but it becomes dangerous to neglect updating software. This is because software is regularly updated by its developers to resist newly discovered vulnerabilities and other serious issues, and without these updates, your systems will still be exposed to these dangerous vulnerabilities.

Also, while a software developer might provide tools and or instructions for moving from an older version of their application to the next, it may become drastically more difficult to pull your data over from a more ancient version that is several iterations behind.

No backup: It’s amazing how much damage lost data can do to a business. 60 percent of small business that suffer from data loss have to shut down within six months, and only 57 percent of medium-sized businesses reopen after experiencing a major data-loss incident.

These outcomes could be mitigated with a properly managed backup solution, but too many companies either find it to be an unnecessary, expense or simply aren’t as diligent in taking a backup as they need to be. The best backup solutions are those that each day and store the data offsite.

We also firmly believe that an unmanaged, unmonitored backup is about as good as no backup at all. If your backup isn’t being regularly maintained and tested, you have no idea if it’s even doing its job.

Insufficient IT support: Consider how many people you currently have on your staff as an IT resource. Chances are, if you wanted them to work on projects to drive business forward and properly service the equipment in your office, you might find your current in-house resources aren’t enough. The simple answer would be hiring more IT staff, but this isn’t a reality for many companies.

Fortunately, there is an option that can fulfill all these needs and then some–a managed service provider. A good MSP will ensure that your infrastructure and software solutions are optimized to your needs, and maintain your security as well as your backup solution in case of emergency. With an MSP, you will never be short on support for your IT needs.

AZCOMP Technologies can be that MSP for you. Give us a call at 480-730-3055 to get started today!

Technology Tip: Google Maps Parking Assistant

Google Maps is the Parking Assistant You Didn’t Know You Needed!

We’ve all been there before: you’re walking out into the parking lot, in a hurry to get somewhere, and cannot for the life of you remember where you parked. While this used to be a time-wasting problem for many, Google has added a feature to Google Maps that allows you to avoid the desperate race against the clock to get to your vehicle in time to get to your next destination.
Adding on to the parking availability feature that Google rolled out recently, you can now save the exact location of your parking space for future reference, taking notes or even pictures to better remind you where you left your vehicle.

 

 

To use this feature:

  • Open Maps on your mobile device
  • Tap the Blue Location Dot on the displayed map
  • Select Save your parking

Doing this will not only save your car’s current location, but will also remind you via your notification pane. As we mentioned before, it also allows you to snap some photos and jot down a few notes to help remind you of where your car is located. If your car is by a parking meter, you can even add a timed alert to make sure you don’t run over and wind up with a fine.

So, what do you think? Will this feature save you some time and stress?