Are YOU Prepared For The End Of Windows 7?

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On January 14th 2020 the world will bid a fond farewell to the beloved Windows7 operating system. Well, sortof. Microsofthas declaredthat,after that date, it will no longer update or support the system. It’s the final nail in thecoffin foratrustworthy, oft-toutedsoftwarepackage that’sbeenrunning on fumes since newer versions hit the scene. Also, as with any funeral, there are some arrangements to be made for the millions of businesses that have stuckitout totheend.Here’s everythingyouneedtoknowaboutthecoming changes - and more importantly what you should do now to prepare.

The End Of An Era

The news of Microsoft closing down Windows 7 support may come as a surprise to some people (hopefully not many!), but the operating system has been on its last legs for a while. In fact, Microsoft stopped adding new features and honouring warranties for the platform back in 2015. When 2020 comes, it will cease releasing patches and updates for good.

This doesn’t mean that Windows 7 PCs will suddenly stop working in January; you’ll still be able to boot up in the operating system if you keep it installed. But if you value your privacy, your data and your sanity, it’s time to upgrade.

Those Microsoft updates that pop up from time to time don’t exist just to annoy you; they patch security vulnerabilities and protect you against new viruses and malware. Without that ongoing support, Windows 7 users will become fish in a barrel to sophisticated cybercriminals looking for a quick win.

That’s why it’s essential that you call in the professionals to prepare your business for the switch to Windows 10 – or an alternative operating system – now, not later.

It’s A Requirement, Not A Choice

Upgrading your operating system well in advance of the Windows 7 end-of-life date may seem like a decision you should make for your peace of mind, but it’s even more critical than that. Of course, as time leaves Windows 7 behind, it’s certain that pieces of software will steadily become incompatible with the OS. Programs your company uses day-to-day suddenly becoming unusable which will present serious headaches, but the real problem lies in the security of your network.

Windows developers are in a constant arms race with cybercriminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities in their platform. Each patch brings a host of bug fixes and security upgrades, but cybercriminals almost always find a new way in. Thus, the developers hastily put together a new patch, and the cycle continues.

When an operating system loses support from these developers, its users are left completely vulnerable to hackers. Like maggots drawn to rotting meat, they flock to the abandoned platform and dig into the networks of those stubbornly clinging to the outdated OS. This process is expected to be especially nasty after Windows 7’s end of life, since so many businesses still use the OS and likely will forget (or refuse) to upgrade.

If you value your business at all, it’s not a choice. You need to upgrade before time runs out.

Avoid The Crunch

Not only should you enlist your IT experts to facilitate the upgrade, but you should do it ASAP. As the clock ticks down on Windows 7, tech companies are expecting a flood of upgrade requests as businesses scramble to leave the OS behind before it’s too late. Many of these IT providers will have a lot on their plate later in the year as they hurry to upgrade hundreds, if not thousands, of individual PCs. If you wait it out, you’re likely to find yourself at the back of a long, long line, potentially to the point that you breeze past January 14 without a solution. If you do, you’re almost certain to regret it.

Every day, the need for an upgrade becomes more urgent. Give the task the ample time required and avoid needless stress. Contact your IT provider and ask them to start the upgrade process today.

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SHINY NEW GADGET OF THE MONTH:

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VIZR Hopes To Revolutionise Your Dashboard

When it comes to driving, the forces that aim to keep us safe seem to be in a constant battle with the pull of convenience. We must keep our eyes glued to the road while trying to navigate through Google Maps, all without missing a single turn or instruction. It’s a very dangerous combination.

With their new VIZR tool, FIXD automotive hopes to fix that. After selecting the feature, you want, you connect the device to your phone and place it on your dashboard, where it creates a transparent display. This way, FIXD says, you can seamlessly navigate without ever glancing at your phone and putting your safety in jeopardy.

Though VIZR is a great idea, the reviews indicate it might not be all it’s cracked up to be. You might want to wait until all the bugs are sorted out. Available in the UK from £18.00 with free postage so may be worth a try?

Expect, Inspect, Correct

By Robert Stevenson Author of the books How To Soar Like An Eagle In A World Full Of Turkeys and 52 Essential Habits For Success.

Bad: John Thomas? I knew him back at Cambridge. He and I were at Trinity together. This one time …

It’s no coincidence that we have so many ways to say we made a mistake: botched, mishandled, misjudged, mucked up, messed up, blunder, misunderstood – just to name a few.

As a leader, you’ll hear each of these (some more than others, and likely some more explicit than the ones I’ve named here) often. When you do, it’s important to first try to remember that whoever made the mistake probably didn’t mean to. It’s very rare that a person will go out of their way to ‘mess up’!

Put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself if you have ever made a mistake. A bad decision? Have you ever said something you regret? Ever disappointed someone in authority or whose opinion you value? Jumped to the wrong conclusion? Done something foolish or outright stupid? Everyone has. Sometimes a simple reminder of our past failings enables us to be a little more tolerant of others’ mistakes.

Mistakes don’t have to be the end of the world. Mistakes are inevitable and are oftenessentialto learning and progress. They should guide you, not define you, on you and your employees’ journey to success. Mistakes show effort, and if you learn from them, they can be some of the best tools for growth.

I’ve heard it said before that the only people who don’t make mistakes are those who do nothing at all. To me, the most interesting part about errors is the gradual evolution inhow they’re classified. First, they start as mistakes. Then they turn into lessons, followed by experiences and finally as gifts that help us succeed.

Therefore, the only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. Keep that in mind as you’re dealing with your employees or considering your own shortcomings. It’s one thing to recognise that mistakes are learning opportunities – it’s another to actually implement that concept in your organisation.

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Read These Top Tips To Avoid Getting Hacked!

Everyone knows how damaging data breaches can be to a business, but few actually realize that 81% of these hacks are not the result of elaborate scams carried out by sophisticated hackers. They happen because of poor passwords.

Do what you can to prevent your business from being targeted. Demand that your employees create strong passwords: between 8 and10 characters in length, with letters, numbers and symbols scattered throughout. Instruct them to avoid real dictionary words and to steer clear of the stupidly obvious ones like “12345” or “password.” You can test the strength of your password online at Microsoft’s Security and Safety Centre. If you can, enabling two-factor authentication can go a long way towards your overall security and something that we at Vermont would highly recommend. Password Managers are also a very good idea – please contact us if you’d like further details or recommendations.

Even if you use a secure password yourself, you’d likely be amazed (and terrified) to discover how many members of your team do not. In 2019, a strong password is essential. Make sure every one of your employees takes careto create one. Inc.com, 01/03/2019


4 Easy Ways To Prevent Great Employees From Getting Away

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Today’s labour market is tighter thanit’s been inyears. With this in mind, it is essential that you do all you can to attract and keep top talent. One of the best and simplest ways to do that is to improve your recruitment process.

Make sure the jobdescription sounds like a true sales pitch. You should feature the benefits of working in that job above the preferred credentials. Once the applications start coming in, ensure you’re keeping in regular contact with your prospects. When it comes time for interviews, make the process as straightforward and comfortable as possible and cater to their needs.

Finally, ask for feedback about your interview and overall hiring process – by asking directly and checking into reviews on sites like Glassdoor can provide valuable insight. inc.com, 27/02/2019

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Kart Champs Success!

A great night was had by some of the team at Vermont Systems -GoKartingfollowed by burgers - what more could you want?!

Great light relief from all that preventative IT solutions work and fixing things.

Congratulations to our podium trio - John Legg, Chris WardandPete Argles. Trophy cabinets being purchased 🙂

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Are You Looking For Engaging And Educational Content For Your Website, Event or Trade Journal? Or Looking At Other Joint Venture Opportunities? Vermont are very happy to work with like minded local businesses

As an expert in his field and award-winning speaker, Chris Ward, Technical Director of Vermont Systems is frequently asked to present at events, participate in media interviews and provide articles for publication. His presentations are both educational and entertaining – a perfect mix to keep your audience engaged.

Sample Articles:

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Would your audience benefit from learning more? If you have any requirements for speaking engagements or article submissions, please contact: kirsty.cartwright@vermont.co.uk
or call 023 8098 3405 to discuss how we can help.

At Vermont we are passionate about helping to educate local business leaders.

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