Fast Internet is vital in today’s competitive marketplace to conduct business. Indeed, the pace of the Internet of a business can have a significant effect on its activities and general achievement.
With a fiber-optic Internet connection directly to your business, you can help increase your business profit, productivity, collaboration, and customer satisfaction.
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Microsoft recently announced that the Windows 7 end-of-life process will officially begin on January 14, 2020. On that day, from laptops and desktops, the company will stop supporting Windows 7 and will no longer upgrade it with security updates.
Of course, this could cause both customers and business users some consternation. Windows 7 is still a wildly popular operating system that millions of people around the world still rely on, even 10 years after its release. And, as hard as Microsoft might be trying to push people to Windows 10, it’s not going to be as easy as the company might expect.
Yet, unfortunately, these good things have to come to an end. And sure enough, Windows 7 will be placed on the farm, putting hackers at a potentially higher risk of attacking those who stick with the operating system. So, we’ve assembled the following FAQ to ease some of those concerns and address some of the questions you may have about the end of life of Windows 7.
What is Windows 7’s end of life?
End of life is the term used by Microsoft to describe the time in which the company no longer supports an operating system or software. In this case, it means that Microsoft will move on from Windows 7 as of January 14, 2020, and will no longer patch security holes in the OS. And if things go wrong and bugs grow, you’re not going to be able to call Microsoft to fix the issue.
How many people are still using Windows 7?
You might be surprised to learn that at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, Windows 10 only became the world’s most popular version of Windows, taking the crown from Windows 7. At that time, according to Net Applications, Windows 10 gained 39 percent of market share, compared with 37 percent for Windows 7. There are more than 1 billion Windows users around the world to put that into perspective. Therefore, this change will affect hundreds of millions of people.
What does Windows 7 end of life mean for my security?
Okay, this is where things get interesting. One of the nice things of not being at the end of life is the full support and patching of the operating system or application kit. In Windows 7, after Jan. 14, 2020, all that support will go by the way. In the past few years, when Microsoft brought software to an end, the company offered some heavy patches in the run-up to the date to secure as much as possible the operating system.
Does the end of life apply to all Windows 7 versions?
So, if you’re talking about all versions of Windows 7, such as Home and Pro, then yes – the date applies to them all. But if you’re using Windows 7 in point-of-sale terminals and other devices embedded systems, it’s a bit of a moving target.
How do I move to Windows 10 from Windows 7?
Like it or not, even if you initially don’t want to switch to Windows 10, you will have little choice at long last. Windows 10 will be packed into their computers by PC vendors, with no downgrade alternative to Windows 7. Apart from eBay, Craigslist and other locations outside standard retail outlets, you won’t find Windows 7 anywhere to buy.
If you want to update to Windows 10, you can do so with a full Windows 10 license free of charge as long as you have a PC that meets all the operating system specifications. That shouldn’t be too hard, but here’s a look at what you need to get on your computer with Windows 10.
Windows 10 Minimum Specs
Processor: 1GHz processor or faster
Memory: 1GB of RAM for a 32-bit installation and 2GB of RAM for a 64-bit installation
Hard Disk Space: Up to 20GB of space
Graphics Card: A screen with a resolution of 800 by 600 or higher, and a DirectX 9 graphics chip
Connectivity: Internet access
Can I keep using Windows 7 if I like it?
If you really like it, there’s no one keeping you from sticking with Windows 7, but as we’ve talked before, you’re going to use an operating system that isn’t supported anymore and doesn’t include security updates. Windows 7 will operate just as it does now after the end-of-life date, so you shouldn’t see any problems with the usability of your computer. Over time, though, you might start to see more security issues.
It may also be possible for third-party developers to do so, including Microsoft turning the lights out on Windows 7. Microsoft will not force developers to stop supporting their Windows 7 applications, and they may not immediately stop support if there is a sufficiently large user base. But over time, with things changing and consumers switching to other platforms gradually, developers are also pressured in their applications to stop supporting updates to Windows 7.
Will I be able to install and activate Windows 7 in the future?
You can still deploy it if you’re really serious about sticking to Windows 7 and don’t want to give it up. Microsoft has, in fact, made it clear that you can still install it and activate it on your chosen device.
What about Internet Explorer?
After Microsoft switched to Windows 10’s Edge browser, the company has looked at ways to end Internet Explorer. And it can actually do that.
And, like Windows 7, hackers trying to target the app might hit Internet Explorer hard. Thankfully, Microsoft’s new Chromium-based Edge browser is getting an Internet Explorer mode and Windows 10 users who rely on IE for some legacy features can still take advantage of it.
Can I get an extension on my Windows 7 support?
Believe it or not, it’s possible.
If you feel you don’t want to move to Windows 10 yet or just don’t have the time to get away from Windows 7, Microsoft will allow Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise users to extend their Windows 7 security updates by January 2023.
Microsoft has hit the new Surface series hard, launching Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop 3. The revised laptop makes sense for us; the Surface Laptop 2 debuted in June 2017 so it’s about time we’ve seen a new model.
Yet bringing together two Surface Pro tablets is a bold move. The Pro X is a higher-price, sleeker new professional laptop, while the Pro 7 is a somewhat more compact edition that has much more in common with older Surface Pro versions.
The Pro 7 feels a little lazy. Yes, that’s a bit uncharitable for us, but you can barely tell the difference when you compare it even back to Surface Pro 4. Three Surface Pro generations have come and gone, with only the slightest hint of innovation in design. The bezel looks big in 2019 for a tablet; the kickstand feels a bit sturdy, but it doesn’t look any different.
The Surface Pro X shakes things up and it shocks us, despite the mere weeks between their launches, that the Pro 7 looks so … well, usual. It’s still a beautiful design that feels good-made but it’s simply no longer exciting.
The rear and sides of the Pro 7 are solid metal, which gives the chassis a sturdy feel but is liable to scuff should you drop it. The screen is fairly well protected by the metal encircling it, and look as bright and colorful as ever, a testament to the display quality of the Surface line.
As any Surface owners would know, the Pro 7 without its keyboard cover looks incomplete. We have the Signature Type Cover in a dark ochre, which with its magnetic clasp snaps satisfactorily onto the Pro 7 frame. The Pro 7 itself is an all-black affair; it looks particularly sleek, with the Type Cover attached.
But the keyboard’s box has a tell-tale issue; for Surface Pro 5, 6, and 7. For three generations this piece of hardware has not been updated and of course, the Pro X has its own unique version. We believe that this product’s design ethos was ‘ if it doesn’t break, don’t repair it. ‘
The Surface’s position is a halfway-house between tablet and laptop, and that’s definitely reflected in Microsoft’s design choices. The keyboard of the Type Cover still feels good to use, much better than the Touch Cover (which uses pads rather than physical keys).
In one very key respect, the Surface Pro 7 differs from its ancestors: the internal hardware. This tablet rocks one of Intel’s new 10th-generation CPUs, which not only delivers improved overall performance over older processors but also comes with Intel’s new, integrated Iris Plus graphics–provided you don’t purchase the version with an i3 processor.
Our configuration has a quad-core i7-1065G7 processor and 16 GB RAM, making it the most powerful version of the Pro 7 (although this model has a storage capacity of only 256 GB, which can go up to 1 TB). This model is priced at £ 1,449 at the moment but later more on that.
The difference is significant; over the Surface Pro 6, the newer processors offer performance improvements of around 20%. Whether this is 3D rendering, video encoding or crunching equations, it’s more competent in every region. Note that if you are looking to do serious professional studio work like 4 K video editing, you probably still want a proper laptop.
However, the new Iris Plus graphics are making a huge difference. Gaming in 1080p is actually feasible here–definitely not in extreme environments but decent enough for a Fortnite location if you’ve got a mouse. We reviewed a handful of games (including Portal, Dirty Bomb, Everspace and, you know, Crysis) and they were treated pretty well for most.
This powered-up performance has sadly come at a cost. The Pro 7 battery is pretty lackluster, falling short in battery life comparisons of the older Pro 6. If you are simply word processing, it can hit the advertised 10.5-hour battery life from a full charge, but in practical terms, any tough tasks will cut that in half or worse, although this is typical of laptops with a bit of grunting to them.
Sadly, video playback also has a very bad impact on the battery, but it will play a movie easily at full volume without having to be charged. It’s definitely not a deal-breaker, but we just wish the battery had a little more juice. At least it charges fast, using the proprietary port of Microsoft’s Surface Connect.
One of the Surface tablets ‘ strangely most appealing features remains: Windows 10, issued directly from Microsoft, free from annoying bloatware apps or custom Android user interfaces. It is instantly familiar and compatible with the software and lacks any further irritations.
In terms of connectivity and compatibility, the Pro 7 now also has USB-C support, a huge boon for modern tech-heads, and keeps one conventional USB port to ensure older hardware is still usable. The USB-C port has no data transfer rates from Thunderbolt 3 but it is still a good addition.
This Surface also comes equipped with superior sensitivity to the Surface Pen along with gesture control, features implemented in previous models and remaining backward compatible here. If you already own the new-model Surface Pen, Pro 7 is doing better than ever.
Then there are all the usual things; Windows Hello for facial recognition login, tablet mode for quick on-the-move updates, your phone sync for Android devices connection. Of particular note is the instant-on performance: the Pro 7 boots incredibly fast, and it can be unlocked with Windows Hello active before you have even finished opening the Type Cover.
So, If you’re looking for a flexible tablet for work or pleasure, the Surface Pro 7 is definitely worth a look.
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What is Virtual CIO
Virtual CIOs are actually a portfolio of IT services for small businesses offered by today’s Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Virtual CIO is a concept — and a service — that incorporates activities that are performed and operated by chief information officers, chief technology officers, and technology consultants.
A Virtual CIO typically operates remotely and provides help in the creation of a roadmap, IT network analysis, and maintenance, product management, new technology guidance, etc. The cost of everything and a Virtual CIO provides IT experience and leadership. A Virtual CIO can be a competitive advantage for SMBs (small to medium-sized businesses) in promoting growth.
The Role of a Virtual CIO
Virtual CIOs take care of everything from planning, management of resources, data security, maintenance of networks, business continuity, help and so much more. A Virtual CIO proactively tracks, controls, and manages the company’s IT health and safety, with a clear understanding of the need to concentrate on keeping data protected and available 24/7.
Think of a Virtual CIO as your long-term IT strategist: instead of worrying about minor tasks like running servers and fixing small problems, the Virtual CIO strategizes for and protects the long-term health and effectiveness of your business technology.
Qualities to look for in a Virtual CIO include:
- The ability to link IT systems to business objectives
- Knowledge of technology trends likely to impact the customer
- A firm grasp of IT project planning and management
- Experience in the IT budgeting process
Pricing models differ, but in general, a Virtual CIO pays either an hourly rate or a flat fee. The flat fee functions like a subscription, with the customer paying annually, or often at a different level, for the services of the Virtual CIO. The flat-fee strategy is close to the managed service provider (MSP) model and some MSPs do provide Virtual CIO services, too.
IT consultancies may also have Virtual CIOs. Furthermore, resellers or solutions providers may informally market themselves as Virtual CIOs to their small business clients, although the businesses usually do not acknowledge the service as an official business line.
4 Ways a Virtual CIO Helps Small Business
For any successful company, it is important to have a forward-thinking vision of where you want your company to be, as well as targets for immediate changes. Virtual CIOs provide IT plans and strategies that help small businesses leverage IT solutions to achieve business goals for the short and long term.
IT Maintenance, Monitoring, and Management
Comprehensive and effective IT management is the difference between suffering from disruptive productivity shortages and keeping organizational productivity smooth. Virtual CIOs not only have day-to-day IT performance and production control and maintenance but also robust IT management to keep business processes working at peak capacity.
Security and Disaster Planning
The best time for a plan for recovery from a tragedy is when a small business really wants one. Businesses benefit from the implementation of a disaster plan with Virtual CIO services, which allows for rapid response and preservation of business profitability in the event of an outage or natural disaster.
Security for all companies is increasingly becoming a top priority as breaches occur more often and have more severe consequences. Small companies are not prone to threats merely because they have smaller data sets. To keep data flowing securely, Virtual CIOs have reliable security planning and disaster preparation plus monitoring.
24/7 Specialized IT Expertise
And with an in-house IT department, ensuring you have the best expertise for all IT-related problems can often be challenging. Having a Virtual CIO offers a major peace of mind for a small company with continuous IT monitoring and reporting.
Many SMBs want to exploit technology — cloud accounting systems, applications for customer relationship management and much more — but they lack the requisite skills and personnel to do so. By researching and finding the right Virtual CIO to complement and direct their IT infrastructure, efficiency, and overall strategy, an SMB can not only find an exceptional IT authority but also a partner in technology.