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City of Chicago to Levy Cloud Tax

Starting this September the City of Chicago plans on levying a cloud tax. Meaning people using streaming services like that of Netflix and Spotify will be taxed to the tune of 9%. The Chicago Finance Department determined this was acceptable due to the existing amusement tax and personal property lease transaction tax (which involves the digital content transfers to cloud storage). Furthermore, the city plans to tax transaction usage of off-site Legal and Real Estate databases. Watch out people because Chicago, as usual, just got more expensive. Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune sum’s it up quite elegantly,

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How to Be Safe – the Malware Lowdown

Malware is defined as malicious software downloaded to a computer without the knowledge of the owner. Some of these software types –  such as viruses, Trojan horses, ransomware, worms, spy ware, key loggers, and adware – can come from many different sources. It can be embedded in a PDF or word document, received in an email, downloaded through music files, or loaded thorugh other unreputable applications. Adware, a common type of malware, is typically received through ads on websites.

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BYOD’s Impact on Security

The explosion in recent years of mobility solutions and ???????bring your own device???????? policies has had a big impact on small businesses. In fact, 52 percent of information workers across 17 countries report using three or more devices for work, according to research from Forrester https://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/Forrester_2013_Mobile_Workforce_Adoption_Trends_Feb2013.pdf 61 percent of workers mix personal and work on their devices.

On one hand, there are huge benefits for organizations and employees ???????? employees can be far more productive and work on the go with untethered access to the information they need. Business owners can also realize cost savings while reducing the time spent managing IT.  Yet, there are risks: namely, how do businesses protect confidential information from leaking outside of the organization when employees can access and store data in a multitude of ways across devices.

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The History of the ThinkPad

Many who use the Lenovo Thinkpad or have in the past are familiar with the outstanding quality that Lenovo puts into all of its products. Those who haven’t used a Lenovo, you might consider it after reading about the last 10 years of the ThinkPad in an article by David Roman senior, vice president and chief marketing officer, titled ThinkPad: 10 Extremely Good Years. These sweet little laptops have been through everything from high mountain peaks to zooming 800mph with North American Eagle land-speed engineering team.

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You Get What You Pay for – Office 365 Free Migrations

Beware of Free Office 365 migrations from other companies

When you’re deciding to get into an Office 365 plan, choosing the right company to help you with the migration is crucial. There are some who offer a free migration of data if you decide to purchase Office 365 through them, but that free migration is not what it seems. As with anything in life, you get what you pay for. Some ‘free Migrations’ make you use other services they provide with a contract that obligates you to them and only them for a set period of time. You are locked into that company and their, ???????Office support for 1 or more years??????? with no ability to migrate out data to a different platform in the future. Plus, you only get to choose the plans that they offer – not the full array of office 365 plans available. That means you will pay for services you don????????t need or want, or have to pay for add-ons. Most of these free migrations only give you a certain ???????free migration time???????, like 90 minutes, then you pay for any migration that takes longer than that time. Other companies offer you the migration information and tools for you to do the migration yourself, and that????????s their ???????free migration??????? that you receive. That means you have to modify your DNS records yourself from your other hosted email company into Microsoft. As well, you then would need to migrate each mailbox hoping nothing goes wrong – like data loss. Some ‘Free Migrations’ only migrate the mail in the Inbox and nothing else, like subfolders. You end up having to pay for any extra folders with emails, calendars, and contacts, and still have to use their support on their time. This is usually limited technical support of 1 hour per month. If you have an on-premise Exchange server, you still need to decommission it after the migration, so you don????????t have your business emails pointing to 2 different Exchange Servers. The ‘free services’ will have you deal with that on your own or have you pay a premium to accomplish this which will likely cost more than doing a proper migration from the beginning.

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The Newest Iteration of Ransomware: Pollocrypt

A new iteration of the devastating crypto-ransomware has surfaced based around the popular TV show, Breaking Bad. According to Nikoloz Kokhreidze of Security Zap, “It uses a logo of drug lord owned fast food chain, Los Pollos Hermanos” from Breaking Bad. Unfortunately, just like teslacrypt and other versions of this ransomware there is not much that can be done after infection aside from a good backup. Check out the entire article here. We do not, however, recommend encryption as a prevention method as this ransomware would ultimately encrypt your data on top of your encryption and does not offer protection from paying a ransom or having to restore.

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Internet Explorer End-of-Life

Coming mid-January Internet Explorer web browser will come to the end of its life. According to Microsoft, starting on January 12th 2016 Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10 will no longer be supported making IE11 the only version available. This is more than likely an attempt to transition away from Internet Explorer and into Microsoft????????s new Edge browser. This means you will have to upgrade to the newest version of IE or move right to Microsoft edge. There are also other internet browser options such as Google chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and more. If you feel like switching there are plenty of options available. IE 11 offers better security and performance compared to the previous versions and since it????????s still being supported there will be more security and performance updates to come. Those that opt to stay on unsupported versions will face compliance issues and potential exposure to digital vulnerabilities, and pose a greater risk for malware infections and data/identity theft.

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