Who Should Be An Administrator On Your Network?

Luke Gruden is a help desk technician for Tech Experts.

In the world of computers, administrators have access to everything in Windows. Having administrator rights allows you to download anything, change any policy, and even change registry entries in Windows. An administrator has enough control over Windows to radically change how it works, even break Windows permanently.

So, who should be an administrator? The answer is different depending on the environment and work being done. In general, the administrator account should only be used by a person who is very experienced and knowledgeable in computers, like a professional IT tech. An inexperienced person with an administrator account could permanently damage the operating system or even destroy the computer itself on accident.

A user that has admin (administrator) rights, even without being in the core files, could still cause unintentional harm to the computer. This can happen because malicious files can be accidentally downloaded and ran and, when you run a program as an admin, you give that program the rights to change your computer inside and out. Malicious programs run by an admin can ruin entire networks of computers. This, sadly, has happened to many businesses.

Domain Networks

On a domain network where many computers are connected to a server, there should be a very small amount of administrators. Ideally, just one. The more people with admin rights, the more likely the wrong program ran by the wrong person can ruin an entire building of computers or an entire business. This is usually how cryptoware spreads.

For domain networks, only professional IT techs should be administrators. The risk is too great to have someone accidentally change a policy or spread an infection that can do irreversible damage to all the computers on the network.

Business Computers

A computer used for business should be treated with more security and care as to make sure no avoidable threats harm or compromise the device. Confidential data and work can be stolen if the wrong websites are visited or by downloading the wrong software on a business computer.

For a business computer user, you might want to consider using a normal account and only use the admin account in extreme situations where recovery needs to be done. If your IT tech has access to the admin account, they can make sure that only best practices and the proper programs are implemented on that profile.

Home Computers

Computers that are used for everyday activities that do not have confidential work data should still be choosy on who has admin access. Having children or teens freely exploring the Internet and downloading odd programs or messing with the internal settings of Windows could potentially cause serious issues.

Home computers should have an admin user with a solid knowledge of computers who will be wary of suspicious websites and programs. More inexperienced users should not run admin accounts.

Generally, the best rule of thumb for admin accounts is that they should be granted to people who can handle the responsibility. Those with less experience or less important needs should have accounts with limited access.

However, if a business or network is bigger, it’s even more important than the only people granted admin privileges are their professional IT team or those who have experience. The title of administrator should be looked as one with responsibility in doing what is best for a computer, a server, and a business network.

Mistakes To Avoid When Setting Up Your Small Business Network

Anthony Glover is Tech Expert’s network engineer.

Setting up your ideal network environment can be tricky. Here are a few things to avoid when setting up your network at your small business.

Lack of security on your network
Avoid this at all costs. A secure network is a happy network and, not to mention, a reliable one. This is especially needed if your business depends on confidentiality.

Lack of security leaves you vulnerable to hackers or curious individuals that could obtain information that could be vital to your business.

Ideally, a firewall is an essential choice when security is a factor in your networking environment.

Insecure wireless networking
A wireless connection is a convenient way for wireless devices such as printers, phones, laptops, or any other device that has wireless capability to connect to your network.

However, the convenience factor can turn problematic if left insecure.

When it comes to wireless networking as a security factor, always set a password on your SSID (such as WPSK or WPSK2). Your password should – at the very least – include a capital letter, numbers, and special characters such as “!”.

Poor network management
Poor network management is a much overlooked problem and can quickly become the worst thing that could happen to any small business network.

Good management of your networking equipment will keep your network secure. Poor management can lead to vulnerabilities in the network due to a lack of updates and a lack of securing ports, leading to possible intrusion from hackers.

Remember, all aspects of management are very important. This can include detailed and organized cabling, updating firewall firmware, updating servers and workstations, and securing ports on your server or end-user computers.

Network management – when done right – is ideal for your small business network and should be done by an IT professional such as Tech Experts.

Bad placement of Wi-Fi access points
Bad placement of a WAP can be a huge problem for wireless network signal performance. Poor signal strength can cause slow connections to both the Internet and your local area network and causes sluggish performance of your overall network.

It isn’t enough to simply choose the strongest WAP; it also needs to be placed where it can work properly.

To make sure you get the best performance out of it, it should be located in the center of the area you need to cover.

You should also keep in mind that the weakest signal points are directly below and above your WAP.

Cutting corners on speed
Buying a 10 mbps switch just because it’s on sale is a bad idea. Speed is your friend, especially when setting up your small business network.

A faster network will increase activity and save you time and money in the long run. 1 gbps equipment should be the ideal solution to not only transfer traffic faster, but access everything on your network faster.

We know networks aren’t easy as pie, which is why we always recommend having a professional IT team set up your office.

Cheaper isn’t better, especially when a poorly done set-up can cause large problems once you’re operating.

If you’re looking to set up a new building or relocate (or even redo your current office), give us a call at (734) 457-5000, or email at info@mytechexperts.com, to see what we can do for you.

The Importance Of Planning Your Computer Upgrades

by Jeremy Miller, Technician
When considering upgrades to your computer or network, planning is a very important part of the process. Planning can save you a lot of wasted time and money.

When planning your upgrades you will want to think about what all is involved and attempt to address any issues prior to installation to prevent down time as much as possible.

First you will need to understand what you need to upgrade. Can you upgrade your current setup or will you have to purchase entirely new equipment to upgrade? There are many components of an upgrade that may not work together with older technology.

You can find this a lot if you upgrade to a new workstation and some of your software is not compatible with the new operating system on the computer.

You will also find that older hardware sometimes cannot be upgraded with new hardware without replacing the motherboards or the whole computer.

Hardware and software both have limits on how much other software and hardware that they support.

A good example of this is: If you bought a good computer about 8 years ago the maximum amount of RAM you could use was about 4 gigabytes. It is now common to have 4 gigabytes to be the minimum amount of RAM installed.

Some software out there will not even run well unless it is over 4 gigabytes of RAM. The old computer cannot be upgraded with more RAM so you would need to purchase a new computer in order to get more RAM.

If you were to buy the RAM to upgrade the computer you may have just wasted time and money. This is why planning is so important.

If the upgrade is for an organization or business you may have purchased RAM for many workstations. A lot of time the RAM would be incompatible with a newer computer as well.

When planning for any type of computer or network upgrade you will want to look at how long you have already had your existing setup.

You can expect to get about 5 years out of any device whether it is a desktop, laptop, printer or other device. If your equipment is that old or older it is usually better to replace the equipment.

There are many reasons for upgrading versus updating. The biggest reason is that it is time to replace. Usually five years after you purchase your computer there is software and hardware that will make it very easy to upgrade.

If you wait much longer then your existing equipment will not be easily upgraded to the newer computers.

When you plan to upgrade your computers you can save money by getting deals or specials. This is because when you plan, you know what you will need and you can wait for sales or promotions.

If you do not plan then more than likely you will be upgrading when your computers start causing issues. This is not a good practice. You will end up having more down time due to low-performing computers and the time it will take to get the faulty computers fixed or replaced can easily end up costing more than the cost of replacing your workstations regularly.

We are always consulting clients and helping with upgrades and migrations, if you have any questions feel free to contact us. We are more than happy to help you with any sort of computer or network upgrades.

The Benefits Of Proper Networking For Your Business

By Tech Experts Staff
Many times a company’s network tends to be a difficult part of their infrastructure to decide what they really need.

There are many different ways of configuring a network depending on the company’s needs.

A network can be as simple as having your Internet Service Provider’s modem connected directly to a workstation or as complex as having thousands of workstations and servers connected to a company’s network around the world.

Deciding on what is needed for your network is completely dependent on the intended uses of it. Many factors contribute to this; security, size of network, locations, speed necessary, etc.

For most small companies, they can usually get by with a simple router that has a built-in firewall solution.

While the simple routers take care of giving access to users hardwired to the local network, and in some cases via a wireless connection, they don’t offer the features that a higher end router would.

Many companies have multiple sites that they want to have access to all the same files. One solution is purchasing cloud storage to accomplish this.

While that would be a great idea if you needed access when you are not on your companies network, a much more economical solution is to have a virtual private connection (VPN) setup between sites.

If a VPN is setup between sites the traffic is encrypted with a shared key between the routers which allows the two of them to pass traffic to each other without anyone being able to see what it is.

This allows you to safely send confidential information to members at a different site.

The biggest advantage of a VPN between sites is the ability to have one server at a centralized location and allow all of your sites to have access to it.

This alone can save thousands of dollars when it comes to the network build, you only need one server.

When it comes to having a server, if properly configured they can provide a significant amount of security on the network.

Servers improve security by offering centralized management and providing a means to allow or deny access to files on the network.

For instance, you may have accounting files on a network that you only want certain employees to have access to, with a server you can assign specific users access to these files.

Some routers also have the ability to manage bandwidth. This provides companies the ability to manage the amount of data users can use for different applications.

Many large companies need the ability to control how much bandwidth is being used and what is using it. With higher end routers you have the ability to do this.

On the business class firewalls we generally install at businesses they offer a large package of security tools to help protect your network.

Our business class firewalls offer all of the routing capabilities of the simple, home user routers but also offer antivirus, web filtering, antispam, intrusion prevention system (IPS), and vulnerability management.

The business class firewalls drastically improve a business’s security as well as offers many of the features listed above.

If your business is in need of network improvements to increase security and employee productivity, give us a call and we can offer you a network diagnosis to determine what your company’ needs are and where your networks weak points are.

New Technologies Make Proactive Service A Must

With today’s workplace relying more and more on information and computer systems, it just makes sense to leverage your IT investments.

Technology in the industry now allows IT professionals to take a proactive approach to network management, providing the entire infrastructure with a complete, secure, reliable, and fully automated solution to protect your IT infrastructure.

Deploying what are known as “agents,” you can add a fully automated virtual worker to your staff, which is working 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This agent will complete a long list of tasks that even a fully staffed IT department couldn’t handle.

You can now start to enjoy your away time when your network is being monitored by these solutions. So what exactly do they do?

When you use system monitoring, you can take the proactive approach to your computers and servers with a set of rules that your administrator defines.

They provide instant notifications of problems or changes such as low disk space on your hard drives, memory leaks, power problems, virus activity, and missing updates. Just about every critical component of a PC or server can be monitored.

Software Deployment
The software engines give us the ability to deploy software out to multiple systems simultaneously, which saves massive amounts of time and causes less downtime for the staff.

Given a set of rules and pre-requisites that are met prior to the install, you can ensure a smooth, fast, and worry free installation across your network.

Remote Control
Give your IT personnel a secure and quick way to remotely access your systems from any place at any time, giving your company its own help desk in a sense.

This increases productivity for staff, reducing the waiting time for a tech to show up at your location.

Patch Management
Keeping your computer systems up to date with operating system updates and security patches is critical to the health and safety of your network.

Given a set of predefined policies, all of your servers, workstations, and remote computers will automatically be receiving the latest security patches and software updates on a schedule that works for you.

Keeping the data traffic on the network during normal operation hours is crucial to the efficiency and productivity of the workplace and this will do just that.

The reporting features will provide your administrators’ with quick and easy access to all the details of a network. Tactical and strategic planning become effortless when the agents are accumulating, tracking, and analyzing the way your network operates over time.

Audit & Inventory
Agents let the IT staff perform accurate and detailed reports on every server, computer, mobile device, and piece of equipment on your network.

This gives you a better look at what your network actually consists of and provides you and/or your IT personnel a complete detailed inventory of product specifications, versions.

An accurate network and infrastucture inventory lets you make intelligent decisions about upgrades, replacements, and maintenance.

Possibilities are practically endless for what can be done with the scripting options. If you have a routine task that has to be done each and every day, week, or month, let your agents do the work.

They can automatically trigger those tasks to be done for you, on your time, your schedule, with no interaction required.

These are just a handful of the features that are possible, giving everyone a peace of mind when it comes to your IT.

Taking advantage of these technologies will give your IT personnel a complete set of tools to efficiently, securely, and cost effectively manage your systems.