Blog

Windows 8 is Still Not Ready for Prime Time

Windows 8 Pro was released last year and we are still not recommending it to our clients. Windows 8 overall is not a bad operating system in the same way previous clunkers from Microsoft have been. Other OSs like Windows 98 first edition, Windows Me, and Windows Vista, were easy to use but were buggy and unstable. Windows 8 suffer from the reverse problem.

What lies underneath the hood of Windows 8 is really great work. This latest OS can be faster, more reliable, and even built in some really great features that users can benefit from like better dual monitor support. The problem is that Microsoft decided to put the steering wheel in the middle, and change the basic way we have interacted with a PC for the last 20 years.

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Ransomware is a Rising Threat

There is a relatively new threat gaining traction called Ransomware. Unlike most traditional viruses, ransomware may not be a recoverable issue after an infection. The basic idea behind this software is a user gets a virus through an email phishing scam or another source. Then, the virus goes to work on files by using encryption to render data unreadable. Afterward, the user is presented with a demand for payment and a countdown timer. If payment is not made before the end of the timer, the digital key to recover the encrypted data is deleted. Once that happens, there is little to no chance the files will ever be recovered.

In the past, viruses presented more of an annoyance rather than causing real permanent damage. The worst damage MCS engineers usually see is from viruses that use key logging to gather passwords and sometimes even move real money out of bank accounts. While that is a huge issue, it is still often recoverable by alerting the bank to stop the transfer. With these new ransomware viruses, even if a user pays the ransom in time, (usually around $300) there is still a possibility that the key has already been deleted or lost. If the authorities find and shut down a rouge server storing keys, all of the users with keys on that server are out of luck. Even after paying, some files may encounter an error during decryption and still may be unrecoverable.

The latest ransomware threat, called Crypto Locker, started showing up around September 2013 and it is still spreading. Currently, the onlyway to restore an encrypted file is to obtain the key from the attackers. These programs really do live up to their name as they do have control over access to personal files. Ransomware viruses affect all versions of Windows going back to XP.

This new threat is still a virus and can be avoided like any other virus. Avoid emails that look odd and never click a link unless you are sure it corresponds to something you are expecting. Never click a link that claims to be tracking a package you don’t remember ordering. It is safer to copy your tracking number and type the carrier’s web address in manually, or paste the number into a Google search. Even if you can see the carrier’s name in the link, that does not mean you will be taken to a legitimate website.

As always, MCS recommends that users always use up to date anti virus software and SPAM protection. Please contact us if you are interested in a security consultation to lower your chances of infection.

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New VVX Line of Phones from Polycom

We have been a Polycom partner for several years and relied on the dependability of Polycom’s Soundpoint IP phones. Now we have a new line to offer from Polycom called the VVX. These phones boast a larger color screen and more line appearances. The cost is similar to the Soundpoint series but VVX offers more features. We have more information on our VoIP page.

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We Do Our Own Work

Throughout the 10+ years of our company, all of our IT and Programming projects have been completed in-house without the need to offshore work overseas. While we are proud of being able to keep our development local, that is not the only reason for our constant decision to keep our workload here in Springfield, IL. While an overseas per hour rate can be attractive, the lack of control and quality of work performed by an offshore company are just not worth the lower rates. Our clients demand that their work be accurate and delivered on time. Since our clients work directly with a project manager and that same manager leads a team of developers under the same roof, there is much less room for a spec to become diluted.

Only industry professionals are employed with MCS, and while that can mean a higher per hour rate, it can also mean less hours overall. What good is an hourly rate that is half the cost if it takes twice as long to complete a project? We plan to keep delivering quality work from local employees for years to come. Our clients expect the best and MCS delivers the best. A decision to use MCS for your next project will ensure that your dollars stay local and your project will be completed accurately.

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Business Phone System Offer Through 2013

Now through 2013, MCS is offering a small business phone system for 5 users for just $3,399* installed. The system includes an on premise Voice over IP PBX, PoE Switch, backup battery, and 5 Polycom 450 HD Voice phones. You can scale up the system for more phones and lines as needed. Our digital phone system boasts the following features:

  • Per user voicemail with built in email and cell phone integration
  • Auto-attendant
  • Dial by name directory
  • “Follow Me” locator feature to let your customers reach you wherever you are
  • Polycom HD Voice for crystal clear calls
  • Local onsite support and installation service

We have put together this phone bundle to simplify pricing and save you money. Customers that need more phones, or non-VoIP phone service can use this as a starting off point to add extra hardware as needed. Each system will be professionally installed and your employees will be trained on how to get the most out of the system. Contact a rep today for more details.

*Price excludes sales tax. VoIP phone service is assumed and extra charges may apply for POTS or PRI modules. Cabling not included. Offer expires 12/31/2013

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Buy Nagios Licenses Online

We have just launched our secure store for purchasing Nagios Licenses. Visit the store for discounted pricing and fast delivery. As a Nagios Premier Reseller, MCS is able to provide not only licenses and renewals but integration services as well. Buying Nagios Licenses through a reseller like MCS gives you the same product and support as going direct, but with the added bonus of using MCS for support and guidance. Our prices are discounted and even better deals can be quoted for large orders or government procurement.

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Ryan Coultas selected for 40 under 40 award

Our COO, Ryan Coultas, has been selected to receive a 40 under 40 award from the Springfield Business Journal. This honor features 40 business leaders who are under the age of 40 in the Springfield and neighboring business communities. These individuals are selected based on their contributions to our local business community and the community in which they have chosen to reside.
From the Springfield Business Journal’s website at http://www.springfieldbusinessjournal.com:
“The selectees’ career paths, educational background and community affiliations are varied. They represent the best and brightest from a wide range of occupations. You can expect to hear more from and about these leaders in the years ahead. The program was established and is able to continue due to the commitment of local businesses that realize the importance of acknowledging these 40 individuals and supporting community business programs.”

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MCS Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

They say that time flies when you’re having fun. The last 10 years have been both fun and challenging in great ways. The technology industry has changed so much since 2003. We have seen mainstream adoption of virtualization and the birth of the mobile platform. IT has changed and MCS has changed with it, but the fundamentals of our business remain the same. Our mission is to assist companies with IT or programming projects with a personal touch.

We would like to thank all of our customers, partners, employees, and suppliers for making the last decade possible. When our company first incorporated in 2003, we had a goal to go above and beyond for our customers. This ethic has led to an ever increasing customer base. In 2008 we bought a 5000 square foot office building and built out our data center. Now, in 2013 we are coming up with new strategies to allow our customers take advantage of the cloud securely and responsively. We look forward to serving our customers through the next 10 years!

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