Important HP Battery Recall Notice

Important Update: Safety Announcement, 2017

Expansion of the HP Notebook Computer Battery Safety Recall and Replacement Program of June 2016 – Additional Batteries Affected

HP urges customers to recheck all potentially affected products

In cooperation with various government regulatory agencies HP has announced an expansion of its ongoing worldwide voluntary safety recall and replacement program for certain notebook batteries, which was announced in June 2016. The program has been expanded to include additional batteries that were shipped with the same notebook products.

The affected batteries were shipped with specific HP, Compaq, HP ProBook, HP ENVY, Compaq Presario, and HP Pavilion Notebook Computers, sold worldwide from March 2013 through October 2016, and/or were sold as accessories or spares, or provided as replacements through Support.

The batteries have the potential to overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to customers. HP’s primary concern is for your safety. Because affected batteries pose a fire and burn hazard, it is extremely important to check whether your battery is affected.

It is essential to recheck your battery, even if you did so previously and were informed that it was not affected. Note: if you have already received a replacement battery, you are not affected by this expansion.

Please go immediately to the HP Battery Recall website to check if your battery is affected by this expanded recall program. If the validation process indicates that your battery is affected, cease use of the battery immediately and remove it from the notebook. HP will provide a replacement battery for each verified, affected battery at no cost. You may continue to use your notebook without the battery installed by connecting the notebook to external power. To order a free replacement battery if eligible, go to the HP Battery Recall website.

Note: Not all batteries in all HP, Compaq, HP ProBook, HP ENVY, Compaq Presario, and HP Pavilion Notebook Computers are affected. The validation process may show that your battery is not affected by this expanded recall program, in which case you may continue to use the battery in your possession, and a replacement is not necessary.

If you have questions on the HP Notebook Battery Safety Recall and Replacement program please see their website for more information. Alternatively, for more information, contact the ITVET Service Desk team on 01279 464 470 or email [email protected]


5 hardware upgrades for an efficient 2017

 

Purchasing new hardware may feel like an excessive cost to your business, especially if your machines seem to be working. However, by investing in your IT systems you will see the benefits dramatically outweigh initial purchase costs. A faster network and more efficient hardware will boost productivity allowing you to focus on growing your business. These are the top five pieces of hardware you should consider updating or upgrading in 2017.

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1. PCs and laptops

Have you been avoiding purchasing a new PC? Old machines are prone to faults and slow machines mean wasted time. For each PC or laptop older than 3 years your business is losing around £4,805 a year. See our recent blog post for the full breakdown.

Older machines are also less compatible with new software, making them even slower as they try to run the latest operating systems. It also means that once your hardware is unsupportable, your machines and network are vulnerable to viruses.

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2. Server

If your business doesn’t already have a server…
Are you using an old PC as a server? PCs are not designed to be running constantly and have the potential to stop working. This leaves you vulnerable to losing all your data and the costly downtime whilst your makeshift server is being replaced. A server is more reliable, it is designed to manage, store and process data 24/7, 365 days a year. By implementing a network in your company, you will benefit from:

  • Increased security and data recovery
  • Ability to update all machines from central point
  • Virtual working
  • Shared resources
  • Larger capacity on faster workstations

Why not consider moving to the cloud…
By moving your network to a virtual server you will no longer need physical hardware that needs to be maintained or updated. Instead, for a monthly subscription your network, files, and data will be hosted online. The benefits are:

  • Flexibility – easily scale your business up or down when needed
  • Higher level of security
  • Less risk of downtime
  • Efficient data recovery
  • Business continuity in case of disaster

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3. SSD (Solid State Drive)

If you do not want to upgrade your hardware, installing an SSD is a good alternative. You can see a detailed list of the benefits in our previous post Supercharge your PC: 5 reasons why you need an SSD. Some of these include:

  • Breathe new life into an old machine
  • Energy efficiency – a longer battery life on your laptop and less energy needed to power your PC
  • Durability

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4. Switches

Network switches are a critical part of the connectivity structure between your end-user devices (PCs, Laptops & Phones etc) and your servers and internet connection. Outdated switches could be reducing your potential network speed by 10%. 100Mb switches are a common cause of a slow network and internet access, disrupting your employees from loading files, running database software, viewing websites and downloading emails. Replacing outdated switches with standard 1Gb versions will deliver the best end-user experience and speed up your working potential.

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5. UPS

A UPS (Uninterruptible power supply) is installed between the electrical mains and your IT equipment to protect your hardware from power surges and failures. This gives you enough time to save documents and to let systems shut down correctly, avoiding hardware damage from unexpected power surges and data loss.

At ITVET we design a perfect solution for your requirements. To discuss your hardware or your company’s IT efficiency contact us on 01279 464 470 or email [email protected]


slow machines cost you money

Infographic: how much time is wasted by slow machines?

slow machines infographic

Slow machines may be the office joke, but did you realise how much time is wasted because of slow machines?

On average 30 minutes of time is lost every day due to lagging machines and crashes. That is 15.75 days lost every year! Buying new machines may seem like an expense but the annual profit loss of aging machines outweighs the one off cost of upgrading your IT equipment. Check out our infographic with the breakdown of how much you could be losing a year.

slow machine infographic

Our competitive workstation and laptop deals are designed to replace your older machines to make sure you are working at top speed. Our devices are in-stock and ready for fast deployment. Special requirements? No problem! We also source specific machines to fit any purpose and can upgrade devices to suit custom requirements.

Call us on 01279464470 or email [email protected] to discuss the best solution to your IT needs.  

Find out more about our hardware solutions on our website.

 


Supercharge you PC: 5 reasons why you need an SSD

SSD-upgrade

Is your machine slow and lagging? Does it take an eternity for programs to load?

If your machine is holding you back, then it may be time for an SSD upgrade. You may be worried that a new PC may be an excessive cost to your business. However, slow machines may be costing you more than you think!

Rather than replacing your PC or laptop entirely, you should think about replacing your hard drive and the best thing you can replace this with is a SSD. A solid state drive (or SSD) will bring your slow machine back to life – these are the top five ways that an upgrade will getting you working at top speed.

 

SSD infographic draft two

For more information email [email protected] or call us on 01279 464 470.

Find out more about our hardware solutions on our website

 


Trends You Need to Know About Fraudulent Emails

fraudulent emails

We are all aware of the potential for spam and phishing emails to hammer our inboxes on a daily basis. This is why it’s prudent to protect your network with a hosted email filtering service, such as Trend Micro. However, even with the best email filtering service in place, an amount of spurious emails will most likely still make it to your inbox. This is mainly because the criminals who send out such emails are employing ever more sneaky ways to fool their victims.

Although there are hundreds, if not thousands of different types of dodgy emails being sent round, there are two particular types which merit taking immediate action to protect your data and your bank balance. These two types of emails have taken things to the next level in terms of how far these crooks will go to part you or your company from your cash or data.

Urgent Request from the MD to make a bank transfer

text boxAn email arrives from your MD, or other senior person who can authorise payments. It instructs you to make an urgent payment to the company detailed in the email. The MD will usually be out of the country or away when this email arrives. The crooks know this as they have most likely sent a phishing email and received an out of office response with the recipient’s job title. They then do some research on your company and establish the hierarchy and who would deal with bank payments. The crooks edit the “From” field of the email so it does indeed look like the MD’s email address and usually use the signature: “sent from my mobile” or similar.

We are aware that globally this type of email con has managed to trick some pretty large companies out of some significant amounts of cash. In one instance a US company transferred a six figure sum to the fraudster’s bank account. This may seem incredible but remember these crooks have done their homework on their victim’s company. They probably know the turnover of the company and possibly some of their clients or suppliers. They have even been known to hack their way in to the company’s email system, and obtain their contact database. This means that when they send the request for payment, the name may even be that of one of the company’s clients or suppliers, just with a different account number and sort code.

So what can be done to try and prevent this type of targeted attack?

In terms of preventing this type of email arriving, it is actually quite hard as they look like genuine emails. However, there are a number of measures that can be taken to protect your company.

1. Make it the company policy to never make bank transfers based upon the receipt of one email, even if it is from the MD. Do not reply to the email. Use an alternative contact method such as a text or phone call to confirm the payment request. Admittedly this is more about the company’s internal payment methods than the email system but it is an effective way to prevent this type of fraud.

2. If your company has a hosted email filtering service, then implement a policy that will detect any email with the words “Sort Code” as this is pretty much a unique term which relates to banking. The email can be tagged in the header with a message of your choice such as “Warning potential phishing email”. The warning should alert the recipient to the potential risks. It is also possible to Quarantine emails with these trigger words although this may cause disruption to your accounts department. If there are a number of genuine emails received containing these phrases, these will need to released from the quarantine.

Crypto locker Ransomware in older Office documents (Word, Excel etc.)

This type of threat has been doing the round for some time but we are now seeing a huge increase in the frequency of them. These emails are worded with titles that are deliberately chosen to lure you into opening the attachments with subjects such as “Invoice for service” or “Your Order Receipt”.

Opening the attachment will usually run an application which will encrypt your data. Not just on your PC but on any network drive that you have access to. Once all of your data has been encrypted, a message from the hackers will appear on your screen advising you that your data has “been secured” for you. If you would like access to the data they will decrypt it for a sum of money that must be paid in Bit Coins. The amounts demanded vary around $500 but can be as much as $5000.

Unfortunately once your data has been encrypted there is no way to decrypt the data without the decryption key, which only the crooks know. You will have to restore your data from the most recent backup, which is not ideal to say the least.

So what can you do to protect yourself from this type of threat?

cryptolockerSo far these types of attacks only use old style Office documents, such as .doc/.xls. If you have a hosted email filtering service, then it would be very easy to quarantine all old style Office documents. However, with so many companies still using these old document formats, it means that there might be quite a lot of genuine emails caught in the spam filter that will need to be released.

Alternately, emails containing attachments with old document formats could be tagged in the message title with a warning to alert the recipient of the potential danger of opening the attachment.

The most obvious and easiest form of protection is not to open any attachment unless you are expecting it and it has been sent by the correct person/company. However, in the heat of the day in a busy office, it is so easy to accidentally open an attachment. In the event you believe you may have accidentally opened an infected attachment, speed is of the essence. Steps to follow:

1. Unplug the network lead from the back of your PC, or shutdown as soon as possible

2. Call the IT support provider

The above outlines just two of the many thousands of online threats, which are growing rapidly by the day. If you would like to discuss any of the above, or if you have any other questions, please contact us at [email protected] or call 01279 464 470.