About Mary Hester

Ms. Hester is the CEO of LAN Systems, which provides IT solutions in the Greater Metro Atlanta Area. You can contact Mary at mary@lansystems.com">

Ransomware Threat Increases

The CryptoLocker virus is a ransomware infection that locks files on your computer demanding a payment to unlock.  Over 250,000 computers have been infected since September 2013.  Now a new threat, PowerLocker has emerged. PowerLocker, like CryptoLocker,  uses strong encryption that cannot be cracked to force you to pay to recover your files. It has been reported that the developers of PowerLocker intend to sell the program to other hackers greatly increasing the threat profile. Most CryptoLocker ransomware infections are from email attachments on fake emails.  There are so many fake emails that at first glance look real.  Tracking information emails pretending to be from FedEx or UPS or refunds from Walmart or gift cars from Amazon or a notice from your bank, be sure not to open an attachment unless you are certain it is real.  With the sale of the malicious program, every spammer … [Read more...]

Top IT Trends for 2014

Each year we compose our Top IT Trends and reflect on how markedly our world changes through technology.  From digital watches to putting a man on the moon, technology has changed the way we think of time and space. Often, the advances are at breathtaking speed but sometimes it takes years for a technological breakthrough to make its way into our lives. This year we are focusing on trends that will have a significant impact on how we see and interact with the world through technology. Everything Cloud - We have been predicting a revolution in Cloud technology for years and this year is no different.  From Infrastructure, Software, Platform, Hardware and Everything as a Service (IaaS, SaaS, PaaS, HaaS and EaaS) there will be major investment in and growing migration for Cloud solutions.  Private and Hybrid Cloud solutions will dominate the landscape for new and upgraded installations.  … [Read more...]

Safe Computing for the Holidays

Taking time off to spend with family and friends is such a treat, but alas for many it is hard to stay away from the computer.  If you are going to do some online shopping, play a new game or check your work email, be sure to practice safe computing.  Your home computer may not have the same protection as work, so before you download that file or visit a new site make sure you are protected. Protecting your computer 1)  Make sure your operating system is updated and all security patches are installed.  If you are using Windows, go to Control Panel Home, then Windows Update. This page will show you if you are up to date or if you need an update.  If you are out of date, follow the instructions and consider turning on automatic updates.  If you have a Mac, the update is similar to Windows so just follow the instructions.  If you have Unix or Linux, you are probably an expert and know … [Read more...]

Upgrade Windows XP: Find out your Windows Personality

The time has come to upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8, but how do you decide which is better for you and your organization. With the end-of-support for XP on April 8, 2014, there will be no security updates or hotfixes leaving your XP machine extremely vulnerable to hacking. As with all change, it will mean a temporary reduction in productivity as you become accustomed to the new look and feel.  But you can minimize the stress and inconvenience by choosing the right operating system for your Windows personality. The Windows 7 Personality:  You are smart and talented.  You use your computer as a productivity tool and like to get things done.  In your computing choices, you minimize risk and become anxious if too many changes happen at the same time.  You like the features in Office 2013 but also like your program icons to be familiar and your keystrokes to be efficient. … [Read more...]

The Benefits, Risks and Legal Implications of a BYOD Workplace

Do your employees access work-related emails on their smart phones?  Do you allow your employees to connect to the company network on personal devices?  Do your employees store customer information or company documents on their mobile devices?   If you answered yes to any of these questions and you do not have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)  policy in place, you may be putting your company at risk. With the proliferation of smart phones, tablets and laptops over the past decade, employees, employers and their customers have become accustomed to around the clock communication and information sharing.  While this kind of constant connection and interaction can be beneficial to employee productivity, innovation and a company’s bottom line, if it is not controlled through a comprehensive BYOD policy, it can also lead to serious problems. In its simplest form, BYOD refers to a policy … [Read more...]