Introducing Canada’s Enterprise-Grade, Hyper-scale Public Cloud.

cloud network server concept

The launch of Microsoft datacentres in Canada is a historic event. It marks the start of a significant expansion of our trusted cloud services into Canada and reflects our deep – and growing – commitment to this country.

We strongly believe in the potential of Canadian private and public sector businesses and organizations, and we’re excited about the opportunities our local cloud will create for our ecosystem of partners.

The cloud offers unprecedented solutions, cost savings, efficiency, productivity and reliability. It enables organizations – of any size, and in any sector – to collaborate, compete and excel in an increasingly mobile world.

6 Ways to Protect Yourself from Ransomware

 
Data Security
 

It sounds easy: never negotiate with terrorists or other criminals. It’s not so simple, however, as the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center found out after its communications systems were held hostage by ransomware in February. It fought back for 10 days, but after staff at the 434-bed hospital were reduced to pen and paper, the hospital folded and paid about $17,000 to regain access to its system.

This is shaping up to be the year of ransomware—malicious software that locks up a computer or whole network until a ransom is paid.

As the Hollywood case shows, institutions are targets, but attacks on individuals are the norm. You’re more likely to see employee laptops taken out individually rather than find your whole network taken down. Hackers typically demand their ransoms in Bitcoin because it’s untraceable. The value of Bitcoins fluctuates like any currency. At the time of writing, a single Bitcoin is worth hundreds of dollars.

When it happens to you, it’s not a hostage crisis that law enforcement is going to help with. The FBI’s cybercrime chief, for one, told security experts at a conference, “To be honest, we often advise people just to pay the ransom.”

There’s no excuse for leaving yourself an open target, however.

1. Maintain Backups

Ransom Trojans aren’t difficult to remove—some of them even remove themselves. If you’ve got backups, then just remove the Trojan, recover the files from a backup, and hope the user at fault has learned a lesson.

2. Keep Software Up to Date

Some ransom Trojans target user carelessness—click this link, open this attachment. Others exploit holes in software. Patch your software, especially those from popular vendors. They’re the first ones hackers will probe for vulnerabilities because they have the most customers to hold hostage.

3. Filter Executables

Ransomware writers love to disguise a program as an invoice, an “urgent” document, or a notification that you’ve missed a delivery. These are often hidden in ZIP archives, so filter those (and executables in general).

4. Show File Extensions

Make it harder for the authors of ransomware to hide their intentions because you’ve allowed Windows to hide the file extension. If a file is really called “Invoice.doc.exe,” then you shouldn’t allow it to present itself to the user as “Invoice.doc.”

Forcing Windows to call an executable an executable gives your users at least a fighting chance.

5. Restrict User Privileges

One infected user can’t bring down another user if they don’t have access to their machines in the first place. Giving a machine access only to what it really needs makes it harder for your network to fall like a line of dominoes.

6. Disable Remote Desktop Protocol

Malware operators like to use Windows’ native remote access feature and third-party software to get malicious code onto computers in the first place.

Remote desktop protocol is phenomenally useful, but it doesn’t need to be switched on all the time.

Ransomware will undoubtedly grow, given that the profits from a piece of ransomware.

Questions? Please Contact Us.

 

Robotnik Announces the Availability of Dragon® Medical Practice Edition 2 Speech Recognition Software for Their Clients in Nova Scotia

The Addition of Dragon Medical Software Has Robotnik Poised to Deploy and Implement the Future of Voice Recognition Within the Canadian Market

HALIFAX, NS--(Marketwired - Mar 12, 2015) - Halifax-based IT solutions firm, Robotnik, has added Dragon Medical Practice Edition 2 speech-recognition software from Nuance Communications to its roster of products. Dragon Medical Practice Edition 2 lets clinicians use a narrative format to dictate patient encounters in their own words, including history of present illness, review of symptoms, physical examinations and more.

"We're excited to offer the industry leading, advanced features of Dragon Medical Practice Edition 2 to our clients so they can dramatically reduce the amount of time and money spent on patient record documentation," said Robotnik founder Tomek Obirek.

Robotnik can provide full IT support for Dragon Medical Practice Edition 2 to any medical clinic or physician, including installation, training and on-site service.

Physicians who adopt Dragon Medical Practice Edition 2 can turn speech into text three times faster than typing, with more than 99 percent accuracy, right out of the box. Over 200,000 physicians worldwide have adopted the original version of Dragon Medical Software. 

Dragon Medical Practice Edition 2 streamlines workflows and optimizes the use of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems in medical practices. Dragon Medical allows users to create comprehensive treatment plans and send emails, letters and referrals -- all with the sound of one's voice. Dragon Medical Practice Edition 2 and its patented speech recognition technology recognizes 9 regional accents and can also be trained specifically to the way an individual pronounces a word so it clearly understands them every time.

Dragon Medical Practice 2 can be used with the Nuance PowerMic II, but Robotnik also offers Philips and Olympus dictation devices, which are compatible with the software.

If you'd like to learn more about how Dragon Medical Practice Edition 2 can improve your medical practice efficiency using the power of your voice, then please visit Dragon Medical Canada

About Robotnik:

Robotnik has provided computer sales, service and full on-site support for medical clinics to the Maritime Provinces since 1998. In addition to retail outlets in Halifax and Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Robotnik will ship directly to your door across Canada via our web store. We offer authorized sales and service of both Lenovo PC and Apple products, as well as other top- tier manufacturers. We specialize in helping businesses run efficiently through our tailored preventative Maintenance Service Agreements. Robotnik believes in building one-on-one relationships with clients. All of our technicians are certified and experts in their fields.

Why a Business Should Never Buy a Computer from a Big Box Store.

Being in the computer business for the last 20+ years, I’m surprised daily how little business owners care about their customers. A customer’s wait-time and overall experience is greatly affected by the quality of the equipment utilized by the business owner. The practice by businesses generally seems to be, “How little do I need to spend on my computers and maintenance?” The same owner who swears that he has his customers’ best interests in mind, is the person who inconveniences you by making you wait when his system crashes, or is slow, or is so out-dated that your information he is storing on the system is not even secure (because his password is “bob” and he is still running XP). 

Why in this age, do we feel we can cut corners when it comes to technology?

And how the heck did we let the big box stores convince us that buying a consumer-grade computer for our business, is the best choice?

The big box store situation drives me crazy. I hate it when people are fooled by carefully crafted Big Box marketing and are insulted when you suggest buying locally, like you are trying to sucker them in.

Today I was again posed the same question at an office, “Why should I buy local, when I can save and purchase at COSTCO?” I guess the fact that I personally made the journey to their office was not enough.

I will try to do a comparison now of purchasing at a big box store, and purchasing from a locally owned company, selling business-grade computers

Lets compare two computer systems:

Big Box:
Acer AXC-603 Desktop PC (Intel Pentium J2900 / 1TB HDD / 8GB RAM / Windows 8.1) $399.99 

Locally Owned Company:
Lenovo ThinkCenter : Tiny (I Love this comparison, because this is the brand Box stores actually use for their internal systems/POS, as they need reliable systems for themselves, but they don’t sell them to the public.

$639
Core i3 4130
4GB DDR3 500GB DVD RW
VGA + DP
Win 7 Pro 64
1 Yr Onsite Warranty

Now first of all, you are probably like, “Look at the price, look at the specs. I told you so!”

Well, here is how Big Box stores do their marketing. They jack up the RAM and hard drive specs because these are the things that people know the most about when they buy a computer. 

If we compare the Acer processor to the Lenovo i3, the J2900 is quite slower than the i3, almost 1/3 less. The processor is the car engine in a computer, the hard drive is the trunk, the ram would be how many back seat drivers you can handle in your car at once.

So it is very important to have as much horsepower as possible. This will save you time in the long run. Your time is valuable and if you have to wait or only run one application at a time, you are wasting your time and the customer’s time, not to mention your money.

“What about the big hard drive”? Do you need a 1TB? “Yes I have lots of movies and pictures and I edit them”. And you want to run this on the lowest end processor engine? You would rather have a big trunk but a hamster for an engine? With all of the cloud storage solutions out there, there is no sense to have all of your data on a single drive without a backup. Plus why do you require so much storage if the system is used for business? 

“How about the Ram?” - Most programs can only handle 4GB of ram at a time, and again, a faster engine is more of an advantage, because you cannot easily upgrade it, while adding another 4Gb of ram to your system is only $59, if you even need it. 

The operations system is Windows 8 in the Acer. Yes, but it is the consumer version of 8. There are two types of operating systems -  “Home” and “Pro”. Big Box sells “home” because it is less expensive. 
The Pro edition is geared toward business. The Lenovo comes with Windows 7 Pro with a free upgrade to 8 Pro if you need it. Why is Windows 7 Pro installed? Because most business software does not keep up with the newer operating systems, and also you don’t want to retrain your staff to use a different operating system.

The Lenovo system is ready right out of the box. Most Big Box computer systems are subsidized by software manufacturers, meaning they pay to have their software installed on your system. This is called “bloatware” in our industry, meaning your car is heavy loaded before you drive it out of the parking lot.
Of course you can have this extra software removed. This is called optimization by the big box stores, meaning for a fee (usually $100) they will remove it.

Warranty; please do not get me started on how Big Box stores take advantage of you with warranties. Most warranties only allow you to bring the unit in to be sent away for a few weeks or replaced, minus your data. 
This Lenovo comes with a 1-year onsite warranty out of the box. Most Lenovo desktops come with 3-year onsite warranty. These units use the highest quality parts in the computer industry. They have components like fans that are designed to run 24 hours 7 days a week, quietly.

If the unit breaks down, a trained tech will go to your office at no cost to you, and fix the problems, taking special care not to disturb your business with any replacement that he has to perform.

Speaking of technicians; (and this is solely my opinion) there are good techs at the Box stores, but I have yet to hear any of my peers dreaming of quitting their current job to be a technician at a Box store. It’s like a chef craving to work at a fast food place.  I will say they are a great place for learning the ropes when you first get out of school. If you rely on your system for business however, wouldn’t you want the unit to be fixed by certified technicians who know this product inside and out?

So, is your business worth $239 dollars more? Will you save money the first time your low quality computer fails? Will you be confident that what you bought is something you and your staff can rely on daily? Do you enjoy getting stressed out when your computer is either slow or not even there because it is being serviced? 

If your business and your customers are important to you, then buy the right gear, and Buy Local.