This week we are going to demystify what an Operating System is.  The term is sometimes shortened to OS as well.  Our mobile phones, laptops, PCs and servers all have operating systems to be able to run the applications and carry out the tasks we require of them on a day to day basis.

So, what is an operating system?  It is the primary software installed on a device that manages and coordinates the hardware and software installed on the device.  It provides us as the user with an easier way to interact with the device.  It manages all devices which provide input to the device and sends information to output devices.  It does this with software called drivers which are written by the hardware creators to allow it to communicate with other devices.  Common examples of Operating System are Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, iOS.

To explain how this works, lets run through an example of a task many of us carry out on a frequent basis: printing a document in Microsoft Word on a Windows machine.

 

This means that your software programmes do not have to worry about all the different input and output devices that might be used, it just passes the instruction to the Operating System to deal with it.  Without an Operating System you could not run many of the programmes you use day to day as they would not be able to communicate with the hardware connected to your device.  It is a very important piece of software in our IT setup that often gets overlooked, but not today in our blog!

 

Accidentally spilled your water or morning coffee all over your laptop?  Or your chosen evening tipple while catching up after the kids are off to bed?  We have seen an increase in liquid damage to laptops since the move to working from home for the COVID-19 pandemic.  But we understand accidents happen and if we had the answer to prevent accidents, we would be sitting on a beach somewhere sunny!  However, how you react to a liquid spill on your laptop is controllable and can greatly help the success rate of bringing the device back from the brink.

First things first is so long as it is safe to do so, as please remember electricity and water do not mix, unplug the device and turn the laptop off as soon as is safely possible.  Next, if you can remove the battery from your laptop and any other peripherals you have connected to the laptop.

Now it is time to think about limiting the reach of the liquid and drying the laptop out.  So, if you spilled the liquid onto the keyboard, turn the laptop so the liquid can drain back out the keyboard and if possible leave it somewhere warm, so near a radiator or in a warm area of your house.

At this point, we would encourage our clients to contact us as soon as they have done the above steps so that we can plan the next steps based on the type of device which has had liquid damage to assess and hopefully repair the damage. Usually, it is a case of leaving the equipment to dry for a few days and then taking it into the workshop to assess the damage done.  But we will assess things like the make and model of the laptop, as to whether it is one which can be taken apart further in our workshop and left to dry there, or if it is a worse case of damage and we need to get the hard drive out ASAP to save your data.  However, we would always recommend that you carry out regular back ups of your data to ensure that should a liquid damage accident happen, and your laptop can’t be brought back that you can still be setup on an alternative or new device.  We have a blog here on why back ups are important and how to chose a suitable backup solution.

The type of liquid makes a big difference, for instance clean water is less likely to cause long term corrosion compared with sugary drinks.  Any corrosion internally can shorten the life of the laptop, even if we are able to bring it back from the liquid damage.

Please don’t ever hesitate to get in touch with us for advice on liquid damage to your laptop, the team at MJD are here to help and get you back and working as soon as possible.

This week we wanted to highlight a free resource on Microsoft’s website that is an incredibly useful resource for experienced and new users of Microsoft Office alike!  These videos can be useful to set as training to a new employee who may be unfamiliar with any of the Office applications.  The videos cover Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote, SharePoint, Teams, Yammer and Access.

There are a variety of resources from video tutorials to cheat sheets to PDF guides as well as tips and tutorial templates to download and work through to test the skills you learn in the resources.  The home page for the Microsoft 365 training page can be found here:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/training

The video tutorials are particularly useful if you can’t quite remember how to do a specific task within a program or you’ve updated Office package and guess what, the button isn’t where it used to be.  We’ve all been there, and it can be extremely frustrating when something that used to be second nature must be relearnt!  These videos can help you to overcome that frustration quicker as they take you through the mouse clicks and you watch the desktop of the trainer.  No more searching for the function through trial and error, just learn how to go directly to it again!

Let’s have a quick tour of how to explore the wealth of information and resources within the Microsoft 365 training portal.  Let’s look at the Excel section for this example:

We’ll then see boxes representing the sections of training within Microsoft Excel:

Let’s look at Formulas and Functions:

We’ve highlighted the selection pane on the left hand side to show you where further more specific and detailed resources on individual formulas can be found.  Most of these articles have their own video and written information, so depending on how you learn best you have a variety of resources at your disposal.

Hopefully this will have highlighted an extremely valuable free training resource that you can put to work in your organisation to help make your IT work for YOU!  If you have any questions on Microsoft Office or Microsoft 365 please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team here at MJD.

When considering cyber security we can often jump straight to considering how technology can protect us and completes our security package.  However, there are actually 3 pillars of cyber security.

As you can see from the Venn diagram each pillar is equally important to the overall cyber security of your network.  Your processes may already be in place but you had not considered them part of your cyber security.  Such as hierarchy of access to information, password policies, data control and data request processes.  But this may just require a culture shift to include the review and adaptation of processes and policies within you overall cyber security plan.

The element which has not had as much development over the years to match the speed of technological development is the people asset:  The Human Operating System (OS).

This is the most common area for weaknesses in a companies overall cyber security.  Now if we consider the fact that this year Webroot reports phishing URLs grew by 640%.  This highlights the  importance of gearing our three pillars towards reducing the inherent risk.

Now, under technology our SPAM filters can check links, quarantine potential risk emails and check links as they are clicked on.  Your processes may filter out requests for information, detailing who can have access to what and how someone can request information.  But the people pillar is arguably the most important to focus current investment due to the lack of investment in comparison to the development of the other two pillars in recent years.

So, how can we improve and strengthen the security of our Human OS in our organisation?  Training.

There are various options and plans of how to deploy training in your organisation.  Here at MJD we can offer dedicated training sessions with our Cyber Security Specialist, tailored to our client’s organisation.  We would also recommend implementing a continuous and random on the job training programme.  We can create training campaigns where fake phishing emails are sent to collect data on who clicked on links and how people interact with the email.  It then instantly provides a small training session for those individuals who do click on the link and enter information.

These campaigns allow you to analyse the statistics of how many times people click on the links, to identify individuals who may need more targeted training or equally to give people praise for continuing to ignore phishing emails or improve on their click rate.

The team at MJD can help you create a plan to keep your Human OS up to date, as well as managing your technology updates and IT security.  Get in touch and let’s make IT work for YOU!