VISUAL NEWSLETTER Ė FEB 2008†††††††††††

 


WINDOWS 7 IS COMMING

 

Microsoft has taking its fair share of criticism lately regarding Windows Vista. Massive incompatibility issues combined with user disorientation have hurt their image if not their bottom line. Common well designed Windows features were taken apart and put back together in a prettier but less efficient manner.

 

To address these issues and make a bigger impact on the business community, Microsoft has planned the release of Windows 7 at some point this year. It will, we hope, combine the best features of Windows XP and Windows Vista into a slightly more useable product.

How it works out is yet to be seen.

 

E-MAIL ISSUES / PROBLEMS

 

By now the majority of our clients have implemented both Internet and E-Mail access from within the office. Along with this comes the usual slate of related problems. Viruses & Spam are just the beginning of the problems you may encounter in this brave new world.

In the early days of corporate e-mail, viruses were the main problem plaguing e-mail customers. When I first set up my e-mail account with Rogers I would routinely receive 10 or more viruses a day. Until customers improved their anti-virus protection, visiting clients to remove viruses was an all too frequent occurrence.In recent years large Internet providers such as Rogers and Bell have done a far better job pre-screening for viruses. In fact, it has been several years since one actually managed to slip through and reach me.

 

Many smaller Internet, Web-Hosting and E-Mail providers do continue to experience these problems from time to time however. For this reason and because viruses are always finding new ways to get to users through Messenger programs, Malicious Web-Sites and the like, you still need good Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware protection on all computers. We continue to recommend Symantecís Anti-Virus and Spybotís Anti-Spyware as a solid defence for these vulnerable areas.

 

The other major problem with e-mail these days is Spam. Spam is the junk mail equivalent of the electronic age and it is a constant problem for many companies.

 

Again, the better Internet providers have provided users with Anti-Spam tools to reduce the problem. As someone that receives about 500 junk e-mails a day I have learned that no system is perfect in dealing with Spam. Earlier end-user programs were far from perfect and cost you extra money to boot. Newer tools are free but require your time to configure and fine tune them.

 

Fighting Spam seems to be a choice of lesser evils. If you trust your Internet providerís tools you may be able to eliminate 98% of Spam, but the occasional one will still get through. As you approach this apparent utopia you will find that these programs also occasionally filter out legitimate e-mails. Uploading your address book and adjusting filter settings and the like may improve the situation but nothing is perfect at this point in time.

 

Iíve even had an occasional new client inform me that the e-mail they were about to send me would be flagged as Spam. I had to deliberately set a filter to allow their e-mail to go through. This had been happening to them for some time as they were accidentally identified as a Spam source by Rogers and Bell and had to struggle to get e-mails out to anyone.

 

E-MAIL FRAUD

 

Iím sure just about everyone has received an e-mail requesting you to confirm your bank user id and passwords. These are virtually always fraudulent and should never be acted upon. Banks will never request passwords and such unless you contact them first. Then thereís the one from a lawyer that needs a $1000 or so to process your inheritance from a long lost relative in Nigeria. A little common sense will generally protect you from these rather obvious scams.

 

E-MAIL THEFT

 

E-Mail theft occurs more frequently than people realize.

You can of course configure e-mail accounts to leave copies of your e-mails at the e-mail server. Many users do this deliberately so that two or more people can view every incoming e-mail. This feature can occasionally be used to steal e-mail without a company suspecting it.

 

E-Mail Theft can actually occur in two ways. Existing employees could just forward important mail to their home or to a competitor while in your employ. Requests for quotes, purchase orders and other important mail are often targets for this type of theft. This type of theft is rare but sometimes happens when an employee is contemplating leaving to work for the competition.

 

More significant theft can occur after an employee leaves and goes to work for a competitor. If they were to take e-mail account information and passwords with them, they could setup a remote computer to retrieve your e-mail while leaving a copy for you on the e-mail server. In this case, the safest thing to do is to just call your provider and change all your e-mail passwords.