Tip of the Week: 5 Technical Tips to Troubleshoot a Troublesome Touchpad

b2ap3_thumbnail_touchpad_problems_400.jpgLaptop touchpads can be rather fickle. You may have experienced the frustrating situation where you’re using the laptop and then an unexpected glitch causes the mouse to jump across the screen. This error can actually cause data loss if it happens at the worst possible time, but it’s also just plain unproductive. Here are five troubleshooting tips to keep your touchpad in good working order and prevent this all-too-common issue from happening.

Keep in mind, not all touchpads are created equal – some devices might have better, more calibrated touchpads than others. If yours has always been difficult to use, reach out. We might be able to help.

Be Aware of Your Hand Placement
This issue may be as easy to resolve as resting your hands differently on your laptop. If you’re not careful, it’s easy for your hand to brush the touchpad as you type, causing your cursor to suddenly jump. This can be a challenge if you’ve got large hands, or if you’re sitting in an odd position that causes your hands to type differently than what you’re used to. If you adjust your hand placement accordingly and this issue persists, then continue on to our next tip.

When’s the Last Time You Cleaned Your Touchpad?
You know full well how dirty hands can be. Now, try not to think too hard about how gross your touchpad might be after perhaps years of use. If it’s been awhile since you last cleaned your touchpad, then it’s likely accumulated a shiny layer of skin oil, dirt, and other tiny particles that would make you lose your lunch if you actually knew what they were (fact: keyboards are less sanitary than toilet seats). If your touchpad is too dirty, then it won’t read your fingers correctly. Therefore, give your touchpad a good wiping and see if that works.

Disconnect Other External Input Devices
Sometimes, an external input device like an external mouse, graphics tablet, or keypad may be interfering with your touchpad. It’s difficult to ascertain exactly as to what causes this interference, but it’s been known to happen. In fact, sometimes even having your laptop plugged into an electrical outlet or its docking station will interfere with a touchpad’s performance, depending on the device. Therefore, try unplugging everything from your laptop and see if that makes your touchpad more responsive. At least then, it’s easier to hone in on what the problem actually is.

Update Your Drivers
If you’ve got an older laptop, then perhaps the driver that controls the touchpad interface needs to be updated. Check with your laptop’s manufacturer to find out if your computer has the latest drivers. This can be accomplished by going to their website, calling their support hotline, or by contacting Amaxx at 614.486.3481

Replace the Touchpad
If all of these troubleshooting tips don’t work, then it may be that the touchpad hardware has gone bad and needs to be replaced. A procedure like this isn’t something that can be easily done by an amateur; we don’t recommend that you try it. Amaxx’s IT technicians can take care of this for you, as well as troubleshoot other computer-related issues and annoyances that you may be experiencing.

Bonus Tip: Get a Wireless Mouse
Often forgotten as a mobile solution, a simple wireless mouse can be much more effective than a clumsy touchpad. Of course, this is based on your personal preferences, but if your laptop supports Bluetooth, you can pick up a wireless, battery-operated mouse. If your laptop doesn’t support Bluetooth, there are options that include wireless USB dongles.

Is this a common problem that has slowed you down? We hope that these troubleshooting tips will help. For more great technology-related tips and tricks, subscribe to Amaxx’s blog and check back every week!

736 Million Records Were Exposed to Data Theft in 2015

b2ap3_thumbnail_stolen_data_problems_400.jpg2015 saw a significant increase in high-profile hacking attacks in organizations of all disciplines: healthcare, government, and even large entertainment companies all fell victim to data breaches. In light of these attacks, valuable lessons can be learned through analyzing the types of records that were stolen. In 2015, over half of all records exposed to hackers were passwords and email addresses.

Take a moment to consider the importance of such credentials; they’re used for accessing online accounts and mission-critical information that’s stored on company networks. If hackers and thieves gain access to them, they essentially acquire unrestricted access to certain accounts that may be critical to the functionality of your business. Plus, since many users use the same password across multiple accounts, having one set of credentials may give hackers a lot of access.

Here are some of the statistics revealed by the Risk Based Security report:

  • In 2015, there were 4,000 reported data breaches, which exposed 736 million records.
  • 40.5 percent of reported incidents occurred in organizations within the United States, with the amount of data stolen totaling around 65 percent of the data stolen throughout the entire year.
  • 238 million stolen data records came from just four huge data breaches.
  • 142 organizations experienced multiple data breaches in 2015.
  • The US and UK combined made up 45 percent of all reported data breaches in 2015.

What You Can Do About It
If you want to keep your business safe from the seemingly endless horde of malware on the Internet, you need to be tirelessly working toward integrating proactive security solutions designed to protect your network from potential threats. One way that you can do so is by implementing powerful security measures that are designed to both prevent threats from accessing your network, and detect them from within before they cause unspoken amounts of damage. Enterprise-level firewall and antivirus solutions are great tools meant to prevent breaches, while content filtering and spam blocking solutions make your network even more resilient. These four technologies are what’s known as a Unified Threat Management solution, and it’s a critical investment for any security-minded SMB.

Another way that you can decrease the chances of being hacked is by using complex passwords that are difficult to guess, and to change these passwords consistently. Your passwords should always be long, utilizing lower and upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Never use the same password and usernames for multiple online accounts. Always use different credentials. If you have trouble remembering everything, an enterprise-level password manager is a great way to securely store your credentials.

In the end, it comes down to how well you protect your organization from threats. Amaxx can educate your business on security best practices, while assisting you with the implementation of comprehensive security systems. Our solutions are designed to minimize the chances of data breaches, and to immediately resolve problems that might come up.

For more information, give us a call at 614.486.3481

Why You Need to Think Through Which Employees Have Access to What Files

b2ap3_thumbnail_windows_admin_400.jpgIt’s clear that your IT department should have administrator privileges with your business’s technology, but the average employee is another story altogether. Administrator privileges provide users with the ability to do many things, such as install programs and access admin settings. Administrator privileges are exactly what you want to keep users away from, and it turns out that the majority of flaws in the Windows operating system depend on these privileges.

According to a report released by security firm Avecto, it’s estimated that a solid 85 percent of all critical flaws within an operating system can be plugged simply by removing administrator privileges. Most home and consumer-based PCs utilize administrator accounts by default without much thought, but this is a dangerous practice in a business. If hackers can gain access to administrator privileges, they can make changes to the core OS files and steal important information. Most businesses that prioritize security will have limited user privileges on their provided workstations, which help to keep malware and other threats out of central files imperative for the continued functionality of the machine.

As reported by ZDNet:

The report said that removing admin rights could have mitigated more than 99 percent of flaws affecting Internet Explorer, which had a critical-rated flaw almost every month; and mitigated 82 percent of all vulnerabilities affecting Office. The company analyzed the entire batch of vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s monthly security patch update, dubbed Patch Tuesday, to see which flaws would be less impacted whose logged-in accounts “are configured to have fewer user rights on the system.” Out of the entire batch of vulnerabilities reported, 63 percent would be mitigated or unexploitable if admin rights were removed.

User privileges are an easy topic to set on the back burner and forget about, especially if you’re a small business with a small workforce. You might like to think that there’s minimal chance for user error, but the cruel reality is that people make mistakes, be it accidentally misplacing files or allowing malware to run rampant throughout your business’s critical systems. Unfortunately, all it takes is one oversight to leave your entire business infrastructure vulnerable to damage caused by hackers who have administrator privileges.

Therefore, it’s recommended that your organization take full advantage of a user management solution that puts a lid on what the majority of your employees can access. Your users should only be accessing files and information that’s important for their daily duties. For example, the average employee doesn’t need access to personal employee records or client payment information.

Are you doing everything that you can to limit your mission-critical data’s exposure to threats? Security-minded businesses will be taking advantage of not just role-based user access, but also secondary security solutions like firewalls, antivirus, spam blocking, and content filtering solutions that are designed to prevent infiltration in the first place. These four features can be implemented in one comprehensive solution called a Unified Threat Management (UTM) tool.

For more information about proactive IT measures, remote monitoring and maintenance, or IT security, give Amaxx a call at 614.486.3481

Tip of the Week: 2 Ways Your Business Can Reduce Its Environmental Footprint

b2ap3_thumbnail_new_green_technology_400.jpgTechnology has provided humanity with the ability to make stupendous advances in the way we live our lives. However, it has also given rise to a wasteful society that neglects old technology, tossing it to the side in favor of the latest and greatest gadgets. As you can imagine, considering the rate at which modern technology advances, this trend has proven especially difficult to break, and it’s having extremely negative effects on the environment.

We know what the solution looks like; a bunch of tech nerds talking about how to keep the environment clean. However, this situation isn’t just ironic. It’s also incredibly important to sustain the future of our planet, and to ensure that it continues to thrive for our loved ones in the future. Individually you might not feel like your actions are making a big deal, but if every business were to take green initiatives, it could make a significant difference.

To this end, here are two ways your business can reduce its environmental footprint:

Properly Recycle Unused Devices
With so many devices being manufactured every year, it’s only natural that some older devices get replaced by new ones. Normally, those who don’t know the proper way to dispose of a device will just throw it in the trash without a second thought. However, computers and other devices contain valuable metals and materials that, if not properly recycled, can have disastrous effects on the environment. These devices usually get shipped to developing countries that dismantle and acquire these materials with unsafe and unsanitary practices. This is why it’s so important to make sure that you’re properly recycling your old, dilapidated technology.

Another note on recycling your old technology: be absolutely sure that it’s been wiped of all data before committing to the recycling process. This includes hard drives in desktops, laptops, and storage in mobile devices that at one point contained sensitive information that can’t fall into the wrong hands. Simply deleting the data doesn’t cut it – there’s a chance the data could be recovered. Amaxx can help with this by thoroughly wiping your unnecessary technology of any important data, and disposing of it in an environmentally friendly manner.

Reduce Printing Costs
One of the greatest ways you can reduce your carbon footprint is by limiting how much paper you waste printing documents out. Your business no-doubt prints several pages worth of documents on a daily basis, but recent innovations in technology have allowed for businesses to limit their printing and decrease their overall printing expenditures.

Limiting your printing costs also has a great benefit for your budget, considering that you don’t have to invest as heavily in paper, ink, and toner. With digital file storage and signature software, you don’t need to print out documents in order to store them in your office’s physical space. This leads to less clutter, and will ultimately lead to a more organized office with fewer resources wasted.

Doing business with the environment in mind has its benefits, but only if you approach it with the necessary knowledge. Amaxx can help your organization approach green innovations in an organized, efficient manner. To learn more, give us a call at 614.486.3481

5 Ways to Get a Grip on Mobile Devices in Your Office


Did you know that a whopping two-thirds of U.S. adults own a smartphone? This figure is still climbing and the presence of employee-owned smartphones has dramatically changed the face of office. Businesses that aren’t prepared for this major influx of devices are setting themselves up for some major problems.

Employees bringing their devices to work is an IT trend known as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). In order to make mobile devices in the workplace work for you, you’re going to need to implement a comprehensive BYOD strategy. If you don’t, then your IT network will be a virtual Wild Wild West of sorts as different devices across the entire technology spectrum access your company’s sensitive data. If some of these devices contain malware or data is downloaded to an employee’s device, and the device becomes lost or stolen, you’d be toast. Crises like these can easily be prevented by having a solid BYOD strategy.

To be sure, the benefits of having mobile devices in the workplace make BYOD worth the effort; employees that use their own devices are more innovative, more productive, and are generally happier about their job. To take advantage of these benefits, you’re going to want to cover all of these bases with your company’s BYOD strategy.

  • Identify potential risks: Unsecured devices can easily contain viruses and malware, which can damage your system. Plus, an employee-owned device without privacy protections can pose the problem of hackers stealing the data on the device, which would essentially be stealing your data. By taking into account and protecting your network from every possible risk, you’ll be able to use mobile devices with confidence.
  • Define a clear BYOD policy: As is the case with any policy, the clearer you are, the better. A solid BYOD policy encompasses your entire IT infrastructure, along with every possible access point. Additionally, if you’re able to clarify your IT goals and what you’re looking to achieve with mobile devices, then you can draft a BYOD policy that can maximize these goals.
  • Consider regulations and compliance issues: If confidential information, like medical records, aren’t stored properly and get leaked by way of mobile devices, it can carry a hefty fine from laws like PCI and HIPAA. Concerning data of this sensitive nature, your BYOD policy needs to follow these laws down to the letter.
  • Keep track of used devices: Every device that accesses your network needs to be accounted for. For example, you can’t have random devices logging on, accessing files, and then disappearing with that information. If an employee loses a device with company information on it, or even sells it to a third party, then you would have no idea who would get to see your data.
  • Train your staff: When it comes to BYOD, educating your staff is key. If they’re on board with your BYOD policy and fully understand the ramifications of breaking it, then you will be able to rest assured that all of the devices popping up around the office are helping your organization, not hindering it.

As you can imagine, BYOD policies are not a one-size-fits-all policy for every business. Each business has different needs, IT goals, and security risks. Therefore, in order to get the most comprehensive BYOD strategy for your company, you’re going to want to consult with the IT professionals at Amaxx. We know what questions to ask and what to look for in your IT network so that your organization can take full advantage of this trend.

Additionally, we have great tools at our disposal, like our mobile device management solution that can help you control what all of the devices are doing on your network, like adding permissions regarding which files these devices can access. To implement an airtight BYOD strategy for your business, call Amaxx today at 614.486.3481