Drowning in Disinfection

Be careful how you disinfect your tech equipment. One client’s cleaning solution wasn’t ideal, but we didn’t discover its effects until we made a service call.

We made the service call because an Excel file seemed to be going bonkers. When our client clicked on a cell, the file would start scrolling uncontrollably. It only happened with this file. We checked the computer for viruses, but none were detected.

However, the client had a problem with WordPress, too, and that looked like a problem with the mouse. We checked the mouse and found nothing wrong. With optical mouses, you may not be able to see the damage. However, the client mentioned in passing that they had washed the mouse because they feared exposure to poison ivy. We understood the concern because in very basic terms, sensitivity to poison ivy is an allergic reaction. If your allergy sensitivity is higher, you can break out more easily or more severely if you come in contact with poison ivy or its residue.

With today’s coronavirus concerns, we’re rightly becoming obsessed with keeping surfaces as germ-free as humanly possible, and that includes our electronics – especially those in offices or other public places. It’s a good idea to disinfect mouses, keyboards and telephones, but you need to keep moisture away from them. Liquids wreak havoc with all electronics.

We suggest you take the following steps in keeping your technology tools as clean and disinfected as you can.

  1. Unplug your device – mouse or keyboard – from the computer and remove the batteries if you have them.
  2. If you are using something like a Clorox wipe, put a microfiber cloth or some paper towel between the wipe and the device to minimize the moisture. The microfiber cloth is better, and you have probably have a lot of them if you wear eyeglasses.
  3. If you have a spray disinfectant, spray it on a microfiber cloth or some paper towel. Don’t spray it directly on the device.
  4. Make sure that any cloth or paper towel that comes in contact with your mouse or keyboard is only damp – not wringing wet.
  5. Dry your mouse or keyboard as thoroughly as you can with a microfiber cloth and then give your device some time for it to air dry.

Our devices are indispensable, and when damage occurs, the nature of the problem doesn’t always point to the mouse or keyboard. Just pay attention when you clean. In an office environment, we suggest you pass these cleaning tips along to everyone. If you have any questions, call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us.

Virus and Malware Protection Requires Vigilance

The numbers are grim when it comes to the ability of antivirus and malware software to protect your computer from an invasion. Keeping a close eye on your computer is a huge help.

Let’s start with the bad news. I was astonished to learn that the four major antivirus engines used to combat viruses combine can only detect 40% of the viruses floating around. If you want to take some consolation, it’s a higher success rate than this past year’s flu vaccine, but it’s not comforting. It’s the same with antimalware protection. Quite simply, the antivirus and antimalware software developers can’t keep up with the volume of viruses and malware that’s produced every day.

If you know or believe your computer is infected by a virus or malware, disconnect it from your network or the Internet or shut down the computer and call us – 973-433-6676. IT professionals know which tools to use and where to use them to find and remove them. The tools are Microsoft tools, and they are free, but, again, it’s a matter knowing how to use them and being able to verify that a computer is totally disinfected.

If you have an infected server and no back-up in place, we’ll try to clean the server. With a computer, it’s easier to isolate the infection and – if needed – rebuild it, which means wipe it clean and reinstall the operating system, application software and data files. If you are using cloud-based applications and data files, the chances of an infection are greatly reduced because the hosting companies constantly update the software.

While the numbers may seem to be stacked against you, you can take steps to protect yourself. First, install, update and use your antivirus and antimalware software. Those programs will pick off the more numerous “easy-to-detect” viruses and malware.

Second, be very careful about the websites you visit and the networks you allow to connect to your computer. Only go to trusted sites and only connect with trusted networks. Of course, there’s a caveat here. Sometimes, your antivirus software may flag a network or computer trying to connect, and it may be a false positive. If it looks like something that’s OK, it’s most likely a network driver update.

Contact us – 973-433-6676 or email – if you have any questions about anything having to do with viruses or malware on your computer or server. It’s a dangerous world out there, but it’s more than survivable with good judgment and common sense.

New Service to Manage Your Virus Protection

We’re responding to that nasty world out there by launching a new service to manage your virus protection. By taking a proactive approach, we can help you stay ahead of the nasties – insidious virus codes and the people who spread them. Here are the details.

We will now install and manage anti-virus software on your computer or computer system for as little as $4.25 per month. While we have avoided recurring, on-going fees, we believe this makes a lot of sense for you. In many ways, its’ an extension of services we already offer.

Many of our customers rely on us to monitor their systems remotely so that we can fix certain problems when they appear, and our customers give us access to their systems so that we can keep them running at peak performance.

We get alerts when a virus or malware is detected, and if something looks like it’s getting out of control, we get continuous messages. In one case, we got a message on a client’s machine that didn’t seem out of the ordinary. During lunch, which happened to be right near our client’s office, the messages escalated. We went there immediately to help out and resolved the issue. Our client’s boss saw us there and asked what we were doing. The client explained how we jumped in and said: “That’s why we have Norman.”

That’s what we do.

Now, we can monitor your system for viruses and reach out to fix problems, including making “house calls” if needed. As with everything else we do, we’ll make it a point to fix your problem as soon as possible.

Unlike some other anti-virus products or services, we don’t require annual renewals. Stay with us for as long as you like and cancel your service at any time. For companies with four or more computers, we can bill you quarterly. Make your life less worrisome. Contact us by phone – 973-433-6676 – or email for more information or to sign up for our anti-virus protection management.