Monthly Archives: January 2014

Office 2013 vs. Office 365

You may know by now that Microsoft is ending its support of Office 2003 as of April of this year.  This news may have many of you looking at the replacement software and getting confused in the process.  Microsoft has changed the marketing of Office so we have more flexibility in our purchase.

Office 2013 is still available in the traditional boxed form.  There are several versions from a Home & Student version with a MSRP of $139 to a full business version called Office Professional 2013 with a MSRP of $399.  As you go up in price you increase the number of products and features available.  All of these versions are licensed to one machine only, and the license follows the machine.

O365
The new delivery method Microsoft introduced is called Office 365.  This is a subscription.  There are several versions of this available from a home premium version priced at $99 per year to several business versions ranging from $12.50 to $20 per user per month.  As an incentive Microsoft has included definite advantages to Office 365.

It is licensed to the user and can be loaded on up to five devices.  Say you have a salesman in your company who has a pc at work, one at home, a laptop, and he just got a new tablet at Christmas.  Instead of shelling out the cost of 4 copies of Office 2013, the subscription allows him to install Office 365 on each of his devices with the same license.

Office 365 also is available to the licensee in the form of fully functional Web Apps.  If you are a subscriber, the Office suite of products is available to you wherever you find a system with an internet connection.

There are many other advantages to the Office 365 product and Microsoft goes into great detail on their website.  I hope this brief explanation clears up some of your confusion and allows you to make a more informed buying decision.

P@$$w0rd$ — Make Them Strong

Over the past year we have all heard stories about the giant security breach at Target.  Thousands of credit card numbers and debit card number with their PINs were stolen from the retailer’s system.  This was big news, especially during the Holiday season.  What you may not have heard about is the pizza restaurant in Delaware County, Ohio that had the same thing happen to them.  The thieves were smart in this case and waited nearly six months to begin using the stolen numbers.  The thieves don’t care about the size of your business, they are all potential targets (no pun intended).

It is not just credit card information thieves are after.  How easy would it be to become an identity thief if I could access your personnel files?  Do you think your competitors might be interested in your client files?  We all keep sensitive business information on our systems that could cripple us if a data breach became public knowledge.

As a reminder to you all, SplashData, a California security software firm, publishes a list of the twenty five worst passwords each year.  This year’s list:

Rank

Password

Change from 2012

1

123456

Up 1

2

password

Down 1

3

12345678

Unchanged

4

qwerty

Up 1

5

abc123

Down 1

6

123456789

New

7

111111

Up 2

8

1234567

Up 5

9

iloveyou

Up 2

10

adobe123

New

11

123123

Up 5

12

admin

New

13

1234567890

New

14

letmein

Down 7

15

photoshop

New

16

1234

New

17

monkey

Down 11

18

shadow

Unchanged

19

sunshine

Down 5

20

12345

New

21

password1

Up 4

22

princess

New

23

azerty

New

24

trustno1

Down 12

25

000000

New

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SplashData’s top 25 list was compiled from files containing millions of stolen passwords posted online during the previous year. The company advises consumers or businesses using any of the passwords on the list to change them immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make your password STRONG

A good password is one that is difficult to guess. There are ways to make your password hard for even the best ‘hacking’ tools to figure out. Making your password STRONG (hard to guess) is a matter of being just a little creative.

  • Use CAPS – Most password algorithms recognize the difference between a capital letter and a lower case letter. A capital letter or a number thrown into a password is a good way to mix it up a bit. Even using a capital letter with your name (not the first letter!) adds a small degree of difficulty for the hacker – miKe is different than mIke and Mike!
  • Add a number – just putting a number in the password makes it harder to guess. Even if you use your name, a 6 at the beginning, end or in the middle will make it a bit more difficult.
  • Consider a symbol – Adding a symbol (Ex. – @#$!%^&*) can make it really hard on the human hacker and will slow down the hacking program. Watch out for substituting symbols that resemble the letters like the one I used in the title – P@$$w0rd. Hackers have caught on to that little trick…
  • Add one more character – with 26 letters, 10 numbers and 15 or so symbols, adding one more character to your password makes it exponentially harder to break.
  • Try a ‘pass phrase’ – using a phrase versus a word is one of the best ways to create a strong password that is easy to remember. ‘Ilivenear1234AnywhereDr’ has enough letters and characters in it to keep a hacker (human or machine) busy for a long time.

The bottom line is – security is up to you. Use passwords. Make ‘em strong. Change them regularly.