Blog | Biztek Solutions, Inc. - Part 13

Windows 10, the latest version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system, was released on July 29, 2015, and millions of people have already received their copies of the tech giant’s newest piece of software. While there are plenty of good reasons to upgrade, Windows 10 isn’t necessarily for everyone.

Here are a few issues to consider when choosing whether or not to get Windows 10:

1. It’s Free (for Most People)

Microsoft is offering free upgrades to Windows 10 for anyone with a genuine copy of Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows Phone 8.1. The free-upgrade promotion — which expires on July 29, 2016 — will entice a huge number of Windows users to make the switch.

However, the offer doesn’t extend to Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8.1 Enterprise, Windows RT, and Windows RT 8.1. That being said, Microsoft started selling Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education on August 1, 2015.

2. Improved Performance

Windows 10 features several performance upgrades. It boots up faster and its better hardware acceleration means that the operating system is a bit quicker when in use. The OS’s power management system has also seen some improvements that tend to extend the life of mobile devices’ batteries.

Additionally, the Refresh and Reset functions were reimplemented so that they work without the need for a recovery image. This reduces the amount of system resources that the OS requires, and makes it easier for users to remove any unwanted software that hardware manufacturers might have bundled into their copies of Windows.

3. Better Security

Security was clearly an important consideration for Microsoft’s developers when they were creating Windows 10. The new OS provides automatic updates, which can make things easier for some users. It also has a number of features designed to keep users and their data secure.

Its Device Guard tool blocks unauthorized applications from accessing Windows 10 computers or the networks that they are connected to. The OS’s Passport and Windows Hello features protect accounts by changing the way that people approach user authorization. Instead of relying on a password, these features let users launch Windows 10 devices by using biometric characteristics like their faces, irises, or fingerprints.

4. The Return of the Start Menu

One of the main criticisms against Windows 8 was the loss of the Start menu. This clear and easy-to-use menu was a staple of previous Windows versions, and many users were upset when they were unable to use it. Thankfully, Microsoft learned from its mistakes by bringing the Start menu back with Windows 10.

The new version of the Start menu will be familiar to Windows 7 users, but it also features a customizable side panel with live tiles similar to the ones used in Windows 8. You can reorganize this panel as you like, combine and resize live tiles, and create shortcuts to your favorite applications. Alternatively, if you don’t like the live tiles, you can delete them and go back to the basic Windows-7-style menu.

5. A New Web Browser

The release of Windows 10 also served as the debut performance of Microsoft Edge, the company’s latest web browser. Windows 10 users will still have the option to use Internet Explorer, though. This will help companies that need to keep using the 20-year-old web browser for compatibility reasons.

Microsoft Edge is designed to be faster, more secure, and more user-friendly than Internet Explorer. Users can customize the web browser by picking a background or choosing a set font size. It also has several new features, like the ability to convert to a streamlined format that removes sidebars and is easier to read. There is also a tool that lets you make notes on web pages, and then share screenshots of the pages through email or a social network.

6. A Universal Approach

Windows 10 is a universal operating system that works on every Windows machine, whether it’s a computer or a mobile device. Any app bought through the Windows Store will work on all of a user’s machines, and will feel familiar regardless of the device that it is being used on. Users can also switch from one device to the next without losing any of their work. If you start working on a document on your computer, you can easily switch to your tablet and pick up right where you left off.

Microsoft’s Continuum also facilitates this broader versatility. This feature changes the operating system’s interface based on the status of the device. For example, if you plug a keyboard and mouse into your tablet, the operating system will recognize the change and switch to desktop mode.

7. A Digital Personal Assistant

Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Google Now and Apple’s Siri. Originally connected to Windows Phone, the digital personal assistant can now be used on any Windows 10 device. Users interact with Cortana by speaking or by typing in questions. The digital assistant learns about users by keeping track of the things they like, and is integrated with Microsoft’s calendar and email clients. This means that it is able to answer more personal questions like “How long will it take me to get home?” and recognize specific issues that might affect you, like a traffic jam or travel delay.

8. Virtual Desktops

With Windows 10, you can create multiple different desktops and choose which apps to run on each one. This helps you keep your work life and your personal life separate, and allows you to share desktops with your colleagues.

A Few Words of Warning

Although Windows 10 does have a lot of advantages, there are a few things that you should be aware of before you upgrade. As noted above, Windows 10 users will get automatic updates. In some cases, this can be a good thing, but some users, and especially organizations that need consistent desktops for all staff, like to maintain more control over their updates. For those people, Microsoft has noted that Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise let you avoid this automatic updating process.

Additionally, the Windows Media Center is not part of the new OS, so if you use this application a lot — by watching DVDs, for example — then you will need to find a suitable replacement online.

Lastly, compatibility with existing, older software may be an issue. If you have applications that are only compatible with a certain operating system, check with your IT staff or service provider about the possibility of migrating to Windows 10. By the same token, if you have older hardware or peripherals that don’t have updated drivers, then Windows 10 could be a problem and it might be time to buy newer pieces of equipment.

Windows 10 has a lot of privacy and bandwidth settings that you may not want to have enabled. Many of these are automatically turned on by default during the installation process. As a precaution, be sure to look over the settings in case you want to change them. Talk to your IT provider if you have any questions on the effect of enabling or disabling a setting.

The Big Finale

The media has claimed that the new OS could be the last version of Windows. Setting aside the speculation, the basic premise behind this statement is that Microsoft may be moving to a so-called Windows-as-a-Service model in which it will push out frequent updates to its current operating system rather than release a new version every few years.

Regardless of the hype, the fact of the matter is that Windows 10 will be here for years to come. Microsoft has already committed to a 10-year support cycle for it. Windows users will, in all likelihood, have to adapt to it at some point. Deciding when that point will be is something that you can do with the help of your IT staff or service provider.

Cloud Computing Services in Costa Mesa

Over the last several weeks, we have been taking a look at how HIPAA has affected data storage as we know it today. Nearly every medical office has a vast amount of patient files, and they need to be stored somehow. Cloud computing is the norm in this digital age, but we always have to be sure that the cloud computing provider we select is familiar with and strictly adhering to HIPAA laws and practices.

Just as a quick reminder, we’ve gone over the fact that medical offices must first inventory their protected health information, or PHI, to see where they stand. In addition to this, a medical office should always safeguard itself with a data storage company with a business associate agreement. Also, information security must also be the focus.

There is also an important list of questions that a medical office or practice should ask a prospective data storage facility, and we will highlight some of the most important ones. First, ask a company what business they specialize in. If it’s not healthcare, how familiar with healthcare data are they? A very important question to also ask is how intense their security background checks are for employees. A common sense question to ask, but still a very important one, is if the company understands HIPAA and will adhere to it for the life of the business arrangement. Also make sure to find out where the company’s physical systems are actually located (where the data is actually being stored).

Basically, it is best to interview the company as if they were a prospective employee – find out what their strengths and weaknesses are, while being completely sure that they understand healthcare data and how to best store and handle it.

If you are looking for a completely secure, professional, and efficient cloud storage provider, look no further than Biztek Solutions, Inc. We will protect healthcare data to the utmost degree, and also help you find better IT solutions within your company. Feel free to give us a call at (800)353-5430 to speak with a professional member of our staff.

In the digital age, “the cloud” has become an easy fix and answer for those with data storage issues. Backing up a hard drive, storing data remotely, and keeping precious mementos such as photos and videos is now easier than ever before.

However, what happens when your information needs the utmost security? Storing medical data and information can also be incredibly easy with a cloud, but also comes with a handful of risks. We’ve been looking at how to protect medical information under HIPAA law over the past few weeks, stating important advice, such as inventorying the PHI and protecting with a strong BAA.

Now, we will look at actual information security. One of the most important tips that can be given when it comes to information security is the carefulness (or carelessness) of the vendor. Ensure that your cloud computing provider has the best credentials and security, so that all of your medical files and data is protected. In simple terms, the cloud can only be as secure as the company in charge of the cloud. Some sources say to use a cloud computing provider the specializes only in healthcare services, but this could go either way. You don’t want to pay for a top brand name on top of a service; you just want to know that the data is secure. Look for a company that is affiliated and certified by Microsoft, and take customer reviews into account.

Biztek Solutions, Inc. is a leader when it comes to managing healthcare data. With backup solutions for all types of businesses, we are partners with Microsoft and certified in all aspects of data storage. Learn how you can benefit from Biztek today services today by calling (800)353-5430 to speak with a member of our staff.

As HIPAA practices have been law over recent years, every patient can breathe a sigh of relief that their information is secure as well as protected. When files were kept on paper as opposed to digitally, it was simple to protect the files without real worry that the data would be compromised.

As we have moved into the digital age, however, doctor’s offices and hospitals that have many patients could not possibly store the wealth of data concerned with every patient on-site. For this reason, cloud storage has become exceedingly important, in all areas of business, not just within medicine. However, how safe is a cloud?

Let’s take a look at further steps that a medical practice or hospital can take to ensure that information is being protected. Last week we began with inventory of the PHI, and this week we will talk about a BAA.

A BAA is an agreement that a cloud host will provide to the medical practice to ensure that all of the information is being protected. If the host does not agree to sign a BAA, then the data is clearly not protected under the directives in the 2013 HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule. Every BAA that is signed must declare several things. These things include, but are not limited to: ensuring that all PHI is controlled and that its disclosure is limited, using safeguards to protect cloud-stored data which is clearly outlined in the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, the report of any compromise of data immediately to the healthcare provider, and the provision to allow any patient to securely access their own data. This is usually performed by a chain of contact between the medical practice and client, but the host must provide the means in order to do so. A host must also destroy all PHI when the contract has ended, expired, or is terminated by either party.

If you are worried about the safety of your data when it comes to cloud storage within a medical practice or simply cloud storage in general, it’s time to turn to a cloud storage provider that has all of your safety and security in mind. Look to Biztek Solutions, Inc. to help with PHI data storage and any other data needs or concerns. To find out more about how we can help with protecting HIPAA information within a cloud, call us today at (800)353-5430 so we can help turn your problems into solutions.

Over the past few years, medical records and data has swiftly moved from hanging files and folders and the written record, to a completely streamlines and digital way of storing and reading data. This type of technology has been paramount in making sure medical records are kept efficiently and not lost. By interconnecting doctors and practices, doctors can easily treat patients as never before, because of digital standards. However, with the HIPAA act which protects everyone’s medical and data and privacy, there is a conundrum. There is not always an easy answer to protecting HIPAA information within a cloud, but it is possible. Because cloud storage is the most efficient and optimal way to store data, we need to explore how best to accomplish cloud storage of medical records without compromising patients’ personal information.

There are several steps to accomplish this, and we will concentrate this article on the first step. Electronic and protected health care information is referred to within the medical community as PHI, and the best thing to do is to begin to inventory this digital information. HIPAA has no regulations on how to store electronic medical data, only that it must be compliant with privacy. To inventory a PHI, many questions must be asked. These important questions include assessing the age of the data, knowing whether this data is sent to an external third party, noting the physical location of the cloud, and asking if the data interfaces with other systems. The best thing to do is create a complete checklist of how this medical data may come in contact with a third party, and go from there. There isn’t a clear way to a viable solution without knowing how data may be compromised.

These kinds of tasks can be tough on any type of business, especially a medical practice. That is why Biztek Solutions, Inc. is here to help with inventory of PHI, data, and overall cloud storage and protection. To find out more about how we can help with protecting HIPAA information within a cloud, call us today at (800)353-5430 so we can help turn your problems into solutions.


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