PCS Blog

PCS has been serving the Knoxville area since 1996, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is Losing Support

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is Losing Support

Microsoft Windows has been a staple of modern computing, with each title in the series offering more innovative features. When it comes time to retire one of their operating systems, it can be troublesome for businesses. This coming January, two of the most utilized versions of the Windows OS - Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 - will be losing support, effectively ending their viability. Businesses that still use these will have to come up with a plan for how they are going to proceed once Microsoft retires that software. 

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Don’t Worry, Your Samsung Phone “Winking” at You is Just a Cool Feature

Don’t Worry, Your Samsung Phone “Winking” at You is Just a Cool Feature

If you’re a Samsung smartphone user, have you ever seen a little eyeball symbol appear at the top of the screen? You might notice that it will show up for a minute, and then disappear again. Since this kind of activity usually makes users question what’s going on with their device, let’s get down to the bottom of this weird occurrence.

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What Does Your Software Have in Common with the Food in Your Fridge?

What Does Your Software Have in Common with the Food in Your Fridge?

It’s a well-known fact that nothing in this world lasts forever (other than Twinkies), and this pertains to your technology more than perhaps anything else. The same solutions that you’ve been working with for years will also need regular updates and improvements in order to stay relevant to your organization.


When you think about it, making sure that your software solutions are always up to date is sort of like keeping your kitchen cabinet full of foodstuffs that haven't spoiled. Both the software developer and the food producer offer resources that are absolutely crucial in the modern world, and both create products that frequently need to be replaced in order to function as intended. Both offer sustenance to something or another; yet, how similar are they really?

A food producer will tend to focus on offering delectable foods that taste great and offer nutritional value, while a software developer will work toward creating user-friendly solutions and patching up vulnerabilities. Any improvements made tend to be focused on security, but often times the developer will add new features or improve the user interface to offer a better experience as a whole. Primarily, the patches issued resolve problems that hackers can take advantage of to infiltrate your organization and cause trouble.

These improvements are one of the reasons why you might receive notifications about updates available every so often. In fact, they are so frequent that if you don’t implement them as they are released, you could quickly fall behind on network maintenance.

Returning to the food analogy, let’s take a look at a convenience that most businesses have: a break room fridge. If each of your employees keeps a single cup of yogurt in this fridge, and it goes uneaten, it will naturally spoil. However, if you keep this spoiled yogurt in the fridge, despite it being practically inedible, someone will eventually try it out. This could result in employees getting sick.

Whether it’s poor productivity from being ill all day or software that’s missing critical software updates, the result is the same: the potential for a really bad time. If you have someone whose responsibility is to “restock the fridge,” you can keep your organization from being exposed by the sudden, gut-wrenching sickness of a hacking attack.

PCS can be the ones to keep an eye out for anything that needs updates or patches on your network, and better yet, we can do all of it ourselves without interrupting operations. This keeps you from taking valuable time out of the day to do it yourself, and you can know for certain that your software solutions are being handled with the care they deserve. To make sure that your business’s network security doesn’t reach its expiration date, reach out to us at (865) 273-1960.

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The Vast Majority of Business Owners that Try Cloud Services Don’t Look Back

The Vast Majority of Business Owners that Try Cloud Services Don’t Look Back

Your business’s productivity suite, be it Google Apps for Work or Microsoft Office 365, is a critical component for your success. These services, when implemented in the cloud, can be major game-changers, and it’s thanks to the convenience of mobile data and application access that have led to such vigor in the development of the cloud.


In particular, the success of “software as a service,” or SaaS, shows the need to leverage online computing solutions to your advantage. Businesses can use SaaS to pay a flat rate for a productivity suite, or other virtual solution. The software is then accessible through the cloud via an Internet connection, which makes it both flexible enough to add new users, and accessible enough to be used on any device. A study by BetterCloud reveals that 91 percent of Google Apps users claim that SaaS helps them more than traditional desktop applications, while 68 percent of Office 365 users found the same.

SaaS’s success reveals that paying less for more over time can be a valid way to build out your IT infrastructure. Instead of purchasing software outright, businesses are finding that it’s more efficient and economically feasible to pay smaller fees at a monthly rate. Other benefits include using only the most up-to-date versions of business apps, and the ability to access these applications from anywhere with an internet connection. Considering how it’s both easier and more cost-effective to add users to a cloud-based solution than purchasing new software licenses for all of your employees, the cloud is definitely the way to go.

Despite the many benefits, BetterCloud has found that there are still many significant roadblocks that could railroad your business’s implementation of cloud-based applications. One of them could be your business’s dedication to your old desktop application infrastructure. Even though the cloud is a great new addition to your organization, you may have employees who would prefer to use desktop apps stored locally on their machine. Remember, concepts like cloud computing, document sharing, and collaborative technologies, are still relatively new in the business environment. It will still take time for these concepts to sink in and take root.

Modern technology solutions have given rise to businesses that require mobile, collaborative workplace environments. Simply having the necessary software solutions on your workstation isn’t enough; people want to stay productive even when out of the office. This drive for mobility and constant access to data and applications is what has fueled the cloud frenzy. Therefore, it’s becoming not just a gimmick, but an important commodity in the business world, and one that you can’t ignore forever.

Is your business ready to implement cloud solutions designed to fit your organization’s specific needs? If so, our technology consultants are here to help guide you through the process.

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Alert: 7-Zip Software Can Leave Your System Vulnerable

Alert: 7-Zip Software Can Leave Your System Vulnerable

Software vulnerabilities can cause major issues for individuals and businesses. Cisco’s Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group, which is designed as an organization to “protect consumers from known and emerging threats,” has found such a vulnerability with 7zip.


The 7zip software is an open-sourced file archiver and decompressor, and has many software developers scrambling to patch their products. Since 7zip is freeware, it is naturally used in the development of other applications’ code, and that is making this particular vulnerability more than your run-of-the-mill code malfunction. Currently there are two discovered vulnerabilities with the software. ZDNet explains the issues in stark detail:

  • “The first vulnerability, CVE-2016-2335, is an out-of-bounds security flaw caused by the way 7zip handles Universal Disk Format (UDF) files. When partition maps are scanned to find objects within the file system, there is a lack of proper checking which can cause a read-out-of-bounds problem. If exploited, cyberattackers could use the vulnerability to execute code remotely.”
  • “The second security flaw, CVE-2016-2234 , is an exploitable heap overflow vulnerability found within the Archive::NHfs::CHandler::ExtractZlibFile method functionality of 7zip. In the software's HFS+ system, files can be stored in a compressed format using zlib, and depending on the size of the data, this information may be stored in blocks.”

In layman’s terms, the vulnerabilities affected the way that many programs utilizing 7zip function. In particular, software programs like antivirus solutions are affected. The vulnerabilities change the way that files are compressed and decrypted, and since the 7zip code was used as a part of so many other pieces of software, the opportunities are real and prevalent. While this vulnerability may not present network administrators with as much fear as 2014’s Heartbleed vulnerability, the potential for data and network breaches is concerning.

Working with Talos, the 7zip developers have patched the problems, with their latest offering, 7zip v. 16.00, being free of these vulnerabilities. Any other version of the software needs to be updated immediately to ensure that users are not subject to data breaches as a result of this vulnerability. Any other software that has the 7zip code needs to be patched as well.

For more information on the latest security vulnerabilities, as well as information on how to protect your organization from potential threats, call us today at (865) 273-1960.

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