Remote Workers

In today’s environment, remote workers have become exceedingly more important. The remote environment is key to keeping your workforce, working over the internet while at home. Whether they are away sick or they are that on-call vital employee, your remote worker can still provide value. So, let them work while out of the office.

Covenant Computing has your remote session needs in check. We will quickly install an easy and light application that can allow remote connections to your workstations. It is easy to connect, and quick to train these remote workers how to work from the comfort and safety of home.

Get your productivity and your workforce back on track. Call us to set up a free consultation and demonstration.

Need a workstation or server in the cloud? Covenant Computing has you covered there too. Click the button below to contact us and get your workforce connected.

Outlook Not Synchronizing With Gmail

We have a client that uses several email addresses from within Microsoft Outlook. Some of them connect to Exchange. Some connect to IMAP (regular email), and some connect to G-mail. G-mail is IMAP, except it has weird requirements that change without any sort of notification.

So here we are, the client is getting all sorts of popups asking him to log into G-mail when he synchronizes mail. This happens from time to time when he changes his account settings, but it never happens all at once. So, we knew something else was wrong.

The first thing we tried was to go ahead and re-enter his password. Sometimes, for whatever reason, the password gets lost or one or the other services require a manually entered password occasionally. This wasn’t the problem as the issue did not go away.

The next thing we tried was to examine the account settings inside Google. You can do this by going to https://account.google.com. Your security settings will be where to look for password issues and security problems associated with the account. We didn’t find anything wrong, so we moved on.

The last thing we did was consult TechNet at Microsoft about this issue where we found many possible solutions. We will share those with you below:

  • Use a Google Application Password: Sometimes Google does not play nice with programs they feel are less than security-savvy. This is a good thing usually, but it creates a bit of an inconvenience. An App Password is a unique password that is used for these special programs that is unique to that particular program. It is not your regular password for that account, but it is used in place of that password. It is like a special password for just that application. Hence, the name “application password.” You can find the details linked HERE.
  • Check your license. Sometimes your Office license gets switched off for non-payment or for other accidental or weird reasons like leaving a job or changing license plans. So, check that your license is associated with your office account. Here is how to check that: Just go to “File” in the upper left corner. Then go to “Office Account” in the middle on the left. You should see that you are signed in. It will indicate that you have either a subscription product or a purchased license. If you do not see an account in this window, you should sign into Office. Here is a link that will show you how.
  • Privacy Settings: Outlook has privacy settings that will allow you to restrict information shared with third-party services – like Gmail. To find those privacy settings, navigate to:
    File > Office Account > Account Privacy – Manage Settings (on the left in the middle)
    A window will pop up that says “Your data, controlled by you” at the top. In this window, Make sure you have at least “All connected experiences” (bottom of Connected Experiences section) and “Experiences that download online content” checked. These features, if not turned on, cannot download account information necessary to sign into Gmail IMAP functions necessary to connect an account to Gmail through Outlook.

This is by far not a complete list of all of the problems you could be having with Outlook. It is a great program and the most widely used business application used for sending and receiving emails, but sometimes it is really just too much to handle. We get that, so our services are available to those who would want them. Just click the link below to open a new ticket with us and we will be happy to get you working again.

Working from home and need a new computer?

Many folks are discovering, in the wake of the recent WFH (Work From Home) movement, that their at-home computer is sub-par and annoyingly juice-less. In other words, you need an upgrade. Am I right? Some of you might also be thinking about budget too because of the employment crisis. So, refurbished is probably the way to go. Well, look no further! We have you covered with a list of mobile computing machines that will get your data moving a little faster. Why mobile? Because once we start creeping back into the social scene a little more, we are going to want to bring these gems along.

Covenant Computing has curated a list of laptops that will please about any budget. What did we look for? Well check out the specs:

  • At least an i5 Processor – The Intel processor is the staple of the previous generation of computers. Purchasing an AMD, unless it’s a Ryzen, is risky, so we avoided it. There are just too many variables. Also, let’s face it, i3 is just too slow when you are trying to get something done so you can get back to binging your favorite shows.
  • At least a $350GB HDD – No, we didn’t opt for a mandatory SSD here because, while they are consistently faster, refurbishers tend to put cheap SSDs into machines that have sub-par performance in order to hide that fact. Yes, some SSDs are on the list, but be careful not to let the cheap price sway you into a short term ownership experience.
  • At Least 8GB RAM – a large RAM space is the oil that keeps the computer engine running smoothly. While 4GB machines are attractively priced, the risk is that your computer will run out of headroom and start to slow down.
  • Curated Manufacturers – Let’s face it, older machines will have something go wrong quicker than new machines. The list of manufacturers we have chosen (Dell, Lenovo, MSI, and ASUS) are good picks for durability. You might pay a little more for a Dell, but it is worth it.
  • 2GHz – 3GHz Processor Speed – We chose this speed range because it is in the middle. It’s that simple. Slower processors, while cheaper, will not relieve the slowness stress. Faster processors are just overpriced for what you get, and the ones that aren’t are using sub-par components (smaller HDD, less RAM, etc.).

So there you have it. If you’ve made it this far, you are probably truly interested in what we have found. We have shopped many places, but Amazon, for two reasons, is where we go. 1. The Price is good and 2. The Return Policy is great! Full disclosure: if you do buy something from the list, we will get a small commission on the sale.

So, without further ado, here is the list:

Covenant Computing’s Curated Computer Collection

Cloud Computing

Working in the cloud sounds difficult. It’s not! With the right expert, it can be as easy as contacting us, receiving an email, and clicking on a link. Cloud Computing removes the risk associated with remote workers. We can also connect these virtual computers to your network or active directory domain.

Cloud computing environment with two workstations connecting to a virtual service

Covenant Computing creates and manages cloud desktop or server environments. Now you have always-on computing that is ready to go when you are. Sleeping or hibernating machines can disconnect from the network. Those are problems of the past.

Cloud (or Virtual) machines are computers that run exactly like your computer-with-a-keyboard. They stay “in the cloud”, can be accessed from anywhere that has an internet connection, and can be modified to meet any challenge. We can also upload your entire workstation to the cloud so it feels like you are working on your own machine.

Many remote computers are too slow and are expensive to upgrade. They also don’t have security, so they threaten your valuable data if they connect to your network. Therefore, cloud computing workstations and servers take that work and keep it in a secure environment, and they do all the computing. They also display the results to your workers like it is working from their own physical computer. Because they do it securely, quickly, and clearly, even slow and virus-laden workstations could have powerful cloud counterparts that will haul any load you throw at it.

Just need to connect a remote worker to an existing workstation? We’ve got that covered too! Contact Covenant Computing for a Free Estimate

22 Texas Towns Hit With Ransomware Attacks

In the month of August 2019, NPR verified that officials discovered 22 municipalities had been hit with ransomware. One of the officials stated that the attackers had asked for $2.5 million to unlock the files.

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What should I do if I suspect my computer has been hacked?

Getting an email that tells you that your computer has been hacked or seeing suspicious activity on your computer is a cause for deep concern.  Hollywood and the press has done a great job of raising our levels of concern for this kind of intrusion.  There are a few signs of intrusion you can look for, a few things to do if you see signs of intrusion, and a few things you can do right now to prevent it.

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What to do if you receive an email indicating a hacker has your password

Recently, a client received an email that is pretty darn scary.  Let me include the email here and a few bits of information that I think will help anyone that also has this problem.

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Weird Noises in the Machine

Look, I am not poking fun at anyone when I say this, but if your computer is making weird noises, it’s probably trying to tell you something.  Weird noises can mean many things, and typically they are not good.

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Don’t Assume You Know the Problem

We recently went on a call that we knew there was probably something wrong with the physical network because the client’s inhouse tech support team said so.  Level 1 and 2 tech support are in house for this client and they usually do a good job of troubleshooting.  This case was no different, so the diagnosis we were given was reliable.   In ITIL methodology there are incidents (the thing that happened) and there are problems (the cause of the incident).  Confusing the two can lead to headaches.

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Prime Day is Coming!

Hey, have you heard of Prime Day?  It’s like Black Friday, only it’s in the middle of July. Sounds exciting, right?  Well, get geared up!  It’s nearly here, and you won’t believe the range of great deals that are coming up.  

As pointed out in Tom’s Guide, a good product review web site, and a great place to go for shopping news:

Last year, Amazon celebrated Prime Day on Tuesday, July 11. The actual deals, however, started two weeks before that date. On June 26, Amazon slashed the price of its $129 Echo down to just $79. At the time, it was the best price we had ever seen for the Echo. The 24-hour deal was the kick-off to Prime Day and a clue of how big a role Alexa would play during Prime Day 2017.  

Although Amazon hasn’t declared an official date for Prime Day 2018, we expect it to fall sometime during the week of July 9, possibly Tuesday, July 10. Whatever day they choose, we expect Amazon will offer another Echo deal in late June and then kick off Prime Day deals the nigh before Prime Day is scheduled to begin.

There are spotlight deals: Prime Day Spotlight Deals feature top brands, popular items and deep discounts that last until Amazon stock is gone. These deals have the most inventory and some of the best savings. Find Spotlight Deals through the “Shop All Deals” link on Amazon.com or at www.amazon.com/primeday

There are Lightning Deals: Thousands of Lightning Deals are “watchable” (is that a word?) 24 hours ahead but only run for a limited time with limited quantities. New Lightning Deals will launch as often as every 5 minutes. You’ll see a timer on each deal as well as a status bar showing availability until the deal is claimed. Find these limited-time deals through the “Shop All Deals” link on Amazon.com or at  www.amazon.com/primeday

You can shop deals as early as 6pm PT / 9pm ET on the day before and deals are organized into categories.  Prime members will be able to find deals faster, so get your prime membership now!  The savings you get from these deals could more than pay for the Prime membership.

Prime Day and Prime and Prime Membership are owned solely by Amazon.