Back up every computer you own today and help put the hackers out of business.

Thousands of computers around the world continue to be attacked by WannaCry ransomware. Like most ransomware, this malicious program holds important files and precious business data hostage until a ransom is paid to the cyber criminals.  We all know that there are things that we can do to protect our computers, such as, apply security patches as soon as they are released, do not run as administrator any longer than necessary, and do not open unsolicited email attachments.  However, it is almost imposable to eliminate the risk of being infected.

Our organizations continually train and retrain employees. According to a report by security company Proofpoint, “today’s advanced attacks focus more on exploiting human flaws than system flaws.”  The need to protect your data is now more important than ever. However, if you are hit with ransomware or a virus, you will want to a good backup. Backups can protect your data against more than just ransomware: fire theft, flood or accidental deletion.

Are you backing up your files regularly and keeping a recent backup off-site?

The best practice for backup is the three-two-one rule. To back up your data, you should have:

• At least three (3) copies,
• In two (2) different formats,
• with one (1) of those copies off-site.

Find more information on the “3-2-1” backup rule at the American Society of Media Photographers, Inc.  

Carbonite is an excellent affordable business cloud storage solution. Carbonite is an automated backup solution that allows you to save unlimited office files, photos, and music. I also like some of the other free online backup services like Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive. When picking a cloud storage solution, you will want to make sure that the services provides versioning because ransomware can infect and encrypt drives in multiple locations. Also if you are backing up infected files that have been encrypted, those could get backed up replacing your good files. That’s why versioning is so important. Carbonite has a great solution and a white paper on versioning.

It is highly recommended that you do both a full onsite and offsite backup of your computer. An External Hard Drive external hard drive can be connected to your computer to easily backup your entire system image. The benefit of a system image is that it can instantly be used to restore your computer if your hard drive fails or your computer stops working. You will want to have a backup that is air gapped because a virus can also affect a backup. This will be a copy of your data that is not connected to your system to eliminate any chance of infection.

Back up every computer you own today and help put the hackers out of business.

For more information about how to prevent a ransomware attack. Visit

Uber vs. Lyft in Cleveland

The team here at NEO-Growth have used car services and taxis all over the world. We have found that car services / taxis often provide an overpriced and unsatisfactory service. Uber and Lyft have turned the for-hire transportation service market on its head. Uber and Lyft have gained traction in large part with lower fares, nice vehicles, easy to use smartphone apps and a much better customer service. The email confirmation of the ride and payment makes tracking business expenses a breeze.

The market dissatisfaction was true not only for riders but also for drivers. Rideshare companies often offer promotions to increase driver retention and satisfactions. However, like any service, there have been reported incidents of criminal activity by the drivers harming riders. (Reported Rideshare Incidents)  BR-5223_CHINAoctdrive15_MG_2360 Unlike Lyft, Uber’s process for onboarding drivers, does not involve meeting drivers nor inspecting their vehicles before allowing them to ferry passengers. It is important, whether you are taking a taxi, Uber or Lyft, you need to exercise caution. Once the rider is picked up, insurance from either Uber or Lyft takes effect to protect the rider in the event of a motor vehicle collision.

Uber and Lyft both claim that they are totally different than any other service out there. However, these claims are obviously ridiculous. A large percentage of drivers, work for both companies. Each service has basically four different services:
Uber VS. Lyft

The ability to quickly pay your fair, track your driver’s arrival time and record expenses for business travel, make both of these services highly recommended. We suggest that you sign up for both services as the availability of drivers at certain times and locations can very.

Sign up today and get free credits for your first rides:

(click HERE for free LYFT rides!)



(click HERE for free UBER rides!)



DIY Network Rack.

Do you have a wiry mess under your desk? We have a cornucopia of network routers, wireless routers, external hard drives, each with its own power converter box and power strips with long cables and cords running everywhere. Also, as a safety concern, these long wires and cords are an attractive target for the curious hands of small children.

There is a simple solution to this mess of wires: making your own home network rack. I made the pictured network rack for less than $20.00. This idea was taken from a corporate network rack. Those tend to be surprisingly neat and organized, even though they hold, as you can imagine, a much larger volume of wires and cables.

Supply list: 1. Wire shelf & 2. Zip ties

First, go to your local big box home improvement store and find the Wire Shelving Accessories in the Storage and Organization Section. I used the two-foot wire shelf pictured below.


rack - Copy Network Rack 1 - Copy


I liked the one on the right above because it can stand on its own or could be mounted on the wall. If you want to  spend less than $5.00,  you can always go with a simple but strong wire deck.   Also, pick up a pack of zip ties. I prefer black, if they have that color.

Second, untangle your mess of wires and devices. Lay these things out on the shelving in an arrangement that looks neat and organized. Zip tie all boxes, power strips to the wire shelving. Zip tie the power cords so that you can plug in the routers, hard drives, etc.

Third, connect everything back and test it to make sure it works, zip tie all the network cables and other loose cords and cables. If you want you can hang your network rack on the wall or under your desk using some simple hangers. But note that you will want to make sure there is good airflow so that the devices do not get too hot.

IMG_3897 DIY Home Network Rack



Upgrade Your Laptop with a Solid-State Drive (How-To)

Do you want your laptop to run faster? 

If your laptop is getting slow, it is time to upgrade to a solid-state drive (SSD). You can test your current hard drive speed with one of the free testing applications in the Windows Store. We like PC Benchmark which is a versatile tool for measuring speed of main computer components such as system storage (HDD or SSD), CPU, Memory and GPU.  There are also several similar apps available in the Mac App Store.

Why get a SSD?

A SSD is much faster than a standard  hard disk drive (HDD) because there are no moving parts in a SSD.  A HDD uses “a mechanical arm with a read/write head to move around and read information from the right location on a storage platter.”

The advantages of upgrading to a SSD are:

  • Speed
  • Safer: no moving parts
  • Lighter
  • Improved Battery Life

Items you will need:

Software you will need:

  • Drive Cloning Software:

The steps necessary to upgrade your hard drive to a SSD are simple as detailed in the below tutorials:

How to Upgrade Your Laptop with a SSD Drive.

How to upgrade a SSD on a Mac.

Windows 10 Preview and Upgrade Guide

The official launch date for Windows 10 is July 29 and it will be free for users running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. If you are not eligible for the free upgrade because you are running an earlier version of Windows, the Home and Pro versions will sell for $119, and $199, respectively.

How do I get my free upgrade?

Windows 10 upgrade reservedIf you are eligible for the free upgrade, you will be notified by the “Get Windows 10” icon in the bottom right hand corner of your taskbar. If you don’t see the icon, check to make sure that your current version of Windows is up to date and all of the recent updates and patches have been installed. To avoid the rush on July 29th, Microsoft is allowing you to schedule your installation now.

Windows 10 has a new look and feel.

To overcome the problems with Windows 8, Microsoft has made significant changes to this new operating system. The Start Menu is back and has been redesigned. The new Start Menu will have a list of your most used applications, most visited folders, and recently added software. Windows 10 will stay in desktop mode if it recognizes a mouse and keyboard and tablet mode when there is no keyboard and mouse.

Will Windows 10 run on my machine?

According to Microsoft, the “minimum requirements for Windows 10 are a 1GHz processor, at least 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of hard drive space.” Newer PC that are already running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 should work fine. However, some older software and peripherals may have problems after you install Windows 10. Also, if you are running an old version of software that is vital for your business, check with the software manufacture to confirm that the program will function properly on Windows 10. To ensure that your PC or tablet makes the transition, visit Microsoft’s Windows 10 Specifications site.

Always backup your system before any upgrade.

It is highly recommended to do full onsite and offsite backup of your computer before you make any changes to the operating system. An external hard drive can be connected to your computer to easily backup your entire system. You can buy a large External Hard Drive on for less than $100. There are several offsite online back-up services like Carbonite, Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive. These are cheap options to backup a large amount of data. Online backup services like these save your files to the Cloud and give you the peace of mind that if your home experiences a fire, is burglarized, or there is a hardware issue with your external hard drive, you have an exact copy of all your data at an off-site location.

Here are a few more  common questions about the upgrade process. Click on the links for Microsoft’s answers.