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2017’s Best Antivirus Software For Your Computer

Computers are like humans. They will not function properly if there are viruses attacking the system. Thus, computer health is very important. Computer users should practice basic computer care and maintenance. This includes performing preventive measures that get rid of viruses and other security threats from entering the computer system. One of the most effective ways is to install an antivirus software.

What is a Virus?

The human immune system is vulnerable to certain viruses that cause illnesses. In computers, viruses also affect the performance of computers. Viruses are infectious and can affect the entire computer. Viruses come from malicious programs that are written and created by highly-skilled programmers to purposely attack the system and steal private information. Most criminal programmers use viruses to steal cash or money.

If viruses enter the system, it can paralyze computer operations. It makes PC run slowly. It also prevents computers from booting up. If the viruses are not treated, they can damage parts of the system or even change how the system works without the knowledge of the owner. They will also steal personal information, including passwords in your email, social media accounts, and bank details.

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Viruses are really destructive. In most cases, they are hidden. They destroy your computer in the background. There are many forms and types of viruses. The most common are worms, malware, and Trojans. Worms replicate themselves to other computers on a network. Malware is a software used to spy on computer activities and collect personal information. Lastly, Trojans manipulates certain computer operations without the knowledge of the owner.

The best way to fight against viruses is by installing a software that prevents computer threats from entering the system. If the virus gained access to the system, they can also fix, quarantine, or eliminate the viruses to prevent from duplicating all through the system.

The Best Antivirus Software of 2017

There are hundreds of antivirus software on the internet. There are free and paid software. Both do the same protection but paid software perform more extensive searching of viruses and protection of the system. Remember, viruses can enter through external devices or through the internet. Apart from the computer, the Internet should also be protected. In this section, we list some of the best antivirus software that you can install on your PC:

BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2018

This entry from BitDefender is the most accurate and reliable antivirus around with excellent virus detection rates. It has an anti-phishing module that alerts users when there are malicious links in your search engines. It is also equipped with a password manager to keep your online financial transactions safe and secure.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus

ESET NOD32 Antivirus is more focused on antivirus fundamentals. It comes with real-time virus and malware protection, detecting and eliminating all types of viruses including the “ransomware”. It also has modules to prevent attacks using malicious scripts. Moreover, it has URL filtering feature to block malicious sites.

ESET Internet Security 10

Another entry from ESET is the Internet Security 10. It is more focused on internet protection. It blocks malicious and phishing sites. It automatically scans your email and blocks spams. Moreover, it has botnet and webcam protection.

F-Secure Antivirus

F-Secure Antivirus is one of the most user-friendly antivirus software. It comes with real-time browsing and antivirus protection. It doesn’t have any special features but it is very easy to use in which users can just leave the app to do real-time protection. Moreover, it doesn’t conflict with our security apps.

Kaspersky Antivirus 2017

Apart from its user-friendly interface, Kaspersky Antivirus 2017 offers the best performing security packages. It comes with antivirus engine that detects and removes threats. It also has web filtering features, smart monitoring technologies that track malicious actions, parental controls, and password management, among others.

McAfee Total Protection 2017

From the name itself, McAfee offers “total protection” in this software. It has antivirus scanner and web protection. It is equipped with a WebAdvisor tool that scans downloads for malicious payloads and blocks malicious URLs. It is also known for the best email protection.

Norton AntiVirus Basic

This is one of the simplest packages from Norton, but it is one of the best. On top of its features is its virus and malware detection that blocks even brand new malware. It also has one of the best URL blockers with excellent monitoring scheme that gets rid of malicious websites.

Panda Antivirus Pro

Panda Antivirus Pro is a user-friendly antivirus software with lots of features. It has virus and malware real-time detection. It also has speedy cloud-based scanning and web URL scanning. Its application control system blocks brand new malware.

Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security

You can get maximum protection at an affordable price in Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security. It has an effective “Folder Shield” module that blocks virus and malware, especially the ransomware. On the other hand, running this antivirus software may slow down your PC during scanning.

Webroot SecureAnywhereAntiVirus

This antivirus is very easy and fast to install. Apart from its user-friendliness, it also comes with core antivirus protection. It also has smart behavior monitoring, real-time anti-phishing, network connection monitoring, and enhanced anti-ransomware, among others. This software is also very lightweight, barely occupying 2MB of your hard drive.

Trend Micro Internet Security

As we all know, Trend is one of the oldest antivirus companies. In this latest offering, Trend Micro Internet Security offers real-time protection from viruses, malware, Trojans, and most especially, ransomware. You can also see a “shield” logo in your folders indicating that the files within the folder are being protected. It also comes with an excellent password manager.

AVG Ultimate

AVG Ultimate focuses on computer system and web protection. It has Web TuneUp that improves web browsing by ultimately blocking malicious components that slow down internet activities. It also has a Turbo Mode if you want to achieve the best performance of your PC. Moreover, it has a Real-Time Outbreak Protection to warn you of potential new threats coming.

Most of these antivirus software provide you a free-trial period in which you can try their antivirus services for a short-period of time. If you wish to use them permanently, check out their packages.

16 Effective Tips to Keep Your Computer Safe and Secure

Computers are created to increase productivity – personal or business use. Automation is possible through the use of computers and the internet which make everyday operations and transactions more efficient and more accurate.

However, there are threats to the health of computers. Virus, malware, and other forms of threats are anywhere in the digital environment. Based on the 2016 statistics, about 40% of computers in US households are affected by viruses. In the world, over 30% of computers are under threat. Just recently, at least 150 countries are affected by a cyber attack in a form of “ransomware”.

More than treatment and troubleshooting, it is best to be cautious at all time. Every user should prevent various types of computer threats and risks from attacking their computers. Follow these 16 effective tips to keep your computer safe and secure:

Install Anti-Virus Software

It is a standard that you install an anti-virus software on your computer. There are many free anti-virus software available on the internet. Apart from the virus, there are other software that specifically target other threats including malware, spyware, and Trojans, among others that slow down the performance of your computer.

Update Your OS & Software

Keep your computer up to date. Check from time to time if there are updates on the operating system and software available. The updates will help fix certain irregularities in your system that may increase the risk of threats entering your computer.

Check Your Firewall

The firewall acts as a barrier between the computer and any unauthorized programs trying to access the system through the internet. Most computer systems, especially Windows have built-in firewall hardware. Check if it is turned on. You can also install firewall software for more security.

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Back Up Your Data

Make sure that you back up all your data to an external storage. Backing up can be done online or through an external storage device. You can send all your data to online cloud storage like Dropbox and Google Drive. This is important in case your computer crashes due to power outage or cyber attack.

Always Scan

You cannot prevent other devices from connecting to your computer – flash drives, external storage devices, and smartphones. Make it a habit that you thoroughly scan these external devices before accessing them to avoid entry of viruses.

Protect Your Email

One of the favorite entries of viruses and other forms of security threats is your email. Make sure that you enable spam filters or you add anti-spam or virus extensions that regularly scans your email for some threats.

Don’t Click Mail Links

Some emails may still enter your inbox. When you open them, avoid clicking the email links especially if the email sender is unfamiliar to you. Most of these are fraudsters and phishers. Usually, they come in form of banks, insurance companies, promos, games, lottery etc.

Use Trusted Browsers

Use browsers that are common and are known to be safe and trusted. The most reliable browsers available are Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. These browsers have built-in security features that minimize the risk of your computer from acquiring viruses, malware, etc. You can also check the security and privacy settings of the browsers where you can manage certain areas in the browser that strengthens the security.

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Check Website Security

As you access a website, view its site information. In most browsers, you can see it beside the URL. Basically, it will tell you if the website is “Secure” or “Not Secure”. But even “Secure” websites are not 100% secure because they may use cookies that will invade your privacy.

Be Selective of Sites

In connection to the previous tip, make sure that you use your judgment and be selective of the websites that you open. Open websites that are familiar and are trusted. Avoid opening porn sites, gambling sites, promo sites, etc. as they are the favorite hosts of viruses.

Filter Downloads

Some browsers have a security feature that asks you if you want to continue a download. They may prompt you that the file you are going to download contains materials that may harm your computer. Moreover, before opening the downloaded files, make sure you scan them first as they may carry viruses as well.

Manage Your Passwords

It is best that you choose the strongest passwords that you can think of. Don’t use the same passwords for different accounts. Avoid using birthdays, name initials, and other easy to guess passwords. Moreover, it is important that you regularly update your passwords once a month to tighten the security.

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Add Site Blockers

Apart from the built-in security features browsers, there are also site blockers available on the web. Site blockers block potentials websites that may contain or may be involved in fraud, phishing, scam, and other threats. You can also program these site blockers to block certain sites with certain keywords. They can also help in blocking pop-up ads and sites.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi

Do not easily trust public Wi-Fi. Anyone malicious in your surroundings may be secretly accessing your accounts or stealing your passwords through the Wi-Fi. We suggest that you use a Virtual Private Network or VPN that encrypts your connection by connecting to a safe and secure server in the middle.

Don’t Be Fooled by Online Deals

On the internet, there are many ads and deals everywhere in a website and a page. Most commonly, they appear to be so enticing and attractive. Well, they are purposely created to appear like that. As much as possible, avoid clicking online deals or any ads that are not familiar with you. Usually, they will redirect you to a website that hosts hundreds of viruses.

Disconnect

If you do not need an internet connection, make it a habit to disconnect. This is a preventive measure that will help you avoid security threats from entering your computer through the internet.

Apart from these preventive measures, ask a PC technician or IT expert to check your computer if there are signs of viruses, malware, etc. inside the system.

Top 11 Criteria in Choosing the Best VoIP Service Provider

More businesses now are switching from the traditional telephone system to Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communications. According to statistics, approximately 31% of businesses in the United States are using VoIP systems to increase their efficiency and productivity. In this digital era, everything is really reliant on internet connection. Like VoIP, calls are basically done using the Internet.

There are several reasons why most businesses shifted to the use of VoIP systems. First of all, it is cost-effective. Imagine, businesses can save up to 75% in using VoIP systems. Second, it is also convenient for business operations. You can take calls as long as you are connected to an internet hotspot. The use of VoIP system is also flexible. You can use it even if you still use conventional phones. Lastly, it is multi-functional. Most VoIP service providers allow you not just audio calls, but also video conferencing and file sharing, among others.

There are hundreds of VoIP service providers available in the web. They have varied offerings and features. As a business owner, you need to make sure that the VoIP service provider that you are going to use can really help your business be productive.

In this section, we will discuss the top 11 criteria in choosing the best VoIP service provider for your business:

Price

The first thing you have to consider is your budget. Choose the VoIP provider that you know your business can afford in the long run. The prices of VoIP service providers vary from each other. Usually, they range from $20 to $50 per month depending on the plan and the features. Some VoIP ask for extra charges if you want additional features. Some are only geared toward video conferencing, so basically they ask less.

Service Plan Programs

Service plans vary from one VoIP service provider to another. It is best that you inquire about their plans. The differences in plans include features, capacity, and other offerings. In order to know about the uniqueness of their plan programs, refer to this site.

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Smartphone Integration

Not all VoIP service providers provide mobile applications that are as efficient and productive as desktop apps. Those systems that do not have custom applications cannot create a log for calls and cannot produce voicemail transcripts if the call is unanswered. However, smartphone integration is not a standard among VoIP service providers. But since most people have smartphones now, it would be helpful if you consider this criterion in choosing a provider.

Call Management

A quality VoIP service providers include conference calling system. But more than this, they should also be equipped with call management features. This allows the user to do call forwarding, call waiting for service, and other calling options. These options are very convenient especially when a user wants to forward a call to another representative. It can also be helpful in holding calls while certain operations are done.

Integration with Productivity Apps

This is one of the most important criteria in choosing your VoIP service provider. Businesses switch to VoIP for productivity. On the other hand, so much more productivity can be achieved if the VoIP system can be integrated with third-party productivity apps. These can help your sales or service representatives be more efficient. Most of the trusted VoIP providers can be integrated with dozens of extensions, including Dropbox, Google Drive, Desk.com, office software, and so much more.

Unified Communications

Communication is the vital purpose of VoIP. Basically, they convert analog audio signals to digital so they can be transmitted to the internet. The earliest forms of VoIP only cater to voice calls. Now, they can be equipped with email, video conferencing, and so much more. Some VoIP service providers have this what we call “unified communication”. This allows all means of communication to be integrated into one system – email, phone calls, video calls, voicemail, and conference calls, among others. This is more efficient than opening separate apps, windows, or platforms.

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24/7 Customer Support

Business operations should never be delayed. In case you encounter difficulties or problems in using VoIP, there should be a customer support that can answer your queries 24/7. Only a few providers have 24/7 customer support available for all plans and bundles. For some, they only provide if you applied to plans with two or more users or usually at high tiers. Customer support can be in form of email, phone call, or live chat.

Satisfaction Guarantee

It is important to choose a provider that offers you somewhat like a “trial period” in which you are allowed to decide if you are satisfied with their service and continue your subscription.  Mostly, 30-day satisfaction guarantee is given. Within this, you can terminate service without penalty. If you subscribe, they will require you to sign a one-year contract and a penalty agreement in which you will be penalized if you discontinue using their service.

Company Size & Reputation

The company size can tell the credibility and the reputation of the VoIP service provider. It is much safer to choose the frontrunners in the industry than smaller companies. This is to avoid risks of losses and to ensure quality service. Their years in the industry should also be considered. Moreover, do a little research about how many servers are supporting their system to determine how reliable their connection is.

Local Area Codes & E911

Choose a service provider that support local area codes. If they don’t offer local area codes, people in your area who might be contacting you will be charged when they call you using a traditional telephone. Most especially, make sure that the provider offers e911 service. The enhanced 911 allows your details to be given to the local dispatch for emergency purposes.

Reviews

Surf the web for reliable websites that provide helpful reviews about the VoIP service providers. These include personal experiences from companies and businesses. Their feedback will help you in deciding what VoIP provider you will choose.

If you have questions or concerns about a particular provider, do not hesitate to reach out to their customer service.

 

The 13 Best VoIP and Digital Communication Providers of 2017

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has been widely accepted by most homes and businesses now. It is a revolutionary technology that continues to redefine communication. It uses a software or hardware that converts analog signals to digital data that are transmitted over the internet. There are hundreds of VoIP and digital communications providers available on the web. Some of them are stand-alone products while some are bundled with popular web browsers. In this article, we list the best VoIP and digital communications providers of 2017:

RingCentral

RingCentral remains to be the frontrunner in the VoIP provider industry. It continues to provide cloud communications and collaborations solutions to the global business industry. According to their website, more than 350,000 organizations use their cloud-based communication platforms. PCMag stated that RingCentral Office (for Business) is one of the best providers of all-around office communications solutions.

Jive

Jive is also one of the most competitive players in providing business-oriented communications solutions. Jive provides small businesses a VoIP technology that is flexible, with a good combination of basic and advanced calling features. However, it follows certain features from RingCentral, PCMag reviewed.

8×8

8×8 offers cloud-based voice, video, mobile and unified communications solutions to small and medium-sized businesses. They provide a good selection of basic and advanced features as parts of its base pricing bundle. According to 8×8, they have more than 1 million business users. The only con with 8×8 is that it lacks open API which is used for app integrations. Overall, it is a great choice for small and midsized enterprises that are in need of flexible VoIP telephony services.

Nextiva

More than 150,000 businesses rely on Nextiva as their primary provider of business VoIP communication solutions. They enhance company communications by combining voice, email and messaging, and conferencing all under one platform. It also has a reliable network powered by 10 servers throughout the United States. Nextiva also does not require users to sign a contract. On the other hand, this provider lacks a service-level agreement.

Vonage

One of the earliest players in the VoIP services game is the Vonage. It started providing communications solutions to small and medium-sized businesses. Now, it is one of the most popular providers offering residential and business telecommunication services. Vonage offers cloud unified communications and feature-rich business phone systems. In PCMag’s review, Vonage has good call quality but fails to make their setup easier and more convenient.

Dialpad

Dialpad is one of the oldest VoIP providers. According to their website, they have more than 14 million users worldwide. They offer a secure cloud-based business VoIP and communication solutions. Their system is also integrated with G Suite and Microsoft Office 365. Dialpad is very easy to set up and manage. It is also compatible with Android and iOS mobile devices. However, call quality may be disrupted in mobile communications. Furthermore, 24/7 customer support is only available at higher tiers.

Phone.com

Phone.com is one of the most competitively-priced cloud-based VoIP systems. Their platform boasts more than 40 features. Their three plans – Base, Plus, and Pro include all local or toll-free numbers. Phone.com works very easily with your existing phones. It is also very easy to set up and can be integrated with your CRM services. However, they lack call monitoring features. Some features also cost extra charges.

Ooma Telo

Ooma Telo offers VoIP calling system and a wide range of communication solutions for small businesses, residential homes, and mobile users. In 2015, it was considered as one of the fastest growing VoIP providers. Ooma Telo generously provides free calls after your device purchase. Their units also have built-in speakers and control buttons which improve call quality. However, their standard features require a Premium account. They also lack Softphone integration.

Mitel

Mitel is a Canada-based company focusing entirely on providing VoIP unified communication solutions for businesses. Their cloud-hosted phone systems offer a wide variety of collaboration tools and calling features that can be integrated with mobile devices. It also does not require any equipment to be installed. It simply provides members of the business full access to the phone system. According to their website, Mitel powers more than two billion connections worldwide.

Microsoft Skype

Microsoft is one of the most trusted video conferencing platforms on the web. They have their free Skype for Windows and the other one specially designed for businesses. Microsoft Skype for Business allows calling effortless. It allows users to contact phone numbers and all employees within the company. It can support up to 250 members in a meeting. However, most businesses find Microsoft Skype for Business as very much consumer video conferencing-oriented, not suitable for businesses.

1-VoIP

1-VoIP is one of the leading providers of VoIP services to residential homes and businesses. They have been in the VoIP business for more than 10 years. Apart from their solid calling features and controls, they also boast their 24/7 customer support, dedicated live answer, and service level guarantee. However, 1-VoIP remains to be one of the most expensive service providers.

Intermedia

Intermedia provides quality software PBX solutions through the cloud. Intermedia Cloud PBX is easy to set up and has a simple administration. It is also rich in calling features and built-in controls. It can also be easily integrated with other’s cloud services. On the other hand, it is quite more expensive than other service providers.

RingByName

RingByName is a reliable and flexible cloud-based VoIP service provider for businesses. It only has three servers, however, they can still help efficiently provide quality services. RingByName provides you access to call analytics and can be integrated with CRM services. Further, you can sync existing Outlook and Google contacts. However, RingByName does not have many call monitoring features.

These are some of the best service providers of communications solutions to homes and businesses. In choosing your VoIP provider, it is always important to consider the features, the capability, compatibility, and the price, among others.

The Rise of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in Modern Age Communication

Voice Over IP (VoIP) is one of the breakthrough technologies of the 20th century. It has redefined communication and the way people use technology in interacting with each other. The earliest concepts of VoIP was developed by Paul Baran. He aimed to improve the network availability through circuit-switched networks in telecommunications. In 1973, the first application of VoIP was made by Danny Cohen through the ARPANET, the first network to implement the protocol suite.

Overview of Voice Over IP

Voice Over Internet Protocol or VoIP allows telephone communication to be performed through digital computer networks, including the internet. It follows the method of converting analog audio signals into digital data that are processed and transmitted over the internet. In short, it uses internet protocol instead of traditional circuit transmissions.

VoIP vs. Traditional Phone

The VoIP technology has continued to gain popularity over traditional phone communication system. More businesses are switching to VoIP to cut their costs from using telephones. According to statistics, small businesses can save up to 40% in using VoIP for local calls, whereas 90% can be saved in international calls. Based on Telzio, Inc., businesses have an average savings of up to 75% after switching to VoIP.

Approximately, there are about 30% of the businesses using VoIP systems to boost their productivity and savings. Based on the study of PC World, 30 phone users who switched to VoIP saved about $1,200 in just a month. Businesses spend an average of $50 per line each month on the traditional phone system, whereas VoIP monthly plans are available at $25 dollars per line, while some take advantage of free software and internet connection.

Furthermore, the use of VoIP is seen to help in diminishing the environmental hazards. Dell shifted to telecommuting and saved about $39.5 Million. This also allowed them to cut their carbon emissions. Based on their 2014 report, through telecommuting, they avoided 13,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and 25 million kWh of energy. Indeed, VoIP technology contributes to the sustainability of both economy and environment.

The Different Flavors of VoIP Phones

Surprisingly, VoIP can be done not just in one way, but in three different flavors. This means that any business or person can have more methods to place a call through VoIP.

Analog Telephone Adaptor (ATA)

The simplest way to use VoIP is through a device called Analog Telephone Adaptor (ATA). It allows you to connect your traditional phone to your computer or internet. The ATA will convert the analog signals into digital for the transmission over the internet. Most popular ATA providers are Vonage and AT&T CallVantage.

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IP Phones

IP Phones are specialized phones made for VoIP use. They have a handset, cradle, and buttons just like traditional phones. But they are also equipped with Ethernet connectors that can be directly connected to the internet router. With this, the IP phone can allow users to make VoIP calls as long as they are connected to any Wi-Fi hotspot.

Computer-to-Computer

The easiest way to use the VoIP is through computers. This type of method is applicable for large companies that want to cut costs in their operations. Basically, all you need are computers, microphone, speakers, internet connection, and of course the VoIP software. There are dozens of software that are free or low-cost. The use of this method does not affect your normal monthly ISP fee. Therefore, calls do not have specific or special charges. You just have to pay for your internet connection and the software.

Security and Reliability of VoIP

As we all know, traditional phone calls can be wiretapped. Anyone who has the intention to record your conversation can access the traditional phone line. On the other hand, VoIP communications do not guarantee 100% security especially if you use free VoIP software. Before there were no issues pertaining to the use of VoIP. But when it started to gain popularity among businesses, security has become a major issue. Identity and service theft is the leading security threat in VoIP. Service Theft involves the hacking or stealing of a service from a service provider. Other threats include viruses and malware, phishing, and spamming.  Thus, it is best that you take advantage of VoIP security programs and home network security systems to get rid of security risks and threats. Also, invest in the most trusted VoIP software.

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The only downfall with VoIP is that it requires internet connection and software for you to make calls. Unlike telephones, they are already installed in your homes and offices. Moreover, there are handy telephones available now. VoIP technology is also dependent on a power supply. So if power outage or interruption takes place, VoIP phones usually fail and won’t work, compared to old analog phones that can work even without power. Further, the sound quality of traditional phones is consistent, whereas VoIP is very dependent on the internet speed. If there are interruptions on the connection, the quality of the sound may also be affected.

However, a recent survey conducted showed the quality problems on VoIP technology are very rare. In 2014, only 1 out of 208 respondents reported that they are experiencing quality issues with VoIP. Moreover, there is modern technology that can eliminate disruptive factors including delay, jitter, and latency to guarantee that the communication flow works well.

Conclusion

Switching to VoIP does not just help businesses double their savings from various costs, but it can also help improve the sustainability of our environment. Apart from phone communication, virtual faxing is possible with VoIP technology. According to research, 100 billion of faxes are made through traditional fax machines. This translates to billions of pages of papers wasted every year. With VoIP, everything can be done digitally in which transactions are made paper-less. So whether or not your purpose in using VoIP is for the business growth or the environmental sustainability, there are hundreds of valid reasons which can support why VoIP technology shall continue to flourish until the next decades to come.

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