Author Archives: Mike Nelms

TechSoup Mobile Beacon Program – Don’t get Burned by your Hotspot

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Posted by Lazerware Inc. on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

To Re-purpose or Recycle? What should we do with our old computers?

It’s a question all our customers eventually ask.

First, DO NOT throw them out in the trash, since it is not environmentally friendly and is probably illegal. Most states and even cities or smaller municipalities have laws prohibiting standard waste disposal of computers and other electronics.

That essentially leaves us with two options. To Repurpose or Recycle?

To Re-purpose

The decision to repurpose centers around a computer’s usefulness. Is it useful in general and is it useful to the organization or person it will be donated to? There are exceptions, but a computer less than 5 years old has some general level of usefulness and can be put to good use by someone else. The lifespan of a quality computer is about seven to eight years.

We must also determine whether the computer has any usefulness to the organization or person. The following questions help make that determination.

1. How will it be used?

a. It may be perfect for business software or searching the web for homework assignments, but too old to support or effectively run newer versions of applications or games.

2. Is it compatible with an organization’s technology environment?

a. Many organizations, including your local school or charity, have specific technology requirements. The operating system (or version), computer brand, and even the physical configuration must be considered. It is best to ask the organization upfront whether they can use a computer like yours.

3. Will it be cost prohibitive to maintain?

a. If the organization pays for monthly maintenance, it may be too costly for an older computer. However, if the organization (such as a small, non-profit) simply cycles donated computers in as others fail, it could be a perfect home for your old computer.

Once you find the right person or organization, we now come to making the physical donation. You don’t want to donate your personal information, a virus or malware, or any open license software that must legally stay with you or your organization. Lazerware recommends the hard drive to be formatted and reinstall any OEM software that can stay with the computer. In some cases, a hard drive should also be security erased. To help facilitate your donation, Lazerware provides these services at no charge to our contract customers.

To Recycle

As stated earlier, any computer older than 5 years should probably be recycled. It is also the best alternative when you have no place to donate or simply have concerns with unknowingly distributing personal data or a malicious computer virus. The University of Illinois Sustainable Electronics Initiative estimates that each personal computer contains over half of the periodic table. Modern electronics recycling facilities can recover most of these materials. When a computer cannot be repurposed, recycling ensures that valuable raw materials are recovered from used computers and that any waste is disposed of in an environmentally sound fashion.

Lazerware can ensure your old computer is securely, legally and properly recycled. We will drill holes in the hard drive for security purposes and properly dispose of it through our upstream recycling partner.

Malicious Ransomware Alert!

Malicious Ransomware Alert! The name says it all. It locks up your hard drive until you pay a criminal for the key. …

Posted by Lazerware Inc. on Click here for the complete story!

SERIAL NUMBER 5000 MILESTONE HAS BEEN SURPASSED!

That means we have created over 5000 computers. An uncompromising focus on the highest quality components with the perfect balance of speed, reliability and price helped us reach this goal. It would not have been possible without the commitment of the Lazerware family to test, assemble, and support our systems. A special thanks to our clients. Thank you for choosing Lazerware to manage this important part of your business. Your continued confidence in the quality solutions we provide is truly appreciated.

PCI Compliance – The Risks with Answering “Yes”

If PCI Compliance does not scare you, maybe it should. The Gemalto Data Breach Index reported 1,540 data breaches in 2014 totaling over a billion records.  That equated to 32 records lost or stolen every second.  The Nilson Report states worldwide losses due to credit/debit card fraud totaled $16.3 billion in 2015.  That is some pretty scary stuff.

                                                                                       So the 16.3 Billion Dollar question is….  Who is liable for all those losses?

pci-captureIt could be you, the merchant.  Legally, the credit card company, credit card processor and the merchant (you) share this responsibility.  However, the liability shared by the merchant is increasing and it is probably intentional.  Because the PCI Security Standards Council was founded by the major credit card and processing companies and essentially benefits those organizations. Though their dictated standard’s primary objective is to secure account data, it is clear that they also transfer more of the fraud loss liability to the merchant.

That leads us to our main question…  By answering “Yes” to all the PCI Compliance questions, have you exposed your organization to additional risks and liabilities? 

We understand, you have to answer “Yes”.  The entire process is treated as a formality, but did you really understand some of the questions?  Can you honestly state you are truly compliant? 

If noncompliant, are you more liable in the event of a security breach?  Sadly, that answer is also a “Yes”.

Look no further than the security breach at Schnucks Markets for a real-life example.  In 2013, the Schnucks data breach exposed 2.4 million credit cards.  In addition to the public image damage, Schnucks was subjected to a class action suit and was also sued by their credit card processor.  The class action suit was settled for $2.1 million.  Another $500,000 went to the Credit Card Processor, due to a contractual limitation and the fact Schnucks was truly compliant.  If found noncompliant, Schnucks would have been exposed to an additional $3 million charge.  Due to the court’s ruling in favor of Schnucks and the $500K contractual limit, legal experts expect new contracts have or will contain verbiage that either increases or eliminates these limitations. 

 

So, what can you do?  You can answer “Yes” to all those PCI Compliance questions.  You sort of have to.  However, you better know why and that your technology and related processes, policies and procedures support those answers.

 

So, how can Lazerware assist?  

Founded in 1990, Lazerware is a technology services organization.  They offer a variety of value-added professional services to their customers, including a PCI Compliance Risk Assessment.