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We strongly believe in businesses having the best IT Support possible, whether we provide it or whether you have an in house team. That is why our Technical Director Tim has created a quick 5 minute video to talk you through the 7 points that we believe create the best IT infrastructure.
So here’s our short video on our IT Support checklist
For any further queries and information on any topics discussed, give us a call on 0208 232 1190, leave a comment or drop us an e-mail and we’ll be happy to help.
Thinking about outsourcing your IT Support, but unsure how to go about budgeting for this?
Well, we can help
Getting straight to the point; I cannot tell you exactly how much it will cost as it depends on your set up and requirements of services taken. However, do not always think about the bottom line. In IT, cheapest is certainly not best, and having reliability in your support will save you more money and grey hairs in the long run.
The best way to consider cost is to look at how much you would be paying to hire an IT Manager; you would be looking upwards of £30,000 per annum. Then you might need to add more team members, consider additional training and use additional HR resource to administer this all.
For that sort of money you could certainly afford to outsource your IT!
Our more detailed article about the benefits of outsourcing your IT support is well worth a read.
The next consideration is whether you want to know what you will be paying each month by going for fixed price support or if you are happy to go with a pay-as-you-go option which might change depending on services used that month. Each option has its benefits and will depend on your needs. From a budgeting perspective fixed price is certainly an attractive option but any additional requirements could make it more expensive than first anticipated. So knowing your core requirements will help you understand which option suits your set up better.
With having IT support covered what else should you consider?
Here are 5 areas that are worth paying attention to:
- Hardware asset management – ensuring PCs and servers are replaced according company policy, for example every 5 years
- Company data growth forecasting – Data is constantly growing so its good practice to monitor disk usage allowing you to plan for future expansion
- Software license and hardware warranty renewals – Anti-virus, SSL security certificates and firewall warranties all need to be managed to avoid systems exposure or network downtime.
- Staff forecasting – Will the company shrink or grow next year? Do you need more PCs, phones, licenses, network/phone switch ports or printers?
- IT projects:
- Disaster recovery
- Move to the cloud
- New CRM application or database
A good IT support company will already have systems in place to help you manage your assets, track your data growth and notify you when licenses or warranties need to be renewed. They should effectively become your IT Director and manage your budgets and IT roadmap with you.
Get in touch via our helpline on 0208 232 1190 or send us an e-mail if we can answer any questions you have regarding this topic. We’d be delighted to help.
We have put together a handy checklist to help you understand which components are necessary for a reliable IT infrastructure.
This is the interactive version with clickable links through to the infrastructure support resources
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We all get it; the world is heading for a technological masterpiece or toward destruction depending on your point of view. One thing for sure is the fact that with the rise of technology comes the rise of cyber crime.
Week after week articles and stories are published talking about the latest virus, worm, malware or hack, and let’s face it; it’s not going to stop anytime soon. The question therefore has to be asked:
If you have anti virus software on your PC, Smartphone and/or tablet why are you still at risk?
Let’s start right back at the beginning and work through the steps you need to take to protect yourself as much as feasibly possible – And this isn’t just for those worriers out there. Everyone should be following these steps.
- Install anti virus software onto all of your machines and internet connected devices where possible. There are a lot of anti virus software providers out there such as Microsoft Security Essentials, Norton, Kaspersky, AVG, McAfee to name just 5. Do some proper research on each one and decide based on your budget and how much protection you want. It is essential however that you pick one that runs in real-time, so that it updates to new threats as soon as possible.
- Set-up regular active scans. Most software will allow you to set-up regular scans once a week, a fortnight, or even a month. You can base how regular your scan is on how often you use the machine, once a fortnight is a good idea as a minimum though. Just make sure that if you select 01:00 on Sunday morning that your machine is turned on, otherwise the scan will not run.
- Remove yourself from being an administrator of your PC. An administrator has full access to everything on the PC. During most PC setup’s the user is set to have administrator rights so that you can install software as part of the setup. So it is best practice to create another admin account that you don’t use daily and then remove your account from the administrators group. Think about it like applying parental controls to internet browsing – it avoids the possibility of you being preyed upon by viruses and malware.
At this point, your anti virus system should be up and running and protecting you as best it can. Add to that a software and hardware firewall and your good to go right? Wrong.
There is still the biggest issue and threat to deal with. YOU.
- It is user behaviour that allows nearly all viruses, malware and worms on to your machine. It is the websites that you visit, the email attachments that you open, the links you click, the pop-ups that intrigue you and the files you download that are the main concern.
Unfortunately it comes down to common sense. Whilst it is true that techniques to dupe us are improving, the amount of people that click on a pop-up that says “Your computer is infected – Click here to run a system scan” or a link from an email from Paypal – “Dear customer you have recently spent $1,576 at Handbags Galore. Click this link if this was not you” Before you click on that link, think about it, then think about it a little more. Never open an .exe file that is sent via email unless you are expecting it. It’s 99% likely that you are about to infect your machine.
If you don’t infect your computer you stand a much better chance of not getting infected full stop.
For any more information on anti virus and how you can prevent viruses on your PC, give us a call on 0208 232 1190 and a member of our team will give you the best options available for your company.
Before we take a look at this every day crisis let’s just consider how incredible modern glass has become and where it’s going.
In 2005 Steve Jobs had a meeting with Wendell Weeks the CEO of Corning Inc. He told Jobs about a glass developed by Corning in the 1960s, originally called ‘Muscled Glass.’ It was used in only some specialist applications and was not in production at any of Corning’s plants at the time.
Suffice to say Jobs wanted to use a modern equivalent in the new iPhone that Apple were working on and within six months ‘Gorilla’ glass was born. The rest, as they say, is history.
Gorilla Glass is engineered to be thin, light, and scratch resistant. It is a wonderful solution that has delivered the touch screen displays we all use today but unfortunately it can break and cause untold misery when a smart phone or tablet is dropped.
Gorilla glass has a coating (part of the manufacturing process) which gives it a Vickers hardness test rating of between 622-701 – that’s hard…but it seems not quite hard enough.
But oh no! Horror! I’ve smashed my phone screen!
So what next? Apple is again leading in this area and is investing heavily in ‘Sapphire’ glass, the type used in top brand watches and to protect iPhone camera lenses. No one is quite sure where this is going but just as a comparison Sapphire glass has a hardness test rating second only to diamonds. Sapphire laminates promise much better performance than Gorilla glass so maybe in future you will be able to drop your phone or tablet and come away crack and scratch free.
In the meantime what happens if you drop your smartphone and your beautiful screen ends up as a mass of crazed and cracked glass? Here’s what you should do:
1. Is it really that bad? Does the phone still work? Perhaps you could live with it if it does, especially if you are only a few months away from the end of your contract. One thing you could do in the interim is apply a smart screen protector which is very cheap….oh and if this is a regular occurrence, get a damned good case – there are some really tough ones out there from the likes of OtterBox and Case Mate.
2. If your device is pretty new check out your phone’s warranty – it might be feasible to get the screen replaced at reasonable cost. In some cases the manufacturer will replace the whole device.
3. If your phone is out of warranty you could choose to replace the screen yourself but by screen I mean the whole screen not just the glass which is normally adhered very well to the underlying LCD screen and ‘digitizer’ electronics. There are a couple of options here:
• Buy one of the many, many kits out there for your phone and do it yourself. Do your research well and read through the instructions if you can download them before you buy. There are also quite a few videos on YouTube which take you through the process. The kits come with all the tools you will need and full instructions but beware you will need to be confident dextrous and patient. This is not something for the feint hearted.
• The other option is to entrust your phone to a third party repairer. There are many out there. Again take time with your research and choose one that has a good reputation.
Light scratches and cracks might seem to be superficial and some recommend polishing using polishes that contain fillers. These are good for treating car paintwork but not smartphone glass. If your phone screen has an oleophobic coating – the type applied to iPhones for example, that helps to prevent smudging – any application of polish is likely to destroy this and it will be noticeable. Recommendation: DON’ T TRY TO POLISH OUT SCRATCHES!
Always keep a back up
One last tip. If your phone is important to you keep a regular back up so if you lose it through damage and replace it you can always restore from your back up. If you have a back up and value your data privacy wipe the phone before you send it out for repair. When you get the phone back just restore from your back up.
If you need any more information on your phone and how to keep it secure then give us a call on 0208 232 1190.
First off, you are not alone. It is being reported that nearly 30% of Microsoft Windows users are still running Windows XP, an operating system that was written and launched in 2001. Just to put that into perspective that is 3 years before Facebook hit the world and half a decade before Twitter: In fact it was the same year that The Eden project in Cornwall opened, Bob the Builder was the Christmas number 1 and the biggest grossing film of the year was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. That really makes it seem like a long time ago doesn’t it.
Now, I am not going to sit here and preach that everyone who is using Windows XP should get into a blind panic, immediately upgrade and throw their machines in the bin whilst they are at it, but I am going to suggest that you budget to upgrade to a later Windows system within the next 3-12 months. So if like many people you are currently finalising your budget now then you should make sure that this is covered. It may also be worth remembering that if your running Windows XP, then there is a chance that your PC or Laptop is also quite old and may need replaced. Technology is advancing at a very fast rate, so businesses should look to upgrade on a 5 year cycle.
If the thought of all the upgrading sounds expensive, then perhaps it is worth considering how much money you would potentially loose due to downtime, or the stress that might be caused by getting a virus or malware infection onto your network. It is also worth mentioning that many providers such as Toshiba are offering discounts for people upgrading from XP so it may not be as expensive as you imagine.
You may still be asking why do I need to upgrade, well as of the 8th April 2014 (XP D-Day) Microsoft will be stopping their support of XP except for virus warnings where support will continue until 14th July 2015. However, don’t think that the virus warnings will help you that much. “Without full support, the effectiveness of anti-malware solutions is limited” say Microsoft.
It is very likely that after the 8th of April there will be a whole host of malware and virus’ that specifically target machines still running XP. Put simply, if your data is important to you and your business then you should upgrade.
What should you do if your office has windows xp? You have a few options.
Firstly, forget about Vista – It wasn’t very good.
The first choice is Windows 8 which was released in 2012. It now comes pre-installed on all new machines, so if you buy new hardware, this is what you will get. It introduced a new way of working using an app style menu, which can take a little getting used to and might require some training. Microsoft have provided a guide to upgrading to windows 8 including the specifications that you will require to run it.
You could also upgrade to Windows 7. This is due to be supported until 2020 at the earliest. The fact that it looks like XP and won’t require much training makes it appealing for some businesses. In fact most of your staff are likely to have Windows 7 on their home machines. You can use Microsoft’s Upgrade Advisor tool to find out system requirements for Windows 7. We would always however suggest that you upgrade to the most recent operating system.
If all of this just seems like too much of a daunting task then feel free to give us a call on 0208 232 1190. We will happily have a completely unbiased conversation with you to discuss your options and help you think about your options.
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