Next time it snows – work from home

 

Canal boat stuck in ice

You may have noticed – it snowed this week. Much of the UK was like this. Ice, snow and people not moving. (Notice how I managed to sneak a canal picture in!)

To be honest, there were some areas (North Midlands for example) that were only briefly affected. But schools shut down, offices closed down and business generally seemed to grind to a halt.

Not for some of us though. I was with a customer this week setting up their IT systems in a new office. I overheard the attempts they made to speak with several of their suppliers. They kept getting messages along the lines of “Due to adverse weather conditions …. customer support isn’t available today… please leave a message or call later.”

I could feel the level of irritation rising with each successive failed call. They even started muttering about how they should think about dumping some of these companies if they can’t support them properly.

The thing is, it doesn’t have to be like this. With the right systems in place, a business can let their employees work from anywhere. It could be at home, it could be on their narrowboat. You can read about my “work anywhere” experience of starting my business when I was living on my canal boat in an earlier post.

OK, I can hear those of you who run manufacturing businesses are now shouting at the screen that they can’t make things if staff cannot get in. Well that’s true, but you can still run sales, marketing, finance and, most importantly, customer support from anywhere these days.

With the right combination of physical and cloud technologies and the right IT Support your business can carry on, whatever the British weather does next.

Get in touch on 01782 444563 or info@ctnorthstaffs.co.uk to learn more.

4 Golden Rules for Keeping your PCs and your Data Safe

If you use computers in your business or at home it is really important to know how to keep PCs and your data safe.

 

Of course, you could never use the internet, or never connect a USB drive to any of your PCs. But that’s not really practical for most businesses or homes. You need some basic guidelines to help keep you safe.

 

Now, if you heard me talk recently about keeping computers and data safe, you may be thinking “Hang on, doesn’t Ian only have 3 rules?” And you would be right. But I’ve added one. One that I thought was obvious, so, I assumed everyone was doing it. But I was wrong.

 

So here are my refreshed 4 Golden Rules for Keeping your PC and Data Safe.

Read more

Confessions of an ex Mac Hater

This might surprise my friends. I don’t hate Macs any more. I did, for a long time. At least I said I did.  My hate had roots that came from experience. Although I should also admit that the experience was from over 20 years ago. I changed companies and moved from being involved in software development on DOS and Windows on PC to a support role for a company whose primary software product only ran on the Mac. In fact the whole office only ran on Mac. It was only the support guys who had PCs to support customers using PCs. I was struck by how closed and obstructive the Mac was. Yes the graphics were pretty but , too often, the answer to the question “Can I do that…?” was “No, not on a Mac.” Despite it’s comparative lack of sophistication, on a PC the answer was almost always “Yes”.  And even then the PC community was bigger and more vibrant. I was so happy when within 2 years, both the main product and the office had transitioned to PC and Windows.

This was 1995.

Remember the buzz around Windows 95? The TV ads with the Rolling Stones “Start me up…”? Read more

Is Microsoft Office 365 Right for My Office?

While Microsoft launched the cloud version of their popular applications and productivity products in June of 2011, most small businesses are still trying to figure out what this product means for their company.  Should they continue to pay for and use the premise based software as they have always done, or should they move to the subscription based cloud offering?  Unfortunately, the answer to that is not any clearer today than it was in 2011 and requires research and guidance. Read more