Drip Drip Drop Little April Shower …

keyboard

The charming scene of animals scurrying for cover in Bambi accompanied by this song sums up perfectly the propensity for the weather in April to be very changeable with a fair smattering of rain.  A little rain never did anyone any harm, and contributes to the verdant landscape.

Where a little rain can do tremendous harm, however, is when it falls directly onto your laptop keyboard!  Unfortunately, the very feature that makes laptops so portable and versatile – all the computing power being packed into a slim casing – is the exact reason why the drip drip drop of rain, wine, tea or other soft beverage of your choice can have such a devastating impact.  If you are lucky, drying the device thoroughly may save the computer from lasting damage.  You may be left, however, with a malfunctioning keyboard. Read more

Not just “Computer” Troubleshooters

Oaks drone croppedIn this age of the Internet of Things, computing power can be found in the most unlikely places. Where you used to have a frustrating wait when your laptop decided that it would not let you on until it had finished applying updates, you could at least put that behind you when you sat down after a long day’s work in front of the telly to catch up on your favourite soap. Nowadays you could be confronted with your Smart TV also insisting that it has urgent updates to perform, and it will not let you pass go until the update is done.

So what is this Internet of Things, I hear you asking. Read more

Moving offices? Don’t forget your broadband setup!

IS108-013Our support technician Liane has just been through the pain of a house-move herself recently, so she knows what she is talking about from personal experience. Here are her thoughts about the importance of getting your technology setup right when you plan your move:

 

When moving house or office it is common to move and not have any infrastructure available from the offset for broadband or television. This can be frustrating but especially if the new address has a poor telephone signal, making tethering and portable hotspots useless.

It is hard enough to run your day-to-day life, thank heavens for books, DVDs and a social life. Can you imagine trying to run your business like this in 2015…..

Obviously people managed before the internet and emails with letters and paper filing but in this day and age customers expect somebody at the end of a phone or a swift response to an email. Read more

Keeping safe online

We all feel we are sophisticated, security-savvy users on the internet, but it is very easy to be caught off-guard or to become complacent about the threats lurking on the World Wide Web.

Our colleagues at Computer Troubleshooters of Anderson in the USA in conjunction with Bigger Brains have produced an informative video to warn and inform you about the traps that criminals may set for you as you go about your daily business. If you fear that you may have fallen for such a scam, we’re here to help tidy up the damage. If you are looking for protection and defensive strategies, we can propose suitable solutions for your business.

 

Business Continuity – it’s more than just backup, you know

We all know that it is essential to ensure that your precious business data is securely backed up, but is this really enough?

It is all very well ensuring that you remember to run a regular backup, and even better if you make arrangements for a copy to be kept in a different place to protect against the eventuality of fire or theft, but how long would it take you to get your company underway again should disaster strike?

This is where business continuity comes in. The concept is that the whole company set up is stored in such a way that it can be reinstated immediately if the business suffers an attack, either from criminal activities or from natural meteorological events.

Datto, suppliers of business continuity facilities, have put together a straight-forward explanation which you can view by clicking here.

40% of PCs have no antivirus protection – seriously?

This morning the BBC has reported recent findings from the National Crime Agency about the prevalence of malware on UK computers.

It is said that almost 11,000 victims of malicious viral attacks were recorded last year. The most shocking statistic, however, was that almost 40% of computers rarely have security software installed to protect them against malware.

Antivirus protection is so straightforward to install and makes economic sense when you consider the alternative; PC performance compromised by pop-ups and the potential loss of sensitive personal and financial data.

Our preference for antivirus protection is ESET. As ESET partners, we are able to advise you on the most suitable protection for your device and arrange for your licence to be installed. ESET even have products for Apple computers and mobile devices. Traditionally Apple users have considered themselves immune to malware, but there are have been reports of targeted attacks on these products too.

Don’t leave your PC open to the hackers – arrange protection today!

Why hosted desktops could work for you – part 3

Back to our occasional series considering the benefits of hosted desktops.

Hosted desktops and cloud computing are an obvious solution for businesses who want to wash their hands of the overheads and headaches that IT management can bring to a company so that they can focus on their core business objectives. Why waste effort and expenditure on computers when you could be moving forward with moneymaking activities?

Hosted desktops allow you to hand over all the aggro caused by temperamental technology safe in the knowledge that your business will stay up-and-running.

Cloud system problems? Check Twitter

Cloud computing can bring great benefits to businesses. It is very convenient to access your customer records when you are on the move, and productivity can be improved by ensuring that every member of staff has access to up-to-date information.

The downside to these systems is that problems can occur. We come to rely on our web-based applications and we are lost when our access to broadband fails. This can be overcome by accessing the internet by an alternative method, for example 3G mobile technology, or via a public wifi network.

What happens if the cloud provider is the source of the issues? It is impractical for them to contact every user of their system when all their technical resources are directed towards the resolution of the problem. The answer is to check Twitter. Frequent updates can be disseminated in one place. Users can also raise issues and share concerns with other users by the same means.

So, if your cloud system is playing up – if in doubt, check Twitter out!

GOZeus deadline has expired – are you safe?

Earlier this month, the UK National Crime Agency warned that computer users had 2 weeks to make sure that their houses were in order to avoid coming under attack from the Gameover Zeus and Cryptolocker malware threats. The advice was to ensure that all Windows updates were in place and that the computer was secured with a strong antivirus product.

The deadline set by the UK NCA expired at midnight on 17 June 2014. Although it has been estimated that thousands of devices are at risk or already infected, the predicted pandemic does not appear to have materialised.

Cryptolocker is a variant of malware known as ransomware. Your data is encrypted and can only be unlocked by the criminals behind the malware.

Even though the deadline has passed, the threat still exists. Make sure you take advantage of Microsoft’s security updates and doublecheck your antivirus software status to ensure you do not become a victim!

New Year’s resolutions for your business IT

We all make personal New Year’s resolutions on January 1st. This year, why not commit to a few professional resolutions for your business, too? Computer Troubleshooters strongly encourages you to put a new technology plan at the top of that list for 2014. We are offering some technology planning guidelines that can help you form a strategy as you think about your business resolutions and professional goals for 2014.

Technology Solutions That Can Benefit Your Business in the New Year

Backup Services: Cloud services include data storage and backup systems plus access to software programs. Information stored on the cloud can be shared with other users anywhere and at any time. Data shows that 61% of surveyed small businesses are currently using some form of cloud-based service with another 5% planning to add cloud services by 2014. If your business is not currently using the cloud for backup service, it’s time to make a plan for switching over. The cloud can provide data storage plus a variety of services and benefits. Put the cloud at the top of your list.

Security Measures: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) research shows that over two-thirds of surveyed companies already have employees using their own computers on the job. The advantage is that BYOD makes it easier for employees to stay in constant contact and also work from home more productively. The efficiency of BYOD comes with the responsibility on the part of the business for training employees on security policies and standards. Safeguarding your network and ensuring the confidentiality of your data is critical to the security of your business.

New Equipment: Have you been controlling your business costs by keeping old IT equipment running. Industry experts believe that five years is the maximum functional lifespan for a computer. As performance and storage deteriorate over time, maintaining old PCs can be a false economy, causing you to lose productivity, the life blood of your business. Start planning when to replace your PCs and server now to defuse the ticking timebomb lurking in your office!

Managed Services: Technology is a key component tied to the success of your business. It enables your business to stay efficient, productive and competitive in today’s marketplace. That is as long as your technology systems are up-to-date and functioning properly. Have you considered a managed service plan? A managed service provider develops a customised IT service plan that will suit the budget and the needs of the client’s business. A service plan can help your business reduce IT operational costs while actually providing a higher level of IT service. The need for a managed service provider has become increasingly important as business owners need to make informed and increasingly complex choices about technology solutions.

Prepare for 2014 – TODAY!
Computer Troubleshooters can work with you to assess your IT needs and develop a customised plan for your business. If your business needs to develop a backup system, move to cloud services including voip telephony – we can help. Computer Troubleshooters is here to help your business stay productive, efficient and competitive in 2014. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of our computer professionals will be happy to help you.

Reassurance of a back up plan

We’ve just received another testimonial, this time for our back-up and antivirus protection services.

Nick Tunstill of DemonSkinz Ltd, a vinyl and promotion printing company based in Crowborough, writes:

Steve and the team at Computer Troubleshooters set up a cloud data back up system and installed anti-virus software remotely over the internet. Their service was superbly efficient and professional. My normal workflow was not interrupted and I can now sleep soundly at night knowing Steve and the crew are protecting my vital data and equipment! Many thanks.

It’s time to consider on line back ups

Do You Have a Reliable and Tested Back Up System in Place?
Imagine that you are working on some critical financial data at the office or perhaps sorting through family photographs on your computer at home. What would you do if the computer containing all of your business and/or personal information crashed and your entire “digital life” suddenly vanished? What would you do if your computer was lost in a fire, destroyed in a flood or stolen at the airport? Do these scenarios put you into an automatic panic thinking about your data? At least the information can be recovered because you have a reliable and tested backup solution in place. Right?

Backing up is something we all know we are supposed to do. Yet, sometimes we feel that we are simply too busy to spend the time researching various secure backup solutions or we feel that money should be budgeted in other areas. Many of us are still relying on old tapes, stacks of disks and USB flash drives as our back up plan. Even if you have an external hard drive backing up your computer, this system isn’t entirely fool-proof. External hard drives can also crash or be stolen and all of your information will be gone. Once disaster strikes and all of your business or personal information have been wiped away, it’s too late to think about what you should have done. Trying to recover this information is impossible in most situations and extremely costly.

We strongly encourage you to be proactive and establish a back up plan immediately. Even if you already have a back up plan in place, you should re-evaluate the solution as technology is evolving rapidly!

Back Up Solutions Move Online
As ominous as the disaster scenarios above may sound, the good news is that back up options have become significantly more reliable and widely used. Technology and increased internet speeds have switched back up processes to on line data storage. Here are a few informative pointers on how on line back up systems work:

• The on line back up provider will download their software to your computer.

• The application simply runs in the background backing up your data to the provider’s secure storage servers. It’s a simple automated system that backs up everything on your computer. Not just select files – everything.

• Most on line back up providers encrypt stored data in a class known as “Bank Grade Security.” With this high level of data encryption, there is no need to worry that your business or personal information can be seen by others.

• A user-friendly interface enables you to set up a back up schedule and to download and restore files once the files are backed up.

• Think of on line back up as insurance for your data. If you lose any files, you retrieve the information via the on line back up system. You pay a monthly fee to keep your data insured.

• On line back up keeps your file structure intact. You can search for backup information just as you would find the information filed on your computer. It’s efficient and user friendly.

• On line back ups provide easy recovery if disaster happens to strike.

Why On Line Back Up is Your Best Solution
On line back up is the best solution for ensuring the security of your business data and also personal information. On line back up provides protection for your data in the event of a computer crash, theft or natural disaster while also delivering an elevated level of security. Within the realm of on line back up solutions, there are a number of vendors and solutions to consider. Contact your local Computer Troubleshooters to help you determine the best back up scenario for your business. Be sure that your data is safe, secure and backed up.

When is a back-up not a back-up?

A back-up can only be a safeguard for your precious data – photos, documents, emails – when it is a separate copy of that data, ideally stored on different media.

Moving data onto an external hard drive does not represent a back-up if the original data no longer exists on the computer or other device. A back-up created on the same device as the original data is vulnerable to being lost in the same event which affects the original data. For example, if you back up your data on your computer hard drive, the hard drive could fail, wiping out both the original data and the back-up. Both sets of data could equally be impacted by a fire, theft or flood.

When considering a back-up plan, you first need to identify what data needs to be copied and how frequently this is necessary. You then need to consider where the back-up copy will be stored; options are on another computer, on an external device such as an external hard drive or memory stick or an internet-based “cloud” solution. External devices can be taken off-site or stored in a safe to minimise vulnerability to fire or theft.

So you have new IT equipment … what should you do with the old PC?

The Spring edition of the Computer Troubleshooters newsletter has just gone out; if you would like to receive your own copy, just let us know. If you’ve been spring-cleaning your IT equipment and now have old PCs to dispose of, we have assembled some points to consider.

Newer and faster laptops, phones and tablets are being released every day it seems, but what are we supposed to do with the outdated devices we no longer want to use? The security of proprietary and personal information and environmental issues are the primary concerns when disposing of unwanted computers. Here are some guidelines we recommend when phasing out computers from your business or home.

When you delete a file from the hard drive, the operating system only deletes the information that describes where the file is located. Simply deleting files, emptying the recycle bin or reformatting the hard drive is not enough to cover your digital tracks. In addition to documents, photos, videos, and private information that is accessible on your computer; there is also your Internet browser’s cache, cookies and history; email contacts and messages; and the recycle or trash folder.

Don’t take a chance with the security of your business and personal information. At Computer Troubleshooters, we have the facilities to destroy securely your personal information on an old device.

Donate or Recycle Your Old Computer

Extending the computer’s lifespan through re-use provides the highest environmental benefit. There are many donation programs that bridge the digital divide by providing needed technology to grateful recipients.

When you donate or recycle an unwanted computer, there are a lot of details you will need to be concerned with such as; maintaining the security of information that was stored on the computer and locating local technology recyclers and refurbishers. Don’t feel overwhelmed by all of these details. Let your local Computer Troubleshooters take on the burden. One of our professional technicians will be happy to explore the various options available to you when deciding how best to dispose of an unwanted computer. Here are some considerations when donating or recycling a computer:
• If your computer is less than five years old chances are it can be put to good use. Most organizations have specific technology needs, so inquire in advance regarding donation guidelines.

• Consider donating your unwanted computer to a refurbisher who is equipped to repair and upgrade older computers. Certified refurbishers ensure that equipment works well and will pass on ready-to-use equipment at little or no cost to individuals and organizations. It is recommended that you remove your hard drive from any system that you donate to a refurbisher to ensure the security of your data.

• Even if a computer cannot be reused or refurbished there are reputable technology recyclers that can ensure valuable raw materials are recovered from old computers and that any waste is disposed of in an environmentally-safe and responsible manner.
Let your local Computer Troubleshooters do all the work for you. Our technicians are trained experts in making sure your personal information is secure and responsibly disposing of unwanted devices.

BT Business Email Upgrade

BT Business Email Upgrade

BT Business email is in the process of being upgraded. The underlying email system, being migrated to, is Microsoft’s Office 365. One of our customers needed help as he didn’t understand the emails that BT had sent regarding changing his email settings. If you aren’t familiar with POP settings, SSL and port numbers then it can be very confusing. When you add in that he wanted his email in Outlook Express on a 10 year old plus pc, a nice shiny Mac and a Nokia phone then the whole task becomes rather daunting for the average computer user. A call to Computer Troubleshooters however and we had him quickly up and running.

If you are having email issues, then please give us a call to discuss.