Is your diet too spam-rich?


When you open up your email system in the morning, are you confronted with a mountain of spam?  And does that mountain steadily grow through the day?

You know that phishing emails are often lurking in that spam, but have you considered the impact on productivity for your team having to wade through those dodgy emails trying to spot legitimate messages?

A report suggests that receiving 100 emails a day equates to 80 hours of lost productivity a year.

The solution: get a good spam filter!  Stop the spam and the phishing emails hitting your inbox.  Let your team see the wood for the trees, as it were.

Every good business coach will tell you that email notifications are the enemy of your time management resolutions.  Admit it, multi-tasking doesn’t really work, and a job takes twice as long as it should when you are continually distracted by email alerts popping up.  Switch off those pop-up notifications and schedule timeslots in your day when you deal with correspondence.

Phishing emails do occasionally slip through the spam filter net, so whilst you are improving your setup, consider some user training and enhanced security (multi factor authentication) to stop the hackers in their tracks.

And relax!

Your slimmed-down mailbox with good security will let you focus on dealing with your business.  Computer Troubleshooters is, as always, on hand to sort out the IT.

More than “Computer” Troubleshooters!

You surely know by now that the team of technicians at Computer Troubleshooters are dab hands at making your computers work well for your organization, but their talents do not end there.

When you order a new server or networking equipment, supplying and setting up the kit is only part of the deal.  In all likelihood you will also need a cabinet to contain everything neatly.  Computer Troubleshooters takes care of the whole setup for you so that the transition should be seamless.

Imagine the challenge, then, when our intrepid technicians turned up to install a server cabinet but found that it was too large to fit through the door!

The solution: applying those troubleshooting skills to the conundrum before them, along with years of experience of flat-pack furniture and Meccano, there was only one option – take it apart, transport the pieces through the door and reassemble, making sure that all the components went back into the right places.

In this, they were way more successful than Eric Morecombe’s rendition of Greig’s Piano Concerto: “I’m playing all the right notes – but not necessarily in the right order.”

Whatever your IT issue, you need an adviser who can think outside the box and devise the perfect solution for you.  With Computer Troubleshooters, you can rest assured that you will have “Technology Solved”.

Whether you are planning an office move or server upgrade, or simply want to improve your email system, you know who to call – Computer Troubleshooters!

Anyone for MFA?

As I pose the question “Anyone for MFA?”, it immediately puts me in mind of that immortal phrase from early twentieth century drawing-room comedies “Anyone for tennis?”  The best example of this I’ve found is actually a Monty Python sketch: you can watch it here.

But I digress: back to my question: Anyone for MFA?

This week we have been mostly telling businesses: You need MFA!

What’s MFA I hear you ask – multi factor authentication.

Why would you need it? – it’s an extra layer of protection meaning that your accounts can’t be hacked just by cracking the password – the MFA code from the authenticator app on your mobile is needed too.

You can add MFA to your logins including Facebook, but the main reason businesses need it is to protect their emails.

We have sadly seen a number of examples of hacked emails this week.  The first the business knows about it is when someone calls to ask if they meant to send the email – if anyone replies to the email, the reply is redirected as part of the hacking process so that the business is unaware.

How it works:

  • The cyber criminal gains access to the email system by discovering the password. This could be the result of hacking a supplier, for example, where you helpfully used the same password.  Maybe you generously gave the hackers your password by clicking on a phishing email and entering it to view an attached document.
  • At this point, they can see all your emails and contacts.
  • They can impersonate you, sending emails from within your system which will be coming from your email address and will include your email signature.
  • To cover their tracks, they will add a rule directing all replies to your deleted items folder. This ensures that you won’t see any emailed attempts to warn you or out of office responses.
  • Sometimes the cyber criminals have such control over your email system that you can’t even send out emails anymore. This is when it really starts to hurt your business.

If you receive an email which just doesn’t look right – requesting urgent payment for example – CALL the sending business to let them know and tell them to talk to Computer Troubleshooters if they need help eradicating the hacker from their systems – we unfortunately have a lot of experience of doing just this.  And once the cyber criminals have been evicted, they are strongly recommended to set up a strong, unique password and MFA.

The targeted company will also have to report themselves to the Information Commissioner’s Office if any client data has been revealed or shared.  Remember GDPR?  It still applies.

Why do they do it?

  • At the very least, they get access to all your contact information. Very nice source of data of potential new victims.
  • Their emails may be a call to urgent action – please make a payment to our new bank account – in which case it can be very lucrative.
  • These emails will be coming from a trusted contact – you – so they are much more likely to get past spam filters.

If you suspect a hacker is in your system, take immediate action, call the Computer Troubleshooters on 01732 300064.

What’s the point of VoIP?


Have you heard of businesses replacing their old landline phones with VoIP?  Ever wondered what this is, and if your business may be missing out?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol.  In simple terms, it allows you to make phone calls over your broadband connection rather than needing an analogue (physical) landline.

Computer Troubleshooters does more than just look after your office computers, we can get you set up with the perfect telephone solution too.

Why would you need VoIP?  Perhaps your experience is similar to this Tunbridge Wells business:

The customer had a single landline and 4 engineers: 

  • If you tried to call them, the line was mostly engaged.
  • If you did get through, they would hurry the conversation to make sure the line wasn’t blocked for other callers.
  • If the engineers wanted to call you, they would use their personal mobiles rather than the company line to keep the landline clear – it didn’t look professional.

Then they installed VoIP and the transformation was remarkable:

  • Now they have VoIP there is no limit to the number of simultaneous calls they can receive and make.
  • If they run out of people to answer the phone, the caller can get through to voicemail which is delivered to the company email which can be accessed on the go.
  • The system comes with hold music, so the caller knows they haven’t been cut off.
  • The engineers can also make company calls using an app on their mobiles which show the company phone number – no more out-of-hours customer calls to your personal number and your customer knows which company is calling. This is an excellent solution for team members working from home.

Does this toll the death knell for the office phone?

  • Readers of a certain age will remember home landline phones which were wired in, usually in the hallway on the telephone table. Modern landline phones are more flexible, but phone points are required in suitable places to allow your handset to be plugged in.
  • With VoIP, there are no physical landlines. You can choose the device to suit your business: desk phone, cordless, wireless headset, softphone (with the phone function working on your computer) or app.
  • If you had a switchboard, this functionality is available in VoIP form too.

Is this just a business solution?

  • No, residential homes can use VoIP Maybe you would like to keep your familiar landline number when you move, but not have the expense of a physical landline.
  • Seniors moving into care or specialised accommodation depend on staying in touch with their family and friends who know their old landline number. There’s a simple solution to address this too, setting up a simple mobile phone with their landline number.  You can read more about this service in our blog about Mabel!

If you are now tempted to see what VoIP could do for your business, give me a call – 01732 300064.

As Karl Marx might have commented:

Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your fixed landlines!

Do you trust yourself not to click?


You hopefully know by now that not all emails are what they seem, and it pays to stay alert and think a moment before you charge into that message that has just landed in your inbox.

With the Ukraine situation, the National Cyber Security Centre have warned that you should be on the lookout for cyberattacks as increased activity is expected.

Do you trust your team – or even yourself – not to click on a dodgy email?  Remove the risk – and the temptation – by adding a spam filter to your system.

We use this ourselves and find that it protects your inbox from unwanted emails.  You get a regular digest listing emails so that you can release good ones or mark bad ones as blocked so they never darken your door again!

For belt and braces, you could sign up for phishing training too!  And check out your dark web risk on our human risk report:

Happy to talk to you about all things cyber security related.  Give us a call today on 01732 300064.

Are you enjoying a Safer Internet Day?


Surely every day should be a safer internet day – it’s not just for Christmas! – but Tuesday 8th February has been designated a specific Safer Internet Day.  An ideal time, then to think about your cyber security practices and protect your business.

So, what can you do?

  • Add protection software, not just antivirus, to your systems
  • Use a good spam filter – this will stop dodgy emails reaching your computers
  • Get your team educated – ask me for details of online training with tailored phishing tests to see if your staff can resist the bait
  • Check if your information is up for sale on the Dark Web by running our human risk report:
  • Sort out your passwords – use a password manager and consider multi-factor authentication
  • Have a backup plan, and test that your data can be restored if it goes missing.

Computer Troubleshooters has plenty of ideas for you.  Give us a call to review your cyber security today.

A rethink on Microsoft billing


Do you use Microsoft 365 for your emails and Office software?

A lot of businesses do, and the way they are paying for their subscriptions is about to be shaken up.  Microsoft has decided that it is high time for a price rise, but they also want to encourage companies to switch over to an annual subscription model.  Naturally, Microsoft have coined a new name for this service – New Commerce Experience (NCE)

If you switch over to an annual subscription before March, you will lock in the current price.  The downside – you have to pay upfront and you will only be able to add licences, but not reduce the count, during the subscription year.

You can opt to stay on monthly subscriptions, but prices are rising by up to 20%.  The upside – you can add and remove licences as staffing changes happen.  Very useful if you have a flexible workforce.

You can mix and match monthly and annual, and we will be advising our clients on the best options for their organisations.

It’s worth a conversation with Computer Troubleshooters soon to make sure you get access to the best pricing for your company.

Welcome to the New Commerce Experience!

Before the horse bolts

You must have heard of the expression “close the stable door before the horse bolts”.  Perhaps it would be more apt to BOLT the stable door!  Did you know that both “bolts” are related to arrows (as in a crossbox bolt) – a solid metal bar to secure the door and horses bolting as swift as an arrow.

You may not have any horses to secure, but your business is bound to have data and a good reputation which it would be wise to protect.  And I am sure you have guessed who you need protection from: cybercriminals!

You hear about cyber-attacks every day.  Skinners Kent Academy in Tunbridge Wells was a victim just this Summer.  You may think it couldn’t happen to you, but just think how many dodgy emails land in your inbox.  Can you trust your team not to click on one?

The fact is – people are the weakest link.  Would you like to know how quickly your business could be breached? Head over to the Human Risk Report on our website to find out.

How the Human Risk Report works: Online activity using your domain name is analysed, including on the dark web, and your team will be challenged with a phishing test.  Then you will get a report with a human risk score and actionable tips.

If you would like to beef up your IT security, call the Computer Troubleshooters.  As they say, it is better, and a lot less costly, to bolt the stable door before the horse has bolted.

Death of the Landline


BT have announced that they will be switching off the old landline network in 2025 but rumours of the death of the landline have been greatly exaggerated, as Mark Twain would say.

There are plenty of reasons for your business to use a landline number:

  • Google My Business still prefers a landline number as it pinpoints your physical geographic location.
  • A landline number makes your business appear more professional. Your clients won’t know if you are responding in an office or using a mobile app.
  • Your business landline number is displayed when you make a call, helping customers to recognize you; not the case if your staff are all using their own mobiles.
  • If your clients only know your landline number, you can avoid being contacted out of hours when your clients have discovered your personal mobile number.

Residential phone users can be quite attached to their landline number too.  Think of all the friends and family who have that number stored in their address books.  One less thing to worry about if you are moving house.

It can be a lifeline, too, for seniors facing great change as they move into care, keeping them in touch with their friends.  All is explained in our recent post Help Mabel keep her Landline.

I have the perfect solution for all these situations – Voip.  Talk to us about keeping your landline number with no landline required, or setting up a brand new number for your business.

Looking forward to receiving your call on our landline: 01732 300064!

Don’t shoot your computer …


Have you been binge-watching boxsets over lockdown?  What’s your favourite?  Have you got a guilty pleasure?

We’ve belatedly discovered NCIS, with the dynamic investigation team led by Special Agent Jethro Gibbs.  It features stories, more often than not involving the mysterious death of a marine, in which NCIS (the Naval Criminal Investigative Service) are called in to investigate.

Imagine our surprise, then, when an episode strayed into the realm of cybercrime and hackers!  Gibbs has clearly never listened to a Computer Troubleshooters BNI 60 seconds, as his solution for stopping a computer from launching a deadly hacking attack on the Pentagon is to shoot it.  To be fair, he did try turning if off (but not on again) first!

If you are intrigued, you can see it for yourself – series 8 episode 16 Kill Screen.  Watch out though, you could find yourself hooked and there are 18 series of NCIS with plenty more spin-off episodes!

If you are faced with a hacker attack, don’t shoot your computers, call the Computer Troubleshooters!  You will need support and guidance to make sure that your business can recover from their crime.  Better still, consider implementing a plan to prevent the cyber criminals.  You can make sure that your systems are protected and your staff are trained to be on the lookout for suspicious emails.

And should you visit BNI, you can picture Gibbs’ solution to hacker attacks when you hear the Computer Troubleshooters’ catchphrase:

Don’t shoot your computers, call the Computer Troubleshooters!

The number’s 01732 300064.

Help Mabel keep her landline!


Do you still remember your childhood landline number?

In the days before mobile phones your number was drilled into you, and your Mum checked that you had your 2p coin in your pocket to make an emergency call from a red telephone box.  It may even have been part of the Brownie training – Be Prepared!

Now it’s too easy to let your smart phone take the strain, and very few numbers are committed to your own (as opposed to your phone’s) memory.

Even so, a lot of people are attached to their landline numbers and keep address books full of the contacts of family and friends.  Imagine the desolation, then, when they are moving out of area or perhaps into care and cannot take their landline with them.

A local solicitor had a customer facing just this dilemma – let’s call her Mabel – and as a result we have designed the perfect solution:

  • Mabel gets to keep her landline number
  • She can make and receive calls as if she still has her landline
  • The number is ported to a mobile app, which can be accessed via her own mobile, or, as in Mabel’s case, a senior-friendly one supplied by us.
  • It’s a simple rolling monthly contract with no long-term commitments.

We would now like to offer the senior service phone bundle to other Mabels.

  • Do you know a Mabel moving to a retirement flat with no landline?
  • Do you have a family member moving to a different area who wants to hang on to their familiar landline number?
  • Do you know the marketing manager of a care home who is supporting ladies and gentlemen like Mabel as they prepare to move in?

Make sure Mabel stays in contact with her friends!  Mildred, Dulcie and Reginald are welcome too!

Please give us a call on our landline number – 01732 300064.  As I’m sure Mabel will remember the old BT advert – It’s good to talk!

A Tale of Two Charities

Charles Dickens has A TALE OF TWO CITIES.

Last week, Computer Troubleshooters had a tale of two CHARITIES.

Local charities have chosen Computer Troubleshooters as their go-to IT support company for some time now and we have developed considerable expertise in this niche.  An added bonus is our knowledge of the discounts which are available to not-for-profit organisations.  You can learn more about these IT benefits in our charity blog.

The week started with a request from a small national charity to sort out their Sharepoint – this thorny issue was sorted within an hour; one happy customer.

The week ended with a university organisation saying YES to a full service plan with us.  The head office team has taken the post-lockdown decision to give up their physical office and continue to work remotely from home going forward.  As the physical office houses a server, plans need to be put in place to decommission this computer and transfer the data to the cloud, allowing it to be securely accessed by the remote team.

In the spirit of the age, all the meetings and support work took place remotely, with no face-to-face in-person meetings required.  There’s definitely been a trend towards charity teams no longer being based in a physical office, and remote support works exceedingly well for the majority of issues.

Hopefully these charities will agree with the sentiments of the closing lines of A Tale Of Two Cities:

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done

Do a far, far better thing for your charity today: call Computer Troubleshooters on 01732 300064.

Who you gonna call?

Do you agree that the movies in the 1980s had the catchiest film music?

You only need to hear that opening rhythm – di di dar-di-di daaar daaaar – and you know instantly that it is Ghostbusters!  Has this put an earworm in your head?  Are you humming along to the Ray Parker Jr song right now?

If you have an urge to hear the real thing, check out the original track on Youtube.

Keep this in mind, but make this subtle change:

If your phones don’t work

In your neighbourhood

Who you gonna call?

Computer Troubleshooters!

Do your customers just get an engaged tone when they try to call you?

Do you have to call out on your personal mobiles to keep the business line free?

And then do your customers call you on your personal phone at all hours because they’ve stored your number?

Would you like your business to look professional with a landline number, both for giving and receiving calls?  Apparently this also gives you kudos with Google My Business, presumably as it confirms your geographic location.

Are you moving house and want to keep your landline number wherever you are moving to?  Just think of all those contacts who have this number on speed dial.  And why should you need to bother learning a new phone number?  Your new home might not even come with the option of a landline.

For all these situationsWho you gonna call?  Computer Troubleshooters!

Voip – internet telephony – is the solution.

  • No landlines required
  • as many lines as you need so your customers will never get an engaged line
  • professional hold music
  • you are not tied to your office, but can call out as if you are!
  • voicemail messages to your email so that you can pick them up wherever you are.

When you are ready for business class phones, you now know who you gonna call!

Computer Troubleshooters of course on 01732 300064!

Is it essential to be cyber certified?

Every time you read the news, it seems that cyber security gets a mention as yet another high-profile organization has its passwords compromised or its data held to ransom.  As you peruse the local updates on NextDoor or Facebook, how many warnings do you see about dodgy emails from HMRC and texts offering Covid vaccinations?

As a responsible business owner, you take measures to block phishing emails and protect your systems from the hackers, but how can you reassure your customers that it is safe to communicate with you?

Fortunately for you, you can certify that your company takes cyber security seriously.  It is called Cyber Essentials.  This is not the exclusive domain of information technology companies and is available to all businesses.

What is Cyber Essentials?

It’s a government-backed scheme which gives a framework for a level of security that a business should have.  Here’s the government information about the scheme from the National Cyber Security Centre.

Areas covered include:

  • Making sure operating systems and applications are up to date.
  • Good password management.
  • Devices are protected from malware attacks.

How do you qualify?

At its basic level, Cyber Essentials is a self-assessment questionnaire.  You can work through this process by yourself, or you can call upon Computer Troubleshooters to guide you.

If you would like to subject your organization to continuous assessment rather than just being confident of complying at a given point in time, we can advise on apps which can check for vulnerabilities every 15 minutes and present the information to you on a dashboard.

It’s time to show you are serious

We have recently renewed our Cyber Essentials certification and can proudly display the blue and green tick.  By making sure that a business meets the Cyber Essentials standard, it is said that over 90% of digital threats can be mitigated.

Call Computer Troubleshooters on 01732 300064 or drop us a line at if you are ready to take action against cyber crime.

Are you fully covered against cyber-crime?


With the Covid-19 pandemic leading to lockdowns, social distancing arrangements and working from home, you may have taken your eye off the ball when it comes to the threat of cyber-crime.   In fact, the hackers are depending on this, and also feeding our appetite for Corona virus news and related products with tempting emails and websites.

You can and should implement security measures wherever possible, even though they can hold you up in your daily routines:

  • Have you struggled to locate the 2-factor authentication code to gain access to your systems?
  • Has web filtering prevented you from accessing a legitimate website? As our blog post shows, it sometimes helps when the computer says NO.
  • Has an urgent email disappeared into your junk folder?

Your staff need all the protection you can give them, especially if they are working alone without the familiar support and sounding board of an office full of colleagues.   They may also be using less secure internet than your standard office setup.  It might be worth considering some cyber-awareness training followed up with test phishing emails; get in touch if you would like to learn more about our solution for this.

The truth is, however good your systems are, your business is still vulnerable to cyber threats and the impact of an attack could be devastating:

  • One small business in the UK is hacked every 19 seconds
  • Thirty-seven percent of UK businesses have reported a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the last year
  • Sixty percent of businesses which suffer a cyber breach with no insurance in place will go out of business within 6 months.

(statistics provided by Carbon black report 2019, Hiscox study and report 18/19, CISCO report 2018)

Just as you insure your property with buildings insurance and your staff with employers’ liability insurance, you can protect your business against cyber attacks with Cyber insurance.  Business policies may provide some protection in this area, but it is worth considering using a specialist.

What does cyber insurance do for you?

  • Business interruption: recovering from a cyber incident can be costly
  • GDPR impact: follow up work for a data breach – legal, PR, contacting clients
  • Data loss: IT support to reinstate systems and recover data
  • Money transfers: the cybercriminals may have fraudulently accessed your accounts
  • Cyber extortion: as a final resort, you may be forced to pay the ransom.

We would be happy to introduce you to a cyber insurance specialist.  They will be able to advise you on the protection your company needs and they even promise to provide a tailored quote with just 4 questions!

If you are concerned about cyber-crime – and you should be – call Computer Troubleshooters today to discuss the solutions on offer: 01732 300064.

Resolve to protect your business from cybercrime in 2021


As I put pen to paper (or rather, apply keystrokes to a document), it’s that in-between period between Christmas and New Year – always an excellent time to stand back from the business and take stock.  Have you considered the New Year’s Resolutions for your business for 2021 yet?

If you are looking for inspiration, here’s a suggestion for you:

Would you consider beefing up your cyber security?  Now more than ever, your business is coming under attack:

  • As lockdowns look set to continue with employees working remotely from home or isolated in socially distanced office settings, your team can miss support and guidance and are more vulnerable to becoming victims of opportunistic hackers.
  • Those same tiered restrictions mean that companies are depending on internet-based communications more than ever, both with their staff and their customers.
  • It definitely feels like we are being bombarded with dodgy emails, suspicious text messages and malicious pop-ups on a daily basis.

Just as you can lead a horse to water, but can’t make him drink, you can tell your staff about phishing emails but it’s hard to stop them clicking on the link.

What you need is a tailored education programme, not just providing online training but also testing if the lesson has been taken on board by dangling a safe phishing email as bait.  You get to design the bait emails so that you can target them for specific job functions and times of day when your employees might not be on their guard.

This solution also comes with dark web scanning.  This reveals emails with your company address whose passwords are available for sale to hackers online.  It’s useful to know which accounts are compromised so that you can shore up your defences before a serious breach occurs.

Consider the cost to your business in terms of loss of data, money, time and reputation if your company is hit by a cyber-attack.  Resolve to improve your protection now!

Call Computer Troubleshooters on 01732 300064 to make your IT setup secure from hackers.

Wishing you a cyber-safe and prosperous New Year!

How do you keep up-to-date with technology developments?


How do you keep abreast of all the developments in the business IT arena?  Do you have a favourite website bookmarked?  Or do you prefer to turn to print media or the TV screen.  Maybe you don’t know where to start.

We now have a newsletter containing useful tips about various aspects of business IT, and we would love to share this with you.  If you are in business in the Tonbridge and West Kent area, you are welcome to join our mailing list.

To get a regular copy of our newsletter landing in your inbox, simply send an email to with the heading NEWSLETTER PLEASE providing us with your contact details.  That’s it!

If you decide that it’s not for you, you may unsubscribe at any time.

As a bonus, we have a glossy desk calendar which we would love to send to you as a thank you for signing up to our newsletter* (limited edition, while stocks last).

Computer Troubleshooters is your local outsourced IT department, providing IT advice and support to businesses in West Kent.  01732 300064

Lockdown 2 – we are here for you


As you are aware, the Prime Minister has made a Halloween statement that we are heading into another lockdown on Thursday 5 November.  It’s time to dust down the plans made for remote working back in March and make adjustments in the light of experience.

Your IT advisers Computer Troubleshooters are ready to support you through the next lockdown.  Our technicians are set up to work remotely, and we continue to be available at the end of the phone and via email to help you with your computing arrangements.

If you have an immediate need for help, please call.

We will be reaching out to our service plan customers in the coming days to ensure that they are happy with their setup.  As you can imagine, we now have lots of experience of setting up businesses to work from home so we are happy to have a discussion about the issues your company is facing.

What are the main areas to consider on the IT front?

  • Remote access: are your staff able to access the data and systems they need?
  • Remote login: where your team members are logging in remotely to their office-based PC
    • Are passwords in place and known?
    • Has remote access software been enabled for the computers to be used?
    • Is the computer user familiar with the process?
    • Is the computer set to remain online at all times?
  • Working from home: do your team members have suitable computers and monitors?
  • Furlough: are measures in place to ensure that furloughed staff cannot access your data and emails?

Don’t worry if you find that changes are needed as we progress through lockdown as we will still be here to help.  Last time we fielded a lot of queries about printing from home; I wonder what will arise this time around?

How to contact Computer Troubleshooters

Call 01732 300064


Stay safe!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it ….


When you think of new movie releases, you are most probably looking for novelty and not the same old boring formulaic blockbusters which are only attractive because of their stunning special effects.  You may make an exception, however, for those familiar tropes which are so evocative.  We will all feel short-changed if the new James Bond film doesn’t include the franchise catchphrases such as “shaken, not stirred” and we wait with bated breath for those immortal words which open the plot of Mission Impossible: Your mission, should you choose to accept it…..

Do you ever need to send a message that is so sensitive that you would like to set it to self-destruct, just as you have witnessed on the Silver Screen?

Well, now you can!  We have the technology to make an email message self-destruct after a selected time period.  Granted, you will not experience the pyrotechnics and catchy signature tune seen on Mission Impossible, but it is just as effective in preserving your privacy.

This handy email add-in also lets you encrypt messages, transfer large files securely and sign important documents electronically.  We are already finding it useful for sending passwords to our customers – emails are just too hackable.

Your company does not need to be a service plan customer of Computer Troubleshooters, nor even one of our Microsoft 365 users, to avail yourself of this software.  Just get in touch and we can send you an encrypted email to show you how it works.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to contact Computer Troubleshooters and ask about email encryption.

Not at all impossible – I’m sure you’ll agree!

Are you missing your IT Department?


One of the joys of the lockdown period is the opportunity to catch up with box sets.  Have you discovered something new (to you) worthy of a binge-watch?  Or perhaps you have returned to an old favourite.

If you are in the market for a series recommendation, you could find The IT Crowd a good watch.  This 2006 Channel 4 comedy portrays a computer department supporting a large building of office workers.  They naturally get into more scrapes than your average IT support technician, but the programme does capture some truths about office life.  Who hasn’t called for computer help and been greeted with the response Have you tried turning it off and on again?

The fact is, one of the things that entrepreneurs starting their own businesses miss most from corporate life is being able to pick up the phone for instant IT support.  This puts me in mind of a Lenny Henry joke about a young person moving into his first house; working through a checklist, he feels he has forgotten to pack something, then realises what is missing – his Dad with his font of knowledge and handyman skills!

The good news is, just because you no longer work for a large organisation, you don’t have to miss out on the benefit of having IT support at your beck and call.  Computer Troubleshooters make having your own IT department a reality for small businesses and charities.

When your company appoints Computer Troubleshooters as your IT support provider, all your computer equipment is monitored, protected and updated and you get access to IT support on demand at the end of the phone.  I am sure you will find our team a great deal more helpful and responsive than the IT Crowd too!

If your computers are getting you down and you’re wasting your time spending hours calling helplines, it is time to treat your business to its own IT Department.

Don’t shoot your computers, call the Computer Troubleshooters!

Staying in contact during Lockdown

Read on for details of a free gift … if you can’t wait that long, check out this link!

Self-isolation is important to stop the spread of Covid-19, but complete isolation is not conducive to the health of your business!

As your trusted IT advisers, we are here to keep the channels of communication open in your company.  Our team – all set up in home offices – is ready to assist you with any computing challenges which can be dealt with remotely.

This week we have been mostly:

  • Setting up remote access from home PCs to computers based in the office*
  • Sourcing ever-more-scarce laptops and monitors
  • Setting up new laptops for use in working from home
  • Helping with cloud system issues.

(* our monitoring software has a facility for end-users to be able to log in remotely too.  We can offer this tool to non-service plan customers as well.)

From our own experience of working in a team who are not physically in the same office, we know that communication is more important than ever.  We have been using Teams, part of Microsoft Office 365, to keep the information exchange flowing.

Teams supports collaboration through chat, file sharing and video conferencing.  For those unfamiliar with this tool, our friends at Bigger Brains have released a free video series to help you get the most out of Teams.  This is a time-limited offer for the Coronavirus period only which you can access here.

Our VoIP telephone system has also given us flexibility in where our team members work.  Our remote technicians have softphones linked to our company telephone number, and our handsets show who is on the phone, and who is available to receive a transferred call.  You can even take your handsets home, plug them into your network and continue calling as if you were in the office.  Our VoIP partner NSN (New Star Networks) is on hand during lockdown to ensure your phones work for you.

During lockdown Computer Troubleshooters will not be making onsite visits, but we plan to be available at the end of the phone.  Please don’t feel isolated with your IT woes – we are happy to have a chat and keep you connected.

Call Computer Troubleshooters on 01732 300064 – technology solved.

Coronavirus: an IT perspective


Just 3 months ago, Coronavirus was unheard of: now it features daily in the news headlines and it appears that Covid19 needs to be taken seriously as a threat, both on a personal level and to our businesses.

Early on we at Computer Troubleshooters felt the impact when the supply of a laptop battery was delayed due to logistics companies being closed down in China.  Currently it is not clear what the long-term implications are for trade and supply, but it looks like we cannot take it for granted that we can order up equipment immediately at the click of a button.

It’s unusual for IT companies to be worried about viruses which have not been generated by cyber criminals, but it is clear that your computer setup will have its part to play in your response to the current crisis.

The main government advice is to wash hands thoroughly and cough into tissues to prevent the spread of the virus.  It is said that the areas of the office harbouring the most germs are not the toilets but in fact the computer keyboards.  Douglas Adams appears to have got it right in his Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy when the Golgafrinchams decided not to take the phone sanitisers* with them in their Ark, only for the race to contract a deadly virus from a filthy telephone!  Check out the full story in Restaurant at the End of the Universe – it’s worth a read.

*for you younger readers, phone sanitisers were a real profession distinct from cleaners.  I remember them turning up weekly in our offices in the 1980s with their cleaning wipes to clean our handsets.

How you handle your workforce during an epidemic is primarily an HR matter rather than an IT issue.  Fortunately, I know an excellent HR consultant who will be able to advise you on the measures you need to implement in your company.  Ben Holt of Sightscreen HR has given me the following advice:

With the cases of Coronavirus on the increase in the UK and constant media coverage of the situation, it can be difficult to know what to do as an employer. ACAS (who produce a range of guidance on employment issues for employers and employees) have issued the following guidance: which is a helpful starting point. However, the precise steps that you take will vary depending on your environment and the type of work you do. For further advice on this, we recommend contacting Ben Holt at Sightscreen HR who specialises in providing HR advice for SME’s and not-for-profit organisations. You can get in touch with Ben at  You can check out his website here.

IT does, of course, have a role to play, as it does in every aspect of business life nowadays.  You need to consider the following questions:

How will your business cope if your staff decide to self-isolate or you decide to impose a quarantine?

If you want your team members to work remotely, does your IT setup allow remote access to the documents and emails they need while keeping your business secure against cyber attack?

Will you allow your employees to use their own devices to access company data?  How will you ensure that they have sufficient antivirus protection and are up-to-date with patching?

Or will you allow them to take company computers home?  What will you do if the device is reported lost or stolen?

You need to review your IT setup and security now before the last-minute panic buying sets in.  Call Computer Troubleshooters today!

And above all, as the cover of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe reassuringly says: DON’T PANIC

Why it can be good when the computer says NO


Do you remember the film 2001 A Space Odyssey?  Back in a time where the future was usually depicted as metallic and shiny with robots taking on the drudgery of boring tasks, Stanley Kubrick conjured up a malignant computer who wasn’t at your beck and call.  Hal 9000 managed the spacecraft but was not a compliant servant to the astronauts.  A typical quote was:

I’m sorry Dave.  I’m afraid I can’t do that.

We like to consider that computers should be a help rather than a hindrance to your business.  Imagine the surprise, then, that the MD of one of our service plan customers had when attempting to source corporate Christmas presents, only to find that the computer says NO!

Our frustrated customer was shopping for gift hampers, but each time he clicked on a Google result, the computer responded:

Website not allowed – category alcohol and tobacco is restricted

Fortunately we are pleased to report that our customer’s computer had not gone rogue.  We had actually installed security software – with our customer’s permission – but the settings were being a little over-zealous in protecting him.  A simple adjustment allowed him to continue on his perusal of Christmas fare.

Why would you want your computer to block your internet searches?

There are 2 main reasons for using this technology.  The first is to prevent your staff’s access to restricted sites.  You could find, for example, that your employees are tempted to visit gambling or porn sites.  You can tailor which categories of website are out-of-bounds for your organisation.  This is also useful for charities who care for vulnerable clients.

The second reason is linked to phishing emails.  However much education you give to your team about the tell-tale signs that an email is not what it seems, malicious emails can look convincingly authentic and it can be very tempting to click on a link.  When this internet-blocking protection is installed, the computer will prevent you from going to the hacker’s website, stopping the attempt to steal your credentials in its tracks.

What is this service called and where can you get it?

This service is known as Web Filtering.  Computer Troubleshooters can set it up for your company.

How it works (here comes the technical bit):

We use a product called Webroot DNS.  This redirects your web traffic to Webroot DNS servers.  This process checks whether the website falls into safe or unsafe categories.  If it blocks a site which you trust, you can whitelist it in a similar fashion to the workings of spam filtering.

For the sake of the occasional annoyance when your computer blocks you unnecessarily, this simple and cost-effective protection could prove very valuable in halting the cyber criminals.  It can be a good sign when the computer says NO!

A new year surprise from Microsoft!

If you are a Windows 7 user and you dutifully apply your Windows updates, you may have opened up your computer to a rather nasty surprise this week; the regular Patch Tuesday package included an update which has stopped some Windows 7 PCs connecting to other devices or marked their version of Windows as not being genuine.

You can read all about it here.

Clearly, Microsoft did not intend this consequence and will be providing a fix in a future update. All is not lost, however, if you cannot wait that long. The rogue update has been identified and it is possible to reverse its effect on your systems. Fortunately, the affected computers are still able to access the internet, and we have been helping customers remotely today with this issue.

We do have good news for our service plan customers. As part of our monitoring service, all updates are checked before being applied, and our support partner has helpfully blacklisted the offending modification and prevented it from wreaking havoc on all monitored computers.

So it turns out that Computer Troubleshooters can not only protect you from the cybercriminals but also protect you from defective Windows updates!

If you have been affected and need help, please call us on 01732 300064 – Computer Troubleshooters, Technology Solved.

What does your signature say about you – and your business?

Handwriting may be a dying art in our technological world, but one area where a personal touch is still required is signatures.  Your signature can be very revealing if you know what to look for, although you may need to be a graphologist to unlock the secrets.  Just consider John Hancock’s large, flamboyant signature on the American Declaration of Independence; this is so famous that you can find yourself being asked for your John Hancock when someone needs you to sign a document or cheque.

Signatures are also important in the art world, helping to prove the authenticity of a masterpiece.  Even when they are present, you sometimes need an expert to know just where to look to identity if you are dealing with a fake or the real thing.

Written letters are a novelty in the business world nowadays, while the number of emails you receive feels like it is increasing exponentially.  How can you make sure that your emails will stand out in the crowd?

The answer lies in the humble signature!

Of course, we are not referring to the handwritten variety, although you can include this in the design.  “Signature” is the name given to the information which appears at the foot of your emails, and this can be automated so that you don’t have to type in all the information on every email you send.

Imagine how good your emails will look when they are completed with a lovely signature.  What can be included?

  • The valediction: Kind Regards, yours sincerely, cheers – take your pick
  • Your name
  • Your company name
  • Your handwritten signature
  • Your headshot – always nice to see who you are doing business with
  • Your contact information – phone, email address, physical address
  • Links to your social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn
  • Your logo and other branding, matching the house style of your letterhead
  • Current promotions and forthcoming events – a banner looks good
  • And not forgetting all the statutory information such as registered address and any disclaimers you like to include.

Outlook does have a signature feature, but if you have a number of devices, several email addresses and a large team of users, you can see how cumbersome setting this up can be – needing to visit every computer, disrupting the users and missing people out so you end up with an inconsistent image.  And this problem is amplified if you want to regularly change the promotions and events featured.

Fortunately, we have a solution for you.

Design your ideal signature, then it is rolled out to all your company emails automatically. Our partner vendor has produced a helpful video, which you can view here, explaining how it makes sense to invest in this approach.

What’s more, as well as effortlessly updating signatures as frequently as you fancy, our signature solution also allows you to get Google Analytics for the click-throughs on your signature links and you can conduct surveys by offering buttons to push for quick feedback.

The only proviso is that the minimum licence count for billing purposes is 10 email users.

What are you waiting for?

It’s time to make your company look consistently good.  If you are ready to spruce up your image, please get in contact.

How Summer reading reveals your ideal IT adviser

Unless you have a lengthy commute or looming deadlines from a book club, it is highly likely that your daily routine does not prioritise picking up a novel.  There are of course honourable exceptions to the rule; my BNI colleague Glenn regularly completes 5 books week, come rain or shine.

This all changes when the sun comes out, however.  A summer holiday wouldn’t be complete without a good stock of reading material, and what better way to take a break from the computer screen than finding a sunny spot to relax in and diving into a book!


Aided and abetted by the lovely librarians at Hildenborough library, this summer I have mostly been reading the Dr Ruth Galloway series of novels written by Elly Griffiths.  In fact, I have just polished off the tenth instalment and will now have to wait until 2019 for book number eleven.

So what is it about these crime novels which makes them so compelling?

  • The characters are well-rounded, believable and likeable; no-one is perfect but they all have redeeming features. Dr Ruth Galloway is an archaeologist whose path often crosses with the local detectives, headed up by Harry Nelson.  Throw into the mix the Norfolk landscape and local druid Cathbad, and some fascinating plots ensue.
  • Each book handles a different murder case and/or archaeological dig which can be read in isolation, but there are strands running through the series which make the read more satisfying.
  • All the standard Whodunnit tropes are present – red herrings, hidden clues, new characters with murderous motives – but the stories are about so much more than simply identifying the perpetrator.

I particularly like the approach both Ruth Galloway and Harry Nelson take to their detective work, and it dawned on me that they exemplify how your trusted IT adviser – Computer Troubleshooters – deals with your support cases!

In the world of Ruth Galloway and Harry Nelson:

  • Methodical: Ruth’s clean cuts at a dig are often praised.
  • Analytical: Ruth will take care to examine the bones thoroughly and lay them out in anatomical order to ensure that no clue is overlooked. Nelson will pore over poison pen letters for months to divine hidden meanings.
  • Monitor and observe: a lot of the police work is based on surveillance and the analysis of CCTV footage.
  • Never assume: a mantra for Nelson, making sure his team delve into the circumstances and are never complacent.
  • Don’t accept things at face value: was this really a case of suicide? Call in the forensic experts to do a finger-tip search.
  • The importance of protection: as in all good crime fiction, the characters often find themselves in great danger, and you hope they have the right equipment and backup.
  • Bad things tend to happen when information is not shared: the omniscient reader can see how the knowledge from various characters adds up to reveal the murderer, while people who are not warned about dangerous criminals often end up in sticky situations.


In the world of Computer Troubleshooters:

  • Methodical; our work is documented and processes are followed to ensure a consistent result.
  • Analytical; each issue may seem unique, but a calm approach applying systems knowledge can reveal the solution.
  • Monitor and observe: our service plan customers’ computers are monitored to ensure that any issues are detected before they cause a problem, and systems are kept up-to-date.
  • Never assume; we make sure we have all the facts and understand the requirements before making recommendations. Please tell us what you want to achieve for your business and let us work out the best solution.
  • Don’t accept things at face value; it may appear that you have a problem with your email system, but investigation may reveal a completely different but true cause.
  • The importance of protection: in a world where cyber-crime is rife, antivirus protection, password security and backups are essential.
  • Bad things tend to happen when information is not shared; we can only do the best job for you if we understand your business thoroughly. Frequent communication with onsite visits ensures that we can be your effective and trusted IT adviser.  If you don’t tell us, for example, that you replied to a CEO-fraud style email demand, we won’t be able to put measures in place to protect you from future attacks!

Has this made you want to learn more about Elly Griffiths and her Norfolk-based crime fiction?

What have you been reading this Summer?

Has it made you look at your work in a different way?

Enjoy the last of the sunshine while it lasts!  You could do worse than immersing yourself in the world of Dr Ruth Galloway.

And when you are ready to return to the office routine, make sure that your IT is in safe hands – invite Computer Troubleshooters to do some detective work on your systems and discover our diagnosis for healthy computers which support your business!

Why you need a file sharing solution in your life



Business thrives on information, and, whereas in the 1960s it was acceptable to wait for reports to be delivered via Royal Mail, and conveyed onwards by the company mailroom to the recipient’s desk, nowadays we want our data this instant!

While emails ensure that communications arrive promptly, certainly when compared to “snail mail”, there are limitations both on the size of the attachment and on the security of the message.  If more than 1 person needs access to a document to edit and update it, the version control can get out of control quickly if you are relying on emails to share the work.

One of the advantages of have a server – a large central computer – in a business is the ability for the whole team to access, work on and share documents.  However, if you don’t already have a server this is quite an expensive way of introducing file sharing, and you will still have the problem and giving access to documents to people who are working remotely.

What do I mean by cloud-based file sharing?  Think of Dropbox – a central repository for your documents which you can grant access to.  The solution we provide works on this principle, but offers you much, much more.

File sharing solves these problems, and many more besides: Read more

Fancy using Twitter for your business, but don’t know where to start?


Everywhere you turn, marketing experts advise you that you should have a social media presence for your business, but it can be quite daunting knowing where to start.

I have been developing my knowledge of Twitter through trial and error, learning from the experts both online and in the real world.  You can check out our company Twitter account at to see the results.

I have been offering training to my fellow BNI Sevenoaks Knole Park members to get them started on Twitter and I am now ready to extend this service to businesses in Tonbridge and Sevenoaks.

So, what does it entail?

Surely it will take a lot of time and effort to become proficient? Read more

17 reasons why you need Voip

As Blondie once said:

Don’t leave me hanging on the telephone”

Is this how your customers feel when they are trying to get through to you?

Every professional business needs a professional telephone system; we recommend Voip Internet Telephony from NSN (New Star Networks).

Still unsure? Here are seventeen reasons for choosing Voip for your company: Read more

100 years of suffrage; why not all rights are good

6 February 2018 is a very significant date, as it marks the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act.  This brought in the right for women to vote – so called universal suffrage – although only if the woman concerned was over 30 and owned land or a home.  Fully equal voting rights were in fact introduced 10 years later in 1928.

The battle for equal rights was hard-fought.  Suffragettes were willing not just to participate in protest marches, but also to undertake criminal acts which led to over 1,000 women being imprisoned.  Protesters put their lives on the line; several prisoners undertook hunger strikes, and Emily Davison famously ended her militant career by being trampled to death by the King’s horse at Epsom.

When you consider the sacrifices of these women, you realise that universal suffrage should not be taken for granted.  In a fair society, it would seem that everyone should be treated as equals, but history shows us that this has often not been the case.

However, in the world of computing, there is an area where equal rights for all is not recommended! Read more

Hacker attacks – think you’re safe? Think again!

Chief Miranda Bailey and her IT guy: Grey’s Anatomy

Ransomware at Grey Sloan Memorial: Grey’s Anatomy

Is it too late to wish you a Happy New Year?

As 2018 dawns, the time when GDPR comes into force gets ever closer.  You do know what GDPR is, of course. The General Data Protection Regulation will come into force across Europe on 25th May 2018, bringing with it stricter requirements for how personal information is handled.  You can learn more about it in our recent blog.

From the IT viewpoint, the primary concern is keeping client data safe.  We’ve just had a stark reminder of the fines that can be levied by the ICO in the case of data breaches with the announcement of the £400,000 penalty imposed on Carphone Warehouse – you can read more here.  Of course Carphone Warehouse are lucky that the GDPR-level fines were not imposed:  The maximum fines will rise to 4% of worldwide annual turnover, or 20 million Euros, whichever is greater.  

GDPR is not the only reason for keeping your systems safe.  Ransomware attacks are often in the news, and it is easy assume that only high-profile companies are vulnerable; in fact small businesses are just as likely to become victims to hackers.  The impact of losing access to all your company’s information can be devastating.  Just consider the number of transactions you make every day which depend upon being able to get hold of data held on your computer.

Until you realise the true scale of the disruption a cyber-attack could cause, it is easy to be complacent and give computer security a low priority on your to-do list.  This is why it sometimes takes a TV drama to hammer the message home.

In a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy (Series 14 episode 8 “Out of Nowhere” in case you are interested in looking it up), Grey Sloane Memorial Hospital is brought to its knees by a hacker attackRead more

Is Voip right for you? Check this testimonial


We are pleased to have been able to help Ben Assender of Van Secure with his office telephone setup.  It is good to see that Ben now has a working VOIP telephone system, which was implemented with no downtime.  We cannot take all the credit: our VOIP partners New Star Networks with the excellent guidance and support of our adviser Ferrin Govender made the process seamless and relatively painless.

Thanks for taking the time to put pen to paper for us Ben.

Ben Assender

Van Secure

5 December 2017

How Star Wars shows us what’s great about Managed Service Plans

At the moment you would have to try very hard to ignore the fact that the latest addition to the Star Wars franchise is about to be released.  Star Wars – The Last Jedi will be making its debut at cinemas on 14th December, and every time you switch on the television or log in online, you are bound to be bombarded with adverts, both about the film itself and about the Star Wars-related merchandising.  The most unlikely products are getting a Star Wars twist, from branded razors to Stormtrooper decanters!

Don’t worry; I am not about to offer you a Star Wars managed services plan, nor indeed am I going to compare our technicians to Jedi, going into battle for your company against the forces of evil!

I just wanted to share with you a recent Star Wars related event which illustrates why every business needs an IT support contract ….. Read more

Black Friday offer for a black day

In the UK we might not get to enjoy the delights of the American Thanksgiving holiday – a pre-Christmas break from work, turkey and all the trimmings, pumpkin pie, ticker-tape parades and wall-to-wall NFL football – but we are certainly being treated to that curious marketing event Black Friday!

As we learnt last year, Black Friday has been a shopping holiday in the USA since 1952, and is in fact a bank holiday in some states.  It generally marks the start of the Christmas shopping season and retailers have traditionally made super special offers to entice buyers to part with their cash.  The practice didn’t reach this side of the pond until the 21st century with the pioneers being American outlets – Amazon and Asda (part of Walmart).

Black Friday may be a relative newcomer to the UK, but it has quickly become an established date in the retail calendar.  This year it feels like it has started earlier than ever; just as Christmas produce appears on the shelves when Halloween stock is cleared away, so the day of Black Friday appears to have elongated into a Black Week or even Black Month!  For the past few weeks, it has not been possible to open your email inbox without being bombarded with Black Friday deals.

Here at Computer Troubleshooters we didn’t want to be left out of the action, so we are jumping on the bandwagon with a Black Friday offer of our own.  And what better offer could we make than something to help you out when you end up suffering from a black day.

Imagine all your precious documents being destroyed due to hard drive failure, lost forever when your laptop is stolen or held to ransom when a hacker plants cryptolocker onto your system.

That would be a black day indeed.

This is where our offer comes in.  If such a disaster strikes, all is not lost if your important data is backed up.  We offer cloud backup services, which have the advantage of being automated so you don’t have to remember to do it and remote so they are not vulnerable to a physical event such as fire or theft at your premises.

Cloud backup is priced very reasonably: 60p + VAT per GB per month. 

Normally we would charge half an hour labour to set up the backup for you, but for Black Friday and the rest of the month of November 2017 we will undertake the installation free of charge. *conditions apply

You know you have been meaning to get around to sorting out a backup for your data.

What better time to do it!

Give us a call on 01732 300064 and we can assess your backup needs remotely and confirm the monthly charge to give you peace of mind.

But do hurry!  This offer will be withdrawn on 1 December – no exceptions!

*conditions apply:

– offer closes at 5pm on 30 November 2017

– you must be a business IT user

– minimum backup size 5GB

New faces at CT Tonbridge


Here at Computer Troubleshooters Tonbridge, we are always keen to make sure that you experience excellent customer service and a high level of technical support so you can forget about your computers and concentrate on developing your business.

We are pleased to announce some additions to our team, both on the technical and administrative front.  Do introduce yourselves when you get the opportunity.  Stuart is looking forward to learning all about you and your business so that he can continue the CT tradition of IT advice set by our leader Steve Rice.  I will let Stuart introduce himself; now you can put a face to the name!





My name is Stuart Hoare.  I became part of the Computer Troubleshooters technical team in November 2017 as an IT support technician.  I have studied IT extensively, gaining a BTEC National Diploma for IT, an honours degree in Computing and I am currently working towards an MSC in Software Engineering.

As well as my qualifications, I also have a wealth of experience in IT support, most recently working with a local school to ensure that all their computer systems and equipment were maintained and up-and-running.  I am looking forward to getting to know CT Tonbridge’s customers and their computer systems so that we can make the technology work effectively to support your businesses.

When I’m not toiling over a hot computer, I have a variety of interests that keep me busy.  I like to visit new places and have a growing collection of minerals and crystals.  I have a number of exotic pets; do ask me about Ruben, Ziggy and Frost (my geckos).


You may have noticed that the phone is not always answered by Suzanne now.  We have a backup team who are ready to take your call and make sure that your message gets through to us.  Please do leave a full message with Lydia and her assistants; they are looking forward to getting to know you and your business better so they can give you the top level of service you have come to expect from Computer Troubleshooters.


Please give a warm welcome to our new team members.  Spread the word that we are ready and willing to provide IT support and advice to the businesses of Tonbridge and West Kent!


“It is typical of Oxford … to start the new year in Autumn.”

“It is typical of Oxford … to start the new year in Autumn.”

As August turned to September, the weather has definitely taken an autumnal turn and the Summer holidays are long forgotten as we go into “back to school” mode.  Even if you don’t have any connections to school-age children, the calendar continues to revolve around the 3 term system.

My quote actually comes from Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and it does raise a good point; who came up with the new academic year starting in the Autumn?  Oxford and Cambridge certainly have their idiosyncracies and special terminology as we’ve discussed before in this blog.  While the Autumn term is known as the Michaelmas term in Oxford, it follows the standard UK convention of making a fresh start in September.

Have you ever wondered why Autumn was chosen as the starting point for studies?  Read more

Reece is qualified!

We are pleased to announce that Reece Ebdale has successfully completed his apprenticeship and he is now a fully fledged IT support technician!

Reece will continue to look after our monitoring systems and make sure that your systems are up-to-date and fully protected.  He is ready to take on your new IT challenges, but please be gentle with him, as he still has a lot to learn.

Many of you will have had the pleasure of working with Reece on your computer issues already; he is looking forward to expanding his IT knowledge and undertaking a range of projects with the team.

Reece will be coming on site to support you in the coming months, but you can learn a bit more about him straight away: simply visit our website where you can see profiles for the whole team here.

Let’s make sure we can keep Reece busy!  Let us know if you have any computer problems that need our attention.

Is all set fair for you on St Swithin’s Day?

It is well known that the British like to talk about the weather, and the odd bit of weather lore never goes amiss.  For weather watchers the 15th of July is highly significant as it is St Swithin’s Day.  There’s even a proverb all about it:

St Swithun’s day if thou dost rain

For forty days it will remain

St Swithun’s day if thou be fair

For forty days ‘twill rain nae mare

According to the Royal Meteorological Society, there hasn’t been any recorded 40-day droughts or monsoons.  There is, however, some science behind the myth.  The Jet Stream settles into a pattern around the middle of July, with continental high pressure bringing sunshine if it lies to the North of Britain, but Arctic weather systems taking over if it lies further South.

Why should this weather proverb be linked with Saint Swithin, and who was he anyway? Read more

Declare IT independence on the 4th of July!

The fourth of July is arguably one of the most important dates in the American calendar, possibly ranking second only to Thanksgiving as a favourite public holiday.  In a country with so few paid holidays (the minimum entitlement is set at 10 days per year), opportunities to take a break from work will always be welcomed, especially as this celebration has the benefit of summer weather to allow outdoor events.

The origins of American Independence Day date back to the eighteenth century.  America had been a British colony but unrest developed since the British parliament levied taxes on America but gave them no representation.  This culminated in the American Revolutionary War with the 13 victorious states of America adopting the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July 1776.

There were in fact 56 signatories to the Declaration of Independence, including 2 future presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the oldest signatory Benjamin Franklin with the most flamboyant signature belonging to John Hancock – which is why you may be asked to add your “John Hancock” to a cheque or document! Read more

Are you protected from a midsummer meltdown?

Melting gently in our sweltering office, for once the weather is matching up to the season.  21st June marks the Summer Solstice, the official start of Summer and also the longest day of the year.

The technical reason for the solstice falling on this day is that it is when the pole is most inclined towards the sun on its orbit.  This day has been celebrated for centuries dating back to pagan times, often linked with fertility and festivals.  Druids still meet at Stonehenge to greet the rising sun at dawn on the Solstice as it aligns with the standing stones.

Confusingly, Midsummer’s Day falls just 2 days later on 23rd June.

How can Midsummer occur so soon after summer starts, I hear you ask.  Read more

Jane Austen impact continues 200 years on

2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen.  To coin a phrase: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a young lady in possession of a good story, must never be in want of an eager readership.

Generations have been entertained by her Regency novels and the contemporary audience has been captivated by television serialisations and cinematic adaptions.  Indeed, Colin Firth’s portrayal of Darcy in Pride and Prejudice provided fodder for water-cooler conversations when he emerged in a wet shirt after swimming in a lake at Pemberley in the BBC version!

Although writing in the Romantic period, and indeed featuring romance and marriage, Jane Austen’s works should not be dismissed as a 19th Century version of Chick-lit.  Having re-read Pride and Prejudice last weekend, I have been struck again by the elegance of her sparse writing style and by her acute observational powers.  She notes what her protagonists are saying, but juxtaposes this with the true picture, revealing the real motives and machinations of the key players in her plots.

I like to think that Computer Troubleshooters takes a similar approach to IT support to that taken by Jane Austen to her storylines.  Read more

7 reasons you need Voip this April

April is a big month in telephonic history:

In April 1877, a telephone line was set up in Boston between the workshop and the house of Charles Williams Junior, linking to the place where Alexander Graham Bell worked.  These phones became telephones number 1 and 2 of the Bell Telephone Company.

April 1973 saw the birth of the 1st mobile phone.  The first mobile call was made by Motorola on a device that would not be considered mobile nowadays: 11 inches high weighing in at 2.5 pounds and with the appearance of a brick.  Not in fact very smart, but nevertheless the precursor for the ubiquitous device of today.

Could April be the month that you update your business telephones to the latest technology: Voip (internet-based) telephony?

Are you wondering what benefits there are to Voip?  Here are 7 good reasons why you should consider cloud telephones: Read more

St George’s Day: why a password can be mightier than the sword

As every schoolboy and quizzer should know, 23rd April is St George’s Day – England’s patron saint.  George is usually depicted as a knight defending damsels in distress against a fiery dragon.  If you’d like to know more about him, check out our blog from last year here.

George’s armour and sword may have been sufficient to vanguish his foe, but they would be no match for the villains besieging computer users today.  Companies can implement firewalls and antivirus software, but your systems – and your valuable data – can still be vulnerable to cybercrime.

As the old adage goes, prevention is much better than cure.  Why take the risk of exposing your business information to a ransomware attack? Are all your eggs in one basket, hoping that your backup systems will ride in on a white charger to save the day? 

Stop the cybercriminals in their tracks: choose strong passwords! Read more

On Maundy Thursday, charity begins at home

The Thursday before the Easter weekend is traditionally known as Maundy Thursday.  In the church calendar, this day is associated with the Last Supper.  In England the monarch would wash the feet of a number of their subjects; indeed there is a picture of Queen Elizabeth I undertaking this duty.

There would also be the giving of alms – food and clothing – to worthy senior citizens.  Starting with Edward I, money was distributed instead.  Queen Elizabeth II distributes specially-minted coins at a ceremony to as many carefully-chosen men and women as there are years in the Queen’s age.  This takes place in a different city each year, with Leicester cathedral being the selected venue for the 2017 ceremony.

So Maundy Thursday can be considered a celebration of charitable giving.  Perhaps this is a good time for all of us to make a contribution to our local charities, rather than the more commercial focus on Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns!

We specialise in providing IT support for charities and we are pleased to be working with a number of local companies.  While computing is a consistent requirement for all companies, there are points to bear in mind in the charitable sector.

In many ways, not-for-profit organisations resemble “normal” profit-driven businesses: Read more

Does your IT make you feel like a Grand National jockey?

With April comes that important date in the horseracing calendar, the Grand National.  This jewel in the National Hunt season is a handicapped steeplechase featuring larger-than-standard fences – 30 in all – over a gruelling 4 mile course at Aintree Racecourse.  The drama of the event and the romance of its heroes such as Red Rum and Aldaniti contribute to the popularity of this staple of the cultural calendar.  Many punters are tempted to have a flutter on this most unpredictable of races, even if it is just a matter of joining in with an office sweepstake.

In your office, your IT infrastructure should be a tool that helps you run your business, but when it goes wrong, it can feel like you are a Grand National jockey, tackling obstacles every bit as challenging as Becher’s Brook! Read more

Top of the morning to you! Happy St Patrick’s Day


17th March marks the feast day of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.  Traditionally a time to celebrate with a pint or two, especially if you can claim Irish ancestry, the day is marked with parades across the world in cities where the Irish diaspora is well-represented.

You can mark the day, if you so wish, with a greetings card.  It would appear that the main gist of the wishes expressed on the day are linked to the luck of the Irish.  Most are adorned with images of shamrocks, four-leaf clovers and leprechauns with rainbows leading to crocks of gold, with the predominant colour throughout being green.

Perhaps the custom of exchanging cards is practised more widely in the United States; it’s certainly not something I was aware of and I don’t believe I have ever received St Patrick’s Day wishes.  However, just as Halloween and Valentines Day have grown to be more commercial in recent decades, perhaps this trend will be extended to other feast days including St Pat’s Day.

So, how lucky are you feeling today?

Are you trusting to your lucky shamrock to protect your business from cyber attacks? Read more

Let’s hear it for the Women!

8th March marks International Women’s Day – a time to celebrate the role of women in society with a focus on the workplace.  The roots of International Women’s Day can be traced back to the early 1900s as a protest movement seeking equal employment rights and universal suffrage.

In 1977 the United Nations gave their seal of approval when they declared 8th March as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.  This day is marked with protest marches around the world.  A recent development is the movement A Day Without A Woman: female workers are being encouraged to take the day off work to demonstrate how valuable they are in the workplace.

The IT industry has traditionally been seen as a male preserve, attracting people who have a fascination for maths and problem-solving and geekish tendencies.  Read more

Eat your pancakes before Lent sets in!

Exactly 47 days before that moveable feast Easter Sunday, we celebrate Shrove Tuesday, but how come pancakes feature in this Christian celebration?  There are clues in the other names given to this day.

The French name for pancake day is Mardi Gras, a term associated with carnival festivities around the world from Brazil to Germany.  The direct translation of Mardi Gras is Fat Tuesday.  Lent is a time of abstinence in preparation for Easter, so you need to remove the temptation of fatty foods from the house; what better way to use up the eggs, flour and butter than cooking up a batch of pancakes?

In the business world, a great many companies synchronise their financial year with the tax year, Read more

Xin nian kuai le – Happy Chinese New Year!

On 28th January 2017, the Chinese year of the Rooster began.  As the Chinese calendar is based on lunar months, the new year falls on a different Gregorian (solar calendar as used in the UK) date each year, but generally in January or February.

The first thing I learnt in my research is that we’ve been getting our Chinese greeting wrong all these years – “gong hei fat choy” actually relates to a wish for prosperity rather than Happy New Year!  Rather like the zodiac, each Chinese year is dedicated to one of 12 animals.  2017 is the year of the rooster.  Roosters are seen as confident, honest and hard-working. Read more

How Burns Night could provide inspiration for your next password

25th January marks a quintessentially Scottish celebration: Burns Night.  Since the first supper held in memoriam for Robert Burns by a group of his friends in 1801, events have taken place annually all around the world on the anniversary of his birth.

Although mainly celebrated by the Scottish diaspora, the festival is open to anyone who enjoys all things tartan.  The agenda for the evening includes some indispensable elements with other poetry from Robert Burns woven in for good measure.  It certainly wouldn’t be a proper Burns supper without a haggis, neeps and tatties, whiskey, tartan, bagpipes and of course those classics from Robbie Burns Address to a haggis and Auld Lang Syne.

The exotic language used in Burns poetry could prove to be useful beyond 25th January.  Read more

A celebration of pantomimes: It’s behind you!



And so we have reached the festive season, and no Christmas celebration is truly complete without a visit to that peculiarly British institution, the Pantomime.  Every commercial theatre, and plenty of amateur companies too, will put on a production of a traditional fairy tale, often enhanced with the appearance of a celebrity.

The roots of pantomimes can be traced by to Roman times, although these productions bear little resemblance to the festive shows of today.  In the Middle Ages travelling entertainers known as Mummers used to perform a drama which was based on George and the Dragon: these events contained several of the elements still prized in the modern-day pantomime – stage fights, course humour, gender role reversals and naturally the triumph of good over evil. Read more

St Andrew: NOT the patron saint of PHishermen!

st andrew

30th November marks the last of the United Kingdom Saints Days, in this case St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland.  Andrew is in fact the chosen saint of several countries, but this is not where his duties end.  He was recruited by Jesus as a disciple to be a fisher of men, and is considered to be the go-to saint for fishermen.

There is one type of fishing that Andrew is not associated with – email PHISHING!  This is the name given to the practice of tempting unsuspecting recipients of emails to rise to the bait and fall victim to scammers.  Read more

What every charity needs to know

charity cropped

In many ways, not-for-profit organisations resemble “normal” profit-driven businesses:

  • You need to account for your income and outgoings
  • You need to be able to produce reports for bodies to which you are accountable
  • You need to budget for your projected expenditure
  • You need to manage your team
  • … And you need robust IT systems to ensure that all of the above can happen efficiently.

You will obviously look to maximise the funds available to the good works of your organisation by deploying volunteers where possible, and this could well include IT support, keeping your computers up-and-running for free. Read more

Remember, Remember the 5th of November


As a nation, we certainly do remember the 5th of November, although it is generally imprinted in our memories as a brilliant excuse on a dark wintry night to wrap up warm, gather around a bonfire and watch enthralled as the touch-paper is ignited on ever-more-noisy fireworks.  There are presumably fewer of us who know or care about the origins of this annual celebration.

Guy Fawkes Day commemorates the thwarted attempt on 5th November 1605 to blow up the Houses of Parliament when the King, James I, was scheduled to attend the state opening of parliament.  Guy Fawkes was a member of the gang of conspirators orchestrating the Gunpowder Plot, not the leader but a key figure as he was tasked with guarding and lighting the explosives stored in a cellar under the palace.  Surprisingly, rather than being burnt at the stake like a modern-day guy effigy, he was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

What motivated the conspirators?  Read more

Ghost in the machine


“Trick or Treat” calls out the little skeleton on your doorstep, flanked by a ghost dressed in a bedsheet with holes for eyes and a witch complete with Harry Potter broomstick; it’s that time of year again where it is wise to have a stock of sweets at the ready if you don’t want to come under attack from carved pumpkin-toting devils and zombies – yes, it’s HALLOWEEN!

31st October is more correctly All Hallows Eve, the day before All Saints Day.  Traditionally it has been seen as the day when witches would take to the skies on their broomsticks, accompanied by their familiars.  There is still an annual pilgrimage to Pendle Hill to celebrate the Pendle Witches who were the subject of witch hunts in the 17th century.  Halloween was also marked with party games such as bobbing for apples; participants had to try to retrieve an apple from a bucket of water without using their hands, in the process often getting thoroughly drenched as their attempts to bite the fruit end in a premature dunking!

Up until relatively recently, Halloween in England was a very simple affair.  Read more

Celebrating Edison’s contribution to telephony upon 85th anniversary


Thomas Edison died 85 years ago this week, on 18th October 1931.  He brought a cornucopia of innovations to the world, in fact he held the record at the time for holding the most patents – 1093 in total.

Edison invented several devices linked to telephony including the microphone widely used on phones in the early 20th Century, although the honour of actually inventing the telephone goes to Alexander Graham Bell.

However, there is a crucial invention which changed the world of making phone calls:

How to answer a phone call!

Alexander Graham Bell favoured Ahoy hoy as the expression to use when you pick up the receiver.  Keen observers will also note that this is how Mr Burns on the Simpsons answers the phone.

It was Thomas Edison who coined the term Hello for responding to the ring of the phone.  Read more

7 reasons your business needs a managed service plan


Imagine never having to deal with computer problems again.

We have an easy way to keep your computers running faster, cleaner and problem-free without the expense of your own IT department … a Computer Troubleshooters Managed Service Plan.

So, what exactly is a managed service plan?

All your computers are monitored, maintained and supported for one fixed monthly fee.  You get priority treatment should an issue arise, and our technicians are available at the end of the phone if you have any questions.  In many cases, problems are resolved before you even know you have one!

In fact, you will have all the benefits of an in-house IT department without all the costs of employing and accommodating staff.

Why you need a managed services plan: Read more

A harvest we won’t be celebrating



As schoolchildren return to their lessons and the last warmth from the Indian Summer dissipates, we look forward to the next feast day in the calendar: Harvest Festival.

Communities around the world celebrate the successful growing and gathering of food ahead of the Winter, and the timing is of course dependent on when the seasons fall locally.  In Britain the harvest has been the subject of festivities since Pagan times, but it is now a standard fixture in the church programme.

Just as Easter is determined based on the first full moon following the vernal equinox, so Harvest Festival is set in reference to the Harvest Moon.  The Harvest Moon is the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox, presumably named thus because of giving light to allow farmers to work into the night to gather in their crops.  In 2016 the Harvest Moon occurred on 16th September.  The harvest festival (at St John’s in Hildenborough at any rate) is set to take place on 25th September.

The average Briton today has little direct experience of harvesting.  They may have been trapped behind a tractor transporting hay bales, or perhaps have grown runner beans in their back gardens.  When the request arrives in the school satchel to provide produce for the harvest festival service, it is just as likely that canned goods are sent in from the larder rather than freshly-harvested fruit and vegetables.  No-one begrudges the odd tin of baked beans which will be packaged up and delivered to the needy in the community.

There is certainly a harvesting activity that no-one wants to fall victim to: password harvesting. Read more

33.9 degrees C in Gravesend – hot enough for you?








Kent has been basking in Summer sunshine this August, with temperatures peaking at almost 34 degrees Centigrade in Gravesend, a record high for 24th August.  This is great news for staycationers who can plan fun-filled daytrips to beaches and tourist attractions rather than huddling for shelter behind windbreaks and seeking a dry haven as they try to escape yet another downpour.

Spare a thought, however, for those workers left behind manning the office.  Cooped up in often poorly-ventilated rooms with computers and printers adding to the ambient temperature, the seasonably warm weather is not such a blessing.  There are no legal maximum workplace temperatures, and furthermore some employees are obliged to wear heavy uniforms, designed with more typical British weather in mind.

So, is it hot enough for you?

Are you feeling lethargic and lacklustre?

Not enough going on at work to get hot under the collar about?

Perhaps you crave a bit of jeopardy in your life. Read more

An Elephant Never Forgets


While checking out which important events are happening on 12th August, I was interested to learn that it is World Elephant Day.  Elephants have been valued for many things;

  • their importance as a species in the African ecosystem
  • their performances in circuses
  • their ability to transport heavy loads and passengers
  • sadly, the ivory from their tusks.

Elephants are also said to be endowed with excellent memories.  How useful would you find this trait?  Do you have a good memory for faces, names, numbers or miscellaneous facts?  When it comes to IT, there is one area where elephantine powers of recall could prove to be an excellent asset: remembering passwords! Read more

7 deadly signs you should never ignore



From the Bible we have learnt that there are 7 deadly sins:

–          Pride, envy, wrath, gluttony, lust, sloth and greed.

Where businesses are concerned, however, there are 7 deadly signs that your IT is failing which you ignore at your peril.  They may not result in a trip to Hell, but the impact on a company can be every bit as punishing.

Generally, small businesses will ignore some very blatant signs that something is wrong with their computers.  They will let it go or find a workaround to push off having to deal with the problem as long as possible. Unfortunately, that often means they put it off until something really bad occurs and they are thrust into a very costly or even devastating situation.

To avoid the risk of a serious emergency for your business, watch for these signs indicating your technology may be in need of professional attention:

  1. Regular pop up messages that are being ignored.

This often includes critical things like renewing your security software or installing important updates for your operating system or applications. Read more

No more Summer Holiday Phone Bill Blues!



Here come the Summer Holidays!

If you are a small business owner with children, you will know it is a very tight balancing act making sure you keep on top of the business if you have to book time off to look after the children.

Many of our customers frequently tell us that the family trip that they only get to enjoy once a year is spent tied to the wifi checking emails and using their mobile phones to make expensive business calls.  Not much of a holiday if you ask me but needs must.

But do not despair!  We have recently become a partner to NSN (New Star Networks). This means we can now offer an iPBX (Internet based) telephony solution for your office.  One huge perk of this phone system at this time of year is you can have a licence downloaded to your iPhone or android phone and make calls using the wifi too! This means you can avoid those pesky roaming charges Read more

How to enjoy a sweepstake in a small office


Even for those people who would never think of entering a bookies’ shop or having a flutter via an online gambling app, there are certain major events, sporting or otherwise, where the enjoyment can be enhanced by participating in an office sweepstake.  Where you wouldn’t normally care about the fate of a little-known horse in the Grand National, for example, you suddenly develop a passionate interest in the outcome of the race, all because of the £1 stake you wagered with your colleagues!

The UEFA European Championship 2016, more affectionately known as Euro 2016, is one such occasion when even the most ardent football-hater can suddenly display as much enthusiasm as the most fervent soccer fan.  But where is the fun in divvying up 24 teams when you only have a workforce of 4?

Here at Computer Troubleshooters Tonbridge we have hit upon a novel approach which has allowed us to be part of the action while sharing the joy (and the agony) with our service plan customers, who also find themselves faced with the small office dilemma.  Read more

Introducing Reece Ebdale, our apprentice

Reece cropped

We are pleased to present a new member of the Computer Troubleshooters team.  Reece joined us in June 2016 as an apprentice IT support technician.  You may already have had the pleasure of meeting Reece as he has assisted Liane both with remote work and during onsite visits.

He will be studying at the 3aaa Technology Academy in Maidstone with the aim of achieving L3 Diploma in ICT Professional Competence and L3 Extended Diploma in ICT Systems and Principles.

Reece already has a Level 3 National Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and a wealth of customer service experience, most recently working as a double glazing installer.  He enjoys problem solving and is looking forward to supporting our customers with their IT challenges.

Movie technology I wish I could buy!


When you settle down with your popcorn to watch the latest blockbuster, do you get distracted by the gadgets that the protagonists have at their disposal?  From rom-coms, through spy movies and on to Sci-Fi thrillers, tech is ubiquitous and can be very sophisticated.

Where would James Bond be without the assistance of Q?  One of the highlights of any 007 movie is seeing what technology has been developed for our hero, and trying to second-guess how the equipment will be instrumental in the plot.  His cars are always kitted out with useful tools, including the ability to become invisible in “Die Another Day”!

Superheroes usually have great tech gadgets in their arsenal, although these are generally associated with crime-fighting rather than having everyday applications.  Indeed they become synonymous with their equipment: Iron Man and his iron suit, Captain America and his shield, Wonderwoman and her lasso of truth and not forgetting Thor and his hammer, known as Mjolnir.

When you reach the realms of Science Fantasy and futuristic dramas, the technology becomes seriously enviable.  Read more

Like 6 million dollar man, we have the technology to rebuild

hard drives

Back in that golden age of television that was the 1970s, there were plenty of action-packed serials which captivated the youth audience and inspired re-enactments in the playground – The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman, Hawaii 5-0, Dukes of Hazard, Starsky and Hutch, Charlie’s Angels, Alias Smith and Jones – just for starters.  Did you have a favourite?

Each programme started with a brief setup giving an explanation of how our heroes came into being.  The opening sequence of the six million dollar man still resonates today.  Steve Austin was an astronaut who was seriously injured in an accident.  He was so valuable that the team decided: We can rebuild him.  We have the technology.  And thus the bionic man, a human cyborg, was created.

This quote often comes to mind when we are faced with difficult IT support challengesRead more

Mayday Mayday Mayday – CT to the rescue


Everyone must be familiar with the distress call Mayday Mayday Mayday from those old black and white films about the Battle of Britain, but did you ever wonder why the first day of May should be linked to a cry for help?

It was devised in the 1920s at Croydon Airport in London as a clear, easily-understood term which could be used by pilots travelling between the UK and Le Bourget Airport in France.  It is said to be based on the French for come and help me – (venez) m’aider – which was anglicised to Mayday.  The practice of repeating it 3 times allows it to stand out where there is a poor radio signal. Read more

St George’s Day: what dragons would he fight today?


23rd April is celebrated as St George’s day, the patron saint of England and famous for rescuing a fair damsel in distress from a venomous dragon.  Have you ever wondered how England came to appoint George as patron saint?  And why is he associated with dragons?  Read on and all shall be revealed! Read more

Shakespeare400: how it could have been Much Ado About Nothing

Shakespeare's 2nd Folio on display at Canterbury Cathedral

Shakespeare’s 2nd Folio on display at Canterbury Cathedral

This month the nation celebrates the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, arguably the country’s greatest every playwright.  As well as producing a cornucopia of plays and poems peppered with famous quotes, Shakespeare has enriched our vocabulary with the many new terms he coined.  Who knew that Shakespeare was the first to use such useful words as advertising, hobnob, gossip and zany?

It is amazing to think that we could have been deprived of the literature of the Bard of Stratford-Upon-Avon; it could have been a story of Love’s Labour’s Lost.  The entire legacy could have been mislaid as the plays were not printed for posterity.  Read more

Everything you ever wanted to know about Cryptolocker

cryptolocker from newsletter

This month we have been treated to some in-depth technical knowledge about malware and how to deal with it, courtesy of our colleagues at Computer Troubleshooters Christchurch East.

Malware originating from dodgy emails was in fact the subject of our New Tax Year blog:

“As with every financial milestone – month end, year end, financial year end – the scammers are out to catch us off our guard.  In a busy office where the bookkeepers are under pressure to meet deadlines, it is easy to give a cursory once-over to an email request for payment and not realise that they are about to fall victim to cybercrime!”

Now here is everything you could possibly want to know about Cryptolocker and advice on how to handle the threat:

Cryptolocker Removal

The Cryptolocker family of ransomware viruses and look-alikes (CTB Locker, Cryptowall, Torrent Locker, Locker, Locky etc.) are now well known as one of the major causes of data corruption and data loss across the world. Read more

It’s the new tax year – watch out for rogue emails!

Debt email


6th April marks the start of a fresh tax year in the UK.  It seems an odd choice of date to mark an anniversary, and the reasons for this find their roots in Roman times.  The Julian calendar was established under Julius Caesar, but this did not adjust correctly for the true duration of a year, which led to the introduction of the Gregorian calendar under Pope Gregory.  England eventually decided to come into line with the Gregorian calendar in 1752, achieving this by stealing 11 days – Wednesday 2nd September 1752 was followed by Thursday 14th September 1752.

Taxes were traditionally collected on Lady Day – 25th March which was one of the quarter days when rents were due.  In 1753 it was acknowledged that 11 days’ revenue would be lost, so the tax anniversary became 5th April, 11 days later.  This was subsequently corrected to 6th April in a leap year, where it remains to this day.

As with every financial milestone – month end, year end, financial year end – the scammers are out to catch us off our guard.  In a busy office where the bookkeepers are under pressure to meet deadlines, it is easy to give a cursory once-over to an email request for payment and not realise that they are about to fall victim to cybercrime!

You may have excellent antivirus and antispam protection, but even so emails can creep under the wire.  If you click on an attachment or internet link, this can expose your computer to unwanted malwareRead more

Celebrate the vernal equinox with a Spring clean!


Despite the unseasonably chilly weather, the vernal equinox marks the start of Spring.  Generally considered to fall on 21st March, it can technically occur at any time between 19th and 21st March, in fact falling this year on Sunday 20th.

The vernal equinox takes place when the sun crosses the celestial equator, which is the imaginary line above the Earth’s equator.  At this point, the day divides equally into 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness – hence equi – nox from the Latin for equal and night.

Spring is celebrated as a time of new beginnings in many cultures.  In Japan, it is the cherry blossom which is widely anticipated.  Easter is seen as a time for new beginnings and rebirth, symbolised by the Easter chick.

According to Alfred Tennyson, “In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love”.  Read more

9 great reasons to protect your devices with ESET now



We have been pleased to recommend ESET antivirus for many years.  It has so many great features that make it the ideal protection for all your computers:

Reason 1

The new generation of ESET NOD32 Antivirus delivers the same robust protection whilst maintaining the same small system footprint, meaning that the program does not affect the performance of your PC.

Reason 2

Antivirus and Antispyware provides proactive protection against all online and offline threats, including viruses, worms, trojans and other malware.

Reason 3

Enhanced Exploit Blocker blocks attacks that are specifically designed to evade antivirus detection.

Reason 4 Read more

Mother knows best; make her day!

mother's day


As the 4th Sunday in Lent approaches, our thoughts turn to Mothering Sunday.  More commonly known as Mother’s Day, this event is not to be confused with the American tradition of the same name which falls later in the calendar, although it is generally celebrated in the same manner.

It’s the one day of the year where mothers are treated to breakfast in bed (hopefully not at the crack of dawn!) and showered with cards and gifts.  Of course these things only happen where the children in question have been prompted by well-organised teachers or the ubiquitous advertising of florists and card retailers. Read more

Are you sitting on an (IT) time-bomb?



Sitting on a bomb – whether it be of the time- variety or something more lethal – sounds a pretty uncomfortable position to find yourself in.  Surely no-one would contemplate leaving the tick-tick-ticking of a destructive device unheeded.  Anyone who has used public transport recently will be aware of the repeated warnings to report suspicious packages to the authorities and terrorist attacks feature frequently in news bulletins.

And yet, when it comes to your company’s computer systems, you could be leaving yourself vulnerable to a whole world of pain!  IT forms the backbone of your business’ administration.  Read more

Be my Valentine!




Valentine poem


The Christmas festivities are over, the New Year’s resolutions are long forgotten, and we have made it through the first month of 2016.  So it must be time for that next great celebration beloved by greetings card shops: St Valentine’s Day.

There does seem to be some uncertainty about the saint behind this festival.  There appears to be more than one Saint Valentine who are celebrated on various days throughout the church calendar.  14th February was settled upon as the date to celebrate St Valentine, which conveniently coincides with the timing of the pagan festival Lupercalia.  It appears that the connection between St Valentine’s Day and love and devotion Read more

New Year, New Email System

O365 business class emailAs the new calendar flips open to 2016, our thoughts turn to New Year Resolutions.  How many of those good intentions are already by the wayside?

  • Dry January drowned in a post-Christmas drinks party?
  • 5:2 diet sabotaged by a cream cake?
  • Fitness drive scuppered by a crowded gym and overbooked classes?

So much for personal goals, but how about your business?  The New Year is a perfect time to review your processes and implement some improvements. Read more

A brief history of malware at Christmas


Although this is meant to be the season of goodwill, it would appear that it is the prime time for criminal activity on your computers, a veritable season of bad will!

For many, Christmas time is the best time of the year. Celebrations, family and friends, presents, a week off work, all part of the fun. Of course, like Ebenezer Scrooge in Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” you might say “Bah humbug” to the Christmas spirit, but we love it. So the last thing we want to do in the run up is to spread doom and gloom, but while the rest of us are enjoying a great time, cyber criminals are making the best of the opportunity. Like Pantomime villains lurking in the shadows they are already plotting to steal our money, hurt our businesses, and many other forms of mischief.

Christmas Hackers

While you might associate Christmas with Christmas Crackers, hackers have an entirely different take on the festive season. Christmas has always been an inspiration for malware developers. The first we are aware of dates back to 1987. It was a virus known as the Christmas Tree that displayed an image of one before forwarding itself to your contacts by email. A few years later the same virus was responsible for the closure of IBM’s 350,000 terminal network.

Another example is Melissa-AG virus in the Christmas of 1999. Read more

Early Christmas present for you: cloud backup with no setup fee!

Cloud computingHave you considered Cloud Backup for your business?

Take the worry out of protecting your data.

I am extending this offer to you today as you have used Computer Troubleshooters’ services before.  As an extra incentive, the usual setup fee of £30 will be waived if you decide to go ahead before Christmas 2015.

Introducing the CLOUD BACKUP PLAN Read more

When can a LENS rescue you?

When you think of the emergency services coming to your aid, I suspect that a lens does not feature high up in the list of equipment that you expect a firefighter to be wielding:

  • Hose: check
  • Ladder: check
  • Axe: check
  • Fire extinguisher: check
  • Bolt Cutters: check
  • Fire engine: check
  • Breathing apparatus: check
  • But a lens? No, can’t see how that would help!

Conceivably a lens is useful for a householder where it is installed in a spy-hole on the front door, allowing a fish-eye view of an unexpected caller, but this cannot really be categorised as a rescue either.

For a photographer, not having the appropriate lens to hand could spell trouble during a photo-shoot, but I don’t think that the sourcing of the correct lens would be considered to be rescuing the situation.

And, of course, lenses feature prominently in the work of opticians and eye-surgeons. Where would your ophthalmologist be without his box of lenses to select the perfect solution to your eyesight problems? These lenses can improve or even save your sight, but would you define this as an act of rescue?

rescue lens 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

Computer Troubleshooters’ Services: a simple guide


What do you understand by the term “IT managed services”? Basically you want the assurance that your business computers will run smoothly and trouble-free all year round. This new range of flyers spells out for you the benefits and features.

 Best flyer


This plan lets you consider Computer Troubleshooters as your IT department, leaving you free to focus on running your business. The features include:

  • Monitoring of your computers 24 hours a day, every day of the year
  • No extra charge for remote and on-site support; priority service
  • Protection from viruses and malware
  • Weekly clean-up of your files and Windows systems kept up-to-date
  • Tailor your plan from menu of cloud services including backup, email
  • Project work undertaken at discounted rates

Prices start from as little as £50 + VAT per month, depending upon the complexity of your setup. Read more

School’s Out … For Summer

So the long Summer term is finally petering out, with the last few schools doggedly soldiering on this week with games, videos and leaving presentations…. And then the schools are out for the long summer holidays.

Even if you don’t have school-age children, this has an impact on your daily life. The morning commute between Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells becomes a pleasure as the usual clogged arterial roads are freed from the regular school-run traffic.

And of course there is a ripple effect on businesses too. As employees with families elect to take their annual holidays outside school term-time, many offices run on a skeleton crew. While a temp may be brought in for essential administrative support, other roles are left with minimal cover, with the work simply backing up awaiting the return of the responsible member of staff. Read more

Facebook is where it’s at!

workstationIt’s all happening on Facebook!

The Computer Troubleshooters Tonbridge Facebook page has been feeling a bit neglected lately, but this is set to change!

Our IT technician Liane has taken the reins, and her mission is to keep Tonbridge up-to-date with news and all interesting matters on the IT front. Why not pay us a visit and say “Hi!” – we’d love to get to know you.

Computer Troubleshooters Tonbridge can be found at ITSupportTonbridge

10 good reasons to consider online backup

cloud backupOnline Data Backup Top 10 benefits


Data backup is a key start to any business continuity plan. We appreciate just how important your company information and records are to your business.


‘58% of UK businesses would suffer significant business disruption if their IT systems were not available for just one day’

PricewaterhouseCoopers 2012
Moving to an online data backup system alleviates the time and maintenance costs associated with older solutions such as tape backup. It also increases security of the information, storing your data offsite in an encrypted format at our two UK data centres. Read more

Would you like peace of mind for your computers?

pleased manPeace of Mind

for your computers

all year round

All this for a simple annual fee per computer of

£90 + VAT



Introducing the Computer Protection Plan:

  • Monitoring of your computer 24 hours a day, every day of the year
  • Warnings if your backup should fail (additional fee for cloud backup)
  • Protection from viruses and malware
  • Weekly clean-up of your files
  • Ensure that your Windows system is up-to-date


“We are very happy with Computer Troubleshooters’ work, valuing their honest, straightforward approach…We would recommend them without hesitation, but we would rather keep them secret!” Richard Crook, Stepper UK

Stepper logo



Is your protection cutting the mustard?

mustard croppedViruses and spyware can launch an attack on your computer in various ways, for example:

  • Opening infected email attachments
  • Visiting corrupt websites
  • Downloading files from the internet
  • USB connected devices (eg memory sticks, external hard drives, MP3 players)
  • CDs/DVDs


These can be for any criminal intent, including:

  • Identity theft
  • Fraud
  • Deletion, theft and corruption of data (Ransomware)


Not only can viruses be bad news in regards to your data but they can also make your PC performance very poor, making the day-to-day tasks near on impossible and in many cases a PC can have hundreds of malware programs and the user is completely unaware. Read more

We’re your trusted IT adviser; let us advise you!

logo_businessComputer Troubleshooters is here to take care of your IT issues, so that you can concentrate on running your business.

We want you to consider us as your trusted IT adviser; please come to us with any questions or problems that you may have with your PC. It’s our job to make sure you are making the most of your IT equipment. We would prefer that you don’t come to us with your solutions; it may appear that you are speeding up the process, but this could be masking the true issue and can lead to a waste of time and money.

To give you an example:

We received a request to set up a spare desktop PC to replace the existing computer in a branch office. This task would involve work to ensure that all the settings and data are set up exactly as before. Read more

Tired of business travel? Try teleconferencing instead!

virtual office offer

Looking for alternatives to business travel?

Take advantage of this offer today!


Are you ready to try 8×8’s Virtual Office?

Are you ready to say goodbye to the frustrations of business travel with cancelled trains and flights, weather delays, lost luggage and overpriced hotels?

Are you ready to say hello to the benefits of cost-saving convenience and efficiency?

Let Computer Troubleshooters introduce you to 8×8’s Virtual Office. Computer Troubleshooters will show you how Virtual Office can benefit your business by cutting back on unnecessary travel expenses while increasing productivity. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of their technology professionals will be happy to provide you with a free consultation on the many advantages of Virtual Office. Call today and take advantage of this free consultation.

Offer expires on 30th June 2015

Introducing our new technician Liane

Liane Agnew - IT support technician

Liane Agnew – IT support technician

We are pleased to welcome Liane Agnew to the Computer Troubleshooters Tonbridge team. Liane has taken up her role as IT Support Technician with us this month and is looking forward to getting to know our customers and their computer systems.


Liane graduated with a 2:1 honours in Information & Communication Technology (ICT) from Birmingham City University and has worked in IT Support positions in Tunbridge Wells and London prior to joining the Tonbridge team.


Liane is at home tackling both hardware and software issues. She has a particular interest in green IT development, and hopes to share this passion with Computer Troubleshooters’ customers. Liane says:


I have an advanced knowledge in environmental ICT. During my time at university I took part in an EPSIAE Programme in the Netherlands for University Students around the EU, studying ‘Green ICT’. On this Event I was the only female student representing the UK.


The next time you contact Computer Troubleshooters for IT support, you may be lucky enough to work with Liane. Please make her feel welcome!

An incentive to review your unsupported IT kit

Take advantage of this offer today!

An incentive to review your unsupported IT kit!

Is Your Business Still Using Unsupported Products?

Business owners are always looking for ways to save money, but neglecting an upgrade is the wrong place to trim costs.

Is your business continuing to use legacy products such as Server 2003, Office 2003 and Windows XP? Your business could be facing a number of serious security threats and compliance issues. The problems that are likely to arise are significantly more expensive than the cost of an upgrade.

Don’t be penny-wise and pound foolish when it comes to investing in an upgrade. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of their technology professionals will be happy to discuss necessary upgrade options to fit your needs.

Call today on 01732 300064 and take advantage of this free consultation.

Offer expires on May 31, 2015 system upgrade coupon

System security review offer

security couponThe taxman cometh!  Will your IT systems be ready?

Financial Year End is traditionally approaching and whilst the tax will not necessarily be due until next January this actually provides the perfect opportunity to examine your financial processes, record keeping and data security. Perhaps it’s time to overhaul your internal systems? Also, don’t forget that tax season brings out the hackers, scammers and cyber criminals. Take extra precautions with your online security when filing your company accounts and tax returns online.

Computer Troubleshooters can help you increase both the efficiency and security of your business’ processes. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of their technology professionals will be happy to help you with an analysis of your current financial and data security practices. Call today!

Offer expires on 31st March 2015

We’re in print!

Kings Hill directoryThe Kings Hill directory has kindly included an article about Computer Troubleshooters and our backup review offer in their January edition. Just in case you cannot lay your hands on a copy, here is the text from their feature:

Computer Troubleshooters can help your business with all its computer needs. This month we are offering a backup review to ensure that your computers failing do not compromise your business. Take a moment to consider the impact if the worst were to happen:

  • Could you recover important documents if your computer was stolen, destroyed in a fire or simply stopped working?
  • Would your company be able to continue working without disruption?
  • Would you have access to historic emails and accounts?

You should of course have backup arrangements in place, but do you know if they work reliably?  Are you certain you could retrieve your data?

 Computer Troubleshooters can tailor the most suitable backup solution for your company, be it online, physical hard drive or a hybrid combination.

The team at Computer Troubleshooters set up a cloud data backup 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 the [Computer Troubleshooters] crew are protecting my vital data and equipment! Many thanks.

Nick Tunstill Demon Skinz Limited

Don’t delay; your data (and your business) is at risk.  Call Computer Troubleshooters on 01732 300064 to arrange your backup review today.

7 good reasons to outsource your IT support

Your business is never either too small or too large to benefit from outsourced IT support.  You can choose to hand over the entire responsibility for your computers to another company, or you may prefer to pick and choose which services you keep in-house.  Services which can be outsourced include:

  • website development and hosting
  • data storage and backup
  • development of software and apps
  • telephony
  • technical support
  • emails
  • security

Outsourcing allows you to have access to the latest technology and skilled IT professionals while keeping an eye on your financial commitment.

Here are seven good reasons to take advantage of outsourced IT support services: Read more

Why hosted desktops … the concluding part

pleased manWe’ve been exploring how hosted desktops can prove to  be a great solution for all your business IT needs in our occasional series Why hosted desktops could work for you, so now is a good time to stand back and draw some conclusions.

But first, the fundamental question must be: what are hosted desktops?  This is a cloud computing service whereby the computer processing which usually takes place within your desktop tower unit or your laptop is undertaken on a remote machine which you access via your internet connection.  Your very basic PC is consequently capable of state-of-the-art performance courtesy of the cloud-based desktop working discretely behind the scenes.  The term hosted refers to the fact that a vendor specialising in cloud applications looks after the desktop function for you, and provides technical support into the bargain. Read more

Gone. The saddest word in the language. In any language.

Gone.  The saddest word in the language.  In any language.

These poignant words from Mark Slouka may seem melodramatic when applied to your business data, but take a moment to consider the impact if the worst were to happen:

  • Could you recover important documents if your computer was stolen, destroyed in a fire or simply stopped working?
  • Would your company be able to continue working without disruption?
  • Would you have access to historic emails and accounts?

You should of course have backup arrangements in place, but do you know if they work reliably?  Are you certain you could retrieve your data?

laptop security Computer Troubleshooters can tailor the most suitable backup solution for your company, be it online, physical hard drive or a hybrid combination.

Steve and the team at Computer Troubleshooters set up a cloud data backup 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.

Nick Tunstill Demon Skinz Limited

Don’t delay; your data (and your business) is at risk.  Call Computer Troubleshooters on 01732 300064  to arrange your backup review today.

New to CT? Get a free tech review!

This month we are extending an offer to review your business’s technology free-of-charge if you are not already enjoying the services of Computer Troubleshooters.

free technology assessment

Is it time your business had a technology assessment?You have already invested a lot of time and money into the technology needed to run your business, but is your investment paying off with enhanced efficiency and profitability? Your staff may be losing productivity because your technology is not being used to its fullest potential. Here are some examples of affordable products and services that will enhance the power of your network:

  • Add a second monitor to each computer with a minimal investment and increase employee productivity by as much as 50%.
  • Add an automated online backup solution to safeguard critical business data while reducing up to 10 hours of employee time per week.
  • Add a technology solution that keeps data safe on your office computer while allowing you to access your files from anywhere at any time.

Let us help you and your business become more productive and profitable with affordable technology solutions. Call your local Computer Troubleshooters office to schedule your Free Technology Assessment and learn how your technology can help your business become more successful.

Offer expires on 1 December 2014

Why have a dog and bark yourself?

dog - cropped2

It’s quite a strange expression when you think about it, but it certainly drives the point home that no-one should waste their time barking when a dog is much more suited to the job and more than happy to take on the task.

Yet, when it comes to computers, business owners are apt to roll up their sleeves and have a go themselves.  It really is a false economy to try to be a jack of all trades.  At best, skilled personnel are diverted from their profit-making activities to struggle with technology that they are unfamiliar with – is this really the best use of their time?  The worst case scenario is that the well-intentioned employee can wreak havoc with the IT setup.  Selecting reset can turn the catastrophe of a computer error, that is straight forward for a professional to resolve, into a full-blown disaster of data loss and the heartache of recovery and several hours of investigation. Read more

Why hosted desktops could work for you – part 8

Cloud computing

The days are long gone when every office worker would expect to take a seat at his own desk from 9am to 5pm, joining the hoards of commuters to make the journey to and from work.  The most that an employee could expect to transport home would be a briefcase full of paperwork.

When computers were first introduced into the workplace, a mainframe processor would be located centrally in a specially air-conditioned room, and when computing was brought to office desks it was in the form of dumb terminals accessing the central server.  Eventually personal computers – PCs – took over, so each member of staff had access to much greater processing power.  It was not until the advent of laptops and mobile phones that the shackles binding the employee to his workstation were loosened. Read more

Is it time for a cloud solution assessment?

cloud assessment offer

Is It Time Your Business Had a Cloud Solution Assessment?

Cloud solutions have really changed the ways business is being done these days. As a business owner, a cloud solution such as hosted exchange can enable you to reshape the way you are doing business by reshaping your workforce. Cloud Solutions eliminates buying software and offers its solutions via the cloud on a cost-effective monthly subscription plan. A cloud solution can boost your business’ productivity and profitability with the following benefits:

  • Work anywhere by accessing your Office tools at any time. Employees can create and edit files and share with team members via cloud-based file sharing. With mobile apps, you can even create, edit and access files from your mobile device.
  • Data security and reliability is provided. Your data is always available and is covered by a financially backed service level agreement.
  • Enhance your communications by managing your website, email and calendar with the hosted solution’s user-friendly on-line tools. Keep your website up-to-date with efficient DIY tools and there are no hosting fees. Sync your email and calendar, plus with instant messaging you can stay in touch and on schedule.

Cloud solutions offer many benefits that can help you and your business become more efficient, productive and profitable. Call your local Computer Troubleshooters office to schedule your Free Cloud Solution Assessment and learn how cloud technology can help your business become more successful.

Offer expires on 31st October 2014

Try turning it off and on again!

on buttonThe old IT mantra of “have you tried turning it off and on again?” is much maligned and ridiculed.  It even became a kind of catchphrase on “The IT Crowd” where one technician even went so far as to make an answerphone recording taking users through the familiar script.


The truth of the matter, however, is that this has become a familiar saying in IT support circles for a reason.  The impact of turning a gadget off and then back on again is very powerful!  Even if it does not resolve the issue, it is important to rule out basic causes before summoning a technician to visit; no-one likes a wasted journey, even if it is just to another desk in the office.

Wireless routers can fail occasionally.  Removing the power by switching off at the mains can restore the internet connection.  It is important to remember to use the power switch and leave the RESET button well alone.  The former allows the settings to stay intact, whereas the latter will restore the factory settings, and the router will need to be configured again.

Even when the router appears to be working, a restart can make a marked improvement to the internet performance.

Restarting a computer allows updates to be applied, increasing the security and bringing the latest versions of programs into use.  If a computer freezes up, forcing it off and on again will trigger the checking process, which can detect and rectify errors.  If nothing else, a restart allows you to go back to a clean slate; as you accumulate a number of open windows through your working session, your computer can start to struggle under the strain.  It’s good to give your machine a chance to perform well by letting it concentrate on a couple of processes.

So, please don’t mock when your IT professional asks if you have tried switching it off and starting it up again; they may be doing your computer a favour!

Why hosted desktops could work for you – part 7

We haven’t visited the topic of hosted desktops for a while, but we still have more reasons up our sleeve for you to consider hosted desktops for your business.

happy customer

Some businesses experience large fluctuations in their workforce.  This could be seasonal, for example delivery services are in greater demand in the run up to Christmas, holiday resorts are busiest in the summer and farmers require augmented teams to harvest their produce when the crops are ready.  Alternatively, a business may need to react to changing industry conditions by growing and shrinking their employee count on an unscheduled basis.

This is where the hosted desktop solution comes in.  Hosted desktops can be scaled up and down in response to the business’ needs.  This approach can be very cost-effective, especially if “thin clients” are deployed, meaning that basic PCs can be used to access the powerful computing capacities of cloud solutions.

Why hosted desktops could work for you – part 6

In the newest instalment of our occasional series about using hosted desktops for your business, we consider the situation for new start-up companies.

The wonderful part of this situation is that your business is not saddled with aging IT equipment and legacy systems. Starting with a clean slate, you can hit the ground running with up-to-date technology to support your company.

By choosing to go down the hosted desktop route, you do not need in-house IT expertise and you will have access to the latest equipment. As this service is available on a monthly subscription basis, you are not obliged to shell out upfront for costly computers; a simple laptop to access your cloud services will suffice.

It could certainly make sense to include hosted desktops in your business planning!

Try remote support on us

A special offer from Computer Troubleshooters!

In our 10 years supporting businesses in Tonbridge and West Kent, we have found remote access to be an excellent method of resolving IT issues. We would now like to extend this opportunity to new customers to see for themselves how remote support works.

How Remote Support Can Benefit Your Business

• Efficiency will be increased by using remote support for both repairs and updates. Reduce repair appointments and downtime while waiting for IT assistance. Remote support is also easily available when you are working from home or travelling.

• Cost savings can be achieved as the rates for remote support are very economical. With remote support, you can easily access IT support when it’s actually needed. Your business can take advantage of cost savings while also receiving top quality on-demand technical service.

• Flexibility is a key issue because many employees are using not only their office desktops, but also laptops and a variety of mobile devices. We can remotely access and support any device you are working on. As long as you have internet service, you can take advantage of the convenience of real-time remote support.

Let us help you and your business become more efficient and productive. Take advantage of this offer and contact your local Computer Troubleshooters to learn more about the benefits of remote support.

Offer expires on 30 September 2014 – available to new customers only – please feel free to pass on to a business who could benefit.

Why hosted desktops could work for you – part 5

Many companies take the attitude “it’ll never happen to us” when it comes to considering protecting their business information. This is where investing in hosted desktops could act as an insurance policy for your company.

There is more to business continuity than simply ensuring all your data is backed up, although this is of course a very important first step. Imagine that your premises are hit by fire or flooding; even if you have an off-site or cloud-based backup, you will have no equipment to restore the information to. Getting back up and running could be stressful, time-consuming and costly, and your customers may not be willing to wait for you to recover.

Using hosted desktops as part of your disaster recovery plan allows access to the full IT processing power and stored data immediately via a simple computer and internet connection should the worst happen. Hosted desktops offer the availability, the security, the resilience and the support to give you reassurance that you can keep your business IT going, whatever fate throws at you.

Will remote monitoring benefit your business?

Take advantage of this offer today!

A Proactive Monitoring Solution Can Enhance Your Business with the Following Benefits:

Save time and money that is lost on unanticipated technology issues and have your business’ technology needs proactively monitored through a centralised remote location staffed by professionals. Repairs and upgrades can also be handled from a remote location causing little disruption to your business day.

Increase your efficiency by minimizing costly disruptions and lost time due to unexpected network problems, maintenance issues, upgrades and viruses. To make this service even better, problems can often be diagnosed and fixed before you even knew they existed.

Gain the competitive edge by improving customer satisfaction through increased operational efficiency with up-to-date data, current inventory counts and quick delivery of services. Stay competitive by producing better results while spending less and redirecting the savings towards the larger goals of your business!

Take advantage of this offer and contact your local Computer Troubleshooters to learn more about the benefits of a proactive monitoring solution. Let Computer Troubleshooters take care of your technology so that you can get back to your job as a business owner. Call us today to take advantage of this limited time offer.

Offer expires on August 31, 2014

Why hosted desktops could work for you – part 4

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have access to state-of-the-art up-to-date processing power wherever you are without the worry that that equipment will become the target of thieves?

The hosted desktop approach allows you to use a relatively simple computer to access the powerful cloud-based PC housing all your applications. If your business premises are in a prominent, high-risk location such as an Estate Agents office on the High Street, your basic computer will discourage theft unlike more desirable high-end laptops.

So it can be seen that the hosted desktop solution gives you physical security both in your office and on the move while giving you access anywhere to up-to-date data and applications.

Remote control for your business

Is Your Business Taking Advantage of a Remote Support Solution?

Not that long ago the term “remote” generally referred to something far removed in space or time. The term was used to describe anything from distant cousins to someone living in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Definitions certainly change over time. Currently, the term remote is most commonly used in the context of technology. Nearly all household gadgets ranging from our flat screen entertainment units to garage doors openers are operated via hand held remote control devices. In the realm of computers and smartphones there is remote access; remote support; remote desktop; remote iPhones; remote backups, remote monitoring and management; etc. Many of these services and features have enhanced the efficiency of daily life to the point that it’s hard to remember a time before remote technology.

Let’s review what remote support is and how it can benefit your business.

What is Remote Support?

Remote support enables a technical support representative to access an end-user’s computer via a secure internet connection. The technician who is working from a remote location could be sitting in front of a computer across town or on the other side of the country. The end-user permits access to their computer and this enables the technician to diagnose problems, perform repairs and handle updates. Using remote support, the computer never moves and no one even needs to get up from their chair.

Another facet of remote support is screen sharing. Screen sharing enables both the technician and the end-user to have access to the desktop at the same time. On the shared computer screen, the technician types the next steps in the process that guides the end-user through the repair session. It’s almost like sitting side-by-side with a technician who is explaining why you are having a particular computer problem and how it’s going to be fixed. Frequently, the end-user actually makes the repair under the guidance of the technician who supervises the process via the screen sharing function. As consumers, most of us are familiar with on-line “live chat” sessions that help us through a variety of technical questions with products and accounts. You can think of remote support as having a friendly co-pilot on-board helping you with the navigation details.

How a Remote Support Solution Can Benefit Your Business

Remote support offers businesses several key benefits that include the following:
• Cost savings can be achieved by accessing IT support only when it’s actually needed. A full time IT staff member is no longer needed. You can eliminate the salary, employee benefits, sick days and vacation time of a full-time IT staff member. You can trade that expense for working with a skilled IT technician as needed. This can be a serious cost savings while receiving top quality on-demand technical service.
• Efficiency will be enhanced by using remote support for certain types of repairs. Not every computer problem requires a technician travelling to your location. When a computer problem arises, contact a technician via remote support and the troubleshooting session can begin promptly. This can eliminate appointments, travel and downtime while waiting for IT assistance. Remote support is also easily available when you are working from home or travelling. Don’t get stuck struggling with computer problems during an important business trip. As long as you have internet service, you can take advantage of real-time remote support.
• Flexibility is critical because many employees are using not only their office desktops, but also laptops and a variety of mobile devices. The “bring your own device” movement has created greater needs for technical support that is skilled across a variety of platforms. Remote support offers flexibility and convenience, while also delivering secure service and support session audit history.

Is Your Business Ready for Remote Support?

Business owners need to be aware of new IT solutions that can save time, money and resources while increasing the efficiency of their business. Remote support is a strategy that can deliver results and help your business stay competitive. Take control of your business with a remote support solution.

Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call today and one of our technology professionals will be happy to show you how remote support can help your business become more efficient.

Why hosted desktops could work for you – part 2

Here is the second in our occasional series about the benefits of hosted desktops.

As IT equipment is added to the stock over a long period of time, businesses will find that they are managing a plethora of differing hardware and software applications.

As a result, there is a desire to standardise the approach to obviate the need to maintain knowledge in the entire range of legacy systems. In this situation, hosted desktops could be the ideal solution as every employee can move to a standardised setup.

IT managed services explained in doodles

What does managed services mean for you and your business?

Computer Troubleshooters have just released this video clip taking a doodling approach to the subject and making understanding the advantages for your business a doddle!

Close that stable door before the horse bolts

The right time to worry about protecting your data is before disaster strikes.

We are offering a free review of your backup arrangements so you can enjoy a carefree summer break.

If you aren’t concerned about data backup for your business, then read this:

• 93% of companies that lost their data for 10+ days, filed for bankruptcy within a year. (National Archives and Records Administration)
• 94% of companies suffering from catastrophic data loss do not survive. 43% never reopen and 51% close within 2 years. (University of Texas)
• 70% of small companies (fewer than 100 employees) that experience major data loss go out of business within a year. (DTI/Price Waterhouse Coopers)

Make sure to safeguard your business’ most important asset with a backup solution!

Any device that stores information is vulnerable to data loss. The various causes of data loss include hackers, viruses, equipment theft, cyber-attacks and natural disasters. Surprising perhaps, but it’s actually human error and hardware failures that account for nearly 75% of all data loss occurrences. Contact your local Computer Troubleshooters to develop a customized backup solution for your business!

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is certainly true when it comes to a backup protection plan for your business. Call us today to take advantage of this limited time offer.

Offer expires on 31 July 2014

When the cat’s away…

… the mice will play, as the old saying goes. Is your business impacted by your customers’ habits? If it is your experience that your workload is reduced as your customers take their annual holidays, this could be a good time for you to focus on those tasks which get put to one side while client demands take priority.

– Have you been meaning to review your IT setup?
– Are you concerned that your backup arrangements are not that robust?
– Are you fully protected against malware attacks?

It’s time to seize the opportunity of the office being quiet to give your computer systems an overhaul.

… and don’t worry; Computer Troubleshooters Tonbridge will be here to support you.

BNI Presentation – protecting your business

We recently informed the Tonbridge Castle BNI chapter about the dangers of the Cryptolocker malware and the steps that should be taken to protect your business from attack.

Cryptolocker facts:
– Variants: Cryptodefense, cryptowall & cryptobit.
– Symantec estimate 3% of those infected have paid the ransom.
– University of Kent estimate at 41%.
– Files cannot be decrypted without the private key. Removing the malware does not release the data so it is effectively lost.

You need to employ a multi-layered defence strategy:
– No antivirus program is 100% effective
– Email spam/virus protection
– User best practices – only click on links and downloads you have ascertained are safe. Ensure Windows and antivirus protection is up-to-date.
– Antivirus (including web protection/firewalls)
– Backup – to be able to recover data impacted by encryption software.

You may not be able to avoid a Cryptolocker attack, but at least you can ensure that your business is set up to recover from its impact.

Why hosted desktops could work for you – part 1

There are several points in the business life cycle when changes to the IT setup can be considered.

If you have an office full of machinery which has seen better days, replacing your hardware could improve productivity and your ability to react to market requirements.

You could consider purchasing more powerful computers which support the latest technological developments but you have an alternative. Hosted desktops allow your business to access powerful processing capabilities via a much simpler computer, allowing you to stay abreast of the progress in cloud computing without continually upgrading your hardware.

This solution will not be right for every situation. For example, you need access to a good, reliable broadband service. We would be happy to analyse your requirements and propose the best approach for your business.

Remote monitoring and maintenance – what you should know

Is Your Business Protected by a Remote Monitoring and Maintenance Solution?

Have you recently heard that techy acronym RMM tossed around and felt clueless? If you aren’t sure exactly what RMM is or what it does, here’s a brief explanation:

Managed Service Providers (MSP) employ Remote Monitoring and Maintenance (RMM) tools to manage their clients’ IT systems and equipment. RMM can be described as a collection of IT tools that are loaded onto a client’s workstations and servers to gather information. These RMM tools collect information on a variety of issues such as functionality, maintenance schedules and the detection of problems, and then automatically report the details back to the MSP at a remote location.

How Does RMM Work?

If that brief description of RMM still makes it a little difficult to envision, consider credit monitoring services as a comparable type of service. Credit monitoring services are based on the continuous monitoring of a customer’s credit status. Many of us use credit monitoring services to prevent identity theft, fraud and to stay informed about any changes in our credit reports. If there is any suspicious activity within a customer’s account, the credit protection service alerts the customer within 24 hours. The alert can come via an e-mail that states, “Hello Customer – please verify that you used your credit card last night to buy £3000 worth of shoes at a resort in the Bahamas.” Good to know, right?

Additionally, the monitoring service keeps you informed about enquiries on your credit report, late payments and changes to your credit rating. These automated alerts enable consumers to take swift action as needed. Other widely-used monitoring services include messages from your dentist reminding you that it’s time for your checkup. If we didn’t get those proactive reminders, we might forget to make the appointment for our car’s oil change or the dog’s vaccinations at the vet’s.
RMM is a somewhat similar type of service in that it is continuously monitoring the “health” of your technology. RMM is not only looking for problems, inefficiencies and viruses, it enables technicians to actually conduct repairs from a remote location. Plus RMM not only monitors workstations and servers, but also firewalls, printers, and mobile devices. The RMM reporting system is so efficient that the MSP can often correct a problem before you are even aware of the issue. RMM also automates scheduled maintenance tasks such as managing and deploying operating system updates; defragmenting hard disks; sending backup verifications; running antivirus application updates and more. With a RMM solution in place, the System Administrator no longer needs to think about a schedule for maintenance, systems patches or alerts for updates. Your business is covered, because RMM is working behind the scenes in tandem with the MSP at an offsite location.

The Benefits of RMM

Business owners are always on the lookout for new solutions that will cut costs and increase efficiency. That’s the name of the game when it comes to maintaining your business’ competitive position in the marketplace. If you haven’t considered a RMM solution for your business, let Computer Troubleshooters outline the benefits.

• Save time and money by eliminating onsite IT management and manual repairs that are handled by an overworked staff member. You can save money on infrastructure and cut employee costs with a RMM solution. All of your equipment can be managed from a centralised remote location with real-time information sent to certified professionals. If your business has more than one location, RMM is a perfect solution. Plus, the repairs and upgrades are handled at an off-site location with minimal interruptions. Remember, you can redirect your IT expenditures to more valuable uses for your business. With a RMM solution, your business can produce more results while spending less money!

• Increase Your Efficiency by minimising costly technology disruptions. No business owner, employee or customer wants to waste time because the network is down due to unexpected problems, maintenance or upgrades that have taken longer than anticipated. RMM will minimise downtime through proactive remote monitoring of your network. You can rely on the early detection of problems and swift repairs. If you want to forget about those sudden “disc space is full” messages, RMM can be the answer.

• Gain the Competitive Edge by improving customer satisfaction with increased operational efficiency. Provide enhanced service with up-to-date data and accurate inventory counts because your internal systems are functioning efficiently. Avoid the much dreaded “our network is currently down” conversation with a customer. Enhance your sales efficiency and increase your revenues with RMM troubleshooting the problems in advance. You can stay a step ahead of the competition when you lower operating costs and redirect your resources to support the true goals of your business.

Take Action with a RMM Solution

Are you and your business ready to save time, money and get the jump on the competition? RMM can be the right choice to help you attain these goals.

Computer Troubleshooters is here to help you understand your options when it comes to RMM and other technology solutions. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call today and one of our technology professionals will be happy to help you.

Why we love ESET

We’ve always been impressed by ESET’s antivirus software and we have been happy to recommend them to our customers for the last 3 years.

Just as important as the quality of their software is the excellence of their technical support team. I recently advised a customer to contact them after a phone call from “MSN support” had left behind suspicious programs. ESET checked out the affected computers and removed the offending malware in an efficient and courteous manner.

It is so reassuring to know that ESET are there for you should malware get past their protective shield.

The importance of backup

Do you think a data backup solution is simply too expensive for your business?

That viewpoint is similar to thinking that insurance for your home is too expensive. Insurance might have seemed expensive until your home is wiped out in a fire and you have lost everything. After the fire is snuffed out, how do you plan to recover? Some things can probably be replaced, but regardless of the expense, certain things are simply irreplaceable. It’s similar to protecting another key asset – your business data. Even in business, certain data, documents, photographs, accounting files and client information might be nearly impossible to replace. When it comes to business data, are you safeguarding your most important company asset with a reliable backup solution?

What Causes Data Loss?

Any device that stores information is vulnerable to data loss. The causes of data loss are due to a wide range of human errors, technology failures and unpredictable natural disasters. Frequently floods, fires, tornados, earthquakes and lightning strikes destroy both the device and the data. Natural disasters are often followed by power failures that can also wreak havoc on technology.

The theft of equipment and attacks by hackers are widespread problems. Laptop and mobile devices are small, valuable and easily re-sold, making them the target of choice for thieves all over the world. Each year in the United Kingdom over 250,000 laptops are stolen with more than 65% never recovered. Hackers, viruses, software bugs and cyber-attacks grab the most media attention, but it’s actually human error and hardware failures that account for nearly 75% of all data loss occurrences.

Data Loss Can Cost Your Business More Than You Ever Imagined

If you don’t have a backup strategy in place because you considered it too expensive, let’s redefine the term “expensive.” As a business owner, try to imagine what it would cost or if your company could even operate without your business data including accounting files, client records and order information. Consider the time and expense of attempting to recreate the lost data and notifying your customers that their personal data has been compromised? If those scenarios sound terrible, then review these truly sobering data loss statistics and consider the impact this could have on your business if you don’t have a tested backup solution:

• 70% of companies that lost their data were closed within 18 months (Department of Trade and Industry)

• 43% of companies suffering from catastrophic data loss do not survive. (London Chambers of Commerce & Industry)

• 93% of all businesses that suffer data loss for 10 days file for bankruptcy within one year. 50% immediately! (British Chamber of Commerce ICT report)

• 70% of small companies (fewer than 100 employees) that experience major data loss go out of business within a year. (DTI/Price Waterhouse Coopers)

• 30% of all businesses that have a major fire go out of business within a year. Seventy percent fail within five years. (UK Home Office Computing Magazine)

Be Prepared with a Backup Solution

Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of this mixed bag of data loss disasters. The only plan is be proactive in safeguarding your business’ data with a tested backup solution. To take action with a backup solution, start by analysing the needs of your business.

For example, do you need to backup your business’ entire operating system or just certain essential data? Do you want the automatic data backup performed on a daily or weekly basis? Would a desktop backup device be an option for your business or home office? Which cloud storage or online solutions provide a secure remote backup solution that can complement your local backup strategy? Have you considered a personal cloud as a backup solution?
The backup market is huge and is continuing to grow. For business owners, that means there are lots of backup options with many solutions. Plus a reliable backup solution is not really that expensive when you consider the alternatives. We understand that sifting through options and technical details can be a daunting task. You should rely on your local Computer Troubleshooters to develop a customized backup solution or confirm that your current solution is exceeding your needs.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is certainly true when it comes to a backup protection plan for your business.

Offer to review technology set-up of local businesses

Our forthcoming newsletter extends an offer to local businesses to undertake a technology review. Please let us know if you would like to take advantage of the offer.

Is Your Technology Helping or Hindering Your Business?

Have you given any recent thought to your business’ technology?

If the answer is no, maybe that’s because it hasn’t caused any problems lately. Then again, maybe it’s not really solving any problems either. Is your current technology keeping your business productive, efficient and profitable?

• Productivity? Are your employees able to deliver results and provide high quality customer service at the first point of contact or is time lost by endlessly repeating manual tasks?

• Efficiency? Are your employees continuously bogged down with an inefficient communication system, coping with out-of-date inventory lists, scheduling problems and bookkeeping errors?

• Profitability? Is your current technology keeping your business profitable so that you have the time to focus on marketing, growing your business and staying competitive in the market place?

If your current technology isn’t delivering the results of productivity, efficiency and profitability that your business needs, then it’s time to consider other options. Computer Troubleshooters can recommend and implement technology solutions that will streamline your business practices. We want to help your business become more efficient, productive, and most importantly, more successful. Don’t waste any more time or money! Give your local Computer Troubleshooters a call today.

We’re not just your IT professional, but also your business advisor

Computer Troubleshooters Tonbridge celebrate 10 years in business this month.

In this time we have seen our role change from computer repair to IT support management.

Is Your IT Professional Also a Trusted Business Advisor?
They Should Be!

As a business owner, one of the best moves you can make is to outsource your IT services to a professional provider. When it comes to outsourcing your IT service needs, there are a wide range of service options that involve varying levels of management responsibilities and costs. An IT professional can provide service for a single specific task such as help desk support or managing network security. At the other end of the service spectrum, an IT professional can assume management responsibilities for a client’s entire IT infrastructure. The advantages of outsourced services are improved operational efficiencies, cost savings and predictable service for a nearly-fixed monthly fee.

Redefining the Role of Your IT Professional

An increasing number of businesses have switched to the outsourced IT service model. If you are already working with a contracted IT professional, then you have given your business the advantage of a head-start on the competition. The next big question is whether your business is actually making the best use of your contracted IT professional? It is likely that your IT professional is responsible for repairs, fixes and upgrades for your business’ computers and network problems. Computer repairs might be a key part of the contracted job, but there are probably some value-added IT skills that your business might not be fully utilizing.

Do You Need a Trusted Business Advisor or a Computer Repair Service?

• Trusted advisor is an important role that an IT professional can fill by understanding the business owner’s goals and long range plans for the business. By understanding the “big picture,” an IT professional can share expert technical information while understanding various solutions, costs and the latest technology trends. Functioning as a trusted advisor, an IT professional can make experienced recommendations that are in the best interests of the business’s long term goals as opposed to implementing quick fix computer repairs.

• Decisions about new technologies might not be in the comfort zone of most business owners. How can a business owner be fully-versed in technology and able to identify the difference between the latest hype and a proven strategy? Which technology is going to provide the best return on investment? Is it the best strategy to implement a new technology now or wait until next year? Is your business currently compliant with network security requirements? Is your data safe? If your business needs to update its operating system, is now the time to purchase new computers? If your IT professional is acting as a trusted advisor, these larger issues can be explored together with the shared goal being the long term sustainability and success of your business.

• Technology coach is another important element of the trusted advisor’s role. As a member of the client’s “inner circle,” the IT professional needs to bring a variety of skills to the table including the ability to carefully explain technology solutions. The ability to really listen to the business owner is also critical. One size does not fit all – especially when it comes to technology decisions. A knowledgeable IT professional must be able to not only recommend the best technology solutions, but also make the best recommendations for a business’s particular needs in the context of their industry, finances and long range goals. A proactive IT professional will be constantly evaluating new technology products, solutions and reliable vendors that will best serve the needs of the client’s business.

Thinking Beyond Computer Repair Services

As a business owner, you know that we all need to think “outside the box” more often. Computer Troubleshooters encourages you to think outside of the “computer repair” box and see that your IT professional is a valuable asset that you might be able to utilize to even greater advantage. Computer Troubleshooters values your business and we want to be your trusted advisor when it comes to technology solutions! Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call today. We are ready to listen.

Offer to review your antivirus protection

Take advantage of this offer today!

Offer must end 28 February 2014!

Microsoft’s most recent Security Intelligence Report stated that over 16 million household computers have had serious virus problems within the past two years. Additional statistics include the following:
• 8 million household computers encountered spyware problems within the past two years.
• 1.5 million world-wide users are victims of computer virus-related crimes each day.
• The banking industry revealed that 60% of cyber-crime fraud cases caused unrecoverable financial losses to businesses.
These statistics add up to a larger picture that reveals computer viruses and malware are costing millions of pounds’ worth of economic damage each year. These enormous economic losses are due to a combination of systems failures, increased maintenance costs, identity theft, and stolen or corrupted data. This doesn’t even include the untold amounts of anxiety, frustration and lost hours spent trying to remediate the damage. As Internet and Smartphone usage continues to expand at a rapid rate, viruses are spreading even more quickly.

Do you have a current virus protection plan?

Can you say with 100% certainty that it is working?

Computer Troubleshooters strongly recommends an annual anti-virus protection assessment for all of your computers. Don’t wait until disaster strikes to discover that your anti-virus protection system is outdated or inadequate. We are happy to offer a free consultation to assess your anti-virus protection plan. Call Computer Troubleshooters today and we can help you develop an anti-virus protection plan for 2014.

Offer of IT Review for 2014

Let us help your business develop a technology plan for 2014

Have you been saying you are going to upgrade your business computers or get an improved phone system? Don’t put it off any longer – let Computer Troubleshooters help you today.

There are a variety of technology solutions that can benefit your business and keep you a step ahead of the competition. We recommend that business owners improve their backup services, security measures and establish a disaster recovery system. Also, keep in mind that a managed service plan is an effective way to address a variety of IT issues.

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 or create a customised managed service plan – we can help. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of our computer professionals will be happy to help you with a free consultation for your 2014 technology plan.

Planning for a business emergency

Business Continuity Planning – Surviving a Disaster

Our newsletter this month deals with the issue of planning for every eventuality which could prevent you from getting on with your normal business activities.

If your technology stopped working, would your business stop functioning too? Is your business totally reliant on the information stored on your computer systems or could you continue to deliver 95% of your products and services and catch up on the computer work later? No matter which end of this scale your business is at, you will fare much better during a major technology outage if you plan in advance, before it happens. This month we take some of the mystery out of Business Continuity Planning.

Business Continuity Planning or BCP

Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is the process of working out how your business will continue to function during a disaster. These threats to your business could include:
• Fire • Burst water pipes • Burglary
• Flooding (severe rainfall) • Influenza outbreak
• Hardware failure • Software Failure • Internet outage
• Severed phone cabling • Security breach
• Damage by disgruntled employee • Employee error • … And many more!

• BCP begins with identifying the possible risks and the impact they would have on your business. What functions would be affected if your main administration PC crashed? How long could you be without internet access? It’s important to evaluate the probability of these incidents occurring and the severity of their impact. This will help you to determine which incidents are the highest priorities to be addressed.

• Next, you look at how these risks can be prevented, or the impact of them lessened. This could include copying data to a different site or having a laptop that has the same business-critical software applications as your administration PC. Finally, you plan the actions that would be needed to help you respond when this incident occurs. Do you need to go to another site to get a copy of your data or bring the laptop in from home? Do you need to temporarily relocate to another site that does have internet access? Can you run a paper-based system until you can access your computers again? Think about who will be responsible for doing what and what resources they will need. This also needs to include any third-party suppliers of your business, like your local Computer Troubleshooter.

• Your Business Continuity Plan should be examined, tested and maintained on a regular basis. This is to ensure it still reflects the changing needs of your business and also to make sure that the key parties within your business understand their roles in the process. Whilst it may seem a little daunting, some forethought and planning will save you a lot of time, stress and money when things do go wrong. Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooters about the best way to keep your business running smoothly if you’re suddenly without your technology.

What are managed services?

Our latest newsletter tackles the question of managed services – what are they and should your business be using them.

You may often hear talk about “managed services”, but what does it actually mean?

The term “managed services” is generally defined as the practice of outsourcing day-to-day management responsibilities with the strategic goal of reducing costs while improving operational efficiency. A managed services provider typically refers to an outsourced information technology company that assumes responsibility for one or more aspects of a client’s IT functions. These responsibilities can range from a single specific task, such as managing network security or offering help desk support, to the complex management of running a client’s entire IT infrastructure. Most managed service providers bill a flat or nearly-fixed monthly fee benefitting clients with predictable IT support costs.

How Managed Services Can Immediately Benefit Your Business

Computer systems now form an integral part of most businesses’ ability to function. Can you remember the last time a computer crisis kept you from your “real job” – managing your business? It might be time to consider the immediate benefits of outsourced managed services for your business’ IT needs. Here’s a list of the top five benefits you can take advantage of by working with a managed service provider:
• Control IT Costs by working with a managed service provider to create a customised IT service plan that suits your budget and the needs of your business. A service plan can help business owners reduce IT operational costs while actually providing a higher level of IT service for their business. Plans can be customised by the number of support hours required or the level of monitoring and maintenance that is needed each month. Capital expenditures for equipment will be reduced in addition to staffing costs.

• Manage Labour Costs if you do not employ IT professionals in your business, you are likely to have a designated “go-to” person in the office that handles the technology issues for everyone. You can eliminate the time this person is spending on IT issues so they can get more of their actual work done.

• Quickly Implement New Technologies with the help of a managed service provider. Skilled IT professionals can save you both time and money with the efficiency of on-demand services. Also, a managed services provider will have a strong understanding of your business and your technology, allowing them to understand your technology needs as well as your budget. This will save you time in trying to understand new technology, and money you may waste on buying products you do not need or that will not work for your specific network.

• Increase Efficiency and Stay Competitive through economies of scale. Most managed service providers can provide small to medium sized businesses with access to technology and expertise usually only available to large companies. Your managed services professional can assist you with identifying the products and services that would benefit your business and are available in an option that will fit your needs.

• Security can require constant vigilance. Is your firewall up to date; are you protected against malware; do you audit your servers; are you using the latest customer transaction systems for credit, debit and on-line banking? Outsourced security monitoring leads to less down-time, enhanced efficiency and greater profits for your business.

Be Proactive and Consider Managed Services Today

Are you ready to forget about those IT headaches? Whether you only have a few PCs, a network or more than one server, you are probably ready for a managed service provider. Computer Troubleshooters’ managed service experts can work with you to assess your IT needs and develop a customised plan for your business. As a business owner, don’t you want to stay productive by focusing on the actual management of your business – not spending time fixing problems or worrying about what you will do if your systems stop working? Computer Troubleshooters is here to help. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of our computer professionals will be happy to help you.

If you don’t want to miss out on future newsletters and offers, just drop us a line and you will be included on future mailings.

Why we recommend ESET antivirus software

Viruses and other malware continue to pose a threat to all computer users, and it is essential to arrange protection for your machine.

As ESET partners, we are happy to recommend ESET Nod32 and the other antivirus products that they supply. There are many good reasons to choose ESET:

– the program is not resource-hungry, so it should not have an impact on the performance of the computer
– ESET has a good record of keeping up-to-date with the latest threats
– In the very rare case that a malicious file does get past, the ESET technical support team always remove these for their customers free of charge. Eset has informed us that: “This also benefits us as we are then able to take a sample of this new file and use it to make definitions and signatures to protect all our users, something which we do constantly on a daily basis.”
– The program is very straight-forward to install, and the expiry date is updated automatically when the licence is renewed without the need to access the computer or run any special processes.

What if a server isn’t the solution …

… but your business still needs to access shared data.

We have given some thought to the file storage considerations of a business which does not make use of the additional features offered by a server. We suggest that a Network Attached Storage (NAS) unit is installed.

This is in effect an external hard drive that would be connected to the network and accessible from all of the computers. Each computer would be able to access the files via a mapped drive.

We can source the equipment for you. Installation will involve connecting the unit to your network, configuration and ensuring that all laptops are able to access it.

The data that will be stored on the NAS box should be backed up in case of unit failure. There are a number of options:

Local backup : Attach an external drive to the NAS box and schedule an overnight backup of the data. The drawback to this solution is that there is no recovery from a disaster as in the event of a fire, theft etc, the external drive will be lost as well as the NAS box. Two external drives could be purchased and then swapped on a daily or weekly basis so that one drive is kept off site. This obviously relies on manual intervention to remember to swap the drives on a regular basis.

Cloud backup: The NAS box can automatically back up to the cloud (using the internet connection). There is a monthly charge for the use of the cloud service, however it is very cheap (currently less than £10 per month); the exact figure for this pay-as-you-use service depends on how much data is stored.

Our strong recommendation is that you should definitely consider a local backup. If the NAS box fails for any reason, then you can use the backup drive, connect it to a laptop and still have access to files whilst the NAS box is repaired or replaced. If you want the added safety measure of the cloud backup, then set that up in addition.

Of course the most appropriate approach to shared data management depends on your company’s specific practices and requirements; we would be delighted to analyse this for you and provide the best solution for your needs.

Does your business need a server?

With the advent of cloud computing catering for so many business services, the decision to have a server is not so clear-cut as it was 10 years ago. We have certainly seen a trend of businesses abandoning servers in favour of central storage media for shared documents coupled with internet-based email systems.

However, there are good arguments for retaining and upgrading an office server. It allows software applications to be shared, and tight control to be kept on sensitive data. Business activities are not brought to a complete halt if access to the internet is lost.

This winter we have undertaken successful server upgrade projects for 4 of our most valued customers. As the server is so central to a company’s operations, the switchover needs to be scheduled outside office hours and involves careful planning to ensure that disruption to the business is kept to the minimum.

We would be happy to review your business IT requirements and advise whether you should consider upgrading your server, or if an alternative cloud-based approach is more suitable for your situation.

Can your business survive a data loss?

Most businesses report that they are not properly prepared to combat the risk or to bounce-back in the event they suffer a catastrophic data loss. There are a number of factors that affect the majority of businesses today and may increase their susceptibility of a data loss:

* Business owners incorrectly assume that quality backup services are too expensive or beyond what they need.
* Businesses are often using out-of-date technology for their data backup and storage needs and assume that it is working.
* The number of online security threats has increased.
* Many companies are trending towards BYOD- or “bring your own device”- and therefore there is an increasing amount of company and client data stored on employees’ personal laptops, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, that is likely not protected or backed-up even if the company devices are.

What is the Real Cost of Data Loss to a Business Owner?

According to the Gartner Group 43 percent of companies were immediately put out of business by a major loss of computer records, and another 51 percent permanently closed their doors within two years. This leaves a mere six percent “survival” rate.

What about a loss that is not catastrophic? This type of data loss is an expensive problem as well that costs organizations an estimated average of $200 per record affected according to a recent survey by Ponemon Institute, though to some degree the true costs associated with data loss are difficult to measure.

What action should you take to protect your business?

Assume that every device could fail, review your current back up practice and ensure that all your essential data is protected. Back up is only effective if the data is recoverable in the case of loss. Consider how convenient the back up process is, and the location of the backed up data.

Is your computer system ready to explode?

Is there a ticking timebomb lurking in your computer systems?

Let Computer Troubleshooters help you to avoid disaster by detecting potential threats to your systems. Common threats are incomplete backups, out-of-date security software and missing disaster recovery plans.

We are currently offering a FREE SYSTEM AUDIT. The system audit is a free health check of your computer systems and network. A report will be provided with details of the audit performed and recommended actions (if necessary).

Defuse the ticking timebomb; call today to book your system audit.

A change in priorities

We have recently reviewed our target market and as a result we have decided to focus exclusively on small and medium-sized businesses in the local area.

Businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on computers and other technology to support their daily commercial transactions. The cost of employing an IT department cannot generally be justified, but the peace of mind that knowing all is well on the computing front is worth a great deal.

Computer Troubleshooters Tonbridge has been successfully catering for the IT requirements of a number of local businesses since 2004. We are happy to respond in a crisis when urgent help is required. We are also pleased to get involved with one-off projects.

Our forte however is providing the type of support you would expect from an in-house IT department; we can monitor your systems, and offer timely support when issues arise. If you are looking for IT support for your company, take a look at our BEST service contracts which are enjoyed by a growing number of small businesses in West Kent.

Multi-user Email Signatures Made Easy

We were recently called by a customer because he wanted each of his 35 employees to have a company standard email signature (including disclaimer). To achieve this, you would usually need to remotely access each user’s computer and set up the signatures in the email software, such as Outlook, individually; a daunting prospect, which is time-consuming and therefore costly to the customer.

To avoid this, we installed a centralised solution. It’s a fantastic piece of software from RedEarth Software, called Policy Patrol, which sits on the customer’s email server and centrally manages email signatures and disclaimers. It’s quick and easy to set up, using variable fields such as name, job title, phone number, which are filled in by the software automatically as the email is sent. Common changes to all signatures can be made in minutes and it’s simple to add or remove someone.

It also works on emails sent from handheld devices, as long as the email is sent through the appropriate server. Helping standardise your communication no matter where the message originates from.

For more information on Policy Patrol click here or give us a call.

The return of a service by popular demand

Summertime Special 2011

…Wouldn’t you like to be able to get out and enjoy the summer sunshine, rather than being tied to your desk, waiting for your computer to respond?

…Doesn’t your computer deserve a bit of care and attention, not to mention a thorough springclean?

Then we recommend sending your machine for a tune up and clean out to Computer Troubleshooters!

For the months of April, May and June only, we can offer a Summertime Special tune up for £30 + VAT if you deliver to us. For an additional £5 + VAT we will collect and return.

The Summertime Special includes:

– Scanning for viruses and malware
– Removing unnecessary temporary files
– Removing unused programs
– Streamlining the start up process
– Ensuring that files are not fragmented
– Removing dust.

We may make recommendations for hardware upgrades such as memory – in this case we will check this with you – the Summertime Special price excludes hardware costs. Any software recommendations will also be discussed with you.

To take advantage of this time-limited deal, call Computer Troubleshooters today on 01732 300064.

New! Daily Server Safety Check

Keep your most vital systems safe!

Two of the most important systems for any business are its Backup and Anti Virus programs. The problem is when these programs stop working correctly, you usually don’t know. In these cases, you’re left vulnerable to critical data loss – or to virus attack.

Now with our easy and affordable Daily Server Safety Check, our sophisticated monitoring program will check these two vital systems each and every morning, ensuring they’re working correctly – and alerting you when they’re not.

Peace-of-Mind for less than 50 pence per Day

See here for more info: Daily Server Safety Check