Is Your IT Professional Also a Trusted Business Advisor?

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. Increase Efficiency and Effectiveness with Mobility 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 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...

Adapting Your Business to a Mobile on the Go World

Mobility has quickly transformed the way most of us are now working. According to recent research over 50% of mobile phone users use now regularly use their mobile phone to access the internet. This rate has nearly doubled over the past three years. Are you using mobile internet features to enhance your business? Increase Efficiency and Effectiveness with Mobility The increased need for productivity coupled with affordable technology has shifted employees away from being tied to a desktop PC. Workers equipped with mobile devices are now communicating with customers from their cars and accessing data from the Cloud while working at home. Employers and employees can keep projects up to date by easily sharing information via mobile devices at any hour of the day. Mobile flexibility is enabling businesses to quickly move forward with enhanced efficiency. Consider some of the following mobile efficiencies that can help your business: Continuously Connected employees have the flexibility to work from home, while on the go and during travel. Conducting business is now a 24/7 proposition. Accessing information from the office while you are at the airport creates greater efficiency for you and your business. Perhaps you don’t want to be at the airport? Virtual meetings can conveniently connect you with colleagues and customers while saving time and money. Productivity with flexibility has become our new reality. Protecting Company Data has become an increasingly important concern for business owners with the advent of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Flexibility has ushered in the trend of employees bringing their own mobile devices into the workplace. This means that company data is probably stored on...

Why you need an Electrical Surge Protector or a UPS?

Recent thunderstorm activity on the East Coast of Australia has caused havoc with IT equipment in office & homes. After last Saturday night’s storm we lost a printer, cable modem and backup external drive to a lightning strike, luckily all the computers were on surge protectors. We didn’t actually get struck by lightning, so why did we lose three pieces of equipment in one storm and most importantly how do we stop it happening to again or to one of our customers. Most technology depends on a clean, uninterrupted supply of electricity. Unfortunately, inconsistencies in your electrical supply or a sudden complete loss of power can cause major damage to computer systems and other sensitive equipment. Electrical supply is subjected to ‘brownouts’, surges and even complete outages. ‘Brownouts’ are momentary slumps in supply, to a level under 100 volts. They are normally caused by ‘heavy use’ devices (e.g. motors, compressors, air conditioners and laser printers) being turned on, creating a momentary drain on the power supply. Brownouts can affect a computer even if the voltage dip cannot be ‘seen’ (e.g. the lights in the room dimming). And if they don’t crash your PC, they can cause stresses that can shorten the life of its components. Surges of power often follow brownouts as the power rebounds back to normal, and can have similar effects caused by too much voltage. Complete outages are most common in suburban areas where lines are hung on poles that are exposed to lightening. What devices will protect my systems from electrical issues: Surge/power filters or protectors are designed to ‘fail’ and cut the offending power...

Be Prepared To Fight Cyber Crime – Our Checklist

Cyber Crime continues to grow at an alarming rate worldwide and we are all potential victims unless we take a few precautions, here is a brief explanation of the risks & our prevention checklist. What does “cyber environment” actually mean? We can interchange that term with others such as information technology, computer networks, Internet, digital, wired and virtual. It’s the non-physical terrain created by computer systems that is keeping us more interconnected than ever before. The average person now spends over five hours a day in online activities related to jobs, education, e-mail, mobile banking, health care, online shopping, travel, entertainment and social media communications. All of this digital convenience also presents a wide range of threats, dangers and responsibilities. Especially with more information shared via Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, we need to be increasingly vigilant about the security of our personal data. The Dangers of Cyber Crimes For individuals, the ever-present danger of cyber crimes includes hacker theft of confidential information, money, credit, banking and even medical information. This type of crime often results in personal identity theft. Other facets of cyber crime include online bullying and stalking that can affect your children. Malicious business scams are probably the most common. The threats to businesses include the loss of intellectual property, stolen client data or harm to the business’ computer network. The statistics on cyber crime are sobering. In 2013, online scams had increased by 355%. Cyber attacks on small businesses had increased by 18% over the past two years, with over 60% of these targeted businesses closing their doors within six months. How to Protect...

Microsoft Windows XP: End of Life Issues for an Operating System and How This Will Impact Your Business?

Who Plans A Funeral Years And Years In Advance? Microsoft – That’s Who! Next year on April 8th, Microsoft officially ends Windows XP operating system’s life cycle. Even with over 600 million worldwide users, Microsoft will no longer sell or support Windows XP and Office 2003. There will be no automatic fixes, updates, free assisted online technical support and security updates. Unfortunately, many of the 600 million users either don’t know or have forgotten about the funeral. If you like it or not, it’s time to accept the death of XP and make a plan for the future. “When XP goes out of support, it’ll be a lot like driving a car that you can’t buy parts for anymore,” said Jay Paulus, Microsoft’s Director of Windows Small Business Marketing. If you are feeling like you missed the memo, apparently you are not alone. Microsoft’s customer surveys indicate that for enterprises with 5-250 employees, only 55% of them know about the end of XP and 70% have no idea what the change will entail or how it will impact their business! Are you part of this group? Upgrade or Your Business Might Face the Consequences of Security and Compliance Issues You should take this situation seriously and find out immediately if any of your computers are still running XP. If the answer is yes, your business can be negatively impacted with some significant consequences. You should consider the following information as you make your Windows XP migration plan. Security Risks: The biggest problem is the security threat to your business. Without the security provided by an updated operating system, all...

Online Backup Solution – Why Do You Need One

Do You Have a Reliable and Tested Backup System in Place? Imagine that you are working on some critical financial data at the office or perhaps sorting through family photographs on your computer at home. What would you do if the computer containing all of your business and/or personal information crashed and your entire “digital life” suddenly vanished? What would you do if your computer was lost in a fire, destroyed in a flood or stolen at the airport? Do these scenarios put you into an automatic panic thinking about your data? At least the information can be recovered because you have a reliable and tested backup solution in place. Right? Backing up is something we all know we are supposed to do. Yet, sometimes we feel that we are simply too busy to spend the time researching various secure backup solutions or we feel that money should be budgeted in other areas. Many of us are still relying on old tapes, stacks of disks and USB flash drives as our backup plan. Even if you have an external hard drive backing up your computer, this system isn’t entirely foolproof. External hard drives can also crash or be stolen and all of your information will be gone. Once disaster strikes and all of your business or personal information have been wiped away, it’s too late to think about what you should have done. Trying to recover this information is impossible in most situations and extremely costly. We strongly encourage you to be proactive and establish a backup plan immediately. Even if you already have a backup plan in place,...