Is It Time To Retire Those Old Legacy Applications? Here Is How To Tell For Sure

How to retire old programs

You have likely been using the same applications for some time in your business. While you have been replacing computers and devices regularly to maintain your competitive advantage, the standard software installation have largely remained the same. The programs do the job perfectly and everyone knows how to use them, so what is the point of upgrading?

In some cases, it is completely fine to keep that old legacy program. However, there are some aspects that you should consider:

 

Support Available

With some software the author has moved on from supporting the program. They may have closed the business, sold it or gone in a different direction completely. Either way, they are no longer interested in helping and supporting the program. Every time you come up against a problem you have nowhere to turn and productivity takes a hit as you try and come up with a workaround. You also run the risk that it could suddenly stop working after a Windows update, start clashing with other essential software or even create large holes in your network security. Even applications from bigger companies like Microsoft have stopped support for older versions. Having support available to both assist and protect your business is a huge advantage.

Hardware Compatibility

Due to the rapid advancement of computer hardware, you may find a simple component refresh leaves your legacy program completely incompatible. The latest CPU, graphics card or motherboard may suddenly brings your entire business to a standstill, purely because it is too advanced. Owners can work around this by keeping some older computers running for that program, but as the hardware fails, you may find yourself struggling to find replacement parts or technicians able to install them.

 

Security Vulnerabilities

The longer a program has been around, the longer hackers have had to discover its weaknesses and holes. It can be a flaw in the program itself or in the operating system that runs it. For example, the program may only run on Windows XP, but Windows XP is not being supported by Microsoft any more. This mean any new weaknesses in XP are not being fixed by Microsoft leaving you open for attack. This is how hospitals across the UK found themselves infected with ransomware last year – they were running programs with known weaknesses that were out of support.

Sometimes it is not always feasible to replace a program immediately and we can help you run it on a virtual machine. That is, getting the older operating system or program to run from within another program. With this setup you will have increased security, an element of support and a strong backup system while you work to find a replacement program. These solutions are very specialized and resource hungry though, so let us know if you need help.

The other option is to move to a new application that fulfills your requirements, is supported, compatible with new hardware and secure. If you have been running the old program for some time, this may feel quite daunting at first but we can help you out and assist with the migration.

Do you need to talk through your options? Give us a call at 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au.

6 Reasons to Migrate Your Applications to the Cloud

Migrating to the CloudAs we move closer to 2019, it is estimated that over 80% of business traffic will involve some sort of cloud applications. When cloud applications were first released, nobody really understood what the cloud was or how it could help their business, but as the technology improved, so did the secure and flexible solutions available. Some of the most common cloud applications are Microsoft Office 365 and accounting packages such as Xero and Quickbooks.

But has your business embraced the cloud yet and if not what are the benefits?

Your Data Is Safer

While it can give you a sense comfort knowing your servers and thus your data is kept within your office, the risks are less appealing. Your servers could crash, drives become corrupted or unreadable due to a ransomware attack. There are always the standard fire / theft / flood scenarios to consider as well. With cloud applications, your data is safely tucked away in high security data centers and come complete with robust backup systems in case anything goes wrong. As part of their SLA guarantees (usually at least 99.9% uptime), your cloud solution will have technicians onsite whose sole job is to make sure that when you need to use the application that it works. We can help you choose the safest, most robust solution with the best performance.

You Are Always Up To Date

Cloud applications are updated automatically on all devices and unlike when you run an update on a local computer the process is almost instant. This is because the update is running in the data center. Thus you are always up to date with the latest features and security patches, with little or no input from your end.

You Are Free To Work From Multiple Locations

One of the best ways to increase efficiency is to remove restrictions around where you can work. With new cloud applications, users don’t have to wait until they get back into the office to send an invoice, follow up with a customer or even make a record-breaking sale – they can do it wherever and whenever they are. This flexibility opens up a world of possibility and can literally hand you a competitive edge. All your employees need is an internet enabled smart phone, tablet or laptop, so you’re even saving money on tech. You can bet we have tons of ideas on how your business can take advantage of this freedom.

Collaboration is easy

Employees can collaborate with ease as all the data is held in one location. Nobody gets locked out of files because someone else is using it and changes appear in real-time for multiple users. By having a single version of a file, workflow is faster and results are quicker employees enjoy better satisfaction with a job well done. It may sound like a simple but we know how frustrating it can be for people to collaborate without the right tools.

All You Need Is The Internet

With the NBN and other fast Internet options Internet speed is fast becoming a non-issue. It simply needs to be stable and meet a standard speed. If you are concerned, we can run speed checks and recommend other options to make it a smooth transition for you.

Because the cloud is internet based, the application works with your established network, whether it’s wired, wi-fi or cellular (or a hybrid of various connections). Some businesses also choose to have a 4G or another type of fail over Internet connection set up in case their primary internet connection goes down – this way the connection automatically switches over and downtime is completely avoided. We can help set this up for you if needed.

Size Does Not Matter

Cloud applications are a great option for both big AND small business. Smaller businesses can now use the same software as their bigger rivals as they now only need to subscribe to single user licenses. Larger businesses can enjoy the multi-user license savings and avoid the headaches associated with have local application servers running. We can help you choose the application and cost-saving model that suits your business best.

Talk to us about your cloud options and  Contact us now on either 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au to lock in the advantages today!

Outsourcing vs Proactive IT Support – What Is the Difference?

Outsourcing Vs Proactive Support

Outsourcing has become a dirty word. It implies that you are taking jobs and work offshore or giving up oversight over a key part of your business. Proactive It Support or Managed Services (or MSP – Managed Service Provider) is the complete opposite of that and is a local solution. Your business already looks for help in various places, hiring consultants, agencies and other contractors, all so that you can focus on running your business. Proactive IT is simply another of those specialized services, designed exclusively to help with your technology needs.

A True IT Partner

Our team act as partners dedicated to achieving your business success. We are able to analyze your strategic needs to tailor IT solutions specific to your business requirements. We work hand-in-hand with you to design, implement and maintain your IT and keep you involved at every step of the way. We will also be up to date on industry news and where relevant can apply it to your business so you don’t lose your edge. When new software versions are released, we can help you make informed decisions about whether to upgrade, stick with current version a little longer or switch to an alternative. You will have a true partner on your team that’s always looking out for you and your business.

Better Results

Since our team get to know your business so closely, we are able to ensure all your tech support and maintenance is handled quickly and without disruption to your daily running. You will be able to keep your employees on task while our experienced technicians work through the issue, often remotely so the response is quick and disruption is kept to a minimum.

Visible and Accountable

Unlike standard outsourcing where you lose control of certain elements and are left to hope for the best, Proactive IT Services are completely transparent. You can get reports on the status of your computers or networks, the number of support tickets we’ve answered and exactly what we’ve been doing to keep your technology up and running. This level of visibility also means you’re able to see IT trends across your business and make strategic decisions to improve productivity and efficiency.

It Is A Local Solution

All of us have called a support number and found ourselves stuck in a frustration loop with an overseas call center. It is almost the entire reason outsourcing has earned a bad name. Our Proactive IT support service is actually a local service, a real-life business near you who employs local people and supports the local economy. Keeping your IT support nearby means you can get the tech assistance you need, with local knowledge, and customer service standards that make the process easier.

You Stay Protected and Prepared

Part of any Proactive or Managed IT service is to ensure your computers, network and digital devices are secure against threats. This means updates, patches, scans, tweaks, backups and system maintenance are all done for you. Your employees no longer have to worry about making time for these tasks and you don’t have to worry that they are getting skipped and opening up your systems for possible attacks. This level of proactive support ensures problems are stopped before they can occur and your business is able to keep on functioning. If anything ever goes wrong, your IT provider will have prepared disaster recovery and continuity plans so that you are up and running asap.

It Is Cost Effective

With Proactive or Managed IT, you will be able to reduce infrastructure costs very quickly as your IT partners are able to recommend better, faster solutions such as cloud storage and mobile technology. Instead of replacing hardware and software when things break, your IT experts will present plans with multiple cost-saving options and strategies. These can often extend to licensing and training too. Productivity improves as the technology begins to work with your processes and employees, not against them. Predictable costs are important to every business, which is why Proactive or Managed IT is the right choice. You’ll know your monthly expenses are capped, and you’ll be able to avoid expensive surprises.

Considering Proactive or Managed IT? Then reach out to us today on 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au.

5 Tech Travel Tips You Can Use

Travelling with technology

Are you off on a business or personal trip soon? This can also mean making sure your tech is packed and ready for the adventure. Smartphones, eBook readers, tablets, laptops and smart watches are now so light and portable that you’d never think of leaving them behind, plus they can value to your trip.

Here are a few things to consider before you head off.

1. Backup Your Data

While you are travelling your devices are always going to be exposed to a level of risk. This might range from accidentally dropping it, leaving your laptop at a cafe, or having it stolen or lost. If the unfortunate happens your device is gone along with all the data it contained. If you have backed up your devices to the cloud (eg OneDrive or Google Drive) you will be able to access your files easily and securely from anywhere.

Hot Tip: Scan and then save important documents like your itineraries and passports to the cloud and also leave a copy with someone you trust back home.

2. Pack the right cables

It is not fun begging random strangers for a loan of their cable, so remember to bring the exact cables and chargers that you need. Most smartphones and tablets use universal plugs like Micro USB, USB C or Apple Lightning, so you can get away with only packing one cable but we suggest taking at least two in case one is lost or fails to work. If you are travelling overseas remeber to check the socket types and pack a plug converter. Depending on your destination, you might even find the voltage is different. so you may also need a voltage converter before you try and charge your device.

3. Download Online Data

Global roaming and data charges can give nasty bill shocks. While travelling, you might find yourself in a region or location where data costs a fortune, is extremely slow or is not available at all. Download any critical files you might need so that you can access them even without a connection.

4. Update and scan

Just like you’d make sure you have got the right vaccinations and travel gear, make sure your tech is ready to travel too! Set aside a few minutes or get your technician to run updates for all your operating systems and apps (remember your anti-virus). Also run a manual anti-virus scan too as the last thing you want to deal with is a malware issue on your trip!

Turn off auto Windows updates as you don’t want to be stuck downloading and installing an update as you are about to board a plane.

While you are updating your devices, turn on password protection for all devices so that only you can unlock them.

Hot tip: Use a complex password that is hard for hackers and thieves to guess. Also tell someone you trust the password so that you don’t get locked out of your devices if you forget it!

5. Label Your Devices

Label your devices so let everyone know this tech belongs to you. Write your cell number or email on portable devices in case you get separated so that whoever finds it can give you a quick call and save the day. If you don’t want to use permanent marker on your devices grab some sticky labels you can peel off when you return home.

You can also purchase little Bluetooth tracking tags to stick to your equipment, so that if you ever lose something you can quickly chase it down. Similarly, you might like to consider enabling the ‘find my devices’ option available on many devices. Having this feature switched on also means you can find or disable your device remotely, an excellent security option if it’s been stolen.

Need help preparing your tech for travel? Contact us at 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au.

How to Get the Right Tech for Your New Business

getting the right tech

Congratulations on starting your new business! Costs can easily escalate and tech is often one of the bigger expenses. Just the sheer number of technologies available can overwhelm and confuse you. The latest tech has amazing features you didn’t know you needed, and suddenly your budget has gone skywards!

So how do you get the tech right for your business, without all the headaches and drama?

Do You Actually Need It?

Using a cloud application may mean you can skip the big server purchase and the ongoing maintenance costs of a server. Many line of business applications will have a cloud option that allows you to get all the benefits without the big upfront expense. So before you make the hardware purchase, look at what applications you require and whether a cloud version will suit your needs. You may be able to start with a basic package and expand to new versions as your business grows.Things to consider include: do you require remote access, will you need collaboration, do multiple users require access. This level of detail can be overlooked and causes expenses to spiral.

Get Professional Advice

It is easy and cheaper to ask friends and family what their recommendations are, but there are many more factors to consider than just their personal preference. Of course you can trust their input but they may be speaking from a consumer perspective, basing their recommendation on brand loyalty or on how another business does things (which may not be the best business model). As every business is different and matching the correct technology with the business can save you a lot of money and time in the long run.

Buy Business Grade

The majority of computers and laptops you see in the big department stores are not up to business standard. They are designed for home users to perform quick tasks and not run a full 8 – 12 hour (or more) a day workload. Business grade systems have additional features that your business needs, plus longer warranties and better support. Even attached peripherals like network switches and printers are built to a higher standard, to last longer and perform better.

Prioritize Flexibility

Businesses grow and evolve during their first few years and the last thing you want to do is go out and buy new tech, playing catch-up and cobbling together an assorted mismatch of devices. Your new technology should be as flexible as your business, which means making purchasing decisions based on business strategy and not just on price. Perhaps this means instead of workstations for employees, they may only need tablets or rather than having a fixed point of sale system, you might choose mobile checkout devices so your staff can assist customers on the go. These two examples highlight how easy it is to commit to certain tech because it is ‘what you do’ but later discover you’re locked into a certain way of doing business. Trying to change business processes down the line impacts productivity, efficiency and culture in a big way, so we recommend buying with your future success in mind.

Choose A Trusted IT Partner

During your initial set up and growth, you will need an IT partner who can not only help with your purchase strategy but support you through any problems as they occur. That is the difference between a partner and a supplier, a partner is committed to driving long-term business success for you.

You can call on your partner and know they are immediately up to speed with your business, they know how IT can help leverage your competitive advantage and which critical systems they should focus on.

Getting good technology in place shouldn’t be seen as just an expense. It improves your productivity and allows you to serve your clients and customers better while enjoying consistent growth.

If you need an IT partner to help your business grow, give us a call at 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au.

What Is That Weird Noise Coming From The Computer?

Weird Computer NoisesNew computers are generally quiet, but after a while computers can start making some  weird noises. These noises may be simple clicks or clunks but your computer may also sound like a jet aircraft about to take off. But when should you worry? Your computer has a number of moving and non moving parts that can make noises and these noises can tell you a lot about its current health.

Clicking Noises

Soft ticks can be normal as the mechanical hard drives work a bit like a record player with a needle and platter. Depending upon the brand of the drive you might simply be hearing it spin up and move the needle around. When it starts sounding like a loud click though you should backup your data ASAP and bring it the machine in as soon as you can. If you ignore it all your data may become lost and your computer may fail to boot.

If you take action before its too late our technicians can copy your data onto a new drive and save you heart ache. It is much easier and a lot cheaper to replace the hard drive at the first sign of failure.

Clunking Noises

Unsurprisingly, this one causes certain alarm as computers aren’t meant to go clunk! It may be as simple as a cable having moved into the path of a spinning fan. If that is the case, our technicians will quickly secure the cable back where it belongs or check to see what else could be causing the clunk!

Jet Engine Noises

The majority of computers and laptops have fans to keep them cool by moving the air around. The hotter your computer gets the faster the fans spin and thus the more noisier they get. Consistent jet engine noises indicate that your computer is struggling to cool itself as perhaps the fan vents are clogged with dust, your computer is in a poorly ventilated space, or the fan itself is worn out. Each fan has ball bearings inside that wear out over time causing extra noise while it does the best it can. Our technicians can clean out your computer, unclog vents, replace individual fans if needed and give your system a check to make sure nothing else has been affected.

Beep Beep

No I’m not referring to the road runner from the cartoons of old but the beep as you switch on your computer. These beeps actually has multiple meanings. The single beep you normally hear indicates that it has run a self-test and everything is fine. When your computer is unwell, you may hear more beeps than usual. This is because each beep combination relates to a diagnostic code that lets us know what has gone wrong. If your computer is beeping differently, let us know so we can decode it and repair the problem for you.

Some noises your computer makes will be normal while others are a sign of deeper issues. Even if your computer looks to be working ok, a sudden change in noise could mean failure is just around the corner. Taking early action will ensure problems do not escalate, costs are kept low, and your files remain accessible.

Are weird noises coming from your computer? Give us a call today at 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au.