Does Your Office Need Business-Grade WiFi?

Business grade WiFi

In today’s business world, having great WiFi isn’t a luxury – it is a necessity. For some small businesses, consumer grade WiFi may be sufficient (especially if it is not widely used), but with the explosion is usage of mobile devices many find that business-grade WiFi is more appropriate. As companies grow, there becomes a tipping point where business-grade is necessary. So how do you know if your business is ready for business-grade WiFi? Ask yourself the following questions to find out.

How many devices use your Wireless Network?

It used to be that a few laptops connected to your WiFi network, but that is no longer the case. With the rise of portable devices such as smartphones, tablets and other devices  each person may be connected to your wireless network from several devices. Consumer-grade hardware is designed for just a few people (ie the small amount that typically live in a single household) but can not manage larger amounts of users and all of their devices. This is especially true for sustained concurrent usage. Remember that your employees aren’t the only people who expect to be able to connect to your WiFi. One of the first things visitors and customers typically do is look for a WiFi network to connect their smartphones to.

What is the size and area of your workspace?

The number of access points you will need for your business is dependent on the amount of physical space that needs to be covered, the shape of the area, wall material and the number of users / devices. In smaller spaces, consumer-grade WiFi may be good enough. Larger, oddly shaped spaces benefit from business-grade. If your building’s walls are made of brick, cinder blocks, or cement, you likely need more access points than buildings made of other materials. Make sure you have a strong connection from all locations. It is annoying to only be connected to wireless in certain areas of a building and find yourself in a deadzone one step later.

Access points for business-grade WiFi tend to be more powerful and flexible. For example, some business WiFi systems can move Wi-Fi devices from a crowded access point to one that is less busy. By doing this, everyones access remains consistent. If you foresee your range needing to increase, such as renting out more space, it is much easier to add more access points to a business-grade network than consumer-grade one. Businesses that anticipate scaling up soon are better off with business-grade WiFi.

Do you want guests to have the same quality Wi-Fi as workers?

In households, where consumer-grade WiFi hardware is used, all users share the wireless network equally. In a home environment, if children are slowing down the internet with Netflix or video games, it is not a big problem. However, a choked business WiFi can cause a lot of problems. Business-grade WiFi allows you proper network management. You can assign a designated amount of bandwidth to different users so they are unable to clog the entire connection. You can also allow visitors internet access without giving them unlimited access to your local network.

How much does the internet affect your employees’ productivity?

For some companies, workers only use WiFi for a few quick tasks. With these types of businesses, if the internet is slow, it won’t have a big impact on how much work your employees get done and consumer-grade wireless might be a good choice. For other companies where there isn’t much people can do if the WiFi isn’t working well then a business grade connection is essential. WiFi troubles can also lead to frustrated and unhappy workers.

Strong WiFi is a necessity for all businesses. This is especially true for larger businesses that connect a lot of devices (from both an employees and visitors perspective) and have a large work area. Also for those where employee productivity depends on a strong connection. The goal is to keep your business-critical technology running smoothly. Consider carefully whether consumer-grade Wi-Fi or business-grade Wi-Fi is the best choice for your business. When you ask yourself the questions above, the answer should become clear.

If you are in Adelaide, South Australia and your business’s wireless network is struggling then give us a call on (08) 8326 4364 or via email at support@dpcomputing.com.au to discuss a solution.

Should You Repair, Upgrade or Replace Your Computer?

Repair or Purchase New?

Like many things, new computers suffer from wear and tear over time. Our computers are particularly vulnerable as we have placed more and more demands on them every month. New machines are faster, quieter, more reliable and more capable over time. At the same time our own computers have begun to slow and sometimes even stop altogether.

There are many ways to address the problem of a slow PC. Whether frustratingly slow or no longer working; we are happy to take a look at your system. When you bring your computer to us we will diagnose the condition and find a solution that works for you. Often times the simplest solution is the best (and cheapest!). A complex problem may only needs a simple repair to get your computer up and running like new again. Whether a small replacement part, loose wire, or bad connection; we will find and fix the problem to give your current machine a new lease of life.

Many computers come to us running slowly, they take a long time to start up or are freezing when trying to load files. Often owners have reached their breaking point and become convinced that the machine is fit for only the dump. In many cases, the problem can be pinpointed to a bottleneck in the system. A single, seemingly trivial, part can be holding up the entire system and upgrading just that one component can make the whole machine run like new again.

Adding memory can provide extra space for programs to run faster. Adding an updated, faster hard drive (ie a SSD drive) can allow files to be retrieved in an instant. In both cases, a low-cost single component can provide a cost-effective solution that makes an old machine like new again.

Not all solutions are as simple though as your may have a fault. A failure of the motherboard (the backbone of the entire computer) may be impossible to fix. Typically, with the fast-paced and ever-changing nature of computing, a motherboard will only house computer parts that were manufactured around a similar time. A motherboard is almost certain to be incompatible with components built just a couple of years before or after its own design. Sometimes it may be possible to find a replacement board of the same generation that will work alongside existing components. This results in a cost-effective solution that keeps cost down by saving on replacement parts.

In cases where a replacement motherboard is not available, other parts of the computer may have to be replaced at the same time. Often replacement costs in these cases can  exceed the cost of buying a new machine.

We always give advice where it makes sense financially and practically to consider replacing an old machine. Think of the equivalent thing happening with your car. Sometimes a simple, non-expensive component such as the window wiper can fail. While a wiper is crucial to driving in the rain it is silly to suggest replacing the vehicle once it has worn out. A window wiper may be low-cost and simple to replace, but if the engine was to fail the solution may not be quite as simple. Attempting to make an old car as safe and reliable as a brand new model generally doesn’t make any financial or practical sense. Sometimes the best course of action to save money and avoid breakdowns is a new vehicle.

In computing, many of the same rules hold true. We always try to fine the best solution for your needs and requirements.

If you are located in South Australia give us a call us at (08) 8326 4364 or via email on support@dpcomputing.com.au to discuss your computer issues. We will diagnose your machine and advise on the best course of action to get you up and running as quickly as possible.

6 Ways to Extend Your Phone’s Battery Life

Extend your battery life

Today we use our phones for everything – phone calls, text messages, emails, photos, browsing social media sites, watching videos, playing games and many other activities. Since our phones do so much, we are using them more and thus the battery isn’t lasting as long as we would like. In our busy lives, we are not always near a power outlet and even if we are we don’t always have a phone charger at hand. If our phones die, we risk missing out on important calls and notifications. So what things can we do to improve our battery’s life?

1. Check Apps’ Battery Usage

When it comes to battery usage, not all apps are created equal, with some using a lot more battery than others. For example, checking your email uses a small amount of power but any apps that use the GPS drain a significant amount of your phone’s battery –  this is because they are constantly talking to the GPS satellites. Check to see which of your apps are draining your battery most and limit their usage.

2. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

When you are not connected to wifi or your wifi signal is weak, it is good to turn off both Wi-Fi and bluetooth. They can drain a large amount of battery life searching for the Wi-Fi and / or bluetooth signals.

3. Lower your Phones Brightness

One of the easiest ways to save battery life is to reduce how bright your phone’s screen is. The brighter your screen is, the more power it is using. Most automatically phones adjust the brightness levels based on how light your surroundings are but you can override this and turn the level down to save battery. The more you dim the screen, the longer your battery will last.

4. Go on Power Saving Mode

When set your phone into Power Saving Mode, it stops it from automatically checking for new emails, powers off your display faster and reduces screen brightness. It also turns off other features and visual effects that use a lot of battery. On some phones it may make your apps run a little slower.

5. Buy a Case With an Inbuilt Batter

Some people need to use power-draining features often and have a very phone-heavy lifestyle. If this is you, it may still be a struggle to keep your battery lasting throughout the day. If the other options are not sufficient, you can often  buy a phone case with a built-in battery. This case can then charge your phone while using it and thus make it last longer throughout the day.

6. Buy a Spare Battery

If you phone has a easily removable battery then purchase a spare battery and keep it charged. Then when your battery is getting low you can easily swap the battery out and keep on using your phone.

Our phones are critical to our modern day lives, but they can’t do anything for us if they are flat. Even more importantly, we want our phones available in case of an emergency. Luckily, using the above methods will help keep our batteries alive throughout the day. Just remember to charge them when you are back int he office or at home.

Are You Struggling with Email Overload?

Stop email overload

While email is a great business tool that has allowed near instantaneous communications with people around the world it can also lead to problems. Many people now receive dozens or even hundreds of emails in a day and at times it can seem like you are wasting your entire day dealing with all those incoming messages. You can quickly become overloaded with emails and the amount of emails also makes finding important messages harder.

So how can we deal with this overload? The first step is to reduce the number of emails you receive and there are a few ways to do this.

Restrict who you give you email address to: It is important to think carefully about who you give your email address to. For example, if you enter a lot of contests, this often automatically subscribes you to their email campaigns and / or adds you to a spam list. If you type your email into every popup box asking for it, these add up. Reduce who you give your email to.

Unsubscribe: If you haven’t opened one of those newsletter emails in months, go through and unsubscribe. Turn off notifications from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. If you like emails from these networks, then adjust the settings so they email you the highlights once a day or week rather than allowing them to spam your inbox several times per day.

Do you need that notification? If you receive emails that contain information you can find elsewhere, switch those emails off. eg. you might run an e-commerce site that sends an email for every sale. If your website already has a record of this, you don’t need those notifications doubled up. If you really need that notification or email then create a rule to move it into a different folder and thus not clog up your general inbox.

Change your email habits: Change your own email sending habits. If a topic is complex and will require a lot of back and forth conversation, consider discussing it in person, over the phone or via one of the new online collaborative tools like MS Teams. Sending fewer emails will reduce how many you receive and remember that you don’t need to respond to every email you receive.

Resist sending unnecessary messages: Stop the urge to send messages with a single word like “Thanks!” or “Ok” and you will notice others will stop sending you similar, unnecessary messages. When sending group emails, you can also remind others not to use “reply all” unless the information is relevant to the entire group.

Start cleaning up: Start emptying out your inbox now and get rid of any old emails you don’t need to keep. Delete old calendar invites, advertisements or any emails where the problem has been resolved. Respond to any messages that can be answered as soon as you can. Move everything that is left until you have a completely empty inbox. Archive messages where you don’t need to take an action, but you think might be useful. You can search and find these later if necessary. Put other emails into folders based off of the type of email and the priority level.

From now on, try and automate things via rules. You can have receipts automatically go into a receipt folder, calendar invites into another, etc. A cluttered inbox can lead to your mind feeling just as cluttered.. Free up your inbox to free up your mind and create more time in your day-to-day life. Follow these steps and let email overload become a thing of the past.

If you need help with your emails, give us a call on 08 8326 4364 or via email at support@dpcomputing.com.au.

Is A Slow Network Hindering Your Business?

Slow network?

Few things in life are as intensely frustrating as slow network speeds. Whether accessing shared files, a database or trying to print, waiting for things to happen seem to take an eternity. Worse still, this extra time can keep both clients and staff waiting and get in the way of business productivity.

Every time you save or retrieve files from another computer or network storage device, data is transferred across the network. Depending on your setup, data can fly over the network or trickle between machines. Poor network speeds are often the bottleneck that slows down the entire IT system. If a slow and unreliable network sounds like your office setup then there are many available solutions available where we can help.

Offices often maintain networking hardware that is as old as the premises they are in or the businesses themselves and have been left in place long after their suggested expiration date. If it is not broken then don’t fix it commonly rules as long as some working connection, however slow, still remains.

Even when the rest of the network is capable of ultra-high speeds, a single bad component or cable can bring the entire network to a slow crawl. Even peripheral devices throughout the network can cause traffic to slow. A badly installed device can send out an overwhelming number of messages that spoils other network traffic. Often just one or two small upgrades is all that is needed to unlock the full speed potential of the network.

Some users equate a slow network to slow internet. Moving to a fast Internet speed often can fix this issue.

For some businesses, installing a dedicated server is an ideal solution that can balance the IT workload. Access to shared resources on a single device often benefits the entire organization by eliminating redundancy. A network server is purpose built with efficiency and reliability in mind to keep your business running at full capacity. By pooling resources for everyone to use, work is evenly shared and centrally available to prevent bottlenecks in the system. Reduced network loads, improved efficiency, and faster transfer speeds mean that higher productivity becomes the new normal.

Moving resources to the cloud can work for many businesses too. Where high speed, low-cost internet services are available, moving your work online can be a highly cost-effective solution. Software packages such as Xero, Quickbooks and MYOB offer finance and accounting packages operating in the cloud. Suites such as Microsoft Office offers services for creating and sharing documents through cloud resources. Both packages eliminate the need for many of the network operations that we use every day.

For many applications such as Quickbooks huge databases sometimes gigabytes in size are required. It is these types of applications where the advantage of the cloud becomes clear. To use this locally, a super fast network and server are needed where as in the Cloud this is all handled by the software provider and only require a simple web page interface for each user. Instantly, looking up finances and editing documents becomes as simple as checking your email. With services moved to the cloud, purchase cost and maintenance of expensive local network hardware are reduced too.

A complete network solution that works to make the most out of all the available resources is unique to every business. Only a tailored solution to address your network needs will increase your productivity.

If you are located in Adelaide, South Australia and your IT is starting to get in the way of your business and your network is running too slow, give us call at 08 8326 4364 and we will see what we can do.

7 Ways To Keep Your Systems Secure

eBook - Business Security Guide - 7 Ways to Keep Your Systems SecureCyber-attacks on your business can be crippling, but there are easy ways to keep the bad guys out. We have written a great eBook listing 7 simple but effective ways to reduce your risk of malware or hacking.

Click here to subscribe to our monthly newsletter and access your copy of this book – don’t worry we won’t share your details and you can unsubscribe at anytime.

If you are already a subscriber and would like a copy please email david@dpcomputing.com.au.

You will also receive a free copy of our other great eBooks including the following so sign up now!

  • 5 Reasons Your Business Needs Office365 Today!
  • Is Your Old Tech Dragging You Down?
  • Spectre and Meltdown: How you’ll be affected.
  • 10 Tips to Stay Safe Online
  • Digital Transformation – What’s In It For You?

As always, if you want to talk about ways you can save on your IT, give us a call on 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au.

Why Multi-Factor Authentication is Important

2FA and MFAYou hear about hacks all the time in the news. Major websites have had data leaks and lost their users personal information. Computers get infected and malware saves your login details for bank accounts and credit cards. In the worst cases, identity theft occurs because it is an easy crime to commit and has a high reward.

In the past, passwords could be used to keep the bad guys out of your accounts but a single form of authentication is not enough anymore. Cyber hackers have a variety of methods including phishing, pharming and keylogging to steal your password. Also togdays computers have the power to test billions of password combinations.

To make things worse the majority of people use the same password for several websites. That means anybody who has figured out that password has access to multiple accounts that you own. In a time when it is extremely easy to look up what a persons pet is called or their maiden name is, security questions aren’t much help.

Consider how a bank operates. They don’t simply keep their valuables locked away with one key. There are alarms ready to be triggered, motion detectors and even bars on the windows. Your data is valuable and you need more than one line of defense to protect it.

In the computer world, your second line of defense (after your username and password combination) is called “2-factor authentication” (2FA). Sometimes it is referred to as multiple-step or multi-factor verification (MFA). 2-factor authentication is a way to double check a person’s identity. This can be enabled every time a person logs in or just under certain circumstances. For example, signing in from a new device or different country might trigger 2-factor authentication.

Many of the services you may already use, such as Facebook, Gmail, Office365, Xero Accounting, and more, have 2-factor authentication options. If your bank has ever sent you a special code through text or email to enter before logging in, you have already used a type of 2-factor authentication. They can also be in the form of a app on your phone or a small electronic dongle.

MFA is absolutely crucial for online banking, email, and online shopping such as Amazon or PayPal. It’s also a must-have for cloud storage accounts (like Dropbox or Sync), password managers, communications apps, and productivity apps. This is especially true if you frequently use the same passwords for different websites and apps.

Some may consider MFA unnecessary for social networks accounts, but these are actually very important to keep safe. For ease, a lot of websites and apps allow you to sign up through your Facebook or Twitter account. You need to keep these networks safe so that somebody with your password can not suddenly get into every account you have linked.

The point of using MFA is to make hackers’ lives harder and prevent them from easily getting into your accounts. If they have captured your login username and password, they still need a second method to get in, especially when the computer or phone they are using has never logged into your account before. This makes it much harder for anybody to breach your account.

Plus, if you receive a notification with a special code to enter for logging in (and you weren’t trying to log into that account), you have a good signal that somebody else was trying to get in. That means it’s time to change that password and be grateful you had MFA configured.

It is unfortunate that there is currently an abundance of skilled hackers ready to take advantage of those unprepared. Luckily, you can still stop them – even if they have your login information at hand. MFA is one of the easiest methods to keep your accounts safe.

Give us a call at (08) 8326 4364 or via email on support@dpcomputing.com.au to help secure your business and accounts.