The start of a new year is a great time to evaluate your IT systems and here are five great resolutions for your business to make. Continue reading
Depending on what business you are in the start of a new year may be flat out dealing with customers or it may be an excellent time to take stock and evaluate what your business needs to go forward. Continue reading
IT support services can be one of the largest and most unpredictable expenses within a modern business. Unexpected failures, mandatory upgrades and sudden staff changes can happen quickly and the costs can soon add up.
These factors are a part of the IT world and make IT departments costly, hard to manage, and difficult to budget for.
Switching your business to a proactive IT support provider (or managed service provider – MSP) can lower costs and reduce unpredictable expenses. Making the switch can cut down management overheads and reduce budgets to a fixed monthly cost. Here are some tips on how this can be done:
Christmas will soon be here. The latest devices and gadgets are hitting store shelves just in time to keep up with the rush. Social media, blogs, magazines, television screens and the web are brimming with advertisements and reviews of the latest technology you can buy.
Before you rush out to buy the gadgets you’ve been waiting all year for, consider a few important questions before handing over your hard-earned cash.
It is very easy to lose track of time during your busy workday. Often you can be running late before you know it and wondering where the time has gone. Luckily, there is range of technology solutions to help you organise your to-do list and help you get on top of your workday.
The Outlook Calendar
We are often guilty of spending the entire day stuck with emails in Outlook. In addition to emails, there are a range of features that can help you make the most of Outlook. With some simple tweaks, you will be able to manage your day like a pro.
The Outlook Calendar allows you to make quick changes, alter your diary, and update items on the go. The Calendar interface allows appointments to be picked up and moved to a different time or date with ease.
The biggest advantage Outlook has is the ability to access and update it from anywhere. With 2-way sync, appointments, meetings, and events can be updated anywhere and accessed everywhere – whether it be on your computer, laptop, tablet or phone. The days of no longer being able to check your calendar because you are not sitting in front of your computer are now long gone.
Today you can add events straight from your email and even invite others to events can be contacted with reminders automatically. You can even schedule your own reminders before the event too. Using your calendar to stay on top of your day has never been easier.
The Microsoft Office suite includes OneNote, despite it not being as well known as other members of the Office suite (ie Outlook, Word, excel etc) it can be an indispensable tool that you shouldn’t do without.
OneNote acts as a virtual notebook to keep your ideas, projects, and notes in line. Using OneNote enables you to power-up your text with drawings and diagrams, tailor your projects with color coding, and record your thoughts with media clips all in one location.
OneNote is becoming the ultimate record keeping tool that you simply can’t go into a meeting without. Physical notebooks begin to seem like a relic of the past, limited by old constraints that no longer apply to a laptop or tablet with OneNote.
Powered by Office 365 is Microsoft’s To-Do application. To-Do offers a simple, straightforward to-do list that makes it easy to plan your day.
Whether planning your school work, business projects or keeping on top of your home life, To-Do is designed to boost productivity and make the most of your time. The simple interface makes it easy to use and the instant reward for checking of tasks makes it well worth your while.
To-Do sorts your tasks into lists, which are combined into a single day view. The view of your day provides a clear, clutter-free list of tasks to be done.
Being Office 365 based means that the application syncs with all your devices to give you access from anywhere. This empowers you to quickly add, change, schedule, and tick off tasks as you go.
Keeping On Top Of Your Day
Losing track of time is easy to do. It does not take too much before your day seems completely out of order. With the tools listed above from Office 365 and a tiny bit of planning, your days can become more productive than ever.
Being back on track, you will no longer have to spend your free time making up for lost time. Your spare time will be your own again and everyone will wonder how you manage to remain so productive.
Give these tools a try today and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them.
If you need help and are in Adelaide South Australia please contact us on 08 8326 4364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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All electrical appliances have an effective lifespan and computers are no different. Computers can expectantly fail after years of service or they may become too slow to keep doing the job. Hardware failures and IT issues can cost big not just in physical costs but also in areas such as productivity losses and unintended downtime.
Improving productivity, avoiding unnecessary downtime and lowering costs are the driving factors in which many modern businesses now choose to adopt IT life cycles.
IT Life Cycle
The IT life cycle aims to make IT budgets predictable, manageable and reduce costs across the business.
The process starts with a thorough plan outlining the demands of the business. By looking at how and where equipment is deployed, we can make the most out of the resources throughout the business. One of the first steps is to reduce equipment duplication and under use within the firm.
With this approach, equipment can be scheduled for upgrade or replacement at predictable intervals based on usage and time frames. With a plan in place, the focus of the life cycle can shift to resource procurement. As equipment approaches the end of its lifespan it can be brought in for replacement, repair and recycling. Old hardware and components can often be reused and recycled in new roles as they are decommissioned from their initial role.
By maintaining as many usable parts as possible we help lower costs of keeping efficient hardware in the front line business environment. This approach helps a huge number of businesses keep modern and up to date hardware in crucial roles where it can serve the biggest impact for the business.
Make the most of resources
Computers in busy business environments will always need replacement over time. It is important to plan and prepare for this time to avoid unplanned downtime, unbudgeted costs and losses in productivity. Doing so, helps to plan a regular, predictable IT budget and you are also less prone to sudden financial spikes.
The IT life cycle additionally allows your business to stay on top of software licensing, upgrades and Operating System changes. By moving old and outdated systems from your network, potential security issues are dramatically reduced.
Additional financial security comes from the manufacturers hardware warranties for businesses that adopt the life cycle. As new equipment is purchased, manufacturer warranties provide guarantees about the handling of any hardware issues. Depending on the length of your life cycle this warranty may cover all, or most of the duration of the equipment’s intended life. The extra coverage provides an extra layer of financial protection from unpredictable IT issues.
In control with information
Tracking the life cycle of your own firm provides invaluable metrics about how equipment use and deployment within your own production environment occurs. Armed with this unique knowledge, better purchasing decisions can be made to equip your business with the best tools needed for your success.
Money can be better implemented by getting the important high-value resources to the places in the businesses that need it most – the ones where they will generate the most value for the firm.
A key factor in getting the most from your firm’s IT is making sure the resources put into the company do not sit idly on a shelf or are not used to their full potential. This insight gained from metrics related to the life cycle ensure that management stay fully informed.
A complete picture puts the business management team back in control of its IT by allowing them to choose the best, most efficient and cost-effective time to replace critical systems. Firms can plan replacements and servicing outside of busy periods so they can operate without interruption and know their IT is fully serviced when they need it most.
With a planned, fully prepared life cycle, IT budgets can be prepared in detail for years to come and everything from computer systems to printers can be upgraded on a tightly controlled schedule.
Businesses all over the world have adopted IT life cycles as a way to eliminate unwanted surprises, lessen productivity losses and make the most out of IT budgets. Implementing your own IT life cycle can greatly improve the way your business operates and provide an advantage over your competitors.
If you are in Adelaide, South Australia, talk to us about how you currently do IT planning and we will see if we can make the life cycle work for you. Give us a call on 08 8326 4364 or via email at email@example.com.
You probably have been alerted by popup windows while surfing the web. These popups claim your computer has thousands of errors requiring urgent attention. The popups offer a “solution” to cure your computers so called problems.
These advertisements are often described as Speed Booster or Speed Up utilities Reg and will attempt to convince the user they will somehow clean or improve their computer. Within the IT industry these programs are known as “scareware”. They are adverts and software programs specifically designed to convince you that your computer has problems – which it might not have.
Are these popups and utilities trustworthy?
Almost all popups and advertisements that use adverts saying “Fix now for free” or “Speed up your computer” are not trustworthy at all. They are little more than a scam attempting to take your money and / or install malware on your computer. At best these programs claim to scan your computer and show a list of plausible sounding computer problems. Using this, they will ask for payment to “fix” these problems and “speed up” your PC.
Some may even attempt to use these fake warnings and scare tactics to trick you into installing malware on your computers. Once installed, the malware can go many things including stealing files, accounting information, usernames, passwords, emails, and credit card details. Sometimes the first sign a user has that something is wrong is when they check their bank account!
Can software actually speed up my computer?
During normal computer usage you install and uninstall a variety of computer programs and applications may leave temporary files around or entries within the registry. Despite the large amount of “scareware” and fraudulent computer cleanup utilities out there, legitimate applications do exist that are designed to clean your system. This can be something we cover and is often done as a part of a complete computer tune up. The large speed boosts many of the fake utilities to unlock by simply moving files around are almost always false.
Most computer can have a speed boost by more conventional means which include a combination of temporary file removal, registry cleanup, startup file optimization as well as hardware upgrades.
Hardware components such as memory and a SSD upgrades can often be added to boost the speed of even an older PC and give it a new lease of life. Upgrading the computers RAM can double the working memory available to the system. With extra memory, many programs can keep more information available to work with. This upgrade reduces loading times and increases the computers ability to run more programs at once.
Switching from an older style mechanical hard drive to a modern Solid State Disk (SSD) can significantly reduce startup and loading times of any PC as well as speeding up application loading times. Loading data from the hard drive is very often the slowest part of a computer, the bottleneck in an otherwise very fast system. Because an SSD does not use any mechanical components the time to access the disk is nearly instant when compared to older, mechanical hard disks.
These upgrades offer boosts in speed to rival a modern system at only a fraction of the cost originally paid for the new computer. Performing some basic house keeping functions along with upgrading the RAM and swapping to an SSD will provide an instant, dramatic, and safe improvement to the speed of your PC.
If your computer is running slow give us at a call on 08 8326 4364 or firstname.lastname@example.org and arrange a real and professional cleanup of your computer systems.
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 email@example.com.
Microsoft Office has been THE office suite for over a decade, whether it is for business or home usage. Other applications have come and gone, but it is expected that most people will be doing their work in Word, Excel, Outlook or PowerPoint. While many people have their favourite versions of Office, here are three good reasons you should upgrade to Office 365.
1) It is more accessible
Office 365 operates both locally on your computer and in the cloud – which means you can use your Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook from anywhere. This means no more forgotten homework, files you can’t access until you get to work or lost documents. They are all ready and waiting in the cloud, wherever you are.
Another benefit is that the barriers between Mac and PC versions have been erased. It runs on both platforms and on any device – even iPhones, iPads, Android, tablets and many other smart devices. A hefty allocation of cloud storage comes with it too, in the form of OneDrive. Many people have started using their OneDrive to store all of their important data. If needed you can even securely share your files with a simple link, and always have complete control over who sees what.
2) It is more affordable
Previously, there was a large upfront cost per computer and you were stuck with that version until you forked out extra money for an upgrade. For people with more than one computer in their office, this was a very expensive way to obtain software. Office 365 has no large upfront costs, no matter how many computers or devices you need to install it on. It is a small monthly subscription, with no contracts. Depending on your location (as pricing differs across countries), you can have five Office 365 licenses for a whole year, for less than the cost of your previous version.
3) It is always up to date
You are always rocking the latest version of Office. You are not stuck with the one you paid for years ago, like Office 2007, 2013 or 2016. Office 365 is always the very latest. If you are still using an older version, you will be surprised by how much Office has evolved over the years. Gone are the annoying helpers, tacky looking clipart and templates and confusing buttons. Everything is intuitive and easy to use, so you no longer need to take classes or tutorials on how to work it. Even the jargon has been stripped out in favour of human-speak so you can get your tasks done faster. With the latest features, your files also take on a whole new level of professionalism. Plus, any updates, upgrades or patches happen automatically, so whatever benefits Microsoft adds is included in your Office immediately. In the past, when you upgraded your Office version it was often a drama and left your files in a mess. Switching to Office 365 is like a breath of fresh air in this regard, as it’s essentially a sign up and go situation. Older files remain intact, your hard drive doesn’t get cluttered, and you are up and running in minutes.
With Office 365 there is also a home and a business version. In this article we have only talked about the actual software side of Office 365. Depending on which version of Office 365 your purchase, you may also get many other benefits including:
- Exchange based mailbox.
- OneDrive & Sharepoint (online file sharing).
- MS Teams (collaborative tool)
- Skype for Business (communications tool).
- MS Planner.
- MS Staff Hub.
Plus Microsoft is adding extra functionality every few months.
It’s a popular option for good reason as with Office 365 you are essentially getting more while spending less. The fact that it’s always available, always the latest version and works anywhere is reason enough to make the switch. The included security features also mean you are at less risk of cyber-attack It really is a stress-free solution, saving you both time and money.
Switch to Office 365 today- contact us on 08 8326 4364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Technology is a wonderful thing, but what happens when the IT stops working? In today’s world IT is a necessity. Unfortunately, this means when downtime inevitably hits, you have a BIG problem.
Maybe it’s from a malware or virus attack, a bug in the system, hardware failure or something else… Whatever the cause, the impact is real and measurable and you need it fixed ASAP. Research firm Gartner, reports that 43% of small businesses close their doors right after a major data loss, and only a tiny 6% survive long term. The financial cost of each hour can be in the thousands, and the damage to your brand could be irreparable. While downtime will occasionally strike every business, there are things you can do to minimize the duration, frequency and interruption to your business.
Taking a few simple actions now may result in your business staying open while your competitor gives up.
1. Use monitored antivirus and firewalls
While most businesses have these protections, not all have embraced the idea of monitored antivirus and firewalls. Instead most small business setups have more in common with a home network than a robust professional system. Given that SMB are a primary target for malware and cyber-attack, you should seriously consider moving to the monitored versions. Our experts set up custom protection to block all attacks, both known and emerging. All updates are taken care of and company-wide protections applied.
2. Have backups you can count on
A backup can not only protect you from digital threats like viruses and ransomware, they also protect you against physical threats like robbery, fire or natural disasters. The last thing you want is for your business to be crippled by data loss. A robust backup system can be as simple as asking our team to take care of it, or if you have an on-site technician, using the rule of 3: one backup on the server, one unplugged from the server, and one off-site. If anything ever goes wrong, you’ll be able to pull up the most recent backup and continue as normal. Businesses without good backups tend to be down for days, if not weeks. You also need to regularly test your backups to confirm they are working and also backing up the correct data.
Nobody likes to think about their business flooding or being hit with ransomware, but do you and your employees know what to do if the worst happens? Having a comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan helps you get up and running quicker and minimises downtime. Everyone knows what their role is, what steps they need to take, who to tell and which systems take priority.
4. Monitor hardware for early signs of problems
Computer hardware is like any piece of equipment – when it’s getting old it will let you know! This could be anything from making noises, being louder or slower than normal or even system crashes. Each symptom is your early warning sign that allows you to take action before a crash that sends everything into downtime. We can even implement hardware monitoring to look for signs of impending issues. If the signs point to imminent failure, we can let you know and often repair or replace the affected hardware with little or no downtime.
Downtime is an unavoidable part of all modern businesses but your preparation can dictate whether it goes for one minute or one week and how often it happens. According to one study, most firms experience 43 hours average downtime per year, a number much too high for most peoples comfort. While scheduled downtime can sometimes be unavoidable, your business will appreciate being able to skip the panic of surprise downtime events. Reducing your risk is the best action you can take, making downtime a truly rare occasion. Even better, our Proactive or Managed Services can take care of this for you, stopping many downtime events before they occur.
Talk to us about ways to reduce your downtime. Contact us today on 08 8326 4364 or at email@example.com.