5 Questions To Ask Before Choosing A Proactive Technical Support Provider

5 Questions To Ask Before Choose Proactive echnical Support Service eBookConsidering a new technical support service? Find out why you should choose a tech support service that is proactive instead of reactive, what it should look like in the context of your business and how you can make an informed decision.

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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!
  • Eliminate IT Distractions In Your Business.
  • DIY IT, It May Cost More Than You Think.
  • 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 Proactive IT Support and how it can help you, please give us a call on 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au.

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.

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.

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.

Why You Shouldn’t Let an Amateur Loose on Your Network?

Amateur Computer TechnicianMost of us know a fair amount about computers, even kids are soldering electronic circuits and doing programming courses in schools – but does that make everyone an IT guru? Most workplaces have an employee they can turn to for basic computer troubleshooting. Yes they have skills, but they often know just enough to be dangerous if let loose on your business network.

Casual IT skills are learned on home computers which are very different to a professional business setup. When something goes wrong on a home computer, there is no drastic impact if parts need to be replaced, data is lost or it stays down for a week or two. In a business setting, every problem costs time and money and can create a domino effect throughout the entire network. Would you gamble the success of your business with a non-professional who did a quick Google search? You wouldn’t let someone be your lawyer purely on the fact that they can deliver a good argument, nor would you let someone perform surgery just because they saw it in a video on YouTube! Businesses have unique, specialist IT needs that to go beyond amateur computer skills and there is always a lot more money and time at stake.

Designing a custom backup solution for your business is a particularly interesting area. While most home users skip this part entirely, an IT professional has seen (and recovered) all manner of situations and will use that knowledge to ensure that if the worst happens to your business, you are safe and the data can be recovered. This could mean anything from having a complete copy of your drive stored securely in the cloud or drilling down to backup only the most important data. An IT expert is equipped to help you identify the value in each piece of data and implement a plan so robust that if your business is ever hit by disaster or breach, downtime and any losses are kept to a minimum.

If a disaster ever does occur, like fire, flood or theft, would an amateur know what to do? Who to call? These situations are so charged with tension and panic and making a wrong moves can lead to more damage. A professional helps design continuity / disaster plans, which show exactly what should happen, who should do it and in what order. It takes out the guesswork during the mayhem when issues occur and minimizes downtime. Perhaps more importantly, the expertly written disaster plan will include a complete risk analysis so that you know in advance in what areas to strengthen your protection. It also includes a business analysis so you know which systems are dependent so you can stop the domino effect, plus know the legal / contractual & financial impacts and so on.

Your IT professional will also help ensure your business is meeting any regulatory requirements. Many businesses are subject to strict data rules set by the government. These regulations change often and demand increasingly more attention to data security, with hefty penalties for businesses that fall behind. Professionals are constantly in the loop around upcoming revisions and how to best comply with little to no disruption to your daily business. Part of ensuring your business is safe means staying on top of security, software updates and patching multiple computers at the same time.

The best option is to run the updates before employees arrive for the day, and since the process can take a few hours and be quite fiddly, it is generally not something amateurs will prioritize and thus they can tend to forget them. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with recent cyber-attacks, delaying a security update can lead to disaster. Engaging an IT professional is a cost-effective solution that keeps your business running, growing and earning.

Let the professionals manage your tech the right way by calling us at 08 8326 4364 or at support@dpcomputing.com.au.

Shopping for a New Computer?

New computer

It can be overwhelming when shopping for a new computer! Choosing the right computer comes with so many options and questions abound. Helpful sales people offer RAM as it were a side of fries, measuring CPU’s in terms of the amount of ‘cores’ they have, and the specs of the various machines look like a foreign language.

What we do is first ask what the computer will be used for and try not to include tricky language that only makes sense to other computer geeks, we simply find out what you do on your computer and then recommend systems that suite.

Then comes the real fun.

Once you’ve got that new machine out of the box, you have entered another world again:

  • Which cord goes where?
  • It doesn’t work like your old one!
  • Why is it doing that?
  • How to put my programs back on?
  • Does it come with security already loaded?
  • How do I get all my data copied across?

If you’ve had your old computer for a few years, you know you’re in for a bit of inconvenience, as you now have to install all your programs, alter the settings to match your needs and then copy across all the data – as well as learning all the ins and outs of the new system. We can assist you through this transition period and make it all so much easier by helping to:

1) Transferring your old files for you.

One thing most people forget is how to get information off your old computer and onto your new one. If your old computer is not working then things become really hard. Our technicians can either copy across all the data or turn the old hard drive into an external drive for you.

2) Set up your email.

It is no secret that setting up email can cause headaches even for a tech person. Getting the settings perfect can sometimes be a bit of trial and error. The most common problem we see is email that can receive, but not send. It is a frustrating problem, especially when you’re sending important emails. We can set your email up successfully, copy across you old emails, contacts, calendars and tasks and ensure that it both sends and receives email.

3) Save your website favorites.

All those favorites and bookmarks you’ve made and carefully sorted (or not) are important. You may even have different collections of favorites in different browsers and the last thing you want to do is go find those webpages again. We can transfer your old favorites and put them onto your new computer, making your browser experience look and feel exactly as it did before, only faster.

4) Set up your software.

Software nowadays doesn’t come on a CD. While that’s forward thinking and reducing waste, don’t you miss having a disk you could install from and the license keys listed on the back? We can help you re-download your programs and set up the licenses good as new. As technicians, we can also make sure the new software is optimized, updated and working well. While we’re doing that, we make sure your anti-virus is up-to-date and you are as secure as possible against threats.

5) Connect extra devices

Sometimes it is a matter of knowing what cord goes where or getting the right adapter, but sometimes new devices can present software driver problems. Printers, webcams, game controllers, etc all have unique drivers that need to be installed before they work properly. Windows 10 is great at picking most of these up automatically, but if they are not playing nice or your new computer is suddenly missing the correct plug, we can help get you connected again.

We can install your new computer, transfer data and setup your new computer in no time. Call us today at 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au to arrange a time.

IT vs Productivity – How You Can Win the Battle

Productivity & ITHow much time and productivity did you and your staff lose on computer problems over the last year? Without getting an analyst in to crunch each action and every number, you’ll never know how much money you could have earned in those lost hours. Right now, what you know for sure is that you didn’t go into business to be an IT expert, but suddenly there you are: battling servers, workstations, software, protections and permissions, all on a daily basis…managing all those things you don’t particularly care about, or understand more than you need to. Somehow, you ended up running an IT company plus your regular business.

It didn’t start that way. You got into business because you’re great at what you do. We can help you get back to doing what you’re really passionate about, and free up your time for revenue growth activities. Offload all those niggly It tasks sucking away your day to our Managed Service Provider (MSP) team.

Here are some examples of what we can take care of for you:

Software and security updates: If it seems like an update for something is always popping up, sending your employees away for yet another coffee break while it runs, you’re not far off. While it is great that software providers are continually improving their product, patching holes and reinforcing against threats, keeping up with them all can be incredibly time-consuming. Our MSP can handle all updates and patches keeping your employees focused on their business tasks.

Help desk: We can take care of all those “I don’t know how to”, “I think it’s broken” or “I need another” tech problems that can drive you crazy. You can simply circulate the new protocol – ask DP Computing – and watch how fast these small problems are solved, and your employees are back to work, more productive than ever.

Network management and security: The last thing you want is extended downtime due to a crashed server or a cyber-attack. Our monthly MSP plans works with you to balance security with your business’ necessary tasks and access, leaving you protected and operational. You’ll have staff set-up with the exact permissions they need, robust backup systems in place, and early warning when hardware/software is aging out.

Strategic IT planning: Why blow your IT budget putting out fires, buying incompatible systems or tech you simply don’t need? DP Computing can conduct strategic planning in line with your goals so you’re able to scale what you already have and schedule new expenses in time to meet projections.

The time you spend battling IT problems could be time you spend earning money, growing your business and moving strategically forward. Moving to a monthly managed service plan with DP Computing is easier than you might think. Simply let us know you’re ready to get back to the parts of your business you love and we’ll take the stresss of computing away from you.

Get managed services for your business. Call us at 08 8326 4364 or via email support@dpcomputing.com.au.

Bought a New Device? Here’s the Essential Tech Prep You Can’t Afford to Skip

New Device SetupIt is fun and exciting getting a new device. Sellers like to say that it is ready to use straight from the box – and it is – except not quite the way you need it to work. Yes they all turn on, connect to wifi, and sure, you may be able to browse websites but what about emails, printers, your line of business software, security programs, software updates etc etc. Taking the time now to prepare your new device will save you time, stress, and quite possibly money.

So before you jump in head first here are some of the things to be aware of:

Security Updates and Fixes

The device doesn’t usually come directly from the factory to your office, the device has been in the box for at least a month. In the world of technology a month is an eternity. During time on the shelf, new viruses have come out and new software weaknesses have been discovered. Fortunately, new updates to combat these problems have been released and need to be installed before you go browsing the Internet. We can make sure your device is up-to-date and set to auto update in the future. That way, you know your device is safe to go online.

Data Transfer From Old to New

We can help transfer your data from your old machine to the new one. This way all your important documents and emails are there ready for you to continue working.

Setting up Email and Software

Often email programs need special configurations and settings to connect properly. We find people can sometimes get stuck and not able to send emails or get access to all their old emails. We can get all your emails transferred & setup along with all your other line of business software.

Setting up Hardware

Do you need to print, scan or connect the device to another peripheral?  These tasks that should be plug-and-play but as you know with computers nothing is ever as easy as it sounds!  We can help get you set up, with everything tested and working.

 

Setting up the Network

While tapping in a wifi password is easy enough but it doesn’t mean your browsing is secure or even as fast as it could possibly be. There are also other settings like mapped drives and connections to cloud based services that all need to be setup and tested.

 

So if you have purchased a new device through us we will have done a number of these things before we deliver it and can help and assist with the other steps when onsite. If you are purchasing a new device yourselves it will pay to at least speak with your IT professional to make sure everything is compatible with your network and setup.

If you need more assistance we would love to help you out. Give us a call at 08 8326 4364 or email at support@dpcomputing.com.au.

Should I Buy a New Computer or Upgrade?

Upgrade or New?The age old question as to whether you upgrade or purchase a new computer and the answer usually depends on who you are actually asking! A store salesman will always recommend a new one and that geeky friend will probably say upgrade. Your best bet though is to talk with an experienced consultant or technician who should provide a few different options.

Start by looking at what you currently have and seeing if an upgrade is technically possible. For example, if your car is 30 years old and always having problems it is time to replace the rust-bucket! However, if your car is reasonably modern and in good shape but just happens to stall occasionally a quick trip to the mechanics will probably save you a lot of money over buying a new car. It is the same with a computer.

If your computer does need to be replaced, chances are you already know this. But if you’re not sure and some days it could go either way, these tips will help you decide.

Laptop / Desktop: What type of computer do you have? Generally desktops are much easier to upgrade over a laptop. Some laptops due to their small size can’t be easily upgraded so you may not have a choice.

Hard drive upgrade: New SSD’s (Solid State Drives) are super quick when compared to the traditional HDD’s (hard disk drives) and I highly recommend them on all computers to give them a significant speed boost. The main issue with SSD’s drives are they generally hold less information that a HDD but that is becoming less and less of an issue as prices drop.

Memory / RAM upgrade: Some cheap computers are underpowered from day 1 with most of them needing a memory boost. But depending on your usage even a great machine bought a few years ago could benefit from extra memory. Generally adding extra memory is a fairly straight forward task so speak with your IT consultant to see if it is worth adding some extra memory in your machine.

Video card upgrade: As time rolls on games and high end graphics applications are getting more and more demanding. The days of stick-figure animations are gone and lifelike 3D is the new normal. With that improved experience comes a huge strain on your computer’s graphic resources. If you are a gamer or need high end applications for your business you can often super-power your computer with a single component – a new video card. Speak with your IT tech to see if a graphics card will give your current system a nice speed boost or whether a new system is required.

Data / Applications Transfer: A lot of people overlook this and purchase a new computer thinking it will be a cheaper way forward. What they forget is that their old applications may not run on a new computer, that they need all their old data transferred and things like email and printers need to be setup and installed. When upgrading your current system you don’t have to worry about this.

Computer Service: Sometimes your hardware may all be fine and your computer just needs a service and cleanout. As time goes by old files and settings get left behind which slowly start to slow the computer down. Dust and dirt also get clogged in vents and fans causing the computer to overheat and slowdown.

Where to draw the line: There are other upgrades such as the CPU (the brains of the computer) and the motherboard (where all the parts plug into) but once you’re in that territory, it is really time to go for a full replacement – you will save money by getting a computer that meets your needs and can grow with you.

Is your computer letting you down? Give us a call at 08 8326 4364 or on support@dpcomputing.com.au to help you with upgrading or selecting a new computer

Is Dropbox Suitable For Your Business?

Dropbox - is it suitable for me?

It seems easy! Install Dropbox and then drag your files into a Dropbox folder and you’ve got yourself a cloud based file storage system that brings your business in line with modern expectations. But then again, maybe not!

Due to its simplicity Dropbox has grown to become one of the main file sharing and cloud storage solutions around. For some businesses using Dropbox can provide good value, and it never hurts when your staff already know how to use the software. In other cases another alternative designed to meet business needs may be more suitable.

When Dropbox is a Good Choice

Micro-sized business: If your business is small with only yourself or a couple of employees.

No sensitive information: This includes personal details of customers, vendors and staff or other proprietary data such as accounting information.

Nobody ever accidentally deletes anything: Dropbox is a syncing service, which means when a file is deleted, it is deleted from all machines. While you can recover the file from the Dropbox website you need to do this within 30 days – which by the time you notice it’s missing may be too late.

If you’re thinking those attributes sound more like a fictional business, you’re not far off.

Dropbox’s popularity in the consumer space has caused businesses to use Dropbox despite the risks. Dropbox is designed for syncing and NOT backup. This means while your data is copied across all connected devices, it is a mirror of the data only – when you delete or change the original file it is immediately synced across devices. If malware infects one machine this can spread between all your connected devices and put all of them at risk.

You may require access control on certain files or folders. Dropbox acts like a free-for-all, the shared files are sitting there available to anyone with access to read, change and copy. You will also miss collaborative editing, losing out in productivity and data resilience as multiple employees overwrite each other simultaneously.

Another issue is – where are your files that are located in Dropbox actually stored? What country, what type of data centre, what countries laws apply, for privacy reasons do you require all data to be stored within Australia or another country? These are all legitimate questions which Dropbox doesn’t have an easy answer for.

If Dropbox makes sense for your business, there’s no reason to change. But if it is clearly not a good choice for you there are multiple corporate grade solutions available. These are designed for specifically for businesses with security, encryption and collaboration controls built in. Rather than the easiest solution which may pose a risk to your business consider implementing a business class scalable solution that meets all your needs.

Call us at 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au to discuss online cloud storage solutions for your business