YCD Shoebox - All your files. In your control.
Historically, there's generally been a choice for the small business. Either splash serious cash on an office-based server, or compromise on functionality, backups and security levels with some file sharing software such as Dropbox, iCloud or Sync. A traditional server is often too expensive for a tiny business to afford - yet the file sharing solutions offer comparatively little flexibility along with a not-insignificant subscription cost for any business-sized volumes of data.
The solution that ticks the boxes has arrived in the form of what we like to call the YCD Shoebox. A small shoebox-sized device that connects to your office or home-based office network and offers to tick all of your organisational requirements, automates hourly off-site backups, allows you remote access while you're out with clients and, most importantly has state-of-the-art security measures to protect your data.
The clock is ticking as we head towards the end of life for Windows 7.
So long, Windows 7 - You've been a great operating system. In fact, many (if not most!) Windows 7 users would be more than happy to keep you! However, we know that the scum-of-the-earth hackers out there are planning their attacks for when Microsoft refuse to fix you. We know you must go, and we're sad.
However, we're excited, too! We know that Windows 10 brings us many surprises and promises to keep us safe for many years to come. If nothing else, we know that it will be able to encrypt our computer's hard disk - keeping our data much safer if our computers are stolen. It's a huge relief to know that we will have the latest and greatest - and that Microsoft will keep it this way via constant security patches and feature upgrades.
In much the same way as Windows 7 is retiring in January, the same is happening for many Windows-based Servers. In fact, the week before Windows 7 retires, Microsoft is quietly waving goodbye to Windows Server 2008.
So, if you're running a network with a Windows Server 2008 operating system then it won't be long before it becomes unprotected and a target for the hacking community.
You do have options though. Yes, you'll need to replace your server, but the choice of what to replace it with is wider now than it was when you bought Windows Server 2008. You can replace your server with Windows Server 2019 and the cost is likely to be similar to that of your original server (ask us for more detail on that one) but an alternative that you may wish to consider is the newest generation of Network Attached Storage devices (NAS for short). We've crafted a solution for the average small business and we call it the YCD Shoebox.
The end is near for Windows 7
You may remember back in 2014 when Microsoft declared that no further updates would be released for Windows XP. Malware developers quickly began to target all the remaining Windows XP computers. They knew that Microsoft would no longer correct any newly discovered software vulnerabilities in Windows XP. Therefore, their efforts were rewarded with some long-term chances of successfully infiltrating thousands of PCs across the globe. The business community grumbled but reluctantly replaced all Windows XP computers in order to remain compliant with data protection rules which state that you must take all reasonal steps to keep your data secure. Clearly, an easily hackable Windows XP computer now became an unacceptable high risk to data protection and continuing to run with it was no longer a justifiable option.
Skip forward to the present day, and we're having a little bit of deja vu. Windows 7 owners have until January next year to do exactly the same replacement excercise for all Windows 7 PCs. That's because Microsoft will stop providing security patches for Windows 7 in January 2020.
Your Computer Department's web services just got a boost!
We've always been here for you should you need any assistance with your web site. In fact, Eddie (our MD) has been developing web sites for many of our clients for several years. Well, now our team has a boost. We've just taken on a team of web developers to help us create, update and maintain our stunning web sites.
Do your emails often bounce back as undeliverable?
Do your contacts often find your emails in their spam filter?
If your email system is not configured correctly then your emails may bounce or be filtered out as spam. In a world where we all rely on quick responses, delays due to bounced mail and difficulty finding emails can mean the difference between winning and losing a contract.
Welcome to the first in a series of blogs detailing products that we're more than happy to recommend.
Your Computer Department is an IT Support and Solutions provider accredited with the CompTIA trustmark. To protect our strong reputation, we only recommend products that we are happy to support. A product is only good enough for us if it provides value for money and reliability.
In this blog, we're looking at office printers. There are bespoke label printers, 3D printers, carbon-copy printers and all manner of weird and wonderful machinery for those with unique requirements. In these cases, it's always best to have a chat with us directly. However, regardless of the industry sector that you work in, a standard small office administration environment generally needs a printer that can print in good quality, quickly & efficiently. We're talking about offices with between 1-10 members of staff that need to just get on with their every day tasks without fuss. They'll generally also need to scan, copy and maybe fax occasionally, too.
What would happen to your data in the event of a daytime disaster?
If you use external hard disks as part of your backup plan, then it is important to remember that your backups must be taken off-site. This is done to protect against data loss through theft, fire or flood. However, many businesses are still at risk even if they take their backups home at night!
If your external hard disk backup is the only backup you do then it is also important to remember that, during the day, both your live data and your backed up data may reside in the same building - probably within inches of each other!
Consider the event of a fire during the working day. Every member of staff will leave the building immediately. Collecting a backup disk on the way out of the building will not only be the last thing on anyone's mind but may also be a risk to their life!
Your data is vital to your business. Let's have a look at the common types of backup used today in UK businesses.
1. Periodic copies of files to other media.
Perhaps the most common of all basic backups - A copy of the live data written to somewhere else like a USB data stick, another computer or any external hard drive. While this appears to be good practice, it is often flawed by several points of failure.
What are we copying? ...and where are we copying to?
There are generally three techniques that are used in these cases:
i) Copy and replace - This is where the user copies the live data and paste it over the top of the backup data - replacing all files with the newer versions. This results in a messy file system as any files that have since been deleted, renamed, moved or generally tidied up become duplicated in the backup system. If the live system was lost, the backup system would provide a chaotic replacement in the event of a full system restore.
Did you know? If you don’t have the right licensing in place you could be fined!
There have been several incidents of small businesses being investigated and fined by software licensing authorities over recent years. Many will have seen references on the internet to firms such as property advisors Matthews & Goodman that were forced to pay a settlement of £17,500 for under-licensing various Microsoft software on 75 of their office PCs and 3 of their servers. In other reports, a design agency called Inca and an asset management firm, Fortune Asset Management, were also caught and had to pay £15,000 and £18,500, respectively. Contrary to popular belief, these authorities also target smaller businesses - and they do have teeth! They can (and do) issue fines that are legally enforceable in the UK.
Your hard disk (often referred to as a hard drive) is usually where your computer stores all of your important data including documents, pictures, videos, music – and really, anything else you have on there. So how devastated would you be if you lost it all? Whether you keep your files on a Mac, PC, Laptop or external hard drive, it could potentially go at any time. You can expect your average hard drive to last for 3-6 years, depending on how much it is used and how much it is moved around. However, new hard disks have been known to fail within weeks and some hard disks have occasionally lasted in excess of 10 years.
It's not an exact science and there's little you can do to prevent a failure. Therefore you must work to responsibly protect your data in order to protect your business and reduce the financial impact should a failure occur. We always recommend everyone has a regular backup process in place to protect against theft, damage or mechanical failure.
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