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.
Microsoft are keen that every PC becomes upgraded to Windows 10. They have altered the status by upgrading this process to an automatic update. This means that, unless you're concentrating, you'll stand a good chance of accidentally upgrading to Windows 10!
We've been critical of the Windows 10 upgrade process for a while now as it's been less than clear in certain key elements of licensing.
However, the product itself does appear to be pretty stable. We've encouraged most of our clients not to upgrade but for those who have still gone ahead, we've noticed one or two issues to make a note of.
1. Reversal process - Having upgraded to Windows 10, there is a facility to reverse the process if you're not happy with the new OS. However, it seems that this does not always work as planned leaving programs missing and other minor issues.
These days, computers and other forms of technology are vital to the smooth and successful running of the majority of businesses. They're used for storing important and confidential data, creating documents to complete sales, running websites to gain customers, selling products, and generally communicating via email or social media. Not everyone is technologically minded, so taking care of these computers and the information they contain can sometimes be difficult and time consuming.
If something went wrong with the technology in your office, could you cope?
We would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our customers for your support during 2015. We hope you have a relaxing Christmas and look forward to a bright new 2016!
Our official line is that we're closed on bank holidays and we're offering a limited support at other times. However, as our regular customers will know, we'll generally be around for emergencies. You may just find that our reaction time may be a little more relaxed than you'd normally expect from us due to lots of mulled wine, turkey, mince pies and afternoon naps in front of the TV! The best way to reach us during this time is to submit a support ticket from our web site. This will generate an alert on our phones so we'll see your cry for help pretty quickly.
We are proud to say that Your Computer Department was the first IT Support company in the East Midlands to demonstrate the outstanding attributes to both running a business and planning for future success that were required to hold the recently introduced Accredit UK standard.
Until recently, there has been little to distinguish a reputable IT company from a bad one. After all, even a bad IT company can have a web site that creates a good first impression.
So, how are customers to know which companies are the real deal? Well, it's always been a bit of a lucky dip when it comes to IT support companies since the industry has been pretty much unregulated until the launch of a recent IT services benchmark standard.
The iPad Pro was announced in the recently Keynote speaches from Apple and the launch date has just passed. I've had the pleasure of the company of an iPad Pro in my hands for a while and I'm here to tell you my thoughts.
It's massive! the iPad Pro screen size is the same as two regular iPads stood side by side - Yet, the weight isn't as much as you might expect. After the size difference, the immediate thing I notice is the fantastic clarity you get from the screen. Never before have photos looked quite this good! The definition is brought to you courtesy of the retina display which is so detailed that it's impossible for the naked eye to see individual pixels. This is nothing new but, scaled up to this size screen, the clarity is nothing short of amazing!
The audio system is a massive improvement, too. Four speakers - one on each corner of the device create a dynamic sound which is very directional and fine-tuned to feed the right sounds back to the user. The frequency response is brilliant for such small speakers - much better than most laptops.
Multi-tasking just got easier with side-by-side apps on the screen enabling you to do a multitude of different things simultaneously like working on a document while FaceTiming a colleague.
You've probably heard others talking about this happening to them as it's a very common scenario. You may even have seen emails from your friends or colleagues that have strange content or attachments that your antivirus program deletes on contact. So, what's going on?
It's all about 'spam' emails. These are emails that are sent out to thousands of email addresses. The content of the email generally has a purpose in order to generate money for the spammer. At it's most genuine level, this could to entice the reader to buy something. However, more often we find that the content of the email is more malicious. Some of the mechanisms are often referred to as 'phishing'. The email content often contains an attachment or a link to a web page which, when clicked, activates a process.
This process is generally classed as 'Malware'. It might make itself obvious to the user, or it might be a completely silent process running in the background of the user's computer. Its purpose is generally to find out information from the users computer and transmit this information to the originator of the spam email. This could be anything stored on the computer but banking details, user names and passwords are the main targets. This is extremely valuable information to the spammer. These details are either used by the spammer for fraudulent purposes or they are compiled into a database along with similar details from other victims. This information is sold to various criminals who use the information for their own purposes.
So, Microsoft Office 365 - what's the fuss about?
Microsoft Office 365 gives you full email, contacts & calendar synchronisation across all your PCs laptops and mobile devices.
Not only that, but it offers mailbox delegation which allows staff to share access to mail, contacts & calendars. Imagine the scenario - Joe Bloggs is an engineer out on site doing a job when another call comes in to the office. Fred takes the call and without needing to call Joe, he can see that Joe has a slot in his diary. He tells the caller that Joe will be with them within the hour, adds the job to Joe's calendar, and even sets a popup reminder for Joe. Joe finishes his job, checks his diary and can immediately see the next job he needs to go to. Its the seamless technology like this that has boosted the popularity of Microsoft Office 365 because all of this happened without the requirement for an expensive file server in the office.
It doesn't stop there though - Your staff will hardly notice anything has changed apart from new features that are available to them. They'll still get to use their familiar Microsoft Outlook software so there's no learning curve to cope with.
Are your emails finding their way into your clients' spam filters? More and more companies are finding this a problem and are starting to wonder why spam filters are getting it so wrong.
In fact, it is often the case that this symptom is due to the way the company conducts itself, the actions of its employees and also the actions of its contacts.
A single email will usually be inspected by several spam filters before it reaches its destination. If any one of these filters raises a question mark about the email then this specific email will usually end up being filtered out as spam and a black mark may be placed against your mail server and/or your entire email domain name.
Unfortunately, with so much spam on the internet these days, the people who control the spam filters have no time for marginal issues and will not usually listen to anyone who tries to reason with them. Instead, we must understand them and understand how they make their decisions so that we can avoid the pitfalls.
We have been very busy lately migrating businesses across to new and shiny email systems. It's often difficult to see a benefit when an email system just continues to work, but once you've seen Office 365 or Google Apps, I promise you'll never look back!
When I think back over the businesses we've helped, it's clear that most of our customers didn't even know what Office 365 or Google Apps were (let alone how good they are) until we talked to them about it. Therefore, I felt it was about time I put fingers to keyboard and write a short piece about what they are and what they can do for your business.
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