Back up, update, secure… the Holy trinity of tech resolutions

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Improve your work-life balance? Worry less? Relax more? Good plan. So you want to make sure you’re not spending the year worrying about your IT. You can achieve that peace of mind by making sure you’re observing the three golden rules of IT: back up, update and secure. Make this your New Year’s resolution and it’ll be good for your business and good for you.

 

Beef up your backups

There’s nothing more frustrating than losing a vital piece of work or cherished photos and finding they’re gone forever because you haven’t backed them up. A major data loss can cost a business dear and, in severe cases, even bring it down. We cannot overstress the importance of backing up your data but we often come across cases where a business thinks it’s backing up but isn’t.

The danger is an over-reliance on an inadequate backup solution. Just being plugged into a remote hard-drive may not be enough to ensure all your files are being saved as they should be. Ask yourself the following questions:

Is my backup automated? If not, and you’re relying on regular manual back-ups, you’re leaving yourself exposed to human error. So make sure your backup process is automated and configured appropriately to the quantity and frequency of updates your business needs.

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10 top tech toys to treat yourself to this Christmas

Christmas is supposed to be a time to relax, to kick off the pressures of everyday life and enjoy a little self-indulgence. So while the rest of the family are rushing around buying you socks again this Christmas, sit back and feast your eyes on these cracking gift ideas, then simply click the buttons to buy them… for yourself.
 
HP Envy 13 Laptop
If Santa uses a laptop I would assume he has one of these. Slender enough (1.39cm) to slip into his sack without taking up vital present space, light enough (1.38kg) to keep his sleigh airborne and fast enough to process all those stocking filler requests in time for Christmas, it’s the perfect laptop for the busy modern legend. Bonus points include B&O Speakers, up to 14 hours of battery life and full HD touch screen, plus a three year guarantee if you buy it from John Lewis.

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Windows 10 Installs Automatically

Windows 10 Installs Automatically for Windows 7, Windows 8

Happy using Windows 7 or Windows 8? You might not be happy much longer, because Microsoft has started installing Windows 10 automatically on Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs. They have changed the status of Windows 10 to a “Recommended” upgrade in Windows Update, meaning for those of you who have Windows Update set to it’s default settings, Windows 10 will start installing by itself. To prevent it you would need to change your Windows Update settings.

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10 Things You Should Know About Windows 10

Windows 10 will launch on 29th July 2015

We’ve been reviewing it and, so far, we’ve liked what we’ve seen. We’ve been asked lots of questions about Microsoft’s upcoming release, so we’ve put together 10 Things You Should Know About Windows 10.

1. It’s Free!

Microsoft have announced that Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users will be able to to upgrade to Windows 10 for free within the first year.

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Beware the Crypto Virus

We’ve seen an increase in the number of crypto virus attacks recently. The crypto virus is ransomware: malicious software which holds your files to ransome. When a Windows computer is infected, it encrypts all your files and then posts a message asking for payment to decrypt them, threatening to destroy them if it doesn’t get paid.

Often these attacks come in the form of an infected email attachment which can get past the security suites (the antivirus signatures are typically updated a few times per day but the virus can adapt regularly so as to avoid detection).

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TechTips: A Nasty Scam

Many clients are informing us that they’ve had a call from Microsoft informing them that their computer has a problem and they need to log in to the client’s computer to resolve it. Once logged in they install malware and viruses and then demand a fee to fix it.

THIS IS A SCAM. THEY ARE NOT MICROSOFT.

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TechTips: Office 365

Microsoft Office. Love or hate it, you probably use it.

Well now it’s bigger. In addition to the retail versions you can buy for a one-off cost, there are now subscription versions which include all sorts of other goodies!

Home Versions

Office 365 Home costs £7.99 per month and includes the full Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher & Access) which you can install on 5 PCs or Macs. It also includes 20GB of OneDrive cloud storage so you can sync your files between computers. As a subscription product you also benefit from getting the latest version of Office as and when it is released. This is a great package if you want the full suite of Office applications and have multiple computers.

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TechTips: Solid State Drives (SSDs)

Richard BanksI’m pretty quick on a computer. I should be – I’m on one most of my waking life and run an IT Support company! I jest that computers can’t keep up with me, but this is no longer the case and it’s down to the fact that I’m now using something called a Solid State Drive (SSD).

Traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) have moving parts: a mechanical arm with a read/write head to move around and read information from the right location on a storage platter. Even on very fast computers with the latest processor and oozings of RAM memory, you can still find yourself waiting for Windows to boot up, or programs to load, and the HDD is often the culprit.

Enter Solid State Drives (SSDs). With no moving parts, SSDs are MUCH faster, quieter, and more power efficient. I’m not talking about a little bit faster; I’m talking MASSIVELY faster.

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TechTips: Windows XP End of Support

Support for Windows XP and Office 2003 also ends on April 8, 2014.

After 12 years, support for Windows XP has ended on April 8, 2014.

What is Windows XP end of support?

Here’s Microsoft’s explanation:

“Microsoft has provided support for Windows XP for the past 12 years. But now the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources toward supporting more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences.

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TechTips: Windows XP ‘Best Before’ Date Revealed

After April 8, 2014, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP. That means Microsoft won’t issue patches or other security fixes for its operating system. Now Microsoft warns users that they may be subject to “zero-day” threats for the rest of their lives if they don’t migrate to a newer system.

What does that mean, in terms of security? Tim Rains, director of Trustworthy Computing for Microsoft, sums it up:

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