fbpx

Make IT Issues Last Year’s Problems

As we start the new year, we often reflect on the previous 12 months and look towards what the next year holds in store and make the most of it.

Solving IT issues from the previous year gives you free reign to make a recording-breaking success with nothing to hold you back. Reoccurring IT issues, networks slowdowns and unavailable resources can be left behind. By starting the year with a clean IT slate, it allows you to handle the areas of business which you do best.

 

IT Support Staffordshire

An Old Car

Long standing IT issues, the ones that you and your staff have gotten used to working around is like running an old car. You may know the work around to get something to work, but this costs you time and money. Just like old cars, aging IT equipment is more expensive to maintain and more likely to suffer from breakdowns.

The cost over time of a well-configured system can often cost the same or even less than fixing issues on old aging equipment, meaning less downtime and lost productivity.

The Break Fix Days are gone

In the past, businesses would only call or address their IT needs when something broke. In today’s world, IT downtime simply isn’t an option. We can remotely monitor and fix issues before even you or your staff know there’s an issue. Not only that, but we make sure all those security updates are installed, antivirus is running correctly and also provide remote IT support, allowing us to fix things a lot more quickly than having to come out onsite.

Use the new year as the perfect opportunity to start fresh with your IT. An assessment of your IT systems by us, will enable us to diagnose issues and guide you back on track. Whether the issues you are facing is caused by faulty devices or a misconfigured device, we can track it down and solve them.

Now is the perfect time to look at managed IT. We can put an end to those system bottlenecks and setup and configure your systems correctly and advise you on possible upgrades.

Give us a call today on 01543 889 444 to see those IT issues a thing of the past.


A New Year’s Resolution You Can Stick To

Many of us set goals and resolutions each new year. Exercising more, watching what we eat, cleaning out that spare bedroom. But what about taking control of your digital life? The problem for many of us, is our motivation quickly dwindles by the time February comes around. If you manage to achieve only one of your new year resolutions, make it to regularly backup your data.

 

data backup

We all know we should be backing up our data, but never get around to it, as it’s easy to think ‘it’ll never happen to me’. But what would happen should the worse happen? Those family photos of the kids growing up or family holidays, they can be gone forever!

We see a lot of failed drives, in fact replacing hard drives is one of the most common jobs we do. We often see cases where the data is simply not accessible or gone completely. In some cases, the only way to retrieve the data, is by sending it off to a data recovery lab, where they will open the hard drive in a special clean room and replace the failed component inside the drive. The cost for this can be anywhere in the region of £300-£500.

Replacing Valuables

Almost everything you own can be replaced; a broken laptop, phone or TV, however losing data is much harder to replace. Without a good backup system in place, there is simply no way to recover it once it’s gone.

While your insurance company will replace any broken or stolen items, they can’t replace your data. A backup system is like the world’s best insurance policy; it provides you with an exact copy of your data, exactly how you left it, ready to be restored whenever you need it.

Losing Data

Data storage, whether it’s your hard drive or a USB memory stick, can and will develop a fault and fail at any time. Storage failure will not be apparent until the device fails to turn on properly or stops working suddenly. The older the device, the more likely it is that the device will fail.

Also, as modern devices get smaller and smaller, they are more vulnerable to loss or theft. Whether the device is lost through natural causes, such a flood or fire, misplaced or stolen; losing your precious data can be a costly and painful experience.

Backup For You

With the right backup system in place, it doesn’t matter if the device is lost or stolen, or even fails, your data is kept safe. A backup system can even be setup to do it automatically for you, in the background, so you don’t have to worry about doing it.

How much would you pay to have those photos of the kids, family holidays, relatives no longer with us, back again? A good backup solution costs less than you think. Give us a call on 01543 889 444 to get a robust and reliable backup system in place.


Why annual tune-ups are essential

Remember when you first bought your computer or laptop? You’d hit the power button and it was ready to go waiting for you. Fast forward a year or two, it doesn’t seem as quick does it? That’s because computers need regular maintenance in order to keep them running at full speed.

 

Computer tune-up

Let’s take a look at some of the culprits.

Start-up programs: A lot a programs will start automatically when you turn on your computer, some of these are required for day to day operation, some are not. For example, the iTunes helper automatically loads in the background to speed up things when you connect your iPhone or iPod. But if you can’t remember the last time you connected one of these, it can be disabled.

The average computer can have anywhere between 50-80 programs automatically start-up, each one using system resources which slow down your computer. However, if you don’t know what you are doing and disable the wrong programs, your computer can become unstable and will not work correctly.

Viruses and malware: Almost every computer we see, has got a virus or malware infection and the person those computers it is, doesn’t even know about it. These infections sit in the background, using valuable system resources, slowing the computer down even more. Not only that, but they are also spying on your actions, stealing your private information or  possibly infecting other computers and laptops on your home network. As part of our tune-up process, we make sure your system is completely clear of these infections.

Temporary junk: Computers have a habit of leaving junk everywhere. Every website, document or program you’ve opened, there will be ‘junk’ or snippets of information left behind. These junk files can and will eventually slow your computer down.

Hardware issues: When we perform our tune-ups, we also test the components inside your computer to make sure they are working at peak performance.

Dust build up (all those fans inside your computer or laptop act as a vacuum cleaner, sucking up dust and trapping it inside) causes components to overheat. As the temperatures inside rise, your computer will start to throttle back it’s performance in order to keep itself cool. We recommend a full strip down and clean once a year to keep everything clean inside.

Also, hard drives slow down over time. Traditional hard drives are made up of stacks of platters, spinning up to 7200 rpm, which a read/write head whizzes back and forth. Eventually, the platters take longer to spin up, resulting in a slow computer. This can happen on new computers, so we also recommend testing hard drives once a year to make sure they are not failing.

Just like a car, computers and laptops require regular maintenance in order to make sure they are working correctly. That’s why we suggest having it done once a year. If you haven’t had your computer looked at by us this year, then now is the perfect time to book it in for a tune-up…just in time for Christmas.

Call us today on 01543 889 444 to get your tune-up booked in.


Save Money and Time with Managed IT Services

IT services can be one of the largest and most unpredictable expenses within a business. Unexpected failures, mandatory upgrades, and sudden staff changes can happen quickly and be very expensive.

These factors, a part of the IT world, make IT departments costly, hard to manage, and difficult to budget for.

Switching your business to managed IT services can lower costs and reduce unpredictable expenses. Making the switch can cut down management overheads and reduce budgets to a fixed period cost. Here’s how.

IT Support Cannock

Reducing Infrastructure

It’s common in many firms for single tasks to be required to pass through multiple devices before they can be delivered or shipped. Invoices, payroll, and digital deliverables are particularly common culprits. When looking to improve efficiency and lower unnecessary costs, this is typically the first place to trim fat.

Instead of adding office clutter with more devices, cloud resources can streamline processes. Using cloud-based technology to do some of the same tasks as before typically adds more power and improves speed.

Cloud-based services are usually faster and available to more users at once. Files and services are easier to access and less likely to clog up the internal network.

Reducing the overheads associated with running internal servers is commonly a major bonus too. Eliminating associated costs such as maintenance, security, cooling and upgrades is the largest bonus many firms receive.

Cloud technology has the power to simplify and speed up your entire workflow while making large financial savings.

For most businesses, these savings can be put into critical areas of the firm where they can be better used.

Keeping IT costs predictable

In the world of IT, bad news is a fact of life. Systems failures and critical events will always happen eventually, it’s just a question of when. Virus attacks, malware, hackers, and hardware failures occur commonly and can take a systems out of operation for days.

Managed IT services focus on tackling these issues before they happen. Continuous monitoring of systems alerts us of hardware issues before their symptoms even begin.

Antivirus, firewall, and security systems are also kept up-to-date every night to prevent threats from being exploited and data being stolen.

Reducing Downtime

IT failures that take your systems offline typically costs far more than the total repair bill to fix it. Every minute your critical systems are unavailable is time spent not creating business income or value. The more staff you employ, the more the cost multiplies too.

It’s important to consider the value of the business’s reputation on top of just downtime. Not having services available when clients or customers need them most can sour relationships fast. Your services may be the difference between meeting and missing a crucial deadline. If your service isn’t reliable then clients may look for one that is.

No Internal IT Hires

As every business owner knows, the cost of staff is far more than just their salary. Holiday pay, retirement, sick leave, training, benefits, and downtime all must be factored into the total cost. Staff costs are the single biggest bill to pay, even in the smallest IT departments.

Managed IT reduces staff costs down to a single lower cost bill that includes all your IT needs.

We train and manage our own staff to service your firm. By doing so, you get all the advantages of an IT department to meet your business needs without the overheads and management of staff that are not central to customer demands.

Managed IT Services for your Firm

While IT and services are complex, expensive, and resource consuming; it doesn’t have to be for your business. Managed IT services present a simple, cost-effective solution to meet your requirements.

We can slash your downtime, secure your business, and keep on top of your infrastructure without adding unnecessary expenses.

Give us a call at 01543 889 444 or fill in the form below today to see if managed IT services are the right fit for your firm.

    Note: We do not share your data with any third parties


    Beat the IT Burden

    Technology today allows us to accomplish more tasks faster than ever before. Paperless documents, remote collaboration and video conferencing have all lowered the costs and increased the speed of everyday business at an extraordinary rate.

    The benefits of modern IT does however, come at a cost. Consistent maintenance has become a critical component of almost every business. The IT department is now as important to the functioning of a firm as sales, marketing, or management. The advantages that come with modern technology more than outweigh the drawbacks. It’s up to you as a business owner to balance both. In today’s highly competitive business environment the latest tips, tricks, and tools are essential to keeping ahead of the competition.

    IT Support Cannock, Staffordshire

    The Cost of Great IT

    While well maintained IT is a powerful asset; poor, crumbling IT can quickly turn into a liability. Machines, servers and desktops need to be kept up to date with the latest operating system and security patches as a matter of priority. Data requires consistent back-up too.

    Poor security and data backup measures put both your own and your customer data at risk from attack. Regular security updates close vulnerable gaps, while backups protect valuable data. Strong security protects your liability against losing your own and your customer data.

    Determining what is and isn’t good IT practice for your firm takes the experience and knowledge of a professional. Good security involves more than one managed system to protect your assets. Good data backup is ideally done daily, involving more than a single copy in an off-site location. Without taking these steps at a minimum, a business is as little as one glitch away from a complete critical failure.

    Managing Internal IT

    The IT demands of every firm changes on a near-daily basis. Software is often added or removed, user accounts need to be added, removed, or changed and permissions require modification to suit ever-changing requirements. The time requirement of daily IT changes alone is more than many departments can handle.

    Many small firms deal with accounts, permissions, and software at an individual level. Wherever this is the case, complications inevitably happen. Software and services get lost and forgotten in the system, often polluting other packages and causing IT issues throughout the firm. User accounts are often left on the system months or years after an employee has departed.

    For reliable and secure IT management, managed group policies prevents bad systems. IT management allows staff to get on with their work without technology getting in the way. Data is managed at a department level, accounts are removed for staff that depart the business and software is installed by professionals. Using this approach the liability of the firm for IT failures is dramatically reduced.

    Managing IT Without Added Burden

    One of the major complaints about setting up well managed IT is the overhead that it adds to the firm. Staff costs, additional management, and the office space of an IT department is a daunting financial burden to add.

    Staff costs alone can make building an equipped IT department prohibitively expensive. Qualified, dependable, knowledgeable IT staff demand a high salary and costly benefits. In addition, equipment costs and lead time to get up and running on your business systems drive the costs even higher. Some firms simply don’t have the space required to add an entirely new department to the business.

    That’s why, for many businesses, outsourcing is the most effective way to update their IT without increasing business overhead. Outsourcing provides modern IT for a simple, fixed monthly cost. Removing the distractions of managing an entirely new department allows the business to focus on doing the job they do best.

    What We Do

    By trusting your IT to us, we ensure that your systems are up-to-date, secure, and fully backed up. We can keep you competitive by allowing you to accomplish more than ever before.

    Along with day to day IT management, monitoring, and setup; we can assist your transition to paperless documents, setup remote working, and provide IT assistance to set up the latest technology that will enable you to succeed.

    Allow us to help you do more than ever before. Bring your IT demands to us and we’ll provide you with the modern IT you need to let your business thrive. Call us at 01543 889 444 or fill in the form below

      Note: We do not share your data with any third parties


      Is Your Laptop Running Hot and Loud?

      Laptop computers commonly heat up a little in normal operation. Electronic components, including large capacity batteries, become warm in use. Your laptop should never become too hot to handle though.

      When a laptop turns hot to the touch or starts to sound like a jet engine, it’s likely beginning to overheat.

      Modern laptops use nearly silent fans to cool components and keep the system is comfortable and safe to use. In some cases, the sound the computer makes is the best tool you have to diagnose its running condition. Excessive heat causes the fans to work harder and faster to compensate. This jet engine sound is one of the first clues you have to indicate all may not be well.

      Laptop running hot

      Why So Hot

      Because of their compact size and portability, laptop computers are particularly prone to overheating problems. Their tiny footprint puts electronic parts closer together, creates less room for cooling vents and adds a heat generating battery which introduces more hot air into the system.

      Most laptops have small fans that suck in cool air, passing it over metal fins to exchange heat from the case. The resulting hot air exhaust is expelled through vents back into the room. This process prevents heat building up inside the machine. The constant air cycle keeps the laptop running cool no matter the workload placed on it.

      This process can be interrupted by any number of factors during operation. Alongside cool air, computer fans can also suck in dust, stray hairs, even cigarette smoke too. Smoke in particular contains thick tar which coats the fins, fan blades, and internal components.

      Foreign debris inside the machine prevents components from working at their best. Tar, dust, and hair slows down the internal fan and coats the heat generating components and cooling fins. This coating prevents air exchange and keeping components warm as if they were under a blanket.

      Causes of Overheating

      Sometimes the way a laptop is used can cause it to overheat too. Resting a laptop on thick carpets, blankets, or soft furnishings can block vents, preventing the fans from sucking cold air in or blowing hot air out.

      Leaving the machine running on carpet or furnishings, particularly for extended periods of time, can cause overheating issues and introduce extra dust into the components too.

      The best place to rest a laptop while in use is on a hard surface such as a desk, table, or lap tray. This allows air free access to the vents and helps prevent dust and hairs getting inside the machine.

      Overheating Results

      As the computer starts running hotter for longer, its fan will attempt to compensate by running faster and more often. This results in the “jet engine” noise many users report when their computer is struggling to keep up.

      Unfortunately, once dust, hair, or tar has already found its way into the machine it is notoriously difficult to clean out. The only way to reset the machine to run cool and quiet is to disassemble the base and clean out its components.

      Much like a car engine, computer components have a designed temperature range in which they can safely and reliably operate without any issues. Extended periods of running above the temperature they are designed for can cause damage, sudden failures, and drastically shorten the designed lifespan of the computer.

      Unlikely Causes

      Often times seemingly random blue screen computer crashes can be traced back to components that have been overheating inside the computer. As heat builds up, vulnerable components start to fail, sometimes temporarily, in the hotter temperatures.

      By the time the computer is rebooted and cooled down the issue is seemingly resolved. Back in operation, the computer heats up once more and eventually crashes again. These irregular crashes are highly inconvenient and can sometimes cause data loss too.

      However, these symptoms are minor compared to a complete write-off of the machine. For some users, the first sign that their machine is too hot to run safely is when the motherboard is burnt out or their data storage has been irreparably lost.

      If your laptop is running hot to the touch or has started to sound loud or irregular, bring it to us for a thorough clean out. You can also call us at 01543 889 444 or fill in the form below

        Note: We do not share your data with any third parties


        Why Do Computers Slow Down Over Time?

        Remember the awe you felt when you turned on your new computer and it loaded in a flash? Your computer was the envy of your friends and you weren’t afraid to bathe in that glory. Button on, ready to go, those were the days!

        Computer tune-up service Cannock

        After a year or two though, it doesn’t seem to be quite as zippy…no, you’re not imagining it. It really has slowed down, not just in comparison to newer models and your expectations…There’s a measurable drop in speed and power that has nothing to do with worn out parts. The good news is a little maintenance can have that baby cruising at top speed again. Let’s take a leisurely walk through the system and spot the culprits:

        Start-up applications: It’s super convenient to have Skype start automatically and your anti-virus too. In fact, many of the applications starting themselves with the computer are essential to your experience. But some of them are getting a little too ‘helpful’.

        For example, iTunes helper loads in the background to speed things up when you connect your device – but if you can’t even remember the last time you ran iTunes on your computer, then it can go. Programs like that are holding onto a portion of your processing power and adding to your speed issues. The average home computer automatically loads around 75 programs at start-up!

        Temporary junk: Computers are kind of messy. They leave temporary files and snippets of information all over your hard drive, each action leaving a trail rather like a roaming toddler with a sticky sandwich. Every webpage, every image on that webpage, every program you run and every game you play leaves something behind.

        It may be the tidbits of information called “cookies”, saved game files, auto-restore files or even a log so that you can hit the undo button 100 times while it remembers your actions for you.

        The more junk your computer builds up, the slower it gets.

        Viruses and malware: These infections sit in the background consuming resources while doing various nightmarish things. They may be spying on your actions, stealing your information or reaching out through your network to infect others. Occasionally, the impact is limited to seeing your computer slow to a crawl, however the flow-on financial costs of an infection can easily reach into the thousands.

        Bloating: With every new version of software comes a new set of features, introductory sequences and design improvements. The problem with this is the application becomes larger and larger with each new version, requiring more system resources to install and run – and slowing your computer down.

        Just like a car, computers need regular maintenance – we offer a Tune-Up service to bring your computer back to its original speed and extend its life.

        Give us a call at 01543 889 444 to book in a Tune Up.