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IT Tips

IT Support

IT – The Magic Keeping Your Business Running This Christmas

By | blog, IT Tips

Similar to how Santa and his elves make sure everything runs smoothly on Christmas Eve, your IT support team ensures everything runs smoothly in your business: your website, emails, network, applications, software and hardware, just to name a few. 

And, while we don’t live in the North Pole, a lot of what we do is invisible to the human eye. Here’s what we get up to 365 days of the year to keep your business up and running. 

IT SupportWe maintain servers. 

Servers are snow joke. We set up and maintain the servers that perform multiple, essential jobs for your business. 

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not Santa’s Elves that look after your server room. Nope, you’ll most likely find your IT team lurking in that secret, dark room full of flashing lights, as they make sure your cables, routers, switches, firewalls and Wi-Fi are correctly configured and maintained. 

Without servers, you wouldn’t be able to:

  • Log in with your username and password to a work computer.
  • Send/receive emails.
  • Access and share files easily with co-workers.

David Gilbey IT Support

We keep everything updated.

IT managers ensure that all the software and applications you rely on every day are up-to-date across all of your devices. 

Not only does this help with your productivity, allowing you to make use of the latest features and releases, updates reduce your chance of being affected by viruses and malware. 

What a bauble-ache it would be if your business was left vulnerable to malicious attacks because you forgot to update a crucial bit of software. 

We back up everything. 

Backups and disaster recovery are the gifts that keep on giving. 

We set up, maintain and test backups of your files and applications regularly to help you reduce business downtime if disaster strikes or an accident happens.

And, disasters are more common than you think. Take a look at these scary statistics.

Just Gilbey IT Support

We keep your business secure.

As cyber threats become more prevalent, and hackers more crafty, security is more essential than ever. 

In a nutshell, all of what we’ve mentioned today needs to be properly maintained and kept secure. Unfortunately, there are one too many Grinches and Scrooges out there who want to steal sensitive data. 

Investing in your IT, whatever size your business is, is essential. By working with your IT team, or hiring an IT consultant who’ll help you with all of this background work, you’ll be able to continue sleighing in business right through to 2020 and beyond.

Take a look at the IT support packages we offer or talk to a member of our team today.

Starting Out: The 3 Things You Need To Do When Setting Up A Business

Starting Out: The 3 Things You Need To Do When Setting Up A Business

By | blog, IT Tips

So, you’ve decided to go ahead with your brand new business idea? 

How exciting! 

There are three must-have things to make sure everything runs smoothly with your startup. 

Buy a domain.

Securing your domain name is one of the most important first steps of setting up a new business. 

Your domain name is the URL of your website – i.e. the online hub of your business – as well as your ticket to a professional, personalised email address. 

Buying a domain first prevents anyone else from getting their paws on it first and you having to settle for a URL that isn’t related to your brand name, or easy for potential customers to remember.

What to consider when buying a domain:

Buy both .com and .co.uk (or the equivalent in your country).

Making sure you own both the local and international domain name, further prevents anyone else stealing your domain or hijacking your brand. 

We also recommend purchasing other top-level domains (that’s the bit after the “.”), depending on your industry. There are so many that people aren’t aware of, such as .edu, .org, .net, .solutions, .events, .engineer. Here is a whole list of the ones you can have. 

They’re usually relatively inexpensive, but it all depends on how far your startup budget stretches. 

Choose a simple and easy-to-use registrar.

Because of the surge in popularity and necessity of domain names, it’s become a booming market and one that can be difficult for people to navigate. 

Many domain providers can overcomplicate the process, encouraging you to spend more money on unnecessary add-ons (more about this below).  

We like and use Name Cheap, because it’s affordable, simple and allows us to register domains on behalf of our clients and later transfer them to their own account. 

Having control over your own domain after someone has set it up for you is vital. We frequently hear stories of businesses not being able to access important settings due to a web design, hosting, or development company holding their domain name to ransom. 

Set up a professional email.

Nothing says untrustworthy more than a business using a @gmail.com, @hotmail.com, @outlook.com or even @yahoo.com email address. 

Sure, these are fine to use for personal accounts, but when you’re communicating with clients and customers, it’s essential to retain your brand’s image and also have a secure, robust email. 

You can still use a trusted provider like Microsoft Office 365 or G-Suite, but your email address will be yourname@yourdomain.com

As we mentioned before, when you first purchase your domain name, the registrar may try to upsell an email solution. However, we don’t recommend going down this route. While they sound cheap and easy to set up, using a nationally-recognised provider like Microsoft is better for security, reliability and uptime. Meanwhile, opting for a trusted provider from the very beginning helps you to avoid hefty migration costs later down the line.

Don’t neglect DNS. 

DNS (Domain Name System, but you don’t really need to know that) is often overlooked, but it’s potentially one of the most crucial things to get right. 

Without it, the email and website we mentioned above simply will not work. 

DNS – essentially – is how the whole internet works, or more specifically, the magic that allows people to visit your website and receive your emails. 

If your DNS goes down, things will break, if you type something wrong in your DNS records, things will break. 

And when we say things will break, we mean people won’t be able to access your website, you will stop being able to receive or send emails, and spam emails may start to leak into your inbox. 

Luckily, when you purchase your domain, you’ll get a free “basic” DNS and, as long as you enter your DNS records correctly, everything should work. But, in our experience, it’s the getting it correct bit that is the challenge. Getting an experienced IT person in to look after this step is highly recommended, as if you make one small mistake, things break. 

A lot of registrars also offer a premium DNS, which although comes at a cost, it means that your domain has more protection against it going down. It’s certainly worth considering. 

If you’d like a hand with any of the above, we offer monthly fixed-cost plans that include all of the above set up and more. Our team can guide you through the choosing and registering a domain, setting up a professional email and sorting out premium DNS. 

Interested? Call us today.  

 

A productive team high-five

3 Ways To Improve Business Productivity

By | blog, IT Solutions, IT Tips

A key focus for a lot of our clients is boosting office productivity.

This blog is a snapshot of some of the projects we’ve completed to increase efficiency with various organisations. Regardless of the size of your business, these solutions will help your team to collaborate, communicate and get more done.

Embracing Office 365.

Several companies we work with have now adopted Office 365, a subscription-based service that encompasses email with a suite of the latest Microsoft applications.

Both startups and established firms have made the leap and enjoyed more consistent and guaranteed access to their mailboxes. Larger firms have had to move away from their own on-premise Microsoft Exchange servers to the cloud solution.

On top of this, they have cut down expenditure as the cost for Office applications and reliable email hosting is now combined.

Adopting SharePoint Online.

Many of our clients already have a clear vision and direction.

For example, some of the words and phrases that crop up when we speak with businesses about their requirements include:

  • More collaboration.
  • Access from anywhere.
  • Improved security.
  • Version control.

If this sounds like you, SharePoint Online is a great solution for your company.

The teams at these businesses now have instant access to the latest edited version of documents and can work on them in and outside of the office. This removes the need for re-sending documents and reduces the risk of the wrong information being circulated. The move to SharePoint improves productivity across the board as it enhances collaboration capabilities.

Additionally, everything is stored in one place and can be updated from anywhere by anyone with the right permissions.

Refining backup strategies.

We’ve already dedicated a whole blog post on common backup mistakes, but getting your backup and disaster recovery strategy right can seriously save you time and money as a startup and large corporation.

In our experience, clients are often under the impression that their data is safe and regularly backed up.

But, who is checking and what if your backup fails? Will you know about it?

After taking a closer look, we found that several of our clients’ backups weren’t as effective as they first thought.

For example, some common problems include:

  • No backups at all.
  • Backups not monitored.
  •  The wrong data being backed up.
  • Data backed up to inappropriate areas and devices.

We looked at what applications can be used to provide a productive, cost-effective and secure solution to successfully back up their business. By doing this, you can decrease the risk of business downtime, avoid hefty costs caused by data loss and protect your organisation’s reputation.

Discover how your team can become more productive and effective by contacting us today. 

How To Setup and Maintain Backups

How To Set Up and Maintain Backups

By | IT Solutions, IT Tips

Whether you’re a startup or global corporation, backups are an essential part of any business’ IT strategy.

Creating and storing multiple copies of your data is key to preventing file loss due to device theft, malicious attacks, or even a fire or leak in your office.

We understand that backups and disaster recovery can be confusing and that duplicating and managing files is time-consuming for business owners.

This is why we’ve rounded up some basic tips on how to set up and maintain backups successfully.

 

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

A key factor that discourages people from maintaining backups is the lack of knowledge of how to do so properly.

The standard recommendation is the 3-2-1 method; three copies of your data, stored on (at least) two different types of device, with one of these located offsite.

Many make the mistake of having only one backup of files. Of course, this is a lot better than having none at all, yet having two extra duplicates significantly reduces your chance of complete data loss.

You must ensure that these are stored on two different types of medium, such as a USB stick and an external hard drive. This protects you against device malfunction or physical damage to the storage units.

Lastly, you must always store one of your backups away from the other copies. By using different locations, you can cover yourself if there is a fire, burglary or another unfortunate event in your office space.  

 

But, there’s an alternative for SMBs.

You may be thinking “But, I don’t have access to an additional site to store a backup!”

Startups and small businesses can still use the 3-2-1 method, without having to hire out another office or storage space. Cloud services provide a more affordable – yet secure – service, which gives companies the opportunity to store their files on a remote server.  The files are then managed by a trusted company like Amazon and Microsoft.

These services are a great option for you if you are already using OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox to store documents and data because they can be seamlessly integrated.

Just remember, file sharing sites like the aforementioned are not a backup solution and should always be used in tandem with other backup methods.

For instance, one we like to use is Spanning Backup. Hosted in AWS, you can backup all of the above vendors and set up an offsite copy. It’s also a great choice as it stores multiple copies of the files.

 

Check up on them.

It’s all well and good backing up your files, but you must make sure that you are checking them regularly.

If you do not actively monitor them, how can you be certain that they are working correctly?

Depending on what systems you have in place, we’d recommend taking a look at your backups from anywhere between each month to every six months. This makes sure everything is running smoothly and that your data can be restored in full if a disaster occurs.

 

Disaster recovery.

On a similar note, outlining a disaster recovery plan is essential to limit the amount of downtime your business will experience if data loss occurs. It’s no use having a backup of your data if you have no idea how to restore it.

 

Consider automation.

Manual backups are a great way to ensure your documents are safe whilst still keeping costs low. This makes them an excellent solution for individuals and small businesses.

However, automation is something to think about sooner rather than later. Automating your backups guarantees no file is left behind. Manually copying your files is not only time consuming but can be a hotbed for human error.

This list includes just a few tips for maintaining backups and is by no means a complete guide. If you would like to discuss your backup and disaster recovery strategy further, please get in touch today