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Skype for Business – What is it?

In the popular 2008 film “Up in the Air,” George Clooney portrays a corporate downsizing expert who spends nearly all of his time flying around the country on business. In fact, the character actually spends 320 days per year on planes and in airports. His enthusiasm for air travel is partially based on his goal of accumulating 10 million frequent flyer travel miles. Clooney’s character does eventually achieve his frequent flyer travel goal, but by that point let’s not speculate on his health, wellbeing, social life or family relationships

Why Travel When You Can Skype?

Up in the Air” did depict the differences between face-to-face meetings and the video conferencing technology that was in use at the time. Now, seven years later video technology has steadily improved and business travel has dramatically declined. Flight cancellations, over sold flights, weather delays, lost luggage, overcrowding and cramped seats have conspired to make business travel even more frustrating and exhausting. Thankfully there are now great video communication alternatives to time-consuming and expensive business travel

Microsoft Introduces Skype for Business

Currently, over 300 million people use Skype every month to communicate with their long-distance family, friends and colleagues. Last year, Microsoft announced that they were updating Lync, their business-centric chat app, by meshing it with the strengths of Skype. Microsoft’s new upgraded product known as Skype for Business is based on Skype’s design while drawing on many of Lync’s features. Skype for Business is scheduled to roll out in May 2015. Here’s what you can expect from this new Microsoft business product:

  • Microsoft has expanded Lync features in Skype for Business with enterprise-grade security, compliance and IT control.
  • Accessibility enables users to search for and connect with anyone in the Skype network who is either inside or outside their organization. Simply use the Skype directory and contact any user on any device.
  • Microsoft Office has integrated Skype for Business as a built-in feature that delivers instant messaging, voice, video calls and online meetings.
  • Getting started with Skype for Business is easy because no new hardware is required. Current Lync users can simply update to the new Skype for Business Server in their datacenters. For Office 365 users, it’s very easy to get started because service is available through the online version of Office.

Are You Ready to Try Skype for Business?

If you never used Skype except for holiday “face time” chats with long distance family members or to keep tabs on your kids in college, you might want to reconsider the benefits of video conferencing for your business. If you have been using Microsoft Lync, it’s time to upgrade to Skype for Business.

Computer Troubleshooters can help you understand how your business can benefit by cutting back on travel expenses and increase efficiency with Skype for Business. If you are interested in learning more about video conferencing; want a demo of Skype for Business; or need guidance with the deployment of a new product, Computer Troubleshooters can help you. Call Computer Troubleshooters today how we can get you started with Office 365 and at the same time get your travel under control with Skype for Business.

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Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) replacement

Microsoft Windows Small Business Server was hugely popular with businesses of up to 75 people. The most recent version (SBS 2011) offers a combination of Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange Server 2010 in one box at very good price. It also includes SharePoint Foundation 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2 Express and, with the additional purchase of a Premium Add-On pack, it can support applications that rely on SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard.

However, last July, Microsoft said Small Business Server 2011 would be the last SBS version and no longer be available for purchase. Support would also cease sometime in the future.

So, where does this leave businesses that previously would have used SBS as their low-cost, all-in-one server solution?

Microsoft would like you to purchase Windows Server 2012 Essentials, the product it has positioned as a replacement for SBS. Essentials is however quite a different animal altogether.

For one thing, it provides out-of-the-box support for just 25 users (and 50 devices.) If you have more than that, you must purchase the full-blown Windows Server 2012 Standard edition.

More importantly, one key attraction of SBS has been removed: Essentials doesn’t include Exchange at all. For that functionality, you’re expected to subscribe to Microsoft Office 365, use a hosted Exchange service or buy and run your own Exchange server on a separate physical box, all at an additional cost.

Our recommended Small Business Server Solution;

  • Email – Small Businesses need to move to their email to Office365, or hosted Exchange, as a hosted solution it is an enterprise grade product supporting multiple device access (including Windows, Apple & Android apps for tablets and smartphones), syncing between devices, shared calendars & contacts, distribution groups, shared mailboxes, web based access, additional options include email archiving, compliance & retention polices – similar features to SBS
  • Office 365 Licensing – Full Desktop versions of Outlook, Word, Excel & PowerPoint on a subscription basis able to be deployed on up to 5 PCs or MAC’s plus 5 tablets plus 5 Smartphones per user. Plus you get access to Lync (soon to be Skype for Business) which provides video conferencing, screen sharing, and instant messaging. Also included is SharePoint, a company intranet application, that enables file sharing and document management.
  • Storage - Office 365 includes 1TB per user of OneDrive for Business cloud storage. For businesses requiring local storage for large data requirements and economical transfer, on premise Windows Server 2012 Essentials is the suggested solution.
  • Backup – As a hosted service all Office 365 products are managed and backed up at the data centre. However most business will still require a backup solution for local workstations and locally stored files. OneDrive for business can be configured as the cloud repository however data transfer sizes may mean that Windows Server 2012 Essentials is a better option also backing up shared files and application stored locally.
  • Applications – If you have locally based shared applications (such as MYOB) we can look at hosting on Windows Server 2012 Essentials or if you are looking for a cloud based alternative look to Microsoft Azure or similar services. Network Printing may also require a local server depending on your hardware and network.
  • Support – As Microsoft partners we aim to be your single point of contact for all your IT. We administer and manage your of Office 365, plus we can manage your workstations, security, and on premises networks to keep your business systems performing.

We can help with your Small Business Server Solution

If you need guidance and support on the complex decision please give us a call. We can sit down with you and explain the difference options, discuss alternatives for you business and ultimately make a recommendation. We are able to transform you business, migrate your existing data, and provide you with the support you need to make the change.

If you require guidance give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call today and one of our technology professionals will be happy to discuss how we can help.

 

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Want to Fall in Love with Your Computer Again?

The Thrill is Gone – do you remember that classic blues song? It’s a heart-breaking reminder about the loss of a once exhilarating and passionate connection. It’s a bitter realization when the old spark seems gone forever. Somehow over time, all the previous excitement has simply fizzled out. Excuse us, but we are talking about your relationship with your computer!

How is Your Relationship with Your PC?

Yes, even your formerly beloved computer can slow down over time until the thrill is most definitely gone. Honestly, does your computer seem unresponsive, sluggish and outdated? Are those exciting new models starting to turn your head? Maybe you and your cranky computer just need a little professional help to rekindle that old flame.

Tips on Learning to Love Your PC Again

It’s very likely that the relationship between you and your computer is salvageable, it just needs a little extra attention. Try these steps to put some zip back in the relationship with your computer:

  • Slow Startup? Does it take your computer way too long to wake up and get started with the day’s tasks? It’s possible that there are too many non-critical programs launching during the startup process. Streamline the start-up process by consulting with a technology professional who can identify unnecessary programs that are slowing down the functioning of your computer. Cutting back on these boot problems should speed things along.
  • Is Your PC Bloated? PC makers often throw in a lot of free tools. Initially, it sounds good to have all of those freebies, but a lot of techies call those freebies “bloatware” for a good reason. It’s possible your PC is running slowly because of bloat. If these free programs aren’t helping you, removing them might lighten the load on your computer.
  • Ready to add RAM? Does it seem like your old PC is in a perpetual state of sleep-walking? Is it nearly overwhelmed every time it has to open a spreadsheet? If yes, then maybe it’s time to spend a few bucks and add more RAM or memory. To assess your current RAM status, check System Properties to see what you have onboard. How much RAM should you add? Do you simply surf the net and check your e-mail or do you have a kid who’s a high speed gaming fanatic? Have a technology professional properly assess your needs and add the required RAM to your PC.
  • Is Your PC Ready for a Second Life? Didn’t everyone’s grandmother use the phrase – “don’t throw good money after bad?” At some point, it’s probably not worth pumping more money into a really old PC. That doesn’t mean it can’t still enjoy a second life as something other than your smoking hot primary computer. Turn it into a secondary computer. Do you love “old-school” gaming, then check into those older games that can run on your older operating system. You can also donate it to a local school, daycare center or charity organization if it’s not completely ancient.
  • Time to Retire and Recycle? If your old PC is not even up to enjoying a second life, maybe it’s time to pull the plug. If you are going to retire your PC, remember to be responsible to both the environment and yourself. First, be sure to eliminate all of your data from the PC. Deleting files, emptying the recycle bin or reformatting the hard drive is not enough to cover your tracks. Even the browser’s cache, cookies and e-mail contacts can contain sensitive information. Don’t jeopardize your digital security. Contact a technology professional for assistance with secure data removal. Also, be environmentally responsible and never toss an unwanted PC in a dumpster. Recycle the equipment through a reputable recycler.

Improve Your Relationship with Your Computer

Those lyrics, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with,” can also apply to computers. If you can’t afford a new computer at this time, it’s very likely that your current computer can be improved with some professional maintenance. Computer Troubleshooters can help you increase the efficiency of an older PC with a little TLC and maybe some added RAM. Consider a deep cleaning to remove unnecessary programs that are doing nothing but slowing down the functioning of your PC. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of their technology professionals will be happy to evaluate the status of your current computer.

 

 

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Microsoft Server 2003: End of Life July 2015?

Microsoft have confirmed that they will end support for their popular Server 2003 product range on the 14th of July 2015. It was first released on April 24, 2003. An updated version, Windows Server 2003 R2, was released on December 6, 2005. This product range also includes Small Business Server 2003.

These products were aimed towards the small to medium-sized businesses. Supporting file and printer sharing, secure Internet connectivity, centralised desktop application deployment, and in the case of Small Business Server the addition of Microsoft Exchange (email) and SQL (database).

When Microsoft ceases support for Server 2003 they will no longer issue security updates or software patches for any version of Server 2003. If you continue to use this product it will be like basing your business on a piece of equipment that is 12 years old, no longer serviced, and who the manufacturer no longer provides parts.

Ultimately businesses who continue to use Server 2003 will take on declining performance & escalating risk over time.

Upgrade or your business systems due to Security and Compliance Issues

If you are still using Server 2003 or Small Business Server 2003, you should take this situation seriously or your business will be negatively impacted with some significant consequences. You should consider the following information as you make your Server 2003 migration plan.

  • Security Risks:The biggest problem is the security threat to your business. Without the security provided by an updated operating system, all of your business data and personal information is vulnerable to harmful viruses and spyware. There is a strong likelihood that malicious viruses will be developed & unleashed on Server 2003 once it is no longer supported. No business owner wants to think about a being attacked by Malware or their business not being able to function properly.
  • Compliance Issues:For many businesses, continuing to operate a non supported software can result in compliance issues leading to the suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organisation’s inability to securely maintain its systems and customer information. Compliance problems can place your business in legal peril and seriously damage your business’ reputation.
  • Upgrade Expenses:As a business owner trying to control costs, do you think an upgrade will be too expensive? Think again. The problems that are likely to arise can cost your business significantly more than the upgrade.

The good news is that Microsoft provides a number of alternatives that may suit your situation & budget.

So what are the alternatives for your business?

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 – Windows Server 2012 R2 offers a lengthy list of improvements compared with Windows Server 2003, including integrated virtualization, better security, extensive scalability, new operational roles, script execution capabilities, and far more. While it is a substantial learning curve to move directly from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 R2, customers are well advised to not make an interim upgrade to Windows Server 2008 as that product has already gone to end of mainstream support in January 2015. Licensing & hardware investment can be significant to facilitate this migration.
  • Office 365 – This is a Microsoft cloud hosted version of much of the server software product plus it can be provisioned with the full range of Office software such as Email Outlook, Word, PowerPoint & Excel. By subscribing to this per user per month service you can avoid investing in new hardware, on site running costs (such as electricity, rent, air con, security) & for larger companies in house IT staff. Smooth migration from Server 2003 to office 365 requires professional user management and ongoing administration much like a server, but without the critical infrastructure management (Microsoft does this in their data center), so IT support can more easily be outsourced.
  • Microsoft Azure – This is a hosted server product that Microsoft has developed for IT integrators to host server infrastructure centrally and control locally, so software & application can be deployed & managed on an individual rather than collective basis. An Office 365 & Azure hybrid (using virtualization) may be a practical alternative for industries that have developed applications that are reliant on 32 bit technology that was the core of the 2003 product and may not be compatible with the 64 bit technology

Do you have a Server Migration plan in place?

Microsoft has flagged this drop dead date for support for a serious reason, so this is not a situation you can simply ignore. It’s happening on July 14 2015, so mark your calendar. Most large organisations have been working on their migration plans for years. For small-medium sized business owners, the hour is getting late so we strongly encourage you to take action today!

Computer Troubleshooters encourages you to take this situation seriously and develop a migration plan immediately. Our experts can help you understand your migration options and work with you to develop an upgrade strategy for your business. Call your local Computer Troubleshooters office today before you run out of time.

 

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Are You Protecting Your Clients’ Private Information on Your Network and Devices?

There’s a long list of improvements that technology has delivered, but a major downside is cybercrime. The theft of digital information has become the most commonly reported type of criminal fraud. Surprisingly, the theft of digital information has actually surpassed physical theft. When Sony was recently hacked they stole 100TB of data – everything they could find – emails, movies, passwords, & payroll information.

Cybercrime: A Big Danger for Small Businesses

While financial institutions and large companies have been strengthening their networks against attacks, cybercriminals have begun targeting less well-defended small businesses. Small businesses are attacked everyday, it just doesn’t make the news like a massive data breach at Sony or Target. If you aren’t convinced that it’s a major problem, the following information based on a 2013 survey conducted by the US National Small Business Association:

  • 44% of small businesses have been victims of cyber attacks. The average cyber attack costs a small business $8,700.
  • Business must often pay to notify customers of a data breach and also pay for credit monitoring for customers with compromised information. Companies are potentially liable for damages in lawsuits brought by customers with compromised information.

Protect Your Clients and Your Business

Computer Troubleshooters offers the following recommendations to increase the security of your network and to safeguard your clients’ valuable personal and financial information:

  • Cybersecurity Awareness:Awareness, education and training is actually the first line of defense when it comes to protecting your business and clients from cybercrime. Establish a cybersecurity plan and policies for employees that requires the use of passwords; guidelines for handling
  • Secure Your Wi-Fi Network:You must password protect access to the router on your network. A common misconception is that simply having a router on your network will provide the protection you need. Without a password on the router, it is like putting a door on your office but not locking it.
  • Authentication and Passwords:Each employee must have unique passwords. Changing passwords every three months is recommended. Multi-factor authentication adds greater protection because it requires additional information to gain entry. When working with vendors that are handling your sensitive financial information, ask if they use multi-factor authentication. If not, you might want to work with a different vendor.
  • Clean Machines:Always use the latest operating system, security software and web browser. These will provide the best protection against online threats including viruses and malware. Block spam with a reliable spam filter, plus your e-mail will be easier to manage.
  • Secure Transactions:Protect client financial information from theft during online transactions by using encryption software. Encryption software also protects your business’ financial accounts, personnel files, product information and other highly sensitive data. Isolate payment systems from each other and don’t surf the internet from the computer you use to process payments.
  • Control Business and Client Information:Know exactly how and where critical information is stored, how it is used and how it is protected. Administrative privileges are only for key personnel. Limit employee access to data and always use strong and individualized passwords. Also, control physical access to computers. Lock laptop equipment when not in use. Use a reliable backup system that is at compliant with your industry.
  • Firewall:Consider using a reliable software firewall that prevents outsiders from accessing data on your private network. If your employees work from home, be sure that their home system is also firewall protected.
  • Mobile Devices:Require users to password protect their mobile devices, encrypt their data and install security apps to prevent cyber criminals from stealing information while the device is on a public network.

Play It Safe!

You have worked hard to establish your business. Success in any business is largely built on a reputation based on the trust and support of loyal clients and customers. Don’t gamble with this hard-earned loyalty by putting your clients’ security at risk. Safeguard your business against cybercrime by taking the necessary steps to ensure the security of your clients’ sensitive information.

Computer Troubleshooters can help you fight cybercrime by strengthening your business’ network with a variety of security products and solutions to cover all areas that are potentially at risk in your business. Computer Troubleshooters can also help you to establish a cybersecurity plan and policies for your business. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of our technology professionals will be happy to help you.

 

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Keeping it Clean!

It is easy to see the colossal mess that can quickly pile up in the office kitchen when you are busy. Just a few days of neglecting the rubbish and suddenly your office kitchen has become a health hazard. Seriously, how long has that leftover slice of Christmas cake been sitting there? Hey, there’s not a single clean coffee cup to be found on the shelf!

Unfortunately, most of us who work in an office environment are familiar with that type of kitchen experience.

In reality, a similar fate can befall your office computers. If you neglect a regular schedule of computer updates and maintenance, messy problems will soon start piling up. A disorganized office supply room or a dirty kitchen is bad enough, but never forget that your computers handle your business’ most important assets: accounting, financial records, communications and client information

Keeping It Clean – Inside and Out!

Remember that keeping the outside of your computers clean isn’t just about aesthetic appeal. Routine cleaning, especially the removal of dust, can keep your computer from overheating and damaging the hard drive and other components. It’s important.

Perhaps even more important than a dust-free keyboard, is keeping your computer’s internal “nuts and bolts” in working order. To keep your computers in tip top shape, we strongly recommend the following guidelines:

Step 1: Keep your computer up to date. Both Mac and Windows release regular security updates for your operating system. These updates are generally set to run automatically. If you aren’t sure if the updates are complete or if you have disabled the automated updates, follow these guidelines:

Windows: Go to the Start Menu, click on All Programs and then click on Windows Updates. See the status of your updates and check on the automatic updates settings. You can set your computer to download and install updates or you can perform these tasks manually.

Mac: Open the Systems Preference menu and choose Software Update. All available updates will appear on a list. Select the updates you want to install.

Step 2: Clear your Internet history or over a period of time data builds up to a point that can cause performance issues. Use the tools that come with your Internet browser of choice and following the required actions:

Internet Explorer: See the Internet Options control panel and click Delete on the General tab under the Browsing History. Firefox: See Firefox menu and open Options to click the Clear button to erase cookies and cache data. Chrome: To clear data, hold Control and Shift and click Delete. This will open a menu where you can select the data you want to erase. Also click on Clear Browsing Data when you are done. Safari: Clear the browsing cache by using the Edit menu then select Empty Cache.

Step 3: Malware is a type of program that can create security holes and compromise your computer’s performance. Call a Computer Troubleshooters professional to learn about a variety of both free and paid programs that are designed to erase malware and spyware. One of the best ways to avoid malware is to never download anything you are not sure of, such as a mysterious attachment that comes from an unfamiliar e-mail address.

Step 4: Defend your computer against malicious viruses with a powerful antivirus program. Having an antivirus program on your computer is a necessity. While no program can guarantee you will be safe from every possible threat, not having this protection or having a low quality product exposes your computer to the likelihood of infection. To avoid losing important data or having to pay for expensive repairs, talk to your local Computer Troubleshooters about your security needs.

Step 5: Hard drive maintenance is an automatic task provided on most recent computers. It defragments and reorganizes data storage for greater efficiency. It also handles disk cleanup by deleting duplicates and unused temporary files. This process is typically automatic on a Mac. With Windows, if your computer doesn’t provide automatic hard drive maintenance, use the Start Menu to open and run the maintenance program.

Step 6: Now that your computer is running more efficiently, be sure that the computer has a reliable backup system in place. There are many different options for backup solutions that are both reliable and affordable. Call your local Computer Troubleshooters to discuss the available solutions that best fits your needs.

Take Care of Your Valuable Assets with Regular Computer Care and Maintenance!

Your computers are one of your business’ most valuable assets. Try to imagine getting through even one day of business without your computers functioning. Take care of your computers so that you can take care of your business. Regular computer service, maintenance and updates will keep your machine working at optimal efficiency. Computer Troubleshooters can help you with malware, virus protection and backup solutions or help to establish a regular maintenance schedule for your office computers. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of their technology professionals will be happy to help you.

 

 

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Why you need to protect against Thunder Storms?

It is the season for thunderstorm activity across Australia. Recent storms have caused havoc with IT equipment in office & homes for our clients. Last week’s storm in Sydney fried computers, printers, cable modems and backup external drives, let alone more expensive business equipment such as servers. No one who got equipment fried actually got struck by lightning, so why did they lose multiple pieces of equipment in one wild storm and most importantly how do you stop it happening to you or your business.

Most technology depends on a clean, uninterrupted supply of electricity.  Unfortunately, inconsistencies in your electrical supply or a sudden complete loss of power can cause major damage to computer systems and other sensitive equipment.

Electrical supply is subjected to ‘brownouts’, surges and even complete outages.  ‘Brownouts’ are momentary slumps in supply, to a level under 100 volts. They are frequently caused by electrical storms, creating a momentary drain on the power supply.  Brownouts can affect a computer even if the voltage dip cannot be ‘seen’ (e.g. the lights in the room dimming).  And if they don’t crash your PC, they can cause stresses that can shorten the life of its components.

Surges of power often follow brownouts as the power rebounds back to normal, and can have similar effects caused by too much voltage.  Surges are common in areas where lines are hung on poles that are exposed to lightening, while the lightening may not hit the line the storms electrical activity is enough to cause variations in the voltage.

What devices will protect my systems from electrical issues:

  • Surge/power filters or protectorsare designed to ‘fail’ and cut the offending power supply before it damages your equipment. A direct lightning strike or similar condition will destroy any surge/power filter, but it will indicate that it has lost protection and may still have some protection in reserve until it can be replaced.  A surge/power filter is designed to ‘self-sacrifice’ itself, and is low cost compared to some other alternatives.
  • An Uninterruptible Power Supply(UPS) sits between your power outlet and your electronic device, providing backup power from its batteries when the mains supply fails. This gives you time to safely save open files and initiate the computer’s shutdown process, this particularly important for servers.

Additionally, most UPS’ regulate the power that comes from the wall, eliminating sags, spikes, noise, and other electrical interference that can damage equipment and data or interrupt operations.

A couple of common questions about power protection devices:

  • If I have a UPS, do I need surge protection?Yes – International standards don’t require UPS’ to have surge protection, so they don’t have a high level of protection as this would increase their cost and make them uncompetitive. They are designed to handle the end of a major surge, not the whole surge itself, so the UPS device itself also needs adequate protection from surges.  It’s much cheaper to replace your failed surge protector than your fried UPS.
  • How long can things run on a UPS during a blackout?Well, there is no standard answer, as UPS solutions are available to support devices from anywhere from five minutes to two days.  There are also several types of UPS, namely StandbyLine-interactive, and On-line, which have different features (and associated costs).  Typically, you should plan on enough run time to allow you to save any open files and safely shutdown your system, a definite requirement if you run a server.

In many cases, power protection can be justified by looking at the consequences of not having it. Several hours of professional work can be lost with just one brownout, due to a computer crashing before the work can be saved to disk. The consequences can be even more devastating if the power interruption physically damages the saved, historical data on the computer’s disk.  This can cause a business to suffer expensive setbacks in terms of time and disruption, even if the data can be restored from a recent backup.

Prevention is always better than cure and for a small investment in electrical protection hardware you can make sure you don’t get fried in the next thunder storm.

Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooter about how power protection can help to prevent you from losing valuable time and money.

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Can Office 365 Transform Your Business?

Microsoft has invested heavily on Office 365 as the way of the future for software licencing and it clearly turned out to be a winner! Both the consumer and business markets are enthusiastic about Microsoft’s Office 365 based on its user-friendly flexibility, effective communications and online productivity solutions. Have you thought about transitioning to Office 365?

Does Your Technology Support the “Time is Money” Viewpoint?

Advances in technology have enabled small and local businesses to participate in the global marketplace by maximizing productivity; delivering enhanced communication capabilities; providing affordable
e-marketing; and offering efficient customer service. It’s becoming increasingly common for small businesses to have user-friendly websites; online catalogs; call centers; customer relationship management tools (CRM); and streamlined inventory management systems. Technology is now primed to wring every ounce of efficiency and productivity out of a business to keep it one step ahead of the competition.

How Can Office 365 Benefit Your Business?

If you are an individual user or a business owner managing a team of employees, Office 365 offers many benefits including:

  • Work Whenever and Wherever:
  • Access your Office tools from anywhere on any device. Create and edit Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote files and share with your team using cloud-based file sharing. Even the Small Business edition can support up to 25 users. All editions provide great storage capacity for your data. You can also use Office 365 with your desktop version of Office.

  • Email and Calendar:
  • Sync your email and calendar with Office 365’s hosted business class email system. Stay in touch and on schedule with instant messaging. Secure and private communications are delivered across various devices with anti-virus and anti-spam protection.

  • Easily Manage Your Website:
  • With easy to use DIY online tools you can quickly make changes to your website. You can add your existing website, domain name and domain-based email address to Office 365 without any additional web-hosting fees. Make a great impression by taking control of your website and keeping it up to date.

  • Online Conferencing:
  • Take advantage of HD video conferencing for online meetings with desktop sharing. Save time and travel hassles with efficient online meetings that offer real-time note taking features.

  • Mobile Apps:
  • View and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on your mobile device. When you return to your office, you can easily reconnect to these files from your computer with intact formatting and content. No time is lost when you can start working where you left off.

  • Subscription Advantages:
  • Save money upfront with the subscription service format. You can pay by the month with the ability to cancel the subscription at any time. You can easily upgrade your subscription to another edition or bundle services within a service segment. No need to purchase new versions of software ever again.

Is Your Business Ready to Take Advantage of Office 365?

You can reshape the way you are doing business by reshaping your workforce. Office 365 offers a range of advanced tools that enables your employees to be productive anywhere and at any time across a range of devices. Gain the competitive edge for your business by boosting the collective performance of your employees through Office 365’s powerful cloud-based solutions.

Embarking on the Office 365 journey requires guidance so give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call today and one of our technology professionals will be happy to discuss how Office 365 can benefit your business

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Is Your Business Protected by a Remote Monitoring and Maintenance Solution?

Have you recently heard that techy acronym RMM tossed around and felt clueless? If you aren’t sure exactly what RMM is or what it does, here’s a brief explanation:

Managed Service Providers (MSP) employ Remote Monitoring and Maintenance (RMM) tools to manage their clients’ IT systems and equipment. RMM can be described as a collection of IT tools that are loaded onto a client’s workstations and servers to gather information. These RMM tools collect information on a variety of issues such as functionality, maintenance schedules and the detection of problems, and then automatically reports the details back to the MSP at a remote location.

How Does RMM Work?

If that brief description of RMM still makes it a little difficult to envision, consider credit monitoring services as a comparable type of service. Credit monitoring services are based on the continuous monitoring of a customer’s credit status. Many of us use credit monitoring services to prevent identity theft, fraud and to stay informed about any changes in our credit reports. If there is any suspicious activity within a customer’s account, the credit protection service alerts the customer within 24 hours. The alert can come via an e-mail that states, “Hello Customer – please verify that you used your credit card last night to buy $3000 worth of shoes at a resort in the Bahamas.” Good to know, right?

Additionally, the monitoring service keeps you informed about inquiries on your credit report, late payments and changes to your credit rating. These automated alerts enable consumers to take swift action as needed. Other widely used monitoring services include messages from your health care provider reminding you that it’s time for your annual physical and lab tests. If we didn’t get those proactive reminders, we might forget to make the appointment for our car’s oil change or the dog’s rabies shots at the vet’s office.

RMM is a somewhat similar type of service in that it is continuously monitoring the “health” of your technology. RMM is not only looking for problems, inefficiencies and viruses, it enables technicians to actually conduct repairs from a remote location. Plus RMM not only monitors workstations and servers, but also firewalls, printers, and mobile devices. The RMM reporting system is so efficient that the MSP can often correct a problem before you are even aware of the issue. RMM also automates scheduled maintenance tasks such as managing and deploying operating system updates; defragmenting hard disks; sending backup verifications; running antivirus application updates and more. With a RMM solution in place, the System Administrator no longer needs to think about a schedule for maintenance,systems patches or alerts for updates. Your business is covered, because RMM is working behind the scenes in tandem with the MSP at an offsite location.

The Benefits of RMM

Business owners are always on the lookout for new solutions that will cut costs and increase efficiency. That’s the name of the game when it comes to maintaining your business’ competitive position in the marketplace. If you haven’t considered a RMM solution for your business, let Computer Troubleshooters outline the benefits.

  • Save time and money by eliminating onsite IT management and manual repairs that are handled by an overworked staff member. You can save money on infrastructure and cut employee costs with a RMM solution. All of your equipment can be managed from a centralized remote location with real-time information sent to certified professionals. If your business has more than one location, RMM is a perfect solution. Plus, the repairs and upgrades are handled at an offsite location with minimal interruptions. Remember, you can redirect your IT expenditures to more valuable uses for your business. With a RMM solution, your business can produce more results while spending less money!
  • Increase Your Efficiency  by minimizing costly technology disruptions. No business owner, employee or customer wants to waste time because the network is down due to unexpected problems, maintenance or upgrades that have taken longer than anticipated. RMM will minimize downtime through proactive remote monitoring of your network. You can rely on the early detection of problems and swift repairs. If you want to forget about those sudden “disc space is full” messages, RMM can be the answer. 
  • Gain the Competitive Edge   by improving customer satisfaction with increased operational efficiency. Provide enhanced service with up-to-date data and accurate inventory counts because your internal systems are functioning efficiently. Avoid the much dreaded “our network is currently down” conversation with a customer. Enhance your sales efficiency and increase your revenues with RMM troubleshooting the problems in advance. You can stay a step ahead of the competition when you lower operating costs and redirect your resources to support the true goals of your business.

So if you feel your business IT could do with a more proactive management approach, talk to us about RMM and how we can better manage your IT requirements.

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Is Your IT Professional Also a Trusted Business Advisor?

As a business owner, one of the best moves you can make is to outsource your IT services to a professional provider. When it comes to outsourcing your IT service needs, there are a wide range of service options that involve varying levels of management responsibilities and costs. An IT professional can provide service for a single specific task such as help desk support or managing network security. At the other end of the service spectrum, an IT professional can assume management responsibilities for a client’s entire IT infrastructure. The advantages of outsourced services are improved operational efficiencies, cost savings and predictable service for a nearly-fixed monthly fee.

Increase Efficiency and Effectiveness with Mobility

An increasing number of businesses have switched to the outsourced IT service model. If you are already working with a contracted IT professional, then you have given your business the advantage of a head-start on the competition. The next big question is whether your business is actually making the best use of your contracted IT professional? It is likely that your IT professional is responsible for repairs, fixes and upgrades for your business’ computers and network problems. Computer repairs might be a key part of the contracted job, but there are probably some value-added IT skills that your business might not be fully

Do You Need a Trusted Business Advisor or a Computer Repair Service?

  • Trusted advisor is an important role that an IT professional can fill by understanding the business owner’s goals and long range plans for the business. By understanding the “big picture,” an IT professional can share expert technical information while understanding various solutions, costs and the latest technology trends. Functioning as a trusted advisor, an IT professional can make experienced recommendations that are in the best interests of the business’ long term goals as opposed to implementing quick fix, computer repairs.
  • Decisions about new technologies might not be in the comfort zone of most business owners. How can a business owner be fully versed in technology and able to identify the difference between the latest hype and a proven strategy? Which technology is going to provide the best return on investment? Is it the best strategy to implement a new technology now or wait until next year? Is your business currently compliant with network security requirements? Is your data safe? If your business needs to update its operating system, is now the time to purchase new computers? If your IT professional is acting as a trusted advisor, these larger issues can be explored together with the shared goal being the long term sustainability and success of your business.
  • Technology coach is another important element of the trusted advisor’s role. As a member of the client’s “inner circle,” the IT professional needs to bring a variety of skills to the table including the ability to carefully explain technology solutions. The ability to really listen to the business owner is also critical. One size does not fit all – especially when it comes to technology decisions. A knowledgeable IT professional must be able to not only recommend the best technology solutions, but also make the best recommendations for a business’s particular needs in the context of their industry, finances and long range goals. A proactive IT professional will be constantly evaluating new technology products, solutions and reliable vendors that will best serve the needs of the client’s business.
  • Thinking Beyond Computer Repair Services

    As a business owner, you know that we all need to think “outside the box” more often. Computer Troubleshooters encourages you think outside of the “computer repair” box and see that your IT professional is a valuable asset that you might be able to utilize to even greater advantage. Computer Troubleshooters values your business and we want to be your trusted advisor when it comes to technology solutions! Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call today. We are ready to listen.

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