Monthly December 2016
Web Design
27th December 2016

Does your business need a website?

The overwhelming use of the Internet makes it abundantly clear that every business should have a website, especially a small business. Without a website, you could be missing out on opportunities to increase sales and gain new customers.

Here are several strong reason to have a website for your small business.

1. Your business has competition. If your competitors have a website, your business cannot survive without one. This is especially true if the bulk of your business isn’t the result of word-of-mouth. Local retailers, online sellers and manufacturers use websites to communicate with existing customer and to gain the loyalty of new customers. While all of your competition may not have a website, you may be losing customers to those that do. Once they’re on your customer’s website, they may not have an incentive to look elsewhere.

2. Your business needs to build new relationships to thrive. The website allows you to send your customers and potential customers monthly emails or newsletters. By staying in touch with customers, your brand can become better known while making it easier for your customers to understand your business. A website can also be a great customer service tool, allowing your customers to reach your 24-7.

3. A website can give your small business credibility. First impressions are still important in every facet of life. A well-designed and functional website can give your business the credibility it needs to make a good, first impression. You may even discover that the majority of customers are willing to do business with you because you provide a website. If your website is functional an easy to navigate, that’s like extra icing on the cake for customers.

4. Every business owner is aware of the power of business cards. They’re an effective and inexpensive way to advertise a product or service. Your website can be a new, digital business card. Only it has the potential to reach hundreds, even thousands more customers than a conventional business card. Properly designed and optimized for search, your website can provide a convenient way for new and potential customers to communicate with you at their convenience.

5. Your website will give you the power of advertising, without the cost. Websites can offer a very inexpensive method to let the world know about your products or services. A also allows you to communicate valuable information in easier and less expensive ways than other forms of conventional advertising. Your website can be like a silent partner, working faithfully to help grow you business 24/7. Send emails, offer special deals and publicize sales. The sky is the limit with an effective website.

If you’re interested in website design for small business ask about my services, which include strategic website design/development, book/contact form features/email and newsletters/social networking integration, attractive designs, and full e-commerce shop functions.

Virus and Malware
27th December 2016

What are Viruses/Malware?

Malware is an umbrella term for different malicious software such as viruses, fake security software, spyware, adware, and browser hijacking software. Malware can send your personal information to third parties without your knowledge, and it can also cause your browser to stop responding or to close unexpectedly. With all the new toolbars brought about by the malware, the browser becomes unstable, resulting in frequent browser crashes.

In addition to crashes, malware can cause an overall poor performance of your devices. Laptops and desktop computers can take longer, and then the device usually stops responding while in use. Sometimes, the internet connection encounters problems, such as stopping unexpectedly; there are also problems with the applications, especially security programs. After awhile, It becomes difficult, and frustrating, to try and adjust configuration options and system settings when they are not available at all.

If you’re looking for signs of malware affecting your device, advertisements popping up even if the browser is closed are good indications. Other indications can include the browser automatically opening just to display ads, or when opening new pages, or looking at a page’s search results.

Viruses, on the other hand, are the most commonly known type of malware. They can erase the files in your computer or worse, they can hijack your system and use it to send spam, share illegal content, or even attack other systems. There are different types of viruses; some of them can be easily detected and blocked by antivirus programs, but there are some that are difficult to detect and can infect your system.

Examples of the recent viruses are Cryptolocker and Gameover Zeus. Cryptolocker puts code into your files and asks you to pay around £100 to £1000 so you can decrypt your files, while Gameover Zeus accesses your banking details and other valuable information.

Malware and viruses get into the system through drive-by downloads. Suspicious websites are the primary sources of viruses, while attachments from suspicious emails can also host viruses and malware. However, most of the time, users are not aware that they are already installing the malware or the virus into their system. This makes it necessary for the user to safeguard their system through high-quality antivirus programs.

Malware and viruses pose serious threats to your computers and laptops. When it comes to protecting your systems, you want the best security and support. I can offer that security and protection so feel free to get in touch.

Slow PC
27th December 2016

Is your computer Slow?

If a PC is plagued by bloatware, viruses, malware, or an overabundance of programs is draining the speed of the processor, I’ll have the solution. By offering repair services to alleviate slow computer processing, slow computer help is only a few clicks away.

If a computer is running at less than optimal speeds, the first defence may be to reboot the PC. However, if a reboot does not solve the problem, there are additional steps to restore a slow computer. Any programs operating in the background are utilising memory and the central processing unit (CPU), thus slowing the operating speed of the PC.

While scans are in progress, programs such as anti-virus software, spyware protection, or other security software can often decrease the functionality of the computer. Yet, sometimes scanning for spyware and malware may be able to combat the issues of a slow running computer. scanning and removing any viruses found on a personal computer may help.

A PC could also be slow due to the hard drive. A lack of hard drive space, as well as a bad, corrupt, or fragmented hard drive, could be a possible cause of slow processor speeds. The hard drive can be cleaned or upgraded if less than 200-500 MB of free space is available. The user could remove any old games, files, or programs from the PC, delete temporary files, or even run a disk clean up. If these options do not help, running a systems Defrag or ScanDisk may verify that the data is arranged in the ideal order, and that there are no physical malfunctions with the computer’s hard drive.

Additional problems that could be the cause of a slow PC are hardware conflicts, out of date drivers or operating systems, low memory (RAM), or even the overheating of the computer or processor. Upgrading RAM to at least 2GB for a 32-bit system and 4GB for 64-bit system may require my help. However, changing to the latest Windows operating system or cleaning the air vents and fans of the computer are simple at-home changes that could be done by yourself. For hardware and driver issues, I can help.

After trying all possible solutions and still struggling with a slow computer, It’s time to give me a call. Leave the hassle and worry to the professionals; there is no reason a computer should not be running at optimal speeds and I can certainly help you with that.

PC Shortcuts
27th December 2016

A few tips!

There are many tips and tricks for a computer user to keep on hand. There are system backup tips, programs for virus protection, and keyboard shortcuts. Personal computers, or PCs, are used daily in many households and businesses, so learning how to use them efficiently is a smart thing to do.

One tip is to back up important data. Computers can be used for very important work that can be saved, but things happen that could damage the hard drive. Liquids, overheating, and viruses can all make the hard drive fail. There are a few ways to back up data. USB flash drives are available at most office supply stores for a low cost, and can be carried easily; portable hard drives are also available at office supply stores or online. Another way to back up your data is to upload the files to a website made for storage. Sometimes these websites charge a fee, but this way you can access your files from any computer, and do not have to rely on any one device to keep them working. A good free up to 2GB one is called DropBox.

Keeping a backup of your important files is not the only thing you should do for protection. Viruses are a daily part of PC life, and can affect internet browsers, hard drives, and the general performance of your computer. There are many anti-viruses to choose from, so make sure you do your research before purchasing. Usually with a PC, you will get a free trial, but make sure you have protection after the trial is over. These programs usually require a yearly payment and are downloaded to your PC. There are local IT support specialists like me to help. Don’t pay for anti-virus, talk to me first. I also do a service that can back up your data, do weekly update and virus checks + more!

There are also a few keyboard short cuts that are good to know, to help you remain efficient while using your PC. The most commonly used are Ctrl + C for copy, Ctrl + V to paste what you have copied, and Ctrl + P to print the document that you have open on your screen. Another great keyboard shortcut is Ctrl + ALT + DELETE, this gives you a few options such as log off, change password or lock the computer. Do you need to go to the Task Manager? Just press Shift + ESC. If you press the Window’s logo key + L, then your computer locks, and the display screen comes up.

These are just a few of the tips and tricks to use on your PC. Using these will help keep your computer healthy, and allow you to work swiftly while using iBack u

Apple vs Microsoft
27th December 2016

Apple or Microsoft? Which one you should choose?

There are a million choices when it comes to purchasing a computer, but the first one to address is key – Apple or Microsoft? Both operating systems offer a multitude of options and benefits, but it really comes down to specific preference and use. What works for a graphic designer might not be best for a heavy gamer. A family that primarily uses their computer to check email and do homework may not want superior graphic display. It comes down to an evaluation of personal needs.

The primary concern for many is cost, and Microsoft Windows computers (PC) can be found at a much cheaper base price than Apples. The smallest MacBook Air starts at £749 and some machines can quickly reach the thousands. Base models come with very few bells and whistles, and upgrades and repairs can also add up fast. A basic PC laptop can be purchased for just under £300, although they too can be found in the thousands depending on hardware and loaded software packages. Also take into consideration software a consumer may need to also purchase such as the Microsoft Office Suite. If price point is the purchaser’s biggest concern, PCs come out on top.

Security should also be a main concern for many users, and there Apple wins. PCs are much more common and therefore more targeted by malware and viruses. Apple computers are considered more secure and do not require additional software for monitoring.

Usability is key no matter what kind of computer you have. Apple systems are considered to be more streamlined and easier to navigate, but there is a learning curve if the consumer has been a lifelong Windows user. PCs tend to experience more crashing and issues, due mostly to the complicated operating system and the various device drivers required.

Quality can vary greatly when it comes to PCs. Certified Apple computers come from the same place and are held to the same standards. There are more budget friendly PCs and as a result the construction standards of the hardware can be lower.

There is much more software available for Microsoft systems. Apple has increased offerings greatly in the past decade, but if a specific program is required the consumer should check which system it operates on. Apple computers are considered superior in graphic design and education software, but PCs offer more games and general programs. Often times new programs are available for PC long before Apple.

IT Support is offered for both types of machines. Phone and store support is available, but Apple tends to be more expensive since support is offered at fewer places. Since PCs are more commonplace, consumers can find a variety of support options and places. Apple and some PCs do offer service warranties for a time period for an additional charge.

Apple may look to to be on top of the market with its commercials, trendy spokespeople and additional products like the iPhone, but do not discount Microsoft. As most widely used product, they offer more programs and syncing with these additional apple products. The choice should come down to price, use and personal preference. Head to a local store with a list of needs in hand. Try both products, see what best fits. However I’d recommend buying from a Apple themselves or if you choose Microsoft buy online or get someone like us to build a custom built computer for you.

If you’re thinking of getting a new computer soon and would like some advice on which one to go for, feel free to get in touch.

How to Backup
27th December 2016

The best back up Solutions

Many laptop computers, tablets, and mobile devices contain files that are irreplaceable. A hardware malfunction or the introduction of a virus can cause these files to be permanently lost. For this reason, documents, media files, and even the device’s operating system should be backed up frequently. There are a variety of ways to backup these files, with the most suitable method depending upon the types of files, as well as the time and money the user wishes to spend on the process. We look at a few different methods on how to backup.

The USB, or Universal Serial Bus, drive is the least expensive and least complicated method of file backup. This is a small plastic drive that is inserted into the USB port on the side or back of a computer. It can be purchased at any office supply or big-box discount retailer, and comes in a variety of storage capacities. Both documents and media files can be stored on a USB drive by simply plugging the drive into the computer and cutting and pasting documents onto the drive or completing a manual save process.

An external backup drive is a similar method of storage, but with a larger storage capacity than a USB drive. This external drive is also connected to the computer through a USB port and saves the entire contents of the computer since the last backup. Due to the increased storage capacity, the external drive is more expensive than the USB drive, but the process of backing up information is very similar.

A viable option for households with more than one computer or offices with multiple computers, is an NAS drive, or Network-Attached-Storage drive. This drive allows all of the computers in the home or office to be connected to one drive that backs up files and allows all computers on the network to share those files. An NAS allows for backup of not just individual files, but entire operating systems as well.

The most safest and most efficient method of backup for both home and office devices is cloud storage. This means that data is backed up to servers owned by professional hosting companies at a secure off-site locations. Cloud storage prevents the possibility of complete data loss and also saves space on an individual electronic device or network. Companies and individuals can purchase these services as subscriptions for a price that includes a fixed amount of storage. These subscriptions usually also provide IT support, or information technology support, in case of questions or issues surrounding cloud storage, which can be an added benefit to a company with limited technology resources. However this method can be more expensive.

While all forms of electronic files, backups do involve some financial investment. However, the expense is ultimately worth it being that peace of mind is ensured with knowing that sensitive and irreplaceable files are secure.

If you want some advice on which method you should go for give us a call. We can talk through your needs and recommend a suitable solution.

Office 365 Logo
27th December 2016

Pros and Cons of Office 365

Are you needing a new office suite? I guess you’ve looked at what’s out there and come across office 365. Now your asking yourself Should I buy Office 365?

Office 365 is the cloud version of Microsoft Office which allows users to use Office without the need of installation discs. Setting up an account and downloading the necessary files are performed through the Internet. Office runs on Windows 7 or Windows 8 and OS X 10.6 for Mac. The subscription is managed once a month through the Internet and a compatible browser which includes Chrome 18, Safari 5, IE 9 or Firefox 12.

Considering upgrades and licenses, Office is less expensive than the desktop version of Office. This is especially true when upgrades to new versions are done frequently. Upgrades are also up-to-date to enable users to have access to the latest version.

Although there are applications such as Web Apps which can be used for free, their functions are often limited to basic formatting and editing. Thus, they cannot serve as alternatives. Since it is flexible and follows an on-demand payment model, users have to pay only for what they have used. However, there are also software limitations. For instance, there is rate limit with the recipients who will be receiving emails for the day. The number of recipients range from 1,500 to 10,000 depending on the type of subscription.

With a user-friendly web interface, it becomes easier to navigate through Office. Emails are also hosted through the cloud, saving the user the additional expenses for licensing and maintenance. However, the hosting of emails in cloud does not allow customization and the configuration becomes less flexible. Therefore, it is necessary for the user to know how the web versions of SharePoint, Lync and Exchange work.

Because subscription to Office comes with 27 GB storage in SkyDrive, storing files becomes simpler and files become more accessible. Subscribing also offers users free website hosting and free 60-minute landline calls through Skype every month.

There is also an easier access to files through the web versions of various Microsoft programs such as Excel, PowerPoint, Word and OneNote. Users only need an Internet connection to validate their subscription every 30 days. Files can also be opened in different platforms including Windows Phone, Android and iOS.

The storage of data on Microsoft’s servers may not sound appealing to businesses keeping private data. However, the security of private data can be ensured through the financial options offered by Microsoft.

Office 365 is ideal for people who are working in different locations due to ease of data accessibility and IT support. The pros and cons should be considered before switching from any other program. Office 365 can be as low as £60 per year for 5 users. It basic terms it works exactly the same as a standard office suite but you have the most up to date software and will need a internet connection once a month to keep it validated.

If you still have questions on office 365 give us a call and we can clear things up for you.

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