DATA Computer Services is an IT support company in Edinburgh. This is a user friendly blog designed to help small and medium sized businesses. It explains the different kinds of IT support and IT services that are available, to help them decide which will suit their business needs best.
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As an IT support company in Edinburgh we understand the importance of fast, reliable data storage solutions. Until very recently, the standard Hard Disk Drive (HDD) was the predominant storage solution for servers, computers and laptops; however Solid State Drives (SSDs) are now becoming a great alternative due to the fact that they offer several … Continue reading "7 Advantages of Solid State Drives (SSDs)" The post 7 Advantages of Solid State Drives (SSDs) appeared first on IT Support...
As an IT support company in Edinburgh we understand the importance of fast, reliable data storage solutions. Until very recently, the standard Hard Disk Drive (HDD) was the predominant storage solution for servers, computers and laptops; however Solid State Drives (SSDs) are now becoming a great alternative due to the fact that they offer several distinct advantages.
1. Faster speeds
Traditional HDDs store data on spinning magnetic disk platters. These platters have an arm which moves across reading and writing data. With SSDs, data is stored on flash memory chips, so there are no moving parts. This lack of moving parts is what makes SDDs much faster at reading and writing data. An SSD has an access speed of nearly 100 times faster than that of a HDD. This means that a PC or laptop with an SSD will boot up much faster, have faster application loading times and also better overall system responsiveness.
2. Greater reliability
Through time, moving parts will inevitably lead to wear and tear. Since SSDs have no moving parts and use flash memory to store data, they are much more reliable devices.
3. Lower power usage
SSDs use much less power than HDDs as they don’t have to power any moving parts. This also means better battery life for laptops.
4. Less noise and heat generated
Spinning platters on HDDs can be noisy and can also generate a fair amount of heat which can cause damage to electronic parts. SSDs do not have either of these issues because they have no moving parts.
5. Unaffected by magnetism
Unlike HDDs, data on SSD devices is not at risk of damage if exposed to strong magnetic fields.
6. More sturdy
With no moving parts SSDs are much hardier at surviving drops, bumps and collisions than HDDs. This is particularly useful for portable devices such as laptops.
7. More sizes available
HDDs are usually only available in 3.5” or 2.5” but with SSDs, different sizes and shapes e.g. 1.0”, 1.8” are becoming much more common. This means an increase in the free space available in desktops and laptops.
It is clear that SSDs offer many advantages over HDD technology. The principal down side is the higher cost. This is what has, in most cases, prevented a full switch over to this technology being used as standard in laptops and desktops. However this year has seen a sharp increase in demand which is expected to lead to lower prices in the future. In the meantime a way of keeping prices low has been to use a combination of both types of device. For example, SSDs are being used as primary drives on desktops or laptops to hold operating systems and key applications that benefit most from fast speeds. HDDs are then being added to meet any additional storage that is required.
Data Computer Services is a company providing professional IT support for businesses in Edinburgh and the Lothians. If you would like to find out more about SSDs or have any other questions about our IT services please get in touch or call us on 0131 657 1666
As an experienced IT support company in Edinburgh, one of our most important tasks is to ensure businesses have a reliable, cost effective phone system in place. Traditionally landlines are the go-to choice but over the last few years there has been a steady increase in the number of SMEs moving to cloud hosted VOIP … Continue reading "6 Reasons For Moving to a VOIP Phone System" The post 6 Reasons For Moving to a VOIP Phone System appeared first on IT Support...
As an experienced IT support company in Edinburgh, one of our most important tasks is to ensure businesses have a reliable, cost effective phone system in place. Traditionally landlines are the go-to choice but over the last few years there has been a steady increase in the number of SMEs moving to cloud hosted VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone systems. These cloud based ‘internet phones’ offer many advantages over older systems, the most important being reduced costs. In fact it has been estimated that businesses can save up to 50% by using hosted VOIP instead of regular phone lines. Here are our top 6 reasons why you should consider making the move
1. Cheap to install and maintain
Hosted VOIP phones are cheap to install and easy to configure. No wiring is required as these phones use a broadband connection to make and receive calls. In addition there is no VOIP hardware to install, all that is needed is a phone handset plugged directly into your computer network. A simple web portal is used to add or remove users or change configuration settings.
2. Cheaper calls
As well as reduced installation costs VOIP offer significantly cheaper calls than traditional landlines. In fact VOIP to VOIP calls are usually completely free. This means that there is no cost for internal calls between offices or phone extensions. Clearly as more and more businesses make the move to VOIP this will become an even bigger saving in the future.
3. Easy to scale up or down
SMEs are not always in a position to predict exactly how many phones they will need in the coming year. With VOIP phones you can quickly and easily add a new line as soon as a new employee starts and remove it as soon as they leave, saving you time and money.
4. Phone numbers can go with you
Moving to VOIP doesn’t mean you need to change all your business telephone numbers. You can still take calls and make calls using your current phone numbers, minimising any disruption to business.
5. Host of useful business features
VOIP comes with a host of familiar features such as caller ID, call diversion, call waiting, 3 way calling. In addition because VOIP is internet based it integrates easily with other business applications enabling video conferencing, audio conferencing, integrated contact lists, voicemail by email, on hold music and call queue etc.
6. Mobile VOIP App
The VOIP service also comes with the option of a mobile app which enables staff to take and make VOIP office calls using their mobile phones. This lets you maintain a professional business presence even when staff work remotely or are out of the office a lot.
In the past many businesses were put off the idea of internet phones due to worries about poor voice quality and unreliable broadband connections. Fortunately these issues have been addressed and providers can now deliver extremely high levels of network reliability. In addition in the unlikely event of an internet outage, rerouting of calls to mobiles or alternative telephone lines can be easily set up. Instead businesses should think about the potential cost saving that can be made along with the wide range of business friendly features available with hosted VOIP phone systems.
If you would like to find out more about setting up a VOIP telephone system for your business, please contact us or call 0131 657 1666.
As an IT support company in Edinburgh we work with a lot of small and medium sized businesses. Here are some of the most common IT problems we come across. Haphazard backup procedures A small start-up business will usually begin by storing most of their work on one or two PCs and maybe creating some … Continue reading "4 of the Most Common IT Problems for SMEs" The post 4 of the Most Common IT Problems for SMEs appeared first on IT Support...
As an IT support company in Edinburgh we work with a lot of small and medium sized businesses. Here are some of the most common IT problems we come across.
Haphazard backup procedures
A small start-up business will usually begin by storing most of their work on one or two PCs and maybe creating some backup disks or copies of their important files every now and then. As the business expands it is likely that the number of staff will increase and there will be more PCs, clients and information to keep track of. Very soon these backup procedures will be too haphazard to guarantee the safety of essential data. In addition, since May 2018 all businesses need to comply with even stricter data protection rules (GDPR). This means that secure storage of private data is not just good practice but a mandatory requirement. This is why businesses need to take secure data storage and data backup very seriously. They need to be thinking about investing either in their own secure server with backup software which will run overnight or some type of cloud backup software. It is also important that they know how to recover their data from their backup solution (and test that the restore works) in case the worst happens and their data is lost or deleted.
Just-in-time may work well as a model in manufacturing but in terms of keeping your business hardware running smoothly it is not good practice. Many SME owners take the attitude of waiting until something breaks before replacing it. This is definitely not something we would recommend. If one of your company PC’s fails and is out of use you then have a member of staff without access to a computer for the whole time it takes to order, take delivery and setup a new one. This could affect important processes running on time e.g. payroll runs, replying to clients, processing invoices. A much better solution is to arrange a maintenance contract on critical hardware items with full replacement every five years or so.
At risk of hacking
Anyone who uses a computer connected to the internet is at risk of hacking. Computer hackers break into computer systems with the aim of stealing or destroying important information. They target usernames, passwords, bank details as well as personal information about employees and clients which they can sell on. This is often done via malware delivered by spam emails. Too often small businesses install some antivirus software at the start but fail to keep up to date with all the software updates. It is also important that updates to applications and operating system software are made to ensure they are running the latest version of the software. This should be an essential part of your IT maintenance. In addition if you store files containing sensitive information on a flash drive, external hard drive or laptop they should be encrypted. Then if they get lost and fall into the wrong hands you can be sure that any sensitive data is fully protected from hackers.
An outdated website
A website is a virtual storefront for a business and it is essential that it is kept up to date and relevant. Many small businesses spend a lot of time planning and designing the look and feel of their brand new website but once it is up and running it often gets forgotten about. Within a few years the overall design can start to look and feel tired and dated. This can harm a business as research suggests that most consumers judge a business’ credibility purely on their website design. In addition, to rank well in Google, websites have to work well technically. Firstly web pages have to load quickly. This is because Google uses speed as a ranking factor and also because most people are impatient and will click away from your site if the page does not load within a couple of seconds. Secondly we live in a mobile world and users expect websites to work well on all of their devices. So if your website looks dated, is slow or doesn’t have a responsive design you will be putting your business at risk of missing out on a large number of potential customers.
If you need help with any area of your business IT support, please feel free to get in touch with Data Computer Services. We are an experienced, friendly IT support company in Edinburgh.
Data protection rules are changing on 25th May 2018, is your business ready? General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is the new European agreed framework for data protection laws and replaces the current Data Protection Act. It is a series of new data protection rules designed to standardise data privacy laws across the whole of Europe. … Continue reading "How to Get Your Business Ready for GDPR" The post How to Get Your Business Ready for GDPR appeared first on IT Support...
Data protection rules are changing on 25th May 2018, is your business ready? General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is the new European agreed framework for data protection laws and replaces the current Data Protection Act. It is a series of new data protection rules designed to standardise data privacy laws across the whole of Europe. Its aim is to make businesses think seriously about data protection and to provide greater protection and rights for individuals. It will introduce even stricter rules about the way businesses can gather, store and use personal data. As a business it is your responsibility to comply with these new rules or risk facing hefty fines. At Data Computer Services we provide professional IT support services and will work closely with our customers to help them meet their GDPR obligations.
Will Brexit affect GDPR?
No, the government has confirmed that GDBR will come into force in May 2018 and post Brexit the UK is implementing a new Data Protection Act which will largely mirror the GDPR (with a few minor changes)
Will GDPR affect my business?
Most likely, yes. Any company, regardless of size, that processes ‘Personal Data’ or ‘Sensitive Personal Data’ that can be used to identify a person is subject to GDPR (although there are some concessions to the GDPR for companies with fewer than 250 employees). ‘Personal Data’ includes data such as name, address, IP address, even information held under a pseudonym is included, if the person can be identified from it. ‘Sensitive Personal Data’ includes information held about a person’s religious beliefs, cultural identity, political opinions, racial information, sexual orientation etc. In addition, the rules don’t just apply to the data you hold about your customers, it also includes the data you hold about your suppliers, partner companies and even your own employees.
Will I need to hire a Data Protection Officer (DPO)
Although large businesses and public authorities are required to appoint a designated DPO, GDPR has made some concessions for small businesses and most will be exempt from this. If this is the case, it might still be worth appointing a member of your existing staff to this role and ensuring that they are properly trained up in GDPR rules and regulations.
What changes will I have to make to comply with GDPR
Even though small or medium sized businesses will generally handle far smaller volumes of data than larger businesses, the necessary procedures still need to be in place to protect the data and deal with requests. It is important therefore that you:
1. Know your Data
Whether you keep a small spreadsheet of customer details or have a full blown automated digital capture system, GDPR applies. It is important that you know what data you hold, how it was captured, how it is held, how you use it and who else has access to it. You also have a responsibility to ensure that any data you hold and share is accurate.
2. Understand Individual Rights
Individuals will have new rights regarding their data including:
- The right to know how and why you are using their personal data
- The right to access their data. This is known as a Subject Access Request (SAR). Currently businesses are allowed to charge individuals £10 for a SAR. In May this fee will be scrapped and a business will have one month to provide this information free of charge (although extensions are available for complex requests)
- The right to have inaccurate data rectified
- The right to have their data deleted (in certain circumstances)
- The right to data portability e.g. data should be able to be exported into different formats so that it can be used/moved/copied securely from one IT environment to another.
- The right to object to their data being processed
3. Review your Method of Consent
There is also a requirement for a business to obtain consent in order to process an individual’s data. This consent has to be given in an ‘opt in’ type basis e.g. by ticking a box. This is because to comply with GDPR, consent has to be verifiable. A business will need to be able to provide unambiguous proof that an individual has freely granted consent. Clear and simple processes must also be put in place to allow withdrawal of consent.
4. Review Security
Good data security is essential in order to comply with GDPR. You must ensure that all business systems that collect process and store personal information are secure. The use of encryption is recommended for all stored data (e.g. on laptops, mobiles, USBs, databases, file servers etc.)
5. Have procedures in place for Data Breaches
It is essential that you have procedures in place to detect, report and investigate data breaches. Certain serious personal data breaches must be reported within 72 hours to the relevant supervisory body and failure to do so can lead to fines.
6. Destroy Old Data
GDPR requires that companies do not hang on to personal data for longer than necessary or use it for other purposes than was consented to.
Many SME’s fear GDPR either through ignorance of the legislation or not knowing how to prepare for the new rules. However GDPR is not going to go away and we would advise trying to get to grips with it now rather than leaving it till later, which could lead to some serious fines. Once implemented correctly it can even provide some benefits for your own business such as access to more accurate information, increased data security and no sleepless nights worrying about serious data breaches.
DATA Computer Services is an experienced IT support company in Edinburgh. If you are a small or medium sized company and need help or advise on storing, maintaining or securing your business data, please feel free to Contact Us or give us a call on 0131 657 1666
If you are a small or medium sized business finding the best deal and the best price is always important. This is particularly true when you are looking for a company to help you with your business IT services. There are lots of different IT companies out there offering different things, some with contracts … Continue reading "Can Managed IT Services Benefit My Business?" The post Can Managed IT Services Benefit My Business? appeared first on IT Support...
If you are a small or medium sized business finding the best deal and the best price is always important. This is particularly true when you are looking for a company to help you with your business IT services. There are lots of different IT companies out there offering different things, some with contracts and some without. It is vitally important that you understand the different types of IT support being offered so that you can choose the right one for your needs. One of the most popular ways of providing support for businesses is through ‘Managed IT Services’.
What are Managed IT Services?
Managed IT Services are specific IT services and functions which are outsourced to another company, sometimes called a service provider. They allow you to completely hand over the running of certain IT tasks to experts in that area, giving you the time and freedom to concentrate fully on your core business. A service provider assumes responsibility for monitoring, managing and fixing any problems with these services. Managed IT Services usually involve paying a set price every month, which allows you to set an annual budget for your IT expenditure. The price will usually depend on the number and type of devices to be supported i.e. the number of
- PCs, laptops and workstations
- Tablets and mobile devices
This type of support usually requires a contract and agreed Service Level Agreements (SLAs). SLAs are the contract between you and the IT support company. They identify what services will be provided and the level of response expected of these services. SLAs will differ depending on the contract you sign up to. They can make a huge difference to response times and support that you receive so it is crucial that they are checked carefully before signing up. If there is anything you don’t fully understand, don’t be shy about asking for it to be explained further.
Services covered by SLAs typically include such things as:
- Data backup, recovery and storage
- Network monitoring, security and management
- Anti-virus management
- Software installation and management
- Server availability and monitoring
Always remember that with this type of support it is important that you fully understand the process and time frames you are agreeing to e.g. if a problem is reported via a helpdesk or phone call and can’t be fixed remotely, how long will it take an engineer to visit your premises to fix it. You should also tie down exactly what constitutes a ‘priority’, what the resolution times are for different issues (how long will it take to fix the problem – not just respond to it) and are all types of IT issues included e.g. if you have problems with 3rd party applications will these be covered?
Which businesses benefit most from Managed IT Services?
Although this type of support reacts well to resolving unexpected IT issues its big selling point is that it can also provide PROACTIVE monitoring of your systems. This means that it can find and fix potential issues before they become a problem to your business. This type of support is therefore perfect for businesses which:
- Rely heavily on their IT systems
- Prefer budgeted IT costs
- Need cost effective unlimited support (telephone, remote or on-site)
- Need rapid response and resolution times
So if your business is a start-up, small or doesn’t rely heavily on IT, adhoc support from a good IT company as and when you need it, may be perfectly adequate. However, as your business grows, the number of times you will need help is likely to grow too. This is when adhoc support may not be as cost effective or able to provide the level of support you require. At this stage we would advise moving to Managed IT Services with a good service provider.
DATA Computer Services is an experienced and trusted IT support company in Edinburgh. We provide different types of support for a wide range of businesses throughout Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife. Get in touch or call 0131 657 1666 to find out more.
Many small to medium sized businesses will be familiar with the constant challenge of trying to grow a business within the constraints of a very limited budget. Most will also understand the importance of having good, reliable IT systems in place if they want to stay competitive, productive and efficient. Maintaining good IT systems is … Continue reading "How Cost Effective Is Your IT Support?" The post How Cost Effective Is Your IT Support? appeared first on IT Support...
Many small to medium sized businesses will be familiar with the constant challenge of trying to grow a business within the constraints of a very limited budget. Most will also understand the importance of having good, reliable IT systems in place if they want to stay competitive, productive and efficient. Maintaining good IT systems is not always straightforward which
is why having good IT support in place is crucial. This can usually be provided in one of 3 ways
If the owner of a small start up company has some basic IT knowledge they may successfully manage to get the business up and running by maybe setting up a couple of PCs a printer and a wifi connection. However over time and as the business starts to grow, it will become more and more difficult to keep on top of all the essential software updates, important backups, viruses, malware as well as email, pc and printer problems. Over time they may find themselves or a member of their staff devoting more and more time on IT related tasks instead of essential business tasks. Increased periods of downtime due to unresolved IT problems can very quickly escalate and become expensive to fix or recover from. This can become extremely detrimental to the success of a small business.
2. Employ an In-house IT Support Engineer
Employing a member of staff with the skills to take care of all your business IT support is at first glance a very attractive proposition. However when you factor in the cost of providing a salary, pension, bonuses etc this can work out very expensive, particularly for a small business. In addition, any IT problems that occur during holiday periods or absences due to sickness can leave a small business vulnerable. It is also important to remember that IT is a rapidly expanding area and it is unlikely that even the most experienced IT engineer will have expertise in all areas of IT.
3. Outsource to an IT Support Company
This type of support consists of buying the IT expertise that a business needs from another company. The cost of this type of support will depend on the level of support provided.
Ad hoc Support
For very small companies that only require the occasional help with their IT systems, buying support on an ad hoc basis may be ideal. They will only be paying for IT support as and when they need it. This can be a very cost effective way for a small company to receive good quality IT support without committing themselves to a contract.
With this type of IT support a business will
- Only pay for the support it needs
- Get an extremely high level of expertise
For slightly larger businesses with more complex IT systems or businesses which rely on their IT systems being available round the clock, a greater level of support is usually required. In this case an unlimited support contract is usually a better option. This type of contract will usually consist of a fixed monthly fee. The size of this fee will be dependent on the number of PCs, laptops, tablets, mobiles and perhaps company server etc included in the contract. The contract should detail its on-site and off-site support provision as well as its SLAs (service level agreements) detailing the performance standards it is obligated to meet. This type of support can really suit businesses which prefer to set a monthly budget for their IT support and then not worry about large unexpected expenses.
With this type of good quality outsourced IT support, a business will
- Have a fixed monthly support fee
- Have agreed SLAs (service level agreements)
- Get an extremely high level of support across all areas of IT
- Receive good advice on other products/services/technologies
The benefits of outsourcing business IT support does not stop there. Using an IT support company will also provide access to a host of other IT services that can really help a small business such as
- Proactive monitoring and maintenance of servers, desktops and laptops
- Automated backup of data
- Cloud managed services
- Managed telephony
- Microsoft Office 365
- Exchange email
Employing an IT support company to look after IT systems can very often be the most cost effective way for a small company to spend less time worrying about IT problems and more time focusing on their core business. This is because a good IT support company can help eliminate IT emergencies, diminish unplanned downtime, reduce risk and control costs.
In addition, technology is constantly changing and it can be difficult for a small business to keep up. A good IT support company will be keeping an eye on new products coming to market and will be able to offer good advice and personal experience of which ones will be beneficial, cost effective and worth implementing and which should be avoided. Good outsourced IT support brings not only a host of valuable support services; it can also bring a wealth of experience and a high level of expertise to a business.
If you are a small/medium sized company and would like to find out more about outsourced IT support, please get in touch with DATA Computer Services. We are an experienced and trusted business IT support company in Edinburgh.
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