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Data Computer Services

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United-Kingdom/Midlothian

 

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  • 0131 657 1666
  • Iain A.
  • December 15, 2020 03:13:51 PM
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A Little About Us

Data Computer Services is a local IT support company in Edinburgh. They provide a wide range of IT services for businesses, all under the one roof. With a range of IT support packages to suit all budgets they can provide significant savings on traditional support costs.

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Has Coronavirus Changed Homeworking Forever?

This year’s pandemic has led to a huge surge in homeworking. Although many companies already had staff working from home, […] The post Has Coronavirus Changed Homeworking Forever? appeared first on DATA Computer Services.

This year’s pandemic has led to a huge surge in homeworking. Although many companies already had staff working from home, numbers were generally low. There are many reasons why businesses have been reluctant to move to a homeworking culture. There have been fears around the quality and safety of the technology as well as worries about managing and caring for staff remotely. Many employees have also resisted the change perhaps worrying about ‘being out of the loop’ or missing out on chances of promotion etc.  But then the pandemic hit and everything changed almost overnight. Will being forced into working from home be the catalyst which changes views on homeworking forever? 

Technology Barriers to Homeworking

Traditionally there has been a fear that the technology available at home is just not up to the job.

Speed of Access

Fragmented, interrupted or slow access to business systems can significantly reduce employee efficiency and result in a large degree of frustration.

Data Security

Homeworking extends the transit and storage of information outside of the corporate infrastructure with consequential risk.

Hardware Protection

Theft or loss of devices is also increased, with multiple devices in multiple locations and potentially multiple journeys, bringing with it the possible loss of user credentials and illegal access to business data.

Technology Breakthroughs

Fortunately, there have been a number of significant developments which have mitigated many of these fears

  • Internet speeds have grown exponentially from an excruciatingly slow 56kbps dial up to 4G/5G and fibre optic broadband with speeds up to 300Mbps. Today, fast reliable broadband covers most of the UK eliminating any speed concerns.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre provides clear guidelines and advice on how to best protect your business. From everything to do with hardware theft/loss right through to protection and management of data
  • IT support companies can now offer businesses a range of IT services that will significantly benefit staff working from home: VoIP Phone Systems can provide free phone calls at home as well as in the office, a choice of secure cloud services (Office 365, email, antivirus, online backup) as well as video conferencing (Teams, Zoom) and file sharing. These services provide seamless, secure ways for staff to collaborate and work effectively from home.

Cultural & Social Barriers to Homeworking

The practice of ‘presenteeism’ is common in our culture. Employers often feel more in control of staff they can see even though they may not always be being productive. Other social and cultural factors play their part too.

  • Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo 2012-2017) created some controversy in 2013 when she forced employees back into the office in 2013 stating “Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway & cafeteria discussions, meeting new people and impromptu team meetings”. Many would agree that there is still some merit to this statement.
  • Human beings are social animals. The workplace provides an opportunity to meet and interact with others. This is generally good for our mental health. Issues caused by isolation and loneliness may become more prevalent as time goes on.
  • It is more difficult to manage staff and monitor performance remotely.
  • There are increased distractions and non-work related interruptions at home.
  • Separating work and leisure time is more difficult. It is hard to fully switch off when your ‘office’ never closes. This can result in increasing levels of stress and anxiety.

Cultural & Social Advantages of Homeworking

However, there are many benefits to working from home

  • A potential reduction in childcare costs for employees
  • A wider pool of applicants since businesses can attract employees from further afield
  • Widening access to work e.g. for disabled persons
  • Reduced cost of office space; desks, chairs, heating, lighting etc.
  • A reduced commute for employees. This is financially and environmentally advantageous and also reduces ‘commuter stress’.
  • Greater flexibility for staff in terms of working patterns

Home Working – The Way Forward

Many businesses have already indicated they will not revert to the same business model as pre-pandemic. This is likely due to the successes of homeworking during ‘lockdown’.  They will continue with this ‘new normal’ and fully embrace the benefits of staff working from home.

Other businesses see a hybrid approach as the optimum way forward. This may involve flexible work patterns with employees working from home a few days a week and in the workplace a few days a week.

Technology companies have also risen to the challenge and are evolving and developing new technologies to improve the working from home experience. They are offering ever faster, more reliable internet connections, improved and more secure hosted VOIP, as well as a range of new and improved cloud services.

There are clearly many social benefits to working from home and it seems that the technology is now available to make this a good option for many businesses. However, even if businesses are keen to move towards this new model, it is not yet clear if employees share this view. It will be interesting to be seen how many choose this option, once a normal return to the office is permitted.

DATA Computer Services provides professional IT support for businesses throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians. If you would like to find out more about our service, please get in touch or give us a call on 0131 657 1666  

The post Has Coronavirus Changed Homeworking Forever? appeared first on DATA Computer Services.


Keep Your Business Secure by Managing Your Internet Access

Most businesses are aware of the need for good antivirus software but may not be aware of the benefits of […] The post Keep Your Business Secure by Managing Your Internet Access appeared first on DATA Computer Services.

Most businesses are aware of the need for good antivirus software but may not be aware of the benefits of good web content filtering.  Web content filtering (web filtering) restricts what internet content your employees can access by actively preventing certain URLs from loading. Web filtering can be used to block sites that are known or potential malware risks and can prevent malicious software from being downloaded to your network. It can also be used to block access to sites that are judged to be inappropriate, unsuitable or could negatively impact your business.

How does web content filtering work?

Web content filtering uses managed lists of rules to screen and/or exclude access to web pages deemed objectionable, unsuitable or dangerous. Content filtering deals with what information is allowed onto a network and passed within the network. Content filters work by recognising defined content or content patterns such as specific web URLs, text or text strings, keywords or objects/images. If matched, the undesirable content is blocked.

How is web content filtering deployed?

It can be deployed as a ‘stand-alone’ cloud based service, or as part of a cloud managed antivirus endpoint security program that comes with web content filtering included. For this reason, it is always worth checking with your IT support company if your current antivirus software has this feature and if so, if it is being utilised.

Typical use of web content filters

Web content filtering can be specifically tailored to your business by use of managed lists, generally deemed a whitelist (allowed) or blacklist (blocked).

Typical applications include:

  • Social networking sites unrelated to the workplace
  • Entertainment sites
  • Gaming sites
  • Pornographic content
  • Spam sites
  • Hate sites with violent content

Benefits to business

By preventing access to certain websites based on their content, web filtering can

  • Decrease network congestion and increase internet speeds. Streaming media sites such as YouTube, Netflix etc. use a significant proportion of the available bandwidth. This can significantly slow your internet connection.
  • Increase workplace productivity. Web filtering can block popular or inappropriate entertainment sites. This gives your business much more control over which websites staff can access at work.
  • Prevent staff from downloading copyrighted or inappropriate content. This can eliminate potential criminal activity which could leave your business exposed to legal liability.
  • Reduce downtime due to malicious attacks. Content filtering can block known malware websites and access to sites most likely to download malicious software or viruses to your network.

Are there any downsides?

  • If your content filter is not configured correctly, over blocking of sites can occur. This may lead to reduced access to necessary information or on-line tools.
  • New websites are being created or renamed every week. Keeping blacklists up to date as new threats are discovered needs to be factored in.

Web content filtering is another useful tool to keep your business safe. However, like any new tool, knowing how to use it correctly and effectively will determine its success or otherwise.

Additionally, with more people now working from home and accessing business cloud services like hosted file share and email, keeping your business data and systems secure is even more crucial. For this reason, we believe the best option for most businesses is to select a top of the range AV (antivirus) product which has web content filtering included.

If you would like to find out more about web content filtering and how it can help your business, please get in touch. Data Computer Services provides professional IT Support Services for businesses throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians.

The post Keep Your Business Secure by Managing Your Internet Access appeared first on DATA Computer Services.


Coronavirus – Working from Home

With the spread of Coronavirus in the UK, keeping workers infection free is becoming a serious issue. Businesses are being […] The post Coronavirus – Working from Home appeared first on DATA Computer Services.

With the spread of Coronavirus in the UK, keeping workers infection free is becoming a serious issue. Businesses are being warned that in a worst case scenario up to 20% of the workforce could be off sick during the peak of the epidemic. This is obviously a worrying time, so what can businesses do to try and maintain productivity whilst keeping their workers safe? 

‘Social Distancing’

 ‘Social distancing’ is being promoted as the best way to keep the virus from spreading, so enabling your staff to work from home is the ideal solution. At this stage it seems unlikely that businesses will be forced to make their employees work from home, rather they will be encouraged to do so. Global companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter have already made this move, banning non-essential business travel and urging their employees to work from home. Although working from home is not an option for everyone, when it is suitable it can keep a business functioning effectively even when employees are displaced from their normal working environment.  

The suitability of home working very much depends on your current set up. If your staff can already work inside and outside the office effectively then you are just about ready to go. The main requirements will be to decide how your business will operate under this new regime. No one is sure how long this situation is going to last, so if your employees are going to be working at home for any length of time, they need to be supported adequately.  

Basic setup requirements for home working

For staff to work effectively at home they will require access to work files, emails and documents. This can be achieved by setting up Remote Desktop or a similar type of software on employees’ laptops or PCs. Once configured, staff can then log in at home and once connected, access their workplace desktop and network resources as though they were in the office

IT services that can help with working from home

VoIP Telephony

If you are already using VoIP telephony, fantastic! If not, now is a really good time to make the switch. VoIP enables employees to take their telephone number with them. This means that staff can be at home and still receive calls to their work extension on their mobile phone or VoIP handset. VoIP also provides an easy way for you to keep in touch with your staff and for your staff to keep in touch with their peers. Many people feel isolated and miss the companionship of colleagues when working from home for long periods. Talking on a phone and not just relying on emails and messaging can be very beneficial.

VoIP Call and Video Conferencing

Holding regular meetings with employees to share ideas, and discuss plans for the future is essential for most businesses. Call and video conferencing options are available with hosted VoIP and on separate platforms. This type of technology is already used by many businesses to bring groups of people together when face to face meetings are impossible. It has been proven to be every bit as effective as office based meetings. As well as being simple to set up, with some basic training, it is easy to use. Employees will be able to collaborate and contribute as effectively as they would in the office.

Cloud Services

If your business currently uses cloud services you will already be benefitting from the flexibility they provide. Your employees will be accustomed to the convenience of being able to access files and documents while working out of the office. Working from home on a more regular basis will be an easy transition. Popular cloud services such as cloud file share enable staff working in different locations to access and update the same documents at the same time via the internet. Other cloud services such as cloud backup and cloud managed anti-virus can make home working more secure. If you are not using cloud services and want to find out more, get in touch with your IT support company.

The spread of Coronavirus is a rapidly evolving situation and no one is exactly sure how things will progress. However, if it follows the same path we have seen in other countries, things are likely to get significantly worse before they get better. Enabling staff to work from home will not be the whole solution to this problem. But it can certainly help towards slowing the spread of the disease, saving lives and keeping your business functioning effectively. 

DATA Computer Services provides professional IT support services for businesses throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians. If you would like to find out more about our service, please get in touch or give us a call on 0131 657 1666  

The post Coronavirus – Working from Home appeared first on DATA Computer Services.


Choose VoIP to Free Your Phone System

Long before BT decided to phase out ISDN and PSTN services, VoIP was the phone system of choice for many […] The post Choose VoIP to Free Your Phone System appeared first on DATA Computer Services.

Long before BT decided to phase out ISDN and PSTN services, VoIP was the phone system of choice for many businesses. VoIP quickly grew in popularity due to the many advantages it offers businesses. As well as being cost-effective and easy to set up, it frees your phone system from many of the problems associated with traditional phones.

How does VoIP free your phone system?

  1. Your main phone number can be used from any location and is not stuck at the registered address. This means you can be working at home, abroad or in a different branch and no one calling you will know. This is increasingly useful as more businesses move towards more flexible working solutions.
  2. Unlike traditional phone contract, with VoIP, you aren’t stuck in a long term agreement. Most companies will move on to a month to month agreement. VoIP providers usually charge a monthly fee per user. Because VoIP uses virtual phone lines it is quick and easy to increase or decrease the number of phones you are paying for as your staff requirements change.
  3. One of the best features of VoIP is that it enables free calls between office and out of office staff. This can be a big saving in call costs, particularly if you have staff out and about a lot, or staff working in different countries.
  4. A business VoIP App for Android or IOS enables staff to answer calls made to their office phone extension using a mobile phone. This means that staff can be easily contacted on their office extension number wherever they are located.
  5. There is a wide variety of top of the range business phone handsets to choose from. In addition, a range of corded and cordless headsets that connect to your pc is also available.

If you haven’t already switched over to VoIP you should be making plans to do so now. This is because BT begins phasing out all ISDN and PSTN services i.e. traditional phone lines, starting this year. By 2025 all services are expected to be completely shut down. This can seem like a long time away but remember that all businesses need to make the switch. As the deadline approaches, it may become difficult to find a good IT company who will be able to help you with the migration. Switching from traditional voice services to a hosted VoIP solution needs to be carefully planned and managed to minimise any disruption to your business.

DATA Computer Services is an established IT Support company in Edinburgh. If you would like some information or help with switching your business phone system to hosted VoIP, please call us for a chat on 0131 657 1666 or get in touch.

The post Choose VoIP to Free Your Phone System appeared first on DATA Computer Services.


Why Buying Refurbished PCs Is Good for Your Business

The annual cost of replacing old PCs and laptops can take up a large chunk of any IT budget. With […] The post Why Buying Refurbished PCs Is Good for Your Business appeared first on DATA Computer Services.

The annual cost of replacing old PCs and laptops can take up a large chunk of any IT budget. With lots of other demands on this budget e.g. IT support costs, software licences, broadband and phone call costs etc. new ways of saving money without compromising on quality or performance should always be considered. One idea that is rapidly growing in popularity is to replace computers that have reached their end of their life with newly refurbished ones. This is a lot less costly option than investing in brand new ones.

There are several reasons why choosing refurbished PCs is a good move.

  1. A refurbished computer will always cost a lot less than a brand new one with the same specification. This means that you can spend the money you have set aside and purchase PCs with a much higher technical specification e.g. more memory, faster processor speed, better screen resolution etc. Or you can choose to save money and buy refurbished PCs with the same specification you had planned when buying new.
  2. Many refurbished PCs will be brand new PCs that are returned to the vendor simply because the buyer changed their mind. PCs returned in this way cannot be marketed again as brand new.
  3. Many people think of refurbished PCs as poor quality, second rate pieces of equipment that are very likely to fail again. This is a long way from the truth. As long as you choose a reputable company, PCs that are returned and refurbished due to a flaw or fault will have been repaired, cleaned and tested to an extremely high standard, before being sold again.
  4. Statistics show that you are more likely to find a problem with a new PC than a refurbished one. This is likely due to the stringent testing that is carried out on refurbished models. New PCs that come straight off the line are very rarely tested individually.
  5. Reputable suppliers will usually provide refurbished computers with the same warranty as brand new ones.
  6. Buying refurbished products helps with sustainability and reduces the carbon footprint of your business.

Conclusion

As long as you use a reputable supplier, purchasing refurbished PCs for your business can save a lot of money. It can also be a more cost-effective purchase because you will get better value for money i.e. PCs with a higher specification. In addition, PCs built to a higher specification will perform much better during their lifecycle and often last longer before needing to be replaced. Finally and perhaps most importantly, buying refurbished helps reduce the increasing mountain of electronic waste and is good for the environment. It is easy to see why many businesses that were originally resistant to the idea are now seeing refurbished PCs as a clear win-win situation.

DATA Computer Services is an IT support company in Edinburgh providing a wide range of IT Services for businesses in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas.

The post Why Buying Refurbished PCs Is Good for Your Business appeared first on DATA Computer Services.


Is Your Business Ready to Go Full Cloud?

  The growth of cloud services has been a very important development in the business IT world. This new technology […] The post Is Your Business Ready to Go Full Cloud? appeared first on DATA Computer Services.

 

The growth of cloud services has been a very important development in the business IT world. This new technology provides a host of IT solutions which can save you money, improve the security of your business data and enhance the flexibility of your working practices. But how do you know when your business is ready to go ‘full cloud’? Here are some good indications that you may be ready to make the move.

1. You are already struggling with certain areas of your existing IT infrastructure

  • Manual data backups are failing or are not being done regularly
  • You are worried about how secure your data is
  • You are struggling to manage your email mailboxes on your in-house server
  • You are failing to keep your anti-virus up to date on all your devices
  • Your server is getting old and you are experiencing a lot of downtime and growing maintenance costs
  • Your business is growing and your server is struggling to meet the extra demands

If you are regularly experiencing these types of issues moving to cloud-hosted services can help. Solutions such as online cloud backup, cloud file share, managed anti-virus and exchange email are popular services that reduce the hassle and expense of managing and maintaining your own in-house IT systems. Cloud services can provide your business with enhanced data security, robust disaster recovery procedures and services that are easily managed via a basic user interface.

2.  You want to provide cost-effective remote and mobile working opportunities for staff

  • You want staff to be able to work as securely and efficiently outside the office as in the office
  • You want staff to be able to collaborate and share files from different locations
  • You want to manage and facilitate better communication between staff whether they are in the office, on the go or working externally

If you want to offer staff the flexibility to work in different locations, different offices or even work from home, cloud services can help. Hosted VoIP (a cloud-based telephony system) and hosted File Sharing allow staff to work securely and efficiently, via a laptop, smartphone or tablet from any location with access to an internet connection.

3.  You need to reduce the cost of your phone bills

As mentioned previously, cloud Hosted VoIP telephony offers advanced communication between offices and their workers but in addition, it can

  • Drastically reduce the amount of money spent on calls and line rental
  • Provide the flexibility to reduce or expand the number of live phone lines quickly and easily as your business changes
  • Provide enhanced business features such as voicemail by email, auto attendant etc.

4.  You want to avoid any large unexpected IT costs

Anyone running a business will be only too aware that IT costs can be very unpredictable. Large unexpected costs can be difficult to manage, particularly for smaller businesses. The pay-as-you-go model that cloud services offer allows you to keep more control of your costs. You can set a monthly budget for IT costs and add and subtract resources and services as and when you need them. This is one of the top reasons businesses choose to move their services to the cloud.

It is clear that employing cloud services has many advantages. However, it is important that whether you are ready to go ‘full cloud’ or just dip your toe in one or two cloud services you take the time to find an experienced IT support company to guide you through the process. They will be able to explain all your options, help you choose exactly the right cloud services for your business and plan a detailed step by step migration strategy to ensure the move goes smoothly.

DATA Computer Services provides professional IT support services for businesses throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians. If you are interested in cloud services and would like to find out more, please get in touch or give us a call on 0131 657 1666

The post Is Your Business Ready to Go Full Cloud? appeared first on DATA Computer Services.


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