14 08, 2018

3 Reasons Why All Homes Should Have Microsoft Office 365

2018-07-25T15:20:17+00:00August 14th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

3 Reasons Why All Homes Should Have Microsoft Office 365Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office has been THE office suite for more than a decade, whether it’s for businesses or students doing their homework. Other applications have come and gone, but it’s expected that most people will be doing their work in Word, Excel or PowerPoint. While you may have an older version of Office that you love, there are three good reasons you should upgrade to Microsoft Office 365.

It’s more accessible: Office 365 operates in the cloud, which means you can use your Word, Excel, Outlook and other office products from anywhere. This means no more forgotten homework, files you can’t access until you get to work or lost documents. The cloud has them all ready and waiting for you, wherever you are. Save important files to a USB drive or your computer and use the cloud versions as your mobile copy, there really are no restrictions on how flexible Office 365 can be.

Another benefit is that since it’s in the cloud, the barriers between Mac and PC versions have been erased. It runs on both platforms and on any device – iPhones, iPads, Android, tablets and many other smart devices. A hefty allocation of cloud storage comes with it too, in the form of OneDrive, so you can access your documents from any device. Many people have started using their OneDrive to store all of their important data, including photos, media and recipes. You can even share your files with a simple link, and you always have complete control over who sees what.

It’s more affordable: Previously, there was a large upfront cost per computer and you were stuck with that version until you dug deep and upgraded. For people with more than one computer in their home, for example 2 laptops and a desktop, this was a very expensive way to obtain software. Office 365 has no large upfront costs, no matter how many computers or devices you need to install it on. It’s actually a monthly or annual subscription for a small amount, with no contracts. Depending on your location (pricing differs across countries), you can have five Office 365 licenses for a whole year, for less than the cost of your previous version.

It’s always updated: You are always rocking the latest version of Office. You aren’t stuck with the one you paid for years ago, like Office 2007 (unsupported), 2010, 2013 or 2016. Office 365 is always the very latest. If you’re still using an older version, you’ll be surprised by how much Office has evolved. Gone are the annoying paperclip helpers, tacky looking clipart, templates and confusing buttons. Everything is intuitive and easy to use, so you no longer need to take classes or tutorials on how to work it. Even the jargon has been stripped out in favor of human-speak so you can get your tasks done faster and finally break up with the undo button. With the latest features, your files also take on a whole new level of professionalism. Plus, any updates, upgrades or patches happen automatically, so whatever Microsoft cooks up to impress you is added to your Office immediately. In the past, when you upgraded your Office version it was quite the drama and often left your files in a mess. Switching to Office 365 is like a breath of fresh air in this regard, as it’s essentially a sign up and go situation. Older files remain intact, your hard drive doesn’t get cluttered, and you’re up and running in minutes.

With Office 365, you’re essentially getting more while spending less. It’s a popular option for good reason. The fact that it’s always available, always the latest version and works anywhere is reason enough to make the switch, particularly if you have students or work-at-home users. The baked-in security features also mean you’re less at risk of cyber-attack, so you can get on with your tasks and let Microsoft deal with the dirty work. It really is a stress-free solution, saving you time and money.

Switch to Microsoft Office 365 – call us today at 319-227-7000

7 08, 2018

How to Securely Dispose of Old Computers

2018-07-25T15:35:55+00:00August 7th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Securely Dispose of Old Computers

Old Computers

 

Getting new computers for your business is exciting, but what happens to the old computers? Depending on the age, some people sell them, others throw them out. That’s the easy part. The problem is the sensitive data on them. There are passwords, account numbers, license keys, customer details, medical information, tax returns, browser history…. the works! Each computer, whether laptop, tablet or desktop, contains a treasure trove of sensitive information that cyber criminals would love to get their hands on.

Unfortunately, hitting delete on your files doesn’t actually make them disappear, nor does waving a strong magnet over the drive. These mistakes have cost businesses millions of dollars over the years.

Most businesses are unaware that specialized data cleanup is necessary, others think calling someone to collect the computers will cover all the bases. A 2016 experiment proved just how dangerous the situation can be when they bought 200 used hard drives and found 67% held unwiped, unencrypted sensitive data, including sales projection spreadsheets, CRM records, and product inventories. Frighteningly, they didn’t need any special hacking skills to get this data, it was all right there and helpfully labelled. It’s also not surprising that with simple data recovery tools, people have also been able to access British NHS medical records and missile data, all waiting patiently on a discarded hard drive.

Why hitting delete doesn’t help

Data on a hard drive works like a book with an index page. Every time data is written, it pops a quick entry into the index so when you need it again, it knows where to look. The index is used for files you create as well as system files you can’t even see. Sensible, right? Except if you delete a file it’s more like changing the index to say nothing is on page 10 and you can write something else there when you’re ready. But if you manually flip to page 10, you’ll find the information is still there – the file still exists until it’s been written over – it’s the index reference that got deleted.

Wiping data before disposal

There are software tools you can get to do it yourself, as well as dedicated security firms, but your best option is to choose an IT business you know and trust. With that in mind, a methodical approach is required to ensure not a single drive is left untreated. You don’t want to leave data behind, or even clues that a motivated person could extrapolate any private information from. The approach might include using checklists to maintain security, or dedicated processes to guide each step in decommissioning. Careful records should also be kept, including who signs off on completion of the retirement, and where the computers are sent afterwards. A proper inventory and auditing process may slow the rollout of the new computers slightly, but it’s always better than having your old data come back to haunt you.

We can migrate any needed data, backup the information to your server, or external drive, then wipe or destroy the hard drives for you. We can assess the age of your old computers and either dispose of them for you or point you in the right direction of computer recyclers. Plus, the quicker you dispose of your old computers, the easier the process will be. Recyclers will be able to send less of your equipment to the landfill, and you’ll be less likely to forget how valuable the drive contents are.

Upgrading your business computers should be a happy time for you and your employees, so with a little forward planning, you’ll be able to keep everyone smiling and all your data secure.

Need help with your old hardware? Call us today at 319-227-7000

31 07, 2018

Outsourcing vs Managed IT – What’s the Difference?

2018-06-28T16:43:16+00:00July 31st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Outsourcing vs Managed IT – What’s the Managed ITDifference?

Outsourcing has become a dirty word. It implies you’re taking jobs offshore or giving up oversight over a key part of your business. Managed Services is the complete opposite of that, yet it’s often put under the same umbrella, despite being a local solution. Your business already looks for help in various places, hiring consultants, agencies and other contractors, all so that you can focus on hitting your goals. Managed IT is simply another of those specialized services, designed exclusively to help with your technology needs.

A True IT Partner

Our Managed Services team acts as consultants dedicated to achieving your business success. We’re able to analyze your technical and strategic needs to tailor solutions specific to your business. We work hand-in-hand with you to design, implement and maintain your tech, keeping you involved at every step of the way. We’ll also keep track of relevant industry news and apply it to your business so you don’t lose your edge. As new software versions are released, we’ll help you make informed decisions about whether to upgrade, stick with current for a little longer, or switch to an alternative. You’ll have a true partner on your team that’s always looking out for your business.

Better Results

Since our Managed IT gets to know your business so closely, we’re also able to ensure all your tech support and maintenance is handled quickly, without disruption to your daily running. We have specialists across multiple areas who have seen almost every scenario and know exactly how to solve them. You’ll be able to keep your employees on task while our experienced technicians work through the issue, often remotely so you’re not disrupted at all. Tech help is also available to your staff with rapid turnaround support.

Visible and Accountable

Unlike standard outsourcing where you lose control of certain elements and are left to hope for the best, Managed IT Services are completely transparent. You’ll get reports on the status of your computers or networks, the number of support tickets we’ve answered and exactly what we’ve been doing to keep your business tech up and running. This level of visibility also means you’re able to see IT trends across your business and make strategic decisions to improve productivity and efficiency.

It’s a Local Solution

At one time or another, we’ve all called a support number and found ourselves stuck in a frustration loop with an overseas call center. It’s almost the entire reason outsourcing earned a bad name. Fortunately, our Managed IT is actually a local service, a real-life business near you who employs local people and supports the local economy. Keeping your IT support nearby means you can get the tech assistance you need, with local ethics, customer service standards and even accents that make the process easier.

You Stay Protected and Prepared

Part of any Managed IT service is ensuring your computers, network and digital devices are secure against threats. This means updates are rolled out for you, patches are done, plus all scans, tweaks, backups and system maintenance. Your employees no longer have to worry about making time for (or learning) these tasks, and you don’t have to worry that they’re getting skipped. Very often, this level of proactive support ensures problems are stopped before they occur and your business is able to surge ahead when others fall behind. If anything ever goes wrong, your Managed IT will have prepared disaster recovery and continuity plans so that you’re up and running asap.

It’s Cost-Effective

With Managed IT, you’ll be able to reduce infrastructure costs very quickly as your specialist is able to recommend better, faster solutions such as cloud storage and mobile technology. Instead of replacing hardware and software simply because it’s on the schedule, your Managed IT experts will present multiple cost-saving options and strategies. Very often, these extend to licensing and training too. Productivity gains are made as the tech begins to work with your processes and employees, not against them. Predictable costs are important to every business, which is why Managed IT is the right choice. You’ll know your monthly expenses are capped, and you’ll be able to avoid expensive tech surprises.

If you’re considering Managed IT, reach out to us today. 319-227-7000

31 07, 2018

Can Private Browsing Protect You Online?

2018-07-25T14:40:36+00:00July 31st, 2018|Security|0 Comments

Can Private Browsing Protect You Online?

Private Brows

 

Maintaining your privacy while using the internet has become more challenging over the years. The recent Facebook privacy scandal made that abundantly clear, with users shocked at how much information had been recorded about them. While it’s almost impossible to enjoy the internet and leave zero digital footprints, there are things you can do to hide your online activities – some more effective than others. Below we’ll talk more about private browsing and some options you have.

1. Get a virtual private network (VPN) VPNs aren’t just for businesses and downloaders now, they’ve gone mainstream. Once set up, it creates an encrypted connection from your computer to the VPN providers computer. The other computer could be in another city or another country. When you visit a website, it can only see the VPN computer – not yours. You essentially run around the internet pretending to be another computer, in another location. Since your connection is encrypted, even your ISP can’t see what you’re doing online, making your usage anonymous.

The downsides: Because your internet usage has to route through another computer first, your browsing and download speed could be affected. They can be tricky to set up and not all VPNs offer the same privacy levels (the better ones tend to be more expensive). Some websites may even block visits from people using VPNs, so you may end up switching it on/off as required.

2. Go incognito Most browsers have a private browsing mode, each called something different. For example, Google Chrome calls it ‘incognito’, Microsoft calls it ‘InPrivate’. Before you take the name at face value, it’s a good idea to talk about how they define ‘private’. Unlike a VPN where you can dance around the internet anonymously, private browsing simply means it won’t show up in your browser history, or what you entered into forms. This feature is free, so you always have the option to use it, and it’s actually more helpful than you might think. Common uses include price shopping to reset sale timers and access local-only pricing and overriding usage limits on certain sites. Some sites use cookies to control your free trials and private browsing can help you get around that. For example, some news sites limit you to 5 free articles a month unless you pay. Private browsing can extend that trial quite easily!

The downsides: It can’t pre-fill saved passwords and it won’t help you type in the website name even if you’ve been there before.

3. Think about who’s watching While you might be naturally careful when using a public computer have you thought about who’s watching what you do on your work computer? Some workplaces have employee monitoring software that tracks all sorts of data, including taking screenshots of your desktop. It helps them create rules about computer usage but it may also provide them with evidence you’ve been breaking those rules. Stepping out to the internet cafe can be even more risky, as people can install keyloggers that record every keystroke, including your credit card numbers and logins. You’ll never know your activities are being recorded, even if you use private browsing.

The downsides: None. Awareness of the risks and the possibility of being watched ensures you’re more likely to use the internet safely.

While private browsing can help keep your internet usage under wraps, it’s not a magic bullet to cover all possibilities. Many people believe they’re invisible AND invulnerable while private browsing, a mistake they end up paying for. You’ll still need solid anti-virus and password habits to protect against threats, and to be a smart internet user who avoids suspect websites. Consider the options above as privacy-enhancing measures, not one-stop solutions.

Need help with your online privacy? Give us a call at 319-227-7000.

25 07, 2018

4 Ways to Avoid IT Downtime

2018-07-25T15:49:22+00:00July 25th, 2018|Managed Services|0 Comments

4 Ways to Avoid IT DowntimeIT Downtime

Technology is a wonderful addition to every business, but what happens when the IT goes down? All those things you do now that were completely unthinkable 30 years ago have become part of your day-to-day processes. It lets you compete with big business and connect with customers from far away, boost productivity and efficiency like never before, and even added multiple zeros to your bottom line. IT is a necessity. Unfortunately, this means when downtime inevitably hits, you’ve got a BIG problem.

Maybe it’s from a virus attack, a bug in the system, hardware failure or something else…whatever the cause, the impact is real and measurable. Gartner (an IT research company) reports that 43% of small businesses close their doors right after a major data loss, and only a tiny 6% survive long term. The financial cost of each hour can be in the thousands, and the damage to your brand could be ruinous. Fortunately, while downtime will occasionally strike every business, there are things you can do to minimize the duration and frequency.

Taking a few simple actions now may result in your business staying open while your competitor gives up.

Use monitored antivirus and firewalls

While most businesses have these protections, not all have embraced the idea of monitored antivirus and firewalls. Instead, the default setup has more in common with a home setup than a robust professional system. Given that SMB are a primary target for malware and cyber-attack, you should seriously consider moving to the monitored versions. Our experts set up custom protection to block all attacks, both known and emerging. All updates are taken care of, plus company-wide protections applied so users can’t accidentally infect the network. When something doesn’t look quite right, our monitors take immediate action to protect your business.

Have backups you can count on

A great backup can not only protect you from digital threats like viruses and ransomware, they protect against physical threats like robbery, fire or natural disasters. The last thing you want is for your business to be crippled by data loss. A robust backup system can be as simple as asking our Managed Services team to take care of it, or if you have an on-site technician, using the rule of 3: one backup on the server, one external from the server, and one off-site. If anything ever goes wrong, you’ll be able to pull up the most recent backup and continue as normal. Businesses without good backups tend to be down or limping along for days, if not weeks.

Plan for disaster

Nobody likes to think about their business flooding or being hit with ransomware, but would your employees know what to do if something happened? Having a comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan helps you get up and running quicker, minimizing downtime. Everyone knows what steps to take, who to tell, who should be doing what, and which systems take priority.

Monitor hardware for early signs

Computer hardware is like any piece of equipment – when it’s getting old or cranky, it will let you know! This could be anything from making noises, being louder or slower than normal, or even system crashes. Each symptom is your early warning system that allows you to take action before a crash that sends everything into downtime. Our hardware monitoring service runs in the background and tracks various metrics to predict time until failure. If the signs point to imminent failure, we’ll let you know and can often repair/replace the affected hardware with little or no downtime.

Downtime is an unavoidable part of any tech-enabled business, but your preparation can dictate whether it goes for one minute or one week and how often it happens. According to one study, most firms experience 43 hours average downtime per year, a number much too high for comfort. While scheduled downtime can sometimes be unavoidable, your business will appreciate being able to skip the panic of surprise downtime events. Reducing your risk is the best action you can take, making downtime a truly rare occasion. Even better, our Managed Services can take care of this for you, stopping many downtime-events before they occur.

Talk to us about minimizing your downtime. Call us at 319-227-7000

24 07, 2018

6 Clear Reasons to Switch Your Application to Cloud

2018-06-26T11:54:31+00:00July 24th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

6 Clear Reasons to Switch Your Application to CloudCloud

Has your business embraced the cloud yet? As we move closer to 2019, it’s estimated that approximately 83% of business traffic will involve cloud applications – a trend driven largely by smart decision making. When cloud applications first came out, nobody really understood what the cloud was or how it could help their business, but as the technology improved, so did the secure and flexible solutions available to you. Some of the most common cloud applications are accounting software such as Quickbooks, as well the Microsoft Office 365 package.

Instead of being seen as alternative options, cloud applications are now clearly viewed as the next logical step. Here’s why:

Your data is safer: While it can give you a sense of warm fuzzies to hear your storage drives whirring away, the risks are less appealing. Your servers could crash, drives become corrupted, or a breach could see your data held hostage under a ransomware attack. Of course, there’s always the standard fire/theft/flood scenario to consider too. With cloud applications, your data is safely tucked away in Fort Knox style data centers, complete with robust backup systems in case anything goes wrong. As part of their service guarantees (usually 99.9% up-time), your cloud solution will have technicians on-site whose sole job is to make sure that when you need to use the application, it works. We can help you choose the safest, most robust solution with the best performance.

You’re always updated: Gone are the days of trying to work out compatibility between versions and accidentally corrupting files. Cloud applications are updated automatically on all devices, and unlike when you run an update on a local computer, the process is almost instant. This is because the update is actually running on their end, at the data center. With this advantage, you’re always up to date with the latest features and security patches, no matter how busy you are.

You’re free to move: One of the best ways to increase efficiency is to remove restrictions around when your employees can do their job. With your new cloud application, they won’t have to wait until they get back into the office to send an invoice, follow up with a customer or even make a record-breaking sale – they can do it wherever, whenever. This flexibility opens up a world of possibility and can literally hand you a competitive edge. All your employees need is an internet enabled smart phone, tablet or laptop, so you’re even saving money on tech. You can bet we have tons of ideas on how your business can take advantage of this freedom.

Collaboration is easy: Since all the data is held in one place, your employees can collaborate with ease. Nobody gets locked out of files because someone else is using it and changes appear in real-time for multiple users. By having a single version of a file, ideas can flow faster, results become more valuable, and employees enjoy overall satisfaction with a job well done. It may sound like a simple benefit, but we know how frustrating it can be for staff to collaborate without the right tools to support them.

All you need is internet: Considering how fast modern internet speeds are, this is usually a non-issue. It simply needs to be stable and meet a standard speed. If you’re concerned, we can run checks to make sure it will be a smooth transition for you. Because it’s internet based, the cloud application works with your established network, whether it’s wired, wi-fi or cellular (or a hybrid). Some businesses also choose to have mobile 4G set up in case the internet goes down, that way the connection automatically switches over and downtime is completely avoided. Our technicians can set this up for you.

Size doesn’t matter: Cloud applications are a great option for both big AND small business. Smaller businesses only need to subscribe to single user licenses, while larger businesses enjoy the multi-user license savings. Skipping the cost of per-computer installations and choosing between per-user, per-site or per-use options. We can help you choose the application and cost-saving model that suits your business best.

Talk to us about your cloud options and lock in the advantages today! Call now at 319-227-7000.

17 07, 2018

Right Tech for Your New Business

2018-06-25T12:34:29+00:00July 17th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Get the Right Tech for Your New Business

Right Tech

Congratulations on your new business! Start-up costs can easily escalate, and tech is often one of the bigger expenses. It’s not that everything is high priced, but the sheer number of technologies available can overwhelm smart decision making. The latest tech is dangled in front of you with amazing features you didn’t know you needed, and suddenly your budget has gone boom!

Here’s how to get the tech right for your business, without the headache and drama.

1. Check if you actually need it

In a lot of cases, using a cloud application means you can skip the big server purchase, along with the on-site technician to manage it. Many of your business programs will have a cloud option that allows you to get all the benefits without the big expense. Before you make the tech purchase, work out which applications you’ll be running and whether a local installation or cloud access is preferred. As part of this stage, think about how you’d like to use the applications – perhaps remote access is a priority, or perhaps collaboration will underpin your business culture. This level of clarity is often overlooked and the number 1 reason why tech expenses spiral.

2. Get expert advice

It’s easy to ask friends and family what to buy, but there are many more factors to consider than just their personal preference. You trust their opinion, of course, but they may be speaking from a consumer perspective or basing their recommendation on brand loyalty. Every business is different and pairing the correct technology with the business will save you a lot of money in the long run.

3. Buy business grade

Unfortunately, the computers and laptops you see in department stores aren’t up to business standard. They’re designed for home users to perform quick tasks, not run a full 8 hour (or more) workload. Business grade systems have additional features that your business needs, plus longer warranties and better support. Even the attached devices like networking or printers are built to a higher standard, to last longer and perform better. Considering the cyber climate we live in, taking a special interest in the security offered by the business grade technology is a wise decision.

4. Prioritize flexibility

Businesses evolve rapidly during their first few years and the last thing you want to do is go out and buy new tech, playing catch-up with your vision and smushing together an assorted mismatch of devices. Your new technology should be as scalable as your business, which means making purchase decisions based on strategy, not price. Perhaps this means instead of workstations for employees, you only need tablets. Rather than having a fixed point of sale system, you might choose mobile checkout devices so your staff can assist customers on the go. These examples highlight how easy it is to commit to certain tech because it’s ‘what you do’ but later discover you’re locked into a certain way of doing business. Trying to change your processes down the line impacts productivity, efficiency and culture in a big way, so we recommend buying with your future success in mind.

5. Choose an IT partner

During your set up and moving ahead through growth, you’ll need an IT partner who can not only help with your purchase strategy but support you through any tech problems as they arise. That’s the difference between a partner and a supplier, they’re committed to driving long-term business success.

You’ll be able to call on your partner and know they’re immediately up to speed with your business, they know how IT can help leverage your competitive advantage and which critical systems they should focus on. Getting good tech in place shouldn’t be seen as just an expense. It improves productivity and allows you to serve your customers better while enjoying consistent growth.

If you need an IT partner to help your business grow, give us a call at 319-227-7000.

10 07, 2018

5 Tech Travel Tips You Can Use

2018-06-25T09:38:51+00:00July 10th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

5 Tech Travel Tips You Can Use

Travel Tips

Travelling soon? For most people, this also means making sure your tech is packed and ready for the adventure. Smartphones, ebook readers, tablets, laptops and smart watches are now so light and portable that you’d never think of leaving them behind, plus they can add a ton of value your experience.

Here are a few tips to consider before you hit the road.

1. Backup to the cloud

While you’re relaxing on a beach or hiking your way to freedom, your tech is always going to be exposed to a level of risk. This might range from accidentally leaving your laptop at a cafe to having it stolen from your bag, but either way the problem is the same – your data is now gone. If you’ve backed up your devices to the cloud (eg Evernote, Microsoft OneNote or OneDrive) you’ll be able to access your files easily and securely from anywhere.

Hot tip: Scan or save important documents like itineraries and passports to the cloud.

2. Pack the right cables

Begging random strangers for a loan of their cable isn’t much fun, so remember to bring the exact cables and chargers you’ll need. Most smartphones and tablets use universal plugs like Micro USB, USB C or Apple Lightning, so you can get away with only packing one cable. Many locations now offer powered USB ports but be sure to also pack the right charger as well, it’s a convenience you’ll appreciate. If you’re travelling overseas and the socket is different, remember to pack a plug converter, and depending on your destination, you might even find the voltage is different. It’s a good idea to check whether you also need a voltage converter before you try and charge.

3. Download offline data

It’s no secret that global roaming can give nasty bill shocks. The easy access data you normally use over Wi-Fi or get included in your cell plan has us all accustomed to being connected. While travelling, you might find yourself in a location where data costs a fortune or it’s not available at all. Download any files you might need, including important documents like itineraries and bookings, so that you can access them even without a connection.

4. Update and scan

Just like you’d make sure you’ve got the right vaccinations and travel gear, make sure your tech is ready to travel too. Set aside a few minutes to run updates for your operating systems and apps. The last thing you want to deal with one your trip is a cyber attack! While you’re doing your pro-active thing, turn on password protection for all devices so that only you can unlock them.

Hot tip: Use a complex password that is hard for thieves to guess.

5. Mark your territory

Almost exactly the way it sounds, let everyone know this tech belongs to you. Write your cell number on portable devices in case you get separated so whoever finds it can give you a quick call and save the day. Don’t want to use permanent marker on your shiny tech? Grab some sticky labels you can peel off when you get home.

You can also get little Bluetooth tracking tags to stick to your gear, so that if you ever lose something you can chase it down. Similarly, you might like to consider enabling the “find my” feature on Apple devices. Having this feature switched on also means you can disable your device remotely, an excellent security option if it’s been stolen.

Need help preparing your tech for travel? Give us a call at 319-227-7000

3 07, 2018

Is it Time to Retire That Program? Here’s How to Tell for Sure

2018-06-25T10:05:08+00:00July 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Is it Time to Retire That Program? Here’s How to Tell for SureTime to Retire That Program

Your business has likely been using the same set of applications for some time. Perhaps since the day you started, a long time ago. While you’ve been replacing computers and devices regularly to maintain your competitive advantage, the standard installation has remained largely the same. The programs do the job and everyone knows how to use them, so why upgrade? In some cases, it’s completely fine to keep that legacy program.

However, there are some aspects you should consider:

Support Available

Occasionally, and more frequently with software from smaller developers, the author has moved on from supporting the program. Perhaps they’ve closed the business, sold it, or pivoted directions completely. Either way, they’re no longer interested in helping you get the best from the program. Every time your employees come up against a problem they have nowhere to turn and productivity takes a hit as they try and come up with a workaround. Meanwhile, you run the risk that it could suddenly stop working after a Windows update, begin clashing with other essential software, or even create gaping holes in your security. As you are aware, even the bigger companies like Microsoft stop supporting software after a while, as they have with earlier versions of Windows. Having support available to both assist and protect is a huge asset to your business.

Hardware Compatibility

Imagine picking up a brand-new computer and trying to insert a 5 ¼ floppy disk – that’s the 1980s retro square ones bigger than your hand – it doesn’t matter how effective that program will be, modern technology simply has no idea what to do with it. Thanks to the rapid advancement of computer hardware, you may find a simple component refresh leaves your legacy program completely incompatible. The latest CPU that’s supposed to speed things up suddenly brings your entire business to a standstill, purely because it’s too advanced. Many owners work around this by keeping some older systems running exclusively for that program, but as the classic hardware fails, you may find yourself struggling to find replacement parts or technicians able to install them.

Security Vulnerabilities

Broadly speaking, the longer a program has been around, the longer hackers have had to discover its weaknesses. It could be a flaw in the program itself, or in the operating system that runs it. For example, the application may only run on Windows XP, but Windows XP is one of the earlier versions that Microsoft has stopped supporting. As the older operating systems and programs aren’t being patched, cyber criminals pour more energy into finding flaws they can exploit. It’s open season in their minds, and a free ticket to all your connected systems. It’s how hospitals across the UK found themselves infected with ransomware last year, simply because they were running programs with known weaknesses.

As it’s not always feasible to replace a program immediately, we can help you run it on a virtual machine. That is, running the older operating system or program from within another program. You’ll have increased security, an element of support and a strong backup system while you work to find a replacement program. These types of solutions are very specialized and resource hungry though, so let us know if you need help. The other option is to migrate to a new program that does what you want, and is supported, hardware compatible and secure. If you’ve been running the old program for some time, this may feel quite daunting at first. Before you rule it out, keep in mind you’ll also be gaining the benefits of faster software, more integrated processes and a highly flexible system.

Need to talk through your options? Give us a call at 319-227-7000

26 06, 2018

Outlook – Policy does not allow granting permissions at this level

2018-06-26T13:31:43+00:00June 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Outlook – Policy does not allow granting permissions at this level

Cause:
This issue occurs when an internal recipient is also in your Contacts list in Outlook. When you add this recipient to a Calendar Sharing message, the autocomplete feature of Outlook adds the recipient to the recipient list by using the recipient’s external email address.

Solution:

To work around this issue, select internal recipients directly from the global address list. To do this, follow these steps:

1. In the Sharing invitation, click the To button. The Select names window opens.
2. In the Address, select Global Address List.
3. In the Search box, type the recipient’s name.
4. Select the recipient to whom you want to send the invitation, and then click To.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each internal Exchange recipient to whom you want to send the invitation.
6. Click OK, and then click Send.

 

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