All businesses in Australia depend on their IT systems to remain functional and therefore face some key IT challenges in a changing environment. Not all businesses are large enough to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars on the most sophisticated equipment and solutions. As a result, many small to medium-sized businesses face numerous challenges with regards to IT. Below, we explain what some of these challenges are and how you can overcome them.
With cybercrime on the rise, security is one of the most pressing concerns for small to medium-sized businesses in Australia, today it is not will I be compromised but when and that creates the environment where a business needs to prevent rather than react.
If you choose to store IT equipment inside your premises, you need to think about how you can restrict access to them, safeguard them from accidents, keep them in full working order, and much more. Alternatively, you can outsource IT security to a team of experts, which can help you save time, money and effort.
Data is one of the world’s most valuable assets. According to many studies, data is now more valuable than oil. As you might expect, there are plenty of people that would love to get their hands on the data owned by big businesses. However, even small to medium-sized businesses need to remain vigilant. If you lose sensitive information such as customer contact details, invoices and purchase order histories, your business could be harmed financially, and it could also affect your reputation.
The most straightforward way to protect your data is to embrace the cloud. By storing your data remotely rather than on hardware kept within your premises, you can keep it out of the hands of hackers. You can minimise the impact of downtime through having the ability to restore your data quickly. The discussion with your IT service provider is about a solution that ensures quick restoration of your systems.
Business Resource Planning
As a small or medium-sized business, spending your money wisely is a necessity. But how do you budget for your IT requirements when you can’t precisely predict what the future holds? Can your business adapt and leverage the new technologies as they become available in the market.
IT infrastructure is expensive and is a capital expenditure but taking advantage of an outsourced relationship with a monthly fee, supported by usage of cloud infrastructure and cloud applications you move the IT budget from capital expenditure to operational and you minimise your investment cost.
Small to medium businesses can avoid the investment in hardware and equipment that becomes redundant in the space of a few years. Often, companies need to hire an entire department of IT experts to help them manage their IT infrastructure and plan the future of their resource budget.
Again, outsourcing IT resource planning can help you save money because third-party providers allow you to scale your requirements as necessary.
Remaining up to Date
As mentioned above, IT solutions, hardware and software applications can become outdated within the space of a few years. If you fail to keep on top of the latest developments, you may give your competitors an edge.
Our IT experts can implement a range of IT systems, from cloud-hosted Office applications to an enterprise resource planning system, on your behalf and update them automatically so that you can concentrate on what you do best.
Business Process Integration
Does your IT infrastructure work as efficiently as it could? Can various IT systems share data so that you can maximise productivity in your workplace while mitigating the risk of errors? Process integration is an integral part of streamlining your core business tasks in today’s increasingly competitive world. If you want to find out how process integration can help you, we’d love to hear from you.
What to do next?
Start the discussion about your own IT challenges with your local Computer Troubleshooters Office, ask for a risk assessment, or ask if they can do a IT health check for you? Work out the key priorities and start to partner with your local Computer Troubleshooters IT expert. 1300 28 28 78 or visit www.computertroubleshooters.com.au
There’s no need to worry about overcoming IT challenges if you partner with our experts at Computer Troubleshooters. Learn more about how we can help you boost productivity and profitability by calling us today.
From the 14th January 2020, Microsoft’s support for Windows 7 will be ending. This means that, from this date onwards Microsoft will no longer be issuing security updates, patches or providing technical support for devices that are running Windows 7. This end of life support also applies to servers with Windows Server 2008/R2, Exchange Server 2010 and Small Business Server (SBS) 2011.
What this means for users (Business and Residential) that are using devices with these operating systems after 14th January 2020, is that they are immediately increasing the risk of an attack on their data and an increased chance of a cyber-attack such as ransomware. A recent report from Net Market Share suggested that 39% of all PC’s are still using Windows 7.
The choice and the key recommendations are that it’s time to upgrade to Windows 10 and as soon as possible. Windows 10 has been in the market now for several years and it has proven to be a very popular and intuitive system for people. Windows 10 enhances the users experience and certainly has stronger security features than earlier Window versions.
Many leading brands are offering very favourable pricing on new machines running windows 10. Why? Because although you can upgrade on your existing hardware often it is more effective buy a new machine rather than just upgrading the software on a machine whose specification may be quite old and inefficient.
Microsoft is keen that you know support for Windows 7 is ending and in the update Windows 7 KB4493132 will start displaying notifications reminding the user to upgrade to Windows 10. If you are seeing these messages it is recommended that you contact your nearest local Computer Troubleshooters technician to discuss your options on upgrading. Call 1300 28 28 78
After January 14th, 2020 does Windows 7 stop working?
The short answer is no. Machines that have windows 7 will continue to operate and they will still boot up just like they do today. What it means though is that if a security exploit is discovered then there will be no patch or update for that exploit. For this reason you are significantly increasing your vulnerability to a data breach and this is why it is recommended that you upgrade your operating system to Windows 10.
In fact, we recommend that this presents an ideal opportunity to review your hardware and consider a complete upgrade of software and hardware. The computing hardware space has changed dramatically in the last 5 years and the need for physical servers has been replaced by virtualization in the cloud.
If it’s right for your business, it may be time to look at moving a lot of your servers and backup requirements to the cloud.
Is it a perfect opportunity to undertake a complete IT assessment?
As this article has mentioned there are a couple of choices for you in the process of upgrading from Windows 7 and there may be choices around being able to take advantage of moving some of your infrastructure to the cloud. No doubt your business has changed in the last 5 years and has different requirements around its IT infrastructure and applications. This makes it the right time to sit down with your local Computer Troubleshooter technician owner and undertake a complete review of your IT needs and develop an IT plan for your business moving forward. Visit computertroubleshooters.com.au/locations or call 1300 28 28 78 to find your nearest local expert.
The nbn™ Broadband Access Network Switch for Business
Simply put is your business ready to connect to the nbn™ access network?
The network is rolling out across Australia and it is important for a business to be prepared for the transition so that the risk of disruption is minimised by the disconnection of your existing landline infrastructure.
A key strategy is to develop a migration action plan to ensure a smooth transition. This article looks at some of the key checklist points that need to be considered. Your local Computer Troubleshooter Technician has undertaken the training to become a business nbn™ accredited adviser allowing us to help you plan effectively and assist you in the migration process.
What is the scheduled disconnection date for your location?
As the nbn™ access network rolls out progressively across the country, the old copper networks are being made redundant and that requires you to consider what your options are moving forward.
The starting point is to understand when that disconnection will occur in your area. The best way to check this is to visit nbn.com.au/business
It does make business sense that as soon as the nbn™ access network is available that a business does connect to derive the clear benefits of the network.
Why work with a business nbn™ accredited adviser?
There are many decisions to be made in making the switch and this is where the business nbn™ accredited adviser can be of benefit. Questions around who to choose as the internet and phone provider, understanding the services that need to be migrated, or understanding what services might be impacted by switching networks are areas that your adviser can help you.
In some cases, the business nbn™ accredited adviser may be able to provide or connect you to the right people for some of these services.
What are some of the key services and questions that need to be considered?
Questions and factors to be considered
How to stay online during the period of the switch? What is the best speed and solution for the business?
Phone Systems PABX
Equipment compatibility? VoIP hosted PABX solutions are they appropriate? If using VoIP what are your data requirements?
Will the new service you select support the use of a fax machine? If yes is the machine compatible?
How to minimise disruption during switch? Talk with your provider
Wide area networks such as a VPN
What are the data requirements for using the VPN service? Does your equipment need upgrading?
Unified communications Video Conferencing
What is the computability of your equipment? What are the data requirements?
Identify and list the services you are using? What are the data requirements? What is the solution to minimise disruption as the switch occur
The above checklist has a common theme, compatibility and level of data requirements which feed into what speed and type of plan you need to operate efficiently and effectively.
Other equipment and services areas that need to be considered:
Monitored security alarms
Lift emergency procedures
What is the last consideration?
If a business currently is using copper-based Special Services such as a mega link or an ethernet lite BDSL service, then migrating to the nbn™ access network is likely to be complex and therefore require additional planning in switching these services over. The major thing is to ensure that these services are organised before your disconnection date or you risk losing access to these services and having major disruption to your business.
It is recommended that you have your new services in place and operating early so you avoid such a disruption.
How can Computer Troubleshooters assist you in this transition?
Ensure the Computer Troubleshooter location carries the business nbn™ accredited adviser status. Once this is established then contact the location via phone and request an appointment to discuss your migration to the nbn™ access network. During this discussion they will also be available to offer you solutions around connections, compatible equipment and specific services such as a VoIP based hosted PABX solution.
Representatives have undertaken a short course on the nbn™ broadband access network. nbn does not sponsor, endorse or guarantee any advice given or representations made (including any recommendations to purchase goods and services or purchase telecommunication services over the nbn™ access network from a particular phone or internet service provider) and does not guarantee the accuracy of that advice or representation. nbn™ and other nbn™ Brands are trademarks of nbn co limited and used under licence.
Note: this article has referenced the nbn™ website and marketing material supplied to accredited advisers of the business nbn™ ICT channel program.