Archive for Tech Tips for Business Owners

Windows XP Support Is Ending

Windows XP support is ending after April 8, 2014. Your Windows XP computer will no longer receive automatic updates that help protect your personal information. Even if you have anti-virus software, your computer will still not be fully secure.

What this means for you
If you continue to use Windows XP after support ends, your computer should still work, but it will become five times more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. And as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows, a greater number of programs and devices like cameras and printers won’t work with Windows XP. Windows XP end of support help for business.

Why Windows XP support is ending
Windows XP is 12 years old. It’s typical to end service for software as it gets older and technology evolves. Most of us have replaced cell phones and even our cars over the last 12 years – now it’s time to replace your Windows XP computer with a new PC. Or you can check to see if your Windows XP computer can run the new Windows. We’ve outlined your options and are here to support you as you make your next step.

Help protect your personal files
We want to help your personal files, photos, etc. stay secure. To help ensure they stay secure, you’ll need to either upgrade your Windows XP machine to the new Windows (which may not work, learn more) or get a new Windows PC. If you get a new Windows PC we’ll help you migrate your files, photos, and more for free.

We’re here to help
If you’re concerned about moving your personal files, photos, music and more when you upgrade, we can help you! Contact Fast-Teks Pro today to learn more.

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Mobile websites are set to become the NEW Yellow Pages?

When mobile phones first appeared, you were only able to see them in movies or on very rare occasions. Today however, for many of us, it is hard to imagine how we could have actually lived without them for all those years. Everyone has a mobile phone today. Well, the same thing is already happening with smartphones and tablets. The time when average person will not be able to imagine a life without a smartphone will come very soon. In the United Kingdom for instance, more than 90% of mobile users go online on a regular basis. On the global level, almost 35% of all online sales are made via mobile devices. Those two numbers are more than enough to help you realize that mobile websites are set to become the NEW Yellow Pages! However, we will analyze this a little deeper, giving you some more to think about.

Load speed: Websites that are not designed or adapted for mobile phones often tend to load much slower than the mobile websites. That is due to the  fact that mobile devices load pages a bit more slowly than do PCs, due to their technical limitations. That is why a website needs to be created to be “lighter” and easier to load. Furthermore, it isn’t just a matter of the  size of the content, but the content type is also very important. For example, many mobile devices are not able to load Flash files. Thus, all Flash content on your website becomes completely unavailable to many mobile users. And why is all this important? According to a number of recent studies, 60 percent of mobile users who encounter a bad experience when visiting a website on their mobile device (mostly due to a slow loading speed), will never return to that site and will turn to the competition straight away. That is  alarming information if you do not have a mobile-friendly or mobile website.

Sales: According to multiple researchers, approximately one quarter of overall online sales is performed by mobile devices. And that figure, just as most other figures we have listed and will list on this page, is constantly on the rise. About half of tablet users actually prefer buying via their tablet device to making purchases on a PC. And more than half of tablet users make purchases using their tablets on a regular basis. Let’s face it, if you don’t have a Click To Call button on your mobile homepage then you are losing business customers every day! As for these numbers and user preferences, we are not going to analyze them at all.  We will just let you think about them for a while.

The progress of smartphones: It is not so rare an occurrence anymore to meet someone who has a tablet or a smartphone that has a processor faster than the one from the PC in their office. People are thus relying more and more on mobile computers. The PC is slowly becoming just a tool for doing some work, whereas spending free time online is focused more and more on mobile platforms.

Google: If you don’t know what is going to happen to the internet in the future, you should just follow their lead, because those changes are either devised by them, or they are at the very least well informed and knowledgeable about what future holds. Thus, in late 2013, people from Google introduced a new search algorithm, called the Hummingbird. As usual, they didn’t want to reveal much about how it is going to work, but one of the rare things that was announced is that the increased importance of mobile user experience will be one of the two or three biggest changes overall.

Higher conversion: People are most likely to perform certain online actions after they visit a webpage via a mobile device. Whether it is a sign up, purchase, opening an ad link, or any other activity, the activity is much more likely to happen after the visit to their mobile, rather than to their desktop website.

Considering all this, it is clear that the time when having a mobile website is a necessity has already arrived. And things will continue developing in that direction even more in the future. That is why it is rather surprising to read that only one third of online businesses have mobile or mobile-friendly websites. However, that is actually a good thing, because in that fact lies a great opportunity. Get the mobile version of the website for your business and take the upper hand over your competition. If you do not have a mobile website, you can change that easily, and you can turn your handicap into your edge on the market.

Call Fast-Teks Pro today for your FREE 15-Day mobile website trial. We design your mobile website and let you decide if you want to keep it, what could be easier then that?

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The High Cost of Recovery from a Security Breach

Small to medium size businesses are what keep this country moving. Unfortunately, for many of these business owners, budgetary needs force them to make cuts that the mammoth corporations do not have to consider. These budget cuts can often result in reduced security and sub par IT services that in the long run can end up costing the company even more money. Reacting to; and the recovery from, a security breach or attack always costs more after it has happened than what it would have cost to prevent it.

This fact has been supported by recent surveys, and may come as a surprise to many small and mid-size companies who are under the false impression that hackers and other security threats target larger corporations. It has been discovered that companies that have less than 500 employees are actually more likely to be at risk of an attack or security breach than a larger corporation. Of course, this becomes a problem when the larger corporation has the resources to maintain higher levels of security at a time when smaller companies are dealing with restricted or; in some cases, frozen IT budgets.

The benefits of hiring a Managed IT Services Provider in preventing attacks and security breaches

With a security breach a real concern for small business owners, many are making the decision to bring on outside providers to address their IT needs. Managed services providers can offer an affordable solution to small business owners who are struggling to manage an internal IT staff. In some cases there isn’t even an IT person on staff, which can be just as costly for the small business when they have to bring in a professional on an as needed basis. Considering the money and time spend recovering from a security attack or breech, more business owners are realizing the cost of not having this level of protection is too high to pay. Here we look at how managed services providers can help business owners level the playing field against those who would infiltrate their security systems.

  • Increased knowledge- Managed services providers are in the business of technology. They have trained staff who are able to prevent security breeches and spot any activity that could be perceived as a threat. Moreover, they have the expertise to stop threats and prevent the loss of sensitive and private information that can lead to costly recovery measures.
  • Less expensive than in-house IT- Other IT professionals can provide the same security but it will cost much more to the business owner. What many owners are realizing is paying a flat monthly fee for security and other services provided by msp’s is actually much more cost effective than paying an internal IT staff or outsourcing based on incident.
  • Proactive is better than reactive- The biggest benefit of having a quality managed services provider in your corner is the fact that you are acting in a proactive manner to ensure all of your systems are managed properly. This is less expensive and less time consuming than waiting for something bad to happen and then reacting.

Any small business can benefit from the security provided by a Managed IT Services provider. They can do so at a fraction of the cost, therefore eliminating the fear and unnecessary cost of trying to recover from a breech in security or attack.

Click here to learn how [contentblock id=company] can help you prevent attacks and security breaches with our Network Security Solutions for your business.

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Computer Backup Solutions – All Systems Go?

The subject of computer backup solutions has always been a topic of importance when it comes to preserving the data on your computer. These days there are more options available to you in this arena, which can be both a help and a hindrance. On one hand, having more options is helpful because better solutions have been brought to the marketplace from which you can now choose to fit your needs. A hindrance exists in that the multitude of choices might scare off users and cause them to avoid the issue altogether, which can have a disastrous ending.

It does not have to be complicated nor time consuming, so there is no good reason not to tackle backing up your computer.

The Philosophy

We all know that backing up can preserve the information that is stored on your computer, but how far do you take your backup philosophy? It depends on what you can ‘afford’ to lose.

To one computer user, just backing up periodically will suffice. The thought here is that if you lose your data, you can restore it apart from your operating system, and the time that this takes is not a critical consideration. Many home users fall into this category. It makes sense as long as you are not dependent upon your computer for time-sensitive applications and tasks and/or for accessing and retrieving data relative to finances, etc.

To another user this philosophy is not enough. Those who depend on their data and computer for more than just casual personal computing understand that if a hard drive fails, their business is down until they can get it back up and running again. Home users who store irreplaceable photographs and home video on their computers will also fall into this category. A more comprehensive backup plan is recommended to help recover from disasters in a timely fashion.

Computer Backup Solutions Options

There are several ways to tackle backups of your important data:

Built-in operating system options. Microsoft Windows operating systems provide built-in back up capabilities that allows you to back up your documents or files onto external media. Beginning with Windows XP and its Automated System Recovery feature, each successive Microsoft desktop operating system includes the capability to help recover your entire hard drive if necessary. These backup solutions are reliable and provide a built-in way for you to back up your data without having to buy an additional program to do so.

Manual copying onto external devices. You can always resort to the old stand-by method of backing up by manually copying your data onto an external hard drive, USB memory stick or other external device such as a recordable CD, DVD or even a floppy drive if you have one. This is cumbersome, but if you do not have a lot of files, it may be an acceptable solution for you. The pitfalls with this method are that if you have multiple files, you have to make sure you get all of them, and you may need numerous target media to save all of your files to.

Online options for backing up over the Internet. The newest option in computer data backup solutions is provided by online companies that enable backup and restoration of your documents and files over an encrypted high-speed Internet connection to any PC. A small background application backs up and transfers your files to a hosted storage area in a remote datacenter when your computer is idle; however, this is not a comprehensive disaster recovery solution for your entire hard drive. This solution works best when targeted at protecting individual files and documents on a PC or a Mac, and is generally a subscription-based service for which you pay a monthly fee for use.

Making an image of your hard drive. This is a more comprehensive backup and disaster recovery solution generally performed by technically savvy computer users. This option includes using 3rd-party programs to make an image of your entire hard drive, which can then be “re-imaged” in case of catastrophic failure to a new hard drive, providing a hard drive disaster recovery plan. Using this solution, within a short period of time, you can be back up and running with ALL of your documents, settings, programs and EVERYTHING intact, as if the disaster never occurred.

The way to determine the best solution to fit your needs is to ask yourself how soon you need to be back up and running after encountering a disaster, and how much you are willing to pay. If you can wait several days, then a computer back up program might be right for you. If you need your data files immediately, and you have a second computer that you can copy them to, then an online solution might be the best way to go. Or finally, if your business depends upon your computer and its applications and data, then you must have a more comprehensive solution.

Click here to learn how [contentblock id=company] can help you protect your critical business data with our Remote Data Backup and Storage Solutions for your business in [contentblock id=location].

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