Blogs

Tuesday, 20 October 2015 14:07

Mobile Optimization

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Why Mobile Optimized is the Way Forward

How many times are you sat in your partner’s car, sick to death of reading the same registration plate over and over as the car in front is driving 25mph in a 40 zone? This happens to me all of the time, so my natural instinct is to go on my phone. I start to flick through Facebook and notice businesses that are selling items, instantly something catches my eye. But as a website designer I don’t trust buying from a Facebook Page, I like to view their website and see the product in more detail.

So this can either go one way or the other;

The first way: I click on their website and it loads efficiently, a beautiful clean design that is optimized for mobile phones, this means that I can navigate around easily and also see everything that I need to without any trouble. I find the product I was interested in, read the details of the products and hit purchase. A very simple process for me to pay pops up and again another satisfied customer for this particular business.

The second way: I click on the website and it takes forever to load, and just so you know my internet connection is absolutely fine. Once the website has finally loaded I have to zoom in and out of the website in order for me to read the information written on the site. I then have to scroll through pages upon pages to find the product that I was interested in. I find the product and wait again for the information to load. Once I have finished reading about the product I hit the purchase button and on no, it asks me to send an email to the company with the information about the product I would like to buy. So it looks like this business will not be receiving my money.

So why is mobile optimized web the way forward? More and more people are using devices such as handsets and tablets for their web browsing than those that are still surfing the internet through a laptop or PC. Like my example above, the easier it is for a person to purchase the product the more products you will sell. People are now being put off by the amount of work they have to do in order to receive something.

Ask yourself this question, who would you trust with you money? A professional easy to navigate around and clean website that have clearer product photography or a simple website that makes you do more work before you receive your product?

 

It pays more to spend more.

 

It doesn’t just have to be an online store that needs a mobile optimized site, how many customers are trying to see your website on their phones. Try it for yourself and see how it looks, then try ours...

 

Monday, 12 October 2015 16:05

Top 10 Reasons to use a cloud based backup

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Its that time of week/month/ah crap I haven't done a backup for at least a year and my computer took nearly 4 hours to turn on again and you need to go dig out the trusty old USB backup drive.

 

Last time you plugged it in, it took 30 mins to discover on your computer, said it was almost full and needed to be scanned to repair bad sectors. Then again, last time you plugged it in, you put it in a really safe place and can't remember where that safe place was. You do remember "borrowing" the cable from it to use with your printer before the dog chewed it and threw it out but you're sure you have another one somewhere.

 

So drive found, its still making that strange noise but its plugged in and working. You've cleared enough off it to make a backup, reinstalled your "free demo" of easus backup (other backup software is available but this one is pretty good) and you're about to settle down for the weekend whilst the backup creaks to completion.

 

Monday morning comes around, backups has finally finished and you're off to work safe in the knowledge that your current backup is done and once again you're data is safe.... then again.......

 

Have you ever tried to restore the data, you know just to confirm that the backup has worked..

 

That document that you were working on on Friday, the one that you did wrong so you didnt bother saving and overwriting the correct vesion, did you actually click don't save or did you just click ok.... 

 

(can you feel the dread sinking in yet?)

 

If your computer doesn't start when you get into the office, can you cope with the wait whilst you restore your backup to another pc, do you know how long it will take, I mean it took all weekend to back up, surely it wont take 2 days to restore, if the drive works, if the restore is successful, if you can remember the safe place again, if the dog hasn't chewed the usb cable again. If the backup software is still free and you can install it on your new pc.

 

(I'm actually cacking in now writing this post as it brings back years of IT Disaster Recovery Nightmares)

 

Is there something else I can do, there has to be a better way that hopefully doesn't cost the earth..

 

There is...

 

Actually there's a bunch of products out there.

 

We've had a play with a few of them, found one we really liked and stuck with it. 

 

So why use an online backup - I'm finally getting to the top 10 reasons

1. Continous backup - thats right, work on a document, save it, its then instantly backed up to the cloud

 

2. No backup device - never again hunt for the missing usb drive

 

3. Multi Device Support - Who only has 1 deivce nowadays anyway?

 

4. Save Multiple editions of the same document - Never again worry about over writing a document, in fact, you can even restore the first version ever written if you need it

 

5. Online access - Damm you've left your pc at home but you need that powerpoint presentation of the funny holiday form that you can't click book a holiday on, not to worry you can log on to your backup via the web and download it to a new pc

 

6. Quick restore - The worst has happened, your laptop has finally died, not to worry, once your new pc is set up download the files you need there and then whilst running the full restore process in the background for the rest of your data (or, realise that you don't need a spreadsheet from 1998 and use this time to do some data housekeeping)

 

7. Your Data is Safe - This can be a pro or con. Deal with the right company and your data is nice and safe and secure, backed up and locked in a nice big data farm with a great business continuity plan and you can access it as and when you need to - NOT in a "safe place" in your house/car/could be anywhere to be honest accessable by anyone who could restore it where they want.

 

8. Works on any operating system - one backup solution that looks the same no matter what its on.. Not Time Machine for a Mac, Something else on windows, a random app on your phone and command line code on your ubuntu box.

 

9.  Cost Effective - if you chose well, some companies limit the amount of data or devices you can back up. They can basically hold your partial data to ransom.. "Dear Mr Bloggs you've successfully backed up 2gb of your 100gb of data, in order to keep the rest safe please pay us lots more money"... Check what you're getting

 

10. You can share your files - Once its backed up you have the ability to share your files. There are times when you can't send the 100mb photo folder to Aunty Nelly in Asutralia. You don't really like We Transfer and it still limits the size of the file you can send or you just have another work colleague who needs access to some files. Well give them access via the web and they are ready to work instantly.

 

 

 

There's still a lot that needs to be done to put the right backup strategy in place for you or your business. Do your research, test some products ask for advise. We're here to help. We've been to market and we've found what we think are the best two products that we're happy to offer (plus we get a reseller discount so can save you some money).

 

Livedrive online backup

 

Livedrive my briefcase

 

Call us now for a quote.

Monday, 12 October 2015 16:01

To Cloud or Not to Cloud

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With the cloud competition growing within the UK market and everyone offering their own hint of cloud storage, management and applications is now really the time to destroy your hard drives and rely on the web for everything?

No... no no no no no no NOOOOO!!!

 

Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of the cloud, I love some of the products and think they offer smaller business and end users the ability to compete with big compaines when it comes to software and service products, but a lot still needs to be done.

 

Example 1. Briefcase Storage (you have a folder on your pc that syncs online cloud storage).

 

You're enticed by the great price £20 per year for 512gb of online storage safe in the knowledge that your data is always available on whatever device you have. You sign up, get your drive and your all set.... Then you realise you only have a 250 gb drive in your PC and you've wasted your money on something that you can't possibly fit all your data in.

 

or

 

You're a small business with home workers, you think this is the ideal solution to file share linking everyone to the same mapped network drive. You've been happily working away on a bunch of business ciritcal documents not realising that you have no web connection, the web comes back up, your network folder syncs and you find that someone else has been working on the same (now conflicted) documents so you have to spend extra time sorting out the mess caused by a failed internet connection.

 

Example 2. Office 365 (office everywhere)

 

Lets start with your first problem... Which version of office 365 do I need (there's 8 to chose from)?

 

What do I want my office 365 product to be installed on (max 3 devices per user)?

 

Can I point my email to my office 365 server?

 

Is this something an end user can really do for themselves. The product itself is great but the work you need to put in to implement (especially if you're a small business) is a little more tricky.File shares, user permisisons, mapped drives, Lync, One note, one drive and all the other bells and whistles can confuse even up lowly IT Bods.

 

Example 3. Hosted Servers

 

Probably the best solution for business. You select a company who can manage your IT solution, they can set up your servers how they are required (email, remote workspace, file share etc.) They link your computers into this new remote network and you can operate happily safe in the knowledge that your data is protected, your systems are managed and you have the support that you require.....

 

Erm no!

 

Firstly the questions you need to ask.

 

1. Where is my data stored?

 

2. What is your business continuity strategy?

 

3. What is your disaster recovery strategy?

 

4. Do you have the correct security policies in place to protect my data and nature of my business?

 

5. Can I afford your services now that I've found one of a finite few compaines in the UK that have provided satisfactory answers to the questions above?

 

6. What happens to my data when I can't afford your services?

 

Next the questions you need to answer for your own business.

 

1. What Happens if we have a virus on our office PCs?

 

2. What happens if we lose our broadband connection?

 

3. What happens to our data if we cannot afford to pay for our hosting services?

 

4. Is our broadand quick enough to cope with everyone accessing a hosted server?

 

5. How much is broadband going to cost to be quick enough to access our hosted server?

 

6. I'm with Virgin, its peak time, my broadband has just been clocked down to the speed of a modem back in 1998 what do I do now?

 

and last but not least

 

7. I'm at a hotel for the week on erm.. business (ahem) their firewall/wifi blocks hosted server access, what do I do now?

 

So as you can see, there are a number of problems, pitfalls and risks that come with hosted services. I do believe that its the future of computing and with the right funding/investment and knowhow you can put something in place that will benefit your business. 

 

Just ask first before you leap blindly the cloud and discover that it doesn't actually have that silver lining, we've recently saved a customer over £600 per year customer building their own e room as apposed to paying a service provider for their own product.

 

Thanks for your time in reading this blog, feel free to reply/disagree or hurl abuse. I love a good argument.

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