Tips From the Pros to Help You Find the Right Cybersecurity Product For Your Business

keep data safe

 

Making sure you find the right Cybersecurity product for your business is essential but with so many companies out there vying for your cash, how can you be sure you pick the right one?

A recent article on pcworld.com includes some top tips from actual buyers of enterprise security products. Here’s a summary of what they said:

  • Do your research by looking at customer recommendations instead of relying on what the vendors say

  • Test the security product in house

  • “Great security companies are concentrating not just on selling, but they’re interested in supporting your enterprise, and providing consulting [and] best security practices” – Damian Finol, security technical program manager at a major internet firm

  • Approach your product search with a firm plan – “identify what your success criteria is and tell that to the vendor. And then bake that into the service contract” – Quentin Taylor, director of information security at Canon EMEA

  • “Bad vendors tend to use scare tactics, while good vendors listen to your needs and try to help secure your business, even if that means offering free advice” – Jonathan Chow, a CISO at an entertainment focused company

  •  “Be wary of vendors that can’t offer any customer references, or that only offer product demos under strict test conditions” – Brian Honan, CEO of BH Consulting

You can see the full article here.

All sound advice.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Fancy a 4K Pro Webcam With HDR Support?

Logitech brio webcam

 

You could be forgiven for thinking the age of the separate webcam is gone. Because most laptops and tablets come with them built-in, the need to scour the market for your ideal product is redundant.

Or is it?

Logitech doesn’t think so after launching the Brio. It is the first 4K webcam that comes with a raft of features to make sure your Skype calls look stunning for those who are serious about video quality.

The question we want to ask is, is it worth it when most devices come with built-in ones anyway?

Let’s look at the pros and cons.

The upside

On the plus side, the Logitech Brio’s camera is capable of shooting in 3,840 x 2,160 at 30 frames per second (Ultra HD), 1,920 x 1,080 at 30 or 60 frames per second (Full HD), or 1,280 x 720 at 30 or 60 frames per second (HD).

It is also capable of facial recognition, so if used in conjunction with Windows 10, you can use the Windows Home feature to log into your laptop using your face.

There is also a 5x zoom and support for Logitech RightLight 3 with HDR which makes for an excellent performance regardless of the light conditions.

Plus, you can choose between a 65-degree, 78-degree, and a 90-degree field of view, omnidirectional microphones, privacy shade and a flexible mount.

The downside

You guessed it; there had to be a catch although not a deal breaking one.

To stream at 4K, you will need to hook the Brio up to a USB 3.0 port. You’ll also need to use a computer that uses Intel’s seventh generation ‘Kaby Lake’ processors, which support Ultra HD 10-bit HEVC decoding.

According to Trusted Review’s Joe Roberts, this camera is now available in the UK for £209.

If video quality is a number one consideration for you, this might be worth a look.

 

 MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: Trusted Review

 

Cost Effective Video Conferencing From Logitech

teleconferencing makes the world smaller

As technology advances the world seems to get smaller.

Once upon a time, your customer base was limited to your geographical area, but then the internet made it cost effective for all businesses to market their products and services to a global audience.

This has led to the need for more and more companies to work in a collaborative way and that means video conferencing facilities so meetings can be help without damaging the environment with excessive amounts of travel.

For larger concerns this isn’t an issue, but smaller companies can’t afford to have all their meeting rooms kitted out with the latest teleconferencing equipment.

To solve that particular issue, Logitech have launched their ConferenceCam Connect.

It aims to “…cater to some of the needs laid out by research into collaboration and communication in enterprises by providing a portable chassis that is able to connect to any mobile device to run a call…and can also connect to many of the available video presence applications people like to use.”

Its portability is a real winner for many businesses.

Here’s its specification:

  • PC and Mac compatibility
  • Miracast support
  • 90 degree field of view
  • 4x digital Full HD zoom
  • ZEISS glass lens with autofocus
  • 360-degree sound with 12-foot diameter range
  • Battery life 3-15 hours depending on activity
  • Kensington security slot
  • Can support – Cisco Jabbe and WebEx, Citris Go ToMeeting, Blue Jeans, Google Hangouts, Lifesize, Microsoft Lync and Skype, Vidyo, Zoom and others.

You can read more about it on the Logitech website.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Cut Waste With a Universal Laptop Charger

If you’re anything like me, somewhere in your office or home is a draw full of leads and chargers. What they’re all for, you probably have no idea because they are an accumulation of tech paraphernalia that you’ve amassed over the years.

How did there get to be so many?

Well, every laptop or other techy device you’ve owned has come with its own charger. None are interchangeable, so you end up with the draw full of useless wires mentioned above.

Surely it would make sense for someone to have the bright idea to create a universal laptop charger that can be used across the board?

Well, according to an article in PCPro, the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) has realised that billions of external chargers are shipped globally. The vast majority of these can only be used on specific laptops rather than across a range of models, leading to getting in for half a million tons of waste every year.

In response they have developed a standard laptop charger to help cut this waste. The IEC published a similar proposals for mobile phone chargers in 2011, to which most phones shipped in the EU now confirm.

Frans Vreeswijk, IEC General Secretary and CEO said: “The IEC International Standard for the universal charger for mobile phones has been widely adopted by the mobile phone industry and is already starting to help reduce e-waste. A single power supply covering a wide range of notebook computers is the next step in lowering  e-waste and its impact on our planet.”

There is no news as yet regarding how long it might take to get manufacturers on board, but the IEC did confirm that it was already working with a wide range of organisations.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Finding The Right Backup Drive

With the holiday season almost upon us, we’ll all be taking photos like there’s no tomorrow. Memories of friends and family getting together are precious, which is why it’s essential you have the right backup drive for your storage needs.

We found this article on PCWorld that talks you through some of the factors you need to take into consideration. We hope you find it useful.

You’ve got a lot of valuable things stashed on your computer. Some of them—like your music library—are deeply personal. Others—tax returns and business documents—are more mundane, but still important to keep around. And then there are things like photos that are simply irreplaceable should your computer’s hard drive suddenly give up the ghost.

If putting together a backup plan for your PC or Mac is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, maybe a backup device should be on your holiday wishlist. But what device is appropriate for your needs?

You can narrow down the search just by answering a few quick questions. Do you need to backup just one computer or an entire household of machines? If it’s just you, an external desktop drive may be the best choice. Look for a drive with a capacity higher than that of the computer you’re backing up. I recommend at least twice the capacity of your internal drive, if possible. Multi-computer households or offices should look into network attached storage options. We’ll examine both choices below.

Desktop backup drives

Most desktop backup devices use rotational hard drives, generally 7,200-RPM drives that require an external power supply. These hard drives aren’t as fast as solid state drives, but they offer much higher capacities and lower prices. Speed isn’t as important as capacity, especially when performing incremental backups. Most connect to your PC via USB 3.0, though eSATA and Thunderbolt drives are available.

Look for a drive with storage capacity higher than what you’re backing up. Some backup software, like Apple’s Time Machine, will keep multiple versions of documents that you’ve changed between backups, so the more available space, the more protected you are. If you can swing it, look for a drive with twice the capacity of the data you want to back up. You’ll find desktop hard drives with 2TB of capacity starting at around $100.

For greater data protection, look for a multi-drive device that supports RAID 1, also known as mirroring. RAID 1 maintains an exact duplicate of your backups, so that if one drive fails, your data is not lost. For the utmost in security, look for a backup device that offers easily removable drives. That way you can rotate drives in and out, keeping one of the backups offsite to protect your data in case of a fire or flood.

The Buffalo DriveStation DDR is a good single-drive deskop hard drive that offers fast write performance thanks to novel use of 1GB of onboard DDR3 memory.

Network attached storage

If you need to back up multiple computers, you’ll want to look into network attached storage, or NAS. NAS devices range in size from single drive units meant mainly for media storage, all the way up to multiple drive devices that offer huge capacity and fault-tolerant RAID arrays. Most NAS devices have USB ports on them, but they’re meant for adding additional storage, not a direct connection to your PC.

Many NAS boxes, like the QNAP TS-469 Pro, let you access files saved on the device from anywhere via the Internet and offer ways to store and share movies and songs with TVs on your network.

There can be a downside to NAS storage, though. While almost all devices are administered through a standard web browser, some seem to expect you to have a degree in computer science to manage them properly. If that doesn’t describe you, I recommend Western Digital’s MyCloud drive. It offers an easy to use web interface that can be accessed from Macs, PCs, as well as Android and iOS devices.

You can see their full list of the best backup drives you can buy now by following the link.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

 

Laptop Vs Desktop

Laptop sales flew passed those of desktops a while ago as more and more people opted for smaller, lighter and more portable computing. Of course, now tablets and smartphones are staking a claim to the laptop’s market share.

But there are still some very good reasons for sticking with the behemoth sitting under your desk.

1. Performance/price ratio

Basically, opting for a desktop will always mean you get more power for your money.

2. Upgrades

Laptops will allow you to add more RAM when needed, by a desktop still offers more upgrade options.

For starters it can take more RAM and you have more drive options and upgrading your CPU or graphics card is relatively easy on a desktop, but virtually impossible on a laptop.

3. Repairs

Again, opening up a desktop is pretty easy to check the cables are secure, to clean out dust, remove a broken part etc. But laptop repairs take quite a bit more skill and you may even find that replacement parts are specific to models, unlink desktops that will take something more generic.

So, it would appear that desktops are the clear winner, but they have one major flaw. You guessed it, they’re not portable.

That means whenever you’re in the market for upgrade, you will still have to toss up between the importance of mobility before deciding which way to jump.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Which Microsoft Office 365 is Right For You?

Microsoft is offering locally installed and cloud based versions of the new Office 365 offering virtually anywhere access to all your usual Office tools, email, conferencing etc.

That’s all well and good, but with 5 different versions available, how can you be sure you get the right one for you?

Well, that’s where we come in.

Office 365 Home Premium

This version gives you the ability to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher and Access in the form on ‘Office on Demand’, an online only accessible service that has a annual license (subscription charge).

With it you’ll get 20GB of online storage and 60 minutes of Skype calls a month. Your license allows you to use the packages on up to 5 PCs, Macs and certain mobile devices for 5 users, but only whilst connected to the internet.

Office 365 Small Business & Small Business Premium

These are pretty much the same as the Home Premium edition in the form of ‘Office on Demand’, but the Premium version also gives you the extra bonus of being able to install local versions of the same applications and 25GB of online storage.

The license for both of these is only for 1 user though on up to 5 devices.

Office Home & Student 2013

This one gives you access to a locally installed version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, which you can use both online and offline, but only on 1 PC.

Office Home & Business 2013

This is basically the same as the previous version except you also get Outlook installed locally on your PC.

Office Professional 2013

This is the flagship version of Office and gives you everything from the previous version, plus Publisher and Access.

Hopefully that will help you decide which is best for you. One things that’s also worth noting is that Office Outlook 2013 isn’t compatible with Exchange 2003 servers, so you’ll either have to upgrade your server or buy a minimum of 5 Microsoft Volume Licenses (1 must be Office Professional 2013), which have downgrade rights to let you install a previous version of Outlook to suit your needs.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

 

 

Why Replication Can Be a Good Thing

As an IT support company, we generally work with clients within a 20 mile radius of why you should duplicate your hardwareStowmarket, Suffolk so we can maintain a fast and efficient service.

Mind you, some of our clients have satellite offices further afield, so it can take a bit longer to attend the site when things go wrong.

One particular case highlighted for us that, at times, replication is a good thing. We all know that duplicate content is a bad idea as it will attract a hefty Google penalty, but in the world of IT hardware, duplication can be beneficial. Let us explain.

One of our clients got in touch because their router had failed and they didn’t have a spare one on site. When we got to the office (yes, it was a satellite one) we discovered that the problem wasn’t with the router at all, it was the AC adapter that had failed. This was an easy fix, but took quite a bit of organisation because the router they were using was an old model and now discontinued. That meant getting hold of a discontinued router and AC adapter with the correct voltage was quite a task in itself.

In situations like this, we would recommend you buy two identical routers, especially if yours has additional configuration areas. Then you should replicate the router or (as with Drayteks) make a backup of the router and restore the backup to the spare router.

This will allow for contingency in the event of a malfunction, whether it’s the router or the AC adapter, saving you valuable down time.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

The Pitfalls of Switching Landline and Broadband Providers

Everyone wants to keep a close eye on costs, which generally means we are all much better Switching phone and broadband providersat looking closely at the cost of our utilities to ensure we’re not paying over the odds.

When it comes to modern life, phone and broadband are essential, but costs can escalate all too easily, so it pays to keep an eye on what packages are on offer. But the thought of changing providers puts many people off.

A recent paper by Ofcom identifies 6 problems with the current switching process:

1. Multiple processes

Over the years the communications industry has developed its own switching process resulting in a number of different processes causing confusion, increased costs and multiple challenges.

Because different providers use different technologies, when transferring bundles of services multiple processes are required often leading to inaccurate advice on what is the correct procedure to follow.

2. Inadequate systems

Originally, the industry’s systems were set up to deal with one service over one line. But, although technology has progressed, internal systems haven’t often resulting in a lack of reliability, extra hassle and cost and even loss of service (especially when switching a bundle of services).

3. Insufficient customer consent

Often called ‘slamming’, without upfront measures to verify a customer actually wants to move, consumers can be moved from one provider to another without their knowledge or consent.

It can happen when a sales person claims to represent a different provider, or when consumers are told they are signing up for information when really they’re signing a contract, or even being sold services over and above what they agreed to.

4. Lack of awareness of the implications of switching

Problems often arise because consumers are unaware that switching from a provider comes with certain conditions. These could be that they are liable for an early termination charge, cancelling one service affects the price of another, or that continuing a service depends on them receiving the one they are switching.

5. Unnecessary switching costs/hassle

When looking to switch providers, consumers are often faced with a series of unnecessary hassles (that often lead to costs), such as the difficulty and complexity of the process, the number of different people consumers have to contact to make the switch and the ‘behind the scenes’ processes that over complicate matters resulting in a poor customer experience.

Until the industry is brought into line and continuity of technologies and processes are out in place, consumers must remain vigilant. Always make sure you read the fine print of your contract to avoid any nasty surprises when you decide to change suppliers.

Despite the issues outlined, don’t be off put by changing – just be aware of the pitfalls.

You can read Ofcom’s full report here.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders
and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Selecting Your Processor

Selecting the right processor When it comes to selecting the right processor for you, you can’t go far wrong if you focus on 3 things: cores, cycles, and cost.

Cores

If only it were as simple as assuming an i7s is better than i5s, which is better than an i3s.

Just to clarify, a core is the working part of a processor – the CPU or Central Processing Unit. It’s the part that actually does stuff by following the instructions of the computer program that it’s running.

Most processors have more than one core or CPU on a single chip or package meaning it can do several things at the same time (a dual core has 2 CPUs, a quad core has 4 CPUs etc.).

So, bearing that in mind, a dual core is the minimum you’d require for a smooth and fast running system.

Cycles

This reference to cycles has nothing whatsoever to do with Brad Wiggins.

In this context it refers to the megahertz or gigahertz (MHz or GHz) measurement associated with a processor – i.e. how fast it works. 

A lot of people fall into the trap of deciding they must has as high a speed as possible. But the truth is that  CPU speed doesn’t really effect stuff like emails, surfing the web, playing videos etc. 

But where it does have an effect is in tasks that demand a lot from your CPU, such as video creation.

So, if you do a lot of heavy duty stuff, faster is better. If you don’t, save your pennies.

Cost

As you would expect, the faster the processor and the more cores you have means a higher price tag. So the important thing is to think about your needs and potential needs and decide accordingly.

Take a look at your budget and how you’re going to be using your machine (a home user won’t be quite so demanding as a a graphics or media agency) and be sensible about what you really need.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders
and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.