MPM IT Is Member of The Month – ISSBA

 

ISSBA member of the month

 

It’s not often we blow our own trumpet, but this month we just had to.

MPM IT has been announced as ISSBA (Ipswich & Suffolk Small Business Association) member of the month. It’s a huge honour for us and as such we’d like to say a few words.

MPM IT is an IT company with a difference. We don’t directly sell. Our company is solely based on customer service. With excellent customer service we have maintained and grown our customer base generally through customer referrals. MPM IT looks after you regardless – and it’s all done in byte sized chunks.

At MPM IT we have always been consistent in what services we offer to our customers, we have always maintained a local area to enable swift responses for support and we only use local trades people when required.

If you’re a sole trader or micro business and operate within a 20 mile radius of the Stowmarket area, we can support you. All work is carried out on your premises at a time and duration to suit you. What could be better than that?

You may think, “I’m not sure I need regular maintenance”, but you’ve had a few IT headaches recently – nothing serious, but enough to make you think.

Although you’re up to your eyeballs, you’re smart enough to know that you have to take care of your company’s IT, so you give MPM IT a call.

After completing their audit, you receive a plain English report outlining things like what hardware you have, how old it is, what software it’s running, whether your licences are up to date and any other IT related issues that may need attention.

At the end of the report is a list of recommendations about how to improve your general IT performance to give you peace of mind. which MPM IT can carry out for you.

What do you do next?

Let’s assume you read it, but don’t action anything. After all, it’s not that urgent, is it?

The problem is a week or two down the line, disaster strikes.

You have a hardware breakdown, or worse the dreaded BSOD (blue screen of death). Or you could experience a software issue that needs fixing ASAP.

It’s a nightmare – you have no working computer, no access to your data, no emails, no internet – you have no business.

However, if you had asked MPM IT to carry out the recommendations listed in their report all of this could have been avoided.

For a very reasonable fee, your business would now be running like clockwork. You would have peace of mind knowing that:

  • Your data is protected and backed up
  • There is a contingency plan in place should a breakdown occur
  • Your machines are looked after and cleaned regularly

It’s this local, high touch service that our clients love and that has been recognised by ISSBA. We just want to take this opportunity to thank all our clients for their continued support.

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

 

Why You Should Have an IT Support Contract

We know what you’re thinking, as IT support is a service we provide we’re bound to be IT support contractever so slightly biased when it comes to extolling the virtues of an IT support contract.

OK, that’s probably true, but if it wasn’t a vital business service we wouldn’t provide it.

You see, outsourcing to a good IT support company will help you:

  • Maximise efficiencies
  • Maximise your up time
  • Reduce your costs
  • Leave you free to do what you do best – sell!

But there are some people out there who don’t feel IT issues are important enough to work into their budget.

Really?

How about these for some sobering statistics?

  • UK businesses are losing 300,000 hours and £2 billion a year through IT downtime
  • By the time the issue is fixed, the average business will lose £208,000 a year in lost revenue
  • UK organisations suffer on average 27 hours of IT downtime a year

Have you got room in your budget now?

Admittedly, not everyone needs an on-going support contract. But building a relationship with a local and reliable IT support company will save your business a lot of money. Whether it’s a regular maintenance contract or ad-hoc support the peace of mind you’ll have knowing there is an expert at hand to get you back up and running will be priceless.

Don’t wait until the unthinkable happens, get some support in place now so you’re ready for every eventuality.

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

How to Make Your PC Run Faster

Don’t you just hate it when your PC starts to slow down? How to improve your PCs speed

Rather than sitting there cursing it as you wait for your programmes to load, why not do something about it? It really isn’t that difficult and it doesn’t take long.

All you have to do is follow these simple steps to make a difference.

1. A tidy desktop

A cluttered desktop makes it difficult to find your files, plus it looks awful. But not only that, it can also slow down your computer’s processing speed.

Simply delete any icons that aren’t needed and organise the ones you can’t live without.

2. Empty the bin

Deleting stuff and sending it to the recycle bin is easy. But, just like your office bin, it can get really full, which in turn will slow your PC down.

Make sure you empty it out regularly.

3. Delete files

No, we don’t mean delete every file on your PC, just the ones you don’t need.

Over time you would have amassed a number of documents, programmes, videos or music files that you don’t need any more. Rather than leaving them there to take up unnecessary space, delete them to improve your computer’s performance.

4. Virus

Nothing slows a PC down like a virus and some can infect your computer without you even knowing about it. That’s why you should regularly scan your system for any nasty little critters that have snuck through your defences.

5. Cleanup

On your Windows PC, under System Tools, you’ll find the Disk Cleanup programme. This will scan your PC and remove any temporary Internet files, setup log files and other temporary files you don’t need to be storing. It will also empty your recycling bin.

6. Defrag

Ever come across the Disk Defragmenter programme? Do you know what it does? Basically, it scans your hard drive and arranges all your files in a clean and neat order that makes it easier for your PC to find things, therefore speeding it up.

This is the last step of your maintenance routine that should be done regularly.

There you go, we told you it was easy. All you have to do is set yourself a reminder to go through your maintenance routine regularly.

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

The IT Troubleshooting Detectives – A Case Study

For many IT issues the old adage of ‘switch it off and then switch it back on again’ seems to IT Detectivework. But every now and then a problem will arise that foxes and frustrates you. When that happens, it’s time to call in the IT detectives.

Here’s a case in point:

The case of the beeping and rebooting PC

It was a normal day in the office. The window perfectly framed the balmy blue sky outside and if we listened really carefully, we could just make out the gentle twitter of the birds.

But then the phone rang and everything changed.

The disembodied voice recounted the story of their PC that constantly rebooted, beeped and then rebooted again. Nothing they’d tried worked and they were losing productivity.

We leapt into action and dashed round to help.

While standing in front of the offending PC, they demonstrated the problem. Sure enough it rebooted, bleeped and rebooted again. We put our client’s mind at rest by informing them that the beep was a good sign: it meant the PC was OK. The issue was to discover what was preventing it from staying up.

Our first move was to unplug all the peripheral equipment, just leaving the monitor, keyboard and mouse plugged in.

The PC started up no problem – had we found the problem?

We reconnected the LAN, but as we did so the whole system failed: black screen, rebooting and bleeping. Back to square one.

Upon starting it up again, it loaded OK, the internet was working, but after plugging in the printer the whole system failed again.

We took a moment to look around their office and noticed that the system was running through an old unlimited power supply unit – could that be the culprit?

After unplugging everything and re-plugging it all into the wall sockets, no system start-up.

So there it was, the culprit was the faulty power supply unit.

After the client had this refitted all the problems vanished.

The result: a happy client and productivity restored.

All in a days work for the IT detectives.

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

Setting up a Windows 7 HomeGroup

HomeGroup is a rather nifty feature of Windows 7 that allows you to easily share documents, photos and music across your home network.

If you want to learn how to set it up, we found a very useful guide on PCPro by David Fearon. It assumes you have 2 Windows 7 machines on a local network at home. Every machine you want to include in your HomeGroup will have to run on Windows 7.

How to set up a Windows 7 HomeGroup

 

clip_image002Step 01 — Select network type

The first thing to is make sure your network type is set to ‘home’ rather than ‘work’ or ‘public’. Start up the Network and Sharing Center, click your network under the Active Networks heading and then select Home.

 

clip_image004Step 02 — Start HomeGroup

Now type ‘homegroup’ in the Windows 7 start box and hit Enter. You’ll get a dialog telling you there’s no homegroup on the network. Click ‘Create a homegroup’ and choose which types of files you want to share and hit Okay.

clip_image006Step 03 — Copy the password

After a short pause, a window will appear, in which a password will fade elegantly into view. You’ll notice the password is long and random. You can write it down or, preferably, copy and paste it into a new text document.

 

clip_image008Step 04 — Change settings

Hit Finish and you’ll get the option to change the settings of the homegroup you’ve just created. There’s also the option to stream all your media in the old way via Media Player-style sharing – this isn’t actually part of the HomeGroup system though.

 

clip_image010Step 05 — Join your HomeGroup

With the homegroup set up, you can join it from any other Windows 7 PC on the network by clicking the HomeGroup entry in the left-hand pane of Explorer windows. The Join HomeGroup dialog will automatically open.

clip_image012Step 06 — Enter password

Enter the password you wrote down when you created the group, select which of the documents you want to share on this computer and that’s all there is to it. You can leave the group at any time from HomeGroup settings window.

There you go, that’s all there is to it.

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

Test Mobile Sites for Free with Adobe Shadow

After reading about Adobe’s latest offering in PCPro, we wanted to share it with you.

Developing mobile sites can be ‘challenging’, especially with regards to the constant need to refresh one or more mobile devices every time you make a change.

But those clever people at Adobe have the solution. Using Adobe Shadow means, once all set up, the contents of your desktop web browser are displayed on the screen of the mobile device, rendering natively. So, when you make a change, all you have to do is hit refresh and it will appear on all connected devices – simple.

Getting started

Adobe Shadow is made up of 3 section:

  • Desktop software – free to download from Adobe Labs (works on both PC and Mac)
  • Shadow Client – download from the Chrome Web Store into Chrome
  • Mobile app – download either Android or iOS from respective app stores

You begin by running the application on your PC or Mac and fire up Chrome. Click the Shadow extension icon on the toolbar and start the app on your mobile device.

Your app will either automatically find your computer, or you’ll need to type its network IP address into the mobile app.

A passcode is then generated, which should be entered into the Chrome extension to pair the devices. This process should be repeated with all mobile devices.

Once done, navigate to the site in Chrome. Your iPad, iPhone etc., should now mirror your desktop, rendering whichever web page you visit using their native browser.

How cool is that?

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

Getting a Handle on Your IT

bull by the horns

Everything is going computerised – OK, so that’s not exactly headline news, but you’d be surprised at the number of companies out there still battling with paper records.

To those who don’t use it a lot, technology can seem daunting. There’s that constant fear of pressing the wrong button and losing everything. And what happens when something goes wrong?

The sad fact is that if you don’t get a handle on your IT and drag your business into the 21st century, you’re going to be left behind.

Get your training started

Take a look at these questions:

  • Are you a small company trying to compete in the big world of commerce?
  • Are you fed up with manual cash books, sales books, carbon copy invoices and hand written quotations?
  • Do you own a computer, but are not sure how best to utilise it?
  • Would you like a computer but don’t know where to begin, and have no one to guide you to buy one?
  • Would you like some affordable help?

Go on, be honest, how many times did you say ‘yes’?

It’s time to take the bull by the horns (or computer by the keyboard) and get to grips with technology – it’s really not as difficult as you think.

Contacting your local IT training specialist will help your business compete with the big boys.

Before you know it, you’ll be surfing, word processing and spread-sheeting like a professional.

What are you waiting for? Find your nearest IT training company today and embrace technology.

When Was Your Last Security Audit?

Picture this…scream

It’s the middle of the night, you’re drifting off into a wonderful dream. Suddenly, you are rudely awoken by your phone. You try to ignore it, but its incessant ringing drags you back to full consciousness. As you listen to the frantic voice at the other end, in seconds, you are wide awake…

“We’ve had a disaster, we’ve lost the lot!”

IT has made all our lives a lot easier, but when it goes wrong it can cause a major disaster.

Did you know that due to inadequate responses to a disaster:

  • 70% of companies who suffer an IT disaster go bust within 18 months
  • 90% of business interruptions were caused by IT hardware and software problems
  • £1.1 billion was lost to British industry in 1997 due to IT disasters

How prepared are you?

Do you know how vulnerable your company is?

What would you do if you lost your computer systems?

If you answered ‘don’t know’ to either of those questions, you need some help.

Your IT infrastructure is the life blood of your company, without it you’re going know where. Just think about how much that will cost you – if everything came to a grinding halt.

That’s why it’s essential you invest in regular security audits. By having a full review of your systems carried out, you will understand how you can best protect your business.

Make sure you’re fully protected for a safe and prosperous 2012.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides full IT security audits for sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Your Wireless Network Security

computersafetyWhen you get your wireless router, if you just get it out of the box, set it up and rely on the default settings for your security, you’re in big trouble.

This is because the default settings leave your network wide open for anyone to use or, if they are that way inclined, exploit.

Plus, when setting up your network leave your security off until you know it’s working properly. It’s a lot easier to troubleshoot any problems you may encounter before you throw security measures into the mix.

As soon as it’s all working properly, it’s time to get your security set up. The level you go for is entirely up to you, but make sure you read the instructions for your specific router. Here are a few basics to familiarise you with some of the security terminology.

SSID Broadcast

This is the name that is sent out to identify your network. You can turn off broadcasting this name if you want to make it more difficult for people to find your network.

Make sure you change the name from the default setting to avoid people connecting to you in error (especially if your neighbour happens to have the same default SSID name as you). Use something that will identify it as being yours, such as your name or address.

MAC Filtering

Every network adapter has its own MAC address, similar to a serial number of a computer. You can use this to tell your router which computers it is to connect to, therefore preventing others from connecting to your network.

Encryption

There are many different types and levels of encryption out there, with new ones being developed all the time. A good minimum level to go for would be WEP 128 or WPA. You can find out how to change these settings in your router’s manual.

Firewalls

A lot of routers today have a built-in hardware firewall. However, to give your security a real boost, you should also think about using an anti-virus product with a built-in firewall such as Bullguard.

At the end of the day, if someone is intent on getting into your network, the chances are they will. Although it may be impossible to guarantee 100% that no one can gain access, it’s worthwhile ensuring you make it as difficult as possible for them.

Don’t leave it to chance, make sure you take the necessary steps to boost your network’s security.

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

Getting to Grips With Your WiFi

Wireless working is great…when it works.transmit

But there are times when you just want to throw your router out of the window. Your wireless signal can be affected by all manner of things:

  • The distance between your router and the receiving computers
  • The way your walls and ceilings are constructed
  • What you have in your room
  • Interference from other electronic items (yours and your neighbours)

Locating the specific problem can be a complete nightmare. But with a bit of time and patience, you can succeed without it costing the earth.

Before you go splashing out on expensive antennas, boosters and repeaters, take a look at your home and carefully consider the best location for your router.

Undertaking a network survey

1. Locations for your router

Make a note of all the possible locations for your router, bearing in mind it is usually recommended that you place your wireless router as high as possible in a central location.

Depending on your broadband service, the wiring in your house and the ability to run extra Ethernet cable, there could be several possible locations for your router. If you have DSL and your house already has phone jacks in every room, any of them could be used as potential locations. But if you use broadband through your cable company, your choices will be far more limited.

2. Identifying potential interference

Interference is one of the main causes of wireless network failures, whether it comes from devices in your home or a near neighbours’.

A prime culprit is the 2.4ghz cordless phone because they operate on the same frequency as most wireless networks. If you have one, it might be wise to replace it with the newer 5.8ghz model or older 900mhz type.

But it’s not just cordless phones, interference could also be caused by wireless alarm systems, microwaves, wireless video and audio systems, baby monitors etc.

3. Wireless laptop detective

A great way of evaluating your home before setting up your network is by borrowing a wireless laptop. This will be able to show you the signal strength of all nearby networks. You can also download and use tools such as NetStumber.

Plug your router into any electrical socket (without connecting it to your router or installing it) and it should start to transmit. Then, walk around the house, with  your laptop to check out the signal strength in different locations. You can repeat the process, moving the router to different areas to find the best location.

But what happens when you’ve tried all of that and still can’t get a good signal?

Well, that’s the subject of our next blog post, so stay tuned to learn more.

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