Office 365

Why Your Office 365 Network Needs Professional IT Support


Microsoft’s Office 365 is now very much at the core of many small & medium business IT systems. With its enterprise class exchange messaging service and its default office suite products like Outlook, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint all available by subscription, it is difficult for some to understand why a business would need IT support outside the standard Microsoft technical support offering.

So it is worth exploring what can be expected of Microsoft technical support and what are the additional IT services a provider like Computer Troubleshooters can offer to your business.

Standard Microsoft Office 365 Technical Support

If something goes wrong with Office 365 support is a major issue – to assist you in understanding the role Microsoft support plays in helping with Office 365 should you encounter an issue, they (Microsoft) classify Office 365 technical support into 3 types:

  • Critical: Events that prevent you from accessing or using your services or data, severely impact deadlines or profitability, or affect multiple users or services. Available: 24/7, Response time: one hour
  • High: Events that affect the productivity of users but have moderate business impact, can be dealt with during business hours, or affect a single user, customer, or service. Available: business hours, Response time: no commitment
  • Non-critical: Events that have minimal service or productivity impact on the business, such as a single user experiencing partial disruption, but an acceptable workaround exists. Available: business hours, Response time: no commitment

Microsoft’s Office 365 support is focused around the operation of their centralised hosted applications that they control within their data centres. Understandably individual support for your business is deprioritised without a commitment to answer, many non-critical events taking up to 24 hours to resolve and with some lesser events updated as decided by Microsoft. They will not support non Microsoft issues experienced with your business IT systems such as networking, security, & end user support.

This type of support policy ensures Microsoft can guarantee at 99.9% service level guarantee at an application level however at an Individual business level the experience can be considerably different.

How does professional IT support facilitate an Office 365 environment?

We manage your entire IT systems requirements in a holistic manner, from planning to execution with the ongoing responsibility for your business processes, security and end users. We administer the Office 365 platform to ensure maximum efficiency and minimal disruption. Areas including;

  • Planning – Office 365 licensing, procurement & administration.
  • Setup – Each user must be defined and setup on the Office 365 platform.
  • Migration – Existing data, profiles and files need to be correctly setup.
  • Administration – Your Office 365 platform is administered remotely to manage/add/change users, policies, and security.
  • End User Support – Ongoing support & troubleshooting both remotely & on site for local users, for multiple devices and office network management.

What advantage does professional IT support provide?

Computer Troubleshooters already offers this type of skilled IT service to many of our clients for on premise equipment and we have extended our managed services to Office 365. Here’s why:

  • Cost Control: Control costs by eliminating full time staff or expensive non local IT providers to manage your IT functions. By outsourcing IT support responsibilities to a local business, you pay only for the specific tasks you need accomplished and the service level your require, at an agreed monthly cost. Administration of Office 365 can be done remotely from our offices. As a product built for the Cloud it is designed to be supported remotely, reducing support costs, and improving response times. Plus you can also limit your initial capital outlay for IT infrastructure and running expenses (such as electricity).
  • Expertise: Expertise and efficiency is immediately available by outsourcing your Office 365 Administration functions to a local expert. As a specialist we have developed tools for fast and accurate setup and migration plus we remotely manage multiple businesses on Office 365 so we are deeply knowledgeable on the platform applications. As a business owner, you won’t need to worry about an employee being trained, skilled and experienced to administer Office 365.
  • Local Service: Simply call your local Computer Troubleshooters who you know & with whom you have a personal relationship, with the peace of mind that a skilled professional is available to help locally & who understands your business. NO overseas call centres. NO Identity checks. NO remembering account numbers & passwords. NO explaining your systems to THEM every time.

Stay Ahead of the Competition with a Managed Office 365 IT environment

Computer Troubleshooters can provide professional IT services to your business to provision and administer Office 365 environments as needed, with no need to hire full time employees or large IT service providers. Let the experts at Computer Troubleshooters work with you to assess your IT needs and develop a customised plan for your business. Computer Troubleshooters can manage your IT services and you can manage your business. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of our computer professionals will be happy to help you.

Windows 10

Windows 10 Update – Should You Update Now?

Recently Microsoft has stepped up its messaging for the free Windows 10 update. Almost every day you will get a Microsoft pop up message inviting you install Windows 10 and suggesting a date for this to commence. So while Microsoft are keen to for you to schedule your Windows 10 download, is it going to be in your best interests to complete the update?

Since the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft has offered a free upgrade to Windows 10 for Windows 7, 8 & 8.1 users, this offer is set to close at the end of July 2016. No indication has yet been made by Microsoft of extending this offer.

First released in July 2015 the Windows 10 operating system is now on over 300 million devices worldwide and by most reports is an improvement on Windows 7 & 8 in both speed & functionality.

So if you choose to do the Windows 10 down what do you expect:

  • The upgrade will take a significant amount of time usually 30 minutes to 1 hour, however this will depend on the internet connection you use.
  • The upgrade will use around 3GB of data so make sure you have sufficient data allowance to download.
  • It is recommended not to use a wireless broadband connection, as quite few have found themselves stuck mid download after losing a connection or racking up huge mobile data bills.
  • Once installed the opening desktop screen will look completely different to the traditional Windows (pre Windows 8) desktop, dominated by icons and tiles, but don’t panic the underlying system logic remains fairly much the same.
  • Within a few days most users are navigating the Windows 10 system as they always have, you just need to be patient.
  • Windows 10 works seamlessly with Office 2016 and Office 365
  • Just remember to take a backup before you embark on the Windows 10 update journey for your own piece of mind.

Are You Currently Using Windows 8 or 8.1?

For many users that are currently on Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, the new Windows 10 has the same look and feel but has improvements that make it faster & more featured. One of the main focuses of Windows 10 was to address the many complaints that were lodged about some of the downfalls of Windows 8. However, there are still issues that you need to consider.

If you are considering upgrading your PC or laptop from Windows 8, you will likely be thrilled with the changes and again should take advantage of the free offer. If you are a business that is considering upgrading from Windows 8, you will want to consult with a technology professional about the impact this type of change will have your business.

Are You Currently Using Windows 7?

Microsoft intends to keep Windows 7 on extended support until at least 2020, so there is no requirement that you change anything at this time. So you have a choice to stay where you are, or take on a free version of the new look operating system. If you are perfectly happy with your system today, then you can wait to move to the new operating system when you naturally upgrade your hardware.

Are You Using an Old Operating System or Software?

If you have a device that is currently using an operating system that was released before Windows 7, like Windows XP or Vista, you will have to pay for the upgrade. However, if you are still using a device with one of these older operating systems you need to consider an immediate upgrade to at least Windows 7, as your system is likely no longer secure. If you are using an older OS such as Windows XP you need to understand this is no longer supported by Microsoft and you are at considerable risk of malware & viruses.

You also need to be aware that older printers and applications may not be compatible with the newer operating systems. Therefore, if you are using older peripheral equipment or an older piece of software that you cannot live without, you will want to do some research on what your options are before you choose to upgrade.

In Summary

The Windows 10 update is now a proven product, though not perfect, & those with Window 8 & 8.1 should take the free Windows 10 upgrade while it is available.

Those with Windows 7 should consider the change in look and feel before they upgrade – thankfully Microsoft has made downgrading back to Windows 7 relatively easy.

Those with older operating systems are confronted with the need to update regardless as XP & Vista become unsupported and over time more vulnerable to attack.

Computer Troubleshooters can provide Windows 10 update help or if you experience an issue with a Windows 10 download we can support you to make it work correctly. Or if you simply are wary of doing the Windows 10 update yourself we can complete the download & setup for you. Call your local Computer Troubleshooters today for Windows 10 support & advice.

Technical Support

Technical Support

Tech Support:  7 Deadly Signs You Should Never Ignore

We have all done it, we all ignore some very blatant signs that something is wrong with our computers deferring the call for tech support.  We will let it go or find a workaround to push off having to deal with the problem as long as possible. Unfortunately, that often means we put it off until something really bad occurs and we are thrust into a very costly or even devastating situation.

To avoid the risk of a serious emergency for your business, watch for these signs indicating your technology may be in need of professional tech support:

  • Regular pop up messages;
    • This often includes critical issue like renewing your security software or installing important updates for your operating system or applications, if they not being completed you are vulnerable to security attacks.
  • One or more systems are running unusually slow;
    • This can be a sign of hardware starting to fail or software corruption.
  • Your system regularly freezes up and forces a reboot for no apparent reason;
    • You may have a hard drive on the brink of complete failure and the potential for loss of important data if not addressed immediately.
  • You face the “Blue screen of Death” or a blank black screen;
    • This generally happens with older systems, when disk sectors are failing they can often have difficulty loading the operating system, while it may work when you reboot it is a sign that all is not right and a future catastrophic disk failure maybe round the corner.
  • An application closes without warning;
    • When a business application closes without warning it could mean you don’t have the latest version of the application or that your operating system is not compatible with the version you are using.
  • Your system is making noises;
    • Like any electronic device, computers need to be properly maintained and regularly cleaned. Any unusual noise should be looked at right away and can be as simple as a dirty fan or as critical as a failing hard drive.
  • Blinking or flashing screens;
    • If you experience screen resets in the middle of using applications it may mean your video card or graphics chip is failing and is a clear warning sign that it will fail permanently in the future.

Computers and software are likely one of the most expensive and important assets in your office.  Your business cannot run without them.  It is critical that you make sure that they are properly maintained and that problems are addressed quickly by a professional tech support.

If any of the seven deadly situations listed above sound like your business or home, you need to call your local Computer Troubleshooter professional tech support right away.  They will come to your office and work with you to assess the problems and determine the proper course of action that meet your needs and budget.  Remember, even small issues can be a sign of a much bigger problem, so don’t put it off!

Time is Money

Is Your Business Losing Time and Money with the Wrong Technology?

You have invested a lot of time and money into the technology your office uses to operate every day. When your computers do not function as they should, productivity for you and your staff is immediately impacted. You may be losing potential productivity simply because you are not using your current technology to its fullest potential.

Are Your Employees Using the Right Tool for the Right Job?

Let’s face it, employees are not always productive and your business can suffer for it. However, office inefficiencies aren’t always due to lack of employee motivation. In fact, the use of the wrong tools or outdated technology is often the root of the problem. The 1907 advertising slogan, “The Right Tool for the Right Job,” is still entirely relevant in today’s digital workplace.

Have you talked with your employees lately to understand where they feel they are losing productivity? They will likely be happy to tell you where they feel their computers are holding them up, or what type of solutions they need to be able to be better at their job.

How to Put Your Technology to Work for You

There are products and services available that with little to no investment could dramatically increase the power of your office network. For example:

  • Productivity Did you know that by simply adding a second monitor to a computer the productivity of the person using that computer can increase by as much as 50%?:
  • Data Security: If you utilize an automated online backup solution for your business, your critical data (your most important asset) is more secure, more likely to be recoverable, and can save as many as 10 hours per week for the employee responsible for this task. Those ten hours can be then used to make the business more money! :
  • Accessibility: Are you emailing yourself files to work on while at home or on the road, and then having to remember to replace the original file on your office computer later? There are very inexpensive (some are even free!) solutions that will allow you to keep your data safe and sound on your computer, but allow you access and work on it from anywhere.
  • Streamlined Communications: Knowledgeable and efficient service is the key to customer satisfaction. Have you thought about linking a customer relationship management (CRM) solution to a network phone system? Are your employees satisfied with your current phone system? Missed phone calls and lost messages lead to losses in opportunities and revenue. Empower your business with mobility for phone, text and e-mails.

Be Proactive with a Technology Assessment

An annual technology assessment has become increasingly important as business owners need to make informed and increasingly complex decisions about technology solutions and investments. If you are postponing a technology decisions based on concerns over costs, don’t worry. Not all applications and technology investments are costly. Sometimes small changes can be both affordable and highly beneficial to the success of your business and drive profit to your bottom line and keep you ahead of your competition.

Computer Troubleshooters can work with you to assess your technology needs and develop a customized plan for your business. Give the Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of their technology professionals will be happy to help you

office 365

Can Office 365 Transform Your Business?

Microsoft has invested heavily on Office 365 as the way of the future for software licensing and it clearly turned out to be a winner! Both the consumer and business markets are enthusiastic about Microsoft’s Office 365 based on its user-friendly flexibility, effective communications and online productivity solutions. Have you thought about transitioning to Office 365?

Does Your Technology Support the “Time is Money” Viewpoint?

Advances in technology have enabled small and local businesses to participate in the global marketplace by maximizing productivity; delivering enhanced communication capabilities; providing affordable
e-marketing; and offering efficient customer service. It’s becoming increasingly common for small businesses to have user-friendly websites; online catalogs; call centers; customer relationship management tools (CRM); and streamlined inventory management systems. Technology is now primed to wring every ounce of efficiency and productivity out of a business to keep it one step ahead of the competition.

How Can Office 365 Benefit Your Business?

If you are an individual user or a business owner managing a team of employees, Office 365 offers many benefits including:

  • Work Whenever and Wherever:

Access your Office tools from anywhere on any device. Create and edit Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote files and share with your team using cloud-based file sharing. Even the Small Business edition can support up to 25 users. All editions provide great storage capacity for your data. You can also use Office 365 with your desktop version of Office.

  • Email and Calendar:

Sync your email and calendar with Office 365’s hosted business class email system. Stay in touch and on schedule with instant messaging. Secure and private communications are delivered across various devices with anti-virus and anti-spam protection.

  • Easily Manage Your Website:

With easy to use DIY online tools you can quickly make changes to your website. You can add your existing website, domain name and domain-based email address to Office 365 without any additional web-hosting fees. Make a great impression by taking control of your website and keeping it up to date.

  • Online Conferencing:

Take advantage of HD video conferencing for online meetings with desktop sharing. Save time and travel hassles with efficient online meetings that offer real-time note taking features.

  • Mobile Apps:

View and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on your mobile device. When you return to your office, you can easily reconnect to these files from your computer with intact formatting and content. No time is lost when you can start working where you left off.

  • Subscription Advantages:

Save money upfront with the subscription service format. You can pay by the month with the ability to cancel the subscription at any time. You can easily upgrade your subscription to another edition or bundle services within a service segment. No need to purchase new versions of software ever again.

Is Your Business Ready to Take Advantage of Office 365?

You can reshape the way you are doing business by reshaping your workforce. Office 365 offers a range of advanced tools that enables your employees to be productive anywhere and at any time across a range of devices. Gain the competitive edge for your business by boosting the collective performance of your employees through Office 365’s powerful cloud-based solutions.

Embarking on the Office 365 journey requires guidance so give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call today and one of our technology professionals will be happy to discuss how Office 365 can benefit your business

Business Advice

Is Your IT Professional Also A Trusted Business Advisor?

As a business owner, one of the best moves you can make is to outsource your IT services to a professional provider. When it comes to outsourcing your IT service needs, there are a wide range of service options that involve varying levels of management responsibilities and costs. An IT professional can provide service for a single specific task such as help desk support or managing network security. At the other end of the service spectrum, an IT professional can assume management responsibilities for a client’s entire IT infrastructure. The advantages of outsourced services are improved operational efficiencies, cost savings and predictable service for a nearly-fixed monthly fee.

Increase Efficiency and Effectiveness with Mobility

An increasing number of businesses have switched to the outsourced IT service model. If you are already working with a contracted IT professional, then you have given your business the advantage of a head-start on the competition. The next big question is whether your business is actually making the best use of your contracted IT professional? It is likely that your IT professional is responsible for repairs, fixes and upgrades for your business’ computers and network problems. Computer repairs might be a key part of the contracted job, but there are probably some value-added IT skills that your business might not be fully

Do You Need a Trusted Business Advisor or a Computer Repair Service?

  • Trusted advisor is an important role that an IT professional can fill by understanding the business owner’s goals and long range plans for the business. By understanding the “big picture,” an IT professional can share expert technical information while understanding various solutions, costs and the latest technology trends. Functioning as a trusted advisor, an IT professional can make experienced recommendations that are in the best interests of the business’ long term goals as opposed to implementing quick fix, computer repairs.
  • Decisions about new technologies might not be in the comfort zone of most business owners. How can a business owner be fully versed in technology and able to identify the difference between the latest hype and a proven strategy? Which technology is going to provide the best return on investment? Is it the best strategy to implement a new technology now or wait until next year? Is your business currently compliant with network security requirements? Is your data safe? If your business needs to update its operating system, is now the time to purchase new computers? If your IT professional is acting as a trusted advisor, these larger issues can be explored together with the shared goal being the long term sustainability and success of your business.
  • Technology coach is another important element of the trusted advisor’s role. As a member of the client’s “inner circle,” the IT professional needs to bring a variety of skills to the table including the ability to carefully explain technology solutions. The ability to really listen to the business owner is also critical. One size does not fit all – especially when it comes to technology decisions. A knowledgeable IT professional must be able to not only recommend the best technology solutions, but also make the best recommendations for a business’s particular needs in the context of their industry, finances and long range goals. A proactive IT professional will be constantly evaluating new technology products, solutions and reliable vendors that will best serve the needs of the client’s business.

Thinking Beyond Computer Repair Services

As a business owner, you know that we all need to think “outside the box” more often. Computer Troubleshooters encourages you think outside of the “computer repair” box and see that your IT professional is a valuable asset that you might be able to utilize to even greater advantage. Computer Troubleshooters values your business and we want to be your trusted advisor when it comes to technology solutions! Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call today. We are ready to listen.

RMM

Is Your Business Protected by a Remote Monitoring and Maintenance Solution?

Have you recently heard that techy acronym RMM tossed around and felt clueless? If you aren’t sure exactly what RMM is or what it does, here’s a brief explanation:

Managed Service Providers (MSP) employ Remote Monitoring and Maintenance (RMM) tools to manage their clients’ IT systems and equipment. RMM can be described as a collection of IT tools that are loaded onto a client’s workstations and servers to gather information. These RMM tools collect information on a variety of issues such as functionality, maintenance schedules and the detection of problems, and then automatically reports the details back to the MSP at a remote location.

How Does RMM Work?

If that brief description of RMM still makes it a little difficult to envision, consider credit monitoring services as a comparable type of service. Credit monitoring services are based on the continuous monitoring of a customer’s credit status. Many of us use credit monitoring services to prevent identity theft, fraud and to stay informed about any changes in our credit reports. If there is any suspicious activity within a customer’s account, the credit protection service alerts the customer within 24 hours. The alert can come via an e-mail that states, “Hello Customer – please verify that you used your credit card last night to buy $3000 worth of shoes at a resort in the Bahamas.” Good to know, right?

Additionally, the monitoring service keeps you informed about inquiries on your credit report, late payments and changes to your credit rating. These automated alerts enable consumers to take swift action as needed. Other widely used monitoring services include messages from your health care provider reminding you that it’s time for your annual physical and lab tests. If we didn’t get those proactive reminders, we might forget to make the appointment for our car’s oil change or the dog’s rabies shots at the vet’s office.

RMM is a somewhat similar type of service in that it is continuously monitoring the “health” of your technology. RMM is not only looking for problems, inefficiencies and viruses, it enables technicians to actually conduct repairs from a remote location. Plus RMM not only monitors workstations and servers, but also firewalls, printers, and mobile devices. The RMM reporting system is so efficient that the MSP can often correct a problem before you are even aware of the issue. RMM also automates scheduled maintenance tasks such as managing and deploying operating system updates; defragmenting hard disks; sending backup verifications; running antivirus application updates and more. With a RMM solution in place, the System Administrator no longer needs to think about a schedule for maintenance,systems patches or alerts for updates. Your business is covered, because RMM is working behind the scenes in tandem with the MSP at an offsite location.

The Benefits of RMM

Business owners are always on the lookout for new solutions that will cut costs and increase efficiency. That’s the name of the game when it comes to maintaining your business’ competitive position in the marketplace. If you haven’t considered a RMM solution for your business, let Computer Troubleshooters outline the benefits.

  • Save time and money by eliminating onsite IT management and manual repairs that are handled by an overworked staff member. You can save money on infrastructure and cut employee costs with a RMM solution. All of your equipment can be managed from a centralized remote location with real-time information sent to certified professionals. If your business has more than one location, RMM is a perfect solution. Plus, the repairs and upgrades are handled at an offsite location with minimal interruptions. Remember, you can redirect your IT expenditures to more valuable uses for your business. With a RMM solution, your business can produce more results while spending less money!
  • Increase Your Efficiency  by minimizing costly technology disruptions. No business owner, employee or customer wants to waste time because the network is down due to unexpected problems, maintenance or upgrades that have taken longer than anticipated. RMM will minimize downtime through proactive remote monitoring of your network. You can rely on the early detection of problems and swift repairs. If you want to forget about those sudden “disc space is full” messages, RMM can be the answer.
  • Gain the Competitive Edge   by improving customer satisfaction with increased operational efficiency. Provide enhanced service with up-to-date data and accurate inventory counts because your internal systems are functioning efficiently. Avoid the much dreaded “our network is currently down” conversation with a customer. Enhance your sales efficiency and increase your revenues with RMM troubleshooting the problems in advance. You can stay a step ahead of the competition when you lower operating costs and redirect your resources to support the true goals of your business.

So if you feel your business IT could do with a more proactive management approach, talk to us about RMM and how we can better manage your IT requirements.