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>When a computer suddenly won’t work, it can often lead to the loss of important personal or business information. Luckily, there are ways to create copies of these files to save in the event of data loss. There are a few crucial files that you may want to save in the event of data loss. But what files do you need to back up? Here are a few of the most important files that you should back up to avoid a data backup and recovery disaster.

Documents
Much of your personal information is stored in your Documents folder, so be sure to have at least one copy of everything that you think to be important. This includes Word documents, Excel spreadsheet, PDF files, text files, and any other files you have created on a word processing program. If you have done your taxes on your computer, be sure to add the records into your backup. Don’t forget to add any documents that may be stored on your desktop.

Music
If you have a large music collection, it can be devastating to have a computer suddenly crash with no back up. Instead of re-purchasing and uploading all your favorite songs onto a new computer, save yourself the hassle by backing it up on a spare drive or cloud services. If you use iTunes, make sure you back up your iTunes folder, which is typically found in your computer's ‘Music’ file.

Pictures and Videos
Pictures and videos are one of the most important things to back up, because once they are gone it’s almost impossible to get them back. This includes any family photo albums or videos that you have uploaded onto your computer. To prevent the loss of your precious memories, copy all of your pictures onto a backup device. You can also keep them uploaded on an image site, or upload them to your social media pages.

As companies continue to grow, they are looking for new ways to safely and efficiently store their data. More and more businesses are now turning to cloud computing as a way to store their data. In fact, 82% of enterprises now use a hybrid cloud strategy. Cloud computing services continue to grow as cloud providers find new ways to securely store precious data through the Internet. Recently, Forbes magazine reported that four out of five small businesses will soon rely on cloud computing. Experts predict that by 2018, more than 60% of enterprises will store at least half of their infrastructure on a cloud-based platform. To learn about cloud computing and how it can benefit you, contact our network consultants.

voip

In the 1990s, perhaps you laughed when you heard someone bought a mobile telephone or a car phone for the first time. Who would need to answer the phone in the car? Of course, now, the government has to pass laws to stop people from taking calls behind the wheel. And for better or worse, most of us can barely remember how we functioned without our smartphones. The point is, telecommunications have gone through a radical shift in the 21st century, and ultimately it's a shift that's good for small businesses.

That's because services like VOIP, or Voice over Internet Proxy, can deliver all your telecommunications needs at a lower cost than traditional land lines. Not only that, but you get all the benefits that come with other types of digital and cloud-based computing, like greater flexibility and tech support. There's a reason Forbes recently reported that four out of five small businesses will soon rely on cloud-based computing platforms.

If you're staring a small business, or considering upgrading your existing phone lines to a digital VOIPnetwork, then consider the top seven benefits of this new technology:

  • Go Mobile: With VOIP enabled phones, you can route calls to your laptop or smartphone whenever you step away from the office. That means you're always connected, where ever you go.

  • Reliable: With the best VOIP providers, your system will be monitored and maintained 24/7.

  • Spend Less Time With Your Cable Company: If you've ever dealt with a cable company's legendarily awful customer service, then we think this benefit speaks for itself.

  • Save Money: VOIP services come in a variety of competitively priced packages, meaning you can almost certainly find VOIP options less expensive than traditional phone systems.

  • Save Time: Not only will you cut your telecommunications costs, but you'll also avoid the extra setup, installation, and maintenance fees that come with the phone systems of old.

  • Easy To Use: VOIP phones come with an intuitive user interface that anyone can understand at a single glance.

  • Did We Mention You Can Save Money?: In addition to saving on telecommunication costs, you can also save on Information Technology costs as well. That's because VOIP providers usually offer a wide range of IT services, like cyber security protection, data backup and disaster recovery, and all the latest cloud computing systems. Get your VOIP and IT services from the same company, and you could save a fortune on overhead costs.


It's hard to imagine days when cell phones were an exciting novelty. The days of T9, when you had to press a button four times to type a single "S." We've come a long way in 2015. So if you want your small business to stay competitive, it's crucial that you invest in the latest cloud computing technology. Surveys show that 42% of IT decision makers are increasing investments into the cloud in 2015. Why don't you start with VOIP solutions? There's a reason VOIP services are expected to become a $74.5 billion market by 2016. So if you aren't already using this exciting technology, you're already falling behind.

cloud computingIf you run a business or have any involvement with information technology, you’ve probably at least heard of the term “cloud computing.” Today, 82% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy; by 2018, it’s thought that more than 60% of enterprises will have moved at least half of their infrastructures to cloud-based platforms. Moreover, one study found that about 42% of IT decision-makers planned to increase their spending on cloud computing in 2015.

 

But what if you’re not quite sure what the cloud is, or whether using it could be beneficial for your business? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Cloud computing simply means computing that is based on the Internet. Almost all of the computer processes that used to be handled by servers in a business’ physical building can now be handled offsite. That includes running programs and applications, as well as storing and sharing data files. There are numerous reasons so many businesses, especially small and medium-sized ones, are switching to cloud-based solutions. Here are seven to get you started:

 

  1. Flexibility and Scalability

    Businesses whose IT demands are handled via the cloud find it much easier to scale and modify their operations based on current demands. If your business surges even temporarily, it’s simple to upgrade your services without making a big investment. 


  2. Reduced Labor and Infrastructure

    Cloud computing can keep information technology costs low by reducing or eliminating your need to maintain on-site technology infrastructure and an in-house tech team. 


  3. Backups and Disaster Recovery

    Cloud-based data can be automatically backed up, meaning that you never have to fear that a crash will wipe out all your files. 


  4. Automatic Updating

    Updating software can be a big hassle when that process needs to be carried out on individual machines on site. But with a cloud-based operation, software can be updated for all relevant machines automatically or with a single click. 


  5. Remote Work Abilities

    Running software and storing files on the cloud makes it easy for employees to access them from anywhere. That means you can globalize your workforce, offer your employees the perk of working from home, or simply make accessing information while on business trips less of a headache. 


  6. Collaborative Work Enhancement

    Working on the cloud allows employees to streamline workflows and collaborate more efficiently, whether they’re doing that from across a room or across the globe.

  7. Better Security

    As long as it’s properly managed, cloud computing can offer a very secure IT solution for businesses that would otherwise struggle to maintain good security measures. If you’re not sure how your system would interact with cloud servers (or if you have special privacy and security concerns), you can get a professional cloud computing assessment before you make any decisions.

Do you want to learn about cloud computing further, or are you ready for a cloud readiness assessment? Discuss what you’re looking for in the comments.

it network assessment

Chances are your business isn't just dependent on providing great products and customer service. While those are certainly part of what makes any company great, most today would be nothing without the computer networks they rely on daily. But what many small business owners don't realize is that their network could be holding them back. Getting an IT network assessment from a qualified firm, however, can identify network and security risks early in order to save frustration when business is in full swing.

With an IT network assessment, your business can identify its needs in these five key categories:

Network Setup Services
Are you looking to expand or alter your existing network, or do you need a brand new infrastructure put in place? An IT network assessment can take a look at your current network and determine where its strengths and weaknesses may lie. You can also take advantage of this service to have new computers installed or added to your network.

Cyber Security
Perhaps one of the biggest threats to businesses these days is the hacker activity, including the use of malware. An estimated 82,000 new malware threats were detected each day in 2013, the year when about 20% of all existing threats were created. Yet today the problem has only gotten worse, and it's costing businesses some serious money. Each data breach that occurs, whether it's for large or small businesses, winds up costing money to make amends and aggravating even the most loyal of customers if their information is stolen. Getting an assessment now can determine where the weak spots in your network are and how you can fix them.

Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Losing data can be an incredibly frustrating, costly, and time-consuming accident, but it's unfortunately easy in the age of hackers and simple human error. This is why inquiring about this service is so important. Some firms will perform backups as often as every hour or less, so you're never at risk for losing everything. Ask your IT professionals about how they can handle backup and recovery for your business. VOIP Services VOIP (or Voice Over Internet Protocol) is an internet-based phone service that eliminates the need for landlines. Many businesses prefer using VOIP because it allows for easy recording of phone calls, and it's not subject to the outages that landlines can face. It also doesn't require any additional installations or maintenance because it works with your existing internet infrastructure. A network assessment can determine whether or not your business needs VOIP solutions.

Cloud Readiness Assessment
Today's data storage doesn't just take place on hard drives or removable storage -- it's also in the cloud. Cloud storage involves storing and accessing information through the internet, and it doesn't even need to be stored on your own servers. This gives you instant access to files, applications, and other information from anywhere -- even a mobile device. Current estimates say that more than 60% of businesses will store at least half of their infrastructure on cloud-based applications by 2018, and today, some already have a hybrid of physical and cloud storage for their businesses. Is your business cloud-ready? An assessment can help you determine what you need.

Have more questions about these services? Be sure to contact us today and ask about our IT assessments.

search engine optimizationDuring your time on the web, you've more than likely come across an infographic or two on your journey through cyberspace.

If you're like most people, these graphics that present information in a visual format are much easier to digest than blocks of text. The human brain is wired to process visual information. It's hardly surprising, then, to learn that the average web user will read only 28% of the text content on any given web page!

As a result, the need for your business to adopt infographics as part of its search engine optimization (SEO) campaign should be clear. With engaging visuals that have value to the end user, you'll boost your search engine rankings and keep your customers coming back for more.

Still not convinced that regularly producing infographics can add a much-needed boost to your business' web development, web design and SEO campaign? Here's a look at three little-known advantages of the infographic:

Infographics are memorable
As stated before, the human eye is more likely to stay put on an image than it is on a monochrome block of text. By combining images, colors, movement and content, you can ultimately improve your website design's metrics by keeping people on your page longer. Humans are also more likely to remember visual information more than information we've read. When the average website has less than 10 seconds to make an impression on a user, this is key.

Infographics are shareable
Another huge benefit of the infographic is its ability to be shared among web users on their social media pages. Most infographics come with embed codes that users can copy and paste to their pages, generating an automatic link between your website and theirs -- another good thing for your SEO rankings. As a result, infographics are much more likely to reach the coveted viral status than text content.


Infographics are mobile-ready
Did you know that 40% of web users will choose a different search engine result if the first one listed isn't equipped with mobile web design? Infographics today are typically designed to adapt to the the device on which they're being viewed, making them especially equipped to be viewed by mobile users. Last year, mobile web use surpassed desktop use for the first time. You can't afford to miss out on this massive audience.

Have any other questions or thoughts about how infographics can aid your business' search engine optimization plans? Share with us by simply leaving a comment below.

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