SmartWater Reminder – Anti Theft Solution

It’s been over three years now since we started applying the SmartWater anti-theft solution to our customers computer equipment, this is a quick reminder about the free service we provide to our customers in Norfolk.

Each time we sell you a high value item of computer equipment, we’ll mark it with our forensically coded SmartWater anti theft solution. The SmartWater liquid is easy to apply, almost impossible to remove, only visible under UV light and contains a unique forensic ‘code’, which links the computer equipment we’ve sold to you back to us.

Every item of equipment marked with the SmartWater solution has an anti tamper sticker applied which itself acts as a deterrent. Larger stickers for your doors and windows are available upon request and will deter potential thieves from entering your property.

In the event of any equipment theft, police will routinely check recovered equipment for SmartWater and reunite us with your equipment. Through our own database of computer serial numbers we can trace where the equipment was originally taken from.

We are happy to report that none of our clients have had any computer equipment stolen in the few years since we have been offering this service – and this does include customers that have had break-ins. The SmartWater – it seems – has done the trick and thieves have left marked equipment well alone.

Join the growing list of customers that are benefitting from this free service and call us at Computer Support Norwich when you next need a PC, laptop or printer.

SmartWater®, the SmartWater® yellow and atom logo are trademarks of SmartWater® Limited.

BT Should Stick to Telecoms, not Email Provision.

Over the past few months we’ve seen a number of ‘compromised’ BT Yahoo! email accounts. In this situation, the customers email account has been breached or hacked and has been used either to send out Spam email, or the contents have been deleted or lifted or otherwise used in an illegitimate way.

A quick search for “BT email hacked” will yield hundreds of results, horror stories and discussions where disgruntled customers are slating not just the shoddy email system but also the way in which BT are handling those issues and the resulting complaints.

Some will say that the root cause of the problem is that BT, for many years, have used Yahoo! as their email service contractor. Yes, Yahoo! may be to blame for a cruddy system, but BT must take the blame for repeatedly ignoring the problem and hoping it will just go away. (BT are now ditching Yahoo! anyway).

On Monday of this week we’ve had one customer receive an email to explain his BT Yahoo! email account password had been ‘changed’. Shortly after, that customer was unable to get email from his btinternet.com account and was also unable to do a password reset.

We called the BT ”Premium Email Helpdesk” on 0808 100 6778 yesterday, but after two hours on hold we eventually agreed to call it a day and put the phone down. The current situation is that our customer cannot send and receive email on his btinternet.com email address, cannot do a password reset (because, they say, he does not know his own date of birth or mothers maiden name), and cannot get through to anyone at BT able or willing to help.

Though the client has an alternative email address set up on our own servers which works just fine, there is ultimately no resolution to this BT email problem until BT pull their finger out and start fixing their shoddy customer service.

As a telecoms provider, BT are outstanding, they should stick to what they do best and leave peripheral services well and truly to IT support professionals, not internet spies search engines like Yahoo!

As a customer, our advice is to ditch any email service that has been provided by your ISP or its contractors, and switch to a hosted email service instead.

For further help on resolving your email problems, please call Computer Support Norwich on 01603 781902.

We now stock Dell OptiPlex.

One of the difficulties in being a ‘Dell’ house is that of lead times. Order a new Dell PC today and it might take two weeks to arrive. Even the Dell ‘ships fast’ models can take a few days to arrive, which has been a source of great frustration to us over the years.

Faced with long lead times we’ve sometimes had to supply non Dell equipment when a customers requirement has been urgent, which means we’ve had to compromise on quality.

To ensure a prompter turnaround of equipment, we’re now stocking Dell OptiPlex desktops so we can supply them from stock. This is already proving a successful strategy and the ‘for stock’ models are currently selling out as soon as we get them.

If you’re in the market for a new PC, then lets discuss your needs and see which model is right for you. We’re currently stocking OptiPlex models with Intel i5 and i7 processors.

Please either look at our Dell Stock List or call Computer Support Norwich on 01603 781902.

 

Hey YOU! Get 120 Hours of Productivity Gain in 3 years for under £100…?

Order a computer from us today and you’ll likely get one that is dual screen capable. We’ll quote you for two screens as standard.

Most people that have never used dual screens think it is plain weird. Unless you have used dual screens yourself you will never understand the benefits.

For example, heavy Sage users are the very people that most benefit from two screens. Sage users will have Sage open most of the day… but can also have Outlook, Excel, or something else open and viewable at the same time.

I have clients who have tried dual screens for a week immediately ordered an additional 20 screens to upgrade everyone to two screens, such is the benefit.

If your users gain even 10 minutes extra productivity per day, that is 7,200 minutes over a 3 year period. 120 hours of extra productivity in 3 years for under £100? You can’t buy cheaper!

Once you have used two screens, one screen is just a pain in the backside.

Small Business or Small Minded Business?

Many of us will use the words “Small Business” during our day. When I talk to potential clients, I’ll say things like “Yes, I deal with small businesses” or “Yes, this server is suitable for a small business just like yours”.

The term “Small Business” is a good way of describing the size of a business in terms of the number of employees, or perhaps turnover, but it’s a poor way to describe the ‘approach’ of a given organisation.

I’m a professional. I’ve worked for a few large and very well-known national businesses. I have clients that are now part of global businesses and have to work within their guidelines. I know what it is to work as a small cog in a large corporate wheel. I know the benefits of the big business approach.

As our own business grows I’ve been thinking about what the differences are between ‘small’ and ‘large’ businesses. The connotations can be negative. We’ve all had to deal with large organisations that’ll put you on hold for 30 minutes. When you call is eventually answered, the agent at the other end of the phone often has no power to help you even if he or she can understand you.

The smaller organisation will often give you a personal service which these less personal organisations aren’t geared up to offer. Call a small business and you’ll more than likely be talking to someone that is sitting within a dozen metres of the head honcho.

Of course larger organisations can often be trusted to deliver a consistent quality of service, more so than the smaller business. Dare I give an example…. BT. I think the service you get from them can be entirely awful at times, but the reliability of the telephone network and the expertise of the engineers that come and fix your phone lines are second to none. I trust them to install and deliver services to me, because they do a great job, and they do it consistently.

But when it comes to offering a given level of expertise and professionalism, it should not mean that service suffers. Both are important, and both can be offered by all sizes of organisations.

I’m not really sure how to put this succinctly, but I believe my own business should help your business in three ways.

  • First, we should give you a personal, responsive and flexible service.
  • Second, we should be open, honest and trusting.
  • Third, we should offer the same level of professionalism and expertise to you that those larger business benefit from.

I remember that some of the largest companies in the world ‘got big’ by ‘behaving big’ and I think that is to be applauded, but I know too that we’re only growing because we give good service.

I hope you’ll return the favour by letting us know if we lose our way.

In-Car Technology Reducing Insurance Premiums

One of out longest established clients, Bowmonk Ltd, is leading the field to help both consumers and fleet managers reduce their vehicle insurance costs.

Later this year they’ll be releasing a pioneering new black box (installed in a car or van) which beats the competition by being, compact, comprehensive and easy to install.

Read the full story on the EDP site here, or visit Bowmonk here.

Instructions for Disabling Java

There are several articles doing the rounds at the moment, explaining that there’s a big security hole in Java – even in fully up to date versions. The problem means that your computer could be compromised if you visit a web site that exploits this vulnerability. If compromised, an attacker could pretty much do anything on your PC.

This is a pretty serious flaw in what is a ‘standard’ application, so we’re recommending that the software is disabled or removed form your computer with immediate effect. If you visit business critical web sites or run applications that require Java, then you should talk to us first, but the chances are pretty slim.

How do I disable Java?

It’s pretty straightfoirward, see the instructions on how to disable java right here:

http://www.java.com/en/download/help/disable_browser.xml

These instructions aren’t accurate, what do I do?

These instructions apply to later versions of Java. If your screens do not match those provided in the instructions above, you can remove Java instead. To do so, enter the Add / Remove programs applet, which is found in the Windows Control Panel and then remove Java from there.

Further instructions on doing that can be found here:

http://www.java.com/en/download/faq/remove_olderversions.xml

If you have any further questions, or would like remote support to disable the software, please call us on 01603 781902.

Credit Review 2013

Existing clients, please watch your inbox for emails from us about credit control policy… I’ll be emailing all clients very soon with an update to the new credit limit provided, but we’ll take into account a long term trading relationship and the size of your computer system.

Note that some clients are already in excess of the intended credit limit and so we’ll be asking those clients to make payments to come under the limit by the end of January.

Thanks for reading!

New Dell OptiPlex 7010 – Stock Model Announced

Last year we took the step of recommending a ‘standard’ model computer system for all our clients. A good quality, mid-range computer which was more than capable of performing typical day to day office tasks yet also able to cope with more demanding applications on an occasional basis.

This approach proved to be an outstanding success and demonstrates that a policy of standardisation works well for small businesses just as it does for larger ones.

In 90% of cases where a computer was required, this model was fit for purpose and fit for budget.

With this in mind, we’ve announced our new standard model for 2013 – The Dell OptiPlex 7010 and now they are available at short notice from stock.

At the usual mid-range price of £595 + VAT and a lead time that can be measured in hours and not weeks, we’re better placed to supply you with a new, Dell branded PC.

If you are in the market for a new Dell PC in Norfolk, call Computer Support Norwich today on 01603 781902.

Introducing AutoTask – Our New Business Management System

Another new arrival for 2013 is a system called AutoTask. It’s a system designed very specifically for IT service providers and has advantages for you as a client and us as a service provider.

Until this point in time I’ve had to manage my workload using a combination of systems, including Outlook, Excel, Sage, the back of several envelopes and my own memory. The volume of work I have now means that these systems are breaking down.

For us, AutoTask will be a single location where all support requests are logged, managed and invoiced, where all contracts are managed and invoiced, and where all assets are recorded. We currently use at least five systems to manage this and so we’re expecting to have more time to provide support to you, not just manage incidents and invoicing.

For you and your users, the AutoTask Client Access Portal offers the ability to raise and check progress on all support requests from an online portal. You’ll also be able to look at IT support costs in real time, have full visibility of the work we are doing for you, check and download old invoices, and more.

We’re currently implementing AutoTask and expect to be fully operational by the end of January… please watch this space and your inbox for more details.