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Is the iPad Useful as a Mobile Computing Device for Businesses?

Some businesses have jumped on the iPad wagon and are finding creative ways to use the iPad as a mobile computing device. For example, the Global Mundo Tapas restaurant in Sydney, Australia uses the iPad as an interactive menu. There’s a budget airline, Jetstar Airways, using the iPad for in-flight entertainment, rented for $10 a flight. A luxury sedan by Hyundai comes with an iPad instead of a user manual. Other than these extreme cases, how can an iPad be used to increase productivity or convenience by the average business owner?

Conventions and Workshops

Do you travel to conventions and workshops for your business? Many people bring their laptop to these events. While laptops are of course very convenient compared to a desktop pc for traveling, the iPad weighs less and could be even more convenient if you’re traveling from room to room at a convention or workshop. These events are also often designed for networking – so you’re not just sitting at the table all day, glued to your laptop. The smaller, 2 pound iPad could be slipped into your purse or a small bag while you walk around the room, or even carried in your hand for easy access as needed, but without being cumbersome.

Flights and Traveling

It’s true a laptop can go on a flight with you, but even the smaller netbooks and laptops add to the weight of your carry on bags and can be frustrating when in the small seats of the plane. If you’re sitting in coach, you know every time the person next to you has to get up to use the bathroom you’re trying to balance the laptop and whatever else you happened to have out in your hands with turbulence knocking you around the aisle. The iPad could be slid into the pocket of the seat in front of you if you have to get out of the way for the passenger next to you – it’s about the size of a magazine.

The same holds true on trains, in taxi cabs, or as a passenger in someone else’s car. Just don’t try to use your iPad while driving, yourself.

Presentations & Sales

Do you travel to client offices to give presentations? How sleek would it be to whip out your iPad and give a sales presentation or demonstration? Apple reports that iPads can connect to the majority of projectors, so you could even broadcast that presentation over a large screen for a larger audience if necessary.

Replace Your Briefcase

Sure, the iPad has a word processor and spreadsheet. Those are always useful for business people. It would be much more convenient to read and edit documents on an iPad over your iPhone while on the road.

But what about the stack of magazines and newspapers you lug around with you in your briefcase? You could have all of your reading materials ready for you on the iPad and skip the briefcase. Use it as an ebook reader, newspaper subscription, and file storage and you’ve literally got everything at your fingertips. With the use of third party Apps, there’s little you can’t do with the iPad for as a mobile computing device for your business.

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Should You Hire Or Outsource to an External IT Service Provider?

Most small business owners handle all aspects of their businesses, including acting as the Information Technology department. This will work for as long as you remain a small business without employees. When you grow and start hiring staff, will it make more sense to use your business-building time on handling IT issues or outsource to an external IT Service Provider?

Unless you are an Information Technology Service Provider yourself, chances are your time will be much better spent marketing your products and/or services, establishing relationships with your clients, providing exceptional customer service and just otherwise growing your business – so why not outsource to an external IT Service Provider?

How do you know when it’s time to get IT help? If the information technology demands are affecting your day and negatively impacting your actual business related activities – it’s definitely time to consider finding an IT resource. If you start adding new employees and computers, it’s probably a good time to look into adding IT help, as well.

Should You Hire Internal IT Staff or Outsource to an External IT Service Provider?

When you make the decision to find an IT resource, your first decision will be whether you need to hire one or more staff to fulfill the role, or if you’re going to outsource IT services. Having dedicated IT staff means they are 100% committed to your business. They’re not splitting their time among numerous clients the way a contracted company might. One of the benefits of having an IT department is that the staff develops a strong understanding of your unique business needs and should be in a good position to manage your short and long term IT requirements. With your own IT staff on payroll, you know you’ve always got someone available (unless they’re out sick or on vacation!) should an emergency or urgent situation present itself.

The primary disadvantage of hiring IT staff is that you’ll be paying for their benefits, their training, and a variety of other costs associated with hiring a new employee. Not to mention, you have to pay them the agreed upon salary regardless of how much IT work you end up having, which means you may be overpaying based on workload!

There are a variety of advantages of outsourcing to an external IT service provider over hiring staff. You can choose to outsource your information technology needs to a flat rate IT service provider and reduce your monthly and overall costs. Having a virtual IT department lets you focus more on running your business rather than the technology that supports it. You aren’t stuck paying employee benefits or other employee costs, and you aren’t responsible for making sure the IT team remains up to date with their training and knowledge.

The Bottom Line

Finding the right information technology help for a growing business needs is challenging. When you think strategically about your business’ unique IT requirements, you can make sound decisions that further promote its growth and profitability.

Learn how IT Solutions Provider, LLC can help you with your IT outsourcing needs. The first step is to schedule a meeting to go over our Technology Consulting Services for your business.

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Hackers, Virus Developers to abolish computer, mobile attacks!

By Rachid Elaafer
April 18. 2015 4:39PM
TECH TALK: Hackers, virus developers to abolish computer, mobile device attacks

Hackers and virus developers have declared they will abolish computer and mobile device attacks? Wow!

Business owners and computer users no longer should worry about, viruses, spywares and cybercrime damaging or stealing confidential information from their devices.

Since, it’s April…well, April Fools!!!

Seriously, securing your computer is something you should never want to fool around with. At this time of the year, I highly recommend taking a closer look at your computer and mobile security to ensure that you never fall into the hands of hackers, because you neglected to invest in securing your devices.

You may believe the data stored on computer or mobile device is secured or irrelevant to someone to use or try to gain access to. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” I am pretty sure you heard the phrase before. The basic information about you like your name and address is worth money for marketing companies.

Unfortunately, we treat our computers and mobile devices the same way we do with our cars, home appliances, etc. We don’t maintain them on a regular basis or have them checked by professional until it breaks or stops working.

Sometimes we forget to change the oil in our cars until after the due date, but it’s not a big deal, right?

Your system or handheld devices are more important, they contain information about you, your family and your business, whether you realize it or not. When it comes to your computers and mobile devices, you need to have them checked on a regular basis, and yes it cost a little more but identity theft, and not knowing if someone has your info and using it outweighs the cost.

Let’s face it, you either going to “pay now” and have your devices secured and maintained or “pay later” when you have a real problem and most often too late.

What most of us don’t realize is that when your computer or mobile device is infected or hacked, you can certainly have it cleaned up and fixed, BUT what was stolen (the electronic information) from it will not be brought back and worse, you don’t know who has it and where.

Technology has become so complex to develop but so easy to use in the eye of a consumer. Just like medications, the medicines you couldn’t get before without a prescription is readily available now over the counter, but the side effect of using some of the medicines isn’t discovered ‘till years later, when people become ill.

Just to name few: Loss of hearing and eyesight due to high definition graphics, amplified sounds (kids with headsets every day), strong radio waves from Wi-Fi and mobile devices, lack of social skills (101) addiction to cell phones and games. However, the benefits gained are undeniable as well.

Similarly to technology, the cool and advance technology we used see in movies are now in the market, but some of the side effects are still unknown or hasn’t been published. The impact of technology on our social, mental, physical and environmental health can be devastating if we don’t check ourselves.

— Rachid Elaafer is the owner of IT Solutions Provider LLC in Medford Square.

http://medford.wickedlocal.com/article/20150418/NEWS/150418614

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Windows XP and Office 2003 End of Life

On April 8, 2014 Microsoft will no longer be supporting the

Operating system Windows XP and Office 2003

If your organization is currently running either Windows XP or Office 2003 on one or more computers in your office, you need to know about a dangerous security threat to your organization that must be addressed within the next few weeks. Please take a moment to read this important announcement.

Mr.Elaafer, CEO of IT Solutions Provider, LLC and your local Microsoft Certified Professional. As such, we are aggressively attempting to reach all businesses within the Greater Boston Area that use Microsoft XP and Office 2003 to alert you to a serious security risk to your organization, and inform you about what you need to do now to protect your company.

Microsoft has officially announced that it will retire support on the XP operating system and Office 2003 software suite on April 8, 2014. That means any computer or server with these software programs installed will be completely exposed to serious hacker attacks aimed at taking control of your network, stealing data, crashing your system and inflicting a host of other business-crippling problems you do NOT want to have to deal with.

This is such a serious threat that all companies housing financial and medical information are being required by law to upgrade any and all computer systems running XP or Office 2003 because firewalls and anti-virus software will NOT be sufficient to completely protect them (or you).

Unless you are planning on replacing these systems, cyber criminals are getting ready to attack any PC/Server or Application that is outdated, you MUST upgrade any servers or workstations running these programs.

We can run a Microsoft Risk Assessment and Migration Plan to Shows You The Easiest, Most Budget-Friendly Way To Upgrade

As a local Microsoft Certified Professional, my company has committed to helping businesses in the city of Medford and surrounding by offering a Microsoft Risk Assessment and Migration Plan.

 

Although the “switching hour” is still several months away, if you’re one of the over 500 million individuals and businesses still running Windows XP and or Office 2003, here are seven good reason you will want to put “Upgrading to a New Operating System/Microsoft Office” at the top of your 2014 “To Do” list.

 

  1.  Tons of Viruses:  There is a huge library of viruses aimed at Windows XP and Office 2003 and once April 8, 2014 arrives; limited Anti-Virus support will be available.
  2. Old and Outdated:  Believe it or not, Windows XP is nearly 12 years old.  The first iPod was released the same year as Windows XP.  In a world where the 5th iPhone has been released, no one should be left using an operating system that predates the first iPod.
  3. Lease Secure:  Windows XP is the least secure operating system by far.  All other platforms, including Linux, all versions of Mac OS X, Windows 7 and Windows 8 are more secure than Windows XP by a huge margin.
  4. Built for a Simpler Time:  Windows XP was created for a simpler world of technology.  It was formatted to fit to a screen only 640 pixels wide and it showcased IE Internet Explorer as a new product.  Today, most screens have a higher resolution. The internet was a different place when XP was developed.  Smart phones were non-existent, laptops were a luxury and tablet computers were science fiction.
  5. No more Band-Aids:  There are only so many band-aid fixes that can be put on top of each other, updates and patches will not be available by Microsoft.
  6. Support is Ending:  All support of Windows XP and Office 2003 will end on April 8, 2014.  It’s best to replace your systems now while you can still plan ahead.
  7. Malware Everywhere:  You can continue to use XP, but with more Malware, malicious software that disrupts systems than ever, XP is by far the most vulnerable platform to connect to the internet.

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Mobile Computing Device for Businesses?

Some businesses have jumped on the iPad wagon and are finding creative ways to use the iPad as a mobile computing device. For example, the Global Mundo Tapas restaurant in Sydney, Australia uses the iPad as an interactive menu. There’s a budget airline, Jetstar Airways, using the iPad for in-flight entertainment, rented for $10 a flight. A luxury sedan by Hyundai comes with an iPad instead of a user manual. Other than these extreme cases, how can an iPad be used to increase productivity or convenience by the average business owner?

Conventions and Workshops

Do you travel to conventions and workshops for your business? Many people bring their laptop to these events. While laptops are of course very convenient compared to a desktop pc for traveling, the iPad weighs less and could be even more convenient if you’re traveling from room to room at a convention or workshop. These events are also often designed for networking – so you’re not just sitting at the table all day, glued to your laptop. The smaller, 2 pound iPad could be slipped into your purse or a small bag while you walk around the room, or even carried in your hand for easy access as needed, but without being cumbersome.

Flights and Traveling

It’s true a laptop can go on a flight with you, but even the smaller netbooks and laptops add to the weight of your carry on bags and can be frustrating when in the small seats of the plane. If you’re sitting in coach, you know every time the person next to you has to get up to use the bathroom you’re trying to balance the laptop and whatever else you happened to have out in your hands with turbulence knocking you around the aisle. The iPad could be slid into the pocket of the seat in front of you if you have to get out of the way for the passenger next to you – it’s about the size of a magazine.

The same holds true on trains, in taxi cabs, or as a passenger in someone else’s car. Just don’t try to use your iPad while driving, yourself.

Presentations & Sales

Do you travel to client offices to give presentations? How sleek would it be to whip out your iPad and give a sales presentation or demonstration? Apple reports that iPads can connect to the majority of projectors, so you could even broadcast that presentation over a large screen for a larger audience if necessary.

Replace Your Briefcase

Sure, the iPad has a word processor and spreadsheet. Those are always useful for business people. It would be much more convenient to read and edit documents on an iPad over your iPhone while on the road.

But what about the stack of magazines and newspapers you lug around with you in your briefcase? You could have all of your reading materials ready for you on the iPad and skip the briefcase. Use it as an ebook reader, newspaper subscription, and file storage and you’ve literally got everything at your fingertips. With the use of third party Apps, there’s little you can’t do with the iPad for as a mobile computing device for your business.

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Small Businesses Benefit From Managed IT Services

From start-ups to multi-billion dollar businesses, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs while turning a profit. In fact, many companies are just trying to keep things in the black, however that does not eliminate the need for practices that will improve and grow these businesses. Since few people have the expertise to manage much of today’s technology, a certain percentage of their budgets should be allocated to IT and software applications maintenance. Here are ways that Managed IT Services benefit small and medium businesses.

Benefits of Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

  • Increased productivity- Businesses are established to fill the need for a product or service while providing a livelihood for the business owners and their employees. In order to do this, businesses have to ensure they are working at full capacity at all times. Downtime or work performed at reduced levels is time and money wasted. Managed IT Services can help businesses not only quickly repair problems when they occur but also act as a proactive measure to spot and treat potential problems before they have an impact on productivity.
  • Supports in-house IT- Many businesses do not want to relinquish all IT maintenance control to an outside party, and small businesses do not always have the resources to support the type of IT department needed to keep their business running at full speed. A majority of businesses can benefit from adding the expertise, tools and availability of a Managed IT Services Provider to help support in-house IT departments.
  • Remote services- Managed IT Services Providers work from a remote location, providing desktop, email and back-up and recovery support services without adding to the actual number of “employees” on site. The services provided are unobtrusive and in the majority of cases, have no impact in the day-to-day activities of current in-house employees.
  • Affordable- Generally when you bring on a Managed IT Services Provider, a consultant will perform an onsite assessment of the company, its workflows and processes and the current state of its supporting technology to determine what services are needed to meet organizational goals. Business owners often have a choice between several different levels of service, making it possible for a company with a limited budget to choose a package that best suits their needs.

Security is a big concern for business owners and individuals alike. In the past, business owners have been reluctant to entrust secure or private information to a third party, offsite vendor. As Managed IT Services Providers continue to prove their value, more companies are realizing the benefits and value of their services. Managed IT Services Providers continue to improve technology to provide secure, quality services for businesses of all sizes. As a result, smaller businesses which operate with leaner budgets find themselves in a position to reap the benefits of these services. Business owners often have to make difficult decisions regarding how they will improve their business while sticking to the budget. As the market for Managed IT Services experiences continual growth in the next few years, this method of IT maintenance and service delivery will likely become the “norm” for small to mid size businesses looking to reduce costs and improve uptime and business continuity. Companies that recognize the benefits of Managed IT Services will have a jump on their competition.

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Computer Backup Solutions

The subject of computer backup solutions has always been a topic of importance when it comes to preserving the data on your computer. These days there are more options available to you in this arena, which can be both a help and a hindrance. On one hand, having more options is helpful because better solutions have been brought to the marketplace from which you can now choose to fit your needs. A hindrance exists in that the multitude of choices might scare off users and cause them to avoid the issue altogether, which can have a disastrous ending.

It does not have to be complicated nor time consuming, so there is no good reason not to tackle backing up your computer.

The Philosophy

We all know that backing up can preserve the information that is stored on your computer, but how far do you take your backup philosophy? It depends on what you can ‘afford’ to lose.

To one computer user, just backing up periodically will suffice. The thought here is that if you lose your data, you can restore it apart from your operating system, and the time that this takes is not a critical consideration. Many home users fall into this category. It makes sense as long as you are not dependent upon your computer for time-sensitive applications and tasks and/or for accessing and retrieving data relative to finances, etc.

To another user this philosophy is not enough. Those who depend on their data and computer for more than just casual personal computing understand that if a hard drive fails, their business is down until they can get it back up and running again. Home users who store irreplaceable photographs and home video on their computers will also fall into this category. A more comprehensive backup plan is recommended to help recover from disasters in a timely fashion.

Computer Backup Solutions Options

There are several ways to tackle backups of your important data:

Built-in operating system options. Microsoft Windows operating systems provide built-in back up capabilities that allows you to back up your documents or files onto external media. Beginning with Windows XP and its Automated System Recovery feature, each successive Microsoft desktop operating system includes the capability to help recover your entire hard drive if necessary. These backup solutions are reliable and provide a built-in way for you to back up your data without having to buy an additional program to do so.

Manual copying onto external devices. You can always resort to the old stand-by method of backing up by manually copying your data onto an external hard drive, USB memory stick or other external device such as a recordable CD, DVD or even a floppy drive if you have one. This is cumbersome, but if you do not have a lot of files, it may be an acceptable solution for you. The pitfalls with this method are that if you have multiple files, you have to make sure you get all of them, and you may need numerous target media to save all of your files to.

Online options for backing up over the Internet. The newest option in computer data backup solutions is provided by online companies that enable backup and restoration of your documents and files over an encrypted high-speed Internet connection to any PC. A small background application backs up and transfers your files to a hosted storage area in a remote datacenter when your computer is idle; however, this is not a comprehensive disaster recovery solution for your entire hard drive. This solution works best when targeted at protecting individual files and documents on a PC or a Mac, and is generally a subscription-based service for which you pay a monthly fee for use.

Making an image of your hard drive. This is a more comprehensive backup and disaster recovery solution generally performed by technically savvy computer users. This option includes using 3rd-party programs to make an image of your entire hard drive, which can then be “re-imaged” in case of catastrophic failure to a new hard drive, providing a hard drive disaster recovery plan. Using this solution, within a short period of time, you can be back up and running with ALL of your documents, settings, programs and EVERYTHING intact, as if the disaster never occurred.

The way to determine the best solution to fit your needs is to ask yourself how soon you need to be back up and running after encountering a disaster, and how much you are willing to pay. If you can wait several days, then a computer back up program might be right for you. If you need your data files immediately, and you have a second computer that you can copy them to, then an online solution might be the best way to go. Or finally, if your business depends upon your computer and its applications and data, then you must have a more comprehensive solution.

Click here to learn how can help you protect your critical business data with our Remote Data Backup and Storage Solutions for your business in [contentblock id=location].

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Small Businesses Benefit From Managed IT Services

From start-ups to multi-billion dollar businesses, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs while turning a profit. In fact, many companies are just trying to keep things in the black, however that does not eliminate the need for practices that will improve and grow these businesses. Since few people have the expertise to manage much of today’s technology, a certain percentage of their budgets should be allocated to IT and software applications maintenance. Here are ways that Managed IT Services benefit small and medium businesses.

Benefits of Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

  • Increased productivity- Businesses are established to fill the need for a product or service while providing a livelihood for the business owners and their employees. In order to do this, businesses have to ensure they are working at full capacity at all times. Downtime or work performed at reduced levels is time and money wasted. Managed IT Services can help businesses not only quickly repair problems when they occur but also act as a proactive measure to spot and treat potential problems before they have an impact on productivity.
  • Supports in-house IT- Many businesses do not want to relinquish all IT maintenance control to an outside party, and small businesses do not always have the resources to support the type of IT department needed to keep their business running at full speed. A majority of businesses can benefit from adding the expertise, tools and availability of a Managed IT Services Provider to help support in-house IT departments.
  • Remote services- Managed IT Services Providers work from a remote location, providing desktop, email and back-up and recovery support services without adding to the actual number of “employees” on site. The services provided are unobtrusive and in the majority of cases, have no impact in the day-to-day activities of current in-house employees.
  • Affordable- Generally when you bring on a Managed IT Services Provider, a consultant will perform an onsite assessment of the company, its workflows and processes and the current state of its supporting technology to determine what services are needed to meet organizational goals. Business owners often have a choice between several different levels of service, making it possible for a company with a limited budget to choose a package that best suits their needs.

Security is a big concern for business owners and individuals alike. In the past, business owners have been reluctant to entrust secure or private information to a third party, offsite vendor. As Managed IT Services Providers continue to prove their value, more companies are realizing the benefits and value of their services. Managed IT Services Providers continue to improve technology to provide secure, quality services for businesses of all sizes. As a result, smaller businesses which operate with leaner budgets find themselves in a position to reap the benefits of these services. Business owners often have to make difficult decisions regarding how they will improve their business while sticking to the budget. As the market for Managed IT Services experiences continual growth in the next few years, this method of IT maintenance and service delivery will likely become the “norm” for small to mid size businesses looking to reduce costs and improve uptime and business continuity. Companies that recognize the benefits of Managed IT Services will have a jump on their competition.

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