IT News

Why is my PC running slowly?

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When you first bought your PC or laptop it was the best model on the market, with the most up-to-date specification; It was super speedy, navigated around the web quickly and had no issues opening multiple tabs at once, now everything seems to have grounded to a halt, searching the web has becoming painstakingly irritating and you’re left wondering – do I need a new PC or an upgrade to the RAM? Try these simple tips first.

Malware and viruses

Do you have a virus or malware on your machine?

When you purchased your PC/laptop did you remember to install anti-virus software? Many laptops or PCs from high street providers come with McAfee, Kaspersky, Norton or other antivirus software packages which offer virus and malware protection. There are also many free lite versions online which can offer basic protection.

Being infected by malware or a virus can happen easily for example by clicking on a link in an email, downloading ‘free’ software from the internet, from file sharing services and even USB sticks. These can go undetected for weeks and can render a PC or laptop unusable or very slow.

Check for malware or viruses using your existing anti-virus software, they have inbuilt scanning programs to detect any threats. If you have no antivirus software installed use Google, Bing or any search engine to find and download  MalwareBytes and/or SuperAntiSpyware from the genuine approved site. Beware of downloadin them from other possibply bogus sites. Both of these apps are recommended and effective to highlight any issues or threats and potentially quarantine/remove any viruses or malware which may be lingering.

We offer our clients an award-winning antivirus software solution suitable for organisations of all sizes, applicable to all platforms, with end-to-end encryption solutions also available. Talk to us on 01626 360011 for more information.

Is your PC or laptop up to the job?

What you do on your laptop or PC will determine how fast it performs. Every computer has a specification that makes it suitable for specific activities and some apps are more demanding than others.

For example, installing elaborate games can use a lot of system resource. The more graphic driven the game, the more demand it will have on your computer’s resources.

Image manipulation software such as Adobe Photoshop can demand a lot from your computer, making it harder to open more apps at the same time and making switching between windows slow & clunky.

Media storage, such as music, videos and photos will all slow your laptop or PC experience depending on its memory capability. Uploading some of your media to a secure cloud based storage may make things faster and you’ll have access to the media on any device.

Did you know the web browser you use can also affect your overall PC/laptop experience? Some are considered faster to work with than others, with quicker loading times. Google offers ‘lite pages’ a feature that lets Chrome reduce data use by up to 90 percent and load pages two times faster. Little tweaks like this can make all the difference.

Regular Maintenance

Getting in to a routine of regular PC maintenance is a good way of preventing your PC or laptop from slowing down in the longer term.

Windows operating systems have tools to enhance your system experience. Search for ‘Defragment and Optimise Drives’ in your start bar search bar (Windows 10) and click on the program, here you can choose which drives you wish to optimise. In older versions of Windows this can also be accessed by clicking on all programs on your start menu and clicking through to accessories or window accessories and system tools.

When was your last Windows update? Have you checked your plugins and basic applications have been updated recently? Many PCs and laptops do this automatically however you can check for updates in PC settings in the Updates and Security tab.

Did you know web browers such as Google and Bing use a browser cache to improve performance of frequently accessed webpages. When you visit a webpage, the requested files are stored in your computing storage in the browser’s cache. These can build up and prevent your laptop or PC using it’s RAM effectively. You can clear your Cache by opening up the web browser you use i.e. Google, going in to settings in the top right hand corner (three dots) clicking on Settings, Advanced and scroll down to Clear browsing data, here you can clear your cookies, cache and browsing history.

In 2019 we are demanding more from our technology, gone are the days of slow dial-up internet and waiting for pages to load, we want our PC or laptop experience to be instantaneous and fluid, especially when we use it for business.

Talk to us to discuss how we can improve your business IT, with super-slick hardware and quick IT support.

IT audits for free !

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How Investing in the Right Technology can make the difference to your business

Technology changes every day, whether it’s a completely new innovation or improving or updating the equipment we use currently.

Technology companies around the world work tirelessly to compete and to improve on what they can offer businesses, both large and small to help drive growth and productivity.

Investing in the right technology now can help with your commercial success in the long and short term. Whatever industry you operate in, businesses can succeed or fail based on their technology strategies and subsequent investment.

A new generation of technology businesses such as Apple, Google and Amazon turned the business world on its head in a very short space of time and now dominate their retrospective markets due to their technological developments and application thereof. They changed how other businesses work and doomed others without the right technology and IT infrastructure to fail overnight.

We understand that planning your IT requirements for the longer term can be difficult and daunting, given the speed with which technology is advancing. However by looking ahead, expecting change and being able to adapt when required helps you to ensure your business is as technologically future-proof as any business can be.

Laying the technology foundations for your business now gives you the ability to develop your plans or pivot when you need to.

Plan your IT Strategically

All planning needs to begin with a review and an audit, to assess and look at where your business IT is now and where it needs to be.

You need to look at what technology you currently use, the advantages/disadvantages and how it can be improved upon.

The next step is looking at where you want your business to be in a year, two years or 10 years, what you are looking to achieve and what the specific targets of the business are.

We can’t guess what technology you’ll need in 10 years, but we can help you attain your business goals by suggesting and supplying the right technology, whether it’s hardware, software or online applications that will facilitate the business growth you are looking for.

Our IT audit covers :

  • Data Backup
  • Cyber Security
  • Anti Virus
  • Best Practices
  • Network Services
  • Server performance
  • Computer performance

Your IT strategy is just as important as your business plan

Putting technology at the heart of your business strategy allows you to plan, fosters growth and development and increases productivity in your business.

Remaining with older out-dated and unsupported IT systems, hardware and software puts your business at risk and with the continuous technological development will need to be updated at some point.

The earlier you plan and adapt for technological change, the better the advantage over competitors and stronger your business will be going forward.

Your business plan and IT strategy are intrinsically linked and should be integral to one another. In this technological age no business can afford to be complacent and any improvements to business operations and productivity can save a company thousands of pounds.

To find out more about planning your business’s technological future and a free IT audit contact us on 01626 360011.

 

Is Your Business At Risk of Being Hacked?

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The Wannacry cyber attack targeted the NHS in 2017, it shut down hundreds of thousands of computers, affected 1/3 of Hospital Trusts and 8% of GP Practices in the UK.

The cyber attack came from no-where, infiltrating NHS systems, with 200,000 locked out of their computer and ransom messages appearing on screen demanding Bitcoin payments to release their data.

It cost the NHS £92 million in total, £72 million of which was used to ‘cleanup’ and upgrade their IT infrastructure and systems after it had happened, but could this have been prevented?

How did it happen?

WannaCry, a hard-drive encrypting malware, exploited a vulnerability in the Microsoft XP operating system which is no longer supported but still has a whopping 4.59% market share. A patch had been released that year in March, however it is user dependant to ensure updates and patches are applied to each computer. Are your computers patched up to date ?

It was speculated that the WannaCry malware was spread via an email campaign (phishing) however, it was found, this wasn’t the case. Using a leaked NSA hacking tool, Wannacry looked for vulnerable public-facing SMB ports it could establish a connection to.

Once it had found a way in, it could then apply itself to that machine and any other vulnerable machines on the connected network. It took just one computer which led to a whole network being infected with the ransom ware.

The NHS had clarified, after the attack that no patient information had been stolen; the Wannacry malware instead encrypted all documents, photos, videos and databases on each infected PC/laptop. Staff had to return to a pen and paper operation, using their personal mobile phones to carry on working.

It is estimated that 1% of the entire NHS workforce was disrupted over the course of that week.

What were the consequences?

In this situation more than 19,000 appointments had to be cancelled, costing the NHS £20m.

In another case, the Hilton Hotel group were fined £525k for risking 363,000 accounts in two credit card data breaches when they were hacked in a similar style which could have been avoided if goog IT practice was in place.

Is a data breach really likely in my business?

Over 4 in 10 businesses (43%) in the UK have had a data breach within the last 12 months (UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Cyber Security Survey 2018)

It is estimated that only 3 in 10 businesses currently have a formal cyber security policy in place.

Why invest in cyber security?

Scammers work around the clock, sending emails and creating viruses to infiltrate IT infrastructure of companies like yours. Did you know if your customer data is harvested through a hack you can and held liable and fined ?

Viruses, Trojans, malware and ransomware can cause downtime to your business. If your files on your PC were encrypted and you could not access them what would you do?

Prevention is always better than the cure and with hacking on the increase it’s time to get your IT up to scratch to ensure you’re not vulnerable.

Things you can do to prevent a data breach

  1. Backup your data regularly, with regular off-site automated backups
  2. Deploy strong passwords, using a password generator if necessary
  3. Train your employees in safe working practice when online
  4. Encrypt your data
  5. Invest in the latest technology now rather than take the risk

At Myriad Digital we offer entire solutions, from secure offsite backups, to Award-winning antivirus software, encryption programs and contingency planning so that you are covered should anything go wrong. Why not call us to arrange a meeting about keeping your business secure. Tel. 01626 360011

Remember Windows 7 will not be supported beyond February 2020 – so why not look at replacement options for your older computers and consider our leasing packages to make thing affordable.

Is it time to move your business to the cloud ?

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Embracing The Cloud

Amazon, Google Drive, Drop Box all offer cloud storage solutions and as the amount of UK businesses now using cloud computing continues to grow, have you considered how moving to the cloud could help your business?

Before the cloud, finding the right software and applications for any business was often difficult and potentially costly without any guaranteed results. Many business programs or software would offer a one-size fits all approach without considering the business type, size or industry that your company was in.

Once chosen, the software would require the right IT infrastructure to support the installation and configuration, regular testing and updating to ensure it could be used smoothly by all users.
This was a challenge to small and large companies alike; even those with their own in-house IT often struggled to find and implement the right software successfully.
With the introduction of cloud computing it has eliminated these risks, reducing the costs, making it easier to use on any platform and removing the need for on-going maintenance and updates in house. With online software such as Office 365 you only pay for what you need and use as opposed to offline programs that would require the purchase of the whole package, with many applications going unused.

Up-scaling and downscaling in the cloud is also a lot easier, with upgrade options available the very same day, which means your business continues to operate without any IT restrictions. Apps can be customised to suit your employees, whether they are working from home, the train or even on holiday, everything is available at their fingertips, quickly and securely.
The cloud can be accessed by PCs, laptops, tablet devices as well as smartphones and as more employees are now working with mobile devices, moving to the cloud could provide the flexibility your business requires.

We work with businesses that are permanently online, removing the need for a ‘traditional’ office and the costs that this can incur. The world is on the move and keeping your business just as adaptable can be a strong advantage over competitors.

Moving to the Cloud

Changing any business’s IT infrastructure and systems can seem daunting and without experiencing the cloud for yourself it can be difficult to see the true advantages and reasons to make the switch. This is where we are here to help, we offer advice tailored specifically to your business, from its size through to the industry, we can help find the right Cloud solution for your business.
Moving to the cloud can remove the requirement for daily backups and updates, reduce your operational expenses and make working life a lot easier and simpler, with one-click user logins you can access all of your files on the move wherever you are, making your business mobile and operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without the need to have an onsite team based in an office.
Installation is quick and can even be undertaken remotely by one of our technicians to minimise any office disruption.

Our Cloud Package
At Myriad Digital, we understand that internet and data security is paramount to any business, this is why we only use cloud solutions provided by the most respectable providers in the industry.

Please click below to see what we have to offer and call us if you are considering moving to the cloud
G Suite
Office 365
AWS or Amazon Web Services

We also offer a full range of IT services, support and maintenance. This means whether you need a helping hand onsite or some remote assistance to help with any queries, our team are here for you and your business whenever you need us.

Looking to replace your laptop computer ?

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Choosing the right laptop for you and your business

There are many brands, hundreds of models, so when it comes to selecting the right laptop for your business and employees it can be difficult to know what you need from the machine itself its operating system.

There are three main components to look at in any laptop

  • Power
  • Performance
  • Portability

Laptops available on the high street may appear tempting with special offers or bundled options, however nearly all models in retail stores will be suited and designed for simple home use, i.e. browsing on the web, doing homework etc; or created for gamers, with expensive graphics cards and added RAM for speed and effective visual output when gaming.

The cheaper the laptop the more basic it will be with a lack of ability to join it to a domain, run business software or multi-task with various windows/tabs open at the same time.  Cheaper laptop deals often also feature older generation CPUs (more about this later).

Laptop power & performance

When looking at any laptop consider the size and speed of the hard drive, the RAM, CPU and screen size.

These four components will make up the performance of the machine and generally the bigger the specification, the faster and smoother the computer will be to use.

Let’s break them down and explain the components.

The hard drive stores your information, documents, files etc. The larger the hard drive, the more you can store. The smaller the hard drive the less storage available and as it is used, the laptop may slow down and you may experience ‘freezing’ whilst accessing applications or files.

Anyone in a creative industry, working with larger files types such as videos or high-resolution graphics will require larger hard drives.

Measured in Gigabytes and Terabytes, the minimum specification for an office environment is 1TB however for maximum performance on any machine an SSD (Solid State Drive) may be worth investing in, although it can be costly, it can provide long-term effective performance.

The RAM manages the smooth running of tasks. A good average RAM for any office environment is 8GB – 16GB, however advanced graphics and web design will require a RAM of 32GB and above.

The Central Processing Unit or CPU has three elements to look at, the generation i.e. i5 (5th Gen), the number of cores (dual-core, quad-core), and the speed of each core.  Dual-core should be the bare minimum used for an office laptop.

The generation is very important, a 1.9GHz CPU from three years ago will not perform as well as a 1.9GHz CPU built today. Newer chips are more efficient and less power-hungry, meaning the laptops are a lighter weight with a much longer battery life.

When looking at which screen size to opt for, consider the battery life and quality of screen required. Size does not equal quality, you will need to look at individual screen resolutions from the laptop specifications.  The finish is also important for some users and comes in matt or gloss which tends to reflect more making the screen harsher on the eyes.

The more creative your business i.e. if you work with images or videos the better quality screen you will require therefore opt for a higher resolution screen.

An average laptop screen may be 1366 x 768p, through to a decent screen of1920 x 1080p, some offer Full HD.

The larger the two numbers on the spec, the clearer the laptop screen image will be.

Laptop portability

Portability will depend on the size, the weight and the battery life.

Laptops can range from 10.1” through to 17”, with ultra-thin laptops weighing from 1kg with larger bulkier models weighing sometimes four times as heavy at 4kg.

If you or your employees are going to travel with a laptop daily or frequently, a lighter laptop is the best option.

Laptops with the biggest screens are great when working however the larger the laptop the more battery power required for it to operate, therefore always check the average battery life before making a purchase and read reviews from other users of the machine to see if the manufacturers claims of battery life are true to their word. Charging points in public places i.e. on trains and at airports are more common these days, however the longer the battery life, the better.

Let us help you find the right laptop

At Myriad, we’ve assisted many businesses and charities finding the right laptop, from an initial chat, discussing what you require we can provide competitive quotes and offer commissioning, data trasnfer and joining to your domian so that it’s ready to go when you receive. If you are in the market for a newmodel then please dont hesitate to contact us and we’ll see what the best current deals are then select something that suits your criteria

 

Top tips to protecting your computers against ransomware

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Here’s a list of the most important things you need to reduce the risk of being hit by ransomware – of course if you feel you need more advice or a system audit then please call us and we’ll pop round !

Simple steps to prevent ransomware attacks:

1 BACKUP REGULARLY – Please note that many conventional backup methods may be compromised.

2 PATCH YOUR SYSTEMS – Keep your software up to date

3 EDUCATE YOUR STAFF – This goes a long way to avoiding the problems

4 PROTECT YOUR NETWORK – Get the right anti virus solutions in place

5 SEGMENT YOUR NETWORK – keep your critical apps and data isolated

6 SECURE YOUR ENDPOINTS – including all smart phones !

7 – PROTECT ANDROID DEVICES – including tablets

8 – QUARANTINE ROGUE FILES – Consider sandboxing to filter the good from the bad

At myriad digital we have extensive experience of implementing system security that works, so if you want help with any of the above aspects or you would like us to test your infrastructure then please call us to arrange a visit

Managed Wi-Fi Solutions

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Our managed Wi-Fi solutions allow you to offer secure internal and guest Wi-Fi access with full control of accessibility across all devices.

We implement Wi-Fi policies that allow you to provide the right level of access to both in-house and public Wi-Fi users providing appropriate connection protocols for staff, contractors and public hotspots.

The Wi-Fi hardware that we deploy provides a number of key advantages over other Wi-Fi solutions including:

  • Rapid Deployment
  • Scalability for Thousands
  • Long Range Performance (up to 600ft)
  • Simultaneous Dual-Band Wi-Fi
  • Advanced Software Features

Are you ready for GDPR May 2018 ?

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Get ready for GDPR

With major advances in IT occurring rapidly and consistently for many years there have been changes also to the ways in which individuals and organizations communicate and share information.

It is for this reason that the EU have deemed it necessary to review all of the legal codes in EU states and yes that means us irrespective of Brexit.

Many core concepts existing under the current EU data protection regime (Data Protection Directiveor DPD introduced in 1995) will remain broadly similar, however many will change and these have to be in place by May 2018 and these changes present new compliance challenges for businesses.

This is where we can help. View the GDPR_white_paper here or call us to book a review of your policies so you can be compliant come the big day in May.

View our Privacy Notice here

Spitfire Business Internet & Telecomms

Myriad engages with a Spitfire

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Having looked for a new comms partner for some time Myriad finally partner up with Spitfire – Winners of Best Hosted Platform and 2nd Place Highly Commended Best ISP awards.

With a tad over 25 years experience in providing business internet and telecoms services, Spitfire proved to be unbeatable when it came to partnership opportunities. With an emphasis on customer service, Spitfire deliver innovative, award-winning solutions that come with significant cost savings.

So off we went to London to meet the team and attend some product training to allow us to resell a wide range of connectivity solutions to you our valuable clients. From leased lines and VOIP to plain old broadband we can now confidently provide rugged solutions backed up by top customer service – just as you like it !

With over 100 staff and a turnover of £20m + Spitfire have traded since 1988 and were one of the first providers of business broadband in the UK plus one of the first Telecoms companies to be involved in Wholesale Line Rental when it was launched as a trial by BT Wholesale in 2001. So we feel fairly priveleged to be on board with a top notch provider.

So when you are considering upgrading your telephone system, broadband, switching to VOIP or need the benefits of faster broadband you can consult us – your trusty partners.

Do you need premium web hosting ?

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Meeting expectation when it comes to UX is an incredibly important and fundamental part of your web armour. UX is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and the web site in this instance. If you don’t get this right then your visitor numbers will dwindle and the chances of success are undermined.

One simple aspect of getting this right is the speed of your site and the load time of pages. Although there are several factors that can affect this performance, the first and most important consideration is the specification of the hosting server and the hosting environment. In order to address this we have invested heaviliy in speccing out and commissioning a new web server that really rocks. Not only is the server superfast but the Internet backbone it sits on is also lightening fast thanks to recent deployment of new fibre equipment.

Good web hosting is important to all organisations. If you run an e-commerce store then this becomes even more important and pretty much mission critical to your business. If the store goes down or is slow to load pages then sure as day turns to night your sales will suffer aswell as your brand image.  So what other factors determine the UX ? theres a great list here if items that are often thought of a critical – but maybe not ? UX MYTHS