Critical Characteristics You Should Demand From Your Computer Consultant
  1. If you are a small business owner looking for computer support then it's critical that you get and read this small business advisory: Consumer Awareness Guide To Choosing An Honest, Reliable, and Competent Computer Repair Technician


  • Audit a Facebook profile in 3 easy steps

    Apr 01, 2013
    In January, Facebook introduced a new feature - Graph Search - that makes searching for people based on their likes, photos, comments, etc. easier. While this will make the network even more social, it could also expose you to unwanted attention. This is why, before this rolls out to all Facebook accounts, you should perform an account audit.

    There are three main parts to this audit, which will ensure that your personal profile is ready for Graph Search. Bear in mind that this is for your personal account, not your business Facebook Page. This audit is ideal if you would like a more professional looking profile.

    Step 1. Check who can search for you

    The whole idea of Facebook is to be social, however you may not want to be found by every man and his dog on this platform. You can check who can search for your profile by:

    1. Clicking the Lock icon in the top-right hand side of the screen.
    2. Selecting Who can contact me?
    3. Looking at Who can send me friend requests? By default it is set to Everyone, but you can change this by pressing the downward facing blue arrow.
    4. Looking at Whose messages do I want filtered into my inbox?

    Step 2. Check your Activity Log

    The Activity Log is essentially a journal for Facebook. It covers everything you have done on Facebook, and provides you with a quick way to edit your profile. You can access it by:

    1. Clicking on the Lock icon in the top-right hand side of the screen.
    2. Selecting Who can see my stuff?
    3. Click on Use Activity Log.

    Depending on how active you are on Facebook, it could take a bit of time to look through your activities. If you see something you don't like, or would like to change, press the pencil at the right-hand side of the activity. This will allow you to edit the post, remove it from your timeline or delete it. Note, that if you remove it from your timeline, the information won't be deleted.

    If you press the Lock icon you can change who can see the post/activity on your timeline too. It would be a good idea to look through your whole timeline and ensure that any unprofessional comments, links, likes, etc. are either deleted or removed from your timeline. It wouldn't be a good idea to make your profile completely private however, so ensure some posts - maybe ones related to your business, hobbies, interests, etc. - are still visible.

    Step 3. Check who can see future posts

    Facebook has included an option that allows you to set who can see future posts on your timeline. This will lessen the need for a future account audit. You can set this by:

    1. Clicking on the Lock icon in the top-right hand side of the screen.
    2. Selecting Who can see my stuff?
    3. Pressing the downward facing blue arrow under Who can see my future posts? and setting it to the desired level of security.

    In order to ensure your profile is optimized for Graph Search, carrying out this audit would be a great idea. As we stated above, you don't have to make everything private, after all, this is a social network. Just make sure that anything that is unbecoming of the professional you are is removed or hidden from prying eyes. If you would like a little help ensuring both you and your business are ready for the next big Facebook feature, contact us today.

    Published with permission from Source.

  • Reasons to outsource your IT department

    Apr 01, 2013
    When it comes to running a small to medium business, you are likely operating on razor-thin margins and are constantly looking for ways to optimize business functions or save money. Many managers and business owners prefer to take on these tasks in-house, as they feel that they are better able to control the outcomes. When it comes to IT though, many business owners lack the time and knowledge needed to focus on tech, making it the perfect candidate for outsourcing.

    Outsourcing IT is a bit different than the usual outsourcing you get in factories, or support services. Instead of going overseas, you can partner with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) such as The Digital Architects (TDA). MSPs provide comprehensive IT management services which usually cover everything tech related.

    Working with an MSP often has a direct impact on your bottom line, and can help make your company even more successful than it already is, or at least increase profits to get you there. However, there are many more reasons companies outsource. Below are our Top Reasons:

    Reasons why you should outsource IT

        1. Increased control of operational costs - Most MSPs group their services together into monthly plans, meaning you have one cost associated with the IT department. Overhead expenses such as staffing, overtime hours, and operational costs, as well as software licenses, etc., are all included in a flat monthly fee. This makes it easier for you to control IT related costs, while also saving money.

        2. Most MSPs group their services together into monthly plans, meaning you have one cost associated with the IT department. Overhead expenses such as staffing, overtime hours, and operational costs, as well as software licenses, etc., are all included in a flat monthly fee. This makes it easier for you to control IT related costs, while also saving money. Technology is great and a necessity of running most modern businesses but it does break and become either worn out or outdated. Seemingly endless tech issues can take your focus away from key business functions. MSPs take care of all this, allowing you to re-focus your efforts and energies into running your business.

        3. IT functions are beyond current abilities -  If you are like most small to medium companies, you have a few staff who are designated as computer experts, even though that may not be their main role or responsibility. Or it could be the case that you and your colleagues simply lack the knowledge and experience required to run increasingly complex technical systems. The employees at MSPs eat, sleep and breathe tech, and can provide enterprise level IT support and knowledge.

        4. Reduced risk from IT failure - Technical systems are built to be robust. However, they aren't perfect and will eventually fail. This could mean lengthy downtime, increased costs and lost data. Managed Service Providers reduce this risk by actively monitoring your systems and offering back-up services which will reduce productivity loss and lost business.

    3 things you can expect from an MSP
    There are a wide variety of MSPs, serving many industries, but there are three things you should expect from any MSP.

        1. Flexibility -
    IT companies have access to a wide variety of vendors, tech and resources. This means they should be able to develop scalable solutions that meet your companies needs as you grow.

        2. Product experts - The main business objective of an MSP is to provide IT services.To do this they need employees who know their stuff. To get the best, most hire staff with specific qualifications and certifications and experience with the systems offered.

        3. Long-run cost savings - In the short-term it is entirely plausible that internal staff are cheaper than a monthly MSP. Factor in the cost of purchasing technology, maintaining it, plus the cost of recovery, and the cost of retaining an internal IT team will skyrocket. Most companies you outsource to offer a flat rate monthly fee, and will be able to maintain your systems longer. This means lower replacement costs and increased uptime, which in the long run make outsourcing a viable, cost-efficient option.

    If you are tired of IT problems and cost overruns, contact us today.  We are a professional Managed Service Provider with custom solutions available to meet all budget and service needs.

    Published with permission from Source.

  • Is working from home more productive?

    Apr 01, 2013

    Advancements to technology have brought about many benefits that employers can offer their employees. One of the commonly requested is the ability to work from home. Once the domain of a select few, remote working has started to become the norm in many industries, especially in tech. Is it all it's cracked up to be? One big tech company doesn't think so.

    In late February, an internal memo from Yahoo was leaked. The memo contained a statement indicating that all remote and telecommuting employees will lose their jobs if they continue to work from home after June 2013. To many in the tech industry, and indeed others who work successfully with remote employees, this might seem like a giant step backwards. There has been a fair amount of backlash on this decision from news outlets, tech experts and employees alike, especially since working from home has proven to increase productivity among certain employees.

    According to the memo, "To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices." The two key points here are 'collaboration' and 'communication'. If these are both executed successfully, you have generally productive employees and increased profits.

    On the other hand, technology is at a point where employees can log in to their work systems from anywhere. Combine this with video conferencing and cloud solutions such as Google Drive and Microsoft Office 365, which allow real-time collaboration, face-time in an office could be seen as somewhat of a redundant idea. If remote working is executed efficiently, you might save money, see productivity increase more than it might in a physically present team, and profits potentially rise too.

    It's certainly an interesting debate. Does physical face-time or telecommuting equal greater productivity? What we can say, is that it depends on the company and the industry to a large extent. Obviously, restaurants couldn't operate using remote employees. But, if your business can support it, this may be a viable way to boost productivity, keep employees happy and cut expensive overhead costs such as rents for office premises.

    We'd like to hear that you think. Would you rather work from home, or do you benefit from the structure and face-to-face dealings in an office? Where and when are you most productive? Let us know what your opinion is.

    Published with permission from Source.

  • Secure your online information

    Apr 01, 2013
    A large portion of our daily lives is now spent online. We are usually connected at work and when we go home will probably sit in front off the TV while browsing on our phone or laptops. Pause for a minute and think about all the different websites you have accounts with. If you're like most people, the vast majority of these sites have your private information, which you freely give. Do you take steps to protect this information? If not then it may be time you did.

    Here's three things you can do to help secure your personal data shared online.

    1. Realize your online actions are risky
    Read any tech related blog, or even syndicated news articles and it's not hard to see that identity theft and cybercrime in general is not only serious, but on the rise. Let's face it, our online actions are risky. As with any plan, the first step is realizing that there is a problem that needs to be fixed. Then, educate yourself about online security, what steps you should take and exactly what it is.

    For example, here's a great article written in the middle of February about how different age groups react to Facebook changes, and if they take steps to minimize who can view their personal data. It's kind of interesting to see that the younger generations take more steps to secure their profiles than their parents, yet you still see people with reputation damaging pictures that can be viewed by anyone.

    2. Take matters into your own hands
    Many people already know their personal information online is at risk, but there are further things you should do to minimize any dangers:

    Don't rely on websites to keep you secure - Websites like Facebook are companies. They exist to make money. How do they do it? Often by selling information you have given them access to. That's not saying site owners don't look out for their customers' best interests - many do. What you need to do though is look at all the sites you have accounts with and ensure your information is secure to the level you are happy with.

    Provide the least amount of information possible -
    Think about the last time you joined a social network, or mailing list. You likely were asked to provide your name, address, birthday, etc. Did you know that you don't have to provide all the information requested? Most sites only require your name and birthday, the rest is optional - usually used to provide better service or targeted ads. Many sites will put an asterisk beside required information to let you know that you have to supply this.

    Think twice before signing up - It's a good idea when signing up for a new account to think twice. Do you really need this account? Or can you get by without it?

    Use separate email accounts and passwords -
    Setting up different email accounts is a good idea. One should be for personal use, so the address is given only to people you know. Another could be for all of your online accounts, with a final one strictly for password recovery. It would be best to make the addresses as different as possible. Beyond that you should have separate passwords for each account and every service. This will limit hackers from being able to gain access to multiple accounts.

    Secure your browsing -
    Almost every website that asks users to sign up for accounts offers a secure version of the site. Enter https://www. before the site address, e.g., https is a secure communications protocol that ensures one is communicating directly with the website - you're actually looking at Facebook, not a phishing site designed to steal passwords.

    3. Encourage others to think It's not enough to just take action yourself. Encouraging colleagues, friends and family to also take steps to protect their online information and identities, is worthwhile. There are many great ways to help spread the word about safety, including the National Cyber Security website, which has information on Internet related security. Check it out, and share it! If you would like to learn about how we can help you keep your information and data safe online, please contact us today for a comprehensive solution!

    Published with permission from Source.

  • 2 ways to get files off or onto iPhone

    Apr 01, 2013
    The iPhone, arguably the most popular smartphone, is touted to be a simple device. While for the most part it is, there is one function that isn't. Transferring files from your computer to your device can be a lengthy process, usually involving having to connect to iTunes. Luckily, there are ways to speed up the transfer of files while making it easier in the process.

    Here's two great apps that you can use to make the transferring of files to/from your iPhone onto your computer not only quicker but less taxing too.

    This app started out as a way to share contacts with other iPhone users and has since been updated to include transferring files and pictures. A recent update introduced the capability to move files from your computer to your phone and vice versa.

    How this process works is you install Bump on your iPhone, open the app and select a file you would like to transfer. On your computer you can navigate to and then bump (hit) the spacebar with your phone. A new window will open with a preview of the file, giving you the option to download it, or share it.

    If you would like to transfer a file from your PC or Mac to your iPhone, click on Send files to your device on the page and select the files to send. They will be automatically sent to your phone and can be accessed by opening the app.

    The app is free from the website, and works on both Mac and PC. There is a 20 mb per file size limit, so for larger files you would be better off saving them to a cloud storage app.

    If you have a Mac, Instashare is new app that allows you to simply drag and drop files from your computer to transfer them to your iPhone.

    Once you have downloaded the app on both your computer and iPhone, you then find the file on your computer that  you would like to share, drag it to the app icon and let it go. As long as your iPhone is connected to a Wi-Fi network, the file will be transferred in as little as a few seconds. You can also send files from your iPhone through the app, selecting the file and dragging it onto connected computers. Instashare will take care of the rest.

    This app is an easy way to transfer files within the Apple environment while not having to physically connect your device to your computer. It's also free, which could make it an interesting tool for your business. Download it from the website here, or search for it on in the App Store.

    There are many other ways to transfer files from your smartphone to your computer, including using cloud storage. What are your favorite ways? Let us know. Or, if you are looking for a more efficient file sharing solution, contact us today.

    Published with permission from Source.