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Press Start Ltd Blog

Press Start Ltd has been serving the East Anglia area since 1996, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Why You Would Want to Consider Hosted VoIP Telephony

Why You Would Want to Consider Hosted VoIP Telephony

Today, communications are an important part of business and with nearly every organisation looking to reduce redundancies, a lot of businesses are starting to take advantage of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions, using the resources they already have in place to avoid paying twice over.

With today’s ISPs delivering faster and faster speeds to businesses, much of the bandwidth a business uses is lost. By choosing to utilise a VoIP telephony solution, your company gets more for less. You are paying for access to massive amounts of bandwidth anyway, why not cut your communications costs while you are at it? Today we will take a look at the various types of VoIP that are available and why the switch may be just the thing your organisation needs.

What is VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol is just that. The ability to make calls and have a feature-rich platform that provides all the services that your traditional phone system offers, for a fraction of the cost per user. If this seems too good to be true, consider that the VoIP market is growing rapidly (over 15 percent per year). It works through your organisation’s Internet connection rather than through dedicated phone lines. So, instead of having to pay for a separate system or add expensive hardware, VoIP provides an organisation the immediate cost reduction without a discernible shift in functionality.

Hosted VoIP technology can be hosted either onsite or in the cloud, but since you won’t have to pay for and maintain hardware with the cloud-based platform, the cloud-hosted version will save you money. It is still a completely managed and maintained PBX server, but instead of having the system in your office, your organisation can access it through web-based applications typically available on both desktops and mobile devices.

Benefits of VoIP
We’ve already outlined the cost reduction that’s possible with VoIP, but there are some other benefits as well. They include:

  • Easier to Manage: If anything else, switching to VoIP eliminates a vendor that you have to manage. More than that though, VoIP doesn’t need special hardware, it can use the same wiring and switches as your LAN.
  • Unified Communications: Installing a VoIP platform likely means that you are able to unify your organisation’s communications platform, giving your staff the option to communicate multiple ways at the click of a button.
  • Functionality: A VoIP platform can integrate with all types of business-management software to provide easy access to the communication capabilities that often make business run better. VoIP also has innovative features like Voicemail-to-email transcription, interactive voice recognition, and integrated chat.
  • Scalability: When you need another user, it’s as simple as adding a line to your VoIP plan.

VoIP makes a lot of sense for the growing business and the established enterprise, alike. If you would like more information, contact our professional consultants today at 01638 603204.

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Know Your Tech: Cache

Know Your Tech: Cache

If you hang out around technology professionals for any period of time, chances are that you’ve heard the word “cache” used before. The word, pronounced cash, is usually heard in the phrase, “clear the cache,” but if you don’t know what this phrase means, how can you benefit from it? Since this week’s tech term is “cache,” let’s get into the details.

What is a Cache?
Most words used in computing have meanings outside technology, so it’s natural that cache has appeared elsewhere in language before now. A cache is essentially storage that is hidden away from the general public. Maybe you have a stash of goodies in your desk that are meant for “emergencies,” or perhaps you have a cache of pens hidden away because people keep stealing them from you. Either way, it’s a collection of something that you want to keep out of sight and it has its uses for computing as well.

A cache can also be a hardware or software function that keeps data stored somewhere hidden away for faster processing in the future. This can be anything from a cache allowing your network’s data to travel faster from point A to point B, to a web browser storing information from certain web pages so that they are loaded faster than they otherwise would be. Simply put, the cache makes computing easier and more efficient, or at least, it’s meant to.

So What Does “Clear the Cache” Mean?
Clearing the cache in a web browser is easy. All it takes is the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+F5. What this does for your device is that it allows the website to update any information that it has stored in the cache. This includes cookies and other website data that it may have stored. How this comes into play is when a website is updated and its appearance needs to be updated in the cache. If you fail to clear it, you might not be looking at the most up-to-date version of the website. Caches are most effective when they are small, so it helps to clear it once in a while to keep it that way.

Before clearing a network cache, however, you’ll want to first make sure that any drastic changes are handled by a networking professional. Press Start Ltd would be happy to further explain the process of caching and what it means for your business. To learn more, call us on 01638 603204.

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New member to our Technical Team – Lee

We would like to welcome a new member to our Technical Team: Lee

Lee has been working in IT Support for 12 years. He has a lot of IT qualifications under his belt but just to name a few, IT Practitioner Level 2 and 3, CompTIA A+ and Network +.

Lee will be working alongside Niklas and Connor on the Service Desk being our 1st Line Service Desk Engineer.

Outside of work Lee loves watching and playing sports, he is currently training in boxing and football. Lee has only just got back in football after discovering girls and finding out how much time they take up on the weekends (well we all have to keep the Girlfriend/wife happy). In the past when Lee played football he was always the fastest on the pitch, so he decided to train to become a sprinter. During the training he reached a high level in Track & Field over 100m and 200m. He was lucky enough to be trained by one of the best sprint coaches in Europe, as well as the fastest people in the UK. He was even luckier to be able to frequently go to training camps in Florida where he trained and raced with some of the fastest men in the world like Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin (we won’t mention that Lee sometimes lost the race). Lee’s other interests are going to the gym, listening to big varieties of music and watch comedies.

We hope you will join us all in giving Lee a warm welcome to the team.

 Lee.jpg

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Save the Date: Microsoft Products End of Life

Save the Date: Microsoft Products End of Life

There are one of two reactions every person gets when they get a save-the-date card in the mail. They either are excited for an event or they realise that the event is going to cost them money. For today’s blog, we give you our version of save the date as some of the most widely used Microsoft products in recent memory are coming up on their end of support date, for some businesses, this save-the-date might be bad news.

We know that unsupported software can be a complete nightmare. This is especially true if the unsupported software is a critical component of your company’s computing infrastructure. Microsoft has announced that they will be officially ending support for two major operating systems, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7, on January 14, 2020. Both pieces of software are currently in their extended support periods, meaning that people can pay Microsoft to support the software, but after January 2020, neither piece of software will have any type of support available.

Windows 7
In 2016, all Windows 7 users were given the option to upgrade away from the OS to Microsoft’s newest OS, Windows 10. Users that didn’t take advantage of that offer have since had to pay for it, but if you haven’t upgraded away from Windows 7 by now, you are probably paying for support or not receiving any, both of which are not advantageous. By upgrading today, you will get ahead of what could be a major problem down the road. Waiting until the last minute to implement new versions of the OS is not recommended, since upgrading sometimes comes with hidden problems and legacy software issues that could put your whole organisation at risk.

Windows Server 2008 R2
In what will be a larger problem for businesses, support for the already extended Windows Server 2008 R2 is definitely going away. For the last four years, Microsoft has insisted that anyone using Windows server 2008 R2 needs to upgrade, but since it kept offering extended support, businesses kept on using it. Well, Microsoft has announced the end is near for the decade-old server OS.

Newer versions of Windows Server have a lot of new options, especially in the arena of virtual environments. So while it is possible to swap out Server 2008 R2 for another Windows Server OS, the best course of action will be to scrap the old server altogether and upgrade to new infrastructure. Since there are substantial costs that go along with changing servers, companies still using the old software will want to do their best to start upgrading immediately.

At Press Start Ltd, we can help any-sized business get upgraded, while finding you innovative options to reduce the capital costs of doing so. To find out more, contact us at 01638 603204.

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How to Properly Assess Your Technology Needs

How to Properly Assess Your Technology Needs

Nothing lasts forever, especially not the technology that a business relies on to function. Between typical wear and tear and the always-improving trajectory that the technology industry follows, you will likely need to actively evaluate your needs and what you resultantly need to obtain. Today, we’ll walk you through how this technology assessment should be shaped.

What Should your Assessment Focus On?
As you go about evaluating your technology, you need to consider how it has (and is projected to) affect your business. Looking to the past, anticipating the future and being aware of the present where your technology is concerned will allow you to make better choices as you move forward.

The Past
For example, take the lesson that philosopher George Santayana coined: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This is more or less a fancier way of saying that, if someone never learns from the mistakes they’ve made before, they’re going to keep making the same mistakes. This is why your technology assessment needs to consider the decisions you have made and if the results were as you expected.

Were your investments into certain solutions ultimately worth it? Did that new process you implemented see any success, or was it even actually adopted by your workforce? Looking at your past decisions and their outcomes will help you make more informed decisions with a better chance of benefiting your company.

The Present
Of course, there will be other signs of issues around you at any time, so it is equally important to evaluate your technology’s efficacy in the given moment. Are your employees able to use the tools at their disposal to properly and successfully do their jobs? If not, what is the root cause of their difficulties? Where do they see the solutions just being insufficient or problematic?

This insight will allow you to re-evaluate if your investments are getting as much mileage as they need to be and therefore will give you a better idea of how your business’ needs should be prioritised moving forward.

The Future
Speaking of moving forward, you need to do something with all the insights you’ve collected from your analysis of the past and present. Making informed decisions based on what you anticipate the future to hold in technological innovations will allow you to centre your solutions around your anticipated needs. While this isn’t an exact science, it is better to at least try to predict an outcome than it is to be blindsided by something you could have seen coming.

Benefits of a Technology Assessment
Running a comprehensive assessment of the technology that you leverage in your business’ operations can provide you with various advantages that you might not have access to otherwise. First of all, an assessment is an excellent way to identify any problems your technology may be suffering, as well as to zero in on your business’ needs, as was discussed above. As a result, a technology assessment also serves as an excellent means of narrowing down possible solutions to these deficits. This enables you to select the solutions that are right for you, reducing the costs incurred by deploying solutions that aren’t a good fit.

How Technology Should Be Assessed
Just as trying to sweep a mess out of a carpet is much less effective than using a vacuum cleaner, just giving your needs a quick once-over before making a change or electing not to will not provide your business with any benefits.

Instead, try a more in-depth method to maximise your returns.

  • Study Workflows - Are your employees encountering problems in their workflow? Ask them what improvements would be welcome and compare their suggestions with the growth plan you have projected for your future. Will their suggestions be compatible with the growth plan you’ve established?
  • Analyse Technology in Place - Working again with your employees, establish what strengths and (more importantly) weaknesses your current solutions exhibit that could influence your workflow. A comprehensive understanding of your business technology will help with the next step.
  • Explore Alternative Approaches - Before you charge ahead and take a chunk out of your finances, take the time to brainstorm other resolutions to your IT concerns and deficits. If a slight tweak to the process can resolve the problem, or more effectively using the solutions you have on hand is all it will take to fix it, wouldn’t you say that’s a better option than making huge, expensive changes?
  • Take Stock of Your Resources - If it happens that you do need a new system or solution, it helps to know what you have going in and have your priorities lined up. If a new solution is too expensive, or your team is resistant to change, blindly implementing it all at once could open you up to problems.

Once these steps are completed, you should be much more prepared to make a decision concerning your technology. Need some more help? Press Start Ltd is here with the expertise to assist you in assessing your IT. Give us a call on 01638 603204 for more information.

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Today, communications are an important part of business and with nearly every organisation looking to reduce redundancies, a lot of businesses are starting to take advantage of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions, using the resources they already have in place to a...

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Press Start Ltd launches new website!

Press Start Ltd is proud to announce the launch of our new website at www.pressstart.co.uk. The goal of the new website is to make it easier for our existing clients to submit and manage support requests, and provide more information about our services for prospective clients.

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