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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.

Cloud Services Are the Rideshare of Business Computing

Cloud Services Are the Rideshare of Business Computing

When you look at cloud services, it can be easy to wonder how it is so beneficial for businesses. After all, the monthly service charges are attractive, but how do they provide the value outside of cost? To understand how the cloud brings rapid and sustainable ROI, it may help to look at an analogy. 

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How Secure is Your Use of Cloud Solutions?

How Secure is Your Use of Cloud Solutions?

Cloud computing is generally accepted today as a good option for businesses. While we aren’t arguing that this isn’t the case, we wanted to make sure that your cloud use actual or theoretical was sufficiently secure. Many will neglect to consider how secure their use of cloud solutions is, which is something that we’d like to fix.

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Tip of the Week: Making Microsoft OneDrive Work for You

Tip of the Week: Making Microsoft OneDrive Work for You

From its very beginnings, Microsoft has been creating devices and software to help users accomplish their goals. This is one reason why their solutions are so commonly found in businesses. Today, we wanted to focus on just one, OneDrive, and highlight some of its features that any business could find useful.

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Collaboration Tools for SMBs

Collaboration Tools for SMBs

Useful collaboration tools can alter a business significantly by enabling cooperation that is impossible without them. How exactly these tools fit into your business is a whole other matter.  Today, we’re going to talk about how you can integrate some pretty great collaboration tools without turning your business upside down. 

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Determining Your Organisation’s Cloud Needs

Determining Your Organisation’s Cloud Needs

The cloud is one of the most valuable tools available to modern businesses, but the extent to which organisations utilise it will vary depending on their specific needs. For example, some organisations might be fine with the limited control offered by the public cloud, but others might need more dynamic features and control over their data with a private cloud. We’ll help you determine which is right for you, as well as some of the specific considerations needed for a private cloud solution.

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Is Your Cloud Solution Actually a Money Pit?

Is Your Cloud Solution Actually a Money Pit?

The cloud has proven to be an extremely useful tool for the modern business. Not only does it provide anywhere-anytime access to applications, processing, storage, et al; it also delivers those products as a service, allowing you to budget for recurring costs rather than major upfront ones. This provides your organisation with functional, supported, and secure computing environments that eliminate a lot of the support costs that traditional computing environments require. It sounds like a perfect scenario for small and large businesses alike, but things aren’t always what they seem, as a lot of cloud users have found that they have incurred several hidden costs by using cloud platforms. Today, we take a look at these hidden costs.

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Tip of the Week: Cloud Software for File Sharing

Tip of the Week: Cloud Software for File Sharing

Businesses have a lot to gain by personal file storage and sharing, but then again, so does the individual user. After all, even the most ambitious business owner has a personal life and people to share information with. How can you share files with people without leaving them vulnerable to data theft and worse? Here are some options that you can use for your personal file sharing solution.

 While there are a lot of products on the market for this purpose, some of the best are those that can also be utilised for business purposes. Most of these file sharing services take advantage of the cloud so they can be used more readily for collaboration or sharing. Here are some of the most popular storage systems at a consumer level.

Google Drive
Google Drive is an extremely helpful tool that can be used by both businesses and personal users alike. It makes it very easy to share files and collaborate in a cloud-based interface. You can share documents, spreadsheets, images, videos, and just about any other file you want to share with other people. You can control permissions for these files as well, controlling who can do what with it. This includes sharing and editing, among other things.

As far as pricing goes, the average user with a Google account can take advantage of Google Drive free of charge, with the option for increasing storage space for a modest fee.

Microsoft OneDrive
Just like Google Drive, Microsoft’s flagship cloud storage system OneDrive is a great solution that integrates Microsoft Office applications with their OneDrive cloud storage. The neat thing about Microsoft OneDrive is that it can sync with your Microsoft Office to always update files that you might have stored locally on the device you’re accessing it from. Just like Drive, OneDrive can be an excellent tool for both a business and individual user, with many different plans available for both power users and casual users alike.

Ultimately, the choice is yours on how to proceed with a cloud service for your personal needs. Let us know which one you decide on in the comments below.

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Is Cloud Storage Going to Work for Your Business?

Is Cloud Storage Going to Work for Your Business?

Depending on your business’ operations and industry, there’s a solid chance that your company has some sort of investment in cloud storage. Over 85 percent of businesses today use some type of cloud platform, and many of them use a multi-cloud approach to their organisation’s IT. At the centre of this trend is cloud storage. This month, we take a look at the types of cloud storage and how one (or more) of the types can help meet your business’ needs.

The types of cloud storage are:

Public
A public cloud is the most accessible form of cloud storage (and cloud computing) for most individuals and small businesses. It comes equipped tied to productivity, management, and other utility applications and is relatively affordable compared to all other types of computing/storage, coming in at just cents per gigabyte. Whatever gains you get from the public cloud, it typically loses in terms of flexibility and customisation, as many providers charge a flat rate per user or have static service levels that must be adhered to.

Private
Private clouds differ in that the management of the cloud platform is delegated to your business (or to an outsourced provider like Press Start Ltd), which means that if you’re not taking care of it, nobody is. On the other hand, since your business is the one in control, you have freedoms that you wouldn’t have otherwise, including complete and total control over your cloud infrastructure.

Hybrid
A hybrid cloud storage system is one that takes the customisation and flexibility of the private cloud and combines it with the accessibility and ease of use of the public cloud. Since some aspects of your business’ computing need more diligent care than others, hybrid cloud storage melds the cost-effective computing of the public cloud with the more hands-on private cloud to create a computing infrastructure that works the way your businesses needs it to work, while allowing for a pretty significant cost reduction in the places where it’s possible.

The Benefits
The main benefit of cloud computing is always going to be accessibility. You can get access to the files you need from anywhere in real time. Public cloud solutions allow your organization to forgo burning your available capital on the often-enormous upfront hardware costs, while adding the benefit of scalability. You can purchase the storage space you need and scale down and back as needed, but, as mentioned above, with public cloud solutions this benefit may be broken in to static tiers of available space.

The best way to take advantage of this is by working with a managed service provider like Press Start Ltd who can host and manage the cloud on their own infrastructure. To learn more, call us today on 01638 603204.

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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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Can Your Organisation Take Advantage of a Private Cloud?

Can Your Organisation Take Advantage of a Private Cloud?

If your business isn’t already taking advantage of the cloud in some way, you’re in the minority. Most businesses use it for something or another, depending on the industry and service rendered. Yet, there are all kinds of different cloud-based infrastructures that your organisation can take advantage of, which might make the decision somewhat challenging to make. What’s the best type of cloud solution for your business?

You’ll generally be choosing between the public cloud, the private cloud, or some combination of the two. Depending on which you choose, you can expect to reap considerable benefits. Here are some of the details regarding your choices.

Public Cloud
There are certain reasons why a small business might find the public cloud ideal. Most organisations that don’t have a dedicated IT department will see a cloud solution as more additional management and maintenance that they don’t have time for. This is one of the aspects that makes the public cloud so appealing to small businesses with limited time, budgets and workforces. The public cloud removes the responsibility of managing a cloud from your business’ shoulders while maintaining an acceptable level of security.

Businesses that take advantage of the public cloud, however, do have some reservations about the control of their data, primarily because the public cloud is generally hosted and maintained by the service provider. While this is great from an operational standpoint, it limits your ability to respond to security threats. Therefore, you must be aware of what customisation options are available before making a decision regarding the public cloud.

Private Cloud
In direct contrast to the public cloud, a private cloud is hosted on your company’s in-house infrastructure, which allows for more flexibility and customisation on your company’s part. You can essentially customise your cloud solution as per your requirements. Companies that have their technology maintained by an in-house team generally prefer a private cloud solution, but sometimes it’s not necessarily an option.

Companies that don’t have an internal IT department and still take advantage of a private cloud solution might wind up stretching their own resources too far. If you can’t properly take care of your technology, then perhaps a managed cloud is a better approach for your particular business. For those who want the best of both the public and private clouds, a managed private cloud is the ideal solution.

Managed Private Cloud
Small businesses that want the benefits of a private cloud solution while avoiding the heavy lifting of maintaining the server hardware should look into a managed private cloud. Press Start Ltd can use our comprehensive knowledge of managed IT solutions and cloud infrastructures to build you an on-premise cloud solution that we can remotely monitor and maintain. If you want even less to worry about, we can host your server on our own network so that it’s as hands-off as you can get. To learn more about managed private servers, call us on 01638 603204.

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Introducing the Three Types of Cloud Solutions

Introducing the Three Types of Cloud Solutions

Cloud computing is an ever-growing industry and it’s only going to grow more popular as time goes on. More businesses than ever have started to adopt the cloud in at least some capacity. Is your company one of the few that haven’t yet moved to the cloud? If so, you’ll want to at least consider it, as your business could gain considerable benefits from doing so.

Depending on the type of business you run, as well as its specific needs, the type of cloud you implement will vary in scope, size and build. There are typically three different types of the cloud: public, private, and hybrid. Each of them comes with their own specific strengths and weaknesses.

Public Cloud
The public cloud is meant to help businesses with a limited budget gain access to crucial elements of the cloud, including storage, access to applications or services and networking. Generally speaking, the public cloud is primarily used to provide entry-level cloud access to businesses of all kinds. Examples of the public cloud include services like Microsoft’s Office 365 suite, as well as Google’s G Suite, both of which provide productivity suites and storage to businesses through cloud distribution. What the public cloud offers in terms of efficiency and ease of setup can often make up for the lack of customisation that many businesses find with it.

Private Cloud
Private Clouds are generally more customised to suit the needs of your business, whereas public clouds are meant to be used more as a general solution. Private clouds are hosted on-site, managed by an in-house IT department and require more attention. Compared to the public cloud, private clouds are generally implemented by businesses that know specifically what they need and how they want it set up.

Hybrid Cloud
The hybrid cloud is considered to be somewhere in the middle of the public and private, affording small businesses the benefits of both with little drawback, if any at all. Often times, hybrid clouds are implemented for the purposes of having a customised infrastructure without all of the responsibilities of managing one. A managed service provider like Press Start Ltd can manage and maintain your cloud infrastructure on its own in-house network so that you don’t have to. To learn more, call us on 01638 603204.

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Cloud-Based Backup and Recovery Works

Cloud-Based Backup and Recovery Works

The cloud is one of the best modern technologies that a business can use to its advantage, but nowhere is it as important as it is for data backup and disaster recovery. How does your business ensure that its data remains redundant and secure from situations outside of your control? We know of one way that you can take back control of your business’s future and that’s with a cloud-based backup and disaster recovery solution, also known as BDR.

Before the cloud, businesses had to rely on the manual task of backing up their data on tape. Data storage tapes were the primary mode of keeping data safe in the event of a disaster. However, tape is outdated and much less convenient for a business that has their “eye on the prize,” so to speak. Tape backup requires that your employees set the backups manually every single day and since the backup uses so many resources, you can only take one backup every single day during off-hours.

Since an employee needs to initiate the backup at the end of the day, there’s always the risk of it not being set, or not deploying it correctly in the event of a data loss event. User risk is one of the many variables that you don’t want to worry about when your business’ future is on the line. Even in the best-case scenario with tape backups, you’re only backing up data once a day, which means that you could lose up to an entire 24 hours' worth of data in seconds. We’ve all had the insanely productive days where a considerable amount is accomplished, so consider how much this worst-case scenario could cost you.

Unlike tape backup, a cloud-based data backup solution delivers a quick and efficient process for recovering any data lost during a disaster. You don’t have to rely on your employees initiating the process, either, as BDR provides an automated way to accomplish the goal. Since it doesn’t depend on a manual setup, you’ll be more likely to recover following a disaster.

Furthermore, cloud-based BDR makes it much easier to recover data mostly because you can take much more comprehensive backups. Snapshot-based backup like BDR lets your business take backups as often as every fifteen minutes, which significantly reduces the amount of data that’s lost in the event of a disaster. Backups are only taken of files that have been changed since the last time a backup was taken, so at the most you lose fifteen minutes worth of data a considerable improvement over 24 hours, to be sure.

Finally, cloud BDR offers a faster way to recover from a disaster. Tape backups can take as long as several hours of downtime before they are properly restored. However, cloud-based BDR can make it happen almost immediately. You can restore data directly to your BDR device rather than wait for a replacement server, if need be.

Don’t waste any more time and resources on data loss disasters. To learn more about BDR, contact us on 01638 603204

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When you look at cloud services, it can be easy to wonder how it is so beneficial for businesses. After all, the monthly service charges are attractive, but how do they provide the value outside of cost? To understand how the cloud brings rapid and sustainable ROI, it may he...

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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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