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February 17th, 2014

Happy (belated) new year to you – it’s hard to believe we’re already half way through February and thinking about March!

Those readers living in Adelaide will know we’ve survived some incredibly hot weather over the last few weeks. Something that often gets forgotten about, whilst we’re busy keeping family members and pets cool, is how the heat can affect our technology. We’re sure you’ve heard some stories of fires being caused by overheating equipment, but perhaps you were wondering if these are just urban myths.

Our Managing Director, Dean Calvert, was recently interviewed on Adelaide ABC 891 radio, by Ian Henschke, to discuss just this topic. If you missed the interview you can grab a copy here – it’s worth taking 15 minutes to pick up some advice that could save your home!

It’s not only fire that can cause problems – equipment failure, malware/viruses, theft or even just human error can cause all sorts of data loss problems. Fortunately there are some simple solutions at hand.

Bullet Proof Backups: for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week you can save all of your data files, photos, even music, to our Australian based cloud backup vault. This is proving to be extremely effective and has saved more than a few heads of hair from being pulled out! This is ideal for both work and home machines. Backups run automatically with unlimited cloud storage and even the ability to grab previous versions of files. We support Windows and Mac. If you want quick, simple and secure data protection for only $20 ex gst per month please contact us before you lose your next file.

Malware: we see an increase in malware attacks when there are special occasions – Christmas and Valentine’s Day are 2 of the key times. Be careful of emails you receive that might appear to be special greeting cards but actually contain something sinister. Anti-virus software is designed to protect you from computer viruses but not necessarily malware, which tends to attack in a different way. We are now delivering new technology that provides much better protection from these threats, including the likes of Cryptolocker! If you have concerns you may not be adequately protected we’re only a phone call or email away, and you’ll be amazed how low cost it is too!

These are just a couple of simple things that can be applied to a computer to provide much better data and operating system protection, and can save you from a lot of potential grief. Depending on your particular circumstances there could be other things that should be addressed – not the least of these being if you’re using Windows XP. From April 8, Microsoft will be no longer providing support (which means updates) for Windows XP. This means after this date if a security vulnerability is found in Windows XP then you could be exposed to potential attack.

Whilst we will provide whatever support we can, we need to encourage you to contact us to discuss migrating to a more secure and maintainable operating system. Don’t leave it too late!

All the best for 2014 and we look forward to working with you through the year ahead, and beyond.

Calvert Technologies

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December 17th, 2013

‘tis the season to be jolly…

  • About jolly time we had some nice summer weather
  • About jolly time we get to enjoy some time off
  • Jolly sure we have an end of year backup process
  • Jolly certain we have power protection for sensitive equipment that could be affected by power spikes or outages
  • Jolly careful we have adequate physical security measures in place, particularly if the office is going to be unattended for extended periods of time
  • Jolly well ready to get plans in place for 2014
  • Jolly sick of the overuse of the word “jolly”!

But in all seriousness, this is a time to both unwind and relax as well as being extra careful we have the right protection measure in place. Too many times have we been called to rescue businesses that entered the festive season with the “it won’t happen to me” mindset, only to discover that “it” can, and will, happen.

So what are some simple things you can do to prevent “it” happening to you?

Backups: ensure you have a plan for not only an end of year backup of critical data but also a plan for continuing backups even whilst the office might be closed. This is especially important if you have information feeding into the network – emails, orders, reports etc. We can provision online backups that operate automatically, providing complete peace of mind for data protection.

Power protection: during the hot weather it’s not unusual for the power supply to become dirty or fail completely. A mixture of spikes, brown outs, surges or loss of mains. These incidents can cause data corruption or even catastrophic equipment failure. Installing a decent UPS to protect your equipment, and allow a graceful shutdown in the event of a power failure, is cheap insurance. You do need to make sure you select the right UPS for the task though – please ask us for guidance.

Security: security covers a wide range of specific areas within the wider spheres of data, physical and connectivity security. As an example, you may have a password to get into your computer, but if that computer is stolen and the hard drive removed the data on that drive could be compromised if it’s not kept encrypted. What about your backup media – are the contents encrypted? Have you had the wireless network in your office tested and confirmed as secure?

Malware: we often find an increase in the amount of malware attacking networks when there are special occasions – Christmas and Valentine’s Day are 2 of the key times. Be careful of emails you receive that might appear to be special greeting cards but actually contain something sinister. Anti-virus software is designed to protect you from computer viruses but not necessarily malware, which tends to attack in a different way. We are now working with new technology that provides much better protection from these threats. If you have concerns you may not be adequately protected we’re only a phone call or email away.

We’ll be dropping to skeleton staff over the Christmas/New Year period, but will still be here to support you should the need arise.

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas and new year, and much success for 2014.

Calvert Technologies

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November 5th, 2013

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is almost here – it seems like only a few weeks ago we were welcoming you to 2013! It’s been a big year for us so far, and there’s still time to achieve more.

So what’s been happening and what do you need to be aware of?

The clock is ticking! April 8, 2014 marks the day Microsoft stops all support for Windows XP and Office 2003. This means that following this date there will no longer be any updates or patches released. Why is this important? If any security holes or vulnerabilities are found, and if you are using either of these products, you will not be protected. This also means it will be difficult for us to provide continued support for these products as there will be no way of ensuring any level of security or reliability. This is quite aside from any antivirus or antimalware software you have. It is important you take steps to prepare for replacement of these aging systems (now more than 10 years old!) – it’s time to get modern and experience the productivity improvements, security and exciting new features of Windows 8.1 and Office 2013. The same applies for Windows Server 2003. Please contact us for more information.

Protection from the baddies. Make sure you read our articles on Cryptolocker so you can know what to look for. Cryptolocker is a form of malware called ransomware, which is all part of the cyber security battle that occurs on a daily basis. This is no time to become complacent with security – it’s no longer a matter of if you will get hit, but when. If you suspect something’s amiss with your computer systems, or would like to know how to have the best chance possible of avoiding becoming a victim, please contact us today.

Countdown to Christmas. With Christmas and holiday times now only a few short weeks away it’s critical to consider how your backups will continue to run reliably, and how your data will remain protected. We work with a range of businesses that remain open throughout this period, quieten down to skeleton staff or close completely. For those businesses in the last 2 categories in particular we recommend taking some simple steps to ensuring your critical data is kept safe. We have many businesses starting to use online backup services as a simple but highly effective means of having that extra peace of mind. This is also a great way of recovering data in the event you are hit with Cryptolocker. It’s simple and cost effective. Ask us how you can enjoy greater protection and peace of mind.

There’s so much more we’d love to share with you, but we know your time is precious. You can always refer to our blog for more great advice and information, alternatively send an email or simply pick up the phone.

Have a wonderful month ahead and we’ll be in touch again just before Christmas.

Calvert Technologies

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May 20th, 2013

The cold winds of winter have started to blow and with it comes the reminder that the end of financial year “silly season” is almost upon us. This means ensuring budgets have been set for the new year ahead, projects are being closed off (where possible), and that you’re thinking about making sure you have decent end of period backups.

We’ve seen a continued demand for our services with many businesses beginning to pick up again after the tough economic times we’ve all gone through. Whilst the economy is not out of the woods yet it is certainly encouraging to see an improvement in the wider community, although the next few months could still prove challenging with the federal election rapidly approaching. And even more alarming is once the election is out of the way we’ll all be getting ready for Christmas!

Shane Robins joined our team in April, filling the role of Sales Executive, a title which never really does justice to the work actually done. Shane has nearly 30 years experience working with technology, at both a sales and technical level, and has a real passion for technology. In fact he is almost as passionate about technology as he is about golf! If you wish to discuss any technology needs with Shane please give him a call, or look out for him on the fairway.

We have had the pleasure of working some great businesses over the last few months (perhaps including yours?) with many adopting hybrid solutions, which means they have a combination of local and cloud based technologies. It’s been very interesting to look back and review the early conversations with some of these businesses , where they have been naturally cautious, and a little nervous, about moving some parts of their business to the cloud, but after it’s all been done they are extremely delighted with the result – some wondering why they’d not made the move earlier!

If you are wondering about “the cloud” and if it’s right for you, make sure you get the information you need to make an informed decision. There are many small projects that can be performed which can deliver outstanding results. Typical “first time” projects include email, backups, servers, and communications tools. Contact us if you wish to explore what might be best for you and your business.

We’re looking forward to sharing more exciting news with you over the next few months and would love to hear your news too.

Contact us if you wish to know more about any of the items above, or anything else for that matter!

We wish you every success for the coming months, and beyond.

Calvert Technologies

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March 15th, 2013

Can you believe March is already half way over? Before you know it it’s going to be Easter and then we’ll be counting down to the end of the financial year! But let’s try to not get ahead of ourselves…

So far this year we’ve seen some big changes both in our own business, as well as some of our clients. We had Graham Butterworth join the technical team in January only a few weeks after Andrew James joined us in December (click here for the media release) and just this last week our new service delivery manager, Rhonda Smart, joined the team. Rhonda brings a great deal of experience in process and management and we’re very excited to have her aboard. Keep an eye out for the media release in the next few weeks as we celebrate.

Rhonda’s appointment allows Mike Reid, our previous service manager, to better focus on his role as General Manager, which he took on last year but has been wearing 2 hats for all these months.

In terms of client changes, we’ve had the privilege to help a number of businesses migrate from their traditional on-premises systems to cloud based services – this includes a mix of email, communications tools, servers, backups and more. There are plenty of good reasons to move to cloud services but that doesn’t necessarily make them right for everyone – we’re still implementing “traditional” server environments too where it’s the right solution for the business.

We’re continuing to expand our reach into the Northern Territory too, with clients now in Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs and more. It’s exciting to be experiencing both our own growth as well as being able to work with other businesses across Australia, helping them to improve efficiency, security, performance, capacity, reliability and reduce costs – amongst other benefits.

Look out for next month’s newsletter when we’ll have another very exciting announcement to make – we think it’s nice to be able to share good news whenever possible. And if you have some good news you’d like to share please let us know.

Contact us if you wish to know more about any of the items above, or anything else for that matter!

We wish you every success for the coming months, and beyond.

Calvert Technologies

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January 28th, 2013

We trust you enjoyed some time off over the Christmas/New Year period and had opportunity to both reflect on 2012 and look forward to the year ahead.

We are well and truly back into the swing of things with many exciting plans for this year. We have been continuing to build our technical services team with 7 full-time technicians at the time of this newsletter and another body due to join us shortly.

We will also be hiring a new Technical Services Manager and are currently implementing an entirely new service management system to provide further improvements in our ability to support our growing client base.

The tragic flooding events in Queensland and New South Wales, as well as the bushfires in Victoria, bring home the importance of making sure we have adequate backups of data, systems and operating environments, and that these are maintained at a remote location. When evacuating a building you don’t want to be having to think about grabbing backup drives or tapes – the most important thing is to get people to safety. We can provide some additional peace of mind through various services including business continuity planning, hosted solutions, online backups and more.

It was exciting to see the Tour Down Under bring the Adelaide streets alive with some amazing cycling. We have some avid cyclists in the office and they really enjoyed getting into the spirit of the races, but thankfully kept the office lycra free!

Enjoy this month’s newsletter and remember you can read more interesting articles, tips and tricks on our web site blog, or simply contact us for further information.

All the very best for 2013.

Calvert Technologies

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September 17th, 2012

Hello and welcome to our September 2012 newsletter.

Time has certainly been racing by recently with plenty to keep us all busy. Amongst the busyness it’s wonderful to see the trees and flowers starting to bloom once again, signifying that spring is upon us. It’s a great opportunity to really stop and smell the roses (or whatever you have blooming nearby!) and look forward to the warmer months.

With new seasons come opportunities for change – not only in nature but our own lives and businesses. We’ve been helping quite a number of businesses recently with their own changes, many starting to use cloud technologies. This includes a mix of email, communications tools, servers and backups.

Whilst it can seem a bit confusing at times, the paradigm of working with cloud services is actually not new at all. Consider your web site, mobile phone voicemail or Internet banking services – these are all examples of “cloud technologies” that we use almost every day. “Cloud services” simply refers to technologies and capabilities that don’t rely on us making a capital investment – we’re using technology that someone else has built up and for which they assume the risk.

Another example would be visiting a restaurant – you’re eating food that’s been prepared in a kitchen that someone else has set up and maintains; you’re simply consuming the output of that kitchen. This is very much a non-technically associated example but does (hopefully) help to show that “cloud” is actually not that new – it’s simply the types of services we’re consuming that are new.

We’ve worked with companies from all over Australia move from on-premises equipment to cloud based services, be it for email, collaboration & communication tools, web hosting, backups, accounting systems and complete user operating environments (also called Remote Desktop Services). There have been some amazing results we’ve seen for these businesses with improvements ranging across multiple categories including cost reduction, reliability, performance, scalability, storage, user access and worker productivity.

A common misconception we’re encountering is the thought that you need to move your entire business into the cloud – that’s simply not the case. You can start small, get comfortable, and then migrate more services as is appropriate for your business.

Contact us if you wish to know more – it doesn’t need to be as difficult, or as scary, as some might have you believe.

Keep an eye out too for an invitation to our Windows 8 information sessions coming soon. Microsoft will be officially releasing this new operating system on October 26 (US date) and there will be many exciting new technologies in the wake of its release. There’s also the amazing new Windows Phone 8 devices, in particular the Nokia Lumia phones. We’re very excited about the new toys we’ll have to play with before Christmas!

We wish you every success for the coming months, and beyond.

Calvert Technologies

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November 14th, 2011

Hello and welcome to our November newsletter.

With less than 6 weeks until Christmas there’s a lot of energy and excitement building up both in the office and at home. It feels like as quickly as some projects are being finished up for the year there are new ones getting under way to take advantage of the quieter weeks rapidly approaching.

We’re continuing to see a lot of excitement with moving traditionally internal business functions to “the cloud”, especially for businesses wanting to replace aging equipment with smaller, more power efficient devices. The cloud is also working very well for businesses with distributed workers spread across the city, country and even the globe. Whilst it’s not right for everyone, cloud computing services are continuing to show great promise for businesses from 5 to 500 people, and beyond. If you’re still wondering what this is all about and if it’s right for you just ask.

Between now and the end of November you can also take advantage of some great rebates available from Microsoft when you migrate to Office 365. Contact us for details and to see if you qualify for this great opportunity.

Recent flooding in Thailand is causing problems throughout the rest of world with hard drive factories affected by this flooding. This has resulted in supply shortages and price increases. If you’ve been contemplating purchasing new computers or increasing your data storage then you’d better act sooner rather than later. Predictions are the flood effects could last until March next year. All manner of equipment will be affected including notebooks, desktops, servers and stand alone drives.

One of the big sellers as we approach Christmas is the mobile phone – now more correctly called the smart phone. With so many choices how do you select the right one for you? And will you be able to get your new phone to connect with your work email system in a secure and cost effective way? Whilst the iPhone seems to be the most popular choice, it’s actually Android based phones that outsell everything else, however there’s an exciting new contender worth investigating – Windows Phone 7. With a fresh new user interface, and the only phone to offer Live Tiles, Office and XBox, it will change the way you think about using a phone. Plus Windows Phone 7 will connect seamlessly with your email server. Whilst we don’t sell the phones we can certainly help guide you through the selection maze and set up your phone connections for you.

Finally, we have a promotion running for the first 20 companies to sign up for our online data backup services. You can get double the data allowance plus we have limited copies of Windows 7 and Office 2010 to give away. Register your interest here and good luck for the prize draws, which will take place the week before Christmas.

That’s it for this month. There are some great articles below and plenty more available on our web site blog.

We wish you every success.

Calvert Technologies

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September 7th, 2011

picLike everything else in IT today, cloud computing can be either unnecessary in your business operations or it could be something you really need. However, a recent survey on the perception of the cloud shows that almost half of small business owners are more or less dismissing it outright.

A recent survey by Newtek’s SB Authority Market Sentiment shows that almost half of small businesses do not see how cloud computing can cut down on costs and help increase their productivity, with an additional 32 percent still unsure about the whole idea.

At the very least, what these results show is that there is a pressing need for a more widespread and comprehensive information campaign about cloud computing. While many companies see the cloud as a mere fad, there’s much more to it than meets the eye, and what it offers can make a definite and concrete difference in the way a business conducts its operations.

What sets cloud computing apart from other hosting services is the way it’s managed and used. Management is handled completely by the service provider, and subscribers can adjust the specific features they use and pay only for those, similar to how on demand IT services work. Cloud computing usually also includes virtual data storage, with most if not all data stored off-site and in the cloud service’s servers.

Of course, the way the cloud impacts each particular organization will vary, and how it will affect your business in the short and long term depends on your needs and requirements and whether you even need it in the first place. There are pros and cons to any cloud-based service, but at the very least it deserves some serious thought.

If you want to find out more about cloud computing and how it may affect your business, please give us a call and we’ll be happy sit down with you and discuss any issues and concerns you have, and help you determine whether the cloud is right for you.

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August 29th, 2011

Having the right kind of email system in place can do wonders for increasing productivity, especially for people on the go. It’s important to note the distinctions and feature differences of the email systems available to you, so you can be sure that what you’re using is the most efficient and cost-effective solution.

Whether you work from an office or are productive while on the go, email most likely plays a big factor in the way you go about your business. Unbeknownst to many, some types of email systems have certain limitations that by extension can also limit the level of productivity of your business, and especially for people in the organization who must also work while out in the field.

One major issue for many people is synchronicity. Many people need their emails to be accessible on their mobile phones, PDAs, or other mobile devices, and they need them to be properly synchronized with their desktop workstations. The need to constantly update conversations and email threads from mobile devices to desktops with certain types of email can prove to be tedious and unproductive– and some email system types don’t include this ability at all.

Depending on the way you use your email, especially when on the go, having full access and full control of your account can define how productive you and others in your organization can be. Besides providing a much better degree of synchronization and integration with mobile devices, certain types of email systems also have features for sharing and collaboration features that allow you to set schedules and share files from your mailbox, as well as central storage for emails that allows you to access your account seamlessly with any mobile device, regardless of where you are located.

Of course, having a full-featured email system might not be best for everyone. The key is to know whether adapting a more bare-bones system is cost-effective for your business (especially in the long run). Sometimes the top of the line may be needed, and sometimes all you need is a bit of tweaking on your less fully featured system. Not sure which is best? Call us and we’ll be glad to sit down with you and assess what kind of email system is best suited for you and your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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