Tag Archives for " Cloud "

Meet-The-Team-Blog-Image

Introducing our Cloud Expert – Matt Hibberd

Introducing our Cloud expert – Matt Hibberd! He takes centre stage in this months ‘Meet The Team.’ Read on to find out all about Matt…

What is your role at Coretek?

Senior Systems Consultant / Engineer.

How long have you worked in IT for?

Approximately 10 years.

What is something that not many people know about you?

I am an amateur musician and play both guitar and bass guitar (not at the same time though! That would be something special!)

What is your favourite film?

The Back to the Future trilogy!

How do you spend your spare time?

I enjoy walking and cycling and like to get out and about with my camera.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Flight.

What is your favourite food?

Indian.

If you were an animal, which animal would you be and why?

Tiger (there’s little chance of getting eaten by anything else).

What is one thing that you could not live without?

My car.

What have you always wanted to do, but never done?

A skydive.

Workspace-as-a-service

What are the Benefits of Workspace as a Service and how do they differ from Desktop as a Service?

You may or may not know that we provide Workspace as a Service here at Coretek. So what is Workspace as a Service? Workspace as a service, or WaaS for short, is essentially a ‘business in a box’ that only needs a computer and an internet connection to get started. All of your business documents, emails and applications are available. WaaS can be accessed with many different types of devices and you can take advantage of collaboration services provided by Office 365 to further augment this.

You may have previously heard of Desktop as a Service but not Workspace as a Service. Workspace as a Service is a complete, managed solution, whereas Desktop as a Service is a self-managed solution. The positives of Coretek for management, advice and consultancy shine through for this type of service, so no technical knowledge is required, we do the setup and maintenance work for you. All you need is an internet line.

Not just a desktop – your whole business in a box

You have your own personal space and a secure space for your business files and applications. We fully support applications such as Sage Accounts, Basic PAYE tools or almost any other productivity application. Many of our existing clients have bespoke applications running in their environments as well.

Work from anywhere in the world

With the remote access capabilities, you can really work from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an internet connection.

Requirements change? – Expert support you can talk to

CoretekCloud Workspace as a Service is a managed service and if your requirements change you can get in contact with us and we can make the alterations you require for your business to succeed. We can provide guidance on IT strategy, security and compliance, as well as technical implementation services.

Proactive security and support services

With CoretekCloud, almost every major security issue in the last year has been mitigated on day zero. We provide constant proactive maintenance and security solutions to make sure your business is safe.

Cost reductions from removing onsite hardware

If you have an on-site server, you are looking at continuous expenses which can add up. You will be looking to change your server every 5 years or so as technology is continuously improving and moving on. This can become very expensive, especially if you have multiple servers. With Workspace as a Service, you simply connect to your cloud environment which is hosted in our CoretekCloud data centre, which removes the cost of the on-site hardware. For our Cloud solution, you pay on a per-user, per-month basis. This works out as considerably cheaper and due to a regular recurring cost, it is easier to budget for.

hard-drive-back-up

It is World Backup Day!

Today is 31st March, World Backup Day!

The point of today is to remind everyone, no matter whether you run your own business or use a computer for work or school, that having a backup of important data is important. So make sure you do it today!

What is a Backup?

A Backup is a second copy of all of your files. This could be your important work or sentimental family photos. You are creating a copy of all of these files.

Why should I Backup?

Losing your files is a lot more common than you may think! This could be in the form of losing a device, like a phone, laptop or tablet, or there could be a fire in a property where your device lays.
Ironically, it was only yesterday that a software development company which we know, lost 24 hours’ worth of financial data. This was due to only having an old backup available instead of multiple backups throughout the day. These multiple backups would have allowed them to either restore to the earliest time possible, or to the time of the fault that occurred. If a properly configured backup solution had been set up, this would have saved a lot of hassle.

How can I backup?

Data Protection Manager (DPM), by Microsoft, can create full or incremental backups of data at set intervals from a source to a target location on the DPM server. This lets you ensure the most valuable data is backed up as frequently as possible. Backups taken from DPM can also be sent to Microsoft’s Azure backup service, allowing you to offload older data to the Azure Recovery Service and keep new data on disk.

In the case of home use, the USB storage drive is still an essential option for keeping important files backed up in the event your computer’s security is compromised and the data is lost. There are also a number of cloud based backup services which you can sign up to to enable you to retain a copy of those sentimental photos just in case!

The more you use, the more secure that data will be. Save yourself the pain and potential financial damage you could face with data loss, and start backing up today. But don’t backup just today… backup every day!

There are many options that can be used for backing up data, get in contact with us today to find out how we can help! 0800 304 7444 or enquiries@coretek.co.uk

Want to know more about why and how you should backup up your data? Take a look at our recent blog.

What is Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery?

A Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) solution, as well as the associated technical and business plans, ensure that required (or all) business services can continue in the event of a critical service outage that exceeds a business defined limit. This outage may affect local infrastructure, or it may affect additional infrastructure or services that are business critical but hosted externally to the business. These external services may be covered by their own BCDR guarantees.

Essentially, Disaster Recovery is seen as a subset to Business Continuity which deals with many business wide concerns and plans for different types of unforeseen issues, whereas Disaster Recovery is a more focused look at how IT (and associated services like telephony) would continue in the event of a critical outage.

Business requirements for BCDR are the most important pieces of information to get right and should be done before any potential solution is considered. This is because a business with requirements for a same day Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and a 5-minute Recovery Point Objective (RPO), would require a very different (and generally more expensive) solution to a business that has requirements for a 5-day RTO and a one day RPO.

What are RTO and RPO?

The Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is the period of time following an incident within which a product, activity or service must be resumed, or resources must be recovered. For products, services and activities, the recovery time objective must be less than the time it would take for the adverse impacts that would arise as a result of not providing a product/service or performing an activity to become unacceptable. – ISO 22301

The Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is the point to which information used by an activity must be restored to enable the activity to operate on resumption. This can also be referred to as “maximum data loss”. – ISO 22301

Business requirements for both the return to operation time, as well as the return point all affect the technical requirements and the end solution, as these business requirements can have wide ranging consequences on the plan and the infrastructure used for recovery.

How does this affect my IT services?

As recovery objectives shorten, effort is usually put into providing high availability or ready to go substitute infrastructure for business services, as opposed to restoring services from a backup. As this involves either additional infrastructure sharing a load or standby infrastructure ready to step in, resources must be allocated to check and maintain this additional infrastructure.

For short recovery objectives it is also absolutely critical to place priorities around business services so that if multiple services are affected in the event of a disaster, work can be correctly prioritized to restore the business critical services first. This is instrumental in the formulation of a successful BCDR plan.

If either the recovery requirements are incorrect, or change, it is imperative that everyone concerned be notified immediately, as these objectives have a major effect on the solution and the technologies that provide it.

I think I need a BCD plan… What are my next steps?

Coretek have extensive experience in providing tailored BCDR solutions for almost any business requirements. Solution options are available leveraging either our CoretekCloud platform or a leading third party public cloud provider. Contact Coretek today on 0800 304 7444 or email us on enquiries@coretek.co.uk to find out more or to discuss your requirements.

How to do IT on a budget

Top 5 ways to slash your IT costs

A reliable IT infrastructure is fundamental for almost any business but costs can certainly mount up. By being smart and using the latest technology, there are numerous ways to save money on your IT budget.

Here are just a few examples:

1. Cloud Computing

There is a reason why ‘Cloud’ has been the buzzword in IT for the past few years. This model offers a complete revolution over the on-site model which was commonplace until recently. Rather than having to buy, own and maintain every single piece of IT equipment that your business needs, Cloud Computing allows you to rent just enough for what you need.

Cloud computing Tablet

So Cloud Computing comes in at number one in our list as this has the greatest potential for cost savings. But how exactly does using the Cloud save you money? That could fill an entire blog post in itself but here are a few examples :

Removal of on-site servers and equipment

Buying on-site hardware to run your IT will probably make the biggest dent in your IT budget. And that’s only the start with energy and maintenance to consider. Then when the hardware is decommissioned, you have to buy new hardware and start the process all over again.

This is why so many businesses are moving to the Cloud. Costs are traditionally billed per-user, which is much easier for your accounts team to manage. As you only buy enough for your needs, there is no waste.

There are various options for moving your IT systems to the Cloud. Microsoft’s Azure platform allows you to “spin up” virtual servers at the press of a button, with the ability to build these to your exact requirements. If you would rather have an expert deal with the hassle, consider contacting CoretekCloud who can build a Cloud environment tailored to you.

Save with Cloud Storage

Much like costs can be saved by moving on-site servers to the Cloud, the same can be done for storage. Physical storage is expensive, whether this is additional capacity in your on-premise server, right up to a complete SAN (Storage Array Network) for larger clients. Cloud storage can be very affordable in comparison.

An example of affordable cloud storage for startups and small businesses is Microsoft OneDrive. This comes as part of the Office 365 suite and each user gets 1Tb of storage included in the monthly subscription, which is fantastic value. This should be more than enough storage for a business of this size. Office 365 also includes a SharePoint Team Site which is an ideal central location to store company data that everyone can access. This also come as standard at no additional cost.

For the larger organisations who are looking to store large amounts of data in the cloud, there are a number of options including Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud Storage and Rackspace.

Cut costs with Cloud Backups

You may not be ready to move all of your company data to the Cloud just yet but moving your backup data is well worth considering. There are the same arguments for saving money on buying and maintaining on-site hardware but there is also the security aspect that you can have a secure off-site copy of your important company data just in case disaster strikes. Again, there are numerous options. We offer a Cloud Backup solution from CoretekCloud and in addition to this, we also like and recommend Microsoft Azure.

Save money on client machines

Another advantage that comes with a hosted cloud environment is that most of the hard work is done in the Cloud. As such, your client machines don’t need to be nearly as powerful and entry-level desktops are often powerful enough to be a cloud client which equals more cost savings to you.

Reduce management

Having all of your IT centralised simplifies management and could save hours for your IT team. For example: rather than having to deploy the latest version of Office to dozens of client machines, this will only need to be installed centrally in a Cloud environment. Saving time troubleshooting software issues on the client machines is another benefit.

2. Move to a VoIP Phone System

Moving away from an on premise phone system is another potential area of cost saving. Again, removing the cost of purchasing a physical piece of equipment that has to be replaced every few years is a clear benefit.

Close up of phone handset

In addition to this, using your internet Line rather than a standard phone line results in reduction to your phone bills as well. For example, many VoIP packages (including our offering) will sometimes offer free phone calls to all employee numbers and certain area codes.

3. Make your existing equipment last longer

Not everything can be moved to the Cloud and there will always be a requirement for some on-site hardware in any business. For this equipment though, there are still potential cost saving measures. The first one is to consider if new machines are being ordered to the right specification. We have seen customers attempt to save costs by purchasing the cheapest hardware available, only for this to fail within a couple of years and need to be replaced. This may seem to contradict the advice point 1 above – save money on client machines – but there is a subtle difference. If you are using a cloud environment, you don’t need to buy high performance machines but we still recommend sticking with one of the leading brands. Here at Coretek we like Dell and their OptiPlex Micro Desktops are both affordable and reliable. They also come with the best warranty (in our humble opinion) of all the IT equipment providers.

Computer Motherboard

Which leads on to the next way to make your equipment last longer – buy a longer warranty. Many people are unsure on purchasing a three or five year warranty and view this as an unnecessary expense. We have found this not to be the case. The standard one year warranty that most machines come with is OK but the fact is that most machines are more likely to go wrong the older they get, hence the need for a longer warranty. We have found buying the shortest possible warranty often proves to be false economy.

Aside from machines failing from hardware faults, the other reason that computers need to be replaced is that they sometimes become simply too slow to be productive. Clever upgrades can sometimes increase the performance of the machine, sometimes by several times. The two upgrades that will provide the best ‘bang for your buck’ are: adding additional memory and replacing SATA hard drives for SSD’s (Solid State Drive).

4. Affordable Wireless

The need for wireless is paramount with mobile devices being widespread in every office. Most people these days have a mobile, laptop and probably a tablet as well. Being able to provide fast, reliable wireless access can be very beneficial to your staff. Until very recently it was very expensive to install a decent managed wireless network but this is becoming more and more affordable.

Wireless Concept

Coretek offer Ubiquiti Access Points which meet the latest 802.11ac standard but do not need a physical controller. This brings the possibility of wireless to a number of smaller businesses where the costs would have previously been prohibitive.

5. Cut down on printing

Printing is probably one of the least considered areas for cutting costs but has a massive cost saving potential. Some schools and business may as well be pouring toner (and money) down the drain as they rack up huge printer bills. So how can these be reduced? Here are a few suggestions…

Get rid of unnecessary printers

Sounds obvious but we have frequently seen office and schools with dozens of printers, often a plethora of makes and models. This is a recipe for wasting money with surplus toner and wasted pages burning through your budget. Do a printer review and ask: “Do we really need all of these printers?” and “What is the minimum number of printers we can get by on?”. Reducing these down to a handful of fast and economical printers or copiers of the same model can make a big improvement.

Printer toner

Print to PDF or OneNote

Before you hit that print button, ask yourself: “Do I really need to print this?”. If you are simply going to file the piece of paper, why not print to PDF and save this into a network folder? If you use Microsoft Office, you will even have a ‘Print to OneNote’ printer that you can print to and will automatically save the document to OneNote for you.

Use software to restrict printing

If advising people on best practice isn’t doing the trick, there are options available to enforce quotas on printing. Programs such as PaperCut provide users a bank of credit and once this has been used up, only a designated admin can replenish this. This can also be set on a daily or weekly basis.

So there are our top 5 tips that can really make a big difference to how much you are spending on your IT.

Just for good measure, here is a bonus tip for you:

Bonus Tip: Subscription software

Just like Cloud computing has made managing the costs of your IT system into a regular monthly or yearly payment easy, many businesses are moving to a similar model for software. This is known as SaaS (Software as a service). There are numerous examples such as: Office 365 and Adobe CC but many software providers are moving to this model. The main advantage is that software is a recurring cost that can be easily budgeted for and upgrades are included in the price, meaning no unexpected surprises.

New Website

The Updated CoretekCloud Website is Now Live!

As an addition to the Coretek website, we have now created a new CoretekCloud section. We have designed this to follow the Coretek Group branding and to reflect our company’s ethos.

Cloud computing is widely agreed to be a complete revolution in the IT industry; offering dramatically reduced costs, improved security and access to your systems from anywhere. Now at CoretekCloud, our leaders in the IT industry can get you access to the Cloud and can offer you constant ongoing support.

Take a look at our new website and the services and products that we offer, to see if we can help you today!

To find out more, contact us at enquiries@coretek.co.uk or call us on 0800 304 7444. Alternatively you can connect with us through our social media channels!

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on LinkedIn.

Businessman using a digital tablet

Have you ever considered moving your business to the Cloud?

Are you tired of having to replace your main on-site IT hardware every few years?

Would you like your employees to be able to work from anywhere in the world?

Well, with CoretekCloud, you can! Built and designed by our team of in house experts, and backed by our ISO commitment to service quality and data security, we can help you transition your business to the cloud.

CoretekCloud is able to offer a variety of services, from off-site backups and data storage, to fully managed desktop and infrastructure-as-a-service environments. With little to no capital expenditure and fixed monthly user costs, why not speak to one of our team for more information on how CoretekCloud can benefit your business today!

Contact us today on 0800 304 7444 or at enquiries@coretek.co.uk

 

New Years Resolution

What is your New Years Resolution?

New Years resolutions have been being made for years. If you do not already know, a new years resolution is something that you promise to do, to stop or to continue doing in the New Year. Many new years resolutions revolve around self-improvement, may that be physically or mentally.

However, we feel that there are small New Years resolutions that you can make that will really not take a whole lot of time or effort, but will leave you feeling satisfied. We are going to look at small technology tasks that we believe would be great for your New Years resolutions.

Update your software

Make sure that all of your devices are up-to-date with the latest software. This will enable your devices to work efficiently. You should also ensure that you have an antivirus software installed on your PC.

Renew your passwords

Around Christmas time, many hackers come alive. It is possible for them to get into your system by using a downloadable program that can guess your password in seconds. However, you can do something to prevent this – create an extra secure password by adding numbers and punctuation. You can trial a number of passwords into the below search engine, and it will tell you how long it will take the hacker to hack. If it is secure enough, it could take them centuries! But DO NOT put in any of your current passwords!

https://howsecureismypassword.net/

Back up your data

You should regularly back up your data anyway, but if you have not been doing so, make it a necessity that you do so in the new year! If you do not know how to back-up your data, take a look at our blog on what backing up data is, and how to do it!

Recycle your old Hardware

Here at Coretek, we recycle our hardware by donating it to Jamies Computers. They will collect and dispose of your equipment for free. Read more about disposing of your hardware here.

So stay safe in 2016 by following these tech New Years resolutions!

 

Office 365 Outage!

Microsoft Office 365 has had an outage which has affected thousands of people across Europe. This has had impact upon users email and  online access to Word, Excel and other software.

So if you have had any issues with accessing your Office 365 email, Microsoft have said that they now have fixed the issue.

Go Karting

Coretek and Heritage Care go Indoor Go Karting!

Last night, Coretek visited Eastleigh’s Go Karting at TeamSport who are number 1 in the UK for indoor karting.

TeamSport indoor karting formed in 1990 and their first track was in Guildford but now you can find TeamSport all over the country! They are always developing their business in order to introduce new, exciting experiences for their customers. The Tower Bridge in Central London venue, now holds electric cars which has been said to be a ‘truly amazing experience’, and you can find in locations such as Warrington and Reading, a three-level track. If you want to know more about TeamSport indoor karting, take a look at their website: https://www.team-sport.co.uk/.

We took along with us a few guests from Heritage Care. Heritage Care are one of our Business Clients, who we are currently helping build their own private Cloud environment. Heritage Care is a charitable organisation who provide a range of care and support services for people with mental health, disabilities and older people. They began in 1993 in East London, and they now operate within most of the South East of England and the Midlands. They believe in supporting people so that they can become as independent as they would like. If you would like to learn more about Heritage Care, take a look at their website: http://www.heritagecare.co.uk/.

The session began with the qualifying stage which consisted of laps of the track to enhance your personal best. These results then ranked where you started within the final race.

James, our Business Development Manager came in first with an average lap time of 29.126. Closely followed by Craig Shand, from Heritage Care who had average of 29.164. Then third place was taken by Jerome Faure, our Finance Administrator who had an average of 29.224.

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