Are file syncing services the same as backup?

Are file syncing services the same as backup?

Google Drive, Dropbox, and other file sync and share services are becoming popular places to store files. These services have value when used for their intended purpose, but they are often mistaken as offsite backup.

A simple online search will expose many stories about file syncing services losing files. Unfortunately, in most cases, it’s only when a company needs to restore their data that they realise the services’ inability to guarantee safety.

A professional backup solution, unlike a file sync service, will offer security, reliability, and flexibility.

File sync and share

File syncing services are intended to aid productivity by allowing two or more people to sync files, allowing collaboration on a project. If you were to use these services as a backup solution, you wouldn’t know what files or when your files were synced. This means that when it comes to restoring your data, you wouldn’t know what the data is or when it was from.

Further to this, file sync services only sync flat files; they don’t sync databases, and they certainly don’t sync your entire machine. They’re unable to restore all your data from scratch if your premises is flooded, your laptop is lost, or you experience data loss for many other reasons. This is because there’s lots of restrictions. File sync services restrict the size, amount, and type of files, as well as the devices you can sync to.

Another issue occurs when it comes to the restore; files can only be restored individually. This means you have to select each separate file and the version you wish to restore. This makes a mass restore – or even restoring just a handful of files – an annoying, time-consuming process that is subject to human error.

Solutions

We offer Clunk Click Online Pro, a professional backup solution that guarantees security, flexibility, and reliability. Clunk Click can backup your laptops, desktops and servers, and also provides a comprehensive log of what has been backed up. We receive notifications confirming successful backup or alerting us to any issues. This means that any problems can be solved promptly.

Clunk Click Online Pro is also without the restriction. You’re able to backup any amount of any type of data from multiple devices in a completely secure, encrypted format. You can also easily scale up and down the amount of storage that you have, so you only pay for what you use.

Don’t make a bad day worse!

A day when you have to restore files is bound to be a bad one. Remember that file sync and share services were designed to allow collaboration and do not guarantee data restoration. Don’t make that bad day worse by realising this too late.

Why Ilkley IT Services?

A support contract from Ilkley IT Services is ideal for small and medium sized businesses who don’t have an in-house IT department.

We constantly monitor your PCs, network and other IT devices. We’ll often prevent problems from happening without users even knowing, meaning you and your staff continue to work uninterrupted.

On the rare occasions when things do go wrong we’re ready to respond quickly and efficiently. With our vast experience and investment in the best tools we are well equipped to get you back up and running in the quickest possible time.

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Questions to ask your backup provider

8 Questions to ask your backup provider

Entrusting a Backup provider with your data is a big step; you need to know that they’re reliable and exactly what service to expect. Here at Ilkley IT Services, we offer Clunk Click Online Pro, a comprehensive Online Backup Solution. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have, but today we thought we’d share our most commonly asked questions with you.

1. Are you and your service reliable?

Yes – we’ve been providing quality IT services to local businesses for over 13 years. We pride ourselves on our reliability and honesty; it’s the reason 95% of our new business is from recommendation. The Clunk Click Online Pro service is reliable too. We receive daily notifications of all our customers’ backups, so any problems can be sorted quickly and efficiently.

2. Do you offer a Disaster Recovery (DR) Solution too?

Yes – we offer a DR solution, as well as Online Data Backup.

Online Data Backup is when we backup your files to our datacentre. If an event of data loss occurs, you can access your files immediately and we can do a restore as soon as you have somewhere for the files to go (i.e. a Laptop, Desktop, or Server).

DR has two different options available: Warm State DR and Hot State DR.

Warm State DR means that we backup your files in the same way as Online Data Backup, but we also do a Full System Backup, enabling a Full System Recovery. This means that as well as your files, we also backup your server’s settings and configurations. Consequently, when we do a restore we’re able to restore your files as usual, but also your server’s settings and configurations creating an exact replica of your server pre-disaster. We can restore onto a physical server, or we can spin up a Virtual Machine (VM) in our datacentre for you to restore to.

Hot State DR is very similar to Warm State DR, but the Virtual Machine is already up and running in our Datacentre ready for you to restore to, so each time you Backup we’ll restore a copy onto the VM too. The main benefit of this is that it will drastically reduce your Recovery Time Objective (the amount of time you can cope without accessing your data), as it essentially shortens the recovery process in a disaster scenario.

3. What are the costs?

Our service is tailored to your business, so the cost is dependent on numerous different factors including your volume of data and how quickly you would need to restore your data in an event of data loss. However, with Data backup, you pay per gigabyte. As your volume of data increases, the cost per gigabyte reduces. For a DR solution, you pay per gigabyte for your backup and an additional monthly cost for the VM.

4.What security measures are in place?

To provide complete security, your data is encrypted at all stages of the backup and DR process: before leaving your computer, in transit, and at rest in our datacentres. We use Military grade AES 256 encryption for total security. Every backup account has a unique encryption key that allows you to encrypt and decrypt your data.

5. Where is our data backed up to and stored?

Your data backups rests in our two UK datacentres. It is mirrored between both datacentres meaning that there is always an identical copy in an alternative datacentre. This is in case of the unlikely situation that something should happen to the datacentre. Both datacentres are physically secure with advanced registration and multiple security checks as requirements before access is granted.

Our datacentres are very secure having multiple accreditations including:

  • ISO 27001
  • ISO 14001
  • ISO 9001
  • OHSAS 18001
  • PCI DSS
  • The Green Grid
  • Carbon Trust Standard
  • EU Code of conduct for data centres

6. Is there a service availability guarantee?

We aim for 100% service availability. Because of this, we offer a service-level agreement that says that if availability drops below 99.5%, a service credit would be given representing 25% of the total monthly cost. If the service drops below 95% (which has never happened) we would refund 75% of the monthly cost!

7. Do you meet industry standards?

Yes. Data validation, data versioning (the option to restore a historic version of a file), encryption, location of data (i.e. UK datacentres for UK customers), and accreditations are all adhered to.

8. Can I get my data out?

Of course! You can access your data anytime through our web access portal or through the app on your device.

 

 

Why Ilkley IT Services?

A support contract from Ilkley IT Services is ideal for small and medium sized businesses who don’t have an in-house IT department.

We constantly monitor your PCs, network and other IT devices. We’ll often prevent problems from happening without users even knowing, meaning you and your staff continue to work uninterrupted.

On the rare occasions when things do go wrong we’re ready to respond quickly and efficiently. With our vast experience and investment in the best tools we are well equipped to get you back up and running in the quickest possible time.

How can we help?

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Outsourced IT services

The Benefits of Outsourcing Your IT Support

In today’s world business is reliant on IT; it’s almost impossible to imagine our day-to-day operations without it. Business would, slowly but surely, grind to a halt. Our dependence on IT certainly highlights the value of it, but unfortunately, for many companies maintaining an in-house IT team is costly and unrealistic.

Consider a specialised recruitment agency with only three staff members. IT is fundamental to their business, but with only three staff members, it would not be worth hiring an in-house IT team – even if it was just one person. The time and financial burdens would probably be greater than the benefit.

At Ilkley IT we offer IT support contracts. They’re perfect for SMBs that need the expertise of an in-house IT team but don’t have the facilities to fulfil one.

As mentioned, IT support contracts can bring many benefits and is a great choice for many organisations. So, in this blog we thought we’d outline the main benefits of outsourcing your IT team.

  1. Increased productivity

With your IT under control, there will be no IT problems causing downtime, none of your staff will spend time trying to fix problems, and you won’t have to spend time researching and staying up to date with technology and its latest offerings. With Ilkley IT, all of this is taken care of leaving your staff with more time to do their jobs. An IT support contract might also allow opportunity to upgrade your systems and increase productivity that way too.

  1. Easy implementation

A huge benefit of IT support contracts is that any changes to your systems (changing your antivirus or upgrading an Office 365 licence for example) can be implemented smoothly and easily because you have the expertise there ready to go. In the unfortunate scenario that there’s a problem, it can be fixed quickly. We’ll work with you guiding you through and helping you fully understand any decisions, and ensuring you know what we’re doing our end too.

  1. Cost savings

IT support contracts work on a monthly payment model. This means that you’re not only freeing up your cash flow, but this set monthly fee means you’re also able to plan and budget much more effectively as your costs don’t fluctuate. If we need to come onsite or work additional hours, we will always let you know in advance so there’s no surprise costs. Furthermore, taking up a support contract with us also entitles you to discounts on our other products and services, saving you even more money!

  1. Increased Security

Your IT systems will be monitored constantly – most of the time we detect and deal with problems without you even realising. We can also advise you on which products are essential for your business to operate securely and implement those quickly and effectively as appropriate. We can also take care of the everyday security tasks, such as patching and updating software, that can get easily overlooked in your day to day operations.

  1. Access to IT expertise

Let’s not ignore perhaps the biggest benefit – quite simply that you have access to IT expertise. We’re happy to help you with everything from advising on your day-to-day computing, through to setting permissions and installing new software. Anything you need help with, we’re here.

 

Why Ilkley IT Services?

A support contract from Ilkley IT Services is ideal for small and medium sized businesses who don’t have an in-house IT department.

We constantly monitor your PCs, network and other IT devices. We’ll often prevent problems from happening without users even knowing, meaning you and your staff continue to work uninterrupted.

On the rare occasions when things do go wrong we’re ready to respond quickly and efficiently. With our vast experience and investment in the best tools we are well equipped to get you back up and running in the quickest possible time.

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Why backup

Why your business should backup

Backup is far too often overlooked when we consider that it’s one of the most important aspects of IT. By backing up, you’re making a copy of your important files, simply so that you can restore them if they are damaged or lost.

There are various causes of data loss including theft, accidental error, physical failure of your Laptop, Desktop, or Server, and environmental disasters such as floods and fires. Another major risk are computer viruses; they’ll delete or corrupt your files rendering them useless.

What can I backup?

You’re able to backup anything you like but it might be a good idea to consider which files you would need to continue working if your organisation were struck with Cryptolocker (a debilitating virus that encrypts all your data and requires you to pay a ransom).

To continue running your business, you’d need copies of contracts, financial information, clients’ contact details, and many other things too. It’s taken you years to collate this information; what would happen if you couldn’t access it again?

How do I backup?

So, you’ve decided you need backup, but how do you go about doing it? Well, there are various backup solutions available. You need to think about time, security, and budget when making a decision, but some methods are superior to others.

Memory sticks and portable hard drives are often used for smaller backups but these cheap devices are easy to damage and lose and are unreliable. They are also unsecured which means that anyone that gets their hands on your lost device, has also got their hands on your business’ data. Another downside is that you can only access one version of your file as it overrides the previous version each time you save. This means that when it comes to restore your data, you’ve only got one version available to restore from.

Tape backup was once an industry standard but is now outdated. It’s a slow and manual process and your tapes are subject to the same environmental threats as your original data unless you take them offsite on a daily basis.

Here at Ilkley IT Services, we recommend online data backup; a solution that’s suitable for all sizes and types of business. You don’t need to buy any new hardware or software and you have control as you choose which data you want to backup and how often. It’s then transported to a state of the art datacentre in an encrypted format. There’s no user intervention as the backups are scheduled, and the files are easy to restore. You’re guaranteed security and peace of mind with just a small monthly payment.

Our tips for data backup

  • Test your copied data regularly; backups are useless if you’re unable to restore your data.
  • Backup frequently; consider how much work you’re prepared to lose.
  • Use an Offsite Cloud Backup solution; it’s the only option that offers absolute security.

As a final note, let’s think about if you were to be struck with Cryptolocker but you have an offsite backup solution in place. What would you do? You would wipe your machine or system, and restore your data from your chosen backup. You’ll be back to business in no time at all.

 

Clunk Click Online Pro

Ilkley IT Serivces Online Backup and Restore solution Clunk Click Online Pro delivers next generation intelligent data backup and instant data recovery to protect your business.

Backup critical data from workstations and servers, across physical and virtual platforms, to a secure off-site UK datacentre, while giving backup administrators full control of all processes.

  • Data encrypted at source, in transit and at rest in our data centres.
  • Choice of 128-bit AES, 256-bit AES and 448-bit Blowfish encryption.
  • Only you have access to the encryption key.
  • Instant data recovery in the event of a disaster.

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Five uses of OneNote you need to know

‘Quick Notes’

Why not try these handy features from OneNote to save you valuable time:
Windows+N opens a ‘quick note’ without opening the programme itself
Windows + shift +S allows you to screenshot any area of the screen

Shortcut Musts

Ctrl+alt+1 (2 or 3) create new headings
Ctrl+1 create new checklist
Ctrl+2 create a custom tag
Ctrl+ . create a quick bullet point
Ctrl+K insert a link

Embed (almost) anything

One of the most impressive features of OneNote is its ability to embed almost anything, including remotely recording audio and video from desktop. So don’t be shy with the insert menu, be adventurous!

Change the view

Selecting ‘Normal View’ gives you full toolbar access, ‘Full Page View (F11)’ maximises the workspace by limiting distracting tabs and pages, whilst ‘Dock to Desktop’ mode enables side-by-side browsing and note making.

Microsoft Office Integration

Seamlessly embed excel tables into OneNote and edit Excel spreadsheets within OneNote. Flag text in OneNote to create a task in Outlook and easily email entire pages from OneNote instantly without damaging the page formatting.

keeping tabs on employees

Keeping tabs on the way your team use email and the web

Our clients sometimes ask us for the best ways to keep tabs on how their staff use the web and email. Increasing numbers of companies are keen to monitor internet and email use and with this in mind, we thought we’d give you some information on how to do this.

If you’re an employee reading this, the best plan is to always assume that everything you do on your computer at work will be audited and logged to ensure internal compliance. On the whole you’ll never know that this is happening, whilst on the other hand it’s almost impossible to be certain that it isn’t! So this might be a good time to stop browsing your social media feed and start reading…
Employers, on the other hand, often find the most effective strategy is to think about how much work their employees have to do, rather than trying to monitor or control what they’re doing online. If they don’t have enough work to do, the simplest option is to give them more!

In addition, one of the simplest, easiest steps to take is to restrict what you’re employees can do; you’ll find that even cheap routers can be set to restrict websites and/or their content. This would, for example, give you the option to restrict access to certain websites at certain times of day. We have one client who blocks the access his staff to Facebook between 9am – 5pm, allowing access before or after the office working day. This is a great way to ensure your employees don’t spend valuable working time chatting online.

The monitoring of emails is a little more contentious and if this is a route you’d like to go down, it’s vital that you check the legality behind it first. In the majority of cases, making monitored employees aware of what you are doing is of paramount importance. You don’t have to necessarily tell them why – just make sure that they’re aware that it is happening.

Monitoring staff emails

If you’d like to know what your staff are sending or receiving through email then you’ll need to have a server. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an on-site or a cloud-based server; almost any server will give you the capability to open your employees’ emails.

To read your employee’s emails you’ll need to obtain permission from whoever maintains your server; however once this has been provided you should be able to have access fairly easily. On the other hand, if you don’t have your own server then monitoring emails will be very difficult. The majority of the time any record of the email will be on the individual employee’s computer and if they delete it, getting it back will be almost impossible.

A number of email servers such as POP3 don’t allow monitoring but those that can include GoogleMail and Exchange. If you’re not sure what kind of email you have and would like further advice, we’d be happy to help so please get in touch.

Instant messaging systems

Although instant messaging is a very useful way for companies to encourage communication between teams, they can be a nightmare to audit. Conversations can become locked within an employee’s personal account or specific machines, or simply lost in the ether.

If you and your team can’t manage without IM, you’ll have to start thinking about setting up your own system as this is the only way to ensure an audit trail. However, if your team use personal accounts on Facebook, for example, tracking what they are saying to each other is going to very difficult indeed. It’s worth checking out instant messaging platforms such as Microsoft Lync, Sazneo or Brosix as they all offer full audit trails.

How to monitor office web use

This is comparatively easy although it does come at a price. To get started you’ll need a reasonable quality router or server. Microsoft TMG is expensive at more than £2500 for the hardware and software alone, but it does produce user-friendly reports. Some routers will also generate reports of web use but these also cost into the thousands.

If you are having problems with your staff spending too much time browsing the internet, this doesn’t necessarily have to be solved through monitoring. Bear in mind that restricting content will help ensure security; routers can be used to filter traffic and to safeguard against malicious software being downloaded onto your company’s computers.

Taking things up a notch

If certain members of your team are causing problems there are a number of steps you can take to keep tabs on everything that happens in your network. It is possible to install software designed to provide individual reports, or even reports on your entire team. You could, for example, receive a daily report on how much time is spent on Facebook or even how many words each person typed that day. Software such as this will log everything – from the click of a mouse to every key stroke – before giving you the information in the form of a graph. Despite the complexity, this type of software isn’t prohibitively expensive, usually costing around £150 per employee and is virtually untraceable – even by the most technically savvy.

What do we think?

Provided our team are performing well and meeting their targets, we feel that monitoring is largely unnecessary. We restrict monitoring to two areas: during staff training to ensure that communication with clients is as it should be, and if there is a problem with a particular person and we need to get to the bottom of what has been said and when.

We feel that it’s only in situations where there is a major problem that monitoring should come into play and that there are better ways to find problems. Getting to know your team a little better is a great example and a far more cost effective use of your time. If you do think there’s a problem however, and you’d like us to help, please get in touch and we’ll happily chat things through with you.

Why upgrading your software is important

With the news that Microsoft is stopping support for Windows XP on the 8th April 2014 many businesses are wondering what this means for them. Going forward it means they will need to upgrade their operating systems before support is pulled. If they don’t they may not face immediate problems but, should something go wrong further down the line, they may have to make fast and costly decisions to ensure that the business can keep functioning efficiently.

All businesses rely on technology heavily. Unfortunately the majority of them don’t make the investment in upgrading the software that is the linchpin of their business until forced by the software companies. Even then many do not upgrade until something goes fundamentally wrong with their IT set up.

This unplanned approach costs time and money that many organisations can ill afford. Many business leaders, particularly in smaller organisations, can struggle to see the benefits of ensuring that they are using up to date software. They’ll replace plant equipment, company vehicles and other essential business equipment but somehow software isn’t given the same priority. Why take the risk on something that your business needs to function?

Five reasons that upgrading your software is crucial for your business:

  1. It can save you money in the long run – prevention is better than cure so they say; by investing rather than reacting you will be saving on cost in the long run. You can plan for the cost to your business and you won’t have to find call out fees and unnecessary upgrade costs.
  2. Your workforce will be more effective – if you are using accounting, graphic design or other specialist software then it’s always good for business if your team has the latest version to support them in their roles. It can also keep your clients happy if you are providing them with a service which heavily involves the use of these software packages.
  3. Software leads skills – Keeping on the subject of specialist software; in creative industries it’s the developments in software functionality that shape the skills needed to provide 5* service to your clients.
  4. It reduces stress – If, like many SME’s, you leave upgrading your key software packages, operating systems etc… until something goes wrong then there is a lot of stress involved. You may struggle to get IT support immediately, you will have to find the money to cover costs that weren’t budgeted for and you will have downtime that could mean getting behind on servicing your clients
  5. Less risk of downtime – in the case of using out of date operating systems such as the soon to be unsupported Windows XP if the system fails after the 8th April 2014 then the business may struggle to function.

So our advice is to ensure that you place the same level of importance on keeping your IT systems up to date as you would any other business equipment. It can save a lot of inconvenience in the long run.

About Ilkley IT Services

Ilkley IT services have been providing local businesses and home users in the Wharfedale area with reliable and cost effective IT and computer support since 2005. Our aim is to ensure that you IT systems perform to the highest standards possible through our call out and support contract services.

We also offer online data backup, antivirus and Microsoft Cloud Email set up and support.

Over 95% of our new business comes via recommendation and we are proud of our client list which includes big and small businesses alike.

To discuss your IT support contact us on 01943 601601 for a no obligation discussion.

How to protect yourself and your business from hackers

Do you know if your personal or business IT systems are protected from hackers? If you don’t then you need to start thinking about it. Hacking has become a real danger for businesses and individuals, with sometimes disastrous consequences; yet people still don’t seem to see it for the threat that it is.

What is hacking?

Hacking is when your computer or network’s security is compromised by a malicious attack with the view to getting access to personal details and passwords. People and businesses have lost money, clients and had their reputation damaged because a hacker has accessed their email, website, blog or computer network.

5 ways you can protect yourself from being hacked

  1. Make sure that your internet connection is secure – This is the easiest method to help secure your computer and networks against hackers. Basically you need to add a password to your Wi-Fi connection. If people can access your Wi-Fi then they can hack your computer and leaving your network unsecured is unnecessary. Not sure how to add a security key? Google will help, it’s a simple process.
  2. Take time with your passwords – It seems like everything that we do online these days requires a password and it would be so easy to use the same one for everything, but this is a mistake. If a hacker gets access to your computer or network, through your unsecured Wi-Fi or under the guise of offering a free security scan, they will only need to crack one of your passwords and voila they will be able to get into everything. Use different passwords and make sure that they include numbers and punctuation if possible.
  3. If you don’t know what it is don’t download it or click on it – People think that if they have up to date virus software installed they are protected, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Hackers are clever and have found ways to bypass virus scanners through downloads, for example, offering a free system scan, or by hacking your email account. They then send emails to your address book which include a link. Once the recipient clicks that link the hackers are in and able to get access to their personal information – they’re very clever – if only they would use their powers for good. If you don’t know what it is then don’t download it or click on it.
  4. Allocate someone in your office to manage downloads – this may sound extreme but it follows on from the previous point. If you set up a system administrator, then whenever your staff wish to download something the designated person has to login as administrator and check the validity of the download before it can be completed. This is particularly relevant if your staff are handling sensitive company or customer data.
  5. Use an IT support company you trust to monitor your systems and deal with any threats – At Ilkley IT Services we are proud to say they we can ensure the security of your network through Cloud Anti-Virus from AVG alongside other security measures such as firewalls, password and permission settings and software restrictions. With Cloud Anti-Virus we can monitor and act on any threats to your system so you don’t have to worry, it’s a great service that probably costs less than you think.

Organisations that deal with a lot of sensitive data, their own or their clients, find having an offsite security contract in place not only provides peace of mind, but it can actually help win high profile clients. You will be seen to be taking the security of their information seriously.

If you need any further advice or would like more information about how you can protect yourself, your business and your employees from hackers then give us a call on 01943 601 601.

About Ilkley IT Services

Ilkley IT services have been providing local businesses and home users in the Wharfedale area with reliable and cost effective IT and computer support since 2005. Our aim is to ensure that you IT systems perform to the highest standards possible through our call out and support contract services.

We also offer online data backup, antivirus and Microsoft Cloud Email set up and support.

Over 95% of our new business comes via recommendation and we are proud of our client list which includes big and small businesses alike.