Archive for June 2018

New Computers – Buying and Setting Up

New Computers - Buying and Setting Up

Shopping for a new Computer?

It’s a decision that comes with equal doses of excitement and anxiety – unlike popping out to the shops for a new toaster, choosing the right computer comes with so many questions, most of which are usually asked in some sort of alien language. Helpful sales people offering RAM as it were a side of fries, measuring CPU speeds in ‘cores’, and listing specifications that mean nothing to you or what you want to do, can sometimes get in the way of helping you make the right choice.

That’s where we start. Not with tricky language that only makes sense to other computer geeks, we simply find out what you plan to use your computer for, then help you do it. Depending on your needs, we’ll make sure that you do not overspend on specifications you don’t need, after all, it’s nice to have a Porsche but you don’t need to pay for one to just go to a supermarket!

New computer – what next?

Once you’ve got that new machine home and out of the box, you’ve inhaled that new tech smell and taken plenty of selfies to remember the moment forever, the anxiety can come flying back in. Which cord goes where? It doesn’t work like your old one! Why is it doing that?! How to put programs back on? Does it come with security already loaded?

If you’ve had your old computer for a few years, you know you’re in for a bit of inconvenience, no matter how shiny the replacement is. We can assist you and make it all so much easier.

If you buy the computer elsewhere, we can set it up for you and deal with any issues that may happen.

If you have bought the computer from us, installation is already included in the price, so you don’t have to worry.

Transfer your old files for you.

One thing most people forget during their new computer bliss-phase is how to get information off your old computer and onto your new one. If your old computer is too broken to boot up, this can be a real problem. We can either turn the old hard drive into an external drive for you or copy the data onto storage media such as a USB stick.

If the computer does boot up normally, we can copy your files and transfer them to the same place on your new computer, for example Documents, Emails, Photos, etc. You’ll be able to pick out the files you need and continue what you were doing.

If you’d prefer, we can often install the old hard drive inside your new desktop so it’s always there and you have extra storage as a bonus.

Setting up your email.

It’s no secret, setting up email can cause headaches even for a tech person. Getting the settings right can sometimes be more error than success. The most common problem we see is email that can receive, but not send. It’s a frustrating problem, especially when you’re sending important emails. We can set your email up successfully and ensure it both sends and receives, as well as add in any additional accounts you’d like to manage from the same app.

Save your favourites.

All those bookmarks you’ve made and carefully sorted (or not) are important. You may even have different collections of favourites in different browsers and the last thing you want to do is go find those pages again. We can retrieve your old favourites and put them onto your new computer, making your browser experience look and feel exactly as it did before, only faster.

Setting up your software.

A common misconception is that many people believe that you can copy a program from one computer to a new one, but the fact is that there is no reliable way of doing that.

So if you are using, say, Microsoft Office that you’ve had for years, but no longer have the CD or activation code, then you will need to replace it. We can advise on what is best to replace programs and not all replacements need to be purchased again.

We can help you re-download your programs and set up the licenses good as new. As technicians, we also tend to go one step beyond and make sure the new software is optimized, updated and working well. While we’re doing that, we can make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and you’re as secure as possible against threats.

Connect extra devices

Sometimes it’s a matter of knowing what cord goes where or getting the right adapter, but sometimes new devices can present software problems. Printers, webcams, game controllers, etc all have unique drivers that need to be installed before they can work properly. Windows 10 is great at picking most of these up automatically, but if they’re not playing nice or your new computer is suddenly missing the correct plug, we can help get you moving again.

Whether you buy the computer from us or somewhere else, we can set all of this up and get you running on your new computer. Call us today on 01455 209505.

Should You Pay for a Ransomware Attack?

Getting hit with a ransomware attack is never fun, your files get encrypted by cybercriminals and you can no longer access them, so you’re left having to decide: should we pay to get them back? It’s a scene that’s played out across the world with 70% of businesses saying ‘yes’ in 2016 alone.

Here’s what you should consider if you’re ever in this situation.

Do you trust them?

Besides the fact that they’re criminals holding your data hostage, how confident are you that they’ll send the decryption key or that it will even work? Most attackers demand you send the payment via untraceable Bitcoin, so you have no recourse if they take it and run. You’re also equally trapped if they decide they asked too little and come back with increasingly higher demands.

If they do send the decryption key and you successfully decrypt your files, be aware they still have access to your systems and can hit you again at any time until your network is disinfected by experts. Businesses don’t exactly want their breach publicized either, so many don’t admit to paying the ransom, whether it went to plan or otherwise.

Can you manage the impact of a Ransomware attack?

Best case scenario, you can wipe the affected drives and restore from a clean backup without paying the ransom. You might even decide the encrypted files aren’t that important and simply let them go, or even wipe a whole laptop or workstation.

On the other hand, if your data management comes under any special regulations, like health or legal, you may find the attack has a much wider, more intense impact.

The attacker will usually give you a countdown to motivate a payment, with a threat of deletion when it hits zero. If the data isn’t that valuable, or you have confirmed backups, this urgency has no effect.

There are also new types of ransomware like KillDisk which can permanently wipe your entire hard drive.

How much do they want?

Cybercriminals rarely send out global attacks with set amounts, instead, they prefer to customize the ransom based on how much they think you can pay. Large corporations and hospitals (remember the NHS Ransomware incident not too long ago) are hit with very high demands, while small business demands are more modest. They may be criminals, but they’re smart people who know your financial limits.

They’ll also consider how much similar businesses have paid and how quickly, then expect you to follow suit.

Are your backups good?

Many businesses are discovering too late that their backup systems aren’t robust enough to withstand this type of attack. Either they’ve become infected too, they weren’t up-to-date or they backed up the wrong data.

It’s worth doing some quick checks on your backup processes as even if you have to take the system down for a day as you recover, you’re still light years ahead of those without them.

Can you prevent Ransomware attacks in the first place?

There may have been a time when you didn’t have to consider ransomware as an issue and just had to have some form of basic antivirus service running on your computer – but unfortunately this is no longer the case. You need a good security system in place that includes some form of ransomware protection.

Ransomware is constantly evolving and security is always playing catch-up, so go for the best performing security system – not necessarily the cheapest.

Reduce routes of infection

Ransomware is showing no signs of slowing down. As more businesses keep them funded the cybercriminals are steadily launching new attacks and making it their full-time job. Most attacks come via phishing emails – those emails that trick employees into clicking a link – and they can be extremely convincing. While training helps people spot them, it’s no guarantee.

We recommend using business-class spam filters to catch these types of emails before they land in your employee inboxes so that triggering a ransomware attack becomes something that happens to other businesses, not yours.

Secure your data systems now, we can help! Call us on 01455 209505.