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Choosing the Best Small Business Computer

Published on: January 4, 2017 in

5_Security_MeasuresYour employees are some of your business’s best assets. With that in mind, it is imperative that they work with high-performance computers that will unlock their full potential and contribute to your business’s profitability. If only it were that simple. Selecting a computer often involves several factors such as mobility, quality, and price – there are simply too many things to consider. Choosing the right computer requires careful thought, and this is what we’re here to discuss.

Laptop or desktop?

Laptops are highly portable, efficient, and inexpensive. If these are the most important qualities your business requires in a computer, then by all means, choose them. Clearly, desktops aren’t built for mobility, but what they lack in portability, they more than make up for in storage, processing capacity, and security. Although laptops make perfect sense for small businesses with great need for portability, they are much more prone to security threats and are not as easy to upgrade and maintain, unlike desktops.

Processor

The Central Processing Unit (CPU), determines the speed at which you can access your data and perform business-critical tasks. Speed is measured in Gigahertz (GHz), and a processor that runs from 2 to 4 GHz should be plenty for small enterprises. Arguably the most important item on the list of a computer’s specifications, the processor plays a crucial role in your computer’s speed and efficiency.

Storage

As critical hardware components, hard drives indicate how much information you can store and use. Storage capacity typically ranges from 128 gigabytes on “light computers”, all the way up to 2+ terabytes on more critical machines. If your business doesn’t need to store large files such as videos and images, and will be used mostly for email and a few applications, 250- or 500-GB storage should do the job. (If processor speed is number one on your list of computer requirements, it’s followed closely by hard drive storage.)

Operating System

Operating system (OS) decisions often boil down to choosing between Windows or Mac. It might help in your decision-making to know that Windows remains the most widely used OS mainly due to its high compatibility with business software, not to mention, its relatively cheaper price. Macs can perform just as brilliantly as Windows-operated systems can. And although Macs are usually more expensive, they’re well known for their own outstanding features, such as being less prone to crashes.

Other Components

Not to be confused with storage drives, a computer’s Random Access Memory (RAM) is only used to run open applications. It is responsible for keeping your computer performing at optimum speeds, especially when you’re working with several applications or programs at once. For small businesses, a 1200-2600-MHz RAM should suffice. The higher the MHz of your RAM, the higher its performance will be. To keep your basic programs running, 4-8 gigabytes of RAM is often satisfactory.

Ready to Buy a New Computer?

Deciding which computer to buy is an important business decision. While there are a handful of factors to consider, what you aim to accomplish in your business’s day-to-day operations should be your main consideration when choosing a computer. Businesses that require plenty of remote and mobile work should consider laptops. Those that require regular transfers of large datasets could benefit from the increased storage capacity associated with desktops.

Do you need expert advice in choosing the best computers for your small business? We’re happy to guide you in every step of your purchase decision. Give us a call today.


Windows 10 is here…

Published on: September 1, 2015 in

Following the let-down that was Windows 8 and 8.1, Microsoft is keen to impress – so much so that it’s skipped number 9 and jumped right to Windows 10. Now the new operating system’s release has been confirmed for July 29, and Windows-based small businesses are clamoring to try out its impressive new features. Here is the rundown of the things you need to know before you spend your fall upping the ante with Windows 10.

You can get it for free

They say the best things in life are free, and that might just be the case with Windows 10. Microsoft has kept its word about making its newest operating system free to access – at least if you’re currently running an authentic version of Windows 7 or 8.1, its two most recent releases. You’ll enjoy a free lifetime upgrade to Windows 10 provided you make the move within the next year and, better still, it’s an automatic upgrade directly from your existing Windows 7 or 8.1 interface. If you’re running an older version of Windows, you’ll need to make a fresh install and you’ll also need to pay – the various available versions of Windows 10 are expected to retail starting at $119.

It’s being launched in phases

Although the official release date was July 29, in reality Microsoft pushed out Windows 10 in a phased launch. This explains why you might not have been prompted for the Windows 10 on July 29 itself – instead, Microsoft has made the new operating system available to desktop and laptop users first, and only later to mobile and other devices. What’s more, the firm already has its next move in the pipeline. Upgrade and update plans for Windows 10 are anticipated to be on the way in two phases, in June and October 2016. But we are expecting these changes, codenamed Redstone, to come in the form of more minor tweaks to the Windows 10 infrastructure rather than a full overhaul.

It’s the last you’ll see of Windows

Microsoft has made no secret of the fact that it sees Windows 10 as the operating system’s final release. But that’s not quite as ultimate as it sounds – this is not really the end of Windows. Instead, what we’re seeing is the transition of Windows from a product to a service. Microsoft envisions a future where, instead of major new versions of Windows emerging every few years, there are regular improvements and updates – far beyond the Windows Updates that we know at the moment.

It’s likely that version numbers will come to play far less of a role in system updates in the future – in much the same way as mobile apps operate, we’ll instead settle into enjoying a frequently updated service that incorporates the latest features Microsoft has developed. And while some have expressed fears that this could lead to home and business users being tied into a subscription model in order to stay up to date, Microsoft appears committed to ensuring that ongoing upgrades are free.

Ready to make the leap to Windows 10? Want to find out how best to make the transition with minimal disruption to your business? Give us a call and let us walk you through it.


Traveling with Technology: 10 Need-to-Know Tips Before You Leave for Vacation

Published on: July 29, 2015 in

QA_UpgradesAt TECHLINQ, we clearly love technology… but even WE advise you to unplug from the hectic world and leave the gadgets behind while on vacation. Unfortunately, if you’re like most of us, you need to stay connected to some degree.

We’ve compiled a list of good technology practices and safety tips to keep in mind while traveling.

 

 

 

  1. Don’t bring your laptop! Try to use your smartphone or tablet instead to read emails, browse the internet, and access social media while on vacation. No need for the extra weight and risk of loss or damage. If you must bring your laptop consider the following before you leave on your trip:
    • Make sure that your software updates and antivirus settings are up to date
    • Back up all of your files and important documents
    • Password protect your valuables with complex passwords that are hard to crack
    • Encrypt important data
  2. Create a VPN so you can securely access your home network anywhere you go (this is especially helpful when visiting countries with censorship or internet restrictions).
  3. Avoid logging in to any public or shared computers and unsecured networks. Don’t let even the swankiest hotel lobby PC fool you! Public computers can be littered with malware so avoid logging into anything that requires you to enter passwords or personal information. To stay on the safer side, see if the hotel offers a WPA¬2 protected wifi network for guests that you can access on your phone or tablet.
  4. Make sure that your technology and gadgets are equipped with well-fitting protective gear. It helps to bring extra plastic bags to protect your gear in case of sudden downpours or unexpected moisture. There are also countless designs of waterproof cases you can also choose from if you’re going to be spending a lot of time near water.
  5. Back up your files often throughout your vacation. This will enable you to have enough room for plenty of new photos and ensures that each day’s memories will be safe! Not sure how to back up your files on the go? You can use SD cards, an external hard drive, a USB thumb drive, or if you have internet access, a cloud based service such as Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud for Apple, or Google+ Auto Backup for Android phones.
  6. Pack a good quality power strip so you can charge all your devices at once. If you’re going overseas you’ll want to include a universal power adapter.
  7. Bring a portable cell phone charger. For a lot of us, our phones double as our digital cameras. A portable charger will give you a chance to charge your phone if you don’t have access to an electrical outlet.
  8. Make use of the countless apps created to make travel easier. There are apps to keep your devices secure with alarms, help you find locations with wifi, or apps that will allow you to explore the land like a local!
  9. Avoid roaming charges and high rates on your cell phone and use a wifi based calling system such as Skype or WhatsApp.
  10. This one might be the most important tip of them all. Make the best of your time and memories by opening your eyes to the world around you. After all, those are the moments that add to your life and make your vacation memorable.

2015 New Year’s Computer Security Checklist

Published on: February 11, 2015 in

QA_2015This checklist will help you make and keep your PC more secure. Over time, security holes are discovered in all computers’ operating systems and the software that runs on them. These risks need to be patched to keep your system and personal information safe. We’re rolling this list out for the start of 2015, but recommend it be adhered to consistently.

  • 1. Make sure your operating system is up to date
    We recommend current systems have at least Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, which will be supported until 2020. If you’re running Windows 8.0, we highly recommend that it be upgraded to 8.1 to be sure you have the most secure version.
  • 2. Check Windows Update settings
    Verify that your computer is set to automatically download and install at least critical updates frequently. Better yet, have your updates managed by TECHLINQ to ensure not only stability, but compatibility and proper application.
  • 3. Ensure that you have Endpoint Security software installed
    Properly functioning and current antivirus/malware protection is a must for all PCs.
  • 4. Check that you have a Security Appliance in place, or at least a firewall on your computer
    An edge Security Appliance is the best way to provide comprehensive gateway security for your entire network. In addition, each PC has a built-in software firewall that should be enabled as well. Configuring the intricacy of these security devices and features takes specialized knowledge, can get very complicated, and is typically best left for technology security professionals.
  • 5. Check what version of Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, and Java you have installed
    A surprising number of threats are borne from these three add-ins/applications. Always make sure you’re running the latest versions available that are compatible with your systems and applications.
  • 6. Update or upgrade your web browser
    Your web browser is the window to your Internet world. Maintaining them on the most recent versions is critical to maintaining the security of your systems. The “big three” browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. All three will give you similar experiences with minor differences in features, speed, and security profile, so choose what you’re comfortable with.

If you are having difficulty staying on top of properly maintaining your systems, contact the experts at TECHLINQ to see how we can help ease the burden with an innovative TECHLINQ Support plan.


Is an Android tablet on your loved-ones wish list? Learn how to choose the right one…

Published on: December 10, 2014 in

QA_AndroidGiftOne of the most popular gifts this holiday season is the tablet, and more specifically the Android tablet. Because there are so many different options to choose from, it can be difficult to actually choose the right tablet to give as a gift. To help, we came up with some important factors to consider before you purchase your festive gift.

Consider your budget
The great thing about Android is that there are tablets available for a wide budget range; from the ridiculously affordable, yet highly praised, Amazon Fire HD 6 ($99 on Amazon.com), to the top-of-the-line Samsung Galaxy Tab S ($350-$400 in stores).

Look at reviews online
There are a ton of websites dedicated to reviewing tablets and other mobile devices. Take, for example, the well-known Engadget or Trusted Reviews. Sites like these generally give a good overview of the new and most popular devices out there. Pay close attention to the criteria used though, as some review sites tend to only look at basics such as battery life and design, without going too deep into the actual usability.
It is also important to look at actual user reviews. A great place for this is Amazon.com, as almost all reviews of devices on the site are submitted by users. While some reviews may be overly positive or negative without actually revealing reasons, generally speaking they provide an accurate real-life picture.

What will the tablet be used for?

Many tablets offer special features and functions aimed at different types of users. For example, some offer increased security and encryption that is ideal for the business user, while others may offer features such as pen support which turns the tablet into a drawing pad. If the recipient is likely to be using the tablet for work, then your search should focus on specific, business-oriented devices.

Who will be using the tablet?

Tablets running Android 4.4 (KitKat) and Android 5.0 (Lollipop) have the ability to establish different profiles for different users. So, if you know that the tablet will be used by a variety of people then it would be best to purchase a tablet incorporating either of these versions.
If you know that children will be using the tablet, there are a number of apps with features that set the tablet up for children. For example, some will block the Google Play store and any apps that are deemed unsuitable for children. It might be a big help if you install this beforehand.

What is the technical ability of the user?
It’s true that almost every tablet is designed to make it simple to pick up and figure out, but some tablets are aimed more at specific users than others. Take for example Google’s Nexus line, which is aimed at users who want a tablet with the most up-to-date software. Users with more tech experience generally find the Nexus line more preferable.
Other tablets come with super simple setups and many popular apps pre-installed, which could make them more suited to users who may not know much about Android, or simply just want to pick up their tablet and go.

Look at durability, and features
As with most tech-related purchases, you generally get what you pay for. So, if you want a tablet with top-of-the-line features like a great display, fast processing speeds, and LTE/Data connections, you are likely going to pay more.
A good starting point is to look at the questions you answered above about who will be using the device and what they will be using it for, then look for a tablet with those features and positive reviews. While it may be tempting to stick with brand new tablets only, be sure to look at those released in the past year as well. For example, the terrific Nexus 7 tablet (2013 version) is still a great option for many users, not to mention the fact that it is available at an affordable price. Manufacturers like Samsung also have a number of great tablets available with a wide variety of features.
Almost above all else, the overall durability of the device is important. If you purchase a tablet with flimsy construction, there is a good chance it will break or fall apart easily. Online reviews often focus on the build quality, so these could be a good starting point. Also, going to the store and physically trying the devices can go a long way in helping you choose the best one.

If you are struggling to find the perfect tech gift or Android tablet this holiday season, contact us today to see how our experts can help you find exactly what you need.


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