How Safe Is Your Data?

The internet is full of scare stories about the latest viruses and ransomware that will encrypt your files, or simply delete it without trace.  These aren’t just scare stories, I have customers on my own little address list who have lost data to scammers.

You can’t underestimate the dangers of losing critical data.  Yet the complexity of managing backups for yourself can be daunting.  If you copy it to an external disk, how do you make sure the disk is safe?  What if it’s swept off the shelf by a passing tea trolley?  If it’s stolen, have you done enough to make the data unreadable to whoever gets their hands on it?  Data protection is a hot topic these days, so handing over all your customers’ names and addresses could be as much of a disaster as losing your data altogether.

Many backup processes have fallen flat because no-one checked the logs to make sure they completed successfully, or because no-one ever thought to run a test and make sure the data was usable when it was copied back off the device.

The answer nowadays is refreshingly simple.  With the increased availability of high speed internet connections (yes, I know, it’s never as quick as you’d like,but that’s beside the point), backing up to remote locations is now feasible for most businesses.

Your checkpoints:

Is my data going to be far enough away from the office if it burns down or there’s some natural disaster and an ark appears out of nowhere?  Yes.  Internet backups can have your data at the other end of the country.

Is my data going to be secure?  Yes.  Thanks to all the work that the banking sector has put into encryption, both when transmitting across the internet and when storing in a datacentre, these technologies are now available to the rest of us.

What if the datacentre suffers some catastrophic event – will my data disappear from their systems?  No.  Any datacentre provider adheres to strict regulations to make sure that there is at least one other copy of your data at least 25km away.

What about restoring all that information in the event that something goes horribly wrong?  If you’re not going to another site with super quick internet connections, you can request that your data be recovered to a conventional disk drive and couriered direct to your new location.

Is it safe?  Yes.  You will set the encryption key and you can make it as complex as you like.  The staff at the datacentre won’t know it and they won’t be storing it for any hackers to pick up.  Of course, if you want to set your encryption key to “abc123” we can’t stop you!

How do I know the job is running regularly?  You will control how often it runs, though we usually recommend overnight when your lines are quietest.  If something stops a backup from running at its scheduled time you will be free to start it again manually.  If the job repeatedly fails and you haven’t noticed, someone from the datacentre will make contact, just to make sure you’re aware.

Are you sure it will have time to backup all my data every night?  Well, the first copy will take some time, but after that the software will run “block level copies”, transmitting only the chunks of a file which have changed, not the entire thing.

Isn’t this going to cost me an arm and a leg?  No.  Prices start from £1 per GB per month for this fully managed, security compliant service that could have you sleeping at night again.

Now isn’t that the cheapest IT technician you ever hired?

For more information, please get in touch using one of the channels on our contact page.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Canon Printer Error 6C10

I nearly had to wave goodbye  to my trust Canon ip4700 this week.  Every time I tried to print I got an error 6C10 and every time I looked that up, printer boffs and forums told me the ink pads were saturated and they needed replacement.

Just to put that into context, a set of pads is £65, or a replacement printer (which would also upgrade me to wifi and a built in scanner) is £40.


Not to be deterred, and in recognition of the literally hundreds of printable CDs, sheets of A4 photo paper and the reams of invoices and bills that come out each year when I run my accounts, I  searched again.  This time I found someone who had looked elsewhere and cleared his 6C10 by cleaning the print head.  Not only that, he cleaned it with warm water, not one of the cleaning fluids advertised on ebay.

Suffice it to say, after a trimmed down process which took all of 15 minutes, I now have a working printer again.  Long may that continue!

You can see the process in action here:

My Basket

Here are some of the products I have recommended recently

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Is this a new marketing squeeze?

Every now and again I get an enquiry from someone who is looking to upgrade their PC.  They might find the performance of their current computer isn’t what it once was, or maybe there’s been a coffee incident across the keyboard and replacement would make more sense than repair.

My advice has always been simple.  Don’t go out and buy the cheapest computer on the basis that you don’t do anything heavy.  Look below the surface a little and make sure you have an upgrade path two or three years down the line.

12 to 18 months ago I started unearthing badly behaved laptops (mainly) and desktops that were bought with Vista on them but had a maximum memory capacity of 2GB.  I run my own Vista laptop on 3GB today, but if I were looking for a new machine I would consider 4GB to be entry level for Windows 7.

Looking back historically, XP used to run on 128MB RAM in the very early days, although 256MB was far the better option.  Today I get calls from people with 1GB in an XP machine who are suffering from a shortage of memory (that’s eight times the 128MB/four times the 256MB for you normal people).  In that context, to sell Vista computers which couldn’t go past 2GB was nothing short of a marketing exercise.  And I’m seeing it again.

6 months ago I shopped for three people and found very reasonably priced HP towers with decent Intel processors and a maximum capacity of 16GB.  They were priced at circa £350 and I would expect them to run comfortably through the next five years.  Today I shopped for another client with the same goals and didn’t find a tower with a 16GB capacity until I reached the £599 budget.

I do understand the logic behind this.  Money is tight for everyone and the manufacturers have to plan for the future.  I mentioned HP and this is no reflection on them – all the suppliers are the same or worse, in fact HP were the first to come up with a 16GB machine through the high street outlets that I was polling.  The bottom line is, if your 8 year old computer is dragging its heels, please don’t rush out and pick up a bargain in the sales.  The chances are that you may be in exactly the same position in another 3 years.

AVG still coming to the rescue

As established AVG security software resellers, we are pleased to say that they are still coming to the rescue.  Despite increased competition in this sector, AVG consistently offers high detection rates with a reduced impact on system performance.  Added to that, when we report new viruses to AVG, they generally issue an update within a few hours, as opposed to 2 days in the case of one of the major players!

AVG Free is still a popular choice, but if you think you may no longer qualify for a free licence; if you use your computer for commercial purposes, or if there is more than one computer in the household, do drop us a line for a competitive quote on a 1 or 2 year licence for your PCs.

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