Tag Archives: Holiday

Do your business’s helpdesk requests soar as the holiday season ends?

Pool StorageDrink in hand, sun on your face, toes in the water, the world and all its cares slip away.  And then you have to come back to the office, force your feet into formal shoes and try to remember how your laptop works.

 

No wonder then that, when the summer ends, help desk requests can go through the roof.  The first challenge is logging into your computer.  The Telegraph suggests that we have to remember 10 different passwords everyday and not using them is possibly the simplest way of forgetting them.  First call to the help desk!

 

Once you’re in, it’s a case of remembering what you’re doing.  The challenge here is making sure that you don’t do any harm before you’re back in the swing of things.  With autopilot off and muscle memory more long-term than you’d like, it’s easy to make silly mistakes in a spreadsheet or to accidentally save over a Word document.  Another call to the help desk!

 

That’s why having business-quality backup is so important.  A service that integrates with directory and single-sign-on solutions means that there’s one less password to remember and one fewer call to the helpdesk.

 

And, with file versioning, even if you accidentally save over a document more than once, you’re able to roll back and restore the original.  Just choose the date at which the file was last correct and restore it to your computer.

 

Of course, you can do that yourself without a call to the helpdesk – so, hopefully, the IT support team can enjoy a gentle return to work too.

Shop Safe on Cyber Monday

This Monday is set to be the busiest day of the year for online shopping as Brits spend their November pay cheques on Christmas presents for friends and family.  But, if you’re planning a shopping spree to stuff your stockings, make sure you practice safe shopping!

 

Last year, the Metropolitan Police shut down 2,000 fraudulent websites in an operation to protect people from Cyber Monday scams, which can include counterfeit goods, the spread of computer viruses and simple theft.

 

At the same time, worldwide, $1,25bn was spent online in a single day, meaning that the stakes are high with millions of us handing over personal details and uploading and downloading content.

 

With personalised gifts becoming more and more popular, many of us will be uploading photos and downloading templates to fill in with our information, often using sites that we’ve never encountered before.  But festive good cheer can quickly turn into misery if you find your credit card cloned, your fake gifts falling apart or a virus wiping all the information from your computer.

 

So, if you’re looking for bargain this Cyber Monday, help to protect yourself by following these simple tips:

 

  • Make sure that you know whom you’re dealing with – use trusted sites or research any new sites and vendors thoroughly
  • Don’t click the links in unsolicited emails offering great Christmas deals
  • Be suspicious if something is significantly cheaper than on other sites – if a deal is too good to be true, it probably isn’t
  • Check that the payment pages are secure – look for:
    • A padlock symbol in the browser window frame
    • A URL that starts https://
    • A green address bar
    • Paying by credit card can offer more protection than paying with a bank card if the site is fraudulent
  • Make sure you have effective anti-virus software running and that it’s up to date
  • Back up your computer before you go online to make sure your data is protected

 

 

Photo-Fabulous Phones

One of the great things about having a camera on your phone is that it’s always with you so, even though you couldn’t know in advance that your mate was going to fall flat on his face in the mud, you’ll still be able to make sure that the rest of the world can share in his humiliation through the awesome power of Facebook.

But, for the really important occasions, most of us still like to take a conventional camera.  Weddings, christenings and barmizvahs demand a better quality of picture that you can generally get with six-times optical zoom on a clam phone.

So, we end up with two tiers of photos: everyday photos on your phone and special photos on your camera.  Which is all well and good until you want to share your pictures.  When trying to show off your boyfriend to colleagues in the bar after work, that picture of him in the mourning suit at your sister’s wedding is on your laptop at home and you have to choose between a snap of his Dot Cotton impression and that time he managed to balance a pizza box on his face.

And September can be one of the most frustrating months as you realise that all of the holiday pictures you took in Cancun are at home and your only record of summer is the check-in queue photo that you posted to twitter in an attempt to shame the airline into an upgrade.  How are you going to trump Dave-in-Finance’s pictures from Kavos with that?

Enter the Mozy App for iPhone and Android.  Mozy lets you access all of the data that you backed up on your computer right from your smartphone.  So, once you’ve synced your camera with your laptop, your back up will give you access to all your photos on your phone, regardless of which device you used to take them.

So, should you want to prove that the fish you caught on your trip really was ‘this big’ or the girl you met in Marbs really was ‘this hot’, all you have to do is reach for your phone.  You can even use the app to post the picture to Facebook so the rest of the world can witness your glory.

Of course, if your friends download the Mozy app, it may mean that they have every picture they’ve ever taken of you to hand at all the least opportune moments.  We apologise in advance for any future incidents where anyone reveals that experimental haircut you thought made you look edgy when you were 15.

Five tips for keeping your laptop safe in the sun

Top tips for backup in the sun

If you’ve been living in an air-conditioned, hermetically-sealed bunker this week you may have missed the news that not only have we had record temperatures for Wimbledon week, we’ve also got a Brit through to the men’s quarter finals.

For those people who are genuinely working from home this week (and watching the tennis with one eye whilst checking your Blackberry with the other doesn’t count), the thought has probably crossed your mind to make the most of the weather and decamp to the alfresco office that is the back garden.

However, whilst we may love the sun, our computers don’t necessarily agree (by and large, they really would prefer to be in an air-conditioned, hermetically-sealed bunker).  So, before trailing the extension lead out to the lawn and setting up a deck-chair desk, here are Mozy’s top five tips for keeping your laptop happy in the sun.

1)      Shade is your friend

Most office-issued laptops come in a black case, which is just perfect for absorbing the sun’s rays.  Batteries will lose life forever if overheated and hard drives that expand in the warmth will be prone to head crashes.  Keep your laptop under 35 degrees Centigrade to keep your computer safe.

2)      Time is a great healer

Carrying a working laptop from blazing heat to the cool of your home, or vice versa, encourages sudden expansion or contraction of the parts whilst still in operation.  Shutting down your computer before you move in and out, and giving it time to acclimatise before rebooting, will help to protect your device.

3)      A watched computer never boils

Leaving your computer unattended in the sun is never a good idea.  That rings true if it’s in the garden or in your car.  If it’s too hot to leave a pet or a child, it’s too hot to leave your laptop.

4)      Don’t sweat it

High humidity can lead to condensation in the circuits of your computer so, if you’re feeling sweaty, the chances are that your computer is too …only the computer issues can’t be fixed by a wipe with a towel.  If the humidity outside is over 80 per cent, it’s advisable to keep your computer indoors.

5)      Back up

The whole point of a laptop is that it’s portable so you shouldn’t be afraid of taking it where you want to use it.  If you have an online backup of your files, should the worst happen and your hard drive stops working, you’ll always have a copy of them in the cloud.

So, enjoy some fun in the sun and remember to protect your computer and protect yourself – slip, slap, slop people!

Baggage backup: online protection for when your suitcase goes on holiday without you

Coming back to work after a summer holiday can be a depressing business, what with having to exchange barefoot walks on the beach for cramping work shoes under the desk, and swapping tropical cocktails for a carton of 5Alive to accompany a limp sandwich at lunctime.

But it’s the backlog of emails many of us dread most. Perhaps this is why, according to the Institute of Leadership & Management, 80 per cent of us will have been regularly responding to emails whilst on holiday.

But those of us who are packing our laptops in with our suntan lotion and flip-flops might be least equipped when they return to the office as many will find that their computers don’t return with them.

According to SITA, 25 million bags going through airports were ‘mishandled’ last year (‘mishandled’ is a nice way of saying that they don’t turn up in the same place as you do rather than suggesting that those naughty baggage handlers have been lifting them by the extending trolley handle, which we all know causes long-term damage to our luggage).

And, if you’re flying back to Heathrow, your chances of arriving laptop-in-hand are even slimmer, given that research from the Ponemon Institute shows that it’s Europe’s black-spot airport for laptop loss with over 900 mislaid every week (‘mislaid’ is a nice way of saying nicked in most cases).

So, if you’re reading this as a distraction from sifting through a week’s worth of email, you’re actually one of the lucky ones. Feel better now?

Of course, those travellers who chose to back their computers up with Mozy could have the best of both worlds. They get to take their laptops on holiday with impunity, safe in the knowledge that, if it’s the laptop that ends up going walkabout on their walkabout adventure, all their emails and other files can just be downloaded to another computer.

So, if there’s someone sat near you looking smug with a tan and a new laptop, they’ve probably got Mozy (or a sugardaddy). Check out Mozy here for more information and to help make sure that feeling of holiday relaxation stays with you longer.

Travel Insurance

Murphy’s law states that, “if anything can go wrong, it will.” In most cases, you can extend that to say, “…at the worst possible time.”

Or so it can seem when you’re getting ready to leave for your holiday and go to print out all of your travel documents. If you’ve gone online to get the best deals, there’s probably a lot of paper work for you take with you – an eTicket for the plane, an online reservation form for the hotel, a travel insurance policy, a car-hire agreement and any manner of other things that you might have arranged in advance.

So, having just checked in online, and scrolling through your documents to choose what to print out, this is quite possibly the worst time for your computer’s hard drive to fail. And that’s when Murphy’s law steps in and sends your computer into meltdown.

How are you going to get the documents you need in time to make your flight?

Shouting very loudly at the computer is usually the first thing to try, accompanied by banging the desk. Following that, begging the computer to start up again, questioning the legitimacy of its parenthood, and prayer seem like good options. Once these avenues have been fully explored, you’ll probably move on to more practical solutions.

If you’re lucky, your suppliers will have emailed some of the documents you’ve lost to an account you can access over the web. If you’re organised, you’ll have an online backup service that will allow you to get everything back that you need.

An automatic online backup service will quietly log all of your holiday documents as you received them, recognise they are new and copy them to a secure data centre in the Cloud. Without you even noticing, you’ll have saved your bacon.

A quick stop at the internet café at the airport and you can use your backup provider’s web portal to access all of your files and, though you may have to pay the coffee shop 10p a sheet to print out your documents, it feels like a small price to pay to get your hands on your stuff.

Recovering everything else you might have lost can be simply done when you return from your holiday. And, after a week in the sun, you might just have relaxed and calmed down enough to face your computer again.

Top Tech Tips For Your Summer Holidays

If you’re counting down to your holiday, why not pass the time by checking off one of our “tech to-dos” each day this week.

Monday

Spend your holiday in the sun and not a hospital bed by making sure you’ve had all the right jabs.  You can check out the NHS website to find out which injections you need or download an app to your iPhone, like Healix to work it out for you.

Tuesday

Just because you’re away, doesn’t mean you can’t keep an eye on your home. Whether you’re looking out for burglars or simply seeing what the neighbours are doing when they come round to water the plants, you can watch your home through your smartphone with apps from provdiers such as alarm.com, domus or Platinum.

Wednesday

Don’t lose track of your favourite shows whilst you’re away, even if you forgot to set the programmer before you leave.  Download an app like TV Plus or Tioti TV to simply schedule Sky+ recording remotely.

Thursday

Waste not, want not and visit LoveFoodHateWaste to download bespoke recipes to use up everything in your fridge before you go away.

Friday

Make sure you know whether to pack water wings or wellies by visiting the BBC weather site or downloading a free weather app like WeatherBug.

Saturday

Don’t forget your toothbrush, or anything else for that matter by getting organised and creating a spreadsheet of everything you need to take with you.  Failing that, let someone else get organised for you by downloading a packing app like PackingPro.

Sunday

Using your laptop as a DVD player on the plane may seem like a good idea when it keeps the kids quiet on your flight out but you won’t feel the same way if it gets stolen and you lose all the pictures, files and music on it.  Use an online backup service like Mozy to back up all your files before you go away and make sure you’re hardware is covered on your travel insurance, that way, whatever happens, you’re protected.

Footnote: Mozy has not tested, is not associated with, nor recommends any of the sites or services listed here, other than www.mozy.co.uk.  Readers should make their own assessment of any service before engaging with it.