Protect Your Data!

Your data is one of your most valued resources. Nearly every modern business relies on servers, large and small, to conduct everyday operations. Not only do you need access to applications such as Microsoft Exchange and SQL server, you need ac-cess to all the information on your servers all of the time. Extended downtime is not an option.
It’s vital to have a complete backup of your Windows servers and data in the event of a catastrophic failure. You need to be able to recover files and folders quickly, but it’s far too time-consuming to restore your server with only a file-level back-up following a disaster or when migrating to a new server.

As a managed service provider (MSP), value-added reseller (VAR), or IT administrator, we know the importance of a reliable backup as part of your complete backup and disaster recovery plan.

A solid backup is the bedrock of your plan. You don’t want to get into a disaster and find that one of your backups is corrupt or worse yet, that your backup solution hasn’t even been running.

If you expect to recover successfully from a disastrous event, whether it’s a deleted file or a tornado, you need to be sure your backups are doing what they’re supposed to do: taking clean, pristine images of your data and applications.

Your software should allow you to back up your Windows servers quickly and easily, and recover rapidly in the event of a disaster. Proper backup software is a fast and reliable disk-based backup that captures full, differential and incremental point-in-time backup images of your entire system. That includes the operating system, applications, configuration settings and data.

This helps you maximize business continuity while minimizing your RTO (Recovery Time Objective). It uses image-based technology to perform online backups of Windows servers. Backups happen throughout the day, so there’s no impact on business performance. New data is protected also because it is promptly backed up. Take business continuity to the next level by minimizing recovery windows. Limiting the time that is required to restore server systems and data helps you get business back up and running in a matter of minutes, rather than hours. Every minute you lose in recovery time is income and productivity lost. Minimize recovery time and you maximize your profits.

Call us for additional information about Backup Disaster and Recovery plans and products.

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Unplugging Yourself from a Connected World

Today’s tablets and smartphones allow you to take your work anywhere and everywhere, including your daily train commute or to the weekend sports field sidelines.  This ability to be permanently connected to the rest of the world has led to an “always available” mentality. How often do you stop something to check a message on your phone? Is your phone within reach during mealtimes and when you watch television? Is it the last thing you look at before sleeping and the first thing you check in the morning? Here are our top 5 tips for taking a break from your electronic world (and most likely your work!):

1. Start your day, then your phone: Does your morning routine consist of waking up, checking your phone and then getting out of bed?  Start your day before you start your phone. Enjoy some time to yourself before opening your brain to the interruptions of the outside world. This is especially important if you have breakfast with other family members. Checking your email can help you to plan your day, but see if you can fit in a shower and a coffee before switching to thoughts of your schedule.

2. Leave it behind: It may be too difficult to go one entire day without your phone, especially a working day, but do you really need it in your hand every minute? When you have a mental break and step away from your computer, leave your phone at your desk too. Tell your colleagues that you’ll be back in ten minutes and go for a walk without your electronic device. Calls can all be returned when you’re back at your desk.

3. The amnesty box: Create an amnesty box in each meeting room for phones & tablets to be deposited into at the start of a meeting.  Talk to one another and write any main points or action items on a whiteboard. At the end of the meeting, you can grab your phone and enter any new tasks or take a photo of the entire whiteboard. This prevents people from becoming distracted by social media and applications. Adopt this box at home too and include everyone’s iPods/MP3 players when some technology-free time is needed, especially at mealtimes.

4. Time out: Set some time schedules for ignoring the internet. This could include “no technology before 8 AM or after 8 PM” or “no phones for one hour after getting home.” Resist the temptation to check work emails before going to bed. If you need to stay available, place your phone on a shelf or in a nearby room with the volume set loud enough for you to not miss any important calls.

5. Airplane mode on the ground: If your phone is also your morning alarm clock, turn on Airplane Mode before you go to sleep. This will turn off your data connection and mobile phone signal, preventing late night social media notifications and wrongly dialed number calls. If you must be available to take phone calls after business hours, turn off just your mobile data connection and your Wi-Fi. If you are having a day off and still want internet access, just turn off the connection to your work email account, so you’re not tempted to check that new message beep.

Of course, you could always remove the social media applications from your phone and only check Facebook from a computer!

Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooters about the connection settings and application settings on your phone or for any of your technology needs.

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5 Reasons Your Business Needs An Audit

Audit – it’s a very painful word that conjures up images of the taxation department. If done correctly though, an audit of the technology in your small business should be quick and painless and yield you with some valuable information. Here are our top 5 reasons why your business would benefit from a technology audit:
1. Find immediate areas for improvement – If you’re thinking of replacing your computer, an audit may reveal that upgrading the memory would give you a significant performance boost. It could also highlight incorrect system settings or poor security configurations that could easily be fixed. With a clear picture of what technology you have, it might be easy to find some quick, inexpensive areas for improvement.
2. Budget for longer-term areas of improvement – An audit may reveal out-dated hardware that should be replaced with newer, faster components. It could also highlight disks that are close to their capacity, but still have some spare space. You can then plan and budget to address these areas in the future, instead of having to react tomorrow to an unforeseen full disk.
3. Know what software is on your computers – If your employees are able to install software onto your computers, do you know what they have been installing? An audit will reveal if your computers have illegal file sharing software or other programs that may be relevant to their hobbies, not their work (e.g. share trading).
4. Know you have the correct software licenses – In some cases, it is a software manufacturer’s right to randomly audit your business and check that you have the correct license number and the right kind of license for their software. If you’ve taken on more staff since you started, or you’ve had employees installing software on your computers, an audit can reveal where your software licensing might need some attention.
5. Compile an asset register – Your business will have certain assets listed for accounting purposes. That audit may not include many of your IT devices that are under a certain monetary value. If a theft or natural disaster hit your business, wouldn’t it be great to have a full list of all of your technology components? Ask your I.T. guy to store a copy of your audit results, off site, in case you need to refer to that asset list to make an insurance claim.
The outcomes of your audit should be a comprehensive list of your I.T. assets and recommendations for improvement that fit in with your business plans (both short and long term). If your I.T. guy uses your audit as an opportunity to sell as much of his products and services as he can, call Computer Troubleshooters for an independent trusted second opinion.

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Scary But True Facts About Data Loss

  • The average failure rate of disk and tape drives is 100% – ALL DRIVES WILL EVENTUALLY FAIL.
  • Only 34% of companies test their tape backups and, of those who do, 77% have found failures.
  • 60% of companies that lose their data will go out of business within 6 months of the disaster.
  • Over ½ of critical corporate data resides on unprotected PC desktops and laptops.
  • Key causes for data loss are:
    • 78% Hardware or system malfunction
    • 11% Human error
    • 7% Software corruption or program malfunction
    • 2% Computer viruses
    • 1% Natural disasters
    • 1% Other
  • Only 25% of users frequently back up their files, yet 85% of those same users say they are very concerned about losing important digital data.
  • More than 22% said backing up their PCs was on their to-do list, but they seldom do it.
  • 30% of companies report that they still do not have a disaster recovery program in place, and 2 out of 3 feel their data backup and disaster recovery plans have significant vulnerabilities.
  • 1 in 25 notebooks are stolen, broken or destroyed each year.
  • Today’s hard drives store 500 times the data stored on the drives of a decade ago. This increased capacity amplifies the impact of data loss, making mechanical precision more critical.
  • You have a 30% chance of having a corrupted file within a one-year time frame.

Source: VaultLogix

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Google changes privacy policy & search result rankings

Recently, Google has been very busy implementing various changes to its privacy policy and to its search engine. Let’s look at these changes and how they may impact you.
You may have noticed the banner “We’re changing our privacy policy. This stuff matters.” on some of the Google sites you’ve been visiting.  Now that Google is much more than just a search engine, it is consolidating more than 60 individual privacy policies across its products into a single one that promises to be “a lot shorter and easier to read.”  Some products (like Wallet and Chrome) will retain their own policy for regulatory purposes and/or to help spell out that product in greater detail.  Google believes this will allow them to consolidate your usage across their products and to bring you better integration with more relevant content.

Imagine a scenario where Google notifies you that you may be late for your meeting, because it combines your location, your calendar entry and the local traffic conditions.  Sounds helpful, doesn’t it?  And if your status on Google+ is often about horse riding, you may start seeing more horse riding videos in the Featured section of YouTube.  The other side to this coin is that Google will have a much more detailed picture of you, enabling it to target you with specific advertising, which is a much more valuable commodity to pitch to advertisers.  While Google still won’t sell your personal information, access to a tightly defined market will see advertisers running to Google to promote their products, as a targeted audience is much more cost-effective for them than a mass marketing approach.

To see your presence across the Google products and to access your personal settings, you can log into the Google Dashboard (  To learn more about this topic, view Google’s official policy page here:  The change goes into effect on March 1, and if you don’t agree with the change, your only option is to stop using Google’s products (with an account).

The other major changes impact website owners. Google will now lower your search result ranking if your site is packed with advertising ‘above the fold’ (in the top space before a reader needs to scroll down).  It will also focus on how relevant your content is to your keywords – do you deliver a helpful website and a great user experience, or are you delivering some slick, copied sales pitch to promote an e-book on a different topic?  More than ever, your website needs to focus on being relevant and recently updated.  Webmasters also need to be aware the Google search results can now include content from other Google products, so items like your company’s Google+ page updates may also appear. This is good news for businesses who have embraced social media as it will add to their search results presence.

Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooters about your Google presence or any of your technology needs.

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Peoples Choice Business Award

The Kanata Chamber of Commerce holds an annual Peoples Choice Business Award. Computer Troubleshooters Kanata has been nominated in the Small Business Kanata category.
I have attached a link for you to register then vote. If you could take a few minutes to vote for us, we would greatly appreciate it.
The process is
1. Register
2. Wait for activation email
3. Activate account
4. Vote
5. Select Small Business Kanata Category
6. Select for Computer Troubleshooters Kanata

Here is the link

Thanks for voting.

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Technology Predictions for 2012

Each January, the I.T. industry reveals predictions for the upcoming year, so we’ve scoured the news sources and added our own insights.  But first, let’s see how 2011′s predictions manifested.  
’3D without the glasses’ was a great engineering feat but hasn’t hit mainstream manufacturing for your living room just yet.  Monetizing social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter etc.) has also not been widely adopted, with many businesses still scratching their heads over how to accomplish this.  Facebook advertising, social media competitions and promotional codes all seem to be small steps towards this.  Location-based services gained more momentum (especially with the rise of FourSquare) and with Apple re-securing a patent relating to locations, expect to hear more about these services in the future.  Tablets did indeed move into the world of business, forcing I.T departments to adopt strategies for securing and supporting these devices.  And last but not least, the adoption of cloud computing could not be more varied, with some companies transitioning to it completely while others are still wary of security & availability. 
So what’s in store during 2012?  Here are the top picks for the year ahead:

Smartphones are normal – We now have a generation of ‘smartphone literate’ kids who would never turn on a computer if they could find what they need from their mobile phone.  Though we first mentioned this in 2010, if you still don’t have a mobile version of your website, give that some serious thought in 2012.  With the internet in their pocket, people will research, locate and share like never before. 

E-commerce here to stay – Sadly, 2011 saw the demise of some well-known American retailers, with the effect spreading to other locations too.  Online stores will have to shout out their point of difference or play the pricing game to compete with one another, as shoppers easily compare items between stores. Are traditional retailers going to continue to struggle to keep up or will they adopt new strategies to exploit their ‘buy now, use it now’ capability?  eBooks will continue to push through this paradigm in reverse though, as electronic delivery to your device is faster & cheaper than purchasing in store.

Mobile payments – MasterCard and VISA both rolled out ‘contactless’ payment systems last year, opening the doors for this capability on your mobile phone.  Google is firmly pursuing this with the Google Wallet smartphone application, creating another advertising revenue stream for itself.  Maybe in late 2012 you’ll leave your real wallet at home?

Social Media is normal – The sparkle may wear off social media but it will remain a powerful, uniting communication medium.  Businesses will be forced to accept it as part of their marketing strategy or be left behind by competitors that have embraced it.

And though it can’t really be classed as a prediction, Microsoft will launch its Windows 8 operating system in early 2012, replacing the Start Menu with touchable, updating panel icons.

Whatever the I.T. industry delivers in 2012, contact to Computer Troubleshooters to discuss how it can benefit your business or for any of your computing needs.

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IP Telephony (VoIP) – Affordable Professional Communications Solutions

Every small business needs an affordable, professional communications solution. Today’s IP-based telephony systems are light years ahead of older proprietary phone systems, and make it easy to add features that were once available only on the most expensive phone solutions. Your Computer Troubleshooter can work with you to design an IP-based telephony solution that incorporates any of these features:

• 40% to 80% less than the cost of a traditional phone system.
• Unlimited extensions.
• Unlimited auto-attendant (i.e. “press 1 for sales, press 2 for service, press 9 for a dial-by-name directory”.)
• Unlimited voicemail.*
• Voicemail-to-Email: receive your voicemail messages in your inbox (great when working from home or on the road!)
• Music-on-Hold.
• Direct-Inward-Dialing (specific phone numbers to reach people directly, without the menu.)
• VoIP support for low-cost calls and extra phone numbers for callers inside the US and around the world.
• Integration with Outlook or other CRM packages.

IP Telephony systems can start under $1000 depending on the features desired. Talk to your Computer Troubleshooter today about how an IP Telephony system can help your business succeed.

More Features + Less Money = No Brainer
• Follow-Me support sends calls to your cell phone or other local phone wherever you are.
• Queues route callers to groups of employees who can handle their calls.
• Scheduler functions change your menus and recorded messages depending on the time of day.
• Easy, drag-and-drop call transfer functions.
• Support for both new IP phones and traditional analog phones.
• Dial-by-Name directory.
• Telecommuting: use an IP phone at home or wherever a suitable internet connection is available (great for branch offices!)
• Conference Bridges (for easy group conference calls.)
• Intercom, Call Forwarding, Call Waiting, & Call Return functions.
• Useful Reporting & Graphs.
• Easy Call Recording or Monitoring.

• Disaster Survivability: routes calls to your employees even if they cannot go to the office.
• Can reduce phone call charges & long distance by up to 80%.

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Can my phone or tablet get a virus?

Gone are the days when all of your interaction with the internet was done at a computer.  Our mobile phones no longer hold just names and telephone numbers as we now use them to access websites, social media and software applications.  Tablet computers have also enabled us to use the internet while we’re on the move or from the comfort of our living room.  So, if you have anti-virus software or security software to protect your computer, do you need it on your phone or tablet too?

The answer is a resounding YES.  The creation of malicious software (malware) for Android in particular (the operating system found on many smartphones and tablets) has jumped significantly in recent months.  This is mainly due to the creators switching their focus to Android, which now has a significant presence in the market.  They also know that most Android-based devices are not running any security software.  However, don’t think that your iPhone or iPad is immune either.

So what exactly is at stake here?  Well, malware can allow hackers to gain access to any personal information on your phone or tablet, which can then be on-sold to identity thieves and also used to spam other device users.  This can include your messages, your contact list, your photos, your location and any information you’ve created using an installed application (e.g. notes or documents).  Phone malware can also be used to secretly send premium rate text messages or make calls to premium numbers from your account.  As this activity does not show in your Sent folder or Call History, you won’t even know it’s happening until you get your account statement or run out of credit.

Most commonly, malware lurks in software applications (apps) that seem innocent but may actually be pirated versions of genuine apps, ‘free levels’ of popular games or even fake security tools. There is also a growing concern about malware hidden behind ‘URL shorteners’ (like, and These tools are used to display a short version of a long internet address and hide the target location of the internet site where you will actually end up.

Malware usually relies on your acceptance before it can install, so you can protect yourself with some good habits:

  • Avoid installing apps that you’re not familiar with including software that wants to download and install automatically from websites.
  • Be wary of free apps and those with prices that seem too good to be true, compared to their usual price.
  • Confirm whether friends or family really did send you a message before clicking on any links.
  • Be wary of online contests or promotions to win free gadgets, other products or services.
  • Install a reputable anti-malware app. Learn how to use it and keep it updated and what the alerts looks like.
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How can the Internet really improve your business?

It’s widely accepted that now most business cannot operate without an internet connection.  Even industries such as manufacturing or trades have an element of their business operation that benefits from internet access.  Some ‘internet-enabled’ business functions are now commonplace, such as communication via email and access to internet banking services.  Unfortunately, the internet presence of many small business stops at a basic website.  This month we look at a few others way that your business could take advantage of the internet.

Savvy consumers turn to the internet to check out the pedigree of a business, so it’s important to stand out from your competitors.  An ‘online chat’ on your site would enable your prospective clients to ask a question & receive an immediate answer, provided by someone in a sales or administration role.  Video content on your site (or linked to from YouTube) is great for engaging people instead of pages of text.  Also, regular email marketing campaigns and newsletters are an easy way to keep in touch with prospects that aren’t quite ready to buy from you just yet.  If a change to any of your website’s content means a call to your I.T. provider, look at a ‘content management’ based platform that allows you to make changes to text and post news updates without any coding knowledge.

Once reserved only for large corporations with big budgets, there are now a number of affordable solutions which allow secure remote access for your staff into your business network, to either access their files or even control their entire office computer and applications.  This can give your staff a greater degree of flexibility with their work hours, leading to greater productivity. You could even consider ‘cloud storage’ or hosting of your business information to make your office ‘virtual’ and accessible from wherever you have an internet connection.  Keep in touch with your remote workers with video conferencing software and an inexpensive internet camera and microphone.  This virtual team concept can be extended to include your clients and suppliers too, removing geographical boundaries.  If sharing files like documents or photographs with your contacts could improve your business, ignore the attachment size limits imposed on most email systems and look at an alternative solution for easy, secure file sharing.

Seek out suppliers and educational institutions that use the internet for online presentations (or webinars). These can be watched from the comfort of your own computer and may include a chat option if they are live. Some webinars are recorded, allowing you to inform or upskill yourself at your own pace, at convenient times.  Could your clients benefit from a webinar group training presentation on your products or services too?

The internet can also supplement traditional I.T practices.  It enables fast, remote support from your Computer Troubleshooter who can connect to see your error message first-hand, without having to drive to your location.  It also allows for secure backups of your critical information to another location ‘offsite’, without having to transport hard disks or tapes. And if you haven’t looked at the cost savings of ‘Voice over IP’ yet, it’s worth considering instead of your traditional telephone service.
If this sounds a little daunting and you don’t know where to start, talk to  Computer Troubleshooters Kanata  for helping squeezing as much benefit as you can from the internet, or for any of your technology needs

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