Cloud computing allows you to store or back up huge amounts of data without needing to spend excessive amounts of money on hardware storage devices. If you run a data-intensive business, it’s simply one of the most useful tools at your disposal. However, it’s important to ensure that the data you migrate to the cloud is secure and well organised. Luckily, we at Bits and PCs have years of experience in business IT support in London. So we’ve decided to offer you four straight-forward tips for keeping your data safe and properly ordered when moving to cloud computing.

1. Check your vendor’s certification

When migrating large amounts of data to the cloud, it’s vital to pick a cloud computing vendor who you can trust and who will be able to handle your data. The simplest way to do this is to make sure that a prospective vendor has up-to-date data storage certification and that they also have any industry-specific certification they may require. If a vendor lacks certification (or if their certification isn’t up-to-date), it’s usually best to look elsewhere.

2. Ensure your data is encrypted

Cloud computing is an amazing tool, but it has one flaw: it’s more vulnerable to hacking and data theft than offline storage methods. Luckily, you can help protect against the possibility of data theft very easily; you simply have to encrypt your data. While encryption isn’t 100% foolproof, it is highly effective and will defeat most hackers and prospective data thieves.

3. Make sure your vendor offers rapid recovery of data

If you’re using the cloud to back up your data, it’s important to know that you can recover all of it as quickly as possible. Make sure you understand how quickly a vendor’s service will allow you to recover lost data before you commit to them. After all, you don’t want your business to grind to a halt while you wait for lost information to be recovered!

4. Choose an industry-savvy vendor

Different industries store different types of data. What’s more, they also need to access their data in different ways. For example, a business that offers financial services will handle data very differently to one that offers medical services. Different types of businesses need different things from their cloud storage vendors. If possible, you should try to choose a vendor who caters specifically to your industry to ensure that your data is stored in the optimum manner.

 

At Bits and PCs, we offer computer support in London, and we like to think we’re experts at it. If you follow our tips, we can guarantee that your experience with cloud computing will be smoother and more secure.

We all like to think we’re IT masters, but a MacBook is a little box of magic if you just know how to use it and we’re still learning things each and every day that blow our minds.

Here are 5 Apple Mac Hacks you will love that we picked up along the way that will unleash the power of your Mac.

1. The emoji keyboard

Emoji
Emoji

If you’re stuck using the old-fashioned emojis, or even typing them out in long-form, then you’re stuck firmly in the 90s. You can unlock a keyboard full of cutting edge emojis by simply pressing: Control, Command and Space Bar together. Note: This trick only works on the OS X Mavericks and OS X Yosemite systems.

2. The quick calculator

Spotlight Calculator
Spotlight Calculator

When you need to do a calculation, just call up Spotlight with Command and Space Bar and put your calculation in there. The answer pops up right in front of your face.

3. Sign things without printing them out

Annotate
Annotate

We’ve all been through that tortuous printing and scanning process just to sign a document and you just don’t have to. In Preview, go to Tools, select Annotate, Signatures, Manage Signatures and then you can just sign with a pen on the trackpad. This is an ingenious hack that will save you serious time. Alternatively, photograph your signature with the inbuilt camera and then paste it in using Preview.

4. Instant dictionary

Instant Dictionary OSX
Instant Dictionary OSX

If you’ve ever copied a word, opened a new browser window and pasted it into Google to get the meaning, there’s a better way. Simply hover the cursor over the word and press Command, Control and D together. A dictionary window will pop up and fill in your knowledge gap.

5. Run Windows apps

Crossover Mac
Crossover Mac

We’ve all been left frustrated by the lack of a specific program for the Mac, but CrossOver Mac allows you to run Windows applications without the whole Parallels set-up. You’ll have to pay for the privilege, at £38, but it saves so much time and so many messed up systems that it’s worth the investment in our opinion.

 

We provide Apple Mac repairs and computer support every day to smart people that simply want to understand their computer better. The more you know, the faster you can get things done, so you can get back to the fun stuff.

 

In today’s marketplace, more and more of what businesses do is carried out online. However, whilst this makes things easier for everyone, it can also leave your business open to attacks. So, use these four tips to keep your business safe online.

1. Use strong, unique passwords

Whilst you might think that cyber criminals never try to enter secure accounts by guessing passwords, you’d be wrong. As a business, you need to make sure that your data is protected by strong, unique passwords. This usually means employing a combination of letters and numbers, in both lower and upper case. Also, don’t use any words or numbers related to your business, or the account or data that you’re protecting.

2. Browse the web safely

You also need to make sure that you use the internet safely. This not only means choosing what websites to go on, but can involve blocking certain sites from being accessed on your business’s networks and devices. Doing this will help protect your network from unwanted visitors and can also improve productivity.

3. Back up your data

Backing up your data is a great way to protect yourself online. It provides you with a secure, stable copy of all your information, and means that should anything happen, you can still get access to anything you might need.

4. Keep your email secure

Lots of cyber criminals gain access to computer networks through email scams, so be careful what information you give away. Also, you should ensure that your email network is completely secure, by implementing a firewall, using passwords, and not allowing access to unauthorised computers.

There you have it – four ways to protect your business online. However, although these tips are a good place to start, you should consider calling in the professionals to make sure that your business and its data are completely safeguarded online. With cybercrime on the rise, and anti-security software better than ever before, securing your business online has never been more important. Contact us today to find out about our computer support packages in London and across the UK.

Apple is one of the most divisive brands on the planet, but there’s no doubting that the company Steve Jobs founded has produced some of the most exciting breakthroughs in computer technology since its inception. Even if it didn’t invent them, which was often the case, it brought cutting-edge technology to the mainstream.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

1. iPhone

The iPhone has taken smartphones to a whole new level and helped raise the game. The iPhone 6 is a computer that fits in your pocket. It’s just that good and the progress is almost inconceivable. Apple has also changed the world with the App Store, which holds 2 billion apps covering more or less every requirement and niche gaming fetish.

2. The mouse

Steve Jobs didn’t truly invent the mouse, Xerox did, but he did bring it to the world at large in the 1970s. Xerox planned to introduce a £180 computer mouse, but Jobs took the basic design, simplified it immensely and managed to reduce the price to just £10. That was the start of a revolution in home computing.

3. Wi-Fi

This was another case of Steve Jobs striking at the right time. Wi-Fi was actually created by the US government, then standardised by a collection of six major industry players. While PC manufacturers were circumspect, though, Jobs jumped right in and acted as the industry champion for Wi-Fi, including ‘Airport’ as an optional extra on every laptop from 1999.

4. USB

Apple’s decision to choose USB ports over other legacy ports like ADB and SCSI for the iMac in 1998 was the major motivation for the industry to focus on the connection that we know and love to this day.

Again Apple didn’t invent the technology, but its adoption of other peoples’ hard work was the main reason that USB made such an impact on society at large. Computer support in London became a good deal easier, too, as standardised connections eliminated a major reliability headache in terms of drivers and hardware.

5. iPad

Jobs famously said that product development is all about telling people what they want, not giving them what they ask for. The iPad is a prime example; nobody knew they wanted a sub-laptop tablet computer until the iPad was launched. Now it’s considered a must-have item for any Apple-loving techie.

Apple fans should clear their schedules in September as the next generation of iPhones, iPads and Apple TV devices are likely to be unveiled at the company’s next big press event. Consensus is on a 9th September unveiling with one of Apple’s usual big PR shows. That could also play host to an upgrade to the MacBook hardware, with Intel’s Skylake processors likely to speed performance along nicely.

If you’re looking to upgrade, and your current Mac isn’t in the best state, we offer computer support and Apple repairs in London, and can get your old Mac back into shape, so you can sell it to fund your upgrade or to trade in. We can also provide advice on securely wiping your Mac (see our how-to here, 5 Step Guide to Securely Wiping Your Computer) to remove any personal data from it.

But, the big news will be about the latest iOS hardware, even if the iPad now only gets minor upgrades, and this year’s new iPhone will only be a modest ‘S’ update. The new iPhone 6S and 6S+, may ship with a new force touch capability on the screen, for a new level of interactivity, acting as an alt-click or variable selection function, according to reports.

Both devices will doubtless be hot sellers, with another set of users at the end of their two-year contracts ready to move up. The UK launch is apparently scheduled for 18th September. These new phones are also supposed to have stronger cases to prevent bending and the usual CPU upgrade and battery improvements.

A new marginally thinner and more powerful iPad is also on the cards, perhaps with the mythical 12-inch screen iPad Pro. There’s also the long-awaited fourth generation of Apple TV that might round out the hardware show. That will bring HomeKit smart home controls to those with Nest thermostats, digital locks and other smart home gear.

Apple’s iOS 9 will probably be the biggest news, bringing further support for health apps, digital wallets and improved iOS gaming capabilities. One big feature for the iPad will be the arrival of split-screen apps, the ability to move data between them and other improvements to make them iPad useful for work situations.