Category Archives for "Tech Tips"

Tech Tip: How to Stay Safe from Scams and Malware on Facebook

How to Stay Safe from Scams and Malware on Facebook

At last count, Facebook has clocked up over 2.7 billion users, which makes the platform more attractive than ever for scammers and hackers. While you may be logging in to share your latest family photos or catch up with friends, the chances of accidentally triggering a scam or malware are increasing daily. Here’s how to stay safe on Facebook and stop the spread.

Look out for freebies and surveys

Everybody loves a freebie and for the most part the competition posts on Facebook are legitimate. On the flip side though, when you see a giveaway for vouchers from a mega-store, alarm bells should ring. ‘Do this quick survey and we’ll send you a $50 Amazon Voucher!’ – it’s too good to be true. Even one click can take you on a messy journey through the underbelly of the web, picking up trackers and malware at every stop and at the end, you’re asked to share the post so your friends can get a voucher too…except nobody ever gets the reward.

Check your permissions with games and quizzes

Whenever you access a new game or quiz, you’ll need to give permissions for it to access your Facebook profile. Most people click the okay button without any thought, but if you review the permissions you’re giving, you’ll often find they’re asking for a massive amount of personal data; public profile, friend list, email address, birthday and newsfeed. Do they really need ALL this information? Sometimes the shakedown is from necessity, but sometimes the apps are preparing to launch attacks against you both on and off Facebook. For example, when you call your bank they ask certain questions like your full name, birthday and maybe which high school you went to. All that information is in your Facebook profile and now shared with your permission.

Don’t friend people you don’t know

Having lots of friends is always nice, but that friend accept could end up costing you. It might be someone pretending to know you, or a picture of a pretty girl to entice men (and vice versa). Once you friend them, they get access to everything your friends can see. In this case, it’s more than the risk of someone knowing your personal data, you’ve just given them intimate access to your life. It’s exactly how romance scams start, and there are even cases where the victim finds photos of their children circulating the internet.

If it’s weird, forget it

It doesn’t happen very often, but hackers find ways to take advantage of flaws in Facebook. A common hack that keeps popping up in various forms is to embed malware in a link. The virus then infects your machine and contacts all your friends with an enticing message, like asking whether a picture is of them. When they click to view the picture, the virus catches them and their friend list, and so on. Facebook is pretty good at staying on top of these flaws, but they need time to fix it. Just like if you got a weird email with an attachment from a friend, use that same level of scrutiny in your Facebook and don’t open messages or links that seem out of place.


Need help securing your privacy? Talk to us. Call us at 0800 4 VETTA

Tech Tip: Top 5 Cloud Advantages for Small Business

Top 5 Cloud Advantages for Small Business

Cloud technology has created a revolution for small business, changing the way you store, share and backup files. While ‘the cloud’ is often hard to understand because it’s neither in the sky or in a single location, there’s no arguing that it’s driving growth across the board. Storage concerns are a thing of the past as small businesses like yours embrace the flexibility, cost savings and protections of cloud solutions. We’ve done the research for you and identified 5 ways small business in particular benefits from making the move.

It’s Cheaper

Budget is always a limiting factor for businesses, many of which are further constrained by pressure from higher up. Some regard investing in cloud solutions as a large expense that can be put off indefinitely. In most cases though, making the switch to cloud storage costs a fraction of the price. Compared to maintaining and powering servers, scaling to keep up, and repairing in emergencies, cloud storage offers extraordinary savings. With one decision, you get access to high-end infrastructure and dedicated support, plus a healthier bottom line. Cloud solutions were specifically created to meet your needs, which means you only pay for what you use. Costs remain capped while the benefits continue to rise, a clear advantage for the budget-conscious business.

It’s Secure

A lot of people like having their data where they can see it. But that’s not always the safest option. Natural disasters seem more frequent than ever, break-ins are a worry, and employees are always losing laptops and phones, or have them stolen. More often though, someone simply makes a mistake and deletes important files, or accidentally infects the system with malware. Cloud storage mitigates every single one of these risks, with storage in ultra-secure locations, protected against disasters, and committed to robust backup systems. In recent times particularly, we’ve seen many small businesses survive ransomware attacks purely because their critical data was secure in the cloud with clean backups available.

It’s Compliant

We know medical businesses and services need to follow certain regulations when it comes to patient data. This includes security as well as data integrity, plus backups and auditing. Many cloud providers acknowledged this need early on and made sure to offer compliance guarantees. They therefore keep abreast of changing regulations, often implementing new requirements before you’ve even heard about them. With cloud storage systems, you essentially slash your compliance workload and let your provider do the worrying.

It’s Portable

One of the key benefits of cloud storage is your ability to collaborate remotely. In the past, this would have involved multiple file copies that need to be merged back together, often confusing employees as to which is the ‘right’ file. With cloud storage, your staff can work on the same file, using the same interface and real-time updates. Even having different versions of software is no longer an issue. Employees can work on a file in the office and then securely access the same file from their smartphone, laptop or other location, without needing to buy additional software or worry about version corruption. Sharing and collaborating becomes easier, more desirable and more secure, which helps puts your business firmly on track to reach goals in record time.

It’s Easy to Migrate

One of the biggest concerns we hear is that it will be too disruptive to migrate to cloud solutions all at once. That’s okay. We don’t have to do it all in one day, we can migrate it in parts. For example, you can move your email to the cloud, or just remote file storage. As your various servers and systems age out or need repair, we can help you move each to the cloud, which means your downtime is minimal to non-existent. You can also actively choose a hybrid approach to keep your legacy applications, with no pressure to move them to the cloud. Our technicians can help ensure smooth integration across your entire business, making sure all your systems work seamlessly together, whether in-house or in the cloud.

Talk to us about your cloud options by calling us at 0800 4 VETTA

Tech Tip: Computer Broken? Watch Us Fix It – LIVE!

Computer Broken? Watch Us Fix It – LIVE!

When your computer is playing up or driving you crazy, the absolute last thing you want to do is lug it down to the local repair shop. So many cables. So many connections. And why is it suddenly so heavy? It’s stressful just thinking about it! Fortunately, tech support has come a long way in recent years and you now have another option: remote access support.

Just like it sounds, one of our experts will connect to your computer through the internet and fix the problem. You can even watch the entire process on the screen or step away and we’ll call you when the problem is fixed. As long as the computer starts and has a working internet connection, you can simply put your feet up and watch the show! Remote support isn’t just a new technology that lets you stay in your PJs for longer, it’s a better way to approach a huge range of issues, with some pretty great benefits.

High fix rate: While it does sound impossibly futuristic, around 90% of problems can be solved this way, quickly and efficiently. We’re sure you’ve been on the frustrating end of a call-center style support session at least once and can guarantee – remote support is nothing like that. Our technicians don’t ask you to click a hundred buttons and read the screen back, they simply identify the issue and fix it for you there and then.

Location independent: For some people, the best part of remote support is that it doesn’t matter where YOU are either. You could be away on holiday with your laptop, at home with the kids, or under 6 foot of snow in a record-breaking blizzard, and our remote techs can still fix your computer.  Fortunately, your computer loves staying where it is. They’re actually more likely to have issues when they’re moved around a lot, so this is the perfect solution. There’s no need to pack anything up, drive across town to drop off and then back again for pickup a week later. Our technicians know you have better things to do, and will remote support you in any way they can.

Complete privacy: Remember how you can watch the technicians move things around the screen? There’s no better way to know your privacy is protected than to see exactly what’s happening. Unless they’ve identified them as the issue, our experts won’t go anywhere near your private files and photos. You don’t even need to move them to a folder marked ‘private’, our technicians are laser-focused on getting you going again and that’s all.

You’re in control: Our technicians can’t access your system unless you allow us to. In fact, we need you to download a special piece of software before our technicians can do anything. Then we call via phone to arrange a time for us to access the computer. If you don’t want to watch and just want it done, perhaps while you’re at work, we can do that too. We’re here to get your computer issues solved, on your terms.

Next time your computer is misbehaving, or you need help setting up a new device or program, let us know. We’ll be able to jump in and get your system moving again without you leaving the house. Our remote support technicians can save you a lot of time and money, not to mention frustration. It’s never been easier to get expert help for your computer issues.

Give us a call today at 0800 4 VETTA to get started

Tech Tip: IT vs Productivity: How You Can Win the Battle

IT vs Productivity: How You Can Win the Battle

How much time and productivity did you lose on computer problems over the last year? It’s a safe bet that even routine maintenance had a bigger impact than you planned. Given it was one heck of a year for cyber-attacks, the emergency costs may have skyrocketed too. Without getting an analyst in to crunch every action, every number, you’ll never know how much money you could have earned in those lost hours. Right now, what you know for sure is that you didn’t go into business to be an IT expert, but suddenly there you are. Battling servers, workstations, software, protections and permissions, all on a daily basis…managing all those things you don’t particularly care about, or understand more than you need to.  Somehow, you ended up running an IT company plus your regular business.

It didn’t start that way. You got into business because you’re great at what you do. We can help you get back to doing what you’re really passionate about, and free up your time for revenue growth activities. All those niggly tasks sucking away your day can be offloaded to our Managed Service Provider (MSP) team.

Here are a few examples of what we can take care of for you:

Software and security updates: If it seems like an update for something is always popping up, sending your employees away for yet another coffee break while it runs, you’re not far off.  While it’s great that software providers are continually improving their product, patching holes and reinforcing against threats, keeping up with them all can be incredibly time-consuming. Our MSP can handle all updates and patches out of business hours, keeping your employees focused on business tasks.

Help desk: While we can’t remotely unjam the copier (yet), we can take care of all those “I don’t know how to”, “I think it’s broken” or “I need another” tech problems that incrementally drive you crazy. You can simply circulate the new protocol – ask the MSP – and watch how fast these small problems are solved, and your employees are back to work, more productive than ever.

Network management and security: The last thing you want is extended downtime thanks to crashed servers or a cyber-attack. Our MSP works with you to balance security with your business’ necessary tasks and access, leaving you protected and operational. You’ll have staff set-up with the exact permissions they need, robust backup systems in place, and early warning when hardware/software is aging out.

Strategic IT planning: Why blow your IT budget putting out fires, buying incompatible systems or tech you simply don’t need? Our MSPs can conduct strategic planning in line with your goals so you’re able to scale what you already have and schedule new expenses in time to meet projections. Even better, all your tech support comes in at one flat fee, so your IT budget goes towards growth, not emergencies.

The time you spend battling IT problems could be time you spend earning money, growing your business and moving strategically forward. Moving to a Managed Service Provider is easier than you might think too. Simply let us know you’re ready to get back to the parts of your business you love, and we’ll take it from there.

Get managed services for your business. Call us at 0800 4 VETTA.

Tech Tip: Travel with Your Tech: What You Need to Know

Travel with Your Tech: What You Need to Know

Taking a business trip can be stressful at the best of times.  Whether you’re off for an overnight conference, a week’s partnership or a longer project, you essentially pick up your entire business and take it on the road. Besides showing up in the appropriate clothing (which you absolutely packed, right?), keeping your tech up and running becomes your number 1 priority. Take a look at our tech tips for business travelers:

Be careful with free WiFi

Most hotels have free WiFi, as do libraries, cafes, and bookstores. It’s now easy for any business to open their WiFi to the public, with or without a catchy password. Unfortunately, that convenience can come at a huge cost. The wireless network you use to check your email while relaxing with a latte could be operated by a hacker. Most of the time, even the wait staff at the café wouldn’t be able to tell the difference either.

Even if you connect to the proper free network, someone could easily capture your information as it travels through the air. Using a VPN can help, as will making sure you connect only to wireless networks that require a password. Once connected, make sure the sites you visit have the little HTTPS lock.

Connect via your cell phone

Hotel WiFi is notorious for being slow or insanely expensive. You may find that your mobile phone allows you to tether or hotspot a connection. That means you connect your laptop to your phone via WiFi or cable and piggy back on its mobile internet connection. Many carriers and phones allow this, but not all. Importantly, if you’re in a foreign country it can also be worthwhile getting a local sim card rather than pay expensive roaming charges.

Don’t forget power adapters

You’ve seen it before…people scrounging around for a charger or cable, huddling around in groups until their device has enough juice to get them through a few more hours. Of course, it’s only funny when it happens to other people. Be sure to pack your correct power adapters and cables, along with any plug/voltage converters required to match your destination. It’s worth carrying your USB charging cables on your person, as many planes and airport shops now offer a place for you to plug in for a quick boost.

Have plans for being offline

Sometimes you simply can’t get online, which will do you no good when you’re checking into a hotel and your booking details are tucked safely away in your cloud email. You can print out essential travel and business details on paper, but if you have a lot or don’t want to carry them, you can also save them to a document.  Emails can be copied and pasted into a Word document, or you can print to PDF by pressing Print > Save to PDF (or similar). Many apps also have an offline mode that allows you to store the information on your computer, including Evernote and Netflix.

Need a VPN or tech checkup before you go? Call us today at 0800 4 VETTA.

Tech Tip: 3 New Year’s Tech Resolutions You Should Actually Keep

3 New Year’s Tech Resolutions You Should Actually Keep

If your typical New Year’s resolutions lasted about 30 seconds, you’re not alone. Pledges to eat better, start running and learn how to juggle can be rebooted again next year easy enough.

This year, we challenge you to think about your tech health with some resolutions you’ll want to keep.

  1. No More Junk Mail

Whether you checked a box agreeing to get newsletters, or you have no idea how you got on that list, it’s time to say goodbye. Start by emptying your mailbox to zero unread messages – no you don’t have to read all that spam – you have permission to delete it unread. Let’s face it, if you were going to read it, you would have done so already. Away it goes.

Now that you’re starting with a clean slate and a huge feeling of accomplishment, resolve this: Each day, unsubscribe from 5-10 lists. Keep an eagle eye out for that gorgeous ‘unsubscribe’ link and click it with confidence. You don’t even need to give a reason if it redirects to a survey page. Before too long, your inbox will be a refreshing place filled only with people and businesses you look forward to hearing from.

  1. Go Password Pro

With all these password leaks from LinkedIn, Myspace, and goodness knows who hasn’t come forward, now’s the time to get smart with your passwords. Because most people use the same passwords on every site, a single breach can be the hack that keeps on giving. You know how important it is to use different passwords for each site, but let’s be real, that’s a LOT of passwords to remember!

Instead of writing them down, we recommend using a password manager like LastPass. It remembers all your various passwords for you, so all you need to know is the super-protected master password. Master passwords are kept encrypted on your system, not theirs, and 2-factor authentication checks with you via text for all big changes.

  1. Backup. No Really, Backup.

I’ve been meaning to backup is the cry of someone who just lost all their photos. Good intentions don’t count AT ALL in data security, because once the data is gone, it’s gone. With new cloud backup options, there’s no reason to put this off, because backup apps are now easier and more accessible than ever before. You can also backup to local drives, but this will take a little extra remembering on your part, as you’ll want to have at least one drive that stays disconnected in case of viruses.

There you have it. Three New Year’s resolutions you can easily keep, and that will make a real difference to your year. Opening your email will be a pleasure, you’ll be a spectator only in any future password leaks, and your precious files will be safe against all manner of disaster. Feels better than any diet, doesn’t it?

Stuck with any of this? Let us help by calling us at 0800 4 VETTA

Tech Tip: Why Your Firewall Will Never Be Enough

Why Your Firewall Will Never Be Enough

Firewalls are a well-known security essential, and we’re certainly big fans, but did you know a firewall alone is not enough to keep your business safe? It’s true. It’s like building a fence around your house to keep the burglars out: You feel safe, private and secure… but the reality is, anyone with a ladder, enough motivation or ninja skills poses a real threat. That’s why despite every networked business having a firewall in place, security breaches are increasing at an alarming rate – further protections are still needed.

Without these additional protections, once the firewall is beaten or bypassed it’s like a fox in a hen house. The bad guys are free to view and download files, make changes, and even take over your systems completely. That’s why computer security works best when it’s multi-layered. When one protection fails, the next layer kicks in to keep your business safe. And then the next, and the next…but that doesn’t mean you need CIA level security that gets in your way.

A few strategic, well-planned measures can provide all the protection your business needs to keep operating without costly downtime. While it’s cool to imagine a system so secure you’ll be opening doors with retinal scanners, using synchronized keys to activate the server and dodging pressure-triggered plates around the storage drives, the reality is infinitely more usable and affordable. In fact, we’ll help you choose the perfect measures that blend invisibly into your existing processes, boosting security without affecting productivity. Take a look at some of our managed service inclusions:

Proper firewall configuration

While not enough by itself, your firewall is still your first line of defense. However, there’s a huge difference between the generic firewall that comes standard with your Windows installation, and one specifically chosen for your business and set up properly. Our technicians will work with you to identify which traffic should be allowed, eg remote employee access, and which should be automatically blocked.

Access restrictions

We’ll help you give employees access to only the files they need to do their job. It’s not a matter of trust, but rather one of security. If they were the one to accidentally let the attackers through the firewall, perhaps by clicking an email link, you’re then able to limit the damage. Without this added layer of protection, it’s relatively easy to access any and all files.

Encrypt confidential files

More secure than simply password locking a file, this uses a secret ‘key’ to scramble the files and their contents, so that when anyone else tries to view them all they see is incomprehensible nonsense. Our technicians can setup an encryption system for you so that approved users can use them normally while all files remain secure.

We offer managed services to make sure all our clients are protected and all their security products are operating at 100% efficiency. Threat analysis, prevention, management and response are all included so your focus can remain on growing your business, we’ll take care of the bad guys.

Give us a call at 0800 4 VETTA about multi-layered protections for your business.

Tech Tip: How to Protect Your Business from the Piracy Police

How to Protect Your Business from the Piracy Police

It may not get the same attention as the number of illegal Game of Thrones downloads, but software piracy still isn’t something your business can take lightly. In fact, one little slip can cost you thousands or even millions of dollars in fines, and there’s a global agency dedicated to catching you out – even if the copyright breach wasn’t your fault!

Maybe it was something an employee used once to solve a certain problem, grabbing a quick download instead of bothering you with a purchase request. Or maybe it’s an application you use every day and long since forgot how the license works. Or perhaps you actually own a legitimate license but are running it on 8 computers when you’re only supposed to run it on 1. Whether you set out to be a brazen ‘pirate’ or not, the Software Alliance (often called the BSA) and their associates would love to make an example of your business. They’re now expanding their reach in sneaky ways too, including advertising for paid whistle-blowers.

Here’s how it all came about: Back in the late 80s, Microsoft founded an external agency whose sole task it was to protect the intellectual property of member companies, by finding and prosecuting as many cases as possible. The protection laws already existed, they simply needed a means to implement them. Until recently, locating software pirates was very resource intensive. Now, they can simply create a Facebook ad, target it to ex/current employees of a business, and offer a reward up to $1million (depends on country) for information. Your business doesn’t even need to be actively using the illegal software, it simply needs to be installed or show traces.  You can imagine how many calls they’re getting!

How to protect your business

We recommend taking a zero-tolerance approach to unapproved software. This means locking down employee systems so that they’re unable to install software, even on their own workstation. Set permissions so that only management and above can install new programs, and create a known process for requesting new software. When a software need arises, you then have complete control over the selection, installation and licensing.

Maintaining your software license documentation and running annual audits is also important. On a day-to-day level, it ensures you’ve got records that can keep your business operating during bad luck circumstances, like when an employee leaves and you suddenly discover no-one knows a particular password and the resets go to a dead email address.  Proper license documentation also makes sure you aren’t caught red-handed with illegal software, and if you are ever investigated, you have your innocence at the ready.

We can audit your network for pirate software and lock down employee systems – give us a call today at 0800 4 VETTA.

Tech Tip: What to Do if Your Hard Drive Fails

What to Do if Your Hard Drive Fails

If your hard drive is going bad, chances are strange things are happening and you’re a little panicked. It’s where you put your digital memories, your household files and maybe that thesis you’ve been working on for months. As far as you’re concerned, that hard drive IS the computer and failure is not an option. Perhaps it was overheated, knocked around or came from the factory with a flaw.

Sorry to say, but eventually all hard drives will fail. So how do you know if it’s definitely the drive and what should you do?


Start by watching for these signs:

Computer slowing down: Because most hard drives contain moving parts, the slower it gets, the slower your computer gets. It’s a bit like a record player, with spinning plates and a needle whipping from side to side. Your hard drive may eventually take longer to spin up and longer to retrieve files, which will have an impact on everything from booting up to playing games.

Blue screen of death: A classic Windows error, this is when your computer locks up to only show a blue screen with an error code, which while it does mean something specific has gone wrong, can always be translated loosely to ‘nope, not today’. The more often your computer does this, the more severe the problem is.

Not booting up: During the initial bootup stage, your computer is loading a program stored on the hard drive – it’s your operating system. If some of the files have a problem or can’t be found, Windows won’t boot. Errors vary, but the outcome is the same.

Corrupted files: Sometimes a file won’t open because the computer says it is corrupted. Some essential pieces of the file are missing, and unlike a book where a missing page is only inconvenient, it’s a deal breaker for computer files.

Noises: You’re familiar with the normal noises your computer makes, but as the hard drive fails the noises can change. You might hear clicking, grinding or even a sci-fi phaser noise. Noises will get louder or speed up during heavy file access.

Whenever something is clearly wrong, the key is to stop and turn your computer off. Continued use can result in more data loss. Even if you don’t have a backup yet, turn it off now because the large task of backing up can cause extra strain on an already delicate hard drive. It’s tempting to hurry and try to get a quick copy of your files, but in these cases, it’s not about time – it’s about the extra spinning, scratching, warping and electrical charge, all dissolving your precious data with each access.


Bring it to us and we’ll do all we can to retrieve your data. Call us at 0800 4 VETTA.

Tech Tip: Is Your Home Wi-Fi Keeping Up?

Is Your Home Wi-Fi Keeping Up?

Wi-Fi has forever changed the way we live, work and play. We can surf the internet on the couch or by the pool, look up a recipe in an instant, and even connect our lights to voice control. It’s no wonder it was accepted with open arms, but is your Wi-Fi as good as it needs to be?

10 years after Wi-Fi first made its way into homes with those mysterious rabbit-eared boxes, it’s evolved into a juggernaut of speed and accessibility that we can’t do without. Think about how many wireless devices your home has – the average home has at least 10 devices connected wirelessly to the internet, many have more.

While older devices are typically happy with a slice of slow internet, your newer devices like 4K TVs and media streaming simply can’t function without fast internet. Add in a game console, tablet, a few smartphones and a laptop or two, and your Wi-Fi is suddenly stretched beyond full capacity and struggling to keep up. Yet, most people don’t know how fast their Wi-Fi is, or if it’s working right– they only know how many bars they’ve got.  Unfortunately, counting bars can add up to one big headache.

Here’s why relying on your Wi-Fi bar count might be ruining your internet experience:

Bars measure the wrong thing: While it’s great to know you’ve got a ‘strong’ signal, it would be even better if you could have a ‘fast and available’ signal.  The internet could actually be down and you’d still have full bars because it’s really only measuring how close to the Wi-Fi router you are. That proximity measure doesn’t take into account how many devices are fighting for the same bandwidth or whether there’s any left for you. We can ensure your Wi-Fi isn’t just available, it’s up to the task.

Wi-Fi goes sideways: While next-door’s Wi-Fi can reach the back of their property, it can also go a similar distance sideways into your house. This extra ‘noise’ can disrupt and slow down your own Wi-Fi. In dense areas, your Wi-Fi is basically getting lost in a swirling field of signals, all using the same channel and frequency. It’s a digital crowd which can seriously slow your speeds.   We can fix this by changing your Wi-Fi channel to one with less cross-talk.

Everyone uses the default settings: Most home Wi-Fi uses a 2.4ghz frequency by default. While it makes a plug & play router easy to set up, it does mean you’re not getting the speeds you could be. Switching to the 5ghz frequency means your Wi-Fi is separated from the neighborhood cross-talk. 5ghz is also considerably faster, which is a bonus. We can help you upgrade to a 5Ghz-capable router or switch your existing frequency.

Priority isn’t set: While not Wi-Fi specific, we can also set up “Quality of Service” if your router supports it or supply you with one that does. This allows things like Netflix and Skype calls to always take priority and remain uninterrupted over less important tasks like downloads. You’ll be able to watch movies without those awful buffering jumps and video chat without freezing.


Is your home network not keeping up? Give us a call at 0800 4 VETTA and we can improve your internet experience.

1 2 3 6