Monthly Archives

September 2016

Rural Internet solution Point to Point across a valley

We are currently in the middle of a job in North Yorkshire and we could not wait to post about it. We are working for a great company ‘The Model Centre‘ in Beck Hole near Goathland. They have been struggling for years running their ecommerce and holiday cottage businesses using an almost unusable internet connection.

We have beamed internet from another property across the valley giving them much faster speeds. There is still probably a day or more work to be done, however, we thought you would like a sneak preview… Can you spot where we are beaming the internet to?

Rural Internet solution Point to Point across a valley

RFID Food Hygiene Inspections System helps you get 5 star rating

RFID Food Hygiene Inspections System helps you get 5 star ratingA national study by the Guardian recently found that 1 in 7 takeaways fail hygiene tests and 1 in 13 fail in meeting basic standards. In our local area, Hull restaurants fared even worse than the national average with 1 in 6 failing the inspections – due to poor standards or not following procedures.

If you operate in the food sector then you will understand just how important it is to meet the food hygiene standards. The poor publicity associated with achieving a low mark will drive away customers. The challenge for bosses is not just setting up the regime of inspections and cleaning – but making sure it is complied with, and recording the results of those inspections.

Inspection Monitor

Digitalquill’s Inspection Monitor is the solution you have been looking for. You can ensure that cleaning routines are completed, and recorded. We capture documented unalterable data that proves your inspections took place in accordance with HACCP. The system is silent in normal use, and you will only be bothered by notifications when something is missed, or when something goes wrong. This means you have peace of mind and can focus on running your business instead of micro managing inspection activity.

Key Features of Inspection Monitor:

  • Supports RFID technology
  • Can run on your existing iOS or Android mobile devices
  • Alerts management only when inspections are missed or failed
  • Powerful reporting features
  • Secure off-site data storage – with unalterable data as evidence for inspectors

Food Standards Inspection Software

If you finance or run a takeaway, restaurant or commercial kitchen, insist that Inspection Monitor is used on the premises. The businesses using our product are now achieving ratings of 4 and 5 on the food standards inspection; yet spending less management time enforcing the routines with their staff.

Call Digitalquill today on 01482 424402, email support@www.digitalquill.co.uk or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk for more information.

Time To Sharpen Up Flyer / Advert Design and Layout

We have just completed the layout and design of a double sided, full colour flyer aimed at B2B customers for F G Adamson & Son in Swanland, East Yorkshire. This involved converting some technical drawings into print standard vector outlines as the artwork provided was not of sufficient quality. This is a very simple flyer, it needs to be on a more technical level for the commercial customers who want to know the details and quality of their service.

HTML Email Marketing

We will also be producing a HTML Email version of this flyer which we will send out via our email marketing servers which are specifically designed for bulk email marketing campaigns. Email marketing has the distinct advantage of being able to reach a large volume of people quickly and cheaply. We have designed CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems for this client for them to gather both commercial and residential contacts. The CRM system exports directly to our email marketing servers based on filtered criteria, meaning that they can select the exact people they want to receive the marketing email.

Email Marketing is of course something that needs to be handled correctly, bulk emailing should not be spammy and should always allow the user to opt-out of the emails being sent. Our email marketing servers handle this and allow the sending of many thousands of emails in one campaign, giving analytics and tracking on the success of that campaign.

Flyer design for the second year

This is an important campaign for F G Adamson & Son as they need to get the work in during the winter months to prevent their clients machines being down during the grass growing season. We handled the design of this flyer last year when it proved successful for them. They now have a second depot in Lincolnshire and are widening the reach of their advertising campaign to cover the whole of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Time To Sharpen Up Flyer / Advert Design and Layout

Time To Sharpen Up Flyer / Advert Design and Layout

Man runs into burning building to save laptop

Man runs into burning building to save laptop - he should have backed upA New Orleans author recently risked his life to re-enter his burning home to save his laptop, which contained the only copies of his two finished novels. Luckily, he made it out safely with his life’s work – and his life – intact, but he needn’t have put himself in such danger if he had made a regular backup to a cloud-based server or kept a copy of his work at another location.

“But Backing Up Is Complex and Time-Consuming”

Backups do not need to be complicated. It is possible for us to set up your system to silently make automated backups while you work, with no need for your intervention. A backup regime is important even if you are self employed and the only person in your business – just imagine what would happen if you lost your main work PC. How would you operate your business? How would you get back your work in progress? Your client records? Can you even a value on your business continuity?

“But I have a USB Stick I Keep My Files On”

We often hear people telling us that they back up to a USB stick. This is better than nothing, but:

  • What happens if there is a fire?
  • What if it gets lost or stolen?
  • What if a lightning strike wipes out both the computer and the stick?
  • What happens if you get a virus or ransomware that encrypts both the computer and USB stick?

A backup is not a backup if it is kept in the same location as the PC that is being backed up! We offer cloud based backup services, so everything is stored at a separate location. We can design anything from a simple single laptop backup to a complete disaster recovery plan.

“But I Have Free Cloud Storage With Windows”

Don’t rely on consumer cloud storage programs such as iCloud, Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive – such services are not guaranteed to keep your files securely, can make no promises about how long they will be around and Dropbox was recently hacked; showing some of the risks associated with such services. If you fall foul of ransomware then their simple ‘straight copy’ backups would just store copies of the corrupted files.

Digitalquill: Experts in IT System Backups

The best backup solution is a combination of full and incremental backups – a periodic complete image of your entire network supplemented by copies of each file as changes are made. We can provide you with enterprise level solutions that do not have a public-facing front door.

Call Digitalquill today on 01482 424402, email support@www.digitalquill.co.uk or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk for more information.

Don’t be the one running back into the fire

 

Upgrade PC's regularly for bets productivity

Upgrade PC's regularly  for bets productivityThe world of technology moves fast. Computers double in power every year or two, and as software is updated it runs more slowly on older hardware. New technology requires new interfaces, and so your business’s PCs will need to be upgraded periodically no matter how hard you try to make them future proof.

If you do not plan a programme of IT upgrades then you will find yourself left behind, and it will be a much more complex task to upgrade all of your machines at once than to do so piece by piece over a rolling period. There is a much greater impact on productivity when everything is changed at once than a gradual rolling cycle of change where no more than one or two computers are ever out of use – and this can be linked to peoples’ holidays and working times to make sure everyone can still continue to function.

Managed IT Replacement Cuts Costs

We have just finished a mammoth upgrade task for a client who has 31 PCs When we began providing their IT support their hardware was a decade old and on its knees. The only option in this case was to replace all of 31 of the computers and laptops within the last two financial years. This is an expensive one-off cost and can cause significant downtime to a business.

We have now moved them onto a managed plan, where we replace the oldest PCs one by one every couple of months. We prioritise the heaviest users and to keep them at the cutting edge of performance, and aim to replace all PCs on a three to four year cycle. This allows the company to spread the cost while keeping their main computer users up to date with the fastest equipment – without spending money on PCs that languish, unused in offices.

Rolling Computer Replacement Improves Productivity

Old, slow PCs are a false economy. One of the managers in the company was ‘too busy; to have their PC changed until they realised the benefits of doing so. His old PC took five minutes to boot every morning – his new computer’s SSD drive presents him with his desktop in just five seconds. Opening Outlook to check emails took two minutes but it is now available in seconds. Web pages are quicker, switching between programmes is instantaneous and there is no disruption from background tasks such as scheduled virus scans.

Digitalquill I.T. Support – PC Upgrade Plans

PCs are a tool just like a mechanic’s spanner or a hair dresser’s scissors, and with good tools you find that staff have better morale and are more productive – especially when you consider that most office PCs are used all day, every day for nearly every single task that a business undertakes!

Does you business I.T. need a boost? Call Digitalquill today on 01482 424402, email support@www.digitalquill.co.uk or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk for more information.

 

it asset management with asset monitor

it asset management with asset monitorWe have just started working with a client who uses our Asset Monitor system to monitor their IT equipment. They have assets such as computers, laptops, projectors and printers spread across five sites, and they need to keep track of each one – as well as all of the consumables that go with them.

Until they started to use Asset Monitor they had no means of asset management whatsoever, and so they had no real idea of who had been issued with which pieces of equipment and could not locate where an asset was. This also caused problems with IT support as they could not be sure what equipment a user had when there was a problem.

They are now tracking IT equipment

With Asset Monitor in place, all of their equipment is tracked and they can run reports whenever they want. If someone requires a consumable – such as a printer cartridge – they can identify what machinery the user has, and ensure that the correct item is dispatched to them which saves them time, rework and money.

The benefits also extend to the balance sheet. The accounts department can get an accurate and up to date asset register on-demand whenever they need one for their accounting process. This is saving hours of time for accounts and also for local staff who no longer need to annually audit their equipment.

Asset Monitor – the easy to use and flexible asset management system

Asset Monitor from Digitalquill lets you track your business’s assets: you can find out where they are, where they have been, and track their movements at the click of a mouse.

  • Uses RFID or barcodes to track when an asset changes location or is passed to someone else
  • Every asset movement can be linked to a member of staff
  • Maintains an audit trail of asset movement between locations
  • Allows for inspection and maintenance tasks to be recorded
  • Can produce a real-time asset register for accounting purposes
  • Links with other Digitalquill systems

Call Digitalquill today on 01482 424402, email support@www.digitalquill.co.uk or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk for more information.

 

We have just completed the artwork for 8 adverts to go in local villages magazines (Hessle, Brough, Cottingham, Skidby, Hull, Beverley and Driffield) for our client F G Adamson & Son of Swanland in East Yorkshire. They are holding their bi-annual chainsaw open day on Saturday 12th November 2016 and wanted to make a splash in the local press. This is the third time we have done these adverts for the open day and we will be making a HTML Email version of the advert to send out to their email mailing list.

If you are in the local area (East Yorkshire) do go along to their event as they are usually very good. Demonstrations on the use of chainsaws and this year they are having a chainsaw carver!

Chainsaw Open Day 2016 Advert Design

 

Chainsaw OIpen Day 2016-2-05

Redundant Internet Connection

Redundant Internet ConnectionWe are currently working with one of our IT support clients in Hull who have a fibre internet connection from Kingston Communications. Their business relies on this internet connection for everything from communication to stock control to order fulfilment. Without the internet, they have no business. They needed the peace of mind that if their internet were to fail they would still be able to continue operating their business – as downtime would cost them money and customer confidence.

How would you cope if your internet connection failed?

We have installed a redundant internet connection for their peace of mind. That is a second backup internet connection which will take over if the first one fails, providing a business continuity plan  in the event of an outage. The cost, at around £30 per month, is a fraction of what losing their internet connection would cost them. We have heard of businesses losing their connection when workers cut through a cable and it taking weeks for normal service to be resumed.

Even if you are outside of the Hull area in Lincolnshire of East Yorkshire and are able to choose between internet providers, it is not enough to simply sign up with two different ISPs: they all share the same cables so if one went down so would the other. We can help in this situation too with an over the air, 4G or point to point connection, just give us a call to discuss your needs.

In many cases it will be possible to use the second connection along with ‘load balancing’. This combines both of your connections for a faster download speed, and means that instead of paying for a backup internet line just for business continuity – and never using it, it forms a seamless part of your overall internet connection.

Digitalquill Backup Internet Connection

If your Hull or East Yorkshire business needs the peace of mind of a guaranteed internet connection, or you wish to arrange for a backup internet connection to be installed we can help. Call Digitalquill on 01482 424402, email office@www.digitalquill.co.uk or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk.

Email Virus with attachment

Email Virus with attachmentWe have just been dealing with a client who is getting an influx of emails with the subject of ‘Order Confirmation 123456789’

The emails content is:

This message is intended only for the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is private and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication and its attachments is strictly prohibited.

There is a zip file attached Ord123456789.zp where the number matches the email subject.

The number in the subject is random and the senders name and email address is random and the senders IP is also random. This indicates the emails are coming from a bot, rootkit or virus infection somewhere.

Do not open the attachment, if you have opened the attachment please contact us on 01482 424402 for more assistance.

These types of emails are a regular occurrence, however, it does seem that today there are a large volume of them circulating, indeed our own mail server is busy stripping out the attachments and removing viruses before it attempts to deliver emails to our mailboxes.

Email servers should always be setup so that they scan and remove any viruses in emails BEFORE they are delivered to you. If your email provider can not provide this service please contact us as this is critical in the security of your business.

 

10 Point Plan to Protect Against Viruses

10 Point Plan to Protect Against VirusesWe have recently helped two of our IT Support clients in Hull, East Yorkshire who had been infected with viruses. The viruses had entered their computer systems and resulted in downtime – and downtime can significantly affect a business. One client had lost their main showroom PC for four days – and could have also lost all of their data stored on the computer.

One of these clients had fully managed virus protection, which goes to show that there is more to keeping your system safe from viruses than just paying for protection – there are also actions that you and your staff must take to help keep your computer infection free.

Here are our 10 tips to protect yourself from viruses:

  1. Install a good virus guard

    There are a number of anti-virus packages on the market, some of which are free and some of which are to be paid for. It is not sufficient just to rely on the built-in Windows virus checker – especially when business data is at risk.

  1. Install Real-time spyware protection

    Spyware is another form of malware (malicious software) that is similar to a virus. However whereas viruses destroy data and stop the computer from working, spyware sits silently in the background and could be allowing hackers to steal your data, passwords or commercial secrets. Real-time spyware protection runs in the background and keeps an eye out for such programs.

  1. Ensure virus and spyware protection is always up to date

    It is no good having protection if it is not up-to-date. Every day hundreds of new viruses are found in the wild, and the malicious programmers are in an escalating arms race with the anti-virus and spyware-protection companies. Don’t neglect, cancel or put off security updates.

  1. Schedule regular system scans on your virus protection

    Most virus packages can be set to automatically scan your system for infection. However it is important to make sure that it does so when the computers are actually turned on – make sure that scans are run at a quiet time, or manually run a scan at a quiet time at least every week.

  1. Ensure emails are virus scanned at your mail server

    Your IT company can set up your email system to scan emails for viruses at the server. This means that if there is a malicious attachment in an email it will be removed before the email ever hits your own system.

  1. Do not open attachments you are not expecting

    If you are not expecting an attachment – no matter how tempting the title may be – do not open it. Many virus infections are as a result of people clicking links or attachments sent in unsolicited emails – usually purporting to contain celebrity gossip or making other salacious promises.

  1. Don’t follow links if you don’t know where they go to

    It sounds obvious, but the content of links can be masked and not all links to internet sites go where they say. Be particularly wary of links that are hidden behind images, or that have alternative text. If you get an email purporting to be from your bank, or PayPal, or HMRC the safest approach is to open a web browser, go to their website by typing the address and access it that way.

  1. Don’t trust the ‘From’ address in an email – this can be easily spoofed

    It is incredibly easy to change the ‘From’ field on an email to make it look like it came from an address you trust. Always be wary, and if anything looks wrong, seek assistance.

  1. Never run your Windows PC with Administrator rights

    A lot of PCs are permanently logged in as ‘Administrator’ which means that software can be installed and run (even without your consent) and system data altered without the need to enter a password. This is a huge security risk. You should always conduct day-to-day business under a ‘user’ account.

  1. Enable a firewall

    You may have seen a notification icon saying you have a firewall, but for the best protection you should invest in a good quality business grade router, or hardware firewall, which will keep malicious eyes off your systems, and prevent spyware from reporting back to its masters.

You and your staff have to take responsibility for keeping your systems secure – and we can provide training if you need it on how to keep virus free. Although this is by no means a complete security plan, your staff should all be aware of these basics and understand why the rules are in place.

If you need more advice or training on how to keep your business data safe from viruses, or if you have been infected with a virus and don’t know what to do, we can help:

Call Digitalquill today on 01482 424402, email support@www.digitalquill.co.uk or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk for more information.