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The first quarter of 2015 is almost done so let’s get straight into it.

Cloud Management Tips – Who Owns the Cloud?

cloudLast newsletter prompted a question of “Who owns the cloud?

The answer is it depends – on what sort of cloud you are talking about.

Common public cloud scenarios like drop box, or Flickr, or Office365 the infrastructure is owned by the company involved. The data is always yours. Always check the terms and conditions!

Common private cloud ones like all your online banking for instance are owned by the bank – but you can access your data – though I suspect it’s not actually ours.

And then you can own your own private cloud. For as little as a few hundred dollars, the right router and some hard drives you can create a private cloud structure where you can access your data anywhere – while it is stored right at your house or office. Mind you this is not a safe a scenario as using something like Office 365. For instance your encryption layers will not likely be anywhere near as good as Microsoft’s. Neither will physical access to your premises be anything like as secure as theirs.

We can sit down with you and talk about your current business technology usage and what cloud services you could be using that could benefit you in one or more of these areas – cost reduction, efficiency, data security and access, and business continuity. Call me to discuss today on 0414 770 002.

Windows 8.1 and Windows 10

windows8I think all of our customers are finally off Windows XP. Hopefully there are none left using Vista – please contact me if you are! We still have quite a few customers using Windows 7 and in some cases we have plans to migrate them to Windows 8.1 soon. However many people don’t like change and think Windows 8.1 is strange, scary or confusing. So this section is a little bit about why you should be thinking seriously about upgrading to Windows 8.1 now and Windows 10 soon.

First of all here are some of the major reasons Windows 8.1 is better than Windows 7.

  • Improved Start-up times – the same PC will boot up a LOT faster with Windows 8.1
  • Better Battery Life – laptops get longer battery usage with Windows 8.1
  • Faster PC – your existing PC will run faster with Windows 8.1
  • More stable – Windows 7 was pretty good – Windows 8.1 is even better
  • Synchronisation – Windows 8.1 synchs your data, settings and desktop through OneDrive – it’s the same on every PC you log into
  • More secure – Free antivirus and anti-malware built in
  • Designed for Touch – if you have a touch screen or device you will rapidly find speed gains over using the mouse – especially useful for tablets

We recommend Windows 8.1 Pro for all businesses as there are some significant additional features over the standard (consumer) edition including:

  • Join a domain – required to network to your company server
  • BitLocker – encrypt your hard drive against theft – very important with laptops
  • Remote desktop application – connect to another PC remotely
  • Hyper-V – ability to run virtual machines inside your computer

Windows 10

http://blogs.windows.com/business/2015/01/21/windows-10-an-exciting-new-chapter/

Office 2016

http://blogs.office.com/2015/02/04/next-chapter-office-windows/

Skype for Business

http://blogs.skype.com/2015/03/17/welcome-skype-for-business

Windows 10 builds on Windows 8.1and according to Microsoft “is their best enterprise platform yet enabling our enterprise customers to be more productive, simplifying management and deployment, working with all of their existing apps, and helping to protect corporate data better than ever.”

More on Windows 10 in another edition. Right now we are trialling the developer previews of Windows 10, Office 2016 and Skype for Business in a virtual machine and learning about them.

Typically we upgrade a computer to Windows 8.1 from Windows 7 for $150 plus the cost of the software - $189 for Pro and $129 for Standard. All your existing programs and data will remain in place.

Special Deal – mention this newsletter and get a 5% discount off our Windows 8.1 upgrade price. Call us and we will help you identify exactly what you need and what benefits you can achieve with an upgrade to Windows 8.1.

Using Paste in Excel

excelCopying and Pasting is an important PC skill to know and learn. Office 2013 has built on previous versions of Office and provides many options for pasting.

Some examples include just pasting the formats, just he values, just the functions or more esoteric things like column widths in Excel, and even utilising mathematical functions. This article gives you some great tips and information about pasting in Excel.

http://spyjournal.biz/pasting-office-2013-newsletter

If you want to know more about improving your spreadsheet design for more efficient use and ensuring your results are accurate then give us a call.

Other office 365 News and Updates

Office 365 continues to pump out updates, improvements and features.

The latest news is that OneDrive for Business comes to Mac and iOS devices

onedriveSometimes One Drive stops synching correctly. If you have One Drive folders that are not synching correctly try this Repair tip.

Right click the blue cloud in the task bar and click Repair. Follow all the prompts.

Social Media Tips and Information

Today we are just going to give you a list of some great information that has come across our desk in the last 2 weeks. If you want to get more regular updates, follow us on twitter, or our daily or weekly newspapers.

If social media seems like foreign world or nightmare to manage (and it can be) then try out sourcing it to us. Our global team of social media experts can work with you to successfully represent your business in social media with cost effective measureable results

Web Design - What should your website be trying to achieve?

Many websites are confusing. Why do I say that? Because if you stand back and look at the site there is no clear purpose or intention of the site. A businesses website should be very obvious. Either its purpose is to inform and educate, sell product, or provide a mechanism for the enquirer to quickly and easily contact the business. Sometimes it is a mixture, and when that occurs the separation should be clear. E.g. a blog should be used for the education and information component. It should be used as a tool to drive customers to calls to action either on the site or directly with your business. Sales and shopping pages should be obvious and easy to navigate.

When considering a basic website for a small business the primary purpose of the website is effectively marketing. It is to create a way to bring customers into the business and add sales revenue and profit. If the website does not do that it should be retrained or sacked just like you would with a non performing sales employee.

Spending sometimes several thousand dollars on a “brochure ware” site that contains some outdated historic information about the companies past, a google map and some very bland generic product or service statements is basically a waste of money. The first and foremost goal is to create a way for prospective customers to actually contact you. This should be done through sales messages, advertising images and text, calls to action and contact forms. Showcase your company’s offers, deals and discounts, provide easy access to virtual sales people, real world online chat or at the very least a telephone number and email address.

The first marketing action we perform is to first find out what exactly the clients goals are. We ask the client about what they want the website to deliver to the business in terms of sales, contacts or enquiries. We then do some market research – search keywords, audience insights from social, competitive analysis. This allows us to set the site up correctly for SEO analytic tracking and measurement. Finally the customer has something that can be used to effectively replicate them in an online world.

webdesign

Here are our basic design principles:

  1. Keep it simple stupid – KISS - Don’t make it hard to find things. One layer of navigation, front page calls to action, side bar enquiry forms and information.
  2. Clarity, Conciseness and Care - Short simple sentences work best. Say exactly what you mean. Spellckecha evyrething!
  3. Use The Correct Heading Hierarchy - Websites have structure. We use this because SEO loves it and it reads better.
  4. Limited use of colours - We use colour palette generators by much smarter people than us who have thought these things out already. Readability for vision impaired is smart as well as thoughtful.
  5. Keep people on your page - We use content sharing tools to recommend further content from within the site
  6. Keep people coming back for more - Regular updated content is extremely important for SEO, and keeps people coming back. It is a great driver for ongoing social engagement and interaction.
  7. Be Social - We use simple recognisable tools to make it easy for people to like and share your content as follow you on social media

Contact us today if you need help fixing your site, or for a whole new refresh! Mention this newsletter and we will provide a free site review – normally worth $199.

Follow us on Social Media

As always we are your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces then connect with me on these platforms:

Jethro Consultants is a partnership owned by Tim & Judith Miller.
We are based in Brisbane on the East Coast of Australia in sunny Queensland. Jethro Consultants and Jethro Management work together to provide solutions in the areas below.

 

Innovation in software development is in creating customised solutions for our clients. We develop Excel based reporting solutions using Excel and VBA. Our web design and hosting portfolio is growing fast with lots of new Websites being designed and hosted by Jethro.

 

 

 

Collaboration is a big part of what we do. Training in the Office suite including SharePoint, along with work in knowledge management is provided to our clients. We have written a full suite of cooking eCourses available from www.rasita.biz. Our hints and tips website www.spyjournal.biz, contains hints and tips on Excel, blogging and website development and technology.

 

 

 

Technology is something we love! Big fast computers, software and gadgets fill our office and we are always learning how better to deploy hardware solutions to our clients. We offer a full service install option with PCs being lovingly assembled, installed and configured to your exact requirements. We transfer data from your old PC and set up your email, browser, peripherals, wireless network and broadband and other personal settings for you.

 

 

 

Support. We provide basic business support, book keeping and basic accounting to numerous key clients. If you need help with bank reconciliations, payables and receivables then contact us now.

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What people say..

Enjoyable and helpful information. Great introduction - made me want more info.

Feedback from Free Business Seminar Jan 2013

— Kathie - Business Owner

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