There are many file synchronisation and cloud backup service available such as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and Microsoft Sky Drive to name just a few. Many businesses we know have used some of the these services to share files between users and contacts outside of their organisation.
Some businesses are reluctant to use these services if there is no control over where the data is stored. Some industries have to comply with specific legal and regulatory requirements. Whilst some services may allow you to decide which region to use to store your data, not all have dedicated Regional Data Centres.
Soonr is a service that contains three parts:
- Remote Access
- Secure Backup
- Team Collaboration
View more information here or download a data sheet
The paperless office concept has been around since the 1970s however as a company we feel that it is now becoming an affordable possibility for the Small Business and in almost all respects, by using scanning and document management, we have just about achieved it.
Whatever the drivers and reasoning behind the desire to move to the Paperless Office are, yours are liable to differ from ours to some extent but they will probably include some of the same ones. Rather than listing the benefits we think that it is easier to include a few links to some other resources and tell you how we went about the process.
- Wikipedia — The Paperless Office A paperless office is a work environment in which the use of paper is eliminated or greatly reduced. This is done by converting documents and other papers into digital form. Proponents claim that “going paperless” can save money, boost productivity, save space, make documentation and information sharing easier, keep personal information more secure, and help the environment. The concept can also be extended to communications outside the office.
- Microsoft - 6 tips for a “paperless” office “Many people who use computers—whether it’s for their home or business — are moving toward a “paperless” office. Simply, they are tired and overwhelmed by scraps of paper, clunky old file folders, envelopes — and they want to reduce the clutter.”
After researching the availability of Document Scanners with particular attention to cost, features and functionality, we decided to buy the Fujitsu ScanSnap 1500 and as the “Deluxe” version comes bundled with a simple to use “Document Management” software called “Rack2Filer”, we purchased the deluxe version of the scanner.
Having installed the scanner and set up the document management software which presented very few problems and not a great learning curve, we now have the ability to access any document via the document management software, that has the documents located on the server. This shared resource allows for access by any user, we can scan in any post as it is opened and file it in the respective “Virtual Binder” As we invoice electronically and for some months had tried to use email for the majority of correspondence we are not printing anywhere near the amount we used to. Our server is backed up every day
We are not recommending any particular scanner nor supplier however we are happy to discuss our experiences if you would like to comment on the post or Contact Us. The Microsoft article mentions that the data has to be backed up and we would not advise the process of scanning in and shredding all of your documents unless you had central storage with a proven backup system in place. If you do not have central storage of documents and a reliable backup system in place then those systems should be in place before you try to make the move to a “Paperless Office”. Should you need advice on the purchase and installation of servers and backup solutions we are able to assist in the process and have experience in the installation of Windows Home Server 2011 plus Windows Server 2008 and can offer backup solutions including Cloud Backup.
Have you ever found yourself knowing that the software you use can do so much more than you know how to? I know this has happened to me many times and I used to use Google or You Tube to try to find out how to do that certain thing and I used to get really frustrated that it should be easy but never seemed to be.
Then just over 2 years ago I was on an Adobe site following a tutorial and realised that the video I was watching was part of a full course on the software I was using. After finishing that video I visited Lynda.com and signed up.
Now 2 years later I have Certificates of Completion for many courses and whenever I need to remind myself how to do something I can re-visit the course and just watch the videos that I need to go over again.
After recommending the site to many customers and to friends and family alike we are now affiliates and are now able to refer customers to them so that they benefit from the training we use on an almost daily basis.
- Stay current and keep skills sharp
- Learn innovative and productive techniques
- Access over 1,260 online courses, 24/7
- Video instruction by recognized industry experts
- Gain confidence and marketability
- Stop, rewind, replay movies as you need to
Click the image on the left, to visit the Lynda.com site to see for yourself the large number of courses available. If you need any advice on which package is right for you or want to ask how you can make the most of the site contact us and we can offer to assist you in getting started and you can start to benefit from the fantastic training available.
We have many courses in our “Queue” that we are still wanting to view and learn more ways to make use of the software that we have bought, to make it pay for itself and really be the value for money we wanted when we installed it.
In recent weeks there has been an increase in the activity of the fraudsters.
Kent Police has some excellent advice on the most common types of fraud. The information for businesses can be seen using the following link. http://www.kent.police.uk/advice/property_security/fraud/com_fraud_bus.html
Sussex Police also have some information on Fraud Action at the following page: http://www.sussex.police.uk/advice-and-support/fraud-and-scams/
We have noticed that there has been a significant increase in the number of calls concerning two specific fraud types.
The first is the phone call from “The emergency services” relating to advertising in a new directory. Full information about this type of fraud is in the Kent Police article.
The second, which will probably be to the home user is the call “From Microsoft about your Windows computer” or at least that is the opening line we have heard the most of in recent weeks. Full details about these types of calls can be found on the Microsoft site at the following link: http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/security/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx
We have received calls relating to both of these types of fraud recently. We have found that insisting on an email from the “Emergency Services” verifying the information about the directory is enough to stop the calls. As far as the “calls from Microsoft about your windows computer”, our advice is to end the call as soon as possible although we do know some people who have played along for a while before announcing that they know it is a scam.
The 2 types of fraud mentioned here are just some of the many types being used to try to get personal information that the fraudsters can use to get money from unsuspecting and often vulnerable people.
Hosted VoIP System
We are now using a Hosted VoIP System from ThinkGrid which allows us to benefit from a state of the art phone system that is fully mobile. It also allows us to demonstrate the features and facilities available.
Our new phone number has been updated on the Contact Us page.
There are many benefits to any business in using a Hosted VoIP phone system however we are finding that one in particular is really helping us to achieve the very best level of Customer Service. If a caller is not answered for any reason on our new main number and they leave a message, the voice message is sent as an attachment by email and we can then listen to the message immediately. So whatever devices we are using when away from the office including Laptop, Blackberry or iPad we are able to respond without delay and return the call already knowing exactly why they rang.
A new presentation has been added to the site and it can be wiewed in a Web App, Full Screen Web App and Flash versions. View the presentation
Web Site Information
We are continuing to use and develop the site that this post is being created on. As marketing material created prior to the development of the new site, had the web address on it, we have now diverted that to the new site. If you want to access the original site it is still currently available.
We have purchased a new domain name and we are also directing that to the new site. To avoid confusion a list of sites with explanations are shown below.
For over two and a half years now we have been providing Hosted Exchange Email services to our customers. The email services have been delivered by Think Grid.
Think Grid are a Cloud Services provider who TWS Computer Services have now partnered with. The reason we have decided to take this step is that they allow us to deliver a complete range of fully supported cloud based services that have many advantages.
Some of the advantages of their services are:
- No upgrade paths — just more resources when you want them
- Easily integrate with your existing infrastructure
- Provision almost any IT or Communications service
- 99.99% uptime, financially guaranteed
- Grows with you — Don’t pay for resources you don’t use
- Completely scalable, buy resources in ‘bursts’ for busy periods
They offer 24/7 phone and email support with guaranteed service uptime and they offer a perfect fit with the on-site and remote services that we can supply. Think Grid only provide services through their partners and our customers come to us to install and maintain the infrastructure that they need to make use of the Cloud Services.
Some of the additional services that we are now able to provide are:
- Hosted Virtual Desktops — True Windows 7 Virtual Machines
- Cloud Backup — Hosted Off Site Backup
- Hosted VOIP — Voice Over IP Telephony providing Voice and Video Communications
- Hosted Exchange Services — Enterprise Email Services with mobile device support
- Hosted Servers — Shared storage and Active Directory integration plus Application Servers etc.
We use Think Grid’s services and have found them to be reliable and able to deliver on the up-time and support promises.
We can supply full information on all of the services including pricing. If you would like more information or Data Sheets then please leave a comment or Contact Us
TWS have lauched a Self Hosted Interactive Site that is to replace the twscs.wordpress.com site. It is being developed to allow our customers more interaction with us and allow the social media connections to be improved. View it at www.twscs.co.uk