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We live in an age of the high-powered long-life battery-powered portable device. But it seems that the limitations of the nickel-based batteries that were prevalent in the early '90s still apply to the more modern lithium ion and lithium polymer technologies we use today.

Battery technology may not have changed much in the last couple decades, but common knowledge is even worse.

Here are the most common battery myths we hear at PC Pitstop Port Macquarie.

Myth #1: Leaving your devices plugged in will "overcharge" them

FALSE. Most chargers are smart enough to momentarily stop charging once the device is fully charged. Manufacturers want their batteries to last as long as possible and therefore go to long lengths to design and employ very smart charging systems that even cycle the batteries to make them last longer. 

Leaving the device plugged in like this every single night can have an impact on the lifespan of the battery, but the act of leaving it plugged in isn't as damaging as some people make it out to be.

Manufacturers do recommend you "exercise" the battery every month or so by letting it fully drain before charging it back up again - but really thats about it.

 

Myth #2: You should always let the battery drain completely before recharging

FALSE. Today's Batteries never truly fully discharge. Even when you see 0/Zero percent or evern dead, your laptop or smartphone's battery would still be sitting around 5-10 percent charge. This is why when you press the button to turn it on you still get the message to charge the battery.

If you choose to follow the myth anyway and allow your device to go "dead" everyday, it will reduce the batteries effectiveness over time.

So: top off charge more often to prolong the battery life of your electronics, and stop letting your laptop or smartphone die every day.

Myth #3: Always fully charge your device before its first use

FALSE. But to be fair - it doesn't really matter or hurt anything to fully charge your device's battery before you use it, and it doent't hurt anything either if you miss this step.

So why do manufacturers sometimes tell you to do it? Fully charging the battery before using a device is to kick-start what's known as a "calibration process." This helps the device learn how the individual battery behaves (pretty smart!). Most batteries are self-calibrating, so it's still an unnecessary step.

Myth #4: Store your batteries in the refrigerator

FALSE. DO NOT STORE YOUR BATTERIES IN THE REFRIGERATOR OR FREEZER. This is not only bad but dangerous. Extreme temperatures - hot or cold and especially for long periods of time - are not good for any type of battery.

Remember, a battery is a collection of chemicals that store energy. Doing something that upsets those chemicals will have dangerous consequences.

To maximize shelf life, Energizer suggests storing "batteries at normal room temperatures (20 degrees C to 25 degrees C) with moderate humidity levels (35 to 65 percent RH)." This should provide a shelf life of five to 10 years for your standard, cylindrical alkaline cells and 10 to 15 years for cylindrical lithium batteries.

Interesting fact: if you're wondering why your smartphone battery isn't performing as well after just a year or two, that's because the more you use a battery, the less efficient it becomes - batteries have a limit to the amount of times they can be charged (refered to as charging cycles). This charging cycles vary from battery to battery.

 

Battery prices have come down and down over the past 24 months. A laptop battery that used to cost $220 is now arount the $95 mark.

PC Pitstop recommends you replace your laptop battery every 24 - 36 months depending on use to get the best possible use out of it.

Our team order in your replacement (or additional if you want extended use - think airport or long haul flight) and have it delivered to the store usually within 24 - 36 hours.

We wish we could keep in store every battery from every model of device ever manufactured - but to keep the prices low and stock fresh - we order in overnight.

Need a new battery for your device? Drop into the store and the team will identify and quote you on spot -
10 Bellbowrie Street Port Macquarie - Phone - 02 65 841 551.

 

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Everything You Wanted to Know About Hard Disk Drives

What does a hard drive do?
Information storage is the hard drive’s main responsibility. Think the electronic version of the old office filing cabinet. Everything you keep on your computer is on a hard drive. Not just documents, emails, contacts, favorites pictures, music and videos. Your programs, your preferences, your printers, your settings, even your operating system—they’re all stored on your computer’s hard drive.

If your hard drive is damaged or fails, you can lose it all. This is the sad truth and unfortunately we still see this 10+ times per week. Which is why most smart people have a backup system. They get another hard drive and copy all their important files onto that.

 

How big of a hard drive do you need?
Everything that can be saved on a hard drive is measured in terms of its size. Text is very small, pictures are larger, music is even bigger, and video is the biggest of them all.

A hard drive is like a scale. It doesn’t know the difference between things that are on it; it only knows their size. But instead of kilograms, a hard drive measures things in terms of megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB) and terabytes (TB.)

Roughly speaking, a megabyte is 1 million bytes, a gigabyte is 1 billion bytes, and a terabyte is 1 trillion bytes.

What does this mean for you?

If you need to transfer files between computers or a drive to back up just some of your files, you can get by with a smaller drive (such as a 500GB External Hard Drive).

If you want to back up your entire computer, or even several computers, or if you store a lot of video and audio files, you’ll want a larger drive (such as a 1TB or larger Network Attached Storeage System - NAS for short).

 

Will your drive work with a PC or a Mac?
Most Hard Drives PC Pitstop sell works with either a PC or a Mac. Some drives are already formatted to work with one or the other. But any drive can be reformatted to work with either type of computer.

IMPORTANT: If you reformat a drive, every single file on that drive is erased. So make sure you copy your files somewhere safe before you reformat.

It’s more difficult to use the same drive on both a PC and a Mac. The short answer is, they’re not really compatible. The more detailed answer is that, in a few specific circumstances, you can do a few specific things. 

What are the different types of hard drive connections?
There are four basic ways to connect your hard drive to your computer:

USB
This is the most common connection type. There’s no set-up at all. Just plug it in. The computer recognises the drive, and you’re able to read and save files almost instantly.

FireWire
Plug-and-play like USB, Firewire 800 is significantly faster, making it popular with those transferring video files.

SATA
This is the standard connection for internal hard drives. Offers the highest file transfer speeds of any format.

eSATA
A less common, high-performance connection most commonly found in PCs. An eSATA connection performs at speeds that most closely resemble an internal drive.

 

How important is hard drive speed?
When you start your computer, open a file, listen to a song, or do just about anything else, you use your hard drive. The discs inside the drive spin. The faster they spin, the more quickly your computer can find the file you want.

So a drive rated at 7,200 rpm will be faster than one rated at 5,400 rpm. What that means for your day-to-day use will vary. With external drives, you’ll hardly notice a difference. With internal drives, the difference will be slight with smaller files and applications, but will be obvious with larger files and applications - and all of this adds up.

Should you choose internal or external?
An internal drive provides built-in storage at top speeds. An external drive gives you greater flexibility and expanded storage whenever you need it.

Each choice has its benefits and drawbacks.

Internal drives have to be physically installed and configured by a PC Pitstop Trained Technician opening up your computer. But your files and programs are stored directly on your computer; they’re always there whenever you need them.

External drives are connected to your computer via plug-in cables. This lets you take files with you, transfer them to other computers, or instantly add storage to your computer or network without too many technical hurdles.

 

How much can I store?

Here are some averages to give an idea of what you can store on which size drive.

  Digital Music (MP3) Digital Photo's (JPG) Digital Video's (MP4)
500Gb 25,000 Songs 160,000 Photo's 500 Hours
1000Gb (1Tb) 50,000 Songs 320,000 Photo's 1000 Hours
2000Gb (2Tb) 100,000 Songs 640,000 Photo's 2000 Hours

 

 

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Posted by on in Repairs

 

Why do computers slow down?

A question that we get asked all the time here at PC Pitstop is why computers get slower over time. This can start to happen within a year after you get a new PC, but usually it happens in just a few short months.

Since we all use our computers for a whole range of different tasks and activities, there isn’t one single reason that pinpoints why this happens.

The thing is, when you first get a new computer and boot it up it works lightning fast. That’s because it doesn’t have anything on it except the bare bones operating system. 

Regardless of whether you have a PC or Mac, over time as you download files, install software, add printers and surf the Internet etc, your computer gets bloated with files that hog system resources.

In addition, there are many other things that contribute to a slowdown. Here is the most common issues we find:

1. Hard Drive Corruption

The hard drive is the electronic equivalent of the old office filing cabinet. It's really is an amazing piece of technology that has helped propelled our world forward into the information age. A typical computer can hold anywhere from 150,000 - 300,000 high quality photographs or over a million documents or books.

All of this information is tightly packed ingeniously onto a disk and into a tiny enclosure, which looks suprisingly similar to that of the old record player. The information is stored in magnetic form on top of the disk and this is where the complexity starts to become its own undoing.

The problem is, corruption can occur from power surges (power spikes), brown outs (power dips), static electricity (from carpet, clothes and other fabrics), solar flares, cosmic radiation, vibration, bumps, knocks, computer viruses, software errors and even the layer on the magnetic disk changing over time.

 

2. RAM

Not having enough RAM is like not having a big enough table to work on. You can only have so many items on the table before it get clutted and full. The computer does its best to keep going without crashing - moving things around - but to do so - it slows down even further. Solution - the more RAM the better! RAM is cheap these days and the more you got - the more the computer will be able to use as a super fast temporary storage place.

 3. Spyware, Viruses and Unnecessary Software

These programs all need attention - they run in the background and all want to steal a little bit of time from the CPU/Processor (Think information pump).
This all stacks on top of each other and adds up very quickly. Typically we remove 500+ pieces of spyware and virus related programs on EVERY computer we service (our record is over 20,000!). PC Pitstop have an award winning and unique 5 stage process that removes all spyware, viruses and nasties that even the best AntiVirus protection leaves behind.

4. System and Software Updates

If you are updating your software regularly, this will take up space and more system resources - contributing to the slow down even further. Interestingly enough, if you were to wipe the computer in year 3 and put all the original software back on - it would be as fast as the day you brought it. However this is not exactly secure or feasible way to run your computer. Updates are mostly security and bug fixes that go a long way to protect your computer.

 

5. Mechanical Hard Drives Slow Down With Age

If you have a standard hard drive (not SSD) your hard drive will slow down and fail over time. Being mechanical - this is the nature of their design and cannot be avoided without upgrading to a Solid State Hard Drive (SSD). Solid state hard drives are reasonably new and more expensive than their mechanical counterparts but wow - they work really really fast. I MEAN REALLY REALLY REALLY FAST. For the single most impressive upgrade you can do for your computer - get a SSD Hard Drive. You will love the difference and never look back.

Now I have painted a picture of why computers slow down - how do you fix a slow computer?

Easy - just like your car goes in for a 10,000Km service - your computer also needs regular tuning up as well. For power users and businesses - minimum every 6 months and for the rest of us - every 12 months. This is what the big department stores will not and do not want to tell you. It is in their best interest for you to get annoyed with your computer to the point of frustration within 18 months - that you go out and buy another one.

 

A tuneup finds and fixes problems, spots bigger problems (before they occur and cost you more time and money), removes virus and spyware infections, scans and repairs your hard disk, installs necessary security updates and is also a perfect time for you to engage a PC Pitstop Trained Technician to ask any questions that have been niggeling at you or to fix other issues that you have been putting off.

Your computer is an investment - and for most of us - a very important tool we use every day. It pays to be proactive with your investments - instead of waiting for the day when everything grinds to a halt and you have lost some or all of your important data. Unfortunately we still see this every day.

SO - drop in and book in for your routine computer tuneup at PC Pitstop - 10 Bellbowrie Street Port Macquarie - 02 65 841551.

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Windows update pc pitstop port macquarie

Courtesy of Microsoft Corp

Every Windows product has a lifecycle. The lifecycle begins when a product is released and ends when it's no longer supported. Knowing key dates in this lifecycle helps you make informed decisions about when to upgrade or make other changes to your software.

End of Support

End of Support refers to the date when microsoft no longer provides automatic fixes, updates or online technical assistance. This is the time to make sure you have the latest available updates or service pack installed. Without micorosoft support, you no longer receive security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal your personal information. 

Windows XP

Latest update or service pack: Service Pack 3

End of mainstream support: April 14, 2009

End of extended support: April 8, 2014

 

Windows Vista

Latest update or service pack: Service Pack 2

End of mainstream support: April 10, 2012

End of extended support: April 11, 2017

 

Windows 7

Latest update or service pack: Service Pack 1

End of mainstream support: January 13, 2015

End of extended support: January 14, 2020

 

Windows 8

Latest update or service pack: Windows 8.1

End of mainstream support: January 9, 2018

End of extended support: January 19, 2023

 

Windows 10

Latest update or service pack: N/A

End of mainstream support: October 13, 2020

End of extended support: October 14, 2025

 

Support for windows 7 RTM without service packs ended on April 9, 2013. Be sure to install Windows 7 Service Pack 1 today to continue to receive support and updates

All updates are cumulative, with each update build upon all of the updates that preceded it. A device needs to insall the latest update to remain supported. Updates may include new features, fixes (security and/or non-security), or a combination of both. Not all features in an update will work on all devices.

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14.7 million pixels.
And the power to do beautiful things with them.

 

 

And this for Apple: http://www.apple.com/au/imac-with-retina/

And this for Dell: http://www.extremetech.com/computing/189342-dell-unveils-5k-desktop-monitor-with-almost-2x-the-pixels-of-your-puny-4k-display

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It is the year Back to the Future II predicted sneakers would lace themselves and kids would fly about on hoverboards.
Technology in 2015 technology may fall short of those lofty goals but there is still much to anticipate, from virtual reality to smart motorcycle helmets and, yes, at least one hoverboard.

We peer into the crystal ball to deliver 10 top technologies to watch next year:

  • Virtual reality headsets
  • Apple Watch
  • Windows 10
  • Hendo Hoverboard
  • Samsung Project Zero
  • Fitbit Surge
  • Skully AR-1 Motocycle Helmet
  • Google Glass Revisited
  • Jawbone Up3
  • Netflix

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/top-technology-to-watch-in-2015-from-hoverboards-to-wearable-tech-and-the-gadgets-we-really-want/story-fnda1lbo-1227159730194

 

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Follow The Future of Technology

rfid-tag

RFID Tags – Making Things Talk to Each Other

Internet of things is going to be the next big thing. According to an estimate, the IoT industry touches $7 - $19 trillion by the 2020 and a report by Gartner says that there will be 26 billion devices connected by Internet of Things by 2020.

RFID technology is going to play a significant role in the boom of this upcoming industry. RFIDs can be the agents of complete digitization.

Lets dig the some of the few areas where this tech will be utilised in future.

Check here -http://greybmusings.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/rfid-tags/

#rfidtags#rfidtechnoloogy#IoT

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Posted by on in Tech News

gallery-parkmate-gallery

ParkMate

Pocket

lfttt

Sooner

SwipetimesTime Tracker

Pushover

http://smarter.telstrabusiness.com/6-time-saving-apps.htm

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Posted by on in Tech News

cloudrain

With all the security concerns about the cloud and Dropbox, is it worth ditching Dropbox and setting up your own personal cloud?


Read more: http://www.bit.com.au/Guide/365066,is-it-time-to-setup-my-own-personal-cloud-instead-of-using-dropbox.aspx#ixzz39ZAqP8Xx
 
.

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We work hard to hone our skills for you – THE CUSTOMER – and we’ve been rewarded for it!

Keep providing feedback of the services you receive at PC Pitstop. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or complete the Feedback Survey to WIN a FREE midweek escape at The Observatory hotel in Port Macquarie!

We hear you – and it keeps us WINNING FOR YOU!

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Despite Setbacks, Moving Forward in Clean Tech

 


eSolar

 

When environmental history is written, 2010 could be seen a disaster for the clean technology industry. The year dawned just after the disappointment that was December's U.N. global warming summit in Copenhagen, where the nations of the world failed to produce a comprehensive treaty to cut carbon emissions — the sort of agreement that could have given business the long-term confidence to invest in clean tech. It didn't help that the overblown controversy known as "climategate" — which involved allegations of fraud by climate scientists — undermined trust in global warming science, letting skeptics back into the debate. Worst of all, the Senate failed even to vote on a bill that would have capped U.S. carbon emissions and produce a market designed to kick start clean tech. In America, at least, green tech seems to have gone backwards.

But that's a myopic view. In Europe, which already has a carbon market, investment in clean energy — including wind and solar — isn't going away. China has emerged as a major player in clean tech, investing hundreds of billions of dollars in renewable energy and energy efficiency. In doing so, it's positioning itself to lead the world in the industry of tomorrow. And even the U.S., for all its political problems, hasn't stood still: the Department of Energy, under Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu, has begun directly supporting innovative clean tech companies and pumping more money into basic research and development. Most important, the U.S. — and especially Silicon Valley — is still home to what might be the world's most innovative entrepreneurs in clean tech. These folks are not short of smart ideas, as you'll see here.

  • Recycling e-Waste
  • Algae Biofuel
  • Algae food
  • Thin-film Solar
  • Molten Salt Storage
  • Solar Tower
  • Custom Biofuels
  • Electric Cars
  • Smart Meters
  • Lithium-ion Batteries
  • Fuel Cells
  • Rooftop Wind Power
  • Tidal Power
  • Green IT
  • Green Concrete
  • Green Building Materials
  • Modular Nuclear Power
  • Artificial Photosynthesis
  • Waste to Energy
  • Biochar
  •  

     

     

    READ FULL ARTICLE >>> HERE <<<

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    Reversible USB cable design shown off for first time

    Article from: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26868531

    USB design
     
    The new designs will put an end to inserting a USB cable the wrong way round

    A new design for USB - a standardised connection for data transfers between electronic devices - has been shown off for the first time.

    The new connector will be reversible, bringing an end to the everyday irritant of trying to force a USB cable in the wrong way.

    The images were first published by technology news site The Verge.

    The USB Implementers Forum anticipates the new designs will be finalised in July.

    But rollout of new ports will take some time as manufacturers gradually incorporate them into their products.

    New USB socket
     
    The smaller port resembles Apple's Lightning port

    The new Type-C standard will be similar in size to the current MicroUSB connector, typically used for charging mobile phones and cameras.

    The first USB cables were released in the mid-1990s and, until now, could only be plugged into a computer or other device one way round to ensure a data connection.

    Other improvements to the new cable include:

    • Support for scalable power charging, allowing the cable to offer up to 100 watts
    • Data speed transfers of up to 10 gigabits per second, double what is possible at the moment
    • A promise that the new design will accommodate further upgrades

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    $299 3D printer achieves Kickstarter goal in minutes

    Article from: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26945020

    M3D printer

    The 'cheap' M3D printer may be the first one to appeal to a mass market
     

    An ultra-cheap 3D printer has hit its Kickstarter goal in just 11 minutes, with some lauding it as the first mass market version of the technology.

    Makers M3D have currently raised over $1m (£597,000) well ahead of their $50,000 target with 28 days to go.

    Early backers will get the machine for just $199 and other backers can pledge as little as $299.

    Dubbed Micro, it comes with easy-to-use software that allows users to search, drag and drop objects to print.

    Kickstarter is a crowd-funding website that has breathed life into a range of technology projects, including the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, which was subsequently bought by Facebook for $2bn.

    'Exciting thing'

    At just 7.3in (18.5cm) square and weighing 1kg (2.2lbs), the device will be easy to move around. It can be used with Windows, Mac or Linux.

    The Micro with software

    Users can choose a design to make.

    It comes with software that allows users to search and browse objects online. Once they have picked something they would like to print they drag it into the printer and hit print.

    "It's our goal to make the Micro accessible to everyday users," reads the pitch on Kickstarter.

    The tagline on its Kickstarter page calls it "the first truly consumer 3D printer".

    Some believe that it could be a game changer.

    "Along with the market entry of New Kinpo I think it's one of the most interesting things to happen in desktop 3D printing," said expert Joris Peels.

    "New price points and lower pricing will be key in getting people to buy a 3D printer. Not many people can afford to pay $2,000 for a printer but many more can try one for $500 or $300," he added.

    The team hope to be able to start shipping the machines in August.

    While those supporting the device on Kickstarter will get it for $299 or below, a retail price has not yet been set although it is expected to be "within the same price bracket" according to a company spokeswoman.

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    5 things you need to know about cloud, that you might not know already

    5 things you need to know about cloud, that you might not know already

    Still getting your head around the cloud and whether it can help you at work? Here is an introduction to some basic questions you should be asking.

    As part of our coverager of the cloud and how it can help you, we invited Kris Hansen, technology manager at GFI Software to submit this guest column. Disclaimer: GFI has been an advertiser on the BIT website.

    1. You'll still need your IT support

    Even though your hardware (and software) will be off your hands you’ll still need access to expertise to configure and manage your cloud based services and accounts.

    How do you find the right solution? Who can you contact to ask questions? What if it stops working? Managed service providers (sometimes called cloud service providers) can be your contact point to get the most out of cloud services and keep them running smoothly.

    Consider Google Apps, a popular cloud service to host IT services like email, websites and documents. The price might be attractive, but you don’t have a number to call for support when you need it. Other providers may not offer support during your core business hours.  Having an IT Expert who is well versed in the cloud services you need is a necessity.

    Having an easily accessable IT Expert who is well versed in the cloud services you need (and knows of more you may want) ensures the service is configured for your business.

    2. You need a way to migrate your existing data

    Unless your first day running in the cloud is the first day you’re open for business you will need a way to export all of your company data from the old way you stored it, to the cloud storage. Data can come in all shapes, it could be a excel spreadsheet you keep, it could be a storage file in a local application you use or it could be a directory full of text files such as sales receipts and job notes. This data must be identified then converted into a version the cloud solution understands, and then uploaded.

    Always ensure that the cloud solution can migrate your existing data and how much time and money this migration of all your data will cost.

    Don’t forget to also consider how you get it all back again if you need to? In order to change service providers in the future, or to retrieve your data for sharing with 3rd parties a cost effective, bulk retrieval method must be available to “get your data out” when you wish.

     

    3. Its easy to try it out first

    Don't get me wrong, most services are better in the cloud but there are some compromises, which for your business may be a deal breaker.
     
    For example you may have a requirement to regularly transfer large amounts of data from your local computers into a custom system, your internet link may not be quick enough to provide cloud benefits, or should you have compliance requirements to locally store data. Apart from that, most of your current business applications can either be hosted on cloud servers or better, provided as a direct service to cut costs and increase capabilities. 
     
    Reputable cloud solution providers will provide free trials if you ask so you can test out the live solution on your company’s network before you go ahead. You can find out if you need to upgrade other parts of your network to allow for the service.
     
    Also compare a few different solutions before you pick the one that feels right for your company. With cloud services the setup time is minimal so trialling is very simple – experiment with a non-critical business function first to get a feel and remember, your on-tap cloud expert can help you identify and work around any such considerations.
     

    4. Due diligence… are you going broke?

    Many cloud service providers will boast, "It's so easy to get started with a cloud account, anyone can do it." The fact that cloud is great for easily expanding capacity without the cap-ex, of purchasing a new computer means you need to be diligent to ensure that your consumption remains under control. With cloud adding capacity can be as easy as ticking a box in your interface or sometimes just being billed for what you HAVE used. 
     
    For example, one of your staff members may want to buy some cloud file storage. The setup charge may minimal but an accidental upload of a large amount of data or even just a large amount of traffic may mean a larger bill next month you didn’t expect. 
     
    It’s important to have a well-managed process for controlling who in your business can order extra capacity. Negotiate with your service provider to place limits on your usage beyond which they’ll need to notify you and gain your sign-off; in the same way your mobile provider or your internet ISP notifies you when you reach various billing and usage thresholds.
     

    5. Regulation and compliance requirements in your industry.

    Data Privacy, Backup & Security are a requirement in most professional industries. However many Australian small businesses don’t know this until the auditor arrives at their doorstep.

    Cloud services can actually help you better achieve compliance in some instances, but you need to ask questions to your cloud provider to ensure you know where your data is stored along with how it is secured and backed up.

    Ask your cloud service provider to attest to which security standards they adhere to that can be referenced in any compliance reporting you’re on the hook for.

     

    Summary

    1.       Know what data you want to “move” into your new cloud services and make sure the company can help you get it there.

    2.       Retain the services of an IT support company for help and advice.

    3.       Try before you buy and ensure the cloud service is better than your current way of working.

    4.       Only authorise key staff to setup cloud services and have them stay vigilant over what's being spent. An existing service can easily be expanded, which may cost you more unnecessarily. 

    5.       Is the solution industry compliant? Know your requirements before you decide and choose a solution that can meet your industry requirements.


    Read more: http://www.bit.com.au/News/383168,5-things-you-need-to-know-about-cloud-that-you-haven8217t-been-told-already.aspx#ixzz30QLCDrrD

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