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Feb
16th

Windows Server 2003 support is ending on 14th July…What’s your plan?

2015

We knew it was coming, and it’s not far off now. Microsoft is ending support for Windows Server 2003 on 14th July this year. This includes all versions and subeditions. Service packs actually stopped in 2010, but in five months time support goes too.

What will this mean? Well if you’re still running Server 2003 after 14th July you’ll be vulnerable to security flaws. Future attacks won’t be patched by Microsoft which will leave holes in your system that could lead to breaches, hacks and cyber attacks.

So what’s your plan? It’s been predicted that Windows Server 2003 end of life will prove to be a huge cloud catalyst. And we won’t argue that cloud is certainly a good way to go for many businesses. Migrating to Microsoft Azure or Office 365 will bring concrete benefits including better performance, business mobility, enterprise class security, increased productivity and agility. If that’s the path for your business, you’ll need to act now to plan your migration strategy and protect your IT infrastructure.

Have a look here for more information on Microsoft Office 365, and speak to us for help migrating your business to the cloud.

 

Feb
10th

Guide To Choosing A Server – Free Download

We’ve put our years of experience and heads full of geeky knowledge to good use, and have put together a comprehensive guide to choosing a server.

The 3 part eGuide on choosing a server looks at

• Processors and ram
• Hard drive size
• How to future proof your server

Our free downloadable eGuide covers everything you need to know about choosing the server that is right for you. No signups necessary, no hoops to jump through, just a practical free guide in handy .pdf format which you can download by clicking on the link below.

Download Free EGuide Choosing A Server

Feb
9th

How to hack your own business (or how not to)

Binary & PC Screens

Over the past few months we’ve seen a number of instances of customer DNS records being changed. This is usually as a result of the customer having a new website done. The DNS records are changed in order to move website hosts and often the servers hosting the DNS records are changed at the same time. Unfortunately, we often see changes made to DNS records that affect the ability of domains to receive emails.

To change a website host, the only records that need to be changed are the A records. Making any changes to MS, TXT, SRV or SPF records, especially if Office 365 is the mail server, will result in extensive problems when people try to send emails to your domain.

If you need to make changes to your DNS please talk to us, or your own IT support provider, prior to taking any action. We deal with these records on a regular basis and we can advise which changes need to be made and, more importantly, what records  NOT to change.

Don’t be the victim of your own DNS disruption.

Axon can help!

If you need assistance, then please give us a call on 01625 837800 or contact us here.

 

Feb
2nd

Axon Raises Funds for Macclesfield Neonatal Unit

The pennies have been counted, and the grand total of our fundraising for 2014 was £875.07.

All the money raised has gone directly to our charity of the year for 2014 – Macclesfield Neonatal Unit and the money will be used towards a high flow oxygen unit.

Lynn McGill, Chairman of East Cheshire NHS Trust said, “We have been honoured to have the incredible support of Axon, who named us their charity of the year 2014. The team’s enthusiasm for ECHO has seen them raise an incredible total which will go towards a high flow oxygen unit on the neonatal ward at Macclesfield District General Hospital. This equipment will provide more effective and comfortable breathing support for babies who need it. Thank you Axon – it has been a pleasure to work with you.  We wish you great success with your future fundraising.”

Huge thanks to everyone that supported and sponsored us.

Jan
29th

What will winter cost your business?

Car in Snow - resize

A good few inches of snow in Macclesfield today. Schools are closing, roads are covered, and several of our team are having to stay at home today. Of course, that doesn’t matter to us. Thanks to cloud computing, our staff can be productive from anywhere. But without cloud computing, we’d be losing some serious man hours right now.

Loss of productivity as a result of snow days costs businesses in the UK millions every year. How does it affect your business? If you lose 50% of your staff to snow for the day, how much money do you lose?

Of course it depends on your line of business. If you’ve got factory or shop floor staff, then of course they can’t really be utilised at home. But your office-based staff can continue to work as normal. And with VoIP telephony, your business comms can continue to work effectively as well.

So what is cloud computing?

If you’re not too sure exactly what cloud is, you can find out more info on our cloud services page. But in a nutshell, you move all of your business data away from your on-site servers and into “the cloud” – so onto your cloud provider’s servers – and you access it via an internet connection. It gives flexibility, it saves money, and it helps form part of your business continuity and disaster recovery plan – meaning that if your offices become rendered out of action, for whatever reason, fire, flood, theft, or you can’t physically get to your office, then your business continues to run as normal.

Working from home on a bad snow day, is a great way of maintaining productivity when the weather turns bad and stops staff being able to get into the office.

Staff can boot up their devices at home – home PC, laptop, iPad etc, and access their files, emails and calendars  in exactly the same was as they would in the office. And Microsoft Office 365 helps to make your tech even slicker. It brings you all the benefits of your usual Office software, together with data storage and internal intranet sites through OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online, access anywhere emails and calendars through Exchange Online and intuitive communication capabilities through Lync Online. Lync takes your comms that step further with online meetings, live video conferencing and instant messaging helping teams to collaborate efficiently no matter where in the world they’re based.

Which brings us nicely onto business comms. If staff are snowed in, cloud computing makes sure you’re all in contact, working effectively, keeping the business running…but what happens to your phone lines? What happens to your customers ringing into the business while your staff are all at home? Well this is where VoIP can save the day.

But what’s VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, and it’s the technology of placing telephone calls over an internet line. And the key benefit in this type of scenario, is the flexibility. Mirroring the way that cloud works,  when your telephone system uses broadband instead of traditional analogue lines, it will work from anywhere with an internet connection.

You use either an IP enabled telephone handset, or a headset combined with a piece of software known as a softphone installed onto your computer and that’s it. Well, and the internet. So if you’ve had to stay at home, you just boot up your laptop, connect to the internet, plug in your headset or IP phone and you’re away. All calls made to your regular business telephone number will arrive on your laptop, and you can transfer calls or call internally using your usual individual extension numbers.

Of course, there may be flaws to my plan. I’m assuming your staff all have the internet at home. And a company laptop or home computer. But let’s face it, most of us do these days. If your teams can remain productive when they’re unable to battle through the elements you will reap the benefits on your bottom line. It can also help keep morale high, letting your team stay in touch, keep on top of their workloads and even the peace of mind that they’re not having to make dangerous journeys into the office when it’s not necessary.

Get In Touch With Us

You can find loads of information about cloud computing services and VoIP solutions on our website here, and if you’d like a chat about how cloud could work for your business, pop in and see us – unless it’s snowing. In which case, you might want to catch us on VoIP 01625 837800.

Jan
27th

Update to F-Secure causing machines to lose the TC/IP stack


We’ve discovered that there may be an update to F-Secure that is causing machines to lose the TC/IP stack. To re-bind this to the machine you will need to get the user to run the following…

 netsh int ip reset /c:resetlog.txt

At this point it will ask you to reboot. DO NOT REBOOT! Run the following, in this order…

netsh

int ip

winsock

reset

Then reboot.

Jan
22nd

Holographic computing is here – say hello to HoloLens

HoloLens

Much excitement at Axon Towers today, with the launch of Microsoft’s HoloLens. What is it? It’s the future, that’s what. (Well, we’re hoping so). A holographic headset, it creates hologram illusions in your field of vision, but unlike previous virtual reality devices, you can interact with objects. To give it its technical term – immersive augmented reality.

Sounds intriguing? It is.

It could transform the world as we know it. But will it? Will holographic virtual reality ever become our reality?

Take a quick look at this video and let us know what you think. Mindblowing stuff…

 

Jan
9th

Hot On The Blog – Our Most Popular Tips & Solutions

We’re now at the end of our first full working week of the new year, so we thought now would be a good time to take a look backwards, and to delve in the archives.

Hot on the blog

We’ve pored over an entire years’ worth of data and have identified our most popular blog articles from the last 12 months, which we’ve put together in this article for easy reference. You’re welcome!

1. Unable to remove contacts from Lync Client (Office 365)

Are you having trouble removing contact or groups from your Lync contact list? Then this is the blog article for you – a full step by step guide to resolving the issue.

2. Input language won’t change to English UK from English US in Windows 8.1

When we installed the Windows 8.1 update on a laptop we found that the machine automatically adopted the US English input language. Here’s how to fix the issue.

3. Microsoft Office files slow to open from network share on SBS 2008 from Windows 7 Clients

We experienced the slow opening of Office 2007 files from network shares on SBS 2008 servers when accessed from Windows 7 clients. This article shows you how to resolve the issue.

4. Office 365 Subscription: How to reactivate office – Unlicensed Product

Need to reactivate an Office 365 subscription? Then try the following steps.

5. How to Stop the Local Downlevel Document from Appearing in the Print Queue

The solution is to disable Asynchronous RPC in the registry of the Windows Vista/7 client. This blog articles talks you through the process.

6. ‘shared with me’ not showing shared files in Microsoft OneDrive

If you find that ‘shared with me’ is not showing shared files in OneDrive, try the following fix to show files again.

7. Recovering a deleted mailbox in Microsoft Office 365

We had an issue where a mailbox had been deleted and the mail items hadn’t been backed up. This article looks at how you can go about recovering a deleted mailbox in Office 365.

8. Installing Business Contact Manager (BCM) 2010 on Small Business Server (SBS) 2011

Business Contact Manager (BCM) 2010 can be installed locally on a PC or installed on a remote server where BCM database can be shared out between users of Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2010. Learn more here.

9. How to Enable Microsoft Threat Management Gateway (TMG 2010) to Accept Non-standard SSL Ports

As standard, Microsoft TMG (or ISA) will not allow access to sites that use non-standard SSL ports. Here are details on how to get around this issue.

10. Staged Exchange Migration to Office 365

Step by step instructions as well as useful links for configuring Outlook Anywhere and managing your migration to Office 365.

11. Cannot Access a CNAME network share from a Windows XP PC

We recently faced a problem whereby a customer’s database server stopped working due to a hardware failure. The server was running on a physical box, This is the solution that we found.

12. Cannot access an FTP site on a client PC on a network behind Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) or an ISA Server. (502 Proxy Error)

When a user tries to connect to an FTP site from a PC where Internet Explorer is set to use a proxy server, they may receive an error message from the proxy server. Find out how to successfully connect via FTP in this article.

So there we have it, our 12 most popular blog posts from 2014 in order of popularity.

 

Jan
8th

New Year, New Solution

 

2015

If your New Year’s resolution is to give your business a boost, you could do worse than giving your IT systems a good clear out. What worked for you a year or more ago might not necessarily be the best solution for your current needs, and revisiting your IT set up could just save you money.

So here are our top five tips on how to audit your existing infrastructure…

1) Have your needs changed?
Businesses change. But IT systems often remain stagnant and in no time at all the infrastructure becomes outdated. So take a look at how you work. If you need more flexibility with an option for home workers, then a cloud computing solution might better suit your business. It can also be more cost effective as it turns the upfront cost of server hardware purchases into a monthly running cost and can be more easily adapted as your business needs change. You can read more about cloud computing here.

2) Have you grown?
If your business has grown in the last 12 months and you now employ more staff, your software could be under-licensed. Equally, you may perhaps have lost staff leaving you over-licensed.  While over-licensing isn’t ideal, being under-licensed is illegal, so you need to check. Keep a database of which software is on which machines, who uses it and how frequently to ensure you’re only paying for what you need and that everything is properly licensed and above board. But beware, software licensing can get complicated so if you’re at all unsure, ask your IT provider to help you. And remember that with cloud solutions such as Office 365, all your licencing needs are covered and taken care of by your service provider as part of your monthly cost.

3) Speed up your systems
For a quick and easy way to speed up your computers, try getting rid of any clutter you are hoarding. Old programmes, files or documents that are no longer being used take up valuable disk space and slow down your machine, so delete anything not in use – and the same goes for emails. Be ruthless! Use archiving. Keep only what you need and enforce it with employees to ensure that everybody’s desktops and laptops are running efficiently. Have a look here for tips on how to keep your PC in optimum condition.

4) What about warranties?
If you have any hardware that is about to come out of warranty then think about extending the warranties for peace of mind. If you’re not sure what expires when, and you bought your equipment through your IT provider then they should be able to provide you with a concise list. Some hardware might be well past it’s sell by date and need replacing, and as much as you may not want to spend the cash, outdated desktops and laptops will become progressively worse in performance and slow down user productivity.

5) Security check
Keeping your systems secure is crucial. Viruses, hacks and data loss can cause no end of disruption to a business and any glitches in security could result in a major meltdown. Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date and that users can only access the areas of the system they are authorised to reach. Test your back up regularly so that if anything does happen to your network, you can be sure of a fast and effective restore. This blog post here gives more details on how to protect your business from cyber criminals.

If you’ve got any questions about your existing IT set up, give us a call or drop us a line here. Oh, and Happy New Year. Here’s to 2015!

We make IT happen

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Heather Close
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Macclesfield
Cheshire SK11 0LR