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Doing It On Disk

At one time, all backups were done on tape or some other form of low-cost removable media, but disk drives have now become so inexpensive and deliver such high capacities that disk-to-disk (D2D) backup systems have become viable even for small businesses.

Building A Culture Of Collaboration

Natalie Butler, Enterprise Sales Manager, EMEA for collaborative applications specialist, WebEx, explains how businesses can benefit by bringing remotely-located teams of workers together over the Internet.

The Safe Option?

With the threats ever-changing and mutating, are you better off keeping the management of digital security in-house, or contracting it out to a third party expert? Peter Warden looks at the options for small businesses

Why Does Your Business Need... A Workstation?

Sue Forkin, Workstation Business Manager at HP UK and Ireland, gives Living IT the low-down on when and why you might need to invest in something that packs a bit more power than the average desktop.

Keeping A Watch Over Your Business

With Power over Ethernet going mainstream and plenty of new solutions on the market, IP-based surveillance is becoming a more viable option for the smaller business, reports Gareth Kershaw.

How To... Go Virtual

Could you transform your business into one that has no fixed office or location but runs purely as a collection of individuals who work in remote locations? Falk Bleyl, Head of Business Development at specialist communications and hosted applications system provider, Solution1 explains how you might.

Looking To The Future

We are always hearing about new technologies and how they will make our business and personal lives better � but what does the future really hold? Living IT took time out to talk to one of the IT industry�s leading technology gurus to find out.

Cutting the cost of printing

Printer manufacturers are urging us all to switch to multifunction devices � but do we really need them, or are we simply being sold old technology that we won�t use? We talked to some industry experts about the sense of stepping up to MFPs.

Intelligent Storage Management: The smart way to manage storage

If you want to make sure that your data is properly backed up and that you are managing to hold on to data to comply with industry or government regulations, intelligent storage management solutions, could hold the key.

All about Ethernet?

Networking technology has been getting faster over the years and we�re now able to run Ethernet LANs at gigabit� speeds and even as much as 10 gigabits per second. But what would this mean for your business? Jon Pearce, product manager at networking company, ZyXEL, provides us with some answers.

IT skills and why they matter

Is it worth investing in training your staff to get the best out of your investment in systems and software? Steve Philp, UK Marketing Director of IT training specialist, Global Knowledge, explains why he believes education is always a good investment.

Why does your business needa large-format flat screen plasma or LCD display?

It might seem like an outrageous extravagance to the old school but buying a large format screen for your business could be a smart idea.

Play for today?

You may have heard the �triple play� and �quad play� being talked about in glowing terms by people in the communications business, and the idea of combining several services into one package may at first seem very attractive. Living IT looks behind the hype and looks at how small businesses might be able to benefit from having a single supplier for data, voice, mobile and video.

How to always stay connected

In this How To we look at a real-world example of how Kate Craig-Wood, managing director and co-founder of web hosting firm Memset, makes use of several mobile technologies to stay in full email and voice contact with staff.

The shape of software to come

Now that broadband is just about everywhere, Microsoft and other software companies have started to talk more about the concept of Software as a Service (SaaS) and within a few years, we could all be �renting� rather than buying the applications we need to keep the business running.

Best of breed or all in one security?

In the past you�d buy different programs to manage different aspects of security such as anti-virus, firewall, intrusion detection and so on � but you can now buy software and dedicated appliances that claim to provide you with all the security you need in one, easy to manage package � so which is the best option? Living IT asked the experts for their views.

Why Does Your Business Need Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft Outlook 2007

The latest versions of Microsoft�s email server and client systems have been on the market for some time now and if you have not made the leap yet, it may be time to seriously start thinking about it.

Storage Area Networking

The storage area network (SAN) has been around for some time and while it was originally devised as a way of enabling large businesses to organise and use their storage resources more efficiently, it has now become much more affordable and practical for smaller businesses.

The reality of virtualisation

You may have heard a lot about the concept of server or storage virtualisation but what does it really mean and how relevant is it to small businesses? LIVING IT asked Reza Malekzadeh, Director of Product Marketing and Alliances EMEA for VMware � one of the world�s leading providers of virtualisation software, to provide some answers.

Safely and legally dispose of unwanted PCs

The ROHS and WEEE directives mean that these days you can�t just throw old computers on the scrap heap? So how can you safely and legally dispose of your old unwanted PCs?

Delivering staff from temptation

Making sure that your staff are using the internet for business purposes and not inadvertently downloading viruses and other types of malware is becoming vitally important for small firms says senior security consultant at Sophos, Carole Theriault.

Going digital with documents

While all small firms have computers, few are anywhere near the nirvana of the paperless office � Living IT takes a realistic look at what you can and what you can�t automate with electronic systems and processes.

What�s next for wireless?

Most people have heard of �Wi-Fi� and may have heard about the new �draft n� standard and WiMax technologies that promise to deliver faster connections across greater distances � Living IT looks at where wireless is heading in the future.

Stick or twist?

With computing, communications, security, and storage all fast converging on the network, should smaller businesses stick with their current infrastructures or bite the convergence bullet and upgrade?

Wireless: Revolution or Evolution?

So how do you balance the mobility vs. security equation? How do you keep your business secure and open? How can you be sure your data is safe and accessible? How do you secure the seemingly unsecurable?

Sophisticated and deadly

You may have heard the term, but do you really understand what a blended threat is and how you can guard against them?

Step up to Office 2007

Many small businesses could benefit by upgrading their desktop software to Office 2007 � the latest in Microsoft�s ubiquitous suite of productivity software.

Making the switch to unified communications

Do unified communications free businesses from complexity or tie them into a single supplier? We asked IT consultants to give us their views.

Making sure IT works

There is little point investing in technology if you cannot make full use of it and one thing you can just about guarantee with computers and software is that, somewhere along the line, something will go wrong and having someone on hand to sort any problems out is very important. Simon Vail looks at the different options available to small businesses when it comes to getting on-going help and advice

Use your PBX to open the IP door!

Voice communications are a vital tool for all modern small businesses. But while the convergence of voice and data communications systems is driving a telecommunications revolution in the world of large enterprise, many SMEs are being put off by the perceived hefty upfront infrastructure costs and disruption to their day-to-day business. Mike Willacy, Senior Product Manager of Voice Solutions for BT Global Services, offers advice on how to make the most of IP without having to completely upgrade your telephony system.

Seeing is believing

Video conferencing can save you time, cut your costs and reduce the environmental impact of business travel, says Jocelyn Lomer, managing director of Datacom Conferencing Solutions.

Broadband moves into the fast lane

The up-coming higher speed version of ADSL will make higher speed broadband available and affordable to very many more small businesses � Ambrose McNevin looks at the potential that higher speed communications will provide for small firms.

Plugging the gaps

All computer systems today need to be protected from viruses, worms, hackers and data theft � but it�s vitally important to keep your security right up to date if you want to ensure that you are always protected writes Tracey Caldwell.

The PC with Two Brains

With two central processing �cores� packed onto the space that usually accommodates just one, the dual core processor can deliver much higher levels of performance.

Document Management and Compliance

The growing array of compliancy and corporate governance regulations must be frightening if you are the person responsible for making sure that a large organisation can meet its obligations in the eyes of the lawmakers. But it would be dangerous to assume that, just because you are not incorporated in the US or a plc here, that you don�t need to pay attention to the issue of document retention and compliance.

Marketing Gets Results

An increased focus on marketing is starting to pay off for small businesses but it seems that many still don�t understand the value it can deliver.

HP iPAQ devices deliver productivity on the road

Converged mobile devices, with the functionality of both telephony and wireless computing, have made productive mobile working a reality for many businesses. With the use of bespoke applications running on micro-sized pocket PCs, you can take your specific business function anywhere.

Brand presence � How can I make my customers remember me?

You�d be hard pushed to find anyone who doesn�t know who the maker of the iPod is, or who hasn�t heard of Adidas, Shell or Tesco. Why? Because each company can be readily identified by people across the globe and, as soon as you mention the company�s name, it creates a perception and opinion in people�s minds. Immediately, people identify with that company, are familiar with its service and merchandise and, ultimately, recognise the brand name.

Why does your business need a plasma or LCD large format display?

Large-format screens are coming down in price now but why would you need one in your business? Would it be a frivolous waste of money or are there real reasons why.

Instant messaging � a useful business tool or an unwelcome distraction?

Living IT�s Simon Meredith asked small businesses and technology experts from a number of companies to give us their views on one of the fastest-growing forms of communication in business today.

Taking a short cut to higher capacities

James Lee, UK sales manager for Buffalo Technology, explains how network attached storage can make expanding your disk capacity quick and easy.

RoHS and WEEE - Cleaning up our act

How will new EC rules affect you when you buy computers and other hi-tech equipment?

Wireless Networking

Balvinder Singh Phull, marketing communications manager at specialist networking company, D-Link, talks us through the basics of networking without wires.

Punching above your weight

Bernadette Wightman, head of SMB at networking company Cisco Systems, says that small firms are starting to use technology to communicate and compete more effectively with larger companies.

Freedom to Roam

With mobile devices and applications evolving rapidly beyond the humble mobile phone, mobility really is on the move. But where is mobility taking us and how are we going to get there, asks Gareth Kershaw.

Coping with an email overload

Email overload is a problem that affects almost everyone now � but there are ways that you can take the hassle out of managing your Inbox.

Leasing is best for veterinary practice

When veterinary surgeons Walker and Wikeley was set up in a converted tyre and exhaust garage, in March 2006, it needed some computer equipment. It also needed some financial flexibility so, when kitting itself out with three PCs and four work stations, a server with two network lasers, one HP Deskjet printer. the practice had no hesitation in going down the leasing route.

Making your money work harder

Rather than explore all the different options, many small businesses simply get their cheque books out when it comes to buying computer systems � but it may not always be the best option. Tracey Caldwell looks at the many different ways in which you can fund your IT investments.

Save the planet

Caring about the environment is high on everyone�s agenda now, so being green is good for staff morale and can also save you money. Living IT looks at how you can be greener about your IT use.

Vista � What can it do for your business?

Microsoft Windows Vista has arrived but what benefits will it bring to small businesses if they decide to take the plunge and upgrade? Simon Vail explains.

What�s the right mobile technology for your business?

With laptops, PDAs and smart phones all widely available now, selecting the right technology or combination of technologies for mobile working is not easy and what suits one business may not suit another. Our Q&A; guide answers all the difficult questions.

Switch and save

You may have heard the term but if you did not understand exactly what it meant, you would not be alone � Liz Holland, communications manager at leading KVM products manufacturer, Belkin, explains the ins and outs.

Set up a blog for your business

Could having a web area where you keep customers, suppliers and partners updated with your latest news and information help your business? Living IT�s guide to the basics and benefits of Blogs should help you decide.

Why email marketing can be good for you

Andrew Robinson, managing director of specialist software provider, Lyris, explains how you can use email marketing to get your messages across to customers.

On-line obstacles

In this age of e-commerce the web site is the most visible part of any business. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is sent into people�s homes and places of work. To make sure this marketing tool is as effective as possible you need to make sure you are doing the basics right.

Going Underground

RAD Data Communications helped Samara City, one of western Russia�s regional capitals, build an IP based security platform for its subway system. Providing voice and data over IP, Ethernet, and MPLS backbones, it is used to collect audio information from dedicated police phones and reporting information from fire sensors.

ntl: Telewest takes IP CCTV north of the border

North Lanarkshire County Council has agreed a �1.3m deal with ntl:Telewest Business, for the largest deployment of IP CCTV in Europe, a move crucial to the council�s security strategy according to Councillor Tom Maginnis, Convener of the Economic Regeneration Committee at North Lanarkshire Council.

Catch It On Camera

For many small businesses, CCTV and other advanced physical security have always been too complex and too expensive. But now, a new generation of IP-based cameras and other devices and software, is putting advanced physical security within the reach of all businesses, writes Gareth Kershaw.

Choose the right printer for your business

Just about every ink-jet and laser printer these days is colour and those that are not are usually designed for specific needs, such as multiple form impact printing and even these are increasingly rare.

Working At It

Most relationships are built on trust and by working with your supplier, being pragmatic and taking their advice, rather than simply focusing on price, you can get the most out of your IT reseller, says Simon Vail.

Push me, pull me

You have probably heard the phrase �push email; but what is it and how exactly does it work? Steve Clayton, head of midmarket technology at Microsoft UK, explains.

Get Geared

On-line motorcycle equipment retailer Get Geared is a great example of the potential benefits of ecommerce for small businesses.

The Return of ECommerce

A few years ago we were told that if you did not have a web site you�d soon be out of business but many small businesses that invested in on-line systems found their customers just weren�t ready. But now that the debris from the bursting of the dot-com bubble has been well and truly cleared away, it may now be time for all businesses to start trading on-line writes Jane Dudman.

Going digital

Switching from manual to digital bookkeeping can have benefits even for very small operations.

Accounting for business

Assess your needs and make sure that you choose the right accounting or stock control system for your business.

Government Grants

What are you entitled to? Charting a course through the minefield of government grants.

How to dispose of old computer equipment

The arrival of Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) initiatives and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) mean that you can�t just throw old computer, printers and other devices away now - you have to do it properly. Here are a few pieces of advice for how you can go about it safely.

How to choose and set up a projector

If you have never bought or used a projector before, how do you know what to look for in terms of features and value? Our short guide to the mysteries of choosing and using a projector should help you see the light.

Broadband bonanza

If they want it, every broadband user in the UK can now have download speeds on their broadband connection of up to 8Mbps � four times as fast as the current 2Mbps. Jane Dudman looks at how the UK�s broadband landscape is developing.

How To avoid getting a virus � or any other infection that could harm your data

We�ve all heard about viruses and just about everyone that has a PC will have anti-virus software and a firewall. But smarter variations on the theme such as Trojans and worms, blended threats, phishing, pharming and the latest type of ransom-ware pose new dangers that are harder to repel. This short guide should help you avoid the major pitfalls of setting up stern defences for your business.

X marks the spot for SharePoint at Premera Blue Cross

Premera Blue Cross handles the post-hospitalisation needs of patients with complex medical conditions, but until recently, opening a new case sometimes took as much as three hours and required the use of two different case management systems, and on-going management was paper-intensive.

Lotus QuickPlace makes the right Noises in Tech PR

A Lotus QuickPlace based extranet has helped free up time and improve customer service at Noiseworks, a specialist IT public relations company based in Maidenhead.

Collaborate to accumulate

The idea of intuitive, �collaborative� working is becoming more and more de rigueur, writes Gareth Kershaw, but what exactly is it? Does it really work? And if so, can it work for you?

Investment in e-commerce pays off

Bagga Menswear was first set up in 1994 and soon grew into two thriving shops. MD David Lomax has been experimenting with e-commerce since 2002 but two years ago took the radical step of closing the more successful and busiest of his two shops to give him time to concentrate on developing the e-commerce side of the business.

Making the most of your web presence

How you can use on-line resources to attract more customers

Targeting gets results

Five-strong SME Kashflow is an on-line book keeping company making good use of IT to win sales.

Can IT help you boost your sales?

Most small businesses see computers simply as tools, but if they are used in the right way, they can also be used to help you to market your business to a wider audience and drive up your sales, writes Tracey Caldwell.

Making sense of security

We hear a lot about viruses, hackers and other types of threats to our computers, but how much of it do you understand and how worried should you really be about protecting your IT systems. Tracy Caldwell looks at security from a small business perspective.

If I had a hammer

To most small businesses, computers are simply another tool to be used when something needs to be fixed � but by taking a more involved and strategic approach to IT, even the smallest business may be able to get ahead of its rivals. Simon Vail explains how you can start to take a more methodical approach to technology.

Keeping it legal

You may hear a lot about legal issues with regards to email, data retention and compliance but what are the rules and do they really matter to small businesses? We asked Tamzin Matthew of solicitors Morgan Cole, an expert in IT-related law issues, to explain.

Planning for and coping with IT disasters

In the event that disaster befalls your computer system how will you cope?

Keeping systems and data secure

Simple anti-virus and firewall solutions can provide most of the protection many small businesses need.

Strategic approach keeps costs down

By treading carefully and taking advice, one building firm has been able to streamline its systems and cut costs.

Good advice makes all the difference

Getting sound expert guidance and also taking a long-term approach and planning ahead is crucial when you are looking for a company that can meet your business needs.

How to write usage policies for the Internet and email

Having clear written policies for your business with regard to the Internet and email will help you to protect your business and your own staff. Here are some guidelines on what to include and the form of words to use.

How to choose the right accounting package for your business

Selecting the right accounting package for your business is something you need to do with care if you are going to get the right software � and the right type of service.

How to monitor and control use of the Internet and email

The Internet and email have become indispensable tools for most businesses but it is all too easy for staff to misuse on-line resources � and as well as wasting time, they could potentially land your business in trouble. Living IT looks at how you can monitor the use of the web and messaging.

The price is not always right

IT can bring significant benefits to the small business. But to get the most from IT, a business needs to trust its systems � and that means having confidence in the company that supplies, manages and maintains them.So where�s the best place to buy your equipment in the long run and just how significant is the price tag?

How to save money with multi-function printers

Look around your office and consider your daily tasks. Chances are you'll find yourself awash in paper. But does this really need to be the case?

Bringing documents to life

According to estimates, colour can improve comprehension and accelerates learning of printed material by as much as 75% - is it time that you made more use of colour in your business?

Get your business moving!

While you hear a lot about mobile computing, much of what you hear may not mean an awful lot. In this article we try to explain to the uninitiated and those who have some idea of what it is all about, what the real benefits of being mobile are and just how easily you can take advantage.

How to secure a wireless network

Networking makes it easy to share Internet access and data. But you wouldn't want to share your information with just anyone. With a wireless network, your information is travelling through the airwaves � not physical wires, so anyone within range can "listen in" on your network. Here are four essential security measures you should take to secure your wireless network.

Why do you need a server?

For many small businesses, a server is usually installed only when the need becomes very obvious. But why would you need a system that has been set up and configured to work to sit at the centre of your LAN?

Stepping up to Windows 2003

If you are looking at moving up to the latest version of Microsoft Windows on your server, these are just some of the questions that you might want to ask.

What is VoIP and how can my business benefit?

Voice over IP is coming to us all but how can your business benefit?

Linux v Windows - what's best on the desktop?

You may have heard about Linux being an alternative to Microsoft Windows but what do you really know about it? Our Q&A; should answer most of your questions.

Power in the palm of your hand

You have all seen and heard about handheld portable PCs or PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) like the BlackBerry, Treo and iPAQ, but how much do you really know about them? Now�s your chance to find out.

The true cost of computing

You may well be tempted by all those cut price offers that you see from computer companies but, as

Simon Vail explains, there is a great deal more to the cost of running a PC or network than the initial price tag.

Going back to nature

Recent directives from Europe have put companies under an obligation to ensure that as much material as possible from old PCs is recycled and that any dangerous substances are disposed of with care. But what will all this mean to the ordinary small business user � Tracy Caldwell did some digging.

Storage Matters

All the impressive facts and figures about megabytes and gigabytes may sound like gobbledygook to many small business users but the storage resources on your computer are becoming increasingly important as the repositories for essential business information. Guy Matthews tries to chart a course through the minefield of disk and tape drives.

Branded Vs Unbranded PCs

Does it matter to you what label is on the front of your PC? Tracy Caldwell looks at the differences are between the brand-name producers and the plain white-boxes

Broadband calling

Everyone is talking about data and voice convergence but can you make use of Voice over IP technology yet? Simon Vail assesses the viability of VoIP for small businesses at the present time

Making IT pay

Training staff how to use computers is not something many small businesses consider but, as Jane Dudman writes, it could be something well worth doing if you want to make the most of your investments in technology

How to avoid health and safety issues problems with IT systems

Keeping your staff fit and productive is important but unless you are aware of the dangers, IT can cause you some issues with health and safety regulations so it�s a wise to pay attention to the details and know how to avoid any problems

How to set up a CCTV system over the Internet

Low cost �but very capable - web cameras and the ability to transmit and store video footage on computer networks and across the Internet are bringing CCTV systems within the reach of much smaller businesses. But where do you start?

How to make sure your network is future-proofed

If you invest in a network you want to be sure that it can grow with you and, when you want to make use of new technologies, you can do so without throwing the whole set-up out and starting again or incurring any major costs upgrading.

How to protect your on-line identitiy and bank details

We all know that identity theft and phishing (trying to get you to put your confidential details into a false web site) are big problems. But how can you avoid being deceived by the fraudsters?

How to make the most of your Internet firewall

After anti-virus software, the firewall is the next most essential piece of security software for any business and while most firewalls will work �out of the box�, it�s a good idea to understand a little bit more about what�s important and how to get the best from them.

How to use instant messaging for business

The use of Instant Messaging (IM) has grown massively over the past two years and what started as a craze in the home, has now moved into the business world. And while IM can be really useful, it can also expose you to a number of threats. Our list of do�s and don�ts should help you make the most of IM and avoid the pitfalls.

The virtual IT manager

Based in Leicester Square, at the heart of London�s theatre-land, Encore Tickets is a small but fast-growing ticketing wholesaler but the company�s success and speedly growth has presented some challenges.

Putting broadband at the heart of the business

Even in this age where PCs and notebooks are ubiquitous, many companies still have a need for rapid, accurate transcriptions of dictation or meetings.

Driving efficiency on the road

McAllisters Recovery is one of the leading rescue and recovery business in Surrey and Hampshire. Based in Aldershot, it has 48 staff and over 50 vehicles on the road and its customer base includes local police forces, transport, bus and coach companies, motoring associations, local motor dealerships and the general public.

How to Subscribe to and use a mobile 3G service

It all sounds very complicated but getting on-line with a 3G/GPRS data service is not all that difficult or expensive. Having Internet access anytime and anywhere means you can pick up and send emails and get information from the web wherever you are on your laptop.

How to Stop someone stealing your PC/laptop

Laptops may be inexpensive now but thieves will still walk off with them given half a chance. PCs can also be attractive to thieves, especially if they have high specifications or there are a few of them all together in one place. And while you can never guard against physical theft completely there are a few things that you can do to minimise the appeal of your systems to those with criminal intentions

How to put a stop to SPAM

Unwanted and unsolicited e-mails � or spam � is a growing problem for businesses of all sizes. So how can you minimise the amount you get?

How to set up a wireless network

To the uninitiated, setting up a wireless LAN sounds daunting but in practice, it can be fairly simple.

How to choose an IT supplier

Finding the right supplier is more than half the battle when it comes to making the most of your investment in IT systems.

Broaden your horizons

High speed broadband connections to the Internet have enabled small businesses to benefit from fast web access and �always-on� email. But what else can you do with your broadband connection?

Soft options

If you thought software could only be bought in a �packaged� form, or that licensing is only for large firms, you�d be very much mistaken � and there are other ways in which you can provide the right applications for your business as well.

The virtual reality

With broadband now widely available and affordable to just about everyone,the potential for working at home and having co-workers located in many different places has increased tremendously � could you benefit from becoming a �virtual � business?