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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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

Making the most of your web presence

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

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.

The long and winding road

There are many different sources of IT advice and, as Jane Dudman reports, finding the right guidance for your particular business can be quite a journey.

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?

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.

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

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?

RoHS and WEEE - Cleaning up our act

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