Backup error

Backup, Backup, Backup!!!

I have to admit it is starting to effect me that I have received another phone call with someone requesting to help with missing files and not having a good backup (this time emails in Outlook). It is very frustrating that for such a small amount of money we can ensure your files and information is safe. In this case this gentleman’s archive had lost numerous emails dating back six years.

He let me log into his laptop and it turns out he is using a backup company called Mozy which is working, however it only keeps a copy of the current files, and no history. Now this is an important point; if you delete a file on your computer, it is gone from the backup once it updates. Not Good! No history. No recovery.

So what should you look for in a backup? Well the key points that we think are a minimum requirement

  • minimum daily (we do a backup every 30 mins)
  • it must have settings to include how long the backup is retained (1 mth – 3 mths – 3 yrs)
  • able to restore an individual file or the whole computer
  • it must be monitored and email you when it fails
  • test on a regular basis (at least 6 monthly)

It really isn’t hard to keep your files safe. So please check that your backup is actually working for you if the worst case scenario happens. At SOHOCS, we can provide both onsite and offsite backups, but as a minimum use our monthly service for your Peace of Mind.

For more information go to our information page on backing up your computer, and hopefully you will realise the importance of backing up your systems or files, and just as important, making sure they are working for when you need them.


(Still) Don’t Rely on Your IT Guy

My heading might appear to be a strange statement to make considering I run an IT company.  But I stand by it.  Let me explain:  Many small businesses I come across are initially hesitant to meet with me or my staff.  “But we already have an IT guy”, they declare.  And indeed they do; it’s the owner’s son-in-law, or the guy from the computer shop across the road, or an employee’s brother who is studying IT at university, or the guy they called once from the yellow-pages.

In any case, they’re making the assumption that my company wants to become their “IT guy”. Well  not our intention at all.  We aren’t the “IT guy”.  The IT guy is the guy they call when a computer breaks, or when email isn’t working, or when they want to know how to stop those damn pop-ups.   But I’m here to tell you that the IT Guy is a dying breed.

As technology becomes more and more ubiquitous and it penetrates deeper within core and critical systems and processes throughout small businesses, you don’t want to be relying on your IT guy.  He’s usually a whiz on computers, but he’s not necessarily full bottle when it comes to business consulting.

You see, the line between technology consulting and management consulting is becoming increasingly blurred.  Technology underpins and provides the tools for so many critical business functions that companies like mine employ business experts to provide true ongoing business solutions and services that fundamentally improve our customer’s businesses.   And small businesses really must engage in a long term partnership with a technology company that understands their business, first and foremost, if they truly want to maintain a competitive edge and be innovative.

You need an IT technology partner

If you don’t have a partnership with a technology company that understands business you’re likely to be left behind in the wake of your competitors.   IT companies are changing their business models to a more consultative partnering approach, and most are dropping the old fashioned adhoc break/fix type support altogether.  So if you rely on your IT guy there will inevitably be one day soon he’s not available to assist you when you need urgent support. You might just find yourself up a familiar creek with-out a paddle because you don’t have a strong partnership with an IT company.  I believe the number of IT companies willing to answer your call to provide adhoc support will reduce as their business models shift to managed services with long term clients who look to them for business improvement, not just IT support.

So if you only have an IT Guy, do yourself a favour and make a commitment to have a meeting with an IT company. Be sure to talk to them with an open mind about how they can help you be a better business.

You want your PC fixed ‘cause it’s broken? – call the It guy.  You want to make an ongoing and long term improvement to the way you do business?

Call SOHOCS: your technology partner. 08 9200 4465

Protect Your Personal Information

After seeing some clients lately with lots of malware, trojans and suspicious programs I was wondering how they seem to so easily get them. So I decided to come up with some sound advice on how you can protect your personal information when working online. After looking at various posts, long winded  information pages I came up with the following advice.


I guarantee that you would have received emails from reputable companies asking for sensitive information like your password, username or credit card info? These types of emails are known as 'phishing' emails. It’s important that you know how to identify this kind of suspicious activity.

When you receive a message that you think doesn't look quite right, these are some tell-tale signs that you might have been sent a phishing email:

  • Poor grammar and spelling
  • Incorrect business logos, email addresses, colours and fonts
  • A request for urgent action, with the threat of your account being closed.
  • Or telling you that your account has been compromised and you need to update your password.
  • And then there are the really authentic looking emails that even link to a page that looks like the original.
  • And of course there's the "You've won a prize, click here!", and so on...


When you're online, it's important to be aware of internet security issues such as viruses, hackers and other threats to your privacy. Companies work hard to help minimise possible internet security issues on their network, but it's also important that you have the latest anti-virus software installed on your devices.

If you don't have any anti-virus software installed on your computer or devices, we offer our Peace Of Mind package that also includes backup software and monitoring.


Interestingly, the day after I wrote this blog (Christmas Day!) I received this email (PayPal phishing email) asking me to update my credit card card. The first suspicion is the email is not from a PayPal address, the second, is the grammar (This meesage send to), and lastly the "Login Now" link is not a PayPal Link. What a horrible thing to do on Christmas Day to steal someone's credit card details and rob them.

If you receive an email that's asking for any of the private information we've mentioned or it just doesn't seem right, here's what you can do:




It's that simple.

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Peace Of Mind Support


This month we have been working on a new idea, and we’re proud to release our ‘Peace Of Mind Support” offering.

We have done a crazy thing and tailored an irresistible solution for SME’s that will keep your computer safe and fully backed up. Included in this we will monitor for virus’ with our antivirus software, monitor the backup as well as monitor your computer for just $20/month/computer with no lock in contracts.

We provide you peace of mind knowing your computer is well looked after, but when you need extra support, we can remotely assist you when needed.

So check out this link and please contact us for more information.



In a 1954 speech to the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches, former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was quoting Dr J. Roscoe Miller, president of North Western University, said:


“I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important.”
The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.


This “Eisenhower Principle” is said to be how he organized his workload and priorities. This is often represented in the following quadrant type diagram:


Important activities have an outcome that leads to us achieving our goals, whether these are professional or personal.


Urgent activities demand immediate attention, and are usually associated with achieving someone else’s goals. They are often the ones we concentrate on and they demand attention because the consequences of not dealing with them are immediate.


1. Important and Urgent
There are two distinct types of urgent and important activities: ones that you could not have foreseen, and others that you’ve left until the last minute.
You can eliminate last-minute activities by planning ahead and avoiding procrastination.
However, you can’t always predict or avoid some issues and crises. Here, the best approach is to leave some time in your schedule to handle unexpected issues and unplanned important activities. (If a major crisis arises, then you’ll need to reschedule other tasks.)
If you have a lot of urgent and important activities, identify which of these you could have foreseen, and think about how you could schedule similar activities ahead of time, so that they don’t become urgent.


2. Important but not Urgent
These are the activities that help you achieve your personal and professional goals, and complete important work.
Make sure that you have plenty of time to do these things properly, so that they do not become urgent. Also, remember to leave enough time in your schedule to deal with unforeseen problems. This will maximize your chances of keeping on track; and help you avoid the stress of work becoming more urgent than necessary.


3. Not Important but Urgent
Urgent but not important tasks are things that prevent you from achieving your goals. Ask yourself whether you can reschedule or delegate them.
A common source of such activities is other people. Sometimes it’s appropriate to say “no” to people politely, or to encourage them to solve the problem themselves.
Alternatively, try to have time slots when you are available, so that people know they can speak with you then. A good way to do this is to arrange regular meetings with those who interrupt you often, so that you can deal with all their issues at once. You’ll then be able to concentrate on your important activities for longer.


4. Not Important and not Urgent
These activities are just a distraction – avoid them if possible. You can simply ignore or cancel many of them. However, some may be activities that other people want you to do, even though they don’t contribute to your own desired outcomes. Again, say “no” politely, if you can, and explain why you cannot do it.


If people see that you are clear about your objectives and boundaries, they will often avoid asking you to do “not important” activities in the future.

Where do you spend your day, in what quadrant are you working?

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The PC is alive and growing stronger

This weeks post is about a subject that has been raging for quite some time, and that is the PC verses the tablet. For the Apple die hards that I know, they're of the opinion that the PC is on it's way out, and tablets are the thing of the future. With cloud computing becoming more accepted and more services become available, you could be led into this being a fair hypothesis. But the truth of the matter, and something that I have believed infor quite some time, the tablet is just not able to meet the needs of the more complex functions that a PC does. Photo editing, online web services, accessing files, printing and the list goes on. Sure there are apps that you can get, but they're not the same and more often than not more cumbersome.

That's where companies like Intel are now getting creative and building new "PC's" that come on a stick. You can plug them in your TV, in your friends computer and any other device that can support it. Add to that a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and you're up and running


There is a linkedin article written by John Fortt where he talks about this new concept, but I wonder if this is just an interim step to us going back to a terminal screen, or Web Computer. In the early days when I started in computing we used a "terminal" which was a screen that talked to a main fame computer that executed all the commands, which then displayed the results back to the terminal. Although primitive compared to today's systems, it was the baby brother to the cloud. Now, the main frame is "The Net", and through any device you access "Your Account". Maybe the tablet will evolve to be more PC like, as is the case with the PC becoming more tablet, but for the moment I'm not sure how usable these are for everyday use.


That's where Microsoft are staying competitive with the Surface Pro 4. Although a little more expensive, this platform for me is the best solution so far. I have a Dell XPS 12 with a flip screen, and it has been a solid and fantastic unit. It's portable, can be used on my desktop, I link it to multiple screens through a dock, and all the functionality I need is in this one device. Gizmodov reviewed the Pro 4, and like them, I think it's a solid unit that ticks all the boxes. The Surface is the next generation PC that I will be looking at purchasing.

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Computer Backups – The 3-2-1 Backup Solution

I have to admit that research has shown that over 50% of people either know someone, or have themselves recently lost data. Most of these people are individuals, but if you consider how many businesses have hardware that fails, gets lost or stolen each year as well, the total number of people that needed their backups each year is staggering. Which is where this article has started from

My Hard Drive Failed with NO WARNING!

Computer errorI have to say waking up on a Monday morning to find that my computer has a black screen with the message “No boot device found” was not a pleasant one. But in my case I practiced what I preach and I have a good backup in place. I lost no data, emails or files. However, seeing I was long overdue for an upgrade I decided to start from scratch. So after two days of installing software, remembering passwords, setting up shares, etc I am back in shape. But then it made me think of all those people that don’t have a backup. It is devastating to lose everything.

So I decided to research again on the net and determine the backup strategy that is ideal for the small business. And the strategy we recommend and deploy at SOHOCS is still the best. So what is it?

3-2-1 Backup Strategy

A 3-2-1 strategy means having at least 3 total copies of your data, 2 of which are local but on different mediums (read: devices), and at least 1 copy offsite (or in fire safe at least). We’ll use “Wedding Kiss.jpg” as an example for this scenario. Wedding Kiss.jpg is in your Pictures folder on your computer and it is a picture taken at your wedding when the Bride and Groom kiss. That’s one copy of the data. You also have an external hard drive that you use for backing up your computer, if you’re on a Mac, you might be using it as a Time Machine drive (and SOHOCS loves Time Machine). As part of its backup process, that external hard drive will back up Wedding Kiss.jpg. That’s a second copy, on a different device or medium. In addition that external hard drive, you also have an online backup solution. The online backup continuously scans your computer and uploads your data offsite to a datacentre or offsite storage. Wedding Kiss.jpg is included in this upload, and that becomes the third copy of your data.

Why 2 onsite and 1 offsite?

troubleshootingAn onsite backup is a simple way of having quick access to your saved files should anything happen to your computer. If your laptop or desktop’s hard drive crashes as was the case for me, and you have an up to date external hard drive available, you can quickly get your data back, or use the external on another computer while yours gets fixed or replaced. If you remember to keep that external hard drive up to date, the exposure for data loss is fairly minimal.
Having an onsite backup is a great start, but having an offsite backup is a key component in having a complete backup strategy. Onsite backups are great if you need to get to them quickly, but unfortunately, having a backup near the device that it’s backing up (for example, having a desktop PC and an external hard drive on the same desk), means that both of those copies are susceptible to data loss. I try not to be too “doom and gloom” on the website but floods, fires, and theft can and do occur. Most often, if the two devices you have as your local copies are close together, they’ll both be affected if the unfortunate should happen. A continuously updated copy of your data that’s not in the same physical location as the other two is paramount in protecting your files.

Is 3-2-1 Perfect?

There is no such thing as a perfect backup system, but the 3-2-1 approach is a great start for the majority of people and businesses. And if the process is automated then the peace of mind knowing that your information and files are safe is worth the investment.

Backing Up Is Like Investing!

The 3-2-1 plan is a great start in getting your files backed up. You have invested a lot of capital, time and effort in your business/home files and you want to diversify them as much as possible to limit your exposure should the unthinkable happen. Liquidity also matters, having a local backup and an offsite backup gives you more options for backup recovery. That’s why SOHOCS recommends starting with a 3-2-1 approach.

Don’t get caught with no backup, as your business may rely on it in the near future, just like mine did.

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Local Small Bussiness Support – District32 20% Off



Supporting Local Business

D32 Offer


SOHO Computer Services believes in supporting our local businesses and ensuring as part of our support that we give back as well. In these days of globalisation it is the small business that is impacted the most. So we're doing something about it and supporting our colleagues in the small business community.


If your a member of District32 we're offering a 20% discount off our standard services for as long as you're a member. No special conditions, no lock in contracts, just good old fashioned professional support services. 


To take advantage of this offer simply call us, and let us know your a member and we'll do the rest from there. We look forward to supporting your you and your computer & network requirements.

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