Can Virtual Reality Help Your Company?

Virtual Reality seems more like the plot of a sci-fi movie that anything that could help you in the business world. Well, more and more businesses are coming up with new and different ways to integrate virtual reality into their businesses in ways that could benefit their customers, clients or even employees. Virtual Reality may be able to help your clients access content in a way that is not always possible in a two dimensional setting. The year 2017 may be the time that VR explodes in the business world. Let’s take a look at just a few of the ways that virtual reality may benefit your company.

  • Prototypes – For many businesses that have products that are in development, VR could allow clients or employees to create, use or rework a virtual model of your product and make necessary changes before actually paying for production.
  • Designing – If part of your service or product requires designing, VR may help save time and energy in engineering plans or designs. Replications of structures can make this work easy and allow a better viewpoint that can troubleshoot any design flaws.
  • Tours – For businesses that want to show off their showroom or workshop VR can allow for virtual tours even from a remote location. For example, in real estate, a buyer from another state could easily see a property hundreds of miles from home without leaving their home.
  • Training – Many businesses require training on equipment that may mean hiring a specialist. VR can allow employees to get their hands on equipment in the virtual world where there is no fear of breaking equipment.

Wondering how VR could be useful to your business? Give M&H a call.

What you Need to know about Servers

Not many people know the use and function of servers, and for those who are not tech savvy or experts in IT, it is important to know the use and function of your computers server.

A server is a computer, or computer program, that is setup to run one or multiple server applications such as mail, network, applications, print and web servers among many others. Basically, it is the main component of a network, since it manages access to the resources, files, programs used by all other computers. Many believe they have to be custom-built, but that isn’t the case. Servers simply have to be able to run server applications when you need them to. Older and less expensive computers can also be setup as servers.

There are different types of servers, such as:

  • Dedicated servers – A dedicated server is a single computer within a network that is used for only one single purpose. They are mainly used when talking about web hosting, which allows you to make a website that is accessible to the internet.
  • Virtual Private servers – Instead of having one physical computer used for one business’ needs, a virtual private server (VPS) is used on a single server computer but services multiple customers.
  • Cloud servers – A cloud server is created, hosted and delivered through a cloud platform. A cloud server is made up of remote servers that are all hosted online. When using a cloud server, you are renting virtual server space and accessing it remotely through a cloud provider.

Servers are essentially the spine and life blood of your business. If it crashes, then your business crashes. As a result, you want to take reasonable precaution to get rid off any single points of failure in your server’s architecture. Many ‘server-class’ computer has multiple levels of redundancies and typically has hot-plug capabilities.
Now you can know the importance of servers without being an IT expert.

What If . . . things go wrong with your computer?

Accidents happen especially when we are stressed and overworked. Accidents on and around technology can be a whole lot more than a “whoops” moment. They can be downright damaging to the hardware and potentially files that are on the hard drive. We have compiled a few “What If. . . “ moments in case you are wondering what will happen to your technology if  (insert horrible event here) happens.  Here’s hoping you don’t have one of these events any time soon.

  • What if you spill a drink on your keyboard? The answer according to Guardian Online is fairly straightforward. “If you‘ve only spilled a small amount of clean water on it, you may well get away with it. You can remove and clean a sticky keyboard using a damp cloth or soft toothbrush and distilled water before drying it thoroughly, and in extreme cases, people try methylated spirits (ethanol) or solvents (isopropyl alcohol).”
  • What if your hard drive gets physically damaged? The answer really depends on the extent of the damage and if data can be recovered. If the damage is minimal try to get the data off the drive and take it in for a check up. If the drive is seriously damaged now is not the time to find out that your data recovery strategy is not up-to-date. Contact your IT department or the consultants working with your department who may be able to find backed up data or recover the data on that drive.
  • What if I accidentally open suspicious email? Obviously don’t click on emails that look suspicious in the first place but if your mouse gets moved or something unforeseen happens, disconnect your device, backup your files, and then call your IT department or IT consulting company to check your machine for malware or other suspicious content.
  • What if I get ransomware? According to PC World, “Don’t negotiate with e-terrorists. Instead, remove many ransomware viruses without losing your files. The process varies and depends on the type of invader. Some procedures involve a simple virus scan, while others require offline scans and advanced recovery of your files.” For specifics read here.

Healthy Habits for Computer Use

We spend a lot of our time on this blog talking about how to keep your computer systems free of spyware, malware and all sorts of viruses. Most of our time here at M&H Consulting is spent dealing with new software installations, data backups, cloud storage, IT support and pretty much anything pertaining to keeping our clients computer systems running in a healthy way.

Unfortunately that doesn’t leave us a lot of time to talk about the health of the most important part of your computer system – the user!  As people who spend a large chunk of our time in front of a monitor we know there are certain steps to use a computer in a healthy way. Here are a few examples.

  • Avoid Eyestrain – Sitting in front of a monitor all day means that your eyes need a break. Follow a 20/20/20 Rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. If you find yourself getting chronic headaches talk to your doctor and look into getting a screen for your computer that can cut back on glare and eyestrain.
  • Practice Good Posture – Start by setting up your computer work station in an ergonomic fashion. Your monitor should be at eye level, so that you’re not always looking down. The display should be at arm’s length from your head. It should also be angled up slightly. Be sure you have a solid chair that supports your back. And finally, do as your mom always said, “Don’t slouch!”
  • Move Regularly – Take a few minutes every hour to get up and move whether it is a quick trip to the lounge or just up and down the office to get your blood flowing and keep your muscles limber. There is nothing worse than standing up and the end of the day and having to “unfold” yourself because you haven’t moved in too many hours. If you find it hard to do this you may want to invest in a yoga ball to sit on or some offices are switching to standing desks to keep employees healthy.
  • Avoid Wrist Strain and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – The Mayo Clinic suggest the following steps to avoid carpal tunnel: relax your grip, take breaks, don’t bend your wrist all the way down during keyboarding, keep your hands warm, and practice stretching exercises geared to prevent wrist stiffness and carpal tunnel.

Why You Need M&H Computer Support Online or in Person

Small and medium sized business owners are constantly hustling, juggling and competing with companies that are larger in both size and resources. Struggling with a smaller budget doesn’t mean you can’t compete with the “big boys.” It just means you have to get creative in how you organize your resources.  We want you to consider using M&H Consultants for your Computer Support either online, via phone or in person. Here’s why:

 

  • We are a smart choice for affordability when considering what an in-house tech department would cost.
  • We have an entire team of IT professionals with years of knowledge to handle your specific industry IT needs. This is what we do.
  • Save time and energy when something goes wrong with your computer system but contacting our technicians. Better yet have M&H maintain your systems so if they do go down, we have everything backed up and can get you back up and running in no time.
  • Stay focused on your company’s goal. Leave the technology to us so you can focus on the ultimate mission of your company.
  • Avoid downtime by having us by your side through any big projects and installments. We can troubleshoot and keep you on course.
  • When you choose M&H Consultant you have chosen not only experts in the field of IT but a company that has training and access to the most advanced technologies and solutions. We stay up on the industry research and growing evolution of technology so you don’t have to.

Call M&H Consultants to arrange for your IT support today or check us out online.

Pop Up Problems

It can happen suddenly and take up a chunk of your computer screen – the dreaded pop up!  These pop-ups can be initiated by a single or double mouse click or rollover (sometimes called a mouseover), and also possibly by voice command or can simply be timed to occur. These windows are almost never requested by the user, so how exactly can you get rid of them?  The answer is different depending upon your computer system.

If you have Windows 10 they suggest the following dierctions:

  • Open Internet Explorer.
  • Click the Tools button, and then click Internet options.
  • On the Privacy tab, under Pop-up Blocker, click Settings.
  • In the Pop-up Blocker settings dialog box, set the blocking level to High: Block all pop-ups (Ctrl + Alt to override).
  • Click Close, and then click OK.

On Google Chrome you can try to block pop ups in the following manner:

Turn pop-ups on or off

  • Open Chrome.
  • In the top-right corner, click the icon you see: Menu or More .
  • Click Settings.
  • Click Show advanced settings.
  • Under “Privacy,” click Content settings.
  • Under “Pop-ups,” select Do not allow any site to show pop-ups (recommended) or Allow all sites to show pop-ups.

While pop ups are meant to be a form of marketing, they can be insidious and annoying. The trouble is that a malicious pop-ups can be confused with a legitimate pop-up ad. Therefore be careful when confronted with a pop-up. You never know if you can trust the source or if it could contain spyware, malware or other viruses. Talk to the professionals at M&H Consults to learn more about blocking pop ups and preventing the problems they tend to bring.

Top Ways to Really Mess Up Your Computer

At M&H Consultants we have seen it all –  from data loss disasters to personal password problems. We have been helping small and medium sized companies keep their computer systems “healthy” for almost two decades. The old adage is true that, “To err is human, to really mess things up you need a computer.” Here are a few ways that we humans have “messed things up in regards to business computers.

  • Failing to Back Up Data – It is really disheartening when you realize you have lost data that took you days, weeks or even months to gather. All of it can be gone in the blink of an eye due to a power failure, equipment malfunction or natural disaster. Having multiple avenues and regular back ups is the best way to prevent a real disaster.
  • Dangerous Downloading – Sure that “free” software program looked great but beware, it may have a virus or Trojan Horse that can severely damage your entire system. Talk to your IT professionals before adding any downloaded material.
  • Lacking Protection – Every computer should have anti-malware and anti-virus protections. Having an unprotected system is a sure fire way to open the system up to spyware, malware or all sorts of viruses.
  • Forgetting Upgrades and Patches – We see it all the time. Work gets busy so companies forget to install the latest software that may help prevent viruses or use patches that can stop criminals from finding their way into your system.
  • Using Unsecured WiFi – If you leave your wifi open or unsecured or, worse yet, use public wifi, you may be opening your systems to cyber criminals.
  • Opening Bad Emails or Clicking on Pop Ups –  Pup up ads and bogus emails, when clicked on, can harbor spyware and/or malware that when loaded can wreak havoc on your computer system.
  • Plug in Without Surge Protection – We have all done this now and again, but the first time a surge fries your hard drive you will always remember to use surge protectors.

If you have done any of these things or any of the thousand other ways you can mess up your system call M&H Consults to help you fix it!

Collaboration Tools for Business

Staying in touch with employees is becoming a bigger challenge every year. Companies must deal with employees who work remotely, employees who travel out-of-state, vendors who work in other locations and businesses that have multiple offices. With all of these diverse workforces the need to collaborate is more important than ever. Thankfully, there are a host of collaboration software tools that have sprung up to help these workers communicate, collaborate, and get things done.

 

So then what are the best tools to share documents, schedule meetings, organize the workload, and video conference?  Some of the software is free, others are paid. Some are elaborate and come with a steep learning curve, others are so intuitive that the average user can be productive in minutes. Whatever you choose should be structured in a way that not only meets the demands of your business but also matches the style of your office personality.

 

Here are a few things to look for when choosing  collaboration tools for your small to medium-sized business.

 

  • A Range of Communication Styles – Look for a tool that allows you to be formal and structured, such as emails to respected clients or proposals to a new business lead but also allows for communication that is less formal.  Chit chat about less important questions and things that need no formal logo or letterhead should be considered. We communicate in many different ways with clients and employees – make sure this tool allows you to do that.

 

  • A Range of When a Communication Needs to be Dealt with – Look for a collaboration tool that both allows you to schedule out communications such as PR releases, emails, and reminders that may be due in weeks or months. But also look for a tool that allows for immediate communication such as instant messenger or a chat feature to get answers quickly. Real-time communication is a must especially when businesses are dealing with employees in multiple locations.

 

  • Is the Tool Cloud Based?  While it would be great to rely on everything from your main base of operation, it is also not realistic. The right cloud-based tool can be used to securely communicate and collaborate with those outside the organization, even if they do not have the same software or compatible software.

 

We have compiled a list of resources that can help get you started in choosing the right collaboration tool for your business.

 

 

“Teched-out” Business Conference Rooms

Gone are the days of business conference rooms with one long table, harsh fluorescent lighting and the most advanced technology in the room being a standard definition television set and a white board. Today’s conference rooms or boardrooms are evolving as the technology advances and are dazzling clients with modern technology. Are you debuting a sleek, new conference room and need technical support to help you choose the right hardware and software to allure clients? Our staff here at M&H Consulting has decades of experience planning and completing projects to ensure that your business and business conference room steps into this century. Here are a few ideas of how to “tech-out” your company’s conference room.

 

  • A Good Television – In order for video conferencing and business presentations to work, a large shared screen is absolutely essential. The higher the quality and definition, the better. Proper mounting will allow for easy access to HDMI cables and outlets depending upon your mode of presentation.
  • Projectors and Screens – If your company hosts medium to large conferences for clients or employees, be sure to consider investing in a high grade projector and wall mounted wall screen/smart board. This technology will allow all attendees to view images, slides and presentations easily with greater brightness and bigger images.
  • Sound System – To go along with your video conferencing, presentations and slides, you will need a reliable sound system. Speakers, microphones and sound system components should be carefully placed around the room so to ensure that all attendees are able to hear the information and participate.
  • Wireless Options – Accommodating clients that may bring their own technology as well as your employees that bring laptops, tablets and phones to your meetings can mean that you have cables and wires running around the room. You may want to opt for a cleaner look and easier access to being “plugged in” with some wireless options. Allowing for the right bandwidth for every member at the meeting is also critical for presentations.

 

Call M&H Consulting to help you setup your new conference room and you may find that not only will you impress your clients, but find that your meetings go over well and run smoother than ever.

An Effective Data Center

A data center is a large group of networked computer servers typically used by organizations for the remote storage, processing, or distribution of large amounts of data. Commonly, data centers are run by large companies or government agencies. However, they are also increasingly used to provide a fast-growing cloud solution service for private and business applications. Does your company use a data center?

 

According to Palo Alto Networks, data center architectures and requirements can differ significantly. For example, a center built for a cloud service provider like Amazon EC2 satisfies significantly different facility, infrastructural, and security requirements than a completely private data center, such as one built for the Pentagon that is dedicated to securely maintaining classified data. Does your data center provide these services and technology? Here are some elements of an effective data center.

 

  • Facility – The amount of whitespace or usable space that allows access to information makes them high energy consuming facilities. Computers get hot and need adequate ventilation, cooling and protection. Environmental controls should keep the center within specified humidity and temperature requirements.

 

  • High Grade IT Equipment – Look around a data center and you should see high quality hardware, cables, servers and racks. There should also be several levels of security, such as software and hardware security – a must to protect your remote storage items.

 

  • Support Infrastructure – According to Palo Alto Networks, equipment should contribute to securely sustaining the highest level of availability possible. The Uptime Institute defined four tiers data centers can fall under with availability ranging from 99.671% – 99.995%. Some components for supporting infrastructure include: uninterruptible power sources (UPS) – battery banks, generators, and redundant power sources, Environmental control – computer room air conditioners (CRAC), heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and exhaust systems, Physical security systems – biometrics and video surveillance systems

 

  • Operating Staff – Data centers should have IT professionals monitoring the center for issues and glitches continuously.