Posted by admin on Sep 10, 2013
We have recently purchased a new SEO analytics program that will provide a neutral, analytical view of your website — it’s like looking at your pages through a search engine’s eyes. Browse through the generated report and get valuable insight in the experience and impressions of your human visitors too.
For only $25, we will scan your site, and provide you a written report of what the program has found. We can also provide a quote to complete the recommendations and when completed, we will run another report for you, absolutely free! That way, you can see if the changes have made a difference.
Contact us right away, and we will complete that scan for you!
Posted by admin on Jun 11, 2013
I have several clients that require a VPN -Virtual Private Network, and it can be a great solution to businesses both large and small. So what is a VPN? Basically, think of it as using the internet to extend your office network to anywhere in the world. If you have remote offices, employees that work from home, or sales people on the road, a VPN can be a valuable tool. Those off site workers can access your local network, server, and even shared printers! They can essentially work as if they were in the office.
Our favourite tool for setting up a virtual network is Hamachi. It is free for up to 5 users, and they have a very reasonable yearly price for larger networks. It is a small program that runs in the background on Windows and Mac, and assigns each Hamachi user a unique private IP address. This is what creates the security. Not only do you need a username and password to connect to the network, but you also need to have an approved IP address and save a security file to your device. If you run a server, they would also still need to log in as they normally would, adding another layer of security.
The speed of the network, is of course, dependent on the internet connection… but any connection will do. You can even use a public WiFi connection and not have to worry about someone hacking you. I have used mine with my cell phone tethered to my laptop, and it worked just fine.
Posted by admin on Sep 30, 2012
Do you have your own website? Do you want to know how well it is performing for you? You might want to try out Google Analytics. It is free to use and does a great job of telling you how your website is doing. All you need is to register and get your unique code. Once you have that code, you either need to add it to your website code, or have your web designer do that for you. After a few days, log in to your dashboard and take a look at the traffic graph at the top. If you also use Google AdWords, you can use the Analytics to determine if your ads are making a difference to your hit rate.
We here at ICS have helped people set up Google Analytics for their website – on the site that we host and even on sites that we do not host. As a rule, however, registering for your Analytics account should be done by you. Just send us the code once you have your account setup and we can take it from there. If you would like to discuss whether or not this is a service that is right for you, just let us know.
Posted by admin on Sep 25, 2012
Are you a Hotmail user? If so, then you will eventually have to switch to Microsoft’s newest webmail service – Outlook.com
Hotmail has fallen far: nearly a decade ago, it was sitting on top of the webmail heap… until Gmail surged to the top. Microsoft even tried to rebrand it as Microsoft Live, but it failed to gain its original mojo back. You will notice a new interface, a lack of display ads, and a much cleaner presentation. The result is a 30% increase in the number of viewable messages. Another major feature of Outlook.com is social network integration. Instead of the standard email inbox, users will be able to view status updates and content from Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter – automatically sorted as well. Microsoft will also enhance the service with Skype.
Outlook.com users will also be able to use free web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Microsoft will also provide additional storage space for attachments through its SkyDrive service. New users will be assigned an @outlook.com email address, but existing users can keep their @hotmail.com, @live.com and @msn.com addresses as well.
Posted by admin on Sep 8, 2012
If you offer an on-site service business, you are probably plaqued with the hassels of invoicing and receiving payments. Many electricians, plumbers and service technicians that perform house calls usually leave behind a hand-written bill or have their book keeper mail the customer a printed invoice. Then, they have to wait… sometimes for months… to get paid for that service. What if you could accept a credit card payment while still on site, and have the invoice emailed to the customer. Well – you can!
There are several new mobile payment processing services that will do just that. At the time I am writing this article, the four main players are Intuit GoPayment, PayAnywhere, Sail and Square. I have not tried any of these services yet, so I do not recommend one over the other… but the details look interesting. Basically it starts by adding a card swipe device to your smart phone (usually provided for free) and installing the associated app on your phone. For the most part, it seems that none of them charge a monthly fee – just a pay-per-use type of service – and the rates are competitive at around 2.7%.
The software allows you to generate the invoice with the details and pricing that you want, and then you swipe the credit card through the provided scanner, the client enters their PIN or signs on the screen (if you have a touch screen phone) and once the payment has been processed, you can email them a copy of the invoice and the payment receipt. Each company also has a secure login area on the website that will allow you to view all the transactions – something your book keeper will love!
I think I might sign up and give it a try!
Posted by admin on Mar 2, 2012
Taken from PCWorld Magazine, March 2012 Edition
The compromised usernames, email addresses, and passwords that PwnedList collects are protected by an algorithm that creates a unique string of alphanumeric characters for each name and address. PwnedList then saves the strings in its database before deleting the actual login information. Every time you type a username or email address into the PwnedList search engine, the server runs your request through the same algorithm used to has the compromised accounts, compares the string generated against the strings in its database, and alerts you if it finds a match.
At present, the service can tell you only whether a particular name or email address is on the list, but that may change in its next version… including the name of the site/company that hosts the account, the number of accounts contained in the leak, the date they found the leak, and the name of the hacker/group that published the data. If you’re unlucky enough to find your favourite username or email address on the list, don’t panic! Chances are, your data hasn’t yet been compromised, but to be safe, take a few common-sense steps: Update all your accounts with better passwords, put a fraud alert on your credit report, and monitor your financial statements for a few months.
Posted by admin on Feb 17, 2012
Taken from PCWorld Magazine, February 2012 Edition
Back in the bad old days, hard-drive defragmentation was a big deal. You needed to run a good-quality “defragger” at least once a month to ensure optimal system performance. But times have changed: These days, PCs and drives are so much faster that fragmentation isn’t the problem it once was. What’s more, if you’re a Windows 7 user, you shouldn’t have to worry about fragmentation at all. Check out these three important facts about hard-drive defragging.
1) Windows 7’s Disk Defragmenter utility runs automatically at scheduled times, usually once per week. This happens by default, so your hard drive is likely already defragged. And by most accounts, the utility’s performance compares favourably with that of third-party alternatives, so don’t buy another defragging tool unless you have specific reasons for doing so.
2) You don’t have to leave your PC on overnight. If Disk Defragmenter isn’t able to run at night, it will kick in the next time your computer is idle.
3) Never defragment a solid-state drive. Doing so can shorten its life span. If your drive is an SSD, be sure to disable scheduled defragmentation in Windows 7.
By the way, if you have an external hard drive that you don’t always keep connected to your PC, it may not get the chance to benefit from Windows’ scheduled defragging. Run it manually on that drive every month or so.
Posted by admin on Dec 31, 2011
Taken from PC World Magazine, January 2012 Edition
Outsourcing IT functions such as payroll, website hosting, email, and enterprise resource planning has long been normal for businesses of all sizes. But outsourcing critical functions – such as database and file servers, application development, and document storage – gives many organizations pause. Experienced IT admins point to recent well-publicized outages, data losses, and hacking incidents that have cost companies big in lost productivity, lawsuits, penalties, and even bankruptcy. Nevertheless, your business could benefit significant from using cloud services. Here are the main savings and advantages.
1 – You’ll save on infrastructure, by not having to purchase server, software and maintenance.
2 – You’ll save on setup and management, because the cloud providers have knowledgeable, experienced administrators.
3 – You’ll save on utilities, because you have less equipment in-house to run.
4 – You’ll get better performance and better features, due to the fact that cloud providers can afford much better equipment and more up-to-date software.
5 – Your company will become more agile, as the cloud-based service can implement the latest features quicker than a small business.
6 – You’ll enjoy more fault tolerance, because cloud providers maintain multiple data centres, redundant internet connections, and continual backups.
Posted by admin on Aug 24, 2011
No fax machine? Want to get rid of that relic sitting on your desk? No worries. If you have a phone line and a fax/modem, Windows will allow you to send and receive faxes from your computer. You can send a fax from virtually any program, and you can choose which received faxes you need to print a hard copy of.
If you want to get rid of that phone line as well, you can try a service such as http://www.myfax.com/ that allows you to upload a document, specify a destination, and click Send. You can also sign up for your own FREE toll-free fax number and receive faxes through the system… the fax will be emailed to you as an attachment. All this, for a monthly cost of $10 – a lot cheaper than a dedicated fax line, and maintaining a fax machine.
For the best deal, you should call their phone number or email Darrin Dougan for help.
Posted by admin on Apr 13, 2011
Taken from PC World Magazine, April 2011 Edition
Everyone knows that storing records safely in more than once place protects a business, but many companies fail to establish backup systems that will keep them running if disaster strikes.
Unfortunately, it often takes a crisis – such as a natural disaster, a theft, or a system failure – to prompt a business to act. But realizing that you need a new storage strategy can come more gradually. Very small companies may be unprepared for success, relying on backup products that work well for individual c0nsumers but can’t adjust as several months’ or years’ worth of records pile up.
Many small and midsize companies are abandoning tapes or hard-disk consumer systems in favour of appliances that attach to a local network and beyond; others are adopting cloud-based services.