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Pros and Cons of All-In-One Computers

Posted & filed under Hardware.

Today, business is all about streamlining and finding efficiencies. And that even extends to embracing all-in-one computers. Users get a desktop computer that integrates monitor, processing, and ports in one. Still, there are pros and cons to consider.

Apple iMacs were the first all-in-one computers to gain popularity, but you can now find many different brands of all-in-one desktop. Promising all the computing power you need built into the monitor, these are easy to set up and get running. Their sleek design can also include webcams and speakers as part of the desktop. The user needs only to add a mouse and keyboard.

Furthermore, buying a computer with all its components included can be more cost effective, whereas buying each part separately adds up.

The all-in-one computer is great for an office environment that is low on space. These compact computers with fewer wires and less stuff to connect can look great in open-plan offices. All-in-one computers are also easier to move around flexible, collaborative work areas.

Business Computer

Upgrading all-in-one computers

There are some challenges with all-in-one computers, however. For instance, upgrading may be more difficult. You may be able to upgrade the random access memory (RAM), and replace and repair hard disk drives (HDDs), but otherwise, when you outgrow the computer, you’ll need to replace the entire machine.

You also get what you pay for with an all-in-one computer. If you go with a low- to mid-priced device, you basically get a laptop on a stick. The components used to build that desktop are often the same as you would find in a laptop. So, depending on what your computer needs are, you may want to invest in a higher-priced all-in-one or consider the component parts alternative.

Still, all-in-one computers are a good option for offices that want more flexibility. Of course, laptops are best when you want to be able to move easily between locations, but for agility within the office environment, an all-in-one is a convenient choice.

Buying all-in-one computers also allows users to enjoy business-wide consistency. Users keep traditional functionality but in a neat machine that makes a smaller footprint in their workspaces.

Considering your options for business computers? A managed service provider can help you select the best solution. Our experts learn your needs and recommend a fit for your business budget and processes.

We can also set up the new computers and ensure your system network is secure. Let us focus on IT while you focus on growing your business. Contact PGP Computers today at 763-691-1957 or contact us.

Returning to Work: Prioritizing Safety with IT Too

Posted & filed under IT Support.

Your business has the OK to go ahead and get back to work on-site. You want to return to your office, but you don’t want to risk people’s health by doing so. After all, some say it’s too soon to go back. Plus, others predict a second wave of COVID-19 is likely. These suggestions can help you return to work while prioritizing safety.

Not everyone will welcome the call back to the corporate environment. Some employees may still be in a population vulnerable to the virus. They may want to take leave instead of returning to the work environment. Others may simply not show up.

Have your HR team send out a written notice informing employees of the timeline for returning to the office. Educate them about precautions you’re taking to provide a safe work environment. Ask for a written response of people’s intentions. Then, IT can start establishing procedures for getting everyone back to work.

You may have had great success with remote working during the quarantine. This could position you to allow workers to stay home if they are at risk or oppose the idea of returning “too soon.”

For those coming back, support social distancing by phasing in people’s return. Your business could also use a hybrid IT solution to allow people to come in just three days a week, and they could continue to work two days at home. This allows staggered re-entry and reduces the numbers of people on-site at the same time.

Back to Work Technology

Back-to-Work Technology

You may be thinking you already have all the tech you need to go back to the office. C’mon, you were already working from there before this whole thing started. Plus, now you have all the new tools you added to support remote-employee productivity.

Still, you may not have invested in a long-term remote-work solution that will now support a hybrid model. Or perhaps the on-site tech you’ve long relied on isn’t meant to handle remote working for the long haul.

To achieve a flexible hybrid model, go with cloud solutions or expand on-site IT. Do you need to add infrastructure to handle remote employees using virtual private networks (VPNs)? Both on-site staff and off-site workers might need to securely access systems at the same time.

Adopting cloud collaboration software allows co-workers to access network resources simultaneously, regardless of location. Or with virtual desktops, employees can access the same files and business applications on their work machine or on a personal device.

Bringing people back to the office, you’ll want to rethink the physical setup. Support social distancing by spreading employees’ seating arrangements out more. This will require moving around computer hardware, too.

If you were previously sharing technology, you’ll also need to add more desktops. Or you might invest instead in more laptops or portable devices. This could mean securing more software, too.

Added IT Precautions

Finally, cybercriminals are opportunistic. They’re already exploiting people with malware promising vaccines or cheap masks. These bad actors are also looking to exploit the tech demands on businesses. Many businesses adapted to a new way of doing things: they moved files to the cloud, and they allowed employee access from personal devices, but they did so quickly.

Explore any new vulnerabilities from your transitions. This is a good time to double-check permissions. Ensure that accountant Jane can access staff wage data but that receptionist Jenny can’t. Also, confirm that all virus protection and security patches are current.

Active planning is the answer to a smooth return to work. While offering protective coverings and ramping up cleaning in the office is important, make sure that you don’t overlook your technology needs.

Our IT experts can help you adapt nimbly.Contact PGP Computers today at 763-691-1957 or contact us.

What Computer Repair Can Be Done Remotely?

Posted & filed under IT Support.

There are many problems with isolation. We don’t want to get you started. We know it’s true, but one issue we can help with is computer repair. Yes, there are problems with your home devices that we can address remotely.

Perhaps before sheltering in place you were willing to make do, or you’re only facing challenges now. You’re working at home, kids are online learning, and you’re sharing the same computer.

You need to remain connected to the world and continue working, but you don’t want someone to come into your house to check your computer, and you’re not keen on going out to wait in line at a computer repair shop. Fortunately, with technology today, it’s much easier for IT experts to resolve computer issues remotely.

Remote Repair of Home Computers

There are many common computer issues that we can help address remotely. We’ll start out by sending you a link to download a tool that gives us remote access and control of your computer. Please know that we value our customers’ privacy. Even with this tool, we’ll still be able to access the computer only when you allow us to.

Now, what can we do once we have eyes on your computer from our remote location? Many things.

If you’re troubled by a slow computer, we can run diagnostics. We’ll find ways to speed up and optimize your computer to get you back in business more efficiently.

Running into software errors? We can take a remote peek and troubleshoot the issues to get you back on track.

The problem might be due to a virus or malicious software. A remote computer expert can identify security risks and remove viruses or spyware.

Perhaps you have to install software for video conference calls or online learning. With remote access, IT experts can install and set up applications, and personalize them to your needs.

Working from home has many of us setting up separate email accounts, because we need to keep personal and professional communication separate. With authorized access, remote tech support can install email and handle problems.

Your home printer may have been up to the job when it was in use intermittently, but it’s struggling to manage the demands of everyone at home at once. Installing printer drivers and some maintenance tasks are doable through remote support.

Then there’s the big one: data recovery. This is the one that makes people panic. “I’ve lost everything!” Our comforting support team can help recover lost files and restore peace of mind.

Get the IT Support You Need

If you need help with your computer, you can submit a request through our support center or give us a call at 763-691-1957. PGP Computers is here to help no matter where you are!

Protecting Shared Computers for Work from Home

Posted & filed under IT Security, Tech Tips.

Many families today have a shared home computer to help with day-to-day activities. A teen can search for a job and stream shows. A parent can check work emails, pay household bills, and shop online. A youngster can play an educational game to buy Mom or Dad a few minutes of peace. Yet with COVID-19 sending so many people home to work, the shared computer is getting a lot more use.

Not every employee was lucky enough to get sent home with a business laptop. Some employers ask you to use your own computer. At the same time, you may also be accommodating kids doing online learning, and those little ones still want to go online and point and click to help Elmo plan a birthday party.

But sharing the computer can now present a security risk. You may have important work documents on the home computer. You could log in to the business network unaware of malware downloaded onto your home device, and, of course, that malicious software isn’t doing your home computer any favors either.

With so many people using the computer, make sure to set up virus protection on your home device. Additionally, you may set security patching and software upgrades to happen automatically. One of your young users could be seeing the message requiring an update and ignoring it. That leaves you unaware the software is vulnerable to bugs or threats.

Protecting Shared Computers

Setting Up Personal Profiles

With everyone sharing the desktop, your work is at risk. You could have downloaded a spreadsheet containing employee personal identification information. That represents a compliance risk if another user inadvertently accesses the document.

Or you could lose hours of work. Someone else might drag that project you’ve been working on to the trash with a school assignment rubric.

Our IT experts can set up different account profiles for each user. Doing this not only helps to secure your work from home, but can also add protection for your kids.

The immediate appeal is personalizing the desktop for the individual user. Your kids can pick their own home screen backdrops and menu bars. You might not need access to TikTok, but your teen is thrilled to have it right there on the desktop. For smaller children, you can make icons and text bigger. Set up narration to give yourself a break from the umpteenth reading of Goodnight Moon.

For parents, security advantages of the profiles include being able to set up the following:

  • Web filtering enables you to set rules to screen incoming Web pages. This can help avoid children seeing explicit content or accessing a malicious site. You might also limit Web browsing to particular sites.
  • App limitations can ban kids from buying and downloading certain apps or making in-app purchases. For older kids you could require parental permission first.
  • You can set up Screentime limits for particular sites (e.g. Netflix or YouTube) or allow young people to access online content only at certain hours of the day.
  • Age restrictions allow you to filter mature content from search results. These also filter what apps, games, and media the young user can view or buy.

Individual profiles also make it easier for parents to track online activity and computer use. We can even set it up for you to receive reports on Web browsing and application use.

Secure your work from home and protect your family of users. Get help setting up the right controls for your home computer needs. Contact PGP Computers today at 763-691-1957 or contact us.

Work From Home: Revisiting Business Etiquette

Posted & filed under News.

Business etiquette for working in an office environment is well established: show up on time, wear pants, put your name on your lunch in the fridge – those kinds of things. But working from home is a new thing for many people and businesses. These tips for business etiquette for remote work support professionalism.

Work from Home Business Etiquette

#1 Watch tone

Making a joke or sarcastic comment to someone via text, online chat, or email is different now. When we’re together in the office setting, we can “read” other cues to determine when someone is being serious or not. Tone won’t always translate effectively without accompanying body language such as facial expressions. You can use smiley emojis or playful gifs where appropriate, but it’s safer to be wary of jokes or comments that rely on tone to work.

#2 Be proactive

There are many ways this applies in the online video conference environment. For one thing, test your microphone before joining the meeting. We’ve reached the point where you should be familiar with the basics of the business online meeting tool. The time has passed for you to begin each meeting with the frustrating, “can you hear me now? Wait, how about now?”

Also, pay attention also to your surroundings. Maybe your “home office” is in the basement laundry room. It’s the only place you can get the peace you need to concentrate! At the same time, you should check your camera view before a meeting. Do you want co-workers or clients seeing your dirty clothes bin or delicates laid out to dry?

#3 Pay attention

Give an online meeting your full attention. In a meeting in the office, you all sat together in a conference room with no other distractions. Now, it’s super-tempting to check your email or Facebook, especially if you’re getting popup notifications while you’re in the meeting. When you “take a peek” at another browser during a meeting you can miss key points.

You’ll also want to silence your mobile phone and put it out of reach. For important meetings, put a note on the door of your home or apartment asking visitors not to knock. After all, you can’t predict when that online order of toilet paper will finally arrive.

#4 Avoid distractions

The above point talked about distractions that might steal your attention. You should also be aware of all the ways you can be distracting to others. A busy, cluttered background on a video chat can be an issue. There are articles out now discussing the books visible on celebrity library backgrounds!

Typing on a keyboard or clicking persistently with a mouse is also distracting. You don’t notice these noises, but they’re easily picked up on a computer microphone. Using a headset will help, you can go old school and use a pen and paper to take your notes during online meetings.

Also, take steps to warn others about your upcoming meetings. Feed kids beforehand if you’re going to set up in the kitchen. That way, all your colleagues don’t have to see teens raiding the pantry over your shoulder. Put animals outside. No matter how cute you think it is to have your furry officemate wrapped around your shoulders for the call.

#5 Dress professionally

We mentioned the well-established “wear pants to work” rule already. This one persists in the home office setting. Search the internet and you’ll find videos of people caught wearing board shorts – or worse – for work calls. You might think your computer camera is only capturing you from the waist up, but what if you have to move?

Working from home allows many of us to live the dream of staying in our PJs all day. Still, you need to look the part for meetings. As an aside, getting dressed for your work from home will also help to put you in a professional frame of mind.

In fact, all these business etiquette ideas help you to switch gears and think work. Working from home can be challenging, as the boundaries between personal and professional blend. Still, prioritize being respectful and attentive during work time to get more done. That means more time available to binge-watch television in your boxer shorts.

Need help setting up remote work technology or troubleshooting online conference tools? Our IT experts can help. Contact PGP Computers today at 763-691-1957 or contact us.