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Demystifying Small Business IT

Stop feeling silly - this guide will help you to demystify small business IT and the support you need.

With technology moving forward so fast, it is hard to keep up. And the reality is that no single person can keep up with everything. The good news is that there is no such things as a ‘silly’ question when it comes to computing and small business IT support.

Here are some questions which are anything but silly.

 

What is hardware?

Inevitably, you will hear some small business IT support techie talking about hardware at some point in time. Hardware is any physical computer equipment you currently have in your offices, or that needs to be purchased to help you grow. Items of hardware include:

  • Computers (PCs) and servers.
  • Laptops/Notebooks/Netbooks.
  • Smartphones and tablets.
  • Printers.
  • Networks switches.

 

TIP: If you can touch it with your hand, it’s probably hardware. 

What is software?

Software is a term usually used to describe the computer assets that you cannot physically touch. Software includes the operating system that makes the PC on your desk work:

  • Microsoft Windows 7 or 8.
  • Apple Mac OS X.
  • Linux.

Software also includes the programs you use to keep your business running like:

  • Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint etc).
  • Your accounts system.
  • Your stock inventory system.

Any programs you use on your company computers are items of software.

 

TIP: If you can’t touch it, it’s probably software. 

What is the cloud?

Everywhere you look, someone is talking about the cloud as the answer to every IT problem ever imagined. That may be a slight exaggeration, but the cloud does offer small businesses some massive benefits.

The cloud:

  •  Uses software and services installed somewhere on the internet (rather than on your desktop PC).
  •  Provides tools allowing your business to operate more efficiently.
  • Is billed on a subscription basis.
  •  Never goes out of date as it is regularly upgraded as part of the subscription.

 

I still don’t get it. Give me an example.

  • Office 365 is the cloud-based version of traditional Microsoft Office software.
  • Businesses taking out a subscription can access the software any place, any time, using virtually any device
  • In the past they would have been restricted to just the PC on which the software is installed.

The cloud may sound complicated, but the truth is that it makes running your business easier than ever before. Ask your small business IT support provider for more details.

 

Can the cloud do anything else?

The cloud can also replace certain items of hardware:

  • Your company file store could be moved to a cloud equivalent.
  • Files stored in the cloud can be accessed any place, any time, making your staff more productive inside and outside the office.
  • Cloud storage can be added at any time without having to buy new hardware for your office.

 

Remember…

  • There’s no such things as a stupid IT question.
  • If you don’t ask the questions, your business could be missing out.
  • If your small business IT support provider won’t (or can’t) answer questions, you may have a problem.

Do you still have questions? Download your free copy of the “There’s no such thing as a silly IT question, stupid” eGuide for more helpful advice.

Dr James Huntington Managing Director

James is the Founder and Managing Director at IT Farm. His background in Computer Science help lay the foundation for IT Farm to become one of the UK's first Cloud Computing Companies.

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