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10 Tips To Protect Your Privacy Online

There’s really never been a time when we’ve been this connected, thanks to the wonders of the Internet. But it’s not all Zoom parties and engaging content – there’s a darker side to the online world and internet privacy is serious business.

It’s not all doom and gloom though – you do have some control over your data online. So to help you protect yourself and your personal information from hackers and the like, we’ve put together our top 10 online privacy tips. We’ve made these tips simple and actionable so you feel safe to browse, shop and share to your heart’s content online.

But first, what does ‘internet privacy’ mean?

Also known as ‘online privacy’, this phrase refers to the amount (or level) of security and protection you have while you’re online for your communications, preferences and any personal data. Internet privacy has become a contentious topic due to countless cyber attacks and data breaches happening around the world each and every day.

Protecting privacy online involves taking the necessary steps to protect your data and devices from unwanted eyes and intruders. Let’s take a look at 10 things you can do right now to tighten up your security.

Online privacy tips to action right away:

1. Protect your devices with passcodes or passwords

Protecting privacy online often starts with the device you use to connect to the internet. Set up your smartphone, tablet and computer with passcodes and/or passwords to add an extra layer of security. And if your device has a biometric login, consider using that as well.

2. Use unique and secure passwords

You leave your personal data vulnerable if you don’t have strong, unique and secure passwords. If you haven’t done it in a while, check your passwords and make sure they’re:

  • not repeated (use different passwords for every login)
  • More than 12 characters long, and
  • Store them in a secure password manager (never write them down on paper).

3. Turn off notifications for your lock screen

When notifications pop up, anyone can see them. This can display personal information to anyone around, so make sure you hide or disable your notifications from your lock screen. Not only is this good for your personal devices, it’s also recommended for any work phone or computer you use regularly.

4. Install (and use) a VPN

A VPN (virtual private network) allows you to access a public network but remain private, which is essential when you access WiFi in public. Internet privacy in this context will help to keep your passwords, financial data and browsing history safe from prying eyes. You can create your own VPN or sign up to one of many existing providers.

5. Enable two factor authentication

While this may be annoying to you, two factor authentication on your apps and accounts adds an extra layer of security that’s not just a username and password. Some of the services you already use offer two factor authentication – Gmail, Dropbox and Xero, for example – so take advantage of this free protection to keep your sensitive data hidden.

6. Check and review all permissions

When you sign up to a new service or visit a website for the first time, you’ll often be asked for permission to access certain data. It’s important that you review these permissions regularly and know exactly what apps and websites have access to. Similarly, be careful of which browser extensions you install and only add ones that you’ll use.

7. Choose apps with end-to-end encryption for messaging

Not all messaging apps are secure – many offer encryption in transit, which means that anything you send is stored on servers at their destination. If that server is hacked, your data will be compromised. End-to-end encryption is where the data is encrypted so even the app you’re using can’t read it. WhatsApp is a great example of this, but other messaging services like Telegram and Facebook Messenger require you to start a secret chat to get end-to-end protection.

8. Don’t share your personal phone number and main email address

Have you started receiving a tonne of spam? Chances are your email address or phone number has been leaked. Instead of using your main contact details for online purchases or joining mailing lists, you might like to create a separate account. That way you can filter out that spam and enjoy a little more internet privacy.

9. Avoid public storage for your private data

You might see a lot of oversharing happening on social media, but it happens in other places as well. Public storage apps or websites, like Google Docs or Dropbox, aren’t designed for storing sensitive data – don’t keep your passwords or bank account information there. Use a password manager or password protected server so you know your data won’t end up in the wrong hands.

10. Clear that cache!

This tip is simple and will only take you a few minutes. Periodically clear the cache on your website browser to remove your search history, clear any cookies (that’s how your online habits are tracked) and any saved personal data. To do this, navigate to your browser settings and under ‘privacy and security’ you’ll find ‘clear browsing history’ (or similar).

How to protect your privacy on social media

Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms know a lot about you already. They reveal information to the world about you that you might not even realise is available. Head over to the security settings of any platforms you’re part of and make sure you’re aware of what other people can see, then take steps to tightening your privacy by adjusting the settings to a level that makes you feel comfortable.

Need help with your internet privacy? Ask the Geeks!

Protecting privacy online is something our Geeks are very passionate about. If you need assistance with computer and network security, give us a call on 1300 286 847 – let’s boost your internet privacy so you can enjoy browsing, shopping and streaming online.


How do I find my iPhone when it’s in Lost Mode?

If you’re an Apple user, you might have already heard of a built-in feature designed to protect your device if you lose it. ‘Lost Mode’ safeguards your Apple products and can help you find your iPhone if you’ve lost or misplaced it.

To help you secure your Apple devices, let’s explore what Lost Mode is and how you can use it to find your devices when in need.

What does Lost Mode do?

‘Lost Mode’ lets you lock your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or other newer model Apple device so that whoever has it can’t get into your personal information. Lost Mode also tracks the location of your device so long as it stays turned on and connected.

If your device is offline or its battery has died, don’t panic – Lost Mode will kick in if you’ve activated it when the device next connects to a network.

For Lost Mode to work, it needs to be turned on before the device goes missing, otherwise the security of your device might be compromised.

How to enable Lost Mode on your iPhone

To turn on Lost Mode on your iPhone, follow these steps:

  • Navigate your way to your iPhone Settings
  • Tap on your name at the top of the screen
  • Select “Find My”
  • Turn on “Find My iPhone”.

If you’re on a MacBook, click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences”. Then, choose “Apple ID” and click the checkbox next to “Find My iPhone” to enable it.

How to activate Lost Mode on iPhone

Turning on Lost Mode can happen a few different ways. If you have another Apple device, open the Find My iPhone app and mark your iPhone as lost. Don’t have another Apple device? Jump on iCloud, log in using your Apple ID and follow the prompts to activate Lost Mode that way. If your device is offline at the time, you can choose ‘Notify me when found’ and Apple will email you when your iPhone is up and running again.

When you activate Lost Mode, you’ll be asked to create a custom message, add a phone number, and set up a passcode. Once you’ve successfully done that, Lost Mode is on.

How do you find a lost iPhone?

Once Lost Mode is active, you can track your iPhone or update the onscreen message or phone number from Find My iPhone on another Apple Device or via the iCloud website. When you locate your iPhone, you’ll need to switch Lost Mode off so you can start using your device again freely.

How do I turn Lost Mode off?

Now that your iPhone is safe in your hands, you can turn off Lost Mode by entering the passcode you originally set – either straight onto your phone or via Find My iPhone or the iCloud website. This passcode is different to your iPhone’s regular passcode, so make sure you don’t confuse the two.

How secure is Lost Mode?

Lost Mode is just as secure as any other part of the IOS system. Even if someone takes your Apple device into an Apple Store to unlock, Apple staff are trained to spot a stolen product and won’t unlock anything that seems suspicious.

Let the Geeks get you up to speed on your iPhone

We know a lot about Apple products, especially how to set them up and keep them secure. Give us a call on 1300 642 213 and put our Geeks on the case!


How to stop receiving spam emails

Your time and attention are so valuable – and the world knows it! No doubt you receive countless emails everyday from other businesses advertising their products, sales and special deals coming up. And while email is super convenient, it’s also prone to spam.

To help you declutter your inbox and gain some much needed mental space, we’ll give you some tips for how to stop spam emails dead in their tracks, as well other handy hints to protect your inbox at the same time.

What is spam email?

Also known as ‘junk email’, spam email is unsolicited messages that are sent in bulk by email. Fun fact: the concept of ‘spam’ originally came from a Monty Python sketch where a couple is in a restaurant trying to order something other than Spam (the popular tinned meat). Vikings start singing in the background about how amazing Spam is and soon it’s all that can be heard – thus creating the idea that spam is everywhere and repetitive!

Tips for how to block spam emails

You don’t have to suffer through all the spam – there are ways you can clear your inbox and make sure that only the important messages get through. Let’s take a look.

Train your email spam filter

Most modern email services, like Gmail or Outlook, have built-in filters to detect when a message arrives and is either junk or fraudulent. They tend to ‘red flag’ these emails and send them directly to your spam or junk folder. You do have the ability to customise these settings so your email client knows what’s junk and what’s not.

In Gmail, for example, it’s a good idea to review your spam folder each week. Mark any emails that actually aren’t’ junk as ‘Not Spam’ so they don’t end up in the spam folder again. Similarly, if an email arrives in your inbox and Gmail thinks it’s junk, a message will appear at the top of the email asking you to report whether or not it’s spam. The more often you do this, the better trained your spam filter will become, saving you time and potential headaches down the track.

Unsubscribe from email lists

If an email lands in your inbox that you don’t recognise and aren’t interested in anymore – especially one that looks like it was sent en masse – scroll down to the bottom of the email itself and click ‘unsubscribe’. You can do this with any email that’s been sent in bulk and it’s a great strategy to use to reduce the amount of email you get on a regular basis. Or an even better option is to not subscribe to lists unless you’re really interested in getting that mail.

Use a different email address

If you’re big into online shopping, you’ve probably been subscribed to an email list everytime you make a purchase. To save you from an overload of emails, a good work around is to create a separate email address dedicated solely to online shopping. While it won’t prevent the spam from arriving, at least it will be separate to your work email and you can retain some control over what email lists you stay on and which you give the flick!

Try a third-party extension

Still drowning in spam emails? Consider adding a third-party app to help tighten things up. There are some great options for third-party apps that intelligently filter incoming mail before it hits your inbox, giving you the option of keeping or deleting them. A lot of these apps gets smarter over time as you mark which emails are spam and which aren’t (kind of like your regular email filter but more advanced).

Avoid opening spam emails (don’t click!)

This might seem obvious, but if you don’t recognise an email, don’t open it. Especially emails that are sent directly to your junk or spam folder – they could pose a security risk or even leave your data vulnerable. If in doubt, just delete the email.

Don’t put your email address on your website

Spambots trawl the internet looking for email addresses to harvest. If you have a website, avoid displaying your email address on there. You might consider adding a contact form instead with a few key questions, that way only legitimate queries will make it through to your inbox.

Never reply to spam

If you’ve opened an email that looks like spam, don’t reply to it or download any files attached to it. If the email has come from a friend’s address, let them know right away as this may mean their email address has been compromised. Spam can often look very appealing, but if it isn’t a message you were expecting, be very careful about how you handle it.

Are you up to your eyeballs in unwanted emails?

Give the Geeks a call on 1300 642 213 and we can get you all set up with the filters and settings you need to keep your inbox a happy place!


How mobile security works and do you need it

As our lives become increasingly more remote and location independent, the need for mobile devices is on the rise. Many Australians enjoy using multiple mobile devices – such as a smartphone, tablet and computer – to live their lives. Whether it’s responding to work emails, transferring money to a friend or tracking your steps on a fitness app, we’ve become reliant on our portable devices to get the job done.

Phone security is quickly becoming a hot topic as more and more people adopt remote working and choose not to solely use a desktop computer. Let’s take a look at mobile security, why it’s important and what you can do to stay safe online.

Why mobile security?


Mobile security is what protects you online when you’re doing things like sending emails, shopping and using social media. And if you happen to lose your device, mobile security is what you can use to lock it down so no one can access your sensitive data.

There are a few different types of mobile security options, such as anti-theft protection, antivirus and anti-phishing, with options for Android and Apple devices, too.

What kind of mobile security risks are out there?


The risks to mobile devices and wireless security evolve and get more complex each and every year as technology continues to improve. To help you understand the dangers and keep an eye out for the warning signs, let’s take a look at some of the main risks.

Unsecured Wi-Fi networks


Mobile network security is a big deal. Wi-Fi networks that aren’t secure – they aren’t password protected and are publicly available – are more risky than those you use at home with encryption. When you connect to a public Wi-Fi network in a cafe or airport, any personal details stored on your phone or tablet can be at risk if the network is compromised.

Outdated operating systems


It’s important to keep your phone or tablet’s operating system up-to-date to prevent cyberattacks. To increase your phone security, make sure you’ve got the latest version of your operating system and apps.

Malware


Malware is a type of software designed to cause harm to a device. When a mobile phone, tablet or laptop is connected to the internet via bluetooth, USB or Wi-Fi, it’s susceptible to malware transfers. You can use security software to help manage this risk and protect your devices from this kind of threat.

Lost or stolen phones


If you lose your phone, lend it to a friend to use or it’s stolen, it’s at risk of a security breach. Make sure you know where your devices are at all times and take steps to protect your personal data, like using additional password protection.

Anti-theft solutions


If the unthinkable happens and you can’t find your device, there are some actions you can take (both before it goes missing and after) to keep your personal information safe.

Location tracking


Depending on what device you have, you can track a phone or device marked as missing using GPS. This is handy if you’ve lost your phone or believe it may have been stolen.

Automatic camera snapshots


Many devices have the security option to take photos from either the front or back camera and send them to your email. If you suspect someone has taken your phone, you’ll be able to use the photos to identify who has it and where they are.

Be proactive


Make sure you set up passcodes on your devices and activate multi-factor authentication where possible. Planning ahead and layering on these mobile security features set you and your devices up for success in the long run!

Personalised on-screen message


You can set up your device so that it displays a custom on-screen message if you mark it as missing. This message should include a way to contact you, like an alternative phone number or email address.

Do you need Antivirus on your phone?


Installing Antivirus software can help improve your phone security and give you peace of mind when you’re online and using the Internet. Antivirus software is often quite affordable and can perform the following tasks and more:

  • Real-time scanning: Your antivirus software can scan incoming emails, websites and messages to make sure they’re safe.
  • On-demand scanning: If your phone starts acting strangely, you can use Antivirus software to do a quick scan to see what’s happening on your device.
  • Anti-Phishing: This feature can help you avoid any scam websites as your Antivirus software will flag websites if they seem unsafe or may steal your personal information.

Stay safe on-the-go with the Geeks!


We can set up your computer and network security, as well as your iPhone and tablets, so you stay safe online and make the most of your devices. Just give the Geeks a call on 1300 769 448 to get the ball rolling.


What is bandwidth and how can you improve Internet bandwidth?

As more and more people start working from home (especially since the start of 2020), the quality of your online experience becomes more of a focal point. It all comes down to one thing: bandwidth. Whether you’re streaming movies and TV shows or doing a little online shopping, having slow Internet can be downright frustrating.

In this article, we’ll explore bandwidth and how you can boost it so you’re able to enjoy all that the Internet has on offer!

What is bandwidth?

When we talk about bandwidth, what we’re talking about is the amount of data that can be uploaded and downloaded from your device or within a network during a specific timeframe. You’ll typically see this measured in megabits per second (Mbps) because it’s the volume of information that’s transferred.

What’s the difference between speed and bandwidth?

Bandwidth is commonly confused with speed but the two concepts are different things. Speed refers to how quickly information can be transferred, while bandwidth is how much information can be transferred each second.

Speed and bandwidth are interrelated, but they’re not mutually exclusive – what we mean by this is that you might expect a device with a high bandwidth to be fast, but this isn’t always the case. There are many factors that contribute to fast Internet speeds and bandwidth is one of the most important ones.

Why bandwidth is important

Bandwidth is important because it determines loading time for anything published online. It affects every industry too. Need to transfer some money? Or maybe you’re launching a new, complex tech product at work. You’ll need bandwidth to make it happen!

Bandwidth and data transmission explained

To explain bandwidth and data transmission, we first need to understand how data transfer works. When data is sent through a network from one device to another, the data is sent in small parts, called packets. Inside each packet is a heading that carries information about the data and how it needs to be put back together when it arrives at its destination. Bandwidth refers to how much information can be sent at once – so a higher bandwidth means more data can be sent across in one go.

More bandwidth is helpful when you’re trying to send and receive bigger or more complicated file types. Perhaps now you’re starting to get an idea of how bandwidth might be affecting the videos you watch, the images you send and even the work you do on a daily basis online.

How to check router bandwidth

If you’re a little worried about your router’s bandwidth (or don’t actually know what it is), you can check it – but some routers don’t make it easy. You may have to use third party software to give you a hand or even download an app (especially if you use Mac) to monitor your bandwidth and how it’s being used.

How to improve Internet bandwidth

There are a fair few ways you can boost your bandwidth, some of which won’t cost you a cent! Let’s take a look.

Change the location of your router

When it comes to wireless networks, proximity is everything. So if your Internet is slow or the downloads are taking too long, consider moving your router closer to your devices. Place the router in an open space away from anything that might get in the way, like dense brick walls. Other devices, including your neighbour’s Wi-Fi, can also disrupt the connection, so try to keep as clear a path as you can between devices and the router.

Update firmware

If you’ve had your router for a little while now, it might be time to update its firmware. You might not get a notification to do this, so be proactive and log onto your router’s admin dashboard and make sure everything is up to date.

Upgrade your Internet plan

Love streaming movies or do a lot of online gaming? You might benefit from an Internet plan that has a higher Mbps. More bandwidth will also let you connect more devices to your Wi-Fi with less interruptions, so it’s a good option to explore.

Have you tried rebooting?

This one may seem a little obvious, but since routers are often on 24/7, frequent rebooting can help strengthen the Internet connection. If that fails to work, you might like to get a tri or dual-band router for a stronger signal.

Get plugged in!

If your device is staying in one spot, plug into an ethernet cable. This will give you more bandwidth as you’ll be directly attached to the source. It’s well known that wireless is slower than a wired connection, so if you need more speed, plug in.

How secure is your network?

Bandwidth and internet speed are important, but so is the safety of your connection. Give us a call on 1300 642 213 and our Geeks can take a look at your network security and offer ways to strengthen it, or even help you set up your wireless network so you can get the most out of it.


Battle of the best video conferencing apps

Video conferencing used to be reserved just for international clients and fancy board rooms, but that’s not the case in 2020. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, video conferencing has become the norm for work, socialising and even events. But when it comes to connecting virtually, what’s the best video conferencing app or software?

In this article, we’ll show you who the big players are (you’re probably already using their platforms) and do some quick comparisons so you can choose which one is right for you.

What is video conferencing?

Video conferencing allows people in different locations to have a face-to-face meeting without needing to be in the same place at the same time. In our increasingly global world, video conferencing allows people to connect across the world and in different timezones, all with a few clicks.

The big players in video conferencing

There are a lot of different platforms and services where you can connect via video with colleagues, friends and family. Let’s take a look at the major brands paving the way and highlight a few of their key features and benefits.

Zoom

Founded in 2011, Zoom has become the market leader in video conferencing. It’s free to create an account and you can host up to 100 people for 40 minutes. The paid plans give you more flexibility for attendees and longer meeting times. Zoom is great for meetings and chat, webinars and team meetings. You can even record sessions and store them on the Cloud for an additional fee.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft’s video conferencing platform, Microsoft Teams, has a lot of features that many corporate businesses love. It integrates with familiar programs like Word, PowerPoint and Excel to offer teams live collaborative editing, plus its available in 53 languages, making it a very popular global option. It has video and audio calling capabilities as well as screen sharing and recording like Zoom.

Skype

One of the longest running video conferencing apps, Skype is now owned by Microsoft and offers a variety of ways for you to connect with people around the world. One of the best things about Skype is the ability to call landline or mobile phones at really great rates, so if someone isn’t on Skype, that’s okay – you can reach them on their phone number. Plus, you can also send text messages from Skype too!

Google Meet

Google Meet is Google’s video conferencing software and is part of a two app replacement for the now defunct Google Hangouts (Google Chat is the other app). Anyone who has a Google account can use Google Meet for free for up to 100 people for 60 minutes. It has live captioning and the ability to screen share. It also integrates with Google and Microsoft Office apps.

Who has the best video conferencing app?

When it comes to the best video conferencing app, it’s all about figuring out what you need to use it for. Do you want to collaborate with your team, host events or just socialise occasionally with friends and family? The sky’s the limit these days but working out your top three needs for how you’d like to connect will help you narrow down your search and choose the right platform for you.

Zoom vs Skype

Zoom is the preferred option by many businesses because of its reliability and excellent video quality. Skype, on the other hand, also has many of the collaborative features plus the ability to call landline and mobile phones. You can use Skype like a regular phone or set up meetings too. If you’re part of a large enterprise level team though, Zoom may be the better option to host more people at the same time.

Zoom vs Teams

This is a hard one as both apps have very similar features. If you have a Microsoft operating system, Teams is a great option purely for how easily it will integrate with other apps and software. That being said, Zoom also has a lot of options for integrations with Microsoft Office. In this case, it may be a choice of personal or business preference as both provide an outstanding product.

Google Meet vs Zoom

Similar to above, both Google Meet and Zoom offer similar benefits, but you do have to have a Google Account to create meetings. If everything you use is Google based, then for convenience and integration it may make more sense to stick with Google. Especially since the entry level free option has a 60 minute time limit on it (compared to Zoom’s 40 minute cap).

Do you need help picking the best video conferencing software for you or your business?

Regardless of which option you decide to go with, we can help you! Give the Geeks a call on 1300 642 213 and we can provide advice on what software options to consider, then get you all set up once you’ve made your choice!


What to do when your hard drive fails

Your hard drive is one of the most important parts of your computer or laptop because it’s where everything is stored. Your hard drive stores all your programs, applications, files and photos, so it can be very stressful and frustrating if something goes wrong.

Almost everyone encounters a hard drive error at least once in their daily life, so don’t panic – there’s still a lot you can do to remedy the situation if your hard drive fails. But first, let’s take a look at some of the common causes and what obvious signs you can look out for.

What causes hard drive errors


Often, a hard drive failure fix is as simple as knowing what caused the problem in the first place. Hard drives come in two main formats: HDD (hard disk drive) and SSD (solid-state drive). Regardless of which type you have, there are a few common causes of hard drive errors that you might run into, and they are:

  • Electronic – this could be from a surge or fluctuation in power, and is one of the more common things to happen.
  • Excessive heat – if your computer is left in the sun or used for longer periods of time without a break, it can overheat, causing damage to the hard drive.
  • Water damage – yes, if you spill liquid on your keyboard and it gets into your computer, it can damage the delicate electronics inside.
  • Faults in hardware – something may not be working correctly in the mechanics of your hard drive (sometimes known as a ‘manufacturers fault’), yet this doesn’t happen frequently.
  • Corrupted files – likely one of the biggest causes of hard drive errors, corrupted files can happen when you don’t shut down your computer correctly or pull out a USB stick before it has been properly ejected.

What to look out for


If you suspect something might be wrong with your hard drive, there are a few warning signs to look for. You might only find a subtle symptom or perhaps something much more obvious like an error message, but when your computer starts acting strangely, that’s likely the first indication that something needs your attention.

Computer slowing down


If your computer starts working much slower than normal, there could be something happening with your hard drive. This can appear as longer loading times when you click on files or your computer might take extra time to boot up or shut down.

Missing hard drive

If you can’t see the computer hard drive on your computer from File Explorer (PC) or Finder (Mac), chances are something is wrong. Similarly, if the hard drive is visible but you can’t click on it or see any of the files or programs, there might be some corrupted files at play.

Noises


Pay close attention to the sounds your computer makes when it starts up. If you hear anything unusual, like grinding or clicking, it’s a sure sign that the hard drive is having some trouble working as normal.

How to fix a hard drive


The most important thing to do here is stay calm. Computers can be fixed and parts can be replaced. There are a few steps you can take at home to try and diagnose the problem before you need to call in the experts for a hard drive failure fix.

Read the error message closely


First thing’s first, if you have an error message on screen, what does it say? Sometimes your hard drive starts to slow down when its almost full, so try clearing out your downloads folder and closing down any applications you’re not using to free up some space.

Run a disc checkup


If you can, run a disc checkup. This will look different for a PC and an Apple Mac, but essentially you can use software to scan your hard drive to look for anything that’s not working or isn’t in the right place.

Turn it off!


Computers are durable but still prone to errors from time to time, so if there’s nothing obvious you can spot, turn your computer off. If you try and backup your data or perform other maintenance tasks, it may just make the problem worse. Then, take it to a qualified professional computer repair centre to help diagnose and repair the unknown issue.

Give the Geeks a call – we love a challenge!


No matter what the issue is, our expert team of Geeks have the know-how to diagnose what’s going on and explain it to you in a way you’ll understand. We take computer repairs seriously and offer on-site help Australia-wide. Call us on 1300 642 213 and we’ll get to the bottom of it.


2021 major tech trends to watch out for

2020 was an interesting year, wasn’t it? While we were all challenged to survive the stay home orders, technology was also put to the test. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom – technology allowed us to work from home, stay in touch with the people we care about and helped us learn how to cope with the uncertainty.

As we head into 2021, there are some big technology trends to keep an eye out for. These trends will have a big impact on how we live our daily lives and the driving force for how we manage change in the face of the unexpected.

Working from home

In early 2020, many businesses around the world had to adjust to stay at home orders at warp speed. Changes that may have taken months or years pre-COVID, were actioned in a few short weeks. So as we move into 2021, we’ll be looking for more than just the setup of a home office, but how technology can work to improve security and storage of data.

Cybersecurity

Speaking of working from home, the Coronavirus pandemic saw millions of employees leave the secure office environment and the number of cyberattacks skyrocketed a whopping 238%. Businesses will need to reevaluate their cybersecurity strategies and find new ways to ensure the safety of their data with so many people working from home on different networks.

This is where artificial intelligence and machine learning come in. There’s a strong need for automated tools and more sophisticated tech to help businesses uncover potential threats online. In 2020, Microsoft and others invested heavily into their cloud security and we predict this trend to continue as new cybersecurity threats continue to surface.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

We have more data than ever before that can be used to give us insights into human behaviour and help us meet the needs of a changing world. AI can spot patterns in data that we may miss and self-learning algorithms are set to become even more important, particularly when managing a public health crisis like COVID-19.

As more and more behaviour takes place online, we’ll likely see more AI tools start to be used by businesses to learn from their customers. From shopping habits, socialising and productivity, AI is set to integrate into different aspects of life online in 2021 and beyond.

5G network

There have been a lot of conspiracy theories about 5G making the rounds, and in 2021 we’ll start to see exactly what this network upgrade can do. It’s predicted that it will allow for better streaming of virtual and augmented reality, as well as improve the overall experience of online gaming (particularly cloud-based gaming services like Google Stadia).

Essentially, 5G will make it possible for us to do more on the internet and access it faster, from anywhere. AI and machine learning need real-time access to Big Data to run effectively, so soon it may be possible for this to happen anywhere in the world.

IT compliance

When we talk about compliance, we’re talking about what businesses and individuals are doing to follow the legal rules. For IT, this means the measures taken to increase data privacy and strengthen security for IT systems. Data privacy and cybersecurity are some of the biggest risks facing businesses and these trends are predicted to continue.

In order to keep up with regulations and changes in privacy laws, we may see businesses embracing automation and machine learning in 2021. What we may also see is a rise in the need for IT compliance talent, especially at the enterprise level, to address the need for constant compliance which is set to become the ‘norm’.

Multi-Cloud evolution

It’s mind blowing to think about how quickly the cloud evolution has come about. In 2021 and beyond, we’ll start to see cloud alternatives pop up as one of the major trends in technology. We’ve seen the big players, like Google and Dropbox, dominate the market, but other smaller providers are starting to appear, like Aerobatic and Amazon S3.

With the introduction of 5G and increased capabilities across all kinds of devices, it’s natural that we’ll need more robust and readily available storage solutions to handle all the data we’re creating now and into the future.

Get set up for success with the Geeks


Whether you’re setting up new devices or need to update or adjust your current network security systems, we can help. Give the Geeks a call on 1300 599 521 to learn how you can stay ahead of the curve and harness some of the technology trends above for your home or office.


How to fix and reduce a laptop from overheating

We’ve ALL been there. You’re working away on that big monthly report for work and all of a sudden you start to hear what sounds like a fan going into overdrive. Panicked, you pick up your laptop and it’s super hot to the touch! Your computer starts working slower than usual and you even get the dreaded ‘spinning wheel of death’.

Laptop overheating is a very common issue these days, especially considering how many things we now use our computers for. Work, study, online shopping and even binge watching TV shows and movies – it’s no wonder our laptops get hot! Good news is that there’s a lot you can do to make sure your laptop stays as cool as a cucumber (not literally, of course!).

Why do laptops overheat?

It’s pretty simple: laptops overheat due to a lack of airflow to the machine. An older model laptop might overheat because it’s trying to run too many programs at once, but most newer laptops start building heat simply because their vents are covered or something is blocking the internal fan.

Another cause of laptop overheating is a dying battery. We know this sounds dramatic, but many PC style laptops and older Macbooks have removable lithium batteries that can overheat. A key tip here is to always use the battery until it has almost no charge left, then recharged it. Keeping it plugged into power isn’t great for its longevity and can also attract unwanted heat.

How to check if a laptop is overheating

If you notice the bottom of the laptop heating up, place your hand by the vents and check for hot air. If it’s warm to hot, chances are it’s overheating. If it’s cool or neutral, it’s likely to be working as normal. However, if there’s very little air or none at all (and your computer is running slower than normal) there might be dust clogging the fan or it might’ve stopped altogether.

Cleaning the fan in your laptop is a tricky task, especially if you haven’t done it before. We don’t recommend you fix this issue yourself unless you know what you’re doing, so give us a call and we can get on the case!

How to fix an overheating laptop

There’s one sure fire way to fix an overheating laptop: cool it down. It seems simple enough, but your computer won’t necessarily get damaged if it overheats (unless it continues to stay hot). One of the easiest ways to stop a laptop overheating is to keep it on a hard and flat surface. That way, air can continue to flow underneath your laptop and reach the vents.

Another tactic is to invest in a laptop cooler or cooling pad. These handy stands help keep the air flowing while you’re using your laptop, but make sure you get the right one for your computer otherwise it might make the problem worse.

Ways to reduce laptop heat

As the saying goes, ‘prevention is better than a cure’, so let’s take a look at a few ways you can stop your laptop overheating before it can start.

Keep your laptop out of the heat

That’s right, keep your laptop away from any sources of heat, including direct sunlight. Your laptop is likely made of a combination of metal and plastic, both of which absorb heat easily. Save yourself the headache and stay in the shade!

Use a portable lap desk

If you like to use your laptop in bed or while kicking back on the couch, invest in a lap desk. They’re great because they often have a cushioned base and a hard surface top, perfect for keeping your laptop away from the heat of your body and that air circulating in and around it.

Get lifted!

Laptop stands, or even a book, underneath your computer can do wonders for reducing overheating. Any object, like the cooling pads mentioned above, that can put some space underneath the laptop is going to help immensely.

Get the fan checked out

It might not be anything you’re doing by using the laptop that’s causing the heat: it might be something inside the computer. If it’s overheating regularly and you’ve followed the steps above, give our Geeks a call and book your computer in for a checkup. We can take a look at the fan, clean it and make sure there’s nothing else funky going on in there.

Is your laptop too hot to handle? We can help!

We’re seasoned experts in laptop computer repairs, including internet problems and hardware upgrades. Give us a call on 1300 642 213 and our Geeks will get you back on track in a flash.


5 key benefits of having on-site IT support

Remote IT support is a popular option for many Australian businesses, but it might not actually be the best one. Depending on the style and size of your business, having onsite IT support services can offer a range of benefits, from time and cost savings, to improved efficiency.

In 2020, remote working is on the rise due to COVID-19 but not all workers can and will stay at home once the pandemic subsides. IT support services are a crucial part of business as they help employees stay connected and do their best work, which also aids in keeping valuable data safe from cyber threats.

If you’re considering IT support, it’s helpful to know your options and to consider the benefits of onsite IT support services for you and your team.

What kinds of IT services could I need help with?

IT support can help you with a whole range of technology, hardware and software setup, troubleshooting and maintenance. Common services include:

  • Desktop support
  • Software installation and updates
  • Data recovery and back-ups
  • Cyber security
  • Network configuration, and
  • Hardware (just to name a few).

Options for IT support services

When it comes to getting help with your IT systems, you have a few options. Many IT businesses offer flexible plans that allow you to scale up or scale down as your business changes.

Remote

A common practice in large corporate offices, remote IT support is where an IT technician has the ability to log into your network from another location and take control of a device to troubleshoot, fix an issue or update software.

Virtual helpdesk

This IT support service is a blend of on-site and remote. IT technicians can be sent out on demand to attend to any IT issues raised by staff. It’s like on-site support but you don’t have to hire someone full-time.

On-site

Often considered the traditional option, having on-site IT support services involves a dedicated IT person who works in your team at your office. They can be outsourced from an external company, or you may choose to hire someone full-time as part of your business.

While remote support may initially appear to be cheaper, on-site IT support services have a number of benefits – so let’s take a look at five of the reasons why on-site IT support might be a great option for your business.

1. Encourages staff to ask for help

When there’s an IT technician on-site, staff are more likely to report issues, no matter how big or small they are. This is important because often the small issues can build up to larger ones over time, so catching the little bugs now can save you time and money in future. Plus, it’s often easier to communicate IT problems in person to someone who understands how your business works, than to someone who hasn’t seen your office.

2. Not all issues can be solved remotely

There’s a lot that can go wrong with IT and not all of it can be fixed virtually by a technician. Some issues require in-person help, like hardware. When a computer won’t boot up or perhaps a wire short circuits, it will have to be fixed or replaced by an IT expert. When you have a dedicated on-site IT support person working alongside you, it often provides another layer of reassurance when things don’t go according to plan with your tech.

3. More hands-on support

Mystery sounds and flashing lights can’t be discovered remotely or virtually, only in person. Having an on-site IT support technician ensures you have a dedicated set of eyes and ears to pay attention to and investigate any alerts or warning signs. It’s also quite difficult to describe strange sounds and lights to someone on the phone or in a virtual help desk, which can lead to misdiagnosis of issues or to further problems as a result.

4. Cost (and time) savings

While it may seem like an on-site IT technician would be more expensive than a remote one, there are advantages and cost (as well as time) savings to be had. One of the main savings is travel – with IT support on the ground, you don’t have to cover travel expenses or wait around for help to arrive. This means that more IT issues can be taken care of faster which can ultimately improve work efficiencies and help the bottom line.

5. Quick response

As mentioned, technology issues can be addressed faster with on-site IT support, but the quick response is also due to the technician already being familiar with your operating systems. They don’t need to spend as much time locating the issue or familiarising themselves with your office – they are already a trusted part of your support team.

Need help with your IT? Let the Geeks help!

We’ve supported more than 58,370 businesses across Australia with our professional and thorough on-site IT support services. So if you’re in a pickle and need ongoing or urgent IT help, we can help. Our fees are transparent and there are no hidden costs – get a quote today or give us a ring on 1300 951 836 to discuss what you need.


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