Blog | Biztek Solutions, Inc.

One of the most common questions we get asked is “What is a good computer to buy?”  That is a loaded question and varies greatly depending on what the computer will be used for.   Most people also seem to get confused with certain hardware components in terms of what the component does, as well as looking at systems side by side where they seem similar but the price varies greatly.  We have created a guide that will help you choose the right type of computer for your business.

Windows or Mac or Linux?

This is the starting point for most people.  By now your preference has likely been made as to the platform for which you prefer. 

Windows computers are the most common computers used in business due to their wide ranging software compatibility.  Almost all software is designed to work on a Windows computer, especially when it comes to business applications. 

Macs are most common with consumers, home users and in creative industries.  For a long time, if you work involved anything around graphics, content creation, video, etc, then a Mac was the way to go.  However, in recent years, the Windows PC world has blurred the line and you can purchase a Windows computer with plenty of power to meet your creative needs.

Linux systems are the rarest used of the three operating systems.  Unless you are extremely techy or have a very specific need, a Linux system is likely not a good fit for your business.  Most business software is not compatible to run on Linux systems and since most people have never used a Linux system, there will be a big learning curve.

 

How Do You Plan to Use the Computer?

Will the computer be running your business applications?  If so, we recommend checking hardware requirements with your software vendor(s).  Software providers always provide a minimum and recommended specs to run their software.  If you are running multiple pieces of software on a computer, then you have to look at all system requirements to help you determine what you need.  For example, lets say you are going to run Microsoft Office and Quickbooks desktop version.  Both Office and Quickbooks require 1GB of RAM, so your computer will need at least 2GB of RAM to run this software. 

Anyone using computers for graphical work such as photo editing, video editing, content creation, etc will require a higher powered computer since this type of work is demanding on CPU/Processor and RAM.

Also consider how you work on a PC.  Are you a multi-tasker and run multiple applications at the same time?  For instance, do you leave your Outlook open for email, stay logged into Quickbooks and have a web browser open to surf the internet?  The more applications you run simultaneously, the more power you will need in the computer.  If this describes you, consider yourself a power user.

 

What is Your Budget?

You always want to get the most bang for your buck, so understanding how you will use the computer and what you need to have good performance will help you choose a system that meets the hardware requirements and fits your budget.

 

Common Components Explained

Here is a breakdown of common components in computers and how they affect performance on your computer.

CPU/Processor – This is the brain of the system.  The CPU processes all of your commands, crunches data and really is key indicator of system performance.  We always recommend Intel processors and most commonly Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processors, with the i5 processor being our most common.  Intel Xeon processors are typically used in servers and high end workstations (high powered graphical systems). 

Processors also have a speed rating in Ghz.  Of course the higher the number in Ghz the faster, but the reality is this – a 3.0 Ghz processor vs 3.2Ghz processor will have milliseconds of difference.  It is better to check how many ‘cores’ the processor has.  Today, most computers have at least 2 cores, but faster computers will contain 4, 6 or 8 cores.  Think of cores like additional processors.  The more cores, the faster your performance and ability to handle running more applications simultaneously.

 

RAM/Memory – People often get this confused with hard drive capacity as both are measured in GB.  RAM/Memory does not store any data permanently, but rather is the operating memory of your computer as you work.  When you open a program such as Outlook, Outlook is using RAM to run and then when you send/receive email, the CPU is accessed.  The more RAM you have in the computer, the more applications you will be able to run simultaneously while maintaining performance.  We recommend at least 8GB of RAM for any business computer.

 

Hard Drive – The hard drive is what stores your data.  Your Operating System, such as Windows gets installed and stored there.  Any software you install is also stored on the hard drive.  In a business environment, the capacity is typically not as important since most data should be stored on a server.  Storage for hard drives is measured in gigabytes (GB) or terabytes (TB).  1TB = 1000GB.  If you need to store a bunch of files, then you want a larger hard drive. 

Hard drives can also affect performance.  SSD hard drives have significantly boosted system performance, so we always recommend SSD hard drives.  SSD drives have become much more affordable in recent years, but can still carry a higher cost if you need a higher capacity.

 

Video Cards – For most people, the built video card such as the Intel HD Graphics is more than sufficient.  However, if you process photos, videos, are a gamer, etc, then you want to get a computer with a graphics card.  Graphics cards can also enable you to run multiple monitors.

 

Warranty – For business computers, we recommend purchasing a computer with a 3-5 year warranty to ensure you can get replacement parts for the life cycle of the computer.   Technology moves fast, so you should always be looking to upgrade your computers every 3-5 years.

 

As you can see, there are several things to take into consideration when purchasing a new computer.  It is always best to consult with a professional to help you navigate the differences between systems. 

Here are the specifications for our most commonly recommended computers for business:

Processor/CPU:                Intel Core i5
RAM:                                   8GB RAM
Hard Drive:                        256GB SSD
Operating System:           Windows 10 Professional
Warranty:                           3 years

 

Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

You always hear stories every single year about a residential homes or small businesses being visited by what seems to be a utility worker. They knock on the door, with a smile on their face, and dressed at what seems to be “official”. As warm as the gesture may feel, a slight sense of worry tends to linger as they ask you questions and a request to step into the office and conduct their routines. “Workers” for your internet provider will ask you for permission to access your servers, or your utility providers looking to observe your circuit breakers and entering restricted rooms.

 

Do you remember when your parents told you to “never trust strangers”?

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Mobile technology has come a long way in a relatively short space of time. In less than 30 years we’ve moved away from big, brick-like cellular phones and a nascent internet to a world of super-slim and powerful smartphones, tablets and convertible laptops that are able to transmit and store data, as well as hook up the internet, with a simple tap.

While these devices offer us increased internet connectivity and day-to-day convenience, they also carry considerable security risks. In this feature we take a look the reasons behind the growing threat of mobile-related cyber-crime.

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When your computer is accessible through an internet connection or Wi-Fi network, it is susceptible to attack. However, you can restrict outside access to your computer—and the information on it—with a firewall.

What do firewalls do?

Firewalls provide protection against outside cyber attackers by shielding your computer or network from malicious or unnecessary network traffic. Firewalls can also prevent malicious software from accessing a computer or network via the internet. Firewalls can be configured to block data from certain locations (i.e., computer network addresses), applications, or ports while allowing relevant and necessary data through. (See our solution page on our website for more information.)

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Ready for the Holidays? 

When you’re traveling and your phone is about to die, most travelers will take a charge wherever they can find it. But, a new report from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office warns against using public USB power charging stations because of “juice jacking

Juice jacking is a scam that can drain important information from your phone while you use a public USB port to charge.

Criminals can load malware onto the charging stations, rip out the real USB ports and replace them with their own infected ports or leave infected cables at the stations. When people use these ports, their phone will charge and their private information will be leaked to scammers. Through these scams, criminals can access information like personal passwords, bank accounts or entire backups of your phone.

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3 Things You Must Demand from Your IT Services
3 Things You Must Demand from Your IT Services

How much of your IT do you accomplish yourself? If the answer is nothing at all, don’t worry! You’re not the first nor the last business owner that relies heavily on their IT managed services provider. However, don’t be that business that outsources their IT (which is a very good thing), only to never use them for what they are there for!

The sad truth is, lots of small businesses are not proactive about their IT needs. It’s evident when the only time they call their IT provider is when something goes horribly wrong – there’s a network failure or their website loads up with a ton of viruses, perhaps nothing at all. Worse yet, there are plenty of IT companies out there who aren’t proactive whatsoever. They wait until YOU pick up the phone and call them for help, when in reality they should be helping you ALWAYS.  

This isn’t how your relationship with your IT should be! You should be working with a team of dedicated IT professionals, who are there to make your life as a business owner much easier by not having to worry if your systems are running as they should be. They should also be doing their best to stay in touch with you and address any impeding problems before they turn into full fledge emergencies.

Here are 3 things your IT services provider needs to be doing for you.

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National Cyber Security Awareness Month
National Cyber Security Awareness Month

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and every year we’re reminded of how one category of crime that continues to inflict taxpayers and companies with damages amounting to billions of dollars annually. Stay up-to-date on the latest attack types and prevention techniques to safeguard your organization from the threats that lurk online. Here are five fraud trends we’ve noticed that you need to know about.

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3 Ways to Prevent Your Employees from Leaking Confidential Information
3 Ways to Prevent Your Employees from Leaking Confidential Information

Your business will never face a bigger IT threat than your employees. Yes, every business owner has to come to terms their employees are the biggest weakness in their cyber protection. As a business owner, you may already be on top of the latest cyberthreats and already practicing safe habits online; that doesn’t mean your employees are as proficient. For all you know, your employees could be putting your business in danger at this very moment. How? They may be using company equipment connected to an unsecure WiFi network. They could be installing ‘anti-viruses’ that are actually spying and stealing information right off company devices. The list goes on. What can you do to change this?

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Not too long ago, the CryptoLocker ransomware virus was all over the news, infecting over 250,000 computers in its first 100 days of release (at least that’s the number reported – the real numbers are probably MUCH higher). The threat was fairly straightforward: Pay us or we’ll delete all your data.

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You’re working at your computer when all of the sudden – BAM! – you get a pop-up notification that your PC is infected with a virus and you must “click here” to run a scan or install antivirus software. This is a common scareware tactic used by hackers to get you to click and download a virus. (You should know we would NEVER deliver that type of pop-up to you!)

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