Sunday, 19 December 2010

online backup

You can't recover what you haven't backed up. I am renowned for being obsessed with ensuring client data is backed up in multiple different ways in multiple locations / media. It is imperative that you backups are checked. If you backup has stopped running, is someone looking after it daily to make sure the issue is fixed. Or did you suddenly discover the last time your backup ran was three months ago...? Or was that a year ago... Nothing we haven't seen before...

So... solution one is to make sure your backups are automated... They don't require someone to remember to change a tape or cartridge etc... 

Solution 2... make sure that if the backup fails then someone is notified and they actually do something about it... Do you have a system in place to check this and make sure it happens. Is the backup status of your critical servers reported to the directors during management meetings?

Solution 3... backup off site. Be this online backup which we prefer especially with the cost of this being really affordable these days or taking tapes or USB drives offsite. If your site become inaccessible then you need a plan B... With our online backup facility, you can access your data on a remote server so get up and running a lot quicker than traditional offsite backup. Ask us for more info rather than me boring you with the detail now...

Solution 4... multiple backups... So traditionally we tend to run a windows server backup, i.e. using the software that comes with windows server (used to be called ntbackup). Then we run an online backup if the client agrees to the investment and finally like to sync the main data to an external USB drive. These are all pretty much low cost ways to backup but are worth their weight in gold.

Solution 5.... Now we start getting to the nitty gritty.... If your server fails then you need to get it backup and running as quickly as possible. This is where third party products come into it. The traditional third party products backup your servers data up, especially exchange and sql server and make it easier to restore the data. Reporting and configuration and options all tend to be a lot easier using third party products but can be really expensive. Where the real value lies is in snapshots... If you use backup software to take an image of the server then restoring an entire server can be as quick as an hour. We have used Acronis in the past on a number of servers and it does the job for us.

Actually to be fair, windows 2008 includes this facility which recently saved our bacon. So the moral of the story is, it doesn't have to be that expensive to setup backups that will prove to be quite simply priceless when they are required.

Hope this post helps, no doubt others have a lot of different experiences and advise but the above information is from our 14 odd years of practical experience so i hope it proves of some use.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

server hack!!

We had a pretty shocking discovery the other day when a new client who has old systems in place (we are trying to convince to upgrade) had a whole lot of strange things on one of their server's screens. After taking a look, we discovered that someone had logged onto the server using vnc .

We traced it back to someone in Turkey. They didn't do a great job of covering their tracks which is pretty unusual in my experience. Usually the only way you can tell your server has been hacked is because all the log files have been deleted. Considering how rubbish their internet connection is, they probably lost interest. 

What did they do? Well... essentially used various websites that sent spam email, pretending to be from Credit Agricole Bank to thousands of email addresses in France. Pretty serious stuff. They used different websites and different bits of software to do this.

Step one is to block access to the server for them to carry on utilising the server as a gateway. Note the important thing here. The server was not hacked to access the client's data, it was hacked to use the server as a computer to send out large amounts of spam email. I often get people telling me that no one would be interested in their data and therefore they won't be hacked. Thats BS guys... and here is the proof...

So changed the admin password, uninstalled VNC off the servers. Blocked the VNC ports on the firewall. Took down what info we could of what had happened but it was more important to protect the network from further access. Uninstalled any dodgy looking software on the server.

Couple of reboots, virus scanning, going through everything with a fine tooth comb essentially. Happy the servers and network were now protected from any further unwanted visitors.

Pretty interesting episode and quite scary how easy and quickly this kind of thing can happen so be warned. If you are not confident your systems are protected then get in touch with us - Colins IT Ltd

In the first instance you should not only have anti-virus on every single machine but ensure that it is running correctly, it has been configured to scan everything on the network, runs a full scan regularly, reports any suspicious files, is constantly updated.

Oh, and using free anti-virus... seriously.. you get what you pay for. If you can't afford to pay £30 odd a year to protect your vital data, credit card details, countless hours of work etc... something worth thinking about...

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Managed Service Contract

The client that we spend all day with, getting their server back up and running didn't cost them anything as they have a managed service contract with us. Therefore, we manage their IT systems and take control, if anything goes wrong like it did, then it is up to us to fix it... Which we did... Happy client still with money in their pocket...

Friday, 26 November 2010

sbs 2008 updates were not configured correctly reverting changes

Having a major issue with a server that is stuck in a loop. Anyone with any ideas would be good. Tried a number of things but no luck yet. Waiting for Microsoft to ring me back but trying to be proactive.

Thank you...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Company added to Linkedin

Just decided to add our company onto Linkedin... Have a look at our profile and please follow us. Thanks!!

Monday, 22 November 2010

check out our new video

Check out our cool new video we have just put online. All about disaster recovery.

Let me know what you think?


Thursday, 18 November 2010

Biting spider

In the process of launching our brand biting spider big time. It is the part of our business that does fantatstic web hosting deals. As experts in domains, hosting and DNS it makes sense we push this side of the business as we have a lot to offer and a lot of happy clients.

This is our twitter account -

And our facebook page -

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Reviewing our RMM solution

We are going through another review of our remote management solution. We have been using Centrastage for about a year now and while it is very cost effective and good at some things, we feel we could get a lot more out of it this type of software.

We need more integration with connectwise which is our ticketing and billing system.

We need more automation and be able to eaisly monitor applications, backups, anti-virus and so on.

We are looking at GFI Max which seems very easy to use and so far impressed. Just not so sure on the pricing.

About to look at labtech software as well that has huge investment from connectwise but very mixed reviews. Was dissappointed with their sales team as it was a case of if the software doesn't sell itself then oh well... US companies seem to have forgotton how important the customer is and that some customers need a little more hand holding than others. Just focused on growing their business as quickly as possible and focusing on numbers rather than quality of service.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Off to Robert Kiyosaki

Off to London with the team to be involved in Robert Kiyosaki...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, 21 May 2010

Guerrilla Business Intensive

I have two discounted tickets for this if you are interested, please get in touch - 

What You Get From The Guerrilla Business Intensive
Through high-impact processes, exercises, games, and case studies participants will learn:
  • How to earn a million pounds a year in any business you choose!
  • How to generate million-pound ideas every 60 seconds.
  • How to make or save a fortune using guerrilla negotiation tactics.
  • How to start any business or division with little or no money down.
  • How to raise £10,000 to 1/2 a million pounds without asking anyone to finance anything.
  • How to set up your business for massive passive income or (sell it for millions if you choose to!)
And much more.
The Guerrilla Business Intensive with T Harv Eker is not for everybody because you will have to work incredibly hard during the five day program and many people will not be up to it or don't want to succeed enough.

More info - 

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

iPhone 4G secret revealed...

Here is a link to Apple's lattest amazing iPhone that was found by someone. Looks really great. Not sure what res the camera is but everything else sounds pretty good... Well be a good few months before we can have this in our grubby paws...

Have an awesome week...


Sunday, 4 April 2010

The iPhone 3G S

Well... The iPhone 3GS is an incredible device. So much power and ability delivered from a small hand held device. The apps are probably the biggest value as they deliver all kinds of valueble information never thought possible before... As a device, it is truely outstanding...

BUT!!! I can't cope any more! For me a phone is probably more important... I run a business, I provide support to my clients, I receive important phone calls... If my signal is consistently rubbish and I can't do the simple things, whats the point? Very frustrating!! I have swapped the phone twice and the sim card twice with no difference...

Surely I am not the only one struggling with signal issues?? Surely Apple and indeed 02 must admit there is a problem. If I was a yank, I would be sueing Apple...

So my plan is to sell the 3GS and buy a 3G... Then hope the next iPhone has solved this issue!! Time will tell but needless to say I am a very disapointed fan!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, 2 April 2010

Server installs

3 servers to install for clients... Just need some more time now!!

Otherwise everything going great.

One server at client site already. One Server at the office waiting patiently... One server to be ordered...

Windows server 2003 64 bit on one... Server 2008 64 bit on the other two...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, 26 February 2010

Need to download the pre-install trial of Office 2007?

This is the link to download the OEM pre-installed Office Suite re-installation software.

After you fill out the information (purchase dates, email address and product key) and before you enter any billing info. you will have the option (at the bottom of the page) to download the software immediately instead of waiting for a CD to be delivered.

You can choose which product you need (even the Office Basic 2007 suite) and download it straight away.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

iPhone call conference

I had the requirement the other day to have a conference call with 3 people. Wow, it was so easy with the iPhone. Just add another caller and then merge the calls... Worth trying it out. Works brilliantly...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, 6 February 2010

New Servers

Planning new server installs for a few clients. Looks like I will be getting HP servers instead of Dell, can get a better deal on them.

Servers will run server 2008 as that will work best for their respective environments...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

iPod v2

11:20AM - “We will be shipping iPads in 60 days.”

11:20AM - “So $499 / 629, 599 / 729, and 699 / 829.”

11:19AM - Cheering! “At $499 a lot of people can afford an iPad. 16GB is our base model. For 32GB it’s $100 more, and for $100 more than that you get $64GB. The 3G models cost another $130.”

Looks like we'll have to wait till June / July to get one in the UK... Wonder what the UK price will be? Apple's exchange rate has always been very dodgy...

Conclusion remains the same, can't wait to get one but will have to wait a few months till the first batch has been released and the initial problems solved and the next revised batch released to Market...

Can't wait...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The ipad is here!!

The ipad has been born... Apple's answear to the tablet... Wonder how much it is... And when it will be available...

Woo hoo... Looks good...

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Creating a custom ring tone on your iPhone...


Things You'll Need:

a. iPhone
b. iTunes
c. Mac or Windows Computer
d. Non-DRM song (i.e. one not bought from the iTunes Store)


1. Open up iTunes on your Mac or PC.
2. Find the song that you want to make into a ringtone.

3. Listen to the song and find the part of it you want to use. You don't always want to start at the beginning.

4. Using iTunes, write down the start and stop times of the clip you want to use.

5. Right-click the song and select "Get Info" and then click the "Options" tab.

6. Type in the start time of your ringtone in the text box next to "Start Time" in the minutes:seconds (i.e. 1:07) format.

7. Next you need to type in the end time of your ringtone in the text box next to "Stop Time." Make sure the ringtone is no more than 35 seconds long.
8. Click on "OK" when you have done that.
9. Once again, right-click your song and select "Convert Selection to AAC." Wait for iTunes to convert your song. It will create a duplicate version.

10. Right-click the ringtone and select "Delete."

11. Click on the "Keep Files" button.

12. Now you need to find the file which is usually in your "User" folder under Music > iTunes > iTunes Music and under the band's name. It will have an extension of "m4a."
13. Replace the "m4a" extension of your ringtone with "m4r". You can double-click the file to rename it, or right-click and select "Get Info" on a Mac or select "Rename" on a Windows PC. Click yes or use .m4r when the systems pops up a warning message.
14. Next, double-click the ringtone file. ITunes will automatically add it to your ringtones folder in your iTunes Music Library.

15. Connect your iPhone and sync your ringtones. You may need to select, sync ringtones from the options.

Let me know how you get on...

Monday, 4 January 2010

10 essential tools you need...

This is a great little article. Worth spending a few minutes having a quick read.

Have a great week


Sunday, 3 January 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone... Looking forward to a great 2010...

Will be posting an article soon on how to create a ring tone on your iPhone...