Windows 11 has finally arrived

The newest edition to Windows has finally arrived, Windows 11 was released by Microsoft on 5th October 2021. You can find out more about the latest Microsoft operating system below, there are a few key points to note:

  1. There is no rush to upgrade your operating system from Windows 10 to 11. Windows 10 remains in support until 2025.
  2. Windows 11 does have some minimum system requirements. Therefore it may not be possible to upgrade without upgrading the hardware on your PC or laptop or completely replacing it.
  3. Windows 11 is still in the early stages of its release, like any new software it is possible there will be bugs or issues that will be ironed out in time.

For these reasons, our recommendation is to stick with Windows 10 for the time being. However, if you are considering purchasing a new PC or laptop in the near future, please do check to ensure the specification allows it to be upgraded. Fresh Mango will be pleased to advise you.

The latest Windows OS has easy-to-use tools that can help you optimise your screen space and maximise your productivity. Combine that with a Microsoft 365 subscription and nothing will stop you from getting tasks done.

Find out more about Windows 11 on our dedicated webpage here.

Fresh Mango’s Guide to On-premises (physical) servers and Cloud servers

With remote working here-to-stay in one form or another, many businesses are questioning what kind of server solution they should have – On-premises or Cloud servers. Our guide highlights the main differences and the pros and cons of each approach.

On-Premises Servers vs Cloud Servers

The main difference between physical and cloud servers is their location: a physical server is located on-premises, a cloud server is situated in a remote location (which could be a data centre or a larger cloud infrastructure) and accessed remotely. Cloud servers can be dedicated or virtualised, in exactly the same way as On-Premises servers.

Pros and Cons of these servers

A physical server is the preferred option for performance-oriented scenarios. With the server located on your premises, data transfers are fast and server access is not broadband-dependent. Also, a physical server provides more control over your data (and data security). Sometimes, a physical server may be the only solution if your business operates specific line-of-business applications.

A cloud server removes any hardware and maintenance costs. It can be easily accessed from everywhere where you have an internet-connected computer. However, it – and therefore your business – is reliant on Internet broadband. The broadband will need to be fast, especially if you have many users and large files to edit. Also, it may not be possible to run certain applications on a full cloud environment.

Active Directory vs Azure AD

Active Directory is a critical component of a Domain Controller, a physical server that centrally manages users and computers on the network.

Azure AD is a full cloud solution that performs some of the same functions as Active Directory, but it is quite different – Azure AD does not replace Active Directory, but it represents an excellent alternative in several situations.

Pros and Cons

Active Directory is the best option for complex and large networks, with multiple users/departments and computers. It provides several tools to manage users and computers in details. Active Directory can manage every network component, including other servers.

For this reason, AD is the preferred solution if on-premises applications servers are required. Active Directory is not accessible from outside the network without configuring VPN access, and it requires a physical server environment.

Azure AD is the perfect solution for small networks, especially if newly provisioned. It provides a central management point for users, and limited control over computers. Azure AD also provides management for mobile devices.

Since Azure AD is a cloud service, it can be accessed from everywhere, but it is broadband-dependent. Azure AD can be integrated with other cloud services, such as Office 365 and OneDrive/SharePoint.

The main benefit of Azure AD is the possibility to have a single sign-on for different services and enable additional security measures (such as multi-factor authentication).

It is not possible to manage existing physical servers on Azure AD, and the system does not provide any options to manage different user departments, or fine-tune computer settings. In these scenarios, Active Directory is the preferred solution.

We hope that helps and do contact Fresh Mango today to discuss the next steps for your business server.

If you found this article useful, you may also be interested in our blog piece on the ideal IT system setup.

The importance of Backups

Do you backup your data? If so, how often? Do you check it? How confident are you that you could restore your data in the event of a data loss? What would you do if you lost all your data?

It genuinely worries me when we come across businesses and individuals who don’t have data backup arrangements. We came across a business recently with no backup arrangements in place and asked them the list of questions above. Following the discussion, I thought it would be useful to write a short blog piece on why data backup should be considered as a standard procedure for any business.

Risk and consequences

Let’s consider a business that has no data backup in place. Then one of their PCs, or worse their server, fails or corrupts. This can happen at any time, particularly as computer equipment ages. Sometimes it’s possible to recover the data, but there are absolutely no guarantees. It’s also a time-consuming and expensive process to attempt the recovery.

So all the data is lost. Now what? It doesn’t take a computer expert to figure out the difficulty of maintaining your business operations in these circumstances.

You may consider that the likelihood is very low, so therefore it’s a risk worth taking. Is it though? Is the likelihood of data corruption or computer failure low?  Frankly, no it is not.

The likelihood of a computer system or server failing is 100%. It is man-made equipment. One day it will fail.

Mitigate the risk with a data backup

Objection number one is always costs ‘How much will it cost? It will be expensive etc’. Putting aside the risks and consequences, which should really make cost a non-issue, the fact is that data backup is not expensive. In fact, it’s very cheap. There are two options we recommend, neither is costly.

  • Local backup drive

This is a small drive connected to your computer. It allows you to make copies of your data. A 2TB drive (which is usually more than enough data for a small business) costs under £100.

Automatic backup of your data to the cloud over the internet. Most companies set this to run overnight so their internet connection is kept free for operations during the day. Again, it’s inexpensive, with pricing at just £12 per month depending on data quantity.

Aside from peace-of-mind, what else does a data backup do?

Your backup solution provides additional benefits.

  • A cloud backup can be established to replicate your entire system setup. You may recall how long it took to configure and establish your server – several days. Having a replica in the cloud means that you can be up and running again quickly should it be called upon.
  • Cloud backup protects against ransomware. Let me be clear – it doesn’t stop you from being hit. However, in the event that your network is locked by cybercriminals, you don’t need to pay the ransom. Instead, your network can be wiped (taking all data, including the ransomware with it) and then restored from the cloud.

I hope I’ve said enough to convince the non-believers of the importance of backups! If you’re still doubtful please take a look at our dedicated site or just contact us to discuss further.