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Frequently asked questions
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1. What about daily back-ups?

Data files are stored on Network Access Storage (NAS) servers with 4 continuously running discs and using a RAID 5 configuration. RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks.  RAID 5 is the top specification configuration. It requires three identical mirrored disks running in parallel. One disk is denoted as the master and the other two are mirrored slaves. If the disk failure applies to the master disk, one of the two mirrored slave disks takes over as master. As soon as one disk of the three active disks goes down the fourth disk is brought into play. The two remaining active disks rebuild the fourth disk so that there are always two identically mirrored slaves. This allows the failed disk to be replaced so as to maintain the three active mirrored disks with one hot standby.  This can all take place without rebooting (restarting) the server.

This is clearly a very resilient solution but we still take back ups to give you improved peace of mind.  We do a full back-up once a week and an incremental backup every night.  The incremental backup captures everything that has changed since the previous night’s backup.  This protects you from lost or corrupted files or files that have been accidentally written over when with hindsight an earlier version should have been retained.  Let us know and if the file exists in the back up copy we will be able to perform a full recovery.

2. What is Secure Remote Archiving?

Secure Remote Archiving is a service to provide mirrored replication of important client data at a remote site. This is recommended for all the clients accounting package and payroll databases. 

It is also recommended for any company confidential and important information that needs to be archived and securely protected.

Any MS office application data files that are considered to be important can be copied and archived to the users Vault folder on the file registry of the active data centre. The Vault folder will be continuously monitored and archived onto the remote data centre NAS server.

The archiving service is provided at a remote hosted data centre. It is a facility intended to minimise the size of active current data files while preserving permanent access to important historical records.

Archived records can be downloaded at will to an archive folder on the user directory in the active data centre.  These records will be locked as read only.

At calendar year end the remote archived records folder will be locked for new file submissions and a new remote archive file will be opened for the oncoming year.  So that data consistency can be maintained the open Vault files on the active portal will be closed and new Vault files will be automatically opened.

3. I only want to use MS Office Applications?

That is fine. However, if you want to continue with support from your current ITC support provider you should encourage them to register with the service, so that they can continue to provide efficient diagnostic support. Otherwise you can choose from a list of registered ICT support providers in your area. Alternatively our ICT alliance partner is GW Net- Working. You can reach them through the following link: http://www.gwnet-working.com . Contact them to make arrangements to enrol to our service. They are equipped with the latest remote diagnostic and monitoring tools and can provide a cost effective and comprehensive service tailored to your needs.

4. I only want to use an Accountancy Application?

That is fine.  However, if you want to continue with support from your current Accounting Services provider you should encourage them to register with the portal, so that they can continue to provide efficient Accounting Services support.  Otherwise you can choose from a list of registered Accounting Service providers in your area.

5. I want to use an Accountancy Application but I do not have a current arrangement with an Accounting Services Provider?

Check our register of Accounting Service Providers and search for one in your area.

Alternatively go to: http://www.icaewfirms.co.uk/section.asp?catid=14&docid=2

https://www.acca-business.org/dom/

and check for a suitable accountant in your area.  Accountants are normally identified through geographic or industry sector search.

6. I want to use an Accountancy Application but I do not want to disturb my current arrangement with my Accounting Services Provider?

The simplest thing to do is ask your current accounting services provider to review the information at: http://www.securevirtualoffice.com/sfd.htm . If (s)he is interested (s)he can then register to become a member and then follow the process to enrol you to the service.

7. I want to register for this hosted service for MS applications but I do not want to sever relations with my current ICT support provider.

The simplest thing to do is ask your current ICT services provider to review the information at: http://www.securevirtualoffice.com . If (s)he is interested (s)he can then register to become a member and then follow the process to enrol you to the service.

8. I want to register for this hosted service for MS applications but I do not want to maintain relations with my current ICT support provider.

Our ICT alliance partner is GW Net Working. You can reach them through the following link: http://www.gwnet-working.com

Contact them to make arrangements to enrol to our service. They are equipped with the latest remote diagnostic and monitoring tools and can provide a cost effective and comprehensive service tailored to your needs.

9. What do you mean by a hosted solution?

A hosted solution is one provided by an Internet Services Provider ( ISP) that allows third parties such as SecureVirtualOffice to rent space, electricity, air-conditioning and direct access to the Internet backbone. These services are generally provided in a physically secure building with tight access control; multiple redundant connections to UPS (Un-interruptible Power Supplies); on site generators; multiple connections to the national Electricity Grid and the national Internet backbone; and stringent fast acting, self contained fire retarding systems. Third parties such as SecureVirtualOffice then install computers and software applications to rent on a monthly subscription to provide end users with a high availability, physically secure and electronically resilient solution. The level of safety and physical and electronic security matches the data centres now routinely used by banks and financial services companies. SecureVirtualOffice can now offer comparable services at an economically affordable price for individuals and Small Medium-size Enterprises). Our hosting solutions partner is BlueSquare. You can find further details at: www.bluesquaredata.com.

10. What is meant by co-location?

ISPs offer a range of services starting with a connection to the Internet and include access to shared servers and dedicated servers. Co-Location allows service providers such as Secure Virtual Office to install their own servers within the ISP’s data centre and share the benefits of the highly protected and well serviced infrastructure. We can then rent out this infrastructure to smaller companies. Through economies of scale, we can offer our customers a quality of ICT support enjoyed by the largest top 500 companies, at an affordable price.

11. I am not satisfied with my current access to the Internet, can you offer alternative suggestions?

The modern cost effective solution is ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) ubiquitously known as ‘Broadband’. It is known as Broadband because at its base level download data transfer from the Internet is up to 10 Mb/s (million bits per second). This suits many users who want to download lots of information and have a relatively small uplift requirement. It is described as asynchronous because the upload data transfer rate from the user to the Internet is rarely much faster than 512kb/s although increasingly expensive tariffs will allow both download and upload data rates to be increased

Another broadband service is SDSL (Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line). This is more expensive than ADSL broadband but can be a cost effective solution for those users that require to transmit as much data as they receive from the Internet. Unlike broadband subscribers will often be offered a guaranteed QoS (Quality of Service) and SLA (Service Level Agreement).

 

12. What is a Virtual Server?

Modern servers have become very powerful. In order to utilise that capacity more efficiently and cost effectively, these servers can be sub divided into virtual servers. They maintain the same characteristics as the physical server but allow resources to be shared across multiple tenants. This is analogous to tenement owners within a block of flats. They share a common resource, which makes for economies of scale, but each tenant is self contained and has private access to the shared resources. The tenant pays proportionally for the resources allocated and has direct control over the number of users and applications that they can access. The end result is that users can gain access to high performance servers at a fraction of the price compared to buying or renting them individually

13. I am not satisfied with my current broadband connection, can you offer alternative suggestions?

Our Alliance Broadband and data communications provider is Rosecom. Between us we offer a guaranteed level of Quality of Service (QoS) 99.9% . For further details see: www.rosecom.biz

For larger and multi-site businesses we can offer SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) e-connectivity which provide cost effective, highly reliable connectivity with guaranteed SLAs (Service Level Agreements).

14. I am worried about you holding all my data. Can I get regular copies of it?

Yes. You maintain ownership of all your data files.  You can retrieve these at any time. Your data files are held on a RAID 5 disk configuration, which means that at any one time three secure copies of your data is available.  You can copy these data files to another location of your choice or you can use our facilities to archive them to a remote location. 

15. My apps are business critical to me what happens if I can't sign on?

If you can get out to the Internet you will be able to sign-on. In addition our Telecommunications Partner Rosecom will be able to provide you with a solution that includes a guaranteed QoS (Quality of Service)

Our Enterprise Class data centre is on the national Internet Backbone and the facilities are managed by Blue Square - www.bluesquaredata.com

BlueSquare provide Tier One carrier–neutral ISP service facilities across a range of data centres located on the national Internet backbone. Their services include 24 x 7 on-site monitoring, reporting and response facilities. Their Tier III facility is composed of multiple active power and cooling distribution paths, has redundant components, and is concurrently maintainable, providing 99.982% availability

Facilities of this type have multiple redundant paths to the Internet, multiple connections to the Electricity Supply Grid, on-site stand by generators, un-interruptible power supplies and fast reacting fire suppressant systems. The sites are physically very secure and site access requires to be pre-authorised to pre-authenticated users.

16. Is there a minimum term I must sign up for? What happens if I want to leave early?

There is no minimum contract period, all we normally ask is that you give us 30 days notice so that we can help you make alternative arrangements. The Subscription is payable monthly in advance and there is an initial set up fee which equals the monthly subscription. Full details of current prices can be accessed from the members area.

17. What applications do I get?

You get access to the complete MS Office Applications suite. This includes MS Word, MS Excel, MS Access, MS PowerPoint and MS Outlook. You have a choice of Office 2003 or Office 2007. You can also subscribe to other Microsoft services such as SharePoint, Exchange Mail, Communications Server and Office Live Meeting. We will also host applications that you own including accounting packages (Sage, Quick Books, TAS, etc); CRM Packages (ACT! Goldmine. Logical Office, etc) and any bespoke packages that you have had developed for you. With special arrangements we have made with our Alliance Partners you can also licence Flightdeck CRM and the highly acclaimed accounting package Accounting Office for a monthly subscription instead of buying the licence outright.

18. What computing facilities do I need to run them them?

You need a supported thin client or a PC running MS Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME or Windows XP operating systems.  You also need MS Internet Explorer 6.0 (or later) and available as a free download from: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/default.aspx

You will also need a connection to the Internet.

 

19.What sort of support do I get in a crisis?

The Data Centre is monitored and technically supported 24 x 7 x 365. You can continue to get first line technical support from your current ICT support provider. Alternatively you can arrange first line technical and applications support from our Alliance ICT Support partner GW Networking.

See: http://www.GWNet-working.com

20. Where can I find out more?

  • If you are the proprietor or manager of an SME Click here
  • If you are an accountant or financial services provider Click here
  • If you are business services adviser Click here
  • If you are an ICT Services Provider Click here

21. How can I register?

That is easy.  Click here

22. What happens if a user logs in more than once?

A user cannot simultaneously login to multiple sessions on the same machine.  When the user is logged in they are able to open as many sessions as they wish of the applications that they are registered to use.  The login process only takes a few seconds and so the normal procedure would be to logout from the first computer before moving to and logging in from a new machine.

If a user really does require to have two computers running at once then the system will accept multiple logins from the same user, but each login is counted as a discrete user and minimum subscription fee is one month.  Remember, that in this business solution the server is processing the application and it will process as many applications as you require.

23. Why do I have to wait 4 working days before a replacement user becomes active? 

The new user has to be issued with a new user ID and PIN.  For security reasons this is always done through the postal service to reduce online masquerade or identity theft.

24. I have just bought the latest release of MS Office, can I have it installed on your server?

Microsoft licensing regulations forbid the mixing of different licence classes on the same server. If the Licences you hold are Open or Select Licences then you can novate the software to us and we can host them on your behalf on a server that is kept separate from our regular servers that run the applications licensed on a monthly subscription. You can continue to keep a back up copy on your local workstation for when you want to work off line. The normal Microsoft Licensing caveats apply. If you want to run a backup copy of the licensed application concurrently with your main copy then you need to buy a second licence or start to pay our subscription licence fee.

If you bought the licence preinstalled on your workstation by the manufacturer, typically known as an OEM licence, then use is restricted to that machine and there is no possibility to run a copy on another machine so the flexibility to novate your licence does not apply.

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