Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What is the impact of Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 becoming End Of Life?

Posted on: January 9th, 2020 by David Debono

Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 are obsolete and vendor support will be ending on January 14th 2020, meaning that the infrastructure will soon be end of life and unsupported. If you haven’t looked into your migration or upgrade options yet, your infrastructure and application security and performance could be affected.

As soon as the support lifecycle for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 has lapsed ongoing free security updates and non security patches will no longer be available, there will be no free vendor support options and online technical content updates will no longer be available.

Not patching your infrastructure will leave your operating system vulnerable to security issues and it won’t be long before those end of life systems are specifically targeted and exploited once vulnerabilities are identified, increasing your risks of getting hacked and your sensitive corporate data being compromised.

Microsoft strongly recommends that customers migrate away from the 2008 stack prior to the end of support deadline to ensure your infrastructure and applications remain supported and secure, however, in some instances where customers cannot meet the deadline, you may have the ability to purchase extended security updates for a limited time, however, this may not be available to everyone and some restrictions do apply.

Some products that are not available for extended security updates include Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 and R2, Windows HPC Server 2008 and R2, Windows Server update services 3.0 and SP1 and SP2, Windows Storage Server 2008 basic and 32-bit and embedded and embedded 32-bit, Windows Storage Server 2008 enterprise and embedded and R2, Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 essentials, Windows Storage Server 2008 standard and embedded and workgroup and workgroup embedded.

The following Windows Server 2008 products will become end of life as of the 14th of January 2020:

  • Windows Server 2008 and R2 data centre, with and without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 and R2 enterprise, with and without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 and R2 for Itanium-based systems
  • Windows Server 2008 Foundation
  • Windows Server 2008 and R2 standard with and without Hyper-V.

Extended Support for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 end on July 9th, 2019.

The good news is since 2008 there have been a number of technology advancements in the cloud and Server space, there are significant benefits to be had by migrating to modern technologies including improved security, performance and importantly cost savings.

Some migration and upgrade options include retaining on premise Servers and Storage and upgrading to more recent software either newer Microsoft Based or Linux based operating systems, or we can assist you with a migration into the cloud on platforms including Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS or Google Cloud. We can walk through the various options with you, we will take the time to determine what other cloud infrastructure your organisation has available and we can make a recommendation based on the best interests of your organisation. In the event that your organisation has already adopted Azure, AWS or Google cloud it may make sense to standardise.

In the event that your organisation does not have a concrete strategy in place to upgrade your obsolete, end of life Servers and Storage and would like to understand what is involved to migrate to cloud infrastructure our team can help. We can work with you on Cloud Transformation projects, we can do audits on your VM’s and applications to determine if everything is virtualised and ready for migration. We can complete IT infrastructure audits to gauge the condition of your infrastructure, what hardware and software you are running and to propose a strategy for the ongoing upkeep of your assets.

CircleBC have assisted businesses all over Australia with their Technology needs, we can help you make a decision on what to do with your end of life Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, we can support businesses in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Tasmania, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia.

Do You Need A WordPress Consultant?

Posted on: December 11th, 2019 by David Debono

If you need assistance with your website a WordPress Consultant can help. CircleBC offer a range of WordPress Consulting and Website Development Services and can help you with your website end to end.

A WordPress Consultant can help you with WordPress Development, bug fixes, troubleshooting, support and maintenance. Our team have well over 10 years of WordPress Consulting and Development experience.

Regardless of the state of your website, whether it is still an idea and in the planning phase, if the website was started by an amateur developer and is unfinished or has problems, or if your WordPress site is running smoothly and you want to keep it that way. Being able to leverage off the expertise of a WordPress Consultant can be a lifesaver.

Our team can help you with the following WordPress consulting services include:

  • Website Design, Wireframes, Conceptual Design and Development
  • General WordPress Troubleshooting, Support, Upgrades and Maintenance, on an ongoing or adhoc basis.
  • We can help you transfer and migrate websites from one host to another, or we can host the site for you.
  • WordPress Conversion Services
  • Joomla to WordPress Conversions, Drupal to WordPress Conversions, HTML to WordPress Conversions, Shopify to WordPress Conversions, WIX to WordPress Conversions, Adobe Business Catalyst to WordPress Conversions.
  • We can improve the Responsiveness and Mobile Friendliness of your site
  • WordPress Plugin development and customisation of existing WordPress Plugins. We can work with you to understand your functionality requirements and can research, purchase and install plugins to expand on your current site.
  • Custom Development and WordPress customisation services. We can assist you with modifying HTML/HTML5, CSS, JS and PHP.
  • Website Performance improvements and WordPress Optimisation of your site, resolving issues associated with slow page load speeds and resolving issues from popular website auditing services such as Google Page Speed Insights and GTMetrix. We can assist with SEO related issues to ensure onpage optimisation fundamentals are correct.
  • We can assist with making modifications, customisations and improvements to your WooCommerce site, we can implement extensions and custom development to deploy the functionality you need.
  • WordPress Website Security upgrades and improvements, website hardening. Recovery from hacks, malware clean-ups.
  • Content changes, image upload to your gallery or banner/slider, we can post blogs and add pages to your site.

If you need some support with your website, CircleBC’s WordPress Consultants can help, our team pride ourselves on taking the time to understand your requirements, we can produce estimates on how much work is involved to either make development changes or maintain and update your site. We strive to develop long term relationships with you and your website. Leave the technical stuff to us.

Our WordPress Consultants have helped businesses all over Australia with their website issues, we have delivered WordPress Services in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Tasmania, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia.

What Is Dark Fiber and What Are The Benefits?

Posted on: November 25th, 2019 by David Debono

dark-Fiber

Dark Fiber is a fiber optic cable with no light passing through it. It is also referred to as unlit fiber. A Dark Fiber, fibre optic cable is a data communication cable that has not been activated and is not connected or utilised yet.

Since the installation of fibre optic cable is typically complicated and very costly, it is common practice to lay down more cable than initially necessary in preparation for future demand.

Telecommunications companies and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) make use of unlit fiber to provide lit and managed fibre connections to their customers for an ongoing monthly service access fee.

Using single mode (SMF) and multi mode (MMF) Fibre cables, customers benefit from high bandwidth, with long distance and short distance applications respectively.

Fiber Optic cables transmit data through light impulses. Data travels by way of light signals through transmission medium. The speed of light is transmitted about 299,792,458 meters per second, which is approximately 300,000 kilometers per second.

When light travels through a fiber optic cable, its speed is reduced by approximately 30%. At these signal speeds, data transfer can reach about 1000 Mbps or more. (1Gbps+)

To get a better idea of the magnitude of these speeds, in comparison to other broadband connections, an ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) would typically achieve a 7 – 15 Mbps download rate, and a relatively fast 4G mobile network connection could reach 20 – 40Mbps. This makes the fiber optic cable a superior symmetrical data connection, offering uncontended download and upload speeds.

 

Benefits of Dark Fiber

  • High performance equipment at each end of the connection can achieve very high and almost unlimited bandwidth.
  • Other benefits include fast scalability (scale up or down based on required bandwidth). You can assign bandwidth to specific services like video conferencing or backups and add additional services to the network and per your custom requirement.
  • Completely control your network. You can build, deploy, manage, and secure everything on your terms.
  • Dark fiber allows organisations for improved encryption and security or their data network.
  • Create a direct connection between two locations, between branches, data centers, or buildings.
  • Less dependency on fiber optic providers for your linked connection.
  • Physical Redundancy can also be achieved by deploying a dark fiber network.

Pros and Cons of Dark Fiber

Pros

  • Faster data transmission.
  • The initial costs can be higher but can be more cost-effective over
    time due to reduced carrier costs
  • No shared network or costly rentals from service providers
  • More reliable because there are fewer limitations
    are less interference.
  • Improved commercial internet service experience
  • Improved latency
  • Increased Security
  • Scalable
  • Providing more control to the organisation

Cons

  • Connection limitations (last mile)
  • Available across major cities but limited in regional and rural areas
  • High initial costs for planning, equipment, and set up
  • Internal resources require greater expertise

Available in several Australian capital cities:
Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Alice Springs, Darwin, Newcastle, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra

Businesses and organisations requiring more control of their data networks, with great performance are well suited for a dark fiber network.

Costs and overall solution will be dependent on the organisation’s specific requirements.

Organisations needing a network with a higher degree of speed, control, security, and scalability should strongly consider dark fiber as a part of their data network strategy.

Need Help With The Procurement of Dark Fiber?

If your business is interested in Dark Fiber but needs some support in determining the feasibility of the project, CircleBC can provide you with a Dark Fiber Consultant who can help you work through the process of determining if Dark Fiber is a good fit for your organisation, if it is available where you need it and we can help you organise proposals from vendors to save you the legwork. As these projects can sometimes be quite complex, we can work with you during the initial requirements gathering face, consulting with internal teams and vendors, through the procurement cycle and through to delivery and implementation, if you need Network Engineers to assist you to integrate with you network we can assist you with that as well.

Circle Business Consulting have helped businesses all over Australia with their Telecommunications requirements, we have delivered solutions in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Tasmania, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia. If you have a dark fiber project and need an independent consultant to help you assess the feasibility and to obtain quotations please give us a call on 1300 978 073.

Microsoft Office 365 Calling

Posted on: October 29th, 2019 by David Debono

What is Microsoft Office 365 Teams Calling?

A simple, scalable landline and mobile calling within Microsoft Office 365

You might have heard over the past few years or that Microsoft have released some new functionality which allows you to be able to make outbound calls using Microsoft Teams. You had previously only been able to make Audio and Video calls to people that have been added to your Microsoft Teams Environment and no outbound calls.

With the introduction of Microsoft Office 365 Teams Calling, you will be able to replace your current phone system, whether it be on-premises or fully hosted with a Phone System that is an extension of your Office 365, with full PBX capabilities, once a Calling Plan has been setup, your staff will have full outbound calling capability to regular phones and mobiles, both local and overseas.

You will need to have an active Microsoft Office 365 subscription E1 or E3 license, a phone system license and a calling plan, or an Office 365 Enterprise E5 plan, which has a Phone System add-on included.

Some telecommunications providers have SIP connections which integrate with Microsoft, this enables businesses to use their Microsoft collaboration environment inclusive of Skype for Business and Microsoft teams to dial out and call landlines and mobile numbers outside of their organisation without the need to use a separate telecommunications provider and phone systems to make these calls.

You get all the benefits of a Hosted PBX system (cloud based phone system) for telephony, combined with the Microsoft Collaborative environment.

This phone system integration, empowers your staff to work more effectively by integrating with the collaborative tools such as Skype and Microsoft Teams that they are already using, providing them a consistent and intuitive user experience.

In its simplest form, your organisation might only have some basic desk-phones (or mobile apps) which would be integrated to a cloud based Microsoft and phone system environment.

The end user would be able to use their computer, desk phone or mobile phone, with internet connectivity and be able to make outbound and internal calls using Microsoft Teams.

 

How Do I Enable Microsoft Office Teams Calling and How Does The Process Work?

  1. To begin with you will need a Microsoft Office 365 subscription (ie. cloud based E1, E3 or E5 licence). If you don’t have Office365 we can work with you to select suitable plans.
  2. A SIP connection / Calling Plan or Voice Plan (telco provider that has SIP connectivity with Microsoft). We can review your existing Voice expenditure and organise pricing for your organisation.
  3. Internet access (fast internet connection to carry voice traffic)
  4. Choose desired hardware, phones or accessories, whether it be a Desk phone and/or Mobile Phone (end users can use the Microsoft mobile app or a Microsoft approved desk handset)
  5. We help you manage and deploy the solution

What are the Benefits of Microsoft Office 365 Calling?

 

  • Further expand the capability and benefits of your Microsoft licences
  • Simplify voice communication
  • Remove the need for an on-premise PBX or a separate hosted PBX service
  • Save on telephony related costs
  • Simplify overall technology and communications infrastructure and services for all staff

 

Some additional benefits:

  • Assuming you are already using Microsoft Teams, the change management and on-boarding process is quite easy. For users that don’t already have Microsoft Teams, the interface is quite intuitive.
  • You can keep your existing landline numbers allowing for full phone number portability and the ability for your business to make and receive calls via one business number or from multiple extensions. New numbers can also be allocated as required.
  • If hardware is required ie handsets or headsets, minimal investment is required in comparison to a traditional on-premise phone system in that there is no PBX on site, with Microsoft Office 365 Teams Calling hardware investment is entirely optional i.e you can utilise existing computers and mobile devices
  • Highly scalable, easy to manage and cost effective
  • Create a more unified and productive workspace, bring all collaboration technology and tools together in one single future ready environment
  • Improved security and compliance, due to reduced number of systems and infrastructure and leveraging off the security of Microsoft’s applications and data centres.

 

Next Steps, need help setting up a Microsoft Office 365 Calling environment for your organisation?

In order to determine if your business is ready to deploy Microsoft Office 365 Teams calling , there are a number of things to assess and consider, to ensure your implementation is a success:

  • Complete a network assessment to check your bandwidth is sufficient for voice and video calls
  • Assess what your end user device requirements, compatibility and how ready your are to deploy
  • Determine which Calling Plans are required for your users and organisation, and associated licenses and plan the setup, along with some initial change management preparation to advise the business that a new telephony system will be implemented.
  • Setup extensions and Port your phone numbers
  • Complete end user training and complete change management process. To minimise disruption, it is critical that your staff have the training that they need to make good use of the technology.

If you need assistance or need some advice with Microsoft Office Teams Calling give us a call on 1300 978 973. Circle Business Consulting  have helped businesses all over Australia solve technology related issues, we have delivered phone system solutions in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Tasmania, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia.

 

Web Design: Tips to Increase Conversions in 2019

Posted on: September 24th, 2019 by David Debono

Generating website visitors are good – but as a business, it is also important that you learn how to turn those visitors into customers.

No matter how many visitors your website gets, if they don’t sign up to your newsletter, or they don’t make a purchase, these visitors are good for nothing.

There are various ways to convert visitors to subscribers or customers such as A/B testing, usability testing, and customer surveys. However, one of the most effective ways is by improving your website design.

Web design is one of the factors that Google’s algorithm considers and Google rewards websites that are well optimised.

Here are ten tips on how you can improve your website and increase visitor conversions:

 

1. Your Design Matters A Lot

While it can be true that websites aren’t all about design, a Stanford University study has revealed that one of the first things visitors rely on in helping them determine whether a website is credible or not is the website design.

Adobe has also conducted some studies and 68% of those respondents have mentioned that a good online experience solely relies on a good website design. If your visitors have a great experience using your site, they’re more likely to become customers.

This is particularly relevant if you are operating in an industry that revolves around design. Interior designer, Gary Hamer, understands the importance of website design for his business, saying, “As an interior designer, the design of my website is, indirectly, a reflection of the services I offer. This is my first opportunity to demonstrate my eye for design to the customer and to build a level of trust in my work. This is crucial for me in creating conversions.”

 

2. Choose Appropriate Colours

Based on a study conducted by Kissmetrics, 85% of consumers have mentioned that colour is one of their main reasons for purchasing a product. In another study, 52% of respondents mentioned that they’re more likely to stop visiting a website if they find the colours clashing and unappealing.

The use of colour on a website sets the tone of the business and its services. Although this is important for all businesses, it can be more necessary in some industries than others, particularly where there are traditional expectations such as weddings or funerals.

Darran Moran, a small business owner and celebrant from New South Wales, agrees that colour has an impact on customers’ perception of his business. He had this to say, “In my industry, colour plays a major role in conveying a message to my customers. Weddings are a very personal experience so it is important that customers feel like I can cater to their needs. If my website were black and red, for example, this could isolate a number of customers from converting as they might feel that I am unable to meet their traditional vision.”

This is why you must choose attractive colour combinations, and colours that talk about your brand and set the mood that you want for your customers upon visiting your site.

 

3. Your Website Must Be Mobile-Friendly

Half of your website visitors won’t be using a computer. They’ll be accessing it from their smartphones which is why it is important that your site layout and design, including call-to-action buttons, must be mobile responsive. Bear in mind that these actions must be easily reachable by the thumb.

Looking to make sure your website is mobile friendly? SEO specialist Clarinda Cheon has an exclusive tip, she explains “with the majority of searches now coming from mobile devices, you can provide a better mobile experience by offering less. Remove any flash, increase button and font sizes, and compress images. You can also use Google’s free Mobile Friendly Test to gauge your progress. If you are going down the professional route, a quality team like Circle BC can ensure you’re ticking all the boxes necessary.”

 

4. The F Pattern

Knowing the pattern of how your visitors look at a web page significantly helps in boosting your online conversions.

Research has revealed that most visitors commonly use the F pattern when visiting a site – they start at the top left corner going across the top right corner, then moving across the middle of the letter F and then move across.

Make sure that the first quadrant makes a good impression aesthetically speaking, and ensure that crucial points and information that you want to relay can also be found in that area.

 

5. The Rule Of Thirds

The rule of thirds doesn’t just apply in photography, but also in print ads and website design.

This rule is solely based on where the eyes of your readers and visitors are often drawn. Try drawing an imaginary grid on your website separating the site by 3 lines horizontally and vertically.

It’s best to place those call to action buttons on the four corners of the centre square – which is usually part of the 1/3 of the entire web page.

 

6. Utilise White Space

White space can be utilised in a website, but remember not to overdo it. Do not go crazy with graphics, frames, and other designs just to “fill” that empty gap.

Too little white space on your website may give an impression that it’s too cluttered, making navigation and reading more difficult for your users. With that in mind, if they can’t easily navigate and go through the essential information easily, getting a conversion is more difficult.

Studies have shown that 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the layout is unattractive, so it pays to play it simple.

 

7. Simple Navigation

The easiest way to convert a visitor is to make sure that they can easily navigate where they want to go on your website, and that includes a call-to-action button.

When designing a website, your visitors should be able to get to where they want to go without having to go through a lot of pages or clicking a lot of menus and links.

Businesses that offer multiple services would be aware of this. The team at Shepherd Plumbing aim to make site navigation as simple as possible for the customers, saying this, “Since we offer a variety of services, it can be easy for customers to become confused or lost in our website if it is too complicated. Having one simple dropdown menu of “Services” means our customers can easily find what they’re looking for, ultimately resulting in more conversions for us.”

 

8. Use Strong Call-To-Action Buttons

These are the buttons that your visitors click to start a conversation or to opt-in to your mailing list. So, the better your CTA buttons are, the higher the chances that you’ll get more conversions.

Studies have shown that CTA buttons that are coloured red, green and orange have the highest conversion rates – or literally anything that stands out from the rest of the page.

 

9. Use Images To Point Your Visitors To The Right Direction

If you want to point your visitors to a specific area that you want them to see, utilise images. You’ll be surprised by how effective these photos are.

Use a photo of a man or woman pointing towards that area where you want them to look. If you can’t find a suitable image, you may want to use directional arrows.

 

10. Limit Their Choices

Different studies have been conducted and have stated that the more choices you give your visitors, they are more likely to take a long time in figuring out what course of action they’d like to take. If you only have one action that you want your visitors to take, make sure to give them a clear directional path and don’t give them other options.

Although technology can be frustrating in business, it can also be a big advantage. Hopefully, this guide has given you 10 easy ways that you can improve your website and start seeing more conversions.

So what are you waiting for? Get started now and see results for your business.


Author Bio

Ryan Smith is an Australian writer and uni student living in Melbourne. As a Business Management major, Ryan is passionate about business revenues. He also has a love for pets, he regularly takes his pet dog for a walk in the park.

What is SD-WAN?

Posted on: June 7th, 2019 by David Debono

The software-defined WAN architecture or SD-Wan is paving the way for the future. If you are un familiar with the terminology, a single Wide Area Network (WAN) is a collection of local area networks (LAN) or computer networks within one or multiple geographic areas. When you hear the words “software-defined”, it means that the WAN is managed and configured via software so that it can adjust accordingly to meet business requirements. (more…)

Integration of WordPress Contact Form with Salesforce CRM

Posted on: April 10th, 2019 by David Debono

Looking for WordPress Salesforce Integration?

Combining WordPress and Salesforce is truly a match made in heaven!

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Convert your WordPress Website to Static HTML

Posted on: April 10th, 2019 by David Debono

Are you having so many issues with your WordPress website, that you can’t fix or the problems keep recurring after you fix them?

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Convert Your Website or HTML Theme To WordPress

Posted on: April 10th, 2019 by David Debono

If you are looking to convert an existing website or HTML theme to WordPress, you have come to the right place!

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WordPress Cryptocurrency Payment Gateway Integration

Posted on: February 19th, 2018 by David Debono

Cryptocurrencies are all the rage right now, if you have contemplated accepting crypto as a form of payment on your website, it is not as hard as you might think and there are a number of payment gateways that make the integration with your site relatively easy.

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