I’m going to start this with an apology – Sorry for the rant!
At Support IT NI we pride ourselves on offering sound advice to our customers, and after a recent experience with a new customer, I felt the need to get something off my chest, and perhaps enlighten a few folks along the way.
Before engaging us, the customer in question had recently been to a large, well-known computer retail chain intending to buy a laptop for his business. Specifically telling them this was for business use, the shop proceeded to sell him a device with Windows 10 Home, rather than the more expensive Windows 10 Professional. He’s not an IT expert, and they should be, so he took them at their word. Well, here are just a few reasons why this is bad advice:
Microsoft Licencing department once replied to a query about using Windows Home for business purposes with the succinct answer “The clue is in the name”! And if you ever feel like reading one of those horrible End User Licence Agreements you’ll see they’re right: Home versions of Windows are not licenced for Business use. But in reality no-one’s ever going to know, so no harm done and what’s all the fuss about?
• The ability to encrypt the disk using Microsoft BitLocker, so if your laptop is lost or stolen the data can’t be accessed by removing the disk. On an unencrypted system, like Windows Home, it would take us or a thief 5 minutes to access your data, no password needed…
• The ability to join a domain – when your business grows and you need a server, you won’t be able to use most of the server features from a Home version of Windows.
• Accessing your PC remotely – Windows Professional lets you set up remote access, Home doesn’t, at least not with built-in tools.
• Advanced user management, security features and auditing – I won’t go into detail, but also not in Home versions.
Much of the above, especially the encryption bit, means that your customers’ data is not safe on machines running Windows Home, and therefore you can’t be GDPR compliant, despite all the other efforts you’ve made…
Sadly the above story of being sold Windows Home for business use is far from unique. In fact we see this regularly, along with many other ways you can be caught out by major retailers pushing products and services that frequently do you a disservice, such as:
• Selling you Office 365 Home for business use – not only is it not licenced correctly, it misses countless features that businesses would use every day.
• Starting you on cheap introductory offers for Anti-virus, that quickly get expensive after the initial period.
• Getting you to subscribe to their cloud backup service – Backup is such a crucial part of your Business Continuity plans, and we have seen many such services that aren’t fit for purpose, or put you in breach of GDPR by storing your data in insecure ways or in other countries without your knowledge.
• For large orders, putting you on a lease agreement, where you still won’t own the equipment, despite paying for it for 1 to 2 years.
Now credit where credit is due, if you’re looking for a cracking deal on a laptop solely for home use, then a well-known computer retail chain may be for you. But if you’re buying for business, talk to your local IT company, whether that’s us or any other, because we care about your business, and it matters to us that you get the right advice.
We’ll always aim to give you:
• The right product for your needs now and into the foreseeable future – We want to understand you and your business, and have a good long-term relationship.
• Solid professional advice you can rely on.
• Optional add-on services such as Microsoft Office, Anti-Virus, or backup services, but crucially ones which are correctly licenced, and actually help you with security and compliance.
• An offer of flexible payment methods and reliable finance options for big orders, but ensuring you own the kit when your agreement finishes, so it’s a worthwhile investment, not a drain on resources.
• Value for money – We can usually beat the prices of PC World and eBuyer, so you get all the benefits of local professionals, at the same low prices the big boys charge.
Rant over! I’ll get off my soapbox. Please do get in touch if you’re thinking of buying computers for your business, or feel free to share this with anyone you know who runs their own business.