Synthesis IT

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Can Your Business Actually Recover Unscathed From a Real Disaster?


Is your business ready to face a disaster?

As much as we may kid ourselves that we are protecting our businesses by regularly backing up our data; without the server hardware to restore the data backup to, along with the network, computers and other necessary office equipment to process it, the data on its own is not much use. The business will be suffering and losing ground quickly in the event of a business interrupting disaster.

In such an instance, it is vital to be able to operate as though nothing has happened (at least to your customers and suppliers) as quickly as possible – ideally the next business day but so much better if this can be achieved within minutes.

In response to this critical need, we are delighted to offer clients access to our fully equipped Disaster Recovery Suite, branded as ‘The Recovery Room‘  as the latest addition to our Network Trust package of business network support products.

Our Network Trust customers already know that the most important part of their business – their data and IP is in the safest hands. Day to day its usage is within their own network of computers and servers which are looked after by our team of experienced ICT professionals. Every day, that same data is being seamlessly and automatically backed up to our own military grade encrypted Cloud Safe backup servers. Now, with the addition of The Recovery Room, we have closed the circle. Should our customer require it, there is a state of the art, fully equipped office with servers, PC’s, printers, high-speed internet connection and furniture at their disposal and ready to have the most recent data backup restored to it.

Service features

  • Dedicated private office space
  • Fully furnished with PC’s, telephone system, printers and server
  • Ready to use at literally a moments notice
  • Able to accommodate up to 20 staff members
  • Accessible 24/7
  • Free parking and within 200m from North Shields Metro Station, easy for you and your employees to access
  • On-site access to your ICT support providers
  • Access to meeting rooms


  1. Prevents revenue loss as a result of the issue
  2. Eliminates business reputation loss
  3. Speeds Up Disaster Recovery Time
  4. Instills greater confidence in your business and services from your customers
  5. Can be used as a real benefit in your own marketing and sales efforts
  6. Boosts employee confidence and morale in your organisation
  7. Lowers Insurance Premiums


We would love to discuss your own requirements and see how Network Trust, CloudSafe, and The Recovery Room could benefit your business. You are good at what you do – you should focus your efforts doing more of it. Leave the management of your data to us.

For more details, you can contact Synthesis-IT at  0191 270 4370 or alternatively email


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Wednesday, July 26th, 2017 by admin About Us No Comments

Windows 7 v Windows 10 – Is it worth the free upgrade?

Windows 10 Pro is currently available on a free upgrade. The catch? It runs out on 29th July 2016. So the question remains – Do you upgrade?


Windows 7 Pro

We’ve all encountered Windows 7 Professional. It’s trustworthy, reliable and we’re all pretty familiar with the set up. It was designed for desktops and laptops. In 2009, there was a sudden rise of smart phones and touch screen technology. Microsoft, responding to this, chose to implement Windows 8. This was an operating system (OS) focused on touchscreen capabilities . The new OS wasn’t always practical for the everyday office and business users. It took users time to get to grips with the new interface. The change was radical in comparison to Windows 7 Professional.

Windows 7

I could rattle off the benefits of Windows 7 Professional, but I imagine most of you are firmly familiar with the interface. Bear in mind that Microsoft will be closing the door on Windows 7 Professional extended support in January 2020. So eventually, there will be a need to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro in the next couple of years.

Windows 10 Pro

So what is the hype with Windows 10 Pro?

Windows 10 Start Menu

It incorporates both Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8 features. The return on the original start menu also features the tiles featured prominently in Windows 8. Don’t worry though, if you weren’t a fan of the tiles, these can easily removed.

Another additional feature includes Edge, the new and improved Internet Explorer. Edge has some pretty unique features. There is a tool that allows a user to annotate on webpages via their touchscreen or mouse. Gone are the days where you had to open up a browser to search the web. Windows 10 Professional allows you to search the web from the start menu.

Have you heard of Cortana? Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri. However, Cortana is no longer contained to the confines of a smart phone. She’s available on desktops and laptops too. Cortana will learn about you and how you like to work. You can personalise Cortana to improve the functionality of the service. Again, you can tailor Cortana to your preferences so you don’t feel like Cortana is spying on your life.


For those with Hybrid and convertible devices, Windows 10 Professional has created a ‘Continuum
Mode’. When you’re switching between the laptop and tablet, the OS’s will change automatically.

To upgrade or to not upgrade

The choice is yours…for now. To take advantage of the free upgrade, get in touch with us and we can advise you on the best way to do this.


– Remember your current software might not be compatible with  Windows 10 Professional and might need upgrading. This will come at great cost in time and money to your organisation.

– There’s only 2 weeks left to take advantage of the upgrade. After that, it will cost.

– Remember, Windows 7 Professional is being phased out and will no longer be supported by 2020.

Windows 10 Deadline

Monday, July 18th, 2016 by amy Stephenson About Us No Comments

Helpful Free Business Tools

Running a business is challenging at the best of times.  Juggling and prioritising your time is paramount.  With this in mind, we have put together a list of free handy business tools to help the busy owner/manager.


  1. Working remotely and need to send large files to colleagues or customers? They’re too large for email and you don’t have the time to mess around with sending a pen drive.  There are a number of tools available.  One is WeTransfer (  It is a free and very simple way of sending files up to 2GB quickly and securely.  There is also a handy app for your smartphone.
  2. Social media is essential to the modern business, but many small business owners don’t have the time to manage their social media output effectively. Buffer ( is a handy free (for 1 user) tool to assist you with managing your social media content.  You can schedule posts and interact with your audience across different accounts, plus get valuable analytics on how your social media campaigns are performing.
  3. In addition to Buffer, another handy tool to help manage your social media output is Bitly (, which allows you to shorten, link and measure your marketing efforts.
  4. Keeping up to date and comprehensive information on your customers is a must for any business, but many customer relationship management (CRM) software packages are costly. Zoho ( is free, forever for up to 10 users.  Store and manage customer data, contact info, sales progress and social interactions, create leads and activities and set priorities to organise your day.
  5. Editing and design tools can be extremely expensive, but to help create a professional image they can be a must if you don’t want to pay large design fees to a professional design agency. Pixlr Editor ( provides free editing, cropping, and design tools for digital photos and imagery. Web-based and lightweight, it’s an easily accessible and cost-free way to make great looking images.
  6. Cashflow is the lifeblood of any business, so keeping tight control of your finances is a must. Many accounting and finance packages cost a great deal of money, but Mint ( is an incredibly clever tool that is available completely free. After giving Mint permission to view your financial data via your online banking account, the software will begin to learn your spending habits, categorize your expenditures and even manage budgets for you.

Free tools do of course have their limitations and may not be suited to every business, but for some they will be ideal and for others, a stopgap or stepping stone.

I hope you find them useful!

For advice and more help with improving productivity in your business through the use of technology give us a call!  We’re always happy to chat.

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 by Rod Glenn About Us No Comments

Email Tips

Sorting through your Monday morning mail – that tedious task we’d rather not do. It’s often SPAM, emails you can’t remember subscribing to or just irrelevant work natter that didn’t really require an email!


To help you manage your inbox load, we’ve provided a couple of hints and tips to help you maximise your productivity, security and avoid that Monday morning drag!

  • First up – Never open attachments from unknown sources! You’re asking for trouble by opening the email. If you’re not aware of the sender or weren’t expecting it, just click delete and get rid. There are some horror stories I could tell you about opening unknown attachments, but I won’t scare you today….Just click delete if you’re unsure!


2.So you arrive at work on Monday morning, still thinking about how quick the weekend disappeared…Anyway, you arrive to a mailbox full of potential junk. Rather than spending the time to read each email individually, scan through the list and flag anything that you don’t need to prioritise. Don’t let your mailbox become your number 1 priority!

3.When you do read an email, follow the one click rule – Reply, forward, delete or archive.

4.Archiving v Deleting – It doesn’t matter which method you use, as long as you’re not hoarding emails you’ll probably never read or refer back to again. Don’t become an email hoarder.


5.If you’re constantly getting mail from a subscribed source, just unsubscribe! If you do sign up to a lot of subscription emails then use an alias email and look at the emails in your lunch break or when you’ve reached the 3pm slump.

6.Have you ever sent an email without reading it and realised it’s just littered with a tonne of mistakes? Me too. Don’t put the recipients email in till you’ve reviewed it. That means you can’t be an eager beaver and send it without reviewing it.

These are just some of the tips and tricks we’ve collated to get you out of the email slump – what are tips? Comment below

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Monday, June 20th, 2016 by amy Stephenson About Us No Comments

Small business Security


With daily reports of new incidents of cyber crime, (hacking, ransomware, credit card fraud etc), it is more important than ever to ensure that you have a robust and up to date security solution to cover internet browsing, online banking, email and e-commerce.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has carried out an extensive survey and
has discovered that smaller firms are collectively attacked seven million times a year, costing the UK economy an estimated £5.26bn.  Read the survey here:

Coupled with an alarming rise in ransomware (, we advise immediate action to ensure your finances and data are as secure as possible with daily off-sited backups should the worst occur.  Ransomware is malicious software that scrambles the data on a victim’s PC and then asks for payment before restoring the data to its original state. The costs of unlocking data can range from hundreds to thousands of pounds.

At the very least, we would advise the following:

  1. Ensure you have a good quality anti-virus and security software package on all PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
  2. Ensure that your chosen software is up to date at all times.
  3. Run regular security scans with your chosen software.
  4. Implement an online data backup regime that will securely (encrypted) and automatically store a backup of your data away from your premises.
  5. Regularly test your backup to ensure that your data is backing up correctly.

It all sounds like a lot of work, but if you need any help or advise whatsoever, we are only a phone call away.  We’re always happy to offer advice on the right tools and the correct implementation.

Stay safe!


Monday, June 13th, 2016 by Rod Glenn About Us No Comments

Emergency Battery Life

We love portable devices, and we use them on a daily basis, but one of the biggest problems that we face with our selection of mobile devices is that they offer us a limited battery life. It doesn’t matter whether you’re working with a mobile phone, tablet, e-reader or laptop, they often suffer from a low battery capacity that is a little less than convenient. Often right when you’re in the middle of something and far away from a charger. › Continue reading

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Thursday, September 4th, 2014 by admin About Us No Comments

Pepper – The Robot Age Arrives

Robots have, for a long time, been considered to be something of science fiction, but no longer is that the case, because now they are set for release with a surprisingly affordable price tag. Pepper the Robot is an advanced development from the Japanese Technology market, and offers you a fantastic humanoid robot that has been specifically designed to live with people. › Continue reading

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Monday, August 18th, 2014 by admin About Us No Comments

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Backup

There are a whole bunch of online backup companies available who can offer you countless backup solutions for all of your data.  There are however a number of advantages and disadvantages involved in the process. Find out what they are below. › Continue reading

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Monday, August 4th, 2014 by admin About Us No Comments

Online Backup

Backing up your data is a scary though for many people, particularly those who aren’t very familiar with recent technology. For this reason many people fail to back up their data properly whilst others just find it a chore and can’t be bothered to do so. The likes of cloud however are extremely useful and very important for making sure that you don’t lose any of your work, which you will at some point in your life. › Continue reading

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Friday, March 28th, 2014 by admin About Us No Comments

Small Business Technology Trends of 2014

One thing that we all know by now is taking a much more relied upon role in business operations is the cloud, which is currently used primarily for storage. As more and more of us are starting to adopt more relaxed work from home routines in the work place it is important that those who do work from home can access the required software and documents regardless of their physical location, this is exactly what cloud services enable to happen making it an effective and reliable sort of service regardless of the industry. Cloud services are generally very flexible and easy to set up, with a wide range of providers of cloud services cropping up all over the place it is an effective and surprisingly cost effective option for companies, particularly small businesses. › Continue reading

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Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 by admin About Us No Comments

Outgrowing your IT? 6 things to consider when upgrading or implementing new systems

As your business grows technology get’s more complicated because more people need to use it.


Thinking back to when your business first started, it was easy.  You had the freedom to use the tools you wanted to use to enable you to work the way you wanted to work.   But IT gets more complicated and more expensive as your team grows.


So, if you’re thinking of buying new IT equipment, whether it’s computers, telephones or software applications, you’ll want to make sure your investment will see your business through for as long as possible into the future.


If we only had a crystal ball, then choosing now what we need in five years time would be so easy!  So, what do you need to consider when you’re making the decision to put new systems in place or upgrade your existing systems?


Here are few pointers we hope you’ll find useful in helping you to make the right decisions:


1.      Think about how you want to work, when and where

The wrong technology can hold your business back.  If you’re limited by what your technology can do, you’ll be less able to work quickly and easily, become frustrated and so will your staff and customers.   To decide what you need, think about how and where your team will work and what they will need to be able to do.  For example, if some of your team will work both at home and in the office, make sure they can access information securely and save information in one central place. That way information will stay accurate and up to date.


 2.      Centralise information in one central place

Saving information on your own computer network system, on a hosted system or Internet based application is a great way to ensure your team has access to the same tools and same up-to-date information.   Information saved to a central place will simplify things for you and make looking after information much easier.


 3.      Protect information both inside and outside of your business.

Set some ground rules for your employees to work to.  You’re legally bound to protect information you hold about your customers on your systems, so make sure your staff are aware of your obligations.


If there’s a problem with your computers or file server, being able to recover information could mean the difference between your business being able to continue to operate or not.  So put a data back-up procedure in place to make sure you keep a separate copy of information at regular intervals so that you can recover information should you need to do so.   If you’re using a Cloud-based or hosted service you’ll need to ensure that your provider will regularly back up your data for you.


4.      Don’t let technology rule your business

Let’s face it! We’re all in real danger of being controlled by technology.   We’re working on the go, anytime, anywhere more than ever before, because technology enables us to.   But with more staff using their own devices for work, you’ll need to minimise the associated risks of them doing so.   For example by allowing employees to receive company emails on their smart-phone, there is a risk that your customer information could be compromised  should your employee’s device be lost or stolen.


But a balance can be struck if you adopt new technologies such as Windows Server R2 which can help you protect and control access to your business data.


5.      Check out features, will they be useful?

Automating manual tasks does save time and money, so when you’re looking at buying technology, look for features that can simplify the way you do business.   Think about telephones for example.  If you have voice mail, how easy is it to retrieve the voice mail if you’re out of the office? Can a message be emailed to you automatically or do you have to dial in to retrieve a message?  If you answer a call, how easy is it to transfer the call, can it be done by pressing one button?  They may seem like small things to consider, but they can make a big difference to the way you work.


Features are great, but you could spend a lot of money on features that you’ll never use, or that will make your business process more complicated than it needs to be.


6.   Research your options 

Finally always try to research the range of options open to your business. With so many solutions available you need to be sure that you’re going to make the best, most cost-effective decisions for your business and adopting technology that will support your business growth.

Friday, September 27th, 2013 by admin About Us No Comments

Data Storage and Sharing is Changing

Let’s face it; people want everything to be wireless, and who can blame them? The world is full of cables and wires and the more they need to be used the worse their condition, the cables that connect everything to everything else become worn and need to be replaced, and the areas of the devices where the cables connect become damaged and worn over time. Overall one of the main problems we have with our computers, phones, tablets and e-readers are generally related to cables in some way, which is one of the reasons the concept of wireless charging impressed people so much. › Continue reading

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 by admin About Us No Comments

Google Grows in the Tech Industry

There are plenty of companies out there, all of whom churn out several new technology items each year hoping to beat their competition and become the next big name, regardless of whether that’s phones, tablets, laptops or anything else. The most recent of those to take part in this particular fight is Google. While already a corporate giant in other areas Google is now taking a much more active part in the development of devices and device technology, which has seen the delivery of a number of fantastic new tools such as the Nexus 7, the Nexus 4 Smartphone, the Chromebook and of course the most recent; the Chromecast.


There might be some who question whether or not this is really an area of business that Google can simple enter so easily, after all Google is considered by most to be a search engine, for some the connection between Google and other technologies simply has not existed, despite the fact that it was there. For many years Google was the place to go when you needed something, when you wanted to check emails, find a local bar, catch up with some friends or translate a line of text. It certainly wasn’t the first place you thought of when you needed a new phone, but perhaps it should have been.


The first big move by Google to get into the device market was in 2005, when the company purchased Android. At the time of purchase Android was a small and quiet company of which very little was actually known, but since Google took over it has become one of the big names in the market. Android is best known for some of its operating software options and applications, but it is also among the companies that produce mobile devices. Since this initial beginning in the mobile industry Google has continued to develop connections to other areas of the market.


The next big move by Google to enter the technology industry came in 2008, this was of course the release of Google Chrome. Google Chrome in itself was at the time a fantastic new browser that offered things not seen in other browsers, it was fast, it was clean and it was full of fancy-pants applications that you would normally only see on a mobile device. Games, web applications, videos, processors, google applications – there were a ride range of things that could be downloaded and installed to the Chrome browser directly.


It wasn’t surprising to see Google release a laptop – the Chromebook – in 2011. Google Chrome was already running in a similar fashion to the way and operating system would be expected to run, so the Chromebook followed the steps of some other new computer systems that had been developed to provide the ultimate simplicity. Google produced a laptop that ran Chrome as the operating system, rather than as just a browser, this worked in a somewhat similar fashion to notebooks in terms of hardware, but the software side of things was much more simple and straight forward. It is chrome; it has apps, it as browser, it has music, videos and photos – everything your typical social network obsessed teenager needs.


With this Google was quickly getting bigger, not just for the search engine and various web based applications that exist within that media, such as the maps service, email services and of course the introduction of Google+ in 2011 which further improved the image of Google. The search engine is now a technology giant; social networking, emails, instant message, maps, shopping, videos, games, calendars, blogs, books, news, 3D modelling, translations and even developer tools – there is very little that google aren’t offering, and that’s just their web based services.


There are currently no indications that Google have any intention of slowing this growth, they continue to expand and develop new technology, a good amount of which is destroying the competition. The Chromebook is a faster and more capable machine than many of the competitors in the Notebook market, the Nexus 7 is not only among the cheapest tablets available on the market currently, but it is also one of the most advanced, being more capable and powerful than the iPad released at around the same time. And the Chromecast is the most powerful one yet, it is far more flexible than Apple’s AirPlay – which is currently the main competitor in this market but is limited to Apple devices. Because of this the Chromecast stands a good chance of becoming the next market leader, so long as your hardware and internet connection can support its high demands.

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Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 by admin About Us No Comments

The Advanced Credit-Card Sized Computer

Did you ever hear of the Raspberry Pi? It’s a fantastic little computer system launched in 2011, and was a powerful but incredibly basic machine. To those not familiar with computers it might look like an intimidating little thing, it’s about the size of a credit card and doesn’t even have a case. Imagine taking apart your computer and taking away the motherboard, processor and ports, then cutting it down to the size of your credit card. Effectively this is what the RPi is.

The hardware is much cheaper than alternatives, which does make sense given that you are basically purchasing the bare bones of the computer, there’s no case, no monitor, no mouse, no keyboard, just the ultimate basic technology required for the platform to operate. So what can you actually do with this? The simple answer here is a lot. This is one computer system that just isn’t limited, if you need more storage you plug it in, if you need more power you plug it in, if you want a case you can put it in a case; in fact with a bit of cardboard or an old cereal box you can make your own case for it perfectly well.

In short this little bit of technology can do everything a computer can, but it is so much cheaper – on average you can currently pick up a type B Raspberry Pi for around £30. The price and the fact that it is quite so capable does indicate a little of the purpose of the hardware; the company Raspberry Pi is actually a registered charity, not your average company. The Raspberry Pi was developed with the intention of helping get affordable technology to children, not only so that it could be used in educational environments such as schools, but also to encourage more children to take an interest in programming, as the RPi provides a range of tools that are ideal for integrating various programming languages.

So how is the Pi used? So far the Raspberry Pi has been used for a whole host of different things, this depends on who is using it and what they tend to use computers for, but in terms of its uses you aren’t really limited. Many people are nervous about allowing their children to try out programming on a real computer, particularly people who don’t understand programming and believe that they could damage the computer in doing so. But with the Raspberry Pi this isn’t so much a concern; not only is it incredibly cheap, but it is also rather hardy, even if it was to be damaged the replacement of some damaged components and removing corrupt data is all very simple (really, the whole thing is run on an SD card, all you have to do is replace that card and it’s like you have a whole new computer).

Programming is where the RPi really comes into its element, the hardware supports a good number of operating systems but the Linux systems are some of the most highly recommended and can all be downloaded onto the SD card and run straight from this very easily. As most programmers know Linux is a renowned operating system for use with programming, supporting a range of languages and being a flexible, open source operating system that can actually be modified and developed according to your own tastes. At default the hardware recommends Debian, but there are alternatives such as Arch Linux ARM and for those with an old-school interest in operating systems you can even download and install RISC OS. By default the device will be supporting Python, which is considered the educational language, but you’re not limited to this; you can use any language that you are able to compile for ARMv6. The only real problem is if you’re an Ubuntu fan, as this does not work well with the processor of the RPi at the moment, though this is something the company are hoping to resolve in the future.

Anyone considering the Raspberry Pi will no doubt be wanting to know how demanding of a system it is, but the fact of the matter is that it may be one of the most efficient systems ever developed. When it comes to energy efficiency it is certainly right up there – the device does not have an on/off switch, if you want to turn it on you plug it in and if you want to turn it off you pull the plug. As you would expect it is developed in a way as to ensure this does not short circuit the way is sometimes can in computers. The RPi also uses very little in the way of power; you could power it with four AA batteries, but you would have to be careful – the Raspberry Pi only needs 5v power, so four AA alkaline batteries would actually create 1v too much and you’d have to use a voltage regulator. How often can you say that about batteries?

There have been a large number of creative ideas which people have successfully implemented using the Pi, whether that means turning it into an emulator and loading ROMs onto it (effectively you could turn it into a SNES, Mega Drive, Classic N64 – pretty much anything you wanted to if you can find the ROMs and programme up a bit of an emulator, and if you do it well enough you could even programme your new games to recognise a USB controller and play with a handset. Real Retro gaming; as many games and consoles as you can fit on your memory card (of course you could have a different memory card for each console) and all for around £45 once you add the cost of controllers and memory cards to the cost of the RPi. A functional SNES alone would cost you £50+ on Ebay.

It doesn’t stop there, these sexy little machines even support HDMI connections and have Ethernet ports. It doesn’t take a genius to start using the hardware to stream directly to your TV. How you do it is up to you, browser, application, it doesn’t matter – you can do it.

Ever get sick of carrying your work around with you on a laptop? Every programmer I know carries around a laptop and hard drive while they’re programming software, scripts and files everywhere they go, often plugging it into a projector or screen to display to clients and associates. Perhaps for this purpose the Raspberry Pi would be more useful? Smaller, does not require a power-source so long as you have some AA batteries at hand and perfectly flexible.

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Monday, August 19th, 2013 by admin About Us No Comments

New Website live today!

New Website live today! You’ll notice some changes to our website over the coming weeks. We’ve gone live with our first stage and hope that you like it! We’ll be posting some new information soon. If there is any information that you’d like to see on here such as helpful hints and tips – let us know what you’d like to see. To ensure you’re kept informed of upcoming news send us your email address and we’ll make sure that you’re in the loop. Enter your details here

Friday, July 5th, 2013 by admin About Us No Comments

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