IT Buyers Guide for EOFY

IT buyers guide for EOFY

With the End of Financial Year upon us it’s time to brush up on your IT depreciation knowledge to reduce the tax bill.

Claim 100% depreciation on smaller assets

Any computer, device or peripheral that costs less than $1,000 can be depreciated in the year of purchase. The tablet you wanted, that new phone or laptop for $999 just became the quickest way to reduce your tax liability.

Some popular ways to spend $1,000 on IT this financial year are as follows:

  • Replace all those Windows XP machines as they are no longer supported by Microsoft and are a risk to our businesses, not to mention being old, slow and annoying.
  • Upgrade a firewall or buy new wireless access points with improved range, speed and security.
  • Add a second or third screen to your PC to improve efficiency when working in multiple documents or applications. Similarly adding a docking station to a laptop can save time and reduce frustration, having one on the desk at work and another at home is even better.
  • Claim accelerated depreciation on larger assets

    It’s also a great time to invest in larger equipment. If you are contemplating a server or expanding your storage systems with more hard drive space then now is a great time to invest and take advantage of quick wins on depreciation especially of the services required for installation on these larger projects. IT assets costing more than $1,000 are eligible for an accelerated depreciation deduction of 15% for the first year and 30% for each year after.

    Dig up your receipts!

    If you are an SME with under $2 Million Turnover and you purchased assets with a value of less than $6,500 and had them installed between 1 July 2013 and 31 December 2013 you can write the entire purchase off in one go in this tax return.

    When it comes to financial advice always confirm the rules with your accountant or tax advisor and make sure these deductions apply to you.

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    windows small business server banner

    Migration guide for small business server customers

    A “must read” for anyone running Small Business Server

    If you’re a small business and have a server, chances are it’s a Microsoft Small Business Server (“SBS”). SBS version 2003 was the first popular version, followed by 2008 and finally SBS 2011.

    The SBS range has now been phased out and replaced with Windows Server 2012. Microsoft SBS 2008 and 2011 are now out-dated and if you are running 2003 then be aware that Microsoft will officially end support soon. No matter which version of SBS you run it’s time to think about upgrading.

    Here are your options:

    Option 1: Go “Cloud”

    There is a lot of buzz around “Cloud” and many businesses are migrating to the cloud with Office 365. The benefit is you can use Outlook without worrying about the technology behind it. This solution also gives you access to Lync for business-grade video communication and instant messaging. With remote access features of Server 2012 R2 you will be able to gain access to your information from anywhere that you can connect to the Internet – providing of course, you can maintain an Internet connection.

    You no longer need to manage your Microsoft Exchange (mail) server or the continual feature improvements and upgrades. You also have the option to take up additional features like Lync and SharePoint Online. You can choose the subscription model for Office licensing to stay up-to-date and shift your software licensing costs from capex to opex, improving cash flow and cost forecasting.

    Option 2: Go “Cloud” PLUS get an off-site recovery server

    The replication and backup features in Server 2012 R2 will let you replicate your server to a second office to give you fast “fail-over” in the event of a disaster in your primary office. This fortifies your data and gives you much faster recovery in the event of a systems failure caused by environment, malicious attack or hardware fault. It’s peace of mind for your business.

    Option 3: Run a local server

    If you are worried about the Cloud (e.g. Internet reliability, data sovereignty or privacy issues) then you may need to keep your own server on-site or in a shared data centre. Either way the remote access features of Server 2012 will allow you seamless access to your data from anywhere on the network or via secured internet connections.

    This has the benefit of full control of your mail server and removes the subscription model if that doesn’t suit your business.

    Option 4: For those with poor Internet access

    If you are unlucky enough to be in a regional area with poor access to the internet then your best option is to take advantage of server 2012 virtualisation capabilities. You can run a file server and a mail server on the one physical hardware box to keep costs of power and maintenance under control.

    Real-life Situations

    Here are some real life examples of how small businesses have moved away from SBS.

    The Architects

    An Architect with 1 office and 12 staff sharing a local Windows 2003 Small Business Server providing email and file server.

    In the new world these architects run a local Windows 2012 Storage Server with Office 365 providing shared email in the cloud. They can now access their email on any internet-connected device and gain remote access to their files on the server via improved remote desktop services.

    The Psychologists

    Previously this business had central file storage and email on a Windows SBS they could only access when they were in the head office.

    Today they use a centralised case file system in head office. The central server allows remote access to the database for bookings and case management also viewing and editing text based files. For privacy they use a central Exchange email server which they access via their mobile devices from each office or via the internet from home using the outlook client or the web portal via outlook web access. This ensures they meet all privacy and sovereignty requirements for their clients. Backup is a replication from head office to their nearest regional site with regular snap shots saved locally and remotely.

    What is your situation and what help do you need to get the right solution in place? Please contact us to discuss your options.

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    The risks of sticking with XP

    Microsoft windows xp

    Still running Windows® XP? You need to read this.

    The Windows XP operating system is no longer supported by Microsoft. If you continue to run XP then you are vulnerable to security threats. Now is the time to upgrade and this is why….

    1.Known vulnerabilities will no longer be fixed

    Since April 8 updates to Windows XP are no longer provided by Microsoft to fix known vulnerabilities. Similar to leaving your front door unlocked to burglars, hackers can now exploit new vulnerabilities found in XP because they know Microsoft is no longer proactively fixing them.

    Your Internet browser and device drivers that enable the proper operation of your system will also be left behind. There is one particularly troubling security problem for an outdated version of Internet Explorer that runs on Windows XP (v8.0) that allows malicious software to enter your PC and gives the author full control of that system. Hackers use this vulnerability to install the “RAT Poison Ivy” software which gives them even more control of a single PC, and access to other systems.

    2.Legal liability is a possibility

    If you continue to use Windows XP in your office then you may be putting your client’s data at risk. Some lawyers postulate that leaving these outdated systems in use might constitute negligence on the part of the organisation. One of the most common elements that impacts liability for data loss is the concept of “reasonableness.” In other words, what is a reasonable and prudent set of actions to protect someone’s private information and data? This is where ignoring the advice of the manufacturer and running outdated software such as Windows XP presents a very real potential vulnerability.

    3.Software that runs on XP is also outdated

    The security tools and software needed created by other software vendors (not Microsoft) to protect Windows XP PCs will also be discontinued, if not already. Key security software vendors such as Symantec, McAfee, and Trend Micro have already announced that they are ceasing or dramatically cutting back their support for Windows XP. Existing security software may run but without the updated virus signatures and technology to stop the latest threats Windows XP systems may end up effectively “defenceless”.

    Need to upgrade?

    Please contact us and we will discuss your options for upgrading to the latest Microsoft Operating System.

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