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Geek Guru Shield

Geek Guru Software Support

Posted on September 30th, 2013 by Emily


If you’re interested in a new software package or suite, or are looking for some software to suit a specific task and don’t really know where to begin, we’re here to help!


With our recent posts on Office 2013 and Office 365, we hope we’ve been able to provide some useful information on how to choose the best package for you,

At Geek Guru we pride ourselves on our friendly customer service. Anything that you’d like to know about any IT related subject, we’re here to help – including advice about software for different purposes.

Sometimes you may feel like it would be good if you had some software that could automate tasks, software that’s more suitable for your business or just something that can help you be more productive – in any such case, feel free to get in contact with us and we’ll do some looking around for you, and endeavour to find the most suitable software for your needs.

As part of our support packages, we can also help you to purchase and install your software if necessary. This means you’ll have nothing to worry about as we’ll do it all for you, and make sure it’s all set up and working correctly. If you purchase your software through us, we’ll make sure you have the correct amount or type of licenses required for your company or organisation, so you don’t waste some of your budget by purchasing more than you may need.

If you’ve recently purchased some software and need some advice about its functions, general usage, or how to get it to perform specific tasks, we may also be able to help. From assisting you ourselves with our wide range of experience and knowledge, to finding free online resources or paid training courses for you and your team, just let us know and we’ll do what we can to help out.


If you’d like any further information on any kind of software, hardware or anything else IT-related at all, get in touch with us, the Geek Gurus are always on hand and happy to help!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at

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Geek Guru Tablet

Choosing the Right Equipment - Tablets

Posted on September 06th, 2013 by Emily


Our series of posts on how to choose new equipment continues today with some important advice for those who are considering buying a tablet for business or personal use.


Tablets are soaring in popularity. In 2012, almost 25% of all new computer sales were tablets. They are becoming popular, because they combine the processing power for everyday tasks and multimedia along with a larger touchscreen than most smartphones, in a package that is lighter than some hardback books, and is easily portable.

They can be a valuable tool for business and personal users alike, allowing notes to be taken or tasks to be completed quickly and easily.

So, what kind should you choose? Like smartphones, there are a few considerations that need to be made before you choose. Firstly, you’ll want to consider what the purpose of it will be. If it’s to be something used for many applications at once, or to open complex applications or large databases, you’ll need one that’s capable of handling whatever you can throw at it. If you’re just going to use it for reading documents, replying to emails and accessing the internet, you may be able to go for something a bit simpler.

These are the factors we feel have been most important to many of our clients at the moment:


  • Processor Speed / RAM
  • Storage Capacity
  • Screen Size
  • Battery Life
  • Size / Weight
  • Durability
  • Design
  • Available Apps
  • Manufacturer
  • Budget


Really, when it comes to tablets, there are only really three choices for operating system – iOS, Android or Windows 8. Tablets using Windows RT have had a poor reception, and their popularity continues to decline. As such, we would not really recommend anyone to purchase Microsoft’s Surface RT, but rather to consider the Surface Pro that runs a full copy of Windows 8.

When it comes to Windows 8 vs Android vs iOS, it’s really user preference. For ease of use and stability, iOS is king, but for sheer number of apps, configurability, and developer options while still being an operating system designed for mobile devices, Android usually wins out. For integration into a Windows network, and running the same apps you can in the office on your PC, Windows 8 tablets come in top, although the Surface Pro does sometimes seem more like a laptop than a regular tablet. It also often depends largely on what technology the user already has – for example, those with an iPhone may prefer to purchase an iPad for enhanced connectivity between devices, and Android devices work much the same.

All three of these operating systems can read many types of documents through the use of various apps, plus they can also cloud storage systems like Dropbox or SkyDrive to sync documents. They can connect to Microsoft Exchange (many business mail servers operate on Exchange) and perform simple tasks such as browsing the internet or playing media files.

When it comes to choosing a model, it’s pretty similar to smartphones. For example, if you’re going to be using it for extended periods, you’ll need good battery life. If you need a simple, user-friendly interface, you may go for an iPad. If you have a limited budget, then Google’s Nexus series may be the best choice. If you’re a designer or artist, then Samsung’s tablets with the specially designed S-Pen and pressure sensitivity may be what you need.

Again, with technology of this type (as with smartphones) you tend to get what you pay for, and we always advise going with a reputable manufacturer and vendor. There are many cheaper models available for simple, everyday use, but some of these may lack the necessary power for your business needs, so it’s best to find out exactly what you’ll need it for before making a choice.


If you need more in depth advice about tablets or any other IT-related topic, then be sure to get in contact with us at Geek Guru. We’ll be happy to provide some more information tailored to your needs, and help you find the ideal piece of equipment.

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at

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Geek Guru Phone

Choosing the Right Equipment - Smartphones - Part 3

Posted on September 04th, 2013 by Emily


So you’ve heard about the different operating systems available. What else should you consider when looking to purchase a new smartphone? There’s more than you may think…


The decision to purchase a new smartphone shouldn’t be made on the strength of the software alone. If the device doesn’t have the capacity to store much, lacks the processing power to do what you need it to, or is flimsy or badly made, you’ll soon be looking to replace the device again.

You may wonder what else there is to look for in a smartphone, so, with that in mind – here’s a list of things that we feel should be considered.

Make sure you have a rough idea of what kinds of things you need it to do, then consider the following:

  • Manufacturer / Retailer – Purchasing from a reputable manufacturer and retailer is the best thing you can do to ensure that your phone will be of certain quality and safety standards, and will be replaced if there is a manufacturing defect.
  • Processing Power – More complicated apps require more processing power to run. More processing power means a faster, more responsive phone.
  • RAM – More ram allows you to have more apps open simultaneously, switch between tasks more smoothly and open larger files.
  • Storage – On-board storage or Expandable via Micro SD Card, more storage space allows you to store more apps and files directly on the device.
  • Screen Quality – Higher resolution screens mean that things appear less pixelated and often makes things easier to read
  • Camera – Some businesses may use this feature, (for example, the presence of a front facing camera for video conferencing) so the presence and quality of any cameras should be considered.
  • Size and Weight – No one wants to carry something that’s too large and heavy for them to use effectively or too small to see everything they need to.
  • Battery Life – Some smartphones have huge processing power but of course, doing high demand tasks on the device often drains the battery faster. Some phones have power saving modes to use and consume less power, others have more powerful batteries.


As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when you’re looking for a new smartphone. Some of the points mentioned may not be as important as others, as requirements vary from individual to individual.


Next on the Geek Guru list – Tablets! Considering buying one? Give our blog a read first and it may help you to choose the best one for you or your business!


If you need more information about smartphones or guidance on choosing one that’s right for your business, or if you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, get in contact with us!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at

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Geek Guru Phone

Choosing the Right Equipment - Smartphones - Part 2

Posted on September 02nd, 2013 by Emily


Continuing our articles on how to choose equipment that suits your needs, today we’re looking at two more types of smartphone available on the market.


While iPhone and Android are the two most popular OS choices for new smartphones, there are two more options. These options are a little more uncommon but still have their own style, strengths and weaknesses.

  • Windows Phone

While Windows based smartphones have limited popularity at the moment, they do still have something to offer businesses. The Windows Phone UI is in the same ‘metro’-type style as Windows 8, meaning if you like the way Windows 8 is laid out, you’ll be comfortable with Windows Phone.

It also has many of the apps offered on Windows 8, through Live Apps, which can be useful if you find yourself looking for an app to use both on your PC and on the move. It is integrated well with SkyDrive, and comes with a built-in Office 365 companion package that allows you to use Outlook, Lync, SharePoint, and read Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.

Because it’s not as popular as Android, it lacks some of the apps, but it is still a useful, robust, Office 365-integrated operating system, supported by Microsoft with regular updates.

Like Android, there are various manufacturers who make Windows phones, so there are a variety of models to choose from, varying in processing power, size and price.

  • BlackBerry

BlackBerry smartphones used to be very popular with businesses, because of the way BlackBerry phones were geared towards communication – most still come with a full QWERTY keyboard, and this makes them attractive to people who need to send long emails or messages while on the move. Another popular feature is the tighter security of BlackBerry, which makes them good for businesses with mobile workers who regularly need to handle sensitive or valuable data – And you can bring all of your employees’ devices together with the BlackBerry PC platform, making them easier to manage. Blackberry devices are built with constant use in mind and usually have good battery life.

Unfortunately, while the feature set of some of the phones is very good, many of the phones are slow and unresponsive, lacking the raw processing power that really is needed for some tasks. They are also complicated to set up, and difficult to troubleshoot if things go wrong.  Some models are also extremely fragile.

The operating system, while secure, seems slow, and because the devices are restricted in hardware, there are fewer options available than with Android. Like all other types of smartphone, it has an app store, but the choices here are also, unfortunately, rather limited.


Although the phone’s operating system is a huge consideration to make when purchasing a smartphone, there are some other things you’ll want to consider. We’ll be including a checklist of other things to consider in our next post, so be sure to come back for more information!


If you need more information about smartphones or guidance on choosing one that’s right for your business, or if you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, get in contact with us!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at

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Geek Guru Phone

Choosing the Right Equipment - Smartphones - Part 1

Posted on August 30th, 2013 by Emily


If you’re looking to purchase a new smartphone, there’s a few things you should consider. Today we’ll take a look at the first two main types of smartphones available for potential buyers.


At the moment, there are four main types of smartphones available. iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone. While they all have some similar features, they also have an awful lot of differences.

We’ve put together some of the basics you should know about the four main types of smartphone, to try and help you make a more informed decision.

We’ll start off with the two most popular choices available:

  • iPhone

The iPhone runs iOS, Apple’s proprietary, strictly controlled software for its own hardware. iPhones have become immensely popular over the past few years, and the current iPhone 5 is no exception. One of the benefits of an iPhone is that they are all manufactured identically, so the operating system is designed to run as smoothly as possible on specific hardware, meaning bugs are rare. They are mostly well designed and built, to strict quality standards.

iOS is also very user friendly, offering a wide range of apps from the App Store for advanced users, while still being simple, intuitive and easy to use for those who are not fond of technology.

One of the limitations of the iPhone is that it has a unibody design and thus the battery is not user replaceable, nor can you add more storage like you can in most Android phones. iOS also feels limited sometimes with the tight controls Apple have over the App Store and configuration options.

  • Android Phones

There are a wide variety of Android phone models out there, but the two most popular manufacturers at the moment are Samsung and HTC.  There are many other manufacturers, though, and there are so many makes and models that it can be confusing to know what to buy. However, because there are so many models, there is a phone to suit pretty much every pocket.

Android OS is not limited to a small, specific set of hardware to run on, so you can get phones ranging from blazing fast speed with super multitasking capabilities, HD screen and great graphics in games, to a small and simple smartphone that you could use to check your email, browse the web and make calls. Because of the variety of hardware it’s designed to run on, there are often more bugs in the Android operating system, but because there are less controls on what’s run on Android and what’s available in the Google Play store, there are a wider variety of apps and the OS is far more configurable, making it good for power users. That said, there is still a side of Android that can make it a good, cost effective choice for users who don’t want too many complicated options or features.

Many Android smartphones come with the capability of adding additional storage space through use of a higher capacity MicroSD card, good for people who take tons of photos, have a massive music collection, or need to store large amounts of data or large files on their phones.


There’s a lot more to consider when buying a smartphone, and we’ll be covering the other two types, along with some other features you may want to consider, in our next few articles. Keep your eyes on our blog for more useful info!


If you need more information about smartphones or guidance on choosing one that’s right for your business, or if you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, get in contact with us!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at

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Choosing the Right Equipment - Printers

Posted on August 28th, 2013 by Emily


Looking to buy a new printer, and interested to know what your options are, and what the pros and cons are of each type? You may find today’s post to be helpful!


The type of printer you need really depends on the type of printing you’re going to be doing. If you’re printing smaller amounts of full colour documents, images or photos, then a high end inkjet printer may be what you need. If you don’t print too often, and you are not worried about speed, a consumer inkjet may be just the job. If your business produces mainly text documents (for example correspondence for mailing,) at a high capacity and needs them done quickly, then a laser printer may be the best option for you. Here’s our list of pros and cons for each type of printer.


Laser Printers



  • Fast
  • Efficient
  • Super sharp quality
  • High capacity


  • Paper printing only
  • Not great for photos or images
  • Larger and heavier
  • More expensive to buy and maintain


Inkjet Printers



  • Cheaper to buy (depending on quality) and maintain
  • Print on a variety of media (fabrics, transparencies, transfers, etc.)
  • Good colour blending for photos, images and colour documents
  • Smaller and lighter


  • Slower printing
  • Less sharp for text printing
  • Smaller capacity
  • Some models not designed for constant use


As you can see, each kind of printer has is benefits and drawbacks. You’ll probably know better than anyone what you’ll be using your equipment for, and what kind of quality you’ll need. If you’re still unsure, give us a call and we’ll help you to choose one that suits your needs.

Multifunction printers are now overtaking regular printers in popularity, simply because they have now become more affordable and smaller. Most devices of this kind incorporate a document scanner that either scans documents to your PC, or turns your printer into a photocopier, with no PC input necessary. These can be incredibly useful in smaller businesses where they can eliminate the need to purchase a separate photocopier that would otherwise be used only very occasionally.

Networking is also a consideration to be made when it comes to choosing a printer for business. Some printers are specially designed to be plugged directly into a network, (usually used for high capacity printing or large networks) while some require connection to a PC in order to be connected to a network. Others operate using a WiFi connection to your network if available, which can again be very useful if space is limited or cabled networking is unavailable. It also means the printer can often print wirelessly from tablets or mobile devices, and does not need to be connected to a computer to be used on a network.

On Friday, we’ll be discussing the different types Smartphone available and how to choose one that best suits your needs.


If you need more information about the types of printer available or would like some additional information or guidance on choosing one that’s right for your business, or if you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, get in contact with us!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at

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Geek Guru Laptop

Choosing the Right Equipment - Laptops

Posted on August 26th, 2013 by Emily


This week we’ll be explaining some of the newest features available on various devices and how you can choose the best device for your needs and budget.


One of the services we pride ourselves on at Geek Guru is our IT equipment advice. We like to keep ourselves up to date with current technological developments so that we can help out our clients when it comes to choosing a new device.
Purchasing IT is something of a minefield if you are not completely sure of what you want or what certain technologies are. You could end up purchasing something that is not powerful enough for your needs, or you could end up spending way too much on super advanced tech that’s not really necessary. This is where we come in. We’ll help you to pick something that’s right for your budget and your needs, and explain its features to you in a way you’ll understand. With that in mind, we thought we’d share some information about a few of the things that should be taken into account when purchasing a new laptop.

  • Size and Weight

Probably the most important consideration to be made when purchasing a laptop is what the device will be used for. Is it intended to be a lightweight, ultra-portable device? Is it to be a desktop replacement? What kind of tasks will it need to perform? Screens range from 11” to 17.5”, and the larger the screen size, the larger heavier the device will be. Ultrabook-style laptops are the thinnest and lightest, and tend to have 11” or 13” screens; regular everyday laptops are around 15” and desktop replacements around 17” or 17.5”.

  • Durability

Where will the new device be used? If it will be moved around while in use or used outside frequently, you may need a device designed to be weatherproof, rugged and shock resistant. A machine designed to be moved around a lot will need to be thin and light, but also should have no parts that are easily breakable and decent battery life. A desktop replacement needs to have components designed for long term use and adequate cooling for the high temperatures that can be produced if the computer needs to perform long term processor intensive tasks.

  • SSD

SSD stands for Solid State Drive. These kinds of hard drive are much faster than normal disk based hard drives because they have no moving parts, whereas a normal hard drive still has a spinning disk and a reading head, and takes time (albeit fractions of a second) to read the data. Using a solid state drive means there is no disk spin time and data stored on the drive can be accessed much faster.
There are two different ways that an SSD can be incorporated into a laptop. The first is as an SSD Cache. This is a small SSD drive (around 32GB) that is used in conjunction with a regular hard drive. They often use some form of software to determine the most regularly used files on a computer, and then store these dynamically on the SSD. This can reduce the time it takes to open regularly used software, or complete other regular tasks. Since SSD technology is still quite expensive, having a hybrid drive that works in this way can also cut down the cost for end users by using a small capacity SSD to speed up a regular disk based hard drive. This technology is present in many mid-range laptops on the market, and can speed up machines for everyday use.
The second way that an SSD can be used is by using a large capacity SSD to completely replace the normal hard drive. This provides very fast access to everything that’s stored on the drive, and is ideal for people who regularly use complex software applications or regularly access large files. SSDs are also less susceptible to physical shock and run more quietly than normal hard drives, but are more expensive to purchase.

  • DVD Drive

When purchasing a laptop, it’s important to think about what it’ll be used for. One major space saving approach used by many laptop manufacturers now is to avoid including a DVD drive, since use of removable media like DVDs is declining rapidly as a greater proportion of people gain access to broadband internet. People have started to back up their files online using cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox, and stream movies and television shows using services like Netflix, meaning that removable media such as DVDs are becoming less and less popular especially on laptops, where USB flash drives and memory cards can serve the same purpose. Choosing to go without a DVD drive can save space and weight, which are important factors when picking a laptop.

  • Bluetooth

In our opinion, a largely underestimated technology, Bluetooth capability in a laptop opens up the possibilities of connecting to a wide range of wireless peripherals, including other Bluetooth-capable devices like tablets and smartphones, or wireless communication headsets. Bluetooth comes as standard on many laptops, but it is worth checking out, as it can be very useful for connecting devices together or transferring data directly between devices, no matter what operating system they’re running (for example, the seamless, wireless transfer of files from an Android smartphone to a Windows laptop.)

  • Warranty or Insurance

Another important thing is to make sure the manufacturer is reputable and has a good warranty service should the machine break down. For example, at Geek Guru, we often recommend Lenovo to our customers as their build quality is generally consistent and their warranty is usually very good. Other IT suppliers may have differing opinions, but most will agree that if you buy a cheap, obscurely branded laptop, you often get what you pay for in terms of quality and service.
If you wish to cover your laptop for accidental damage, you can also purchase separate insurance or an extended warranty for it, usually from the manufacturer or retailer.


If you want any further information or advice on choosing a laptop, or you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, give us a call, and we’ll do the best we can to help.

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at

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Updating Your IT - Part 2 - Productivity

Posted on July 10th, 2013 by Emily


Most of us know how it feels to sit in front of a computer and wait what seems like eons for it to boot up, or to do what we want it to. This is a common symptom of out-of-date IT.


Recently, it was revealed that Civil Servants in Whitehall waste 3 days a year waiting for their PCs to start up. Unfortunately, though, for most government departments, funding is scarce and getting new machines isn’t at the top of their list, especially when they’re frequently being overcharged for products and services, and even charged for hardware that ends up gathering dust in a cupboard somewhere – but that’s something you shouldn’t have to worry about as private business owner, and at Geek Guru, we do our best to make sure of that. We’ll never sell you something you don’t need, nor will we overcharge you for things we do supply, so you can rest assured that using our services for upgrading will be as cost effective as possible, while maintaining the best possible quality and service.

Faster desktop machines and servers, along with newer software and better networking, often mean less time taken to complete normal everyday tasks, meaning you and your employees can devote less time to waiting for your IT to work and more time to actually being productive. Cutting down the wait time for files to open or save, or the time it takes for applications to open, can really have a dramatic impact on your workflow, especially when it comes to tasks such as emailing or opening webpages.

So what do you need to upgrade? Well, in an ideal world we’d upgrade everything at once, but we realise that sometimes this isn’t possible. In most cases, we will have a look at all of your machines, your network and servers, see what would provide the best performance increase, and advise accordingly. You may not even need to update all of your hardware – a lot of businesses are more limited by their servers than they realise, and simply upgrading the server hardware for your business can be a massive performance and productivity increase. Alternatively, we may recommend you make the switch to cloud computing, which is something we’ll be covering in later blog posts. Even if your company has large databases or custom software, it’s nothing we can’t handle. We’ll help you find the best solution for your company, implement it and then provide the best possible support afterward.

It’s not all in the hardware though. Updating your operating system (for example from Windows XP to Windows 8) or your other software (Office, Adobe Creative Suite, etc,) can make a huge difference because of all the optimisations and improvements that are constantly being made by their developers. This is something we can help with too, and again, we’ll take a look at your requirements and come up with a plan to suit you and your needs, rather than selling you something you don’t need.


If you’re worried or have any questions, or would like to get a quote for upgrading your systems, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us!

Give us a call on 0845 234 0580 or email us at and one of our team will be happy to help.



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Hard Drives - Part 7 - Protecting Externals

Posted on May 06th, 2013 by Tim

In this series of mini-blogs we’re looking at hard drives. What are hard drives, why do they fail and what can you do to extended their life and prevent data loss?

Why Protect External Drives

Just like their internal cousins, external drives are reasonably fragile. They contain numerous moving parts and are very susceptible to damage when they are spinning. This is compounded by their usage which often sees them hanging from a laptop when powered meaning they tend to fail far more often than both desktop or laptop hard drives.

Whilst the chassis of an external hard drive offers some protection they are  still far more fragile than a drive safely housed inside a PC or laptop. A standard external drive may have a few millilitres of plastic around the drive but that doesn’t offer a great deal in terms of shock protection and  provides almost nothing if the drive is spinning and then dropped.

How to Protect External Drives

  • Don’t move external drives when the are connected.
  • Sit them carefully on a solid surface when they are connected and treat them with care to avoid knocks and bumps.
  • If you are using an external drive as a backup on a server. Disconnect the drive and wait 5 seconds before moving it. Don’t pick it up whilst it is still connected.
  • If you are worried about a drive getting damaged in transit – Chose a model that offers some physical protection such as rubberised case or bumpers.
  • Would a USB pen disk suit you better – These are solid state (i.e. no moving parts) and are therefore less unacceptable to movement damage.

Next Time – Data Protection

With so much data stored on an external drives, data protection quickly becomes an issue. Check out our next blog entry for some great tips on protecting the data stored on a drive.

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Hard Drives - Part 6 - External Drives

Posted on May 03rd, 2013 by Tim

In this series of mini-blogs we’re looking at hard drives. What are hard drives, why do they fail and what can you do to extended their life and prevent data loss?

What are external drives

External drives are in many cases exactly the same technology as their internal counterparts – indeed often the exact same drive. Internally a hard drive is mounted in either a laptop or desktop PC drive cage and then connected to the motherboard via its on-board interface (usually a SATA cable). With external drives the same drive is mounted in a plastic case which is then connected to some form of intermediate interface – usually a USB or eSATA connection. The important thing to realise here is the drive within the plastic case is exactly the same as the drive in your computer and is subject to the same mechanical issues as those drives.

External drives comes in two flavours:

  1. Portable Drives – Contain a 2.5″ laptop drive; are smaller and lighter and do not require a separate power supply.
  2. Desktop Drives – Contain a 3.5″ desktop drive; are larger in physical size and data sizes and cheaper per MB but usually require a separate power supply.

External hard drives have numerous uses in the business including:

  • Bulk storage for data that is not used frequently (such as music or movies).
  • Backup of laptops, desktops and even servers.
  • Bulk movement of data around the office.
  • Bulk movement of data between offices / home / clients etc.

Next Time – Protecting External Drives

Because of their flexibility we find external drives in use throughout most of our clients. However, by their very nature external drives are subject to even more risk that their securely housed internal brethren. Next time we’ll be looking at the various options to protect your data.

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