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Lighten the Technology Overload

In this fast-paced technological world it's easy to feel intimidated and over-whelmed. So we sent James Forryan to speak to Richard Long of Absolute Solutions about keeping up to date and protected in the cyber world

From mobile banking apps to AI-powered customer service chatbots, technology has become an all-pervading facet of modern life, but despite
its many benefits and conveniences, the pace of technological change can sometimes be daunting even for experienced users.

Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of experts such as Richard Long. After decades spent designing and building software systems for everything from airports to automated warehouses, Richard founded Absolute Solutions with the aim of providing IT and other technical support for both individuals and SMEs.

“It’s really about trying to help people with technology generally,” explained Richard, “whether it’s just a computer or an iPad, or more integrated things like a Smart TV.”

“The most common problems people have usually happen when something changes on their system,” said Richard, explaining that even innocuous things like automatic software updates, while necessary for security, can often cause unforeseen issues such as disrupting connections to WiFi networks or printers. “It’s usually something minor, but sometimes it can be a bit difficult to find.”

Part of Richard’s approach is to give people the knowledge they need to be independent. “I try and talk people through solving a  problem themselves. Once I’ve been to see them and know what equipment they’re using, I can usually help them over the phone with a quick call.”

Another common issue is outdated equipment. “With anything older than about five years, you’re going to start to get issues with some of the apps you use,” Richard explained, adding that in some cases it may be more cost effective to buy a new machine, offering clients advice on what they need and helping them to find good deals on newer replacements.

Concerns around online security are also commonplace for many internet users, especially with regard to the prevalence of scammers and their ever- more sophisticated methods.

“Security is a big issue, and it scares people,” said Richard, adding that he often gets requests for advice about anti-virus software. However, most attempts at ‘phishing’ scams, which aim to trick people into giving people access to information or data, arrive via unsolicited phone calls or links in emails – often purporting to be from friends, family or trusted institutions such as HMRC or their bank – rather than security weaknesses in their systems. “As for banking online, if you’re using an app it’s secure, because it provides a direct, encrypted connection to your bank.”

Although in his experience successful phishing attempts are mercifully rare, he often reminds clients of his golden rules when receiving unexpected calls or emails: “If in doubt, don’t.”

Absolute Solutions

07831 196534

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