HardSoft are uniquely Authorised Apple Reseller as well as a sophisticated leasing broker. We can offer more tailored solutions to more customers than anyone. HardSoft were established in 1984 and were the first to allow business customers of choosing and leasing on-line. A new website comes on line shortly and will offer a full Basket feature as well as new products and more accessories.
New Website coming soon
Andrew loves computers and the way the market is evolving to a 'pay as you go' model against the old methodology of CapEx spending. A background of sourcing lease financing for Start Up businesses means he is perfectly place to provide insightful commentary on computing for new businesses.
Global estimates are that a device linked to a business will fall victim to a Ransomware attack every 40 seconds. Fighting off malicious attacks has become bread and butter for businesses in the 21st century, last year the number of Ransomware attacks on businesses tripled for Mac and Windows users alike.
But be not afeared! Companies like Sophos and Avast are on hand battling these malicious attacks with their own brands of software specifically designed to: identify, isolate and stop a whole variety of attacks, including Ransomware. Over the last few months, Anti-Ransomware specific software has finally been developed for Mac users where none had been seen before!
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a piece of background software often hidden in Malware and installed via unverified E-mail attachments, Websites and Application downloads. It will, if unknowingly installed, infect your devices and deny you access to your data and device via an encryption. When you have no control over your device or network and any of the sensitive data on it, the hacker will then contact you and demand a ransom for its release. “60% of all Malware payloads delivered in 2017 were Ransomware”.
Ransomware shuts down day to day operations and puts your company at risk of data loss, embarrassment and (especially with new GDPR regulations) potentially catastrophic legal liabilities.
Ransomware is a GDPR nightmare.
From the 25th of May unverified access to your companies held data by a Ransomware Hacker will have to be reported to the ICO as a data breach and due to fast approaching GDPR regulations could cost your business up to 4% of its annual turnover in fines if you can’t prove you had, at the time, implemented sufficient safeguards to protect customer data. Believe me when I say that Ransomware is far better prevented than cured, especially after May 25th.
Sophos intercept X (Now available for Mac’s @ only £1.15 per week)
We only use the best security software available here at HardSoft, we use Sophos in conjunction with several other installed Anti-Virus & security software to ensure that we are safe from any kind of attack. That’s why you can rest assured knowing that our recommendation comes from personal experience and isn’t made lightly.
Sophos intercept X is a solution created to specifically target and combat Malware attacks and their payloads before they even reach your network. Guided by cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence with deep learning capabilities. Sophos intercept X organically grows alongside your business and effectively maps attacks as they happen in real time. Preventing identified attacks occurring, existing exploits becoming epidemics and advising what the user(s) should do to stop it happening again.
If an attack does take place then Sophos will be able to remove the threatening files and restore your device to its previous working order, stopping hackers taking control of your business for even a second.
The real USP, however, is that intercept X produces a flowchart after an unsuccessful attack has taken place. Identifying the flaw in your system that was exploited and giving you and your business both the information and opportunities to further temper their online armour, addressing and sealing any previously exploitable elements that were present in your network.
Available with any of our lease plans on both PC and Mac, Sophos really is the best and most comprehensive software for tackling Ransomware available on the market.
Avast Security Pro (Available for both Mac and Windows @ £0.95 per week)
Avast offers a similar level of protection against Ransomware to Sophos, without the comprehensive deep learning capabilities and the displayed threat identification information.
However, we felt it a shame to leave it out because it’s received consistent praise and very positive reviews online, as it’s more affordable than Sophos it’s an attractive addition to many of our leased Mac products.
Avast once installed, will help ensure your data remains safe and won’t hinder your hardware’s performance having been voted by AV-Comparatives to have had the least impact of any other tested security software on a computer’s performance and speed.
More affordable than Sophos and readily available as an addition to any Mac leased with HardSoft, Avast Pro protection is certainly fit for purpose.
What can you do?
The vast majority of Malware & Ransomware incidents are entirely preventable and are caused by unwittingly; opening, downloading or installing the suspected software. In conjunction with a suitable form of security software installed on the network the key to preventing online attacks is company-wide online awareness.
These simple steps, if followed, will successfully prevent the vast majority of attacks on your business from ever even taking place.
- Only download software from its official source.
- Only open E-mail attachments from trusted/known sources.
- Make sure the official source of your software has a good reputation.
- Keep your operating systems and applications up to date.
- Stay safe when connected to any new or unknown Wi-Fi networks.
- Have a solid backup strategy to keep your data safe.
- Make sure your firewall is always up to date and turned on.
- Install updates as regularly as possible.
Sophos and Avast are the first on the scene and provide a level of security & protection for Mac users that we haven’t seen before, all of our lease options can be configured to include Sophos or Avast and there’s a free trial available for prospective users try it out, and take the first step to ensuring your business is never taken hostage. Call our sales team to find out more on 0207 1111 643 or speak to us online!
The first reviews are in on the new 15″ Surface Book 2 delivered last month. Always meeting and often exceeding expectations; the SurfaceBook 2 was always going to be a breathtaking laptop. With phenomenal; Design, Internal architecture, hardware specification and Display. But apparently, no one cares about its other modes?
In our survey, we asked our clients what they thought of their new 15″ Surface Book 2:
The Surface Book 2 was marketed as Microsoft’s answer to the MacBook Pro as an attempt to encroach on Apple’s tightly held professional consumer market. The problem always was, in my eyes, that Microsoft never really offered a compelling enough alternative to the MacBook & MacBook Pro or to build back trust in the brand after the recent failed releases of operating systems like Windows 8.
As you can see the vast majority of our customers have been happy so far following delivery of their 15″ Surface Book 2 with 83% of those surveyed stating they were impressed with the Surface Book and perhaps more surprisingly not a single customer surveyed said that they weren’t impressed.
This is some really engaging and exciting feedback and certainly the 15″ Surface Book 2 is managing to at least live up to the expectations placed on it by the price tag.
Almost all of our participants cited the combination of both the PixelSense Display & Hardware Performance as the reasons why they liked the SurfaceBook 2:
“Powerful performance with a large screen, and still very portable thanks to the detachable touchscreen & pen there is also so much more functionality present in the design than I ever had with a MacBook.”
“Touchscreen, it’s quick startup and the graphics capabilities.”
“The Power, High-Resolution screen and it’s Design.”
“The speed of the device and its screen!”
“Touchscreen, it’s convertible into a tablet and I can use the Surface pen directly on the screen.”
Despite exceeding expectations, the most surprising fact that our survey revealed is that few care about the SurfaceBook 2’s main USP!
Since launch, the Surface Range has prided itself on producing products that are both; A quality build internally but also offering an unmatched level of user-flexibility and versatility. The unique hinge and detachable feature of the Surface Book 2 have definitely been the focus of Microsoft’s marketing, but this survey would indicate very few really care, with only 17% saying that it was even an important feature on their Surface Book 2!
Brand loyalty and comfort is always an important factor when consumers make a decision regarding which equipment to get. The battle between Mac and Windows operating systems is still raging, fiercer than ever, although there are swathes of consumers on both sides of the debate PC is the current winner, still holding a far superior percentage of the relevant market shares than Apple. Partly user experience, affordability and perhaps a dash of tradition maintain that grip for Microsoft but not in the professional consumer markets.
Apple is often considered the premium choice for the creative professional however with the Surface range’s unique design, beautiful marketing (definitely inspired by Apple) and premium specifications a new competitor has entered the race and our customers have taken note. Without a doubt the Surface Book 2’s main competition is the MacBook Pro; Both selling for a similar price, with similar spec and offering a very similar ‘premium’ laptop.
Over 60% of our surveyed consumers already owned or had used Surface products in office prior to their purchasing of the 15″ Surface Book 2, this is certainly indicative of the Surface range leaving a good impression on users and perhaps of endearing loyalty towards a Windows OS.
Only 17% of those surveyed had even considered a MacBook as an alternative option when deciding whether or not to purchase the SurfaceBook 2. I would argue that this is more to do with user compatibility than marketing; Windows OS vs. Mac OS, however its interesting to note that our surveyed consumers when deciding what to spend £2000+ on often didn’t even consider the already well-established Apple alternative, especially when 50% of them have Apple products being regularly used in the office. Swaying consumers over from Apple to Microsoft or vice-versa seems a near impossible feat.
It’s interesting to see that the reason people are enjoying the Surface range isn’t due to marketing gimmicks and ultimately ‘luxury features’, instead, they are finding the Surface Book 2 to be a great quality device which is according to our survey; Responsive, beautiful and portable All of which are ultimately more important fundamentals. However, I can’t help but feel it perhaps a shame that more people aren’t finding Microsoft’s new innovation particularly exciting or ‘important’ when considering their initial experiences with the Surface Book 2.
Leasing has never been easier with our integrated e-sign paperwork which enables quick and easy agreements. The Surface Book 2 15″ is available to lease from as little as £20.35 a week ensuring your business keeps up to date with the latest equipment, quality devices for entry-level prices. Call HardSoft’s sales team now on 0207 1111 643 or you can chat to them online.
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is now available in 15″ and it costs the same to lease as the MacBook Pro 15″ – but which one is best?
With the Surface Book 2 Microsoft are clearly setting their sights on creative professionals who would usually go for the MacBook Pro. The Surface Book has the high-res display, long battery life and high-end graphics performance that designers, animators, and video editors long for. You can detach the touchscreen and draw on it using the Surface Pen and Dial, and Microsoft has packed in some higher-end components, including 8th Gen Core processors and Nvidia GTX 1050 or 1060 graphics.
Traditionally Apple have been seen as the prestige item but this is starting to change – however, in our opinion if Apple were to bring out a faster MacBook Pro then this trend could start to back track. There are differences in terms of performance and power etc, which we’ll look at shortly, but some general things to consider when you’re weighing up these two notebooks are; the MacBook Pro can run windows as well as the Apple OS, the residual resale value of the MacBook Pro is also around 20% whereas the old version of the Surface Book has only 5% of it’s original value. Another thing to consider is that if your MacBook Pro were to develop a problem you can obtain a loan machine and be up and running quickly due to the Apple iCloud ecosystem.
The Surface Book 2 on the other hand has 4 times the power of the original Surface Book, an impressive battery life and up to 1TB of storage with 16GB of RAM. It also have more than 5 times the graphics performance of the original Surface Book. You can use the Microsoft Surface Pen and Dial with the Surface Book 2 to create and design and with the USB-C port so you can charge devices, transfer files, and display video from a single connector. The main difference is, of course, the ability to use the Surface Book 2 in three ways – as a laptop, tablet, and studio.
The Surface Book 2 looks just like it’s former self and the latest MacBook Pro remains the same, and while the Surface Book 2 is attractive to anyone who might want to move from laptop to tablet without having both, this does come at the cost of some portability. The MacBook Pro is thinner than the Surface Book 2 – 0.6 inches rather than 0.9 inches – and it’s also lighter by 0.2 pounds.
When it comes to displays the Surface Book 2 features an amazingly high-res screen in the 15″ version at 3240 x 2160 – the 13″ is pretty amazing too at 3000 x 2000. In comparison, the MacBook Pro, runs at 2800 x 1800 on the 15″ (and 2560 x 1600 on the 13″). The 15″ MacBook is brighter, but the 15″ Surface Book is slightly more vivid, and it detaches to become a tablet!
Both of them offer strong performance in terms of power, but graphically the Surface Book 2 is more powerful. The 15-inch MacBook Pro with its Kaby Lake Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD achieved a score of 15,293 on Geekbench 4, while the 15-inch Surface Book 2’s Core i7-8650U CPU with 16B of RAM and a 1TB PCIe SSD was slower, achieving a score of 12,505 on Geekbench 4. When it comes to graphics, the Surface Book 2 is stronger, with a GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. The MacBook Pro’s Radeon 560 GPU works well but the Surface Book 2 deals with more graphic heavy applications and games with ease.
Microsoft have added a USB Type-C port to the Surface Book 2, but unfortunately it’s not a Thunderbolt 3 port, which allows for higher speed connections. However, it does have two USB Tyoe-A ports and a SD memory reader, which the MacBook Pro doesn’t.
The battery life of both the MacBook Pro and the Surface Book 2 is top-notch but whilst Apple say the Macbook 15″ has around 10 hours of battery life, Microsoft say their Surface Book 2 has up to 17 hours of video playback battery life. That’s almost a whole working day of difference.
Whether you choose the MacBook Pro or decide the Surface Book 2 is for you, don’t forget that leasing either with a HardSoft lease will cost you exactly the same amount per week, so you can’t lose! To find out more about our leasing options get in touch with our sales team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7111 1643.
Have some free training on us! Need to get into the nitty-gritty of software such as Cinema 4D, Revit or Adobe CS?
If you’re a creative or developer, you’ll know that there are several software packages that you need have under your belt in order to stay ahead of the game. With this in mind HardSoft have teamed up with Academy Class training in order to help you out with free training on certain** new top-end Apple Mac computers.
Academy Class is a training provider for creatives and developers in the UK who are offering HardSoft customers free training on a range of 17 of their online courses, covering 9 software packages – all you have to do is log in using a rebate code and you have £238.00 worth of online training available at your fingertips.
You can become the expert that you need to be with the right training and we’d love to help you start your journey into expertise. The Academy Class training courses get a large number of positive reviews from their attendees, such as “I had never used AutoCAD before and the classes got me through the exam first time. Very good introduction to what was a daunting challenge for me.”, “The two day Premiere Pro Yellow Belt class gave me exactly the knowledge I needed. The Tutor, Dom, had excellent knowledge of the product.”, and “The trainer was very good at explaining an overview of the course and the class moved at a good pace. Mark’s understanding of printing helped a great deal”.
The wide range of courses and levels available to you, means that there is always going to be a course that will help improve your knowledge and skills. Academy Class offer three levels of training: Beginner ‘Yellow Belt‘, Intermediate ‘Green Belt‘, and Advanced ‘Black Belt‘, so you can choose which level is most appropriate for your needs. You can also choose the way in which you want to learn. You can either attend a class at one of the training centres in London, Manchester, Leeds, or Glasgow, or you can attend a virtual real-time class without leaving home or the office in a small online training group, or receive one-to-one training.
Courses are certified so you can show your potential clients you have the knowledge and skills to do a great job for them. Adobe certification is great for digital media professionals and educators alike, while Autodesk certification is perfect for every great designer.
Courses covered in this offer are:
Adobe Photoshop – 101 Yellow Belt, 201 Green Belt, and 301 Black Belt
Adobe Illustrator – 101 Yellow Belt, 201 Green Belt, and 301 Black Belt
Cinema 4D – 101 Yellow Belt and 201 Green Belt
Adobe User Experience
Adobe Premiere Pro – 101 Yellow Belt and 201 Green Belt
Adobe After Effects – 101 Yellow Belt
Autodesk AutoCAD – 101 Yellow Belt and 201 Green Belt
Autodesk Revit Architecture – 101 Yellow Belt and 201 Green Belt
** Offer for free on-line training applies for new orders from 27/2/18 to 31/3/18 on all Apple iMac Pro, all Mac Pro, and iMac 27″ with i7-4.2GHz only.