Mac Aid in 2020 – not the year we expected

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2020 was a year of craziness that no one really expected. We can all breathe a sigh of relief that it seems we’re through the worst of things with covid-19 and all its impacts. We’re hoping so anyway, and things are seeming upbeat at Mac Aid and for our clients.

Mac Aid are still here and doing pretty well, and we would like to take this chance to thank you all for sticking with us this year though the ups and downs and challenges of lock down. We hope that we were able to help you deal with whatever IT curveballs 2020 threw at you.

The year of working remotely

In many ways IT support is well positioned for working remotely, and so we were still able to do much of our work, even through lockdown. Not everything is as easy or quick when done remotely, so thanks for your patience with getting things done this year.

In many ways 2020 was an interesting experiment in just how much can – or cannot – be done remotely. Like many of our clients, we’ll be making sure that shapes how we do our work in future.

Much of our work this year was about helping clients with their own sudden shift to remote working. Despite the challenges that involved, it seems to have worked well. Many of our clients are adopting remote work whole-heartedly going forward, and almost all are continuing with it to some degree.

“Zoom” became a verb

Previously a niche newcomer to video conferencing, Zoom became everyone’s new favourite – or most often used – app during 2020 as we all grappled with staying in contact through lockdown and quarantine.

Zoom themselves didn’t seem particularly ready for such mass adoption, with their app suffering from security weaknesses and odd design quirks when the rush hit in early 2020. They quickly moved to polish things up, and Mac Aid did a lot of work with clients to get Zoom working securely and dependably for them.

The rush to The Cloud

Remote working accelerated the shift that was already happening with Mac Aid clients moving to cloud based file sharing, rather than dedicated servers on premise.

We migrated a lot of clients to DropBox this year and the flexibility of that solution seems to have worked well.

Many Mac Aid clients are planning to have more staff returning to their offices in the new year. If that’s you, remember to stop and consider the process of re-consolidating all the data your people might have collected on their own devices while they were working at home. And in doing that, maybe it’s time to stop and consider your approach to file sharing and backups generally?

With everyone working from home, who was answering the phones?

Another problem that many of our clients and Mac Aid ourselves faced was how to deal with office phone systems with workers scattered to remote locations.

While there are solutions to getting remote access to your phone system, our suggestion in this case is to consider Unified Communications – that means incorporating your phone system into your computers and mobile phones.

We’re doing this using Microsoft Teams at Mac Aid and are rolling this solution out to clients as well. This is one of those changes that anyone running IT for a business will wish they’d done years ago. It incorporates your phone system into your main IT systems, so all can be managed as part of your regular IT maintenance and support.

Unified Communications makes a lot of sense for users too, with phone calls closely linked to emails and contacts on your devices. If you’d like to look at how Unified Communications and Teams Calling could work for your business, we’d be happy to talk to you about it.

Apple did some great stuff in 2020

Despite the gloom and doom, Apple was on a roll through 2020 and delivered a lot of great new stuff.

The iPhone 12s are a great redesign, which have been very popular, as has iOS 14. While not radical update, Apple Watch 6 is a nice refresh, which was well received by Apple Watch fans. And Apple Watch SE brought current generation Apple Watches down to a lower price point. And for those with a taste for “luxury audio”, Apples AirPods Max arrived just in time for Christmas.

MacOS Big Sur arrived in November. Even though we’re always cautious with advising our clients against adopting new OS releases too early, generally it has been a solid release. It’s a great new iteration of Mac OS with a fresh new look and lots of innovations under the hood.

But the most exciting Apple news this year was the release of the long-awaited Apple Silicon “M1” Macs. Many were sceptical about Apple’s bold performance claims about the new M1 based MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac Mini, but had to eat their words when they performed beyond expectations. Apple have managed to migrate to new processors of their own design and at the same time achieve the biggest ever performance and battery life improvements ever in a single new generation of hardware.

The M1 changeover is accelerating with major software makers like Microsoft and Adobe releasing new M1 optimised versions of their apps. It will be great fun to see what new Apple Silicon Macs Apple release next year.

Christmas/new year shutdown

Mac Aid will be closing for the Christmas new year break on Wednesday 23rd of December and reopen on Monday 11 January.

Our main number 03 9428 4999 and the email will be monitored over the break. Please leave us a message if you have any urgent enquiries and we will contact you as soon as we are available.

Out Of Office – again

In the rush to put 2020 behind us and take a well-deserved break, remember to make sure to put things in place for secure backups of your data and systems over the break, divert office phones or update messages, and set up Out Of Office messages for email. If in doubt about any of that, Mac Aid can help.

Have a great Christmas and New Year, best wishes from the team at Mac Aid