Frequently asked questions and general info:
Q: Why sign up with Microsoft via @myfingertips ?
Here are a few reasons:
- You pay the same price.
- Automatically adds @myfingertips as your Microsoft support partner.
- Includes First Technologies as an additional Microsoft support partner.
- You can still create support tickets to contact Microsoft support if necessary.
- Avoid having to provide credit card details.
- Avoid automatic debit orders and pay on invoice.
Q: Why my own domain, why not gmail, yahoo or outlook?
A: A solid domain, server and IP (Internet Protocol) reputation is the foundation of a successful business that intends to do any form of business online, including email.
Google owns the domain gmail.com, Yahoo owns the domain yahoo.com and Microsoft owns outlook.com and so on, and amongst many other free-service domains, are used by millions of people for many reasons; good, bad and ugly. Do you want your name and business associated with the bad and ugly? No.
If the intention is for you to own your intellectual property, then it is imperative that you own the digital foundation of that property. If you own a house but someone else owns the foundation on which that house was built, then do you really own the house on which it sits? Well, it’s just needlessly complicated and best to rather own everything that you and your business like to call your own leaving as little room as possible for any disagreement.
A sad example of this was when iBurst sold the company and the new owners decided they didn’t want to support their free @iburst.co.za or @wbs.co.za email addresses and those people and businesses that were using them had no opportunity to move before their email accounts were simply turned off and any mails stored on them, deleted.
Q: My domain name and business / sole prop trading name is the same or similar enough so that means my intellectual property is secure right?
A: No. If your registered name, or own personal name (juristic entity) is the same as your trading name, and this is reflected consistently in your brand portfolio and public relations. And you own enough of the ‘public domain’ to be able to prove unquestionably that you or your business is the owner of that intellectual property, then you may have secured an opportunity to trademark it and you are much less likely to be challenged in a domain or intellectual property dispute from around the world, depending on how and where you trade and have registered the legal entity name.
You can’t expect everyone to respect the rights of something they have never heard of before. Especially if the Intellectual Property Commission of South Africa themselves have no reservations, registrations, or applications in your name. If someone else successfully registers that business name and starts a domain dispute against you because of your trading name, well it just probably won’t work in your favour. Domain dispute legal costs general start from R26,000 and are best avoided where possible. That’s where we help, ideally proactively during start-up and incubation rather than after a court order has been served due to ongoing negligence which will require an attorney instead.
Q: Can you login to my WordPress?
A: Yes but no. We are not designers and we don't work on public shared servers. We won’t login to make updates and content changes and do not have super user rights to edit or maintain WordPress itself. We can if we have to. For example, if you or your web designer locks yourself out of the only available super user account or doesn’t maintain security updates and no one can be reached, we may be forced to turn it off to keep the internet itself safe. (or even if they somehow manage to delete the entire website public_html folder for some unknown reason we can help).
We can express install WordPress and setup the initial MySQL database and Super User account specifically preventing our access thereafter and ensuring no shared or leaked FTP or access passwords. But we are not WordPress super users.
We can be your Joomla, CS Cart or @myfingertips Super User and Microsoft 365 Business Global Admin. We can administrate servers, domains, IP addresses and SQL and provide support if someone breaks something. For resellers and maintenance support clients, we can have onscreen collaborative sessions to help you troubleshoot problems including WordPress issues.
Q: Do you make backups?
A: Domains are backed up daily at about 1am as files and databases and kept for up to 2 weeks. This includes web files, private https stored files, and the user folder which contains any emails stored on our servers. Usually only in a worst-case scenario, files and databases can be restored together or separately to a state as of first thing that morning, up to 14 days back. Emails shouldn’t be stored on our servers using IMAP, that is fundamentally wrong, and we use Microsoft 365 Business cloud services to fix that archaic problem.
A: Websites on @myfingertips are backup up before and after we make each and every major change, prior to security updates and during active events.
A: WordPress: As part of the conditions of use for resellers, developers and other third-party people that may build on our systems, it is MANDATORY that they maintain updates and backups on WordPress and any other SQL-based systems, or we will terminate hosting and send them back to shared public hosting where irresponsible ‘web-developers’ like them belong. Please understand that it is our mission is to support the integrity, quality and morality of the internet as a whole, not the whims of a single junior photoshopper that doesn’t know the difference between web and graphic design, or the importance of security updates.
A: Information should be managed such that it synchronises with cloud services constantly and securely with encryption and behind multi-factor authentication. We recommend Microsoft 365 Business Premium with Advanced Threat Protection as a minimum so that in the event of data-loss, device theft or a rogue employee, there should ideally be no data-loss, device theft or difficult disciplinary processes. Our strategy is proactive, and solution based rather than reactive and problem-based to create an environment of enjoying technology to save time, rather than being subject to it.
A: Servers: are managed dedicated in a data centre where they belong. We don’t help with self-hosted servers as it isn’t 2003.
Q: Do you guarantee service delivery?
A: @myfingertips domain hosting services come with a 99.9% uptime guarantee to all managed dedicated hosting clients. (~1 collective day per 3 years for maintenance)
A: Starting April 1 2021, Microsoft is said to have increased its service-level agreement (SLA) for Azure Active Directory to "four nines" of uptime -- or 99.99 percent -- each month. Previously, Azure AD uptime is guarantee was "three nines" (99.9 percent) per month.
(~1 collective day per 27 years)
Q: Other places offer free domains, why do you charge?
A: Firstly, nothing is free. Domain registrars charge irrespective of what you pay. We pay to secure domains directly and immediately and we don’t add a markup to domain registration costs or renewals that we incur. We just forward the domain registrar cost to you because if you aren’t paying for something then how can you prove that you own it when you never signed a deed?
Cybercrime is not limited to offering free domains and websites so that the user or business stores their user information on their servers so they can sell them without legal juristic concners as it is hosted in a country that has no data laws. Extortion is not limited to someone selling your domain to you for many times its original value.
We contribute towards non-profit causes by sponsoring their domain registration and renewal costs during the term of sponsorship within reason.
For profit companies, resellers, Microsoft 365 tenants and private clients, each domain renewal type is charged separately (co.za, .com, etc). If the value of the total agreement, or reseller account size, is such that we can include domain costs in the agreement, then we include ‘free’ subject to approval and annual review.
We are of the belief that businesses wanting most of their business services for free is neither conducive to business, nor sustainable where ongoing positive national economic development is concerned.
Q: Can I just buy Office outright like I used to? Why keep paying a subscription?
A: Microsoft 365, previously Office 365 is an ongoing paid subscription because you are not just buying a license to use programs but renting storage space. The cloud is the digital equivalent of a townhouse complex and you are renting a place to store your information. With multi-factor authentication (MFA) active it is like a secure complex with a guard and with Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) active it is like a high security complex with patrol and guards.
Historically, one would go to the shop (online or physical) and buy a license (with or without a box) for Microsoft Office Professional 2003, and then 2007, then 2010 for around R5000 as an example. Now with a Microsoft 365 subscription, one gets to maximise working capital by not having the heavy initial capital burden and instead budget on a monthly or annual basis more relative to staff turnover and financial year admin and budgeting.
As an added benefit, Office 365 and Microsoft always remain up-to-date on the latest version as per your update and license preferences on top of new, secure cloud-based security and storage features and collaborative tools. Enjoy the full-feature benefits of Office 365, Windows 10 Professional and @myfingertips security and support.
Q: What is the difference between POP, IMAP and Microsoft Exchange
A: All three are types of email services. Only Microsoft Exchange provides true synchronisation with the cloud-services and devices including contacts, calendar items and emails. You may say that is what icloud is for but icloud.com is owned by Apple and it is not your domain or juristic territory, see question 1 for more info. We won’t talk about Apple, that’s what iStores are for so please take your Mac and iPhone there rather so we don’t accidentally say ‘shame on you’ or something terrible like that.
POP downloads email to the device. The device receiving it can then either remove the original copy from receiving the server it came from or leave the copy there depending on the settings set on first setup. By default, Outlook leaves a copy of messages on the server only for 14 days which is great, because then it doesn’t take up all the server space, slowing it down and possibly costing more in web-hosting disk space.
If it removes emails, then another device cannot also download them. If two devices are removing them from the server then emails are scattered between the two on a first-come-first-serve basis. The benefit of POP is that you download your emails and therefore you should have all your emails stored locally on the device in a .pst file. Hopefully, you haven’t been using Mac Mail, or a weird phone email app, or the Windows Mail application. If you have, hopefully you’ve setup an IMAP account and not POP.
IMAP is old-school synchronisation. It’s what businesses and people used before Microsoft Exchange became affordable to small businesses and individuals and mostly started paying for itself faster. If you really can’t afford Microsoft 365 Business Basic or an Online Exchange Plan 1 service, then you will probably be using IMAP (for almost the same price anyway). When express-installing on a device these days, it generally sets up an IMAP account unless specified differently in the initial account settings. One cannot simply change from POP to IMAP or the other way around after initial setup, it would need to be setup again correctly.
IMAP is great in that if you read an email on your phone, it will sync with the server and update your computer or other devices that it is read. If you send an email from one device, it will copy that sent item on the other devices and moving emails between folders works the same way, assuming you have setup sync of the folders correctly. IMAP generally keeps a cached copy of the emails on a laptop or computer in the form of a .ost (dot-oh-ess-tee) file in applications like Outlook. However, if not then there is often a dependency on the original server in order to access the emails. One can easily break email and archives by incorrectly moving Outlook data files around or changing the wrong settings. We can often resolve these issues if they arise, sooner rather than later.
EXCHANGE is a Microsoft product. Historically it was only realistically accessible to the medium, large and corporate sectors as it was a significant investment to implement the internal infrastructure required to run an exchange server with power backup and so on. The implementation of faster internet around the world resulting in the reality and then commercial implementation of cloud services meant that now even a single individual can access business-class corporate domain, communication and management platforms that were previously not within budget or the realm of possibility.
To summarise significantly, you just don’t really have to worry about email problems anymore. As an IT support provider for many years, this is an awesome benefit for us too.
Q: What is Spoofing, SPF, DKIM and DMARC?
A: Spoofing is quite easy. You see, many systems allow one to change the way a name and email address displays on a sent email and the reply to address. This is used quite normally, for example, you may want to send an email out via your email address but as events or info@ and then ensure that it replies to a different address. If it can be used easily in normal business practice, then it can also be easily used in Cybercrime and using this method to misrepresent another entity online is called 'Spoofing'.
The Sender Policy Framework (SPF), is a technical standard and email authentication technique that helps protect email senders and recipients from spam, spoofing, and phishing by ensuring that emails distributed have originated from the only place/s they are genuinely allowed to. Sometimes this is only the email and web server, but sometimes multiple servers require authentic domain access, like a web server and a separate exchange email server.
DKIM provides an encryption key and digital signature that verifies that an email message was not forged or altered by authenticating the email headers with the domain DNS records.
DMARC is an email authentication protocol. It is designed to give email domain owners the ability to protect their domain from unauthorized use, commonly known as email spoofing. Currently, we usually stop at DKIM to avoid false positives and ensure successful mail delivery.
Q: How long does it take?
A: How long does IT take? Information Technology is a fantastically dynamic discipline constantly evolving through the brilliant efforts of millions of people around the world. It is a journey of rewarding milestones rather than a finite destination. Keeping that in mind:
- Domain registration is immediate.
- Support contract clients receive immediate support via WhatsApp, phone, email and onscreen.
- Web hosting takes around 10 minutes to setup.
- We can look at business and NPO name availability immediately alongside domain availability.
- We can setup a Microsoft 365 Business tenant within 10 minutes. We prefer to take the time for a proper setup and strategy session.
- Data migration can be very quick with one person on very fast uncapped fibre. It can also take weeks to move terrabytes of archived information across multiple devices and onto the cloud. We will estimate a timeline during planning and work torwards limiting any downtime.
- Domain transfers can take some time as they are in the control of where and how you registered the domain if not with us.
- Universally, it takes 2 to 24 hours for propagation to take full effect on servers around the world. It is only then that the domain is fully live on all servers and when you will be able to use HTTPS security. The SSL certificate takes about 24 hours to work.
- Websites / systems can take anywhere from 2 to 200 hours to build. The less planning applied, the more development and collaboration time will be needed to compensate for changes. We prefer to help you plan properly and maximise budget over the long term.
- CloudBric security takes about an hour to activate on your domain.
- AVG licences take between 1 and 72 hours depending on the product type and time of day.
- Name reservation results generally come through from CIPC within 24 hours. If it is a saturated name, it can take longer.
- Business registration also takes about 24 hours once all the paperwork is in order, signed and certified. It can also take days if there are complications or legal cousels required by a commercial attorney.
- Please speak to your accountant or tax practitioner for SARS and tax assistance. We are NOT authorised financial service providers. We can recommend LSG Integrated for bookkeeping, accounting, tax and audit requirements: https://www.lsgintegrated.co.za
- Please speak to an attorney if you need assistance with a proper Memorandum of Incorporation or Articles of Association for your business to properly protect yourself, and itself for the long-term.
- If onsite support it required, response times will be discussed based on location and needs. We rarely ever need to be onsite as we can provide remote assistance anywhere in the world where there is internet. We are not an ISP and cannot help with supply of internet.