When you experience technical difficulties, do you have a process in place to make sure that the problem is resolved in a timely fashion? This process is known as troubleshooting, but it can be a lengthy process when pulled off correctly. Let’s make sure that your staff are all on the same page with the five critical steps of troubleshooting any problems your business encounters with technology.
When you think about technology maintenance, how often do you tend to address issues with your infrastructure? Do you wait for something to go wrong before addressing it? If so, you are going about technology maintenance all wrong. When you take this break-fix approach to your IT infrastructure, you run the risk of serious complications that could result in expensive downtime and costly repairs.
There is no greater tool for your business’ success than the technology it uses, at least in theory. If you want to maximize the value you get from your technology, you need to make the correct decisions, which is easier said than done. Let’s go over some of the things to not do with your business technology.
Hardware Needs and Capabilities Your hardware needs will largely depend upon how you intend to design your IT infrastructure: are you going to keep your solutions on-site in a server, or will you choose to make use of the cloud for most of your needs? Will you operate with company-owned devices, or will your employees be able to do their work on their own technology? To determine this, you need to fully understand what is required of the hardware that your team members use to complete their tasks successfully. This is a relatively simple process, but SRS Networks is always available to help, if need be. Features Based on your business’ procedures, what are the most important tasks for your hardware solutions to be able to handle? Will your team need to do any specific tasks, like print documents from a mobile device? Will point-of-sale systems be needed in bulk? What kind of workload will their network infrastructure need to support? Fully understanding these conditions will be key to ensuring that your intended hardware can deliver what you need it to. Storage Data is crucial to your success, so you need to have a plan prepared to deal with that which you collect. How much you will need to store, how you intend to back this data up, and how you’ve planned for business continuity will all impact how your storage infrastructure is built up. In turn, this outcome will dictate your hardware needs. Performance Again, what processes will your business’ hardware need to support as your daily functions are carried out? Word processing and video editing are very different processes and have very different hardware requirements to work properly. Working with an IT provider to ensure your business’ hardware has enough processing power for its intended use is crucial. Budget Here’s the thing, hardware investments can very easily run out of control, expending much more of your available funds that you would want to. Whether you need to purchase a new workstation, a new server, or any other IT component, you should go into the process completely understanding what it is you need. That way, you can find the vendor who offers the best value for your purchase, stretching your budget. Mobility Remote operations are increasingly popular amongst businesses, so it only makes sense that you seek out hardware solutions that can support mobile work when it is called for. This may be the difference between investing in a laptop over a desktop workstation, or the reason you elect to adopt cloud solutions. Security Whether you’re considering adding biometric authentication to your access controls, or you’re simply seeking to avoid data loss, there are hardware solutions that are involved in these processes that you need to consider as viable options. Consider any in-house infrastructure you might implement—what’s the one thing that it all needs, constantly? Electricity. An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) device can often be crucial to avoiding data loss and hardware damages, helping to protect your data by reducing the threat that a power outage could cause. CCTV cameras are another example of a piece of hardware that can significantly boost your business’ security. Hardware Ratio Finally, you need to make sure that you have the infrastructure in place to support your various solutions. This will help to […]
How Businesses Can Benefit from Managed Services Right Now It goes without saying, but businesses everywhere are feeling the impacts of widespread orders to close their doors in the attempt to minimize the continued spread of COVID-19. While this makes the idea of any major operational shifts intimidating for the small business owner, the transition into a managed service agreement can ultimately help protect your business from closing for good. Let’s look at a few of the difficulties that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused for businesses, and how working with a managed service provider (MSP) makes these difficulties somewhat less of a concern. Challenge #1: Businesses Can’t Operate with their Teams Staying Home Naturally, without their employees coming in to work, businesses have found it difficult to keep up on their workloads. This obviously isn’t a great situation for these businesses. However, in the face of such a pandemic, employees can hardly be blamed for wanting to minimize their chances of infection by staying home. This is an especially big problem for businesses deemed essential, as people are still relying on their services, but they can’t in good conscience put their employees at risk. With an MSP’s support, it is much easier to find a balance to maintain operations, especially for those businesses who can sustain themselves via remote work. While this may not apply to all industries, those that can function without employees needing to come into the office can adopt the solutions and security required to do so. In these cases, an MSP can serve as a useful resource by helping to manage the use of these solutions. Challenge #2: IT Support is Difficult to Acquire Safely Working from home is one thing. Receiving support for the technology that is used in the home is (for many) another can of worms entirely. While this is true in most circumstances, the need to keep our distance from one another makes this a larger concern. You don’t want to put your team members, or the repair technician for that matter, at risk. An MSP can help resolve this situation on two fronts, both thanks to the remote nature of managed services. First of all, the management of your IT means that an MSP’s technicians will always be using remote monitoring tools to catch and diagnose issues on the devices that your team uses. Secondly, with the same remote access, the MSP can then resolve many of these issues without an in-person visit at all, whether your team is in the office or working remotely. Challenge #3: The Economy Isn’t Strong Enough to Invest in Any Additional Services Let’s do a quick comparison between how the traditional IT services will bill your business, compared to what is included by an MSP. The old-school repair service doesn’t incorporate additional fees into their rates, like time and materials. As a result, the total price can be wildly unpredictable, and practically impossible to budget for accurately. On the other hand, by offering a predictable service covered by a comprehensive monthly fee, the MSP’s rates can be budgeted for and scaled with the services delivered. With a few exceptions for out-of-scope services, a business that signs on with an MSP can operate with the confidence that they know what their bill will say each month […]
Uptime and Capacity Optimization An efficient business doesn’t have to deal with a lot of downtime. This is made possible by reliable and well-maintained systems. Technology doesn’t maintain itself, after all, and it takes a dedicated strategy to keep technology updated, patched, and maintained. This strategy is typically to update systems when organizational productivity slows. With the help of a managed IT service provider, you don’t have to schedule these fixes. The MSP has powerful remote monitoring and management software that allows professional technicians to keep an eye on your network, your infrastructure, and your data storage systems to ensure that all are functioning optimally. Additionally, using innovative automation technologies, we are able to better patch, update, and protect your network than any other method of IT support. An MSP’s service is a fraction of the cost of a comparable solution: paying multiple IT technicians to monitor and maintain your business’ network and infrastructure. The value of an MSP is clear. Your business will see more uptime, and less overall IT-related issues, while also having access to useful methods of IT support. Business Management Optimization The small and medium-sized business owner has a lot of responsibilities. Adding the health of a company’s IT to that list may not be ideal. Running a business means making tough decisions, but if you could move some of them off of your plate, wouldn’t it make you more effective at dealing with your other responsibilities? Definitely. Managed IT Services makes this possible. Besides freeing up capital that typically would be allocated to payroll, an MSP puts you in position to focus your efforts on other endeavors. Your IT, therefore, will be a strength, as it will have trained professionals focusing on it, allowing you to focus on everything else. IT Budget Optimization Speaking of shifting capital. Managed IT services, even with every machine your business has covered by a managed services agreement, is a fraction of the cost of hiring the corresponding number of IT professionals. Having IT technicians that live and breathe IT working for you is advantageous, but having them working under contract for a small percentage of the cost you would expect, is a positive development for any business. Furthermore, an MSP can help you direct the saved capital to make your business better. When people have years of experience dealing with business-centric information technology issues, they can help you design and implement the technology that will help your business make gains in efficiency and productivity. Security and Compliance Optimization Sure, managed services bring a lot of value to your organization. Nowhere is this more evident in combating cybercrime and maintaining organizational compliance. With the ever-expanding knowledge base in cybersecurity that an MSP’s technicians have, your business will see some major benefits. Firstly, you are sure to get the most comprehensive and dedicated security consulting. Secondly, an MSP can help you implement a training regimen that can do wonders for keeping your business’ IT secure. Finally, an MSP can present you with innovative tools to keep your data, network, and infrastructure safe. As far as compliance goes, the more secure your IT resources, the better your organization will be at operating up to compliance standards. Since compliance isn’t all about keeping your information secure, our expert consultants can help your organization […]
Our Industry Experience Managed services technicians aren’t your average computer repair guys. We have to find solutions for so many different situations and problems that our perspective about how to best help an organization shifts. It’s for this reason that an MSP is a wonderful partner in which to build onto your current IT infrastructure. Having an IT support team with plenty of experience isn’t enough. You need to make sure that your IT support options have the experience with the information technology needs of your particular business. Having a support team that understands the demands of–and on–your business can go a long way toward gaining the IT service partner that will be a truly indispensable resource for your company. Response Times One reason that some businesses clutch to the notion that they need to have onsite IT technicians is that they don’t believe the response time of the managed service provider is fast enough to warrant a change. What the decision makers at those organizations don’t quite understand is that MSPs are typically confronting every issue before the onsite IT team is alerted. One of the main benefits of managed IT services is that since we proactively monitor and manage covered endpoints, it saves technicians from having to worry about response time. Couple that fact with the fact that we offer a 24/7/365 help desk that can troubleshoot problems any time of day, you’ll find that with the right MSP, your IT runs better, making your business run better. Scope of Service One of the biggest points of contention businesses have with their IT is that it costs too much to implement. With managed IT services, your business’ whole IT infrastructure is completely monitored and maintained, leaving any IT projects you want deployed real options. Do you want to upgrade your communications? Would you like to put in an IT-based system to be able to manage a part of your business better? Need to meet a new set of compliance standards within the next quarter? You are open to do it. Best yet, even if you have your IT completely managed by SRS Networks, we also provide access to professional IT consultants that not only have great relationships with some of the best vendors in the industry, but have the know-how and determination to help you get your project implemented and working properly. The expanse of expertise you get with an MSP is one of the best benefits of using a managed IT services provider. Cut Costs If you were to staff an IT department with all the tools, experienced technicians, comprehensive consultants, and technical skills that we have, it would cost you a fortune. Outsourcing some or all of your IT responsibilities to a managed services provider not only gives you access to some of the best technical minds in California, it does so at a fraction of the cost than it would if you were to do it yourself. The value you’ll see in the first six months with SRS Networks will make you wonder why you waited until now to call us. If you would like to get comprehensive IT management for a fraction of the price that you are paying now, consider calling us at (831) 758-3636. Our consultants can talk to you about doing […]
Managed Support The Managed Service Provider (MSP) provides an experience unlike traditional service providers’ methodology. Let’s take a look at two scenarios: Art is finishing up a design using a popular image editing program, when all of a sudden the software crashes. Annoyed, Art tries to reload the software only to find that it isn’t responding to his commands. He starts to click around, when the whole computer freezes. He calls the service desk only to be told that the IT guy is out to lunch. The issue causes significant downtime for Art. Paul works for a rival business that uses managed IT services. He is using the same program and has the same issue. He calls his support line and the person on the other end of the phone asks him a couple of questions and then remotely accesses the computer, fixing the issue. In no time, Paul is back working on his design. Onsite Support Services Most of the time, a managed service provider can sustain a dynamic IT infrastructure remotely. Sometimes, however, the situation calls for onsite work. Managed service providers hire (and train) some of the best technicians in your market. If your business needs someone to come swap out or install hardware, work on your organization’s networking, or to handle another issue, managed services technicians are trained and proficient. Keep Business Moving Forward Don’t lose minutes, hours, and days to downtime. Call the IT professionals at SRS Networks today at (831) 758-3636 to learn how your business can use managed IT services to its benefit. Be sure to return to our blog Friday for part three of our five-part series of managed IT services.
You can get a pretty good idea by getting answers to the following questions: Does it feel like you are dealing with repeat computer issues or regular downtime? This might seem pretty obvious. If your IT isn’t working, then what are you paying for? In fact, if your staff experiences regular bouts of downtime, you are actually losing revenue. Downtime can come in a lot of flavors, ranging from the entire network going down to a particular application not being accessible. Does it feel like your IT is being actively managed and maintained, or is your current IT provider waiting for you to call them? If a user comes into work and their computer doesn’t boot up, or users can’t access files on the network, is your IT person contacting you to let you know they are aware of the issue and taking care of it? Granted, IT can’t see every issue as it happens (we don’t know, for example, when a shortcut to open Microsoft Word gets removed from your desktop), but big things like connectivity issues, downtime, and problems that affect multiple users should be actively monitored at all times, and smaller issues like errors and required updates need to be managed frequently. Are emergencies treated like, well, emergencies? We mentioned this before with downtime, but does it feel like downtime is being handled with the utmost seriousness? Downtime is extremely expensive. If you have 10 employees that can’t work, that’s 10 paychecks you are still writing out at the end of the week, plus the loss of revenue those employees would have contributed to. Is your current IT provider responding to emergencies within an hour or less? Is every effort being made to get you back up and running? Can your employees get support without being worried about costing the business money? There is nothing worse to an end user than having to deal with an annoying computer problem that’s stopping them from simply getting their job done. It’s demotivating, especially when they don’t feel like they can get anything done about it. Ideally, if a user reports an issue to you, you should tell them they are welcome to put in a ticket and to let you know if it doesn’t come to resolution. Is your network fully documented? Is there documentation for each device on your network? That includes desktops and laptops, servers, printers, routers, access points, switches, VoIP phones, and other devices. This documentation should include purchase/installation dates, who installed it, model and serial numbers, warranty information, and access information. Is your data being backed up? It doesn’t matter how busy your IT staff or IT provider seems to be; your data should be their very first priority. If your data isn’t being meticulously backed up, and if those backups aren’t being checked regularly, it’s time to find someone who will take things seriously. Is your IT firm working with you regularly to discuss and review their own performance? IT isn’t just about fixing issues, it’s about making technology work for your business. If you don’t have an account manager who’s keeping you in the loop when licenses are expiring or software is getting out of date, you won’t be able to budget out your IT roadmap. On top of that, they should be […]
Misconception 1: Our vocabulary is limited to “Did you turn it off and on again?” Yes, yes, ha ha. This one has become the go-to punchline for almost any joke having to do with IT. However, consider what humorist Leo Rosten said: “Humor is the affectionate communication of insight.” In other words, jokes tend to poke fun at a larger truth – in this case, IT resources have gained the reputation of asking this question so often because they do ask it quite often. This is because it actually is an effective way to resolve many issues. Reboots have proven their value countless times over, so when we ask you if you’ve already tried doing that, we’re actually taking a lot of explanations for your issue out of consideration. This allows us to more efficiently troubleshoot the actual problem – and if you hadn’t yet tried a simple restart, it might do the trick. Misconception 2: IT is actually, like, super easy to manage. With computers being remarkably more user-friendly than they once were, it also isn’t all that uncommon for many users to assume that everything that IT does, they could probably do for themselves. Technically, in a lot of cases, yes… but it would probably be a mistake. In IT, while a process might be simple in and of itself, there’s a good chance that there are a lot of other considerations to take into account. For instance, let’s look at the process of setting up a new workstation. It’s a pretty plug-in-and-play process, right? Right – except that there’s data transfer, continuity, and security to also consider. On top of that, there’s also the process of getting the new PC ready for use. If done incorrectly, there are a vast amount of ways that your business can be left vulnerable. This is why it is so crucial to entrust these processes to someone who is very familiar with them. Misconception 3: An IT resource is really just a professional Googler. It isn’t uncommon to see an IT professional consulting Google, and sure, it might be unsettling for an end user to see it happening. However, it might help to put things into perspective. IT is one of the fastest-evolving fields in the world, so even the most credentialed and qualified tech might not be completely up-to-date. Therefore, to prevent their actions from causing a bigger problem, a good IT resource will turn to other resources to confirm that they are taking the right course of action. In fact, this makes it actually preferable to bring in a Google-happy tech. It just shows you that the tech is committed to doing their job correctly. At SRS Networks, we’re proud that our technicians know their stuff as well as they do – and know their limits enough to seek out the right answers to your issue. So, next time you experience a problem with your technology solutions, turn your system off and on again, and (if that doesn’t work) give us a call at (831) 758-3636.