Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Buying Hardware: Commercial versus Consumer



The Big Box Store Dilemma:


Small businesses, when it comes time to purchase hardware, often turn to retail and big box stores to find something to suit their needs. Business owners may even head to Costco or Best Buy and rely on the advice of in-store staff, advice which may or may not be entirely knowledgeable or reliable.

The advice you get from a sales associate at a box store is may not be misinformed, but it is usually not going to result in a business owner getting an appropriate device for their business needs.

In addition to a lack of applicable business knowledge, sales associates are often incentivized to steer you towards a certain model, getting promotions or incentives for selling certain items, or simply needing to move out old inventory or make room in the store.

The Best Operating System?


There are many hardware options and operating system variations out there for a variety of functions and tastes, however, in our professional opinion, Windows 7 Pro is best for most businesses. It’s familiar, uncomplicated, and let’s you run your business efficiently.

We can deliver computers with Windows 7 ready to go. They will work and they work well, allowing you to get on with running your business. Big box stores attach a lot of free trials to their hardware upon sale. Trial software clutters and bogs down these computers, and often people don’t know how to remove it, keep it up to date, and it can become, not only an annoyance, but a liability. Removing this trial software keeps your computer clean and fast. In addition, the cheap software preloaded is not always secure.

A Better Way:

An IT professional may seem like the longer more complicated route than simply walking into a shop and walking out with a computer, but that is not the case. Consulting with an technician saves you time researching computers, they will think of things you haven’t thought of, ask questions that need to be asked, and make sure you end up with a machine that works for you (not against you). IT professionals add unmatched value when compared to retail shops geared to consumers.


Next time to find yourself looking to upgrade or replace hardware, consider consulting with a professional. You will likely have better service and end up with a better product, more in line with your business needs.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

3 IT Services You Should Have Professionally Monitored




While there are many benefits to having your updates and other routine system functions automated, there are also risks to leaving these actions completely unmonitored.

There are 3 services which deserve to be monitored professionally: updates, antivirus, and backups. Doing so can save grief and expense down the line.

Updates


System updates, when left to the individual user or employee, can be postponed and ignored for prolonged periods of time, leaving computer systems out of date and open to vulnerabilities. When you leave people to update their own systems, they tend to delay and ignore the prompts, ultimately failing to update their systems and potentially putting systems and data at risk. An IT professional can ensure that updates are being completed when required and that all systems are functioning as they should.

Antivirus


Antivirus is another feature which is prone to breakage and malfunction because of the complexity of what they need to do. Users often assume this feature is working efficiently and trust that their system is secure, when in fact this may not be the case. A certain percentage of antivirus will stop working suddenly, and leaving these processes unmonitored means that their effectiveness is not guaranteed. Monitoring can ensure that antivirus protection is up to date and working effectively, and will be notified if something isn’t working so the issue can be resolved quickly.

Backups


Backups are absolutely critical for both your personal and business data. When it comes to backups, there is no room for error, yet, these routine processes are often not done and are left up to individuals who do not complete them. Professional monitoring makes sure backups are actually done, ensuring all data is captured, recoverable, and secure.

If alerted, an IT professional can quickly fix issues which will crop up as a result of these failing systems. They will get a notification as soon as an issue occurs, and can usually correct it in a couple of clicks, without you even knowing about the issue until it is resolved.

All 3 of these issues relate back to computer system safety. Having any of them fail quietly is a problem. When you’re selecting these services, you want them professionally monitored – it is essential.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Windows 10: The Good and The Bad


It has been just over a year since Windows 10 was released, and some businesses are still unsure whether or not they should update to Windows 10 from their current operating system. You may be thinking it is time to update your organization's operating system to this new iteration of Windows. Not so fast. Here are some of the issues you may encounter with your upgrade:


Failed Upgrade


While Windows 10 is lighter, and definitely the way to go in the future, it may not be a wise move at this point in time. Some who have updated have experienced issues and have not been able to rollback to the previous version. If you are thinking of updating it is imperative that you take a full (image based) backup of your computer. Having this complete backup will protect you from a failed upgrade process that you cannot undo. Talk to your IT professional to ensure you are backing up correctly.

Compatibility Issues


In addition, some users have also experienced issues with existing hardware and software not getting along with Windows 10. Older printers and scanners are commonplace in many offices, and they won’t necessarily work with Windows 10. In order to know for sure, you have to upgrade, test, and see if it works. This process can be time consuming, not to mention risky. Your best bet is to buy a new computer with Windows 10 on it down the road, once there has been sufficient testing of the new operating system. Older computers will have little, if any, testing with Windows 10.

Who Should Update?


There are some businesses that make excellent candidates for upgrading to Windows 10. Upgrade if all of these are true:

  1. Your business is predominantly web based work
  2. You have relatively new hardware (printer, scanner, etc.)
  3. You have mixed operating systems (Windows 7, 8, 8.1) within your workplace.


If, on the other hand, your company falls into the following categories, we recommend holding off. Don’t upgrade if:


  1. Your company uses mostly old hardware (computers, printers, scanners, fax, etc.)
  2. You use any kind of specialized software to run your business
  3. You operate in a big corporate environment


Many people have upgraded to Windows 10 and experienced no issues at all, but it is important to outline the risks and take the necessary precautions before upgrading. With Windows 10, the longer you wait to upgrade, the better. The longer you wait the more tested it will be and the greater chance your staff will have a computer running 10 at home, making the learning curve easier. This will save many hours of training and onboarding and ultimately save your business unnecessary expenses.

While Windows 10 is similar to 7 in many ways, there are critical changes that will take getting used to. Talk to your company’s IT professional before making changes to your operating systems. This will ensure that your business is uninterrupted.