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May 15th, 2014

With Spring in the air, now is a good time to do an annual clean up of the computers, servers and electronic equipment in your office, both inside and out. Failure to thoroughly clean your computers and servers at least once or twice a year will result in decreased performance and possibly even system failures.

Here’s why:

Dust clogs the computer’s cooling system causing it to heat up, damaging sensitive electronic equipment. Dust can also cause fan noise and (believe it or not) slow performance!

Crumbs and dirt in your keyboard can cause keys to stick and crunchy sounds when typing. Plus, it’s just dirty and unhealthy; do you know there are more germs on your computer keyboard than the average public toilet? Even dust, fingerprints and dirt build-up will make your computer monitor dim and fuzzy.

But the physical “dirt” is only the beginning…

Here are 5 quick steps you can take today to clean up your systems and improve performance:

1. Delete temporary files, unused programs and any other file taking up space and slowing things down.

2. Defrag your hard drive to speed up access to your data.

3. Update your spyware and antivirus software with the newest definitions. The internet changes fast. Having outdated security can slow you down dramatically.

4. Make sure you have the latest security patches and updates installed and configured properly.

5. Check your backups and conduct an emergency “restore” of the data. Remember, the best time to check your backups is when you DON’T desperately need to recover your data!

6. Make sure that your computers are properly cleaned for dust and grime, inside and out.

If you don’t know how do any of the above suggestions, make sure you seek out a professional like our company.  When performed incorrectly these are things that could also damage your computers.

May 1st, 2014

It’s never too early to prepare for those pop-up storms that occur randomly at this time of the year often resulting in everything from wind damage to lightening fires.  During this time of year the threat of fire, flood, severe storms, water damage from sprinklers is very real.  One of the most valuable assets for any company is its data.  Hardware and software can easily be replaced, but a company’s data cannot!

As a reminder, here are some simple things you should do to make sure your company is ready for any natural disaster.

  1. Back Up Your Data Remotely! Everyone knows that data should be backed up on a daily basis, but many people still use in-house tape drives that will get damaged in a natural disaster or fire, and can easily be stolen. We recommend backing up all data to an off-site location, and we offer this as a service to our clients.
  2. Use a Quality Surge Protector With Uninterruptible Power Supply Battery. A high quality surge protector combined with an uninterruptible power supply battery backup will go a long way in protecting sensitive electronic equipment from surges and other electronic irregularities that can destroy your computer’s circuitry.
  3. Have A Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan. Every business should have some type of plan in place for continued operation after a disaster. Would people know where to go? Who to call? How to log in and access data remotely? Hopefully you’ll never need it, but having a simple plan will make you sleep a lot easier at night knowing you have a way to continue to operate when disaster strikes.
  4. Make Sure Your Computers Are Off The Floor. If your office gets flooded, having your equipment off the floor will prevent it from being completely destroyed. Server racks can be purchased and installed very inexpensively.

If you need help in any of these areas, give us a call!  We can not only get you prepared, but also back up and running fast in the event of a disaster.

February 21st, 2012

Usually due to budget and manpower constraints, small and midsized businesses (SMBs) often need to outsource a few aspects of their operations – and partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) is one example. Just as in any other partnership, and especially since IT management is a relatively long-term deal, it's important that you establish the right business relationship between yourself and your MSP.

Business relationships are cultivated. Grown. That's what you do – at least if you want your business to flourish. The healthier your business relationships, the more productive and efficient your operations become.

Naturally, this applies to your relationship with your Managed Service Provider (MSP). Your IT is an important part of your day-to-day operations, and contributes greatly to how productive your business can become – so establishing good working rapport with your MSP is especially essential. Here are a few pointers for building and maintaining a great relationship with your current or prospective MSP partner.

Assess what your MSP can provide for you Sit down with your MSP to learn their ideas for your business, then carefully assess whether the services they offer support and augment your operations – current and planned. Look closely at contracts and make sure you understand the fine print, and carefully evaluate whether the service agreement meets your needs. Do some research about prospective MSPs (which is easy to do through the Internet) to verify their claims. Making sure you have the right fit is an important first step in getting the most out of an MSP.

Define roles and manage expectations Make sure that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and understood early in the process, especially if your MSP is integrated with or augmenting an existing IT operation. This will help minimize overlapping job roles (which is ultimately unproductive for the both of you), as well as territorial disputes and misunderstandings.

Communicate constantly While your MSP will essentially manage your IT, it's still YOUR IT department. Make sure that you open healthy channels of feedback and communication. It's also recommended that you keep your MSP informed of any new directions or strategies that you feel will affect the IT operations that your MSP partner handles. It's a good idea to schedule regular planning sessions and meetings with them so that they will be able to anticipate what you need – and provide it – in line with your own goals and timetables.

Establish trust and respect your MSP's decisions Treat your MSP like you would your IT manager. Give them general direction, and then let them do what they do best: manage IT. Entrusting your IT to an outside contractor can be a difficult decision, but as long as your MSP is reliable and secure, it may very well be one of the best business decisions you've ever made.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.