History of IT Departments It is no secret that computers crunch numbers. So, it was natural that one of the first fields in which they were widely used was accounting. Computers probably have saved billions in dollars over the years by making accountants’ lives easier. It was therefore natural, for many years in business, to consider the computer department, or in modern parlance, the IT department, part of Accounting. We’re here to tell you that it is time to ditch this archaic concept, and your business may depend on it.
Why Are You So Cheap? We get asked how we are able to offer so many IT services for such a small monthly cost. Usually, this is after a prospect has interviewed other IT support firms, gotten quotes, and then brought us in. When it comes to IT support and services, we keep our costs low, use proven technologies, handle things in a procedural and automated fashion, focus only on things that bring value to our clients, and target clients that value us and IT.
Setup Employees to Work from Home or Remotely As winter sets in across West Michigan, some businesses in our area, especially lake shore communities of Muskegon, Grand Haven and Holland, seek advice on allowing their employees to work from home. As a pretty nice perk, this not only removes the need for employees to slip-n-slide on ice covered roads, but can also attract a younger workforce accustomed to location flexibility.
WiFi Network Installation One might think that WiFi network installation is a solved topic. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case. This is probably because the term “WiFi” covers a huge range of products, implementation methods, and several interconnected standards. Most of the time when we are brought in to handle a WiFi network install, it is because someone grabbed off the self hardware from a local retailer and plugged it in without any kind of plan in mind.
How to Create an IT Budget As the end of the year approaches, budgeting is often on the minds of business people. Developing an effective IT budget isn’t easy considering how dynamic businesses must be. What if plans change mid-year? What if there’s an acquisition? How do you make your budget look good if you want to be acquired? There are many issues to consider, and in the fast paced world of IT, making a year long plan takes careful consideration.
Whether it be ransomware, a natural disaster, user error or simple hardware failure, backups are an absolute must in today’s IT world. Yet, a surprising number of companies wrongly think that something like mirrored drives are enough, or someone remembering to plug in a USB drive each day will save the day. Nope. When we set out to design a backup system that was resilient to all forms of failure, some said that there was no such thing as a perfect backup.
The mainstream news has been falling over themselves to report on the ransomware attack that, most prominently, hit the UK’s NHS. While the 24-hour news cycle will surely forget about this in coming days and weeks, it is something that is always forefront in the mind of any good technologist. Of course, the question on everyone else’s mind is: what can we do to stop these attacks? While there is no single answer that fits every business, there are certainly some basic steps everyone should take.
How fast is your Internet connection? Fifty megabits? One hundred megabits? A sad seven megabits? Any of those answers would only be partially correct. The often quoted speed of an Internet connection is typically the downstream or download speed. There is another number that has a significant impact on the performance of business Internet connections: the upstream speed. While true that a large portion of what you do on the Internet is “downloading”, other things such as sending emails, uploading files to customers, and transferring data between multi-site businesses use the upstream portion of your Internet connection.
Small and medium business owners often ask us about “the cloud”. Usually their questions revolve around how cloud services might fit into their business. Of course, we in the IT world have a sayings: there is no cloud, just other people’s computer. Let me explain. In its most basic sense, “the cloud” refers to a set of IT services - servers, networking, firewalls, etc. - that reside in a data center somewhere.
Sometimes we get the question “what’s the difference between a managed services provider and a consultant?” The answer is somewhat difficult, because the borders between the two blur. An MSP that follows the “norm” will offer a certain set of IT services in the form of a product. They install remote management and monitoring software (RMM), some form of antivirus, perhaps a backup solution, and other packages. Most times, they purchase these from a software company that specializes in offerings to MSP’s, and resell them at a markup for a monthly fee.