What to Do When You Get a Renewal Notice

What to Do When You Get a Renewal Noticerenewal notice

Your business relies on any number of service providers. You’re likely contracting for domain names, website hosting, data backup, software licenses, to name just a few. And that’s only your online presence! So, when a renewal notice comes in, you might just forward it on or file it away for future reference. Here’s what you should be doing instead.

First, when you get a renewal notice, you should confirm that it’s legitimate. This is especially true of domain names. Your business’s domain name and expiration date are publicly available. Anyone could look them up and send you an invoice. Scammers do. They monitor expiring domain names and then send out emails or convincing physical notices telling you it’s time to renew. They are not doing this as a civic service!

Instead, they will be trying to get you to switch your domain services to a competitor or, worse, hoping you’ll pay your renewal fee to their account, which has no connection to your domain.

  • Look out for the following indicators that the notice is a fraud:
  • The price is much more than you’d expect.
  • The deadline is within seven days.
  • You don’t know the business name.
  • This business has never contacted you before.
  • The notice requires you to send a check.

Handling Authentic Renewal Notices

Once you’ve determined the authenticity of the renewal notice, you’ll want to take stock. Putting your licenses or other online services on auto-renewal plans can be easier, but it may not be cost effective. Before re-upping your plan consider:

  • Are you still using this service?
  • Do you really still need it?
  • Do your current needs meet your current plan?
  • Should you upgrade or downsize?

You might also contact your provider directly and ask:

  • Is there a better product available now?
  • Are you eligible for a loyalty discount?

The company you’re dealing with wants to keep your business (hence, the renewal notice). That can give you some leverage in negotiating what you are paying or what service you are getting. You could treat an annual renewal notice as an opportunity to renegotiate terms. It’s not always going to work, but it can be worth a phone call as you try to keep business expenses under control.

Finally, you should pay attention to any deadlines on the renewal notification. Some are sent months in advance. That seems so helpful, but if you put it away to deal with later, before you know it you’ve missed an important date and the service is stopped.

You should always get a renewal notice for something like a domain name. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) requires companies to send reminders approximately one month and one week before your domain name expires.

Don’t leave your renewal to the last minute. With expired domain names, for instance, you can lose your website or email will stop working! Options and fees for renewing domain names, including expired ones, are going to vary, so be sure you know what your subscription involves.

Also, there are bad actors out there who monitor domain expirations to buy them up at bargain prices. Then, when you notice the subscription has lapsed, you have to pay a king’s ransom to get the Web address back. Yes, it can happen to you. In fact, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) handled a record 3,074 cyber-squatting disputes last year.

Avoid being overwhelmed by all the subscriptions and service plans your business relies upon. A managed service provider (MSP) monitors your license and domain expiration dates to ensure your business is current. At the same time, the MSP has the expertise needed to determine what plans best suit your business needs.

Give us a call at 319-227-7000 to enjoy the peace of mind a managed service provider brings!

2019-08-01T16:10:49-05:00August 13th, 2019|Managed Services|0 Comments

Tech Tips for a Thriving Business

Tech Tips for a Thriving BusinessTech Tips for a Thriving Business

Maybe you started your business in a basement or home office. It was just you at the beginning. Then, your service or product gained traction. The number of staff grew, and you moved into an office. It’s amazing how far you’ve come. Better still, your business continues to grow. It may be time to consider some of these tech tips to help your thriving business.

#1 Upgrade to Business-Grade Cloud Services

Perhaps you’ve been relying on free software from Gmail, Outlook, or Dropbox. Who can argue with free email, calendars, collaboration and file storage right? Well, it may be time to upgrade to the business versions of the software your team relies upon.

Move from Gmail to Google Apps, or Outlook to Office 365, or Dropbox to Dropbox Business, or OneDrive to SharePoint. For a small monthly fee, you gain business-grade features.

Office 365 offers business email, video and voice conferencing, secure team messaging, shared calendars, 50GB cloud storage and document, spreadsheet and presentation creation. Plus, you gain greater security and administration controls. Right now, a disgruntled employee could refuse to give up control of a business account.

You’d be out of luck. With Office 365, your business would control all accounts and could simply reset the password.

Or SharePoint Online provides added storage space and user activity and sharing auditing. File version history makes recovery easier. A remote wipe feature protects files on a stolen device.

#2 Revise your backup strategy

A consumer grade backup setup was enough when you were only dealing with one computer. Now that you have many computers, it’s worth enhancing your backup strategy.

With 3-2-1 backup, your business has a minimum of three backups. Two would be onsite (but separate from one another) and the other offsite. We recommend the cloud. Having your backups in a unified location helps efficient recovery if disaster strikes. With cloud backup, your data is encrypted for storage in the cloud. You can set parameters for how often data is backed up and confirm that it is backing up correctly. Then, if something does go wrong, you can access essential data from anywhere, anytime via the cloud.

It’s also important to know that you need to backup your email, calendar, contacts, cloud based files, etc. Microsoft, Google and other providers are not responsible for your data.

#3 Consider Cloud-based Accounting Services

Traditional small business accounting software requires a large database on the desktop computer. As more people need access to the database, the problems start. With multiple people accessing the accounting software:

  • The network can slow when people try to access it remotely
  • Changes can’t be made while someone else is in database
  • Data can get mismatched depending on who has the “newest” version

Cloud-based accounting packages address these challenges. With online accounting software, it’s easy for your business to scale. Business owners can connect to the data from any device with an Internet connection. Plus, in the event of a disaster, productivity won’t suffer as the information is safe and secure on the cloud.

#4 Outsource your IT

Your expanding technology allows you and your staff to do more than ever before. Great. But it also takes extra resources to monitor, manage, and secure it all. By outsourcing IT to a local company, your business gains IT expertise. Meanwhile, your in-house team can focus its efforts on driving growth.

Outsourcing IT also provides long-term cost savings by reducing downtime, cutting infrastructure and staff costs, and improving security to avoid costly cyber-attacks.

Keep your business growth in check with an eye out for value-adding initiatives.

Want to know more about the benefits of any of these tech tips? Give us a call at 319-227-7000.

2019-05-27T01:55:12-05:00June 25th, 2019|Cloud Services, Managed Services|0 Comments

Are You Sick of Ongoing IT Issues?

Are You Sick of Ongoing IT Issues?Ongoing IT Issues

Like a persistent cough or muscle strain that won’t go away, many IT issues prove ongoing. Every time they come back you think about getting an expert’s opinion. Then, the cough fades, you can walk freely again, or your computers are back up and running. You keep on going. Until the next time. If you’re sick of ongoing issues with your IT, look to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) for help.

There are many IT ailments that can negatively impact your ability to do work. Let’s consider some of the particularly common ones, and why an MSP is the right prescription.

#1 Network and Internet issues.

Business is done online these days. Not being able to connect to the network and slow connections are frustrating. Without the Internet, how can you do your job? You can’t even check and send emails! Let alone access team documents or enter data into cloud-based accounting software. A lagging network also slows down application and data loading time. It may only be a few moments of thumb twiddling. But add that up over several times a day and multiply by employees. You’re looking at a decrease in productivity that adds up.

An MSP has the know-how to survey the IT environment for what’s causing these frustrations. When there’s a problem, they’re at the ready to resolve it and help improve reliability.

#2 Repeated malware infections.

This can mean a couple of things. First, you don’t have effective system and application protections in place. These attacks shouldn’t be able to make it through the door in the first place. With the right firewalls, anti-spam, and protections, you should be able to keep your system on lock down. You don’t have to do this yourself. Gain expert knowledge with an MSP reviewing your security protocols to keep the bad guys at bay.

Secondly, educate employees about the dangers of social engineering. Don’t let them keep falling for the pretexts and downloading malicious files. Also, ensure passwords are strong enough to avoid adding another point of entry.

#3 Printing problems.

Many businesses are printing less today, but we’re not done with hard copies entirely. So, when a printer starts whirring, spinning endlessly, or can’t connect, efficiency halts. Know that printers sold at big box stores are consumer grade quality. Avoid printer frustrations with solid business-class printers (which your MSP can identify).

#4 Application overload.

Maybe some of your employees prefer Dropbox. Others rely on their free Gmail accounts. This hodgepodge of options can cause chaos. Staff have difficulty remembering the passwords to all of the accounts they need. So, they simplify, and that makes their accounts more hackable.

Upgrading to business-grade versions of important applications is easier with an MSP. They’ll help identify the software that best addresses your business needs.

#5 Aging technology.

You’ve had your current computers for ages. They are slower than you’d like (on average, computers that are 3+ years old are 50% slower than new), but you don’t have the time to look for something else. Plus, you can’t imagine having to learn something new. You’re too busy. But aging tech is more likely to fail, which could prove catastrophic if you don’t have the right backup in place.

MSPs know IT. Based on your individual business needs, they can suggest a plan of attack to update the IT and keep it secure. They can also provide backup strategies to prepare for the worst and recover quickly.

Basically, a managed service provider has your back when it comes to IT. Work with experts who focus on technology day in and day out. You’ll typically save money and gain time to spend innovating in your field.

Gain a competitive advantage with the support of an MSP. Give us a call at 319-227-7000 today!

2019-05-27T01:21:01-05:00June 25th, 2019|Managed Services|0 Comments

What Can An MSP Do to Kick-start Your Business

What Can An MSP Do to Kick-start Your BusinessMSP

What Can An MSP Do to Kick-start Your Business. Business today relies on technology in a way which we have never seen before. It makes up the core of almost every firm currently in existence. Today going digital impacts small companies more than large ones; it can make new opportunities possible and accelerate your path to success.

The advantages of modern technology to small business is likely to be present already within your firm, but so too are the disadvantages. Faster transactions, quicker payment, accurate inventory, and improved customer outreach serve to boost our capabilities. While complex set-up, systems management, and ever-present security threats hold us back from our full potential.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can eliminate the drawbacks, sharpen up your systems, and allow your business to grow to its full capacity in the modern business landscape.

What An MSP Does For You – There are a staggering number of systems a modern business is expected to keep tabs on today. Accounting, inventory, and timekeeping; on top of customer-facing services such as maintaining a website, managing social media, and processing online orders. It’s simply impossible for every small business to keep up.

An MSP is an expert in the field, managing your IT services to give you the confidence your business is on the right track. If the core of your business relied on maintaining a fleet of vehicles, you would hire a mechanic to keep each one in top condition. Building your firm on modern technology should employ a similar strategy.

For your company, an MSP exists to keep your systems in their best shape to generate maximum mileage for your business.

Tailored to Exactly What You Need – The key to unlocking near unlimited growth in your own company is to find out precisely what you need to operate to capacity. An MSP can provide consulting services to your firm to find out how your business can improve. Simple tweaks and minor changes are often all it takes to create a more streamlined, more productive, working environment.

Almost always, the smallest changes in the right places make the most significant differences. Working with technology, rather than fighting against it, provides your firm with the competitive edge to put you in control.

Technology That Helps Without Getting in The Way – An MSP can both enhance and protect your business by providing backup and recovery services that will safeguard your data and services against any disaster.

The nature of IT failures means they can appear to happen at any time. Whether hit by a natural disaster, criminal break-in, or IT outage; a severe failure at the wrong time can cost customers, money, and reputation. A high quality, effective MSP works in the background to guarantee up-time, recover from adverse events, and increase security against threats.

Technology That Keeps You in Business – A huge number of businesses, both high-profile and small owner-operated firms, have suffered massive client losses as a result of missing deadlines, losing data, or exposing their customers to unnecessary threats. Clients are often left with little choice but to choose a firm that takes their data and privacy seriously.

One of the most significant benefits to managed services is regular, predictable support costs. Making regular and fixed payments to keep your IT in good shape protects against major and unexpected blow-outs in the monthly budget.

By monitoring systems, diagnosing issues, and maintaining technology, many of the problems that cause unexpected downtime and data loss can be avoided altogether. Preventing problems before they happen saves you money, but more importantly maintains your business reputation too.

An MSP Working For You – Increasing your potential, reducing your costs, and protecting your reputation are all great reasons to incorporate a managed service provider into your business. You can effectively add a whole new department to your business without adding unnecessary management overhead.

By eliminating IT distractions that take you away from your core business, you are free to pursue activities that make your company great. Take up an MSP and return to doing what you enjoy most, the part of the firm you are great at, the reason you got into your business in the first place.

Let us do the IT we are great at, so you can build and run the business you have always wanted. Give us a call at 319-227-7000 to manage your IT services for you.

2019-03-01T15:32:08-05:00March 7th, 2019|Managed Services|0 Comments

Professional Businesses Deserve Professional Setup

Professional Businesses Deserve Professional SetupProfessional Business

Watching a business grow is as satisfying as it is rewarding. Whether opening a new office, starting a new department, or bringing in a new employee; it’s a positive step in the right direction. Upward growth often requires new office tech and IT changes to bring new staff fully online.

At a minimum, a new computer will be needed for employees to get started quickly and hit the ground running. New staff or an entire department may require a server, printer, or additional networking hardware to cope with extra demand.

A tech smart business should give careful consideration to how it sources and sets up its hardware and software. It can be tempting to pick a simple solution off the shelf from the nearest retailer.

Modern manufacturers often make it easy to get set up with a new device straight out the box. Using default settings and a simple setup means a laptop or tablet can be just plugged in and it’s ready to go, right?

Unfortunately, setting up technology to create safe, secure, and reliable business services requires a little more detail.

Setting Up Tech For Business

The hardware you have is at least as important as the hardware you buy. It’s important to ensure new tech on the network is compatible with your existing business systems. Adding the wrong solutions to accommodate new employees can slow down the system for everyone.

Many firms talk themselves into buying the most expensive, or heavily marketed system on the market. Buyers often feel confident that the high price tag and slick design means it’s guaranteed to work with anything you put to it. We wish that were always the case.

Without an eye for fine detail and good IT knowledge, combining certain solutions can cause a significant network slowdown or even fail to work together at all.

Consistency Is Key

It can seem easy, and tempting, to buy technology based on offers and deals around at the time you need it. Some companies do this to save money short term, building their systems using a mixture of hardware from various vendors and manufacturers. When thinking long term, this approach might not get you the great deal that you think.

Mixing suppliers alone can make it difficult to track where components came from in the coming months and years. Warranties, service agreements, and support can become hard to track down when parts fail and hardware dies. Money spent securing your business against failure is completely wasted if you can’t find the right paperwork at the right time.

Sourcing replacement parts and supported peripherals can be made more difficult when components are mixed too.

Planning ahead and purchasing identical hardware can make swapping components fast and straightforward. When systems are consistent, both parts and knowledge can be shared throughout the entire business. A smart decision today can eliminate costs, time, and headaches further down the road.

Unexpected issues appearing at the last minute can have large consequences on workload and deadlines. Sharing everything from chargers to memory can help to reduce and mitigate IT risks. Consistent hardware, swappable components, and even considering a supply of spares can take care of many potential headaches.

Smooth On-boarding

In business, first impressions are critically important. Whether setting up a new office or getting an employee ready to start, a professional attitude goes a long way. Good IT that’s ready to work sets a professional tone to carry your business forward.

IT that supports and enhances operations is infinitely better than IT that gets in the way. Using consistent and well-known solutions in the right way avoids wasting time, maintains performance, and reduces costs where it matters.

Our goal is to ensure your hardware meets your business needs. A professional setup ensures your IT is consistently improved while you watch your business flourish and grow.

Give us a call at 319-227-7000 for a professional setup to make sure nothing stands in the way of growing your business.

2019-01-31T10:16:58-05:00February 19th, 2019|Managed Services|0 Comments

Save Money and Time with Managed IT Services

Save Money and Time with Managed IT ServicesManaged IT Services

IT services can be one of the largest and most unpredictable expenses within a business. Unexpected failures, mandatory upgrades, and sudden staff changes can happen quickly and be very expensive.

These factors, a part of the IT world, make IT departments costly, hard to manage, and difficult to budget for.

Switching your business to managed IT services can lower costs and reduce unpredictable expenses. Making the switch can cut down management overheads and reduce budgets to a fixed period cost. Here’s how.

Reducing Infrastructure

It’s common in many firms for single tasks to be required to pass through multiple devices before they can be delivered or shipped. Invoices, payroll, and digital deliverables are particularly common culprits. When looking to improve efficiency and lower unnecessary costs, this is typically the first place to trim fat.

Instead of adding office clutter with more devices, cloud resources can streamline processes. Using cloud-based technology to do some of the same tasks as before typically adds more power and improves speed.

Cloud-based services are usually faster and available to more users at once. Files and services are easier to access and less likely to clog up the internal network.

Reducing the overheads associated with running internal servers is commonly a major bonus too. Eliminating associated costs such as maintenance, security, cooling and upgrades is the largest bonus many firms receive.

Cloud technology has the power to simplify and speed up your entire workflow while making large financial savings.

For most businesses, these savings can be put into critical areas of the firm where they can be better used.

Keeping IT costs predictable

In the world of IT, bad news is a fact of life. Systems failures and critical events will always happen eventually, it’s just a question of when. Virus attacks, malware, hackers, and hardware failures occur commonly and can take a system out of operation for days.

Managed IT services focus on tackling these issues before they happen. Continuous monitoring of systems alerts us of hardware issues before their symptoms even begin.

Antivirus, firewall, and security systems are also kept up-to-date every night to prevent threats from being exploited and data being stolen.

Reducing Downtime

IT failures that take your systems offline typically costs far more than the total repair bill to fix it. Every minute your critical systems are unavailable is time spent not creating business income or value. The more staff you employ, the more the cost multiplies too.

It’s important to consider the value of the business’s reputation on top of just downtime. Not having services available when clients or customers need them most can sour relationships fast. Your services may be the difference between meeting and missing a crucial deadline. If your service isn’t reliable then clients may look for one that is.

No Internal IT Hires

As every business owner knows, the cost of staff is far more than just their salary. Holiday pay, retirement, sick leave, training, benefits, and downtime all must be factored into the total cost. Staff costs are the single biggest bill to pay, even in the smallest IT departments.

Managed IT reduces staff costs down to a single lower cost bill that includes all your IT needs.

We train and manage our own staff to service your firm. By doing so, you get all the advantages of an IT department to meet your business needs without the overheads and management of staff that are not central to customer demands.

Managed IT Services for your Firm

While IT and services are complex, expensive, and resource consuming; it doesn’t have to be for your business. Managed IT services present a simple, cost-effective solution to meet your requirements.

We can slash your downtime, secure your business, and keep on top of your infrastructure without adding unnecessary expenses.

Give us a call at 319-227-7000 today to see if managed IT services are the right fit for your firm.

2018-12-04T17:44:17-05:00December 25th, 2018|Managed Services|0 Comments

Beat the IT Burden

Beat the IT Burden

Beat the IT Burden

Technology today allows us to accomplish more tasks faster than ever before. Paperless documents, remote collaboration and video conferencing have all lowered the costs and increased the speed of everyday business at an extraordinary rate.

The benefits of modern IT does however, come at a cost. Consistent maintenance has become a critical component of almost every business. The IT department is now as important to the functioning of a firm as sales, marketing, or management. The advantages that come with modern technology more than outweigh the drawbacks. It’s up to you as a business owner to balance both. In today’s highly competitive business environment the latest tips, tricks, and tools are essential to keeping ahead of the competition.

The Cost of Great IT

While well maintained IT is a powerful asset; poor, crumbling IT can quickly turn into a liability. Servers, laptops and desktops need to be kept up to date with the latest operating system and security patches as a matter of priority. Data requires consistent backup too.

Poor security and data backup measures put both your own and your customer data at risk from attack. Regular security updates close vulnerable gaps, while backups protect valuable data. Strong security protects your liability against losing your own and your customer data.

Determining what is and isn’t good IT practice for your firm takes the experience and knowledge of a professional. Good security involves more than one managed system to protect your assets. Good data backup is ideally done daily, involving more than a single copy in an off-site location. Without taking these steps at a minimum, a business is as little as one glitch away from a complete critical failure.

Managing Internal IT

The IT demands of every firm changes on a near-daily basis. Software is often added or removed, user accounts need to be added, removed, or changed and permissions require modification to suit ever-changing requirements. The time requirement of daily IT changes alone is more than many departments can handle.

Many small firms deal with accounts, permissions, and software at an individual level. Wherever this is the case, complications inevitably happen. Software and services get lost and forgotten in the system, often polluting other packages and causing IT issues throughout the firm. User accounts are often left on the system months or years after an employee has departed.

For reliable and secure IT management, managed group policies prevents bad systems. IT management allows staff to get on with their work without technology getting in the way. Data is managed at a department level, accounts are removed for staff that depart the business and software is installed by professionals. Using this approach the liability of the firm for IT failures is dramatically reduced.

Managing IT Without Added Burden

One of the major complaints about setting up well managed IT is the overhead that it adds to the firm. Staff costs, additional management, and the office space of an IT department is a daunting financial burden to add.

Staff costs alone can make building an equipped IT department prohibitively expensive. Qualified, dependable, knowledgeable IT staff demand a high salary and costly benefits. In addition, equipment costs and lead time to get up and running on your business systems drive the costs even higher. Some firms simply don’t have the space required to add an entirely new department to the business.

That’s why, for many businesses, outsourcing is the most effective way to update their IT without increasing business overhead. Outsourcing provides modern IT for a simple, fixed monthly cost. Removing the distractions of managing an entirely new department allows the business to focus on doing the job they do best.

What We Do

By trusting your IT to us, we ensure that your systems are up-to-date, secure, and fully backed up. We can keep you competitive by allowing you to accomplish more than ever before.

Along with day to day IT management, monitoring, and setup; we can assist your transition to paperless documents, setup remote working, and provide IT assistance to set up the latest technology that will enable you to succeed.

Allow us to help you do more than ever before. Bring your IT demands to us and we’ll provide you with the modern IT you need to let your business thrive. 

Contact us Now 319-227-7000

2018-11-26T16:16:35-05:00December 11th, 2018|Managed Services|0 Comments

Stay Ahead of the Curve with an IT Lifecycle Plan

Stay Ahead of the Curve with an IT Lifecycle PlanIT Lifecycle

All appliances have an effective lifespan. Computers are no different. In some cases, parts physically fail after years of service, in others they simply become too slow and too ineffective to keep doing the job. Hardware failures and IT issues can cost big in productivity losses, urgent fixes, and unintended downtime.

Improving productivity and lowering costs are the primary driving factors in why many modern businesses choose to adopt IT life cycles.

IT Life Cycle

The IT life cycle aims to make IT budgets predictable, manageable, and reduce costs across the company.

This process starts with a thorough plan outlining the demands of the business. By looking at how and where equipment is deployed we can make the most out of the resources throughout the business. The first step is to reduce equipment duplicated and underused within the firm.

With a big picture approach, equipment can be scheduled for upgrade or replacement at predictable intervals based on use. With a plan in place, the focus of the life cycle can shift to resource procurement. As equipment approaches the end of its effective lifespan it can be brought in for replacement, repair, and recycling.

By maintaining as many usable parts as possible we help lower costs of keeping efficient hardware in the front line business environment. This approach helps a huge number of businesses keep modern, up to date hardware in crucial roles where it can serve the biggest impact for the business.

Making the most of resources

Computers in a busy business environment will always need eventual replacement over time. It is important to plan and prepare for this end of service life to limit unplanned downtime, increasing costs and losses in productivity. Doing so helps to plan a regular, predictable IT budget, less prone to sudden financial spikes.

The IT life cycle additionally allows the business to stay on top of software licenses, upgrades and Operating System changes. By cycling old and out of date systems from the network, security vulnerabilities are dramatically reduced and easier to patch.

Additional financial security comes from manufacturer warranties for businesses that adopt the life cycle. As new equipment is purchased into the firm, manufacturer warranties provide guarantees about the handling of defects and hardware issues. This warranty may cover all, or most of the duration of the equipment’s intended life cycle.

The extra coverage provides an extra layer of financial protection from unpredictable IT issues.

In control with information

Tracking the life cycle of your own firm provides invaluable metrics about how equipment use and deployment within your own production environment. Armed with this unique knowledge, better purchasing decisions can be made to equip your business with the tools needed to succeed.

Budgets can be put to better use, getting the important high-value resources to the places in the businesses that need it most. The ones where they will generate the most value for the firm.

A key factor in getting the most from your firms IT is making sure the resources put into the company don’t sit idly on a shelf after purchase. The insight gained from metrics related to the life cycle ensure that management stay fully informed.

A complete picture puts your business back in control of its IT by allowing you to choose the best, most efficient, and most cost-effective time to replace critical IT. Firms can plan replacements and servicing outside of busy periods so they can operate without interruption and know their IT is fully serviced when they need it most.

Planning for the future

With a fully planned, fully prepared life cycle, IT budgets can be planned in detail for years to come. Everything from printers to operating systems can be prepared on a tightly controlled schedule.

Businesses worldwide have adopted IT life cycles as a way to eliminate unwanted surprises, lessen productivity losses, and make the most out of IT budgets. Implementing or redesigning your own IT life cycle can greatly improve the way your business operates.

 Give us a call at 319-227-7000  or start a ticket to get your IT lifecycle plan started.

2018-10-06T20:35:50-05:00October 2nd, 2018|Managed Services|0 Comments

Is A Slow Network Getting in The Way of Your Business?

Is A Slow Network Getting in The Way of Your Business?slow network

Very few things in life are as intensely frustrating as slow network speeds. Whether accessing a shared database, sharing files between computers, or sending a file to print; waiting for transfers can seem to take an eternity. Worse still, these business breaks can keep both clients and staff waiting and get in the way of the productive business day.

Every time you save or retrieve files from another computer or network storage device, file transfers have to be made over the network. Depending on your IT setup files can pour over the network with the ferocity of a fire hose, or trickle between machines as if dripping through a drinking straw. Poor network speeds are often a critical bottleneck that slows down the entire IT system. If a slow, frustrating, and unreliable network sounds like your office setup then there are many available solutions we can use to help.

Often, offices maintain networking hardware that is as old as the premises they are in or the businesses themselves. Components can be left in place long after their suggested expiration date. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it commonly rules as long as some working connection, however slow, still remains.

Yet, outdated hardware in key areas can often slow the entire system down. Even when the rest of the network is capable of ultra-high speeds, a single bad component can bring the entire network to a crawl. Sometimes if it isn’t broke, it still might not be working to its full potential. Even peripheral devices throughout the network can cause traffic to slow. A badly installed device may become lost from the network or send out an overwhelming number of messages that spoils network traffic. Defense against errors and vulnerabilities is more simple than many think. Often just one or two small upgrades is all that is needed to unlock the full speed potential of the network.

For some businesses adding a dedicated server is an ideal solution that can balance the IT workload. Access to centrally shared resources often benefits the entire organization by eliminating redundancy. A network server is built with efficiency and reliability in mind to keep your business running at full capacity. By pooling resources for everyone to use, work is evenly shared and centrally available to prevent bottlenecks in the system. Reduced network loads, improved efficiency, and faster transfer speeds mean that higher productivity becomes the new normal.

Moving resources outside of the office can work for many businesses too. Where high speed, low-cost internet services are available, moving your work into the cloud can be a highly cost-effective solution. Software packages such as Quickbooks offer finance and accounting packages for operating in the cloud. Similar Suites such as Microsoft Office offers services for creating and sharing documents with cloud resources. Both packages eliminate the need for many of the network operations that we use every day.

For many applications such as Quickbooks huge databases sometimes gigabytes in size are required. It is these types of applications where the advantage of the cloud becomes clear. To use this locally, huge database transfers keep the application up-to-date daily.

These transfers across a local network are time-consuming and clog up vital resources for the firm. Yet, the same application in the cloud requires only a simple web page for each user. Instantly, looking up finances and editing documents becomes as simple as checking your email. With services moved to the cloud purchase cost and maintenance of expensive network hardware are reduced too.

A complete network solution that works to make the most out of all the available resources is unique to every business. Only a tailored solution to address your network needs will increase your productivity.

If your IT is starting to get in the way of your business and your network is running too slow, give us call at 319-227-7000 and we’ll see what we can do.

2018-10-06T21:54:13-05:00September 5th, 2018|Managed Services, Networking|0 Comments

Outsourcing vs Managed IT – What’s the Difference?

Outsourcing vs Managed IT – What’s the Managed ITDifference?

Outsourcing has become a dirty word. It implies you’re taking jobs offshore or giving up oversight over a key part of your business. Managed Services is the complete opposite of that, yet it’s often put under the same umbrella, despite being a local solution. Your business already looks for help in various places, hiring consultants, agencies and other contractors, all so that you can focus on hitting your goals. Managed IT is simply another of those specialized services, designed exclusively to help with your technology needs.

A True IT Partner

Our Managed Services team acts as consultants dedicated to achieving your business success. We’re able to analyze your technical and strategic needs to tailor solutions specific to your business. We work hand-in-hand with you to design, implement and maintain your tech, keeping you involved at every step of the way. We’ll also keep track of relevant industry news and apply it to your business so you don’t lose your edge. As new software versions are released, we’ll help you make informed decisions about whether to upgrade, stick with current for a little longer, or switch to an alternative. You’ll have a true partner on your team that’s always looking out for your business.

Better Results

Since our Managed IT gets to know your business so closely, we’re also able to ensure all your tech support and maintenance is handled quickly, without disruption to your daily running. We have specialists across multiple areas who have seen almost every scenario and know exactly how to solve them. You’ll be able to keep your employees on task while our experienced technicians work through the issue, often remotely so you’re not disrupted at all. Tech help is also available to your staff with rapid turnaround support.

Visible and Accountable

Unlike standard outsourcing where you lose control of certain elements and are left to hope for the best, Managed IT Services are completely transparent. You’ll get reports on the status of your computers or networks, the number of support tickets we’ve answered and exactly what we’ve been doing to keep your business tech up and running. This level of visibility also means you’re able to see IT trends across your business and make strategic decisions to improve productivity and efficiency.

It’s a Local Solution

At one time or another, we’ve all called a support number and found ourselves stuck in a frustration loop with an overseas call center. It’s almost the entire reason outsourcing earned a bad name. Fortunately, our Managed IT is actually a local service, a real-life business near you who employs local people and supports the local economy. Keeping your IT support nearby means you can get the tech assistance you need, with local ethics, customer service standards and even accents that make the process easier.

You Stay Protected and Prepared

Part of any Managed IT service is ensuring your computers, network and digital devices are secure against threats. This means updates are rolled out for you, patches are done, plus all scans, tweaks, backups and system maintenance. Your employees no longer have to worry about making time for (or learning) these tasks, and you don’t have to worry that they’re getting skipped. Very often, this level of proactive support ensures problems are stopped before they occur and your business is able to surge ahead when others fall behind. If anything ever goes wrong, your Managed IT will have prepared disaster recovery and continuity plans so that you’re up and running asap.

It’s Cost-Effective

With Managed IT, you’ll be able to reduce infrastructure costs very quickly as your specialist is able to recommend better, faster solutions such as cloud storage and mobile technology. Instead of replacing hardware and software simply because it’s on the schedule, your Managed IT experts will present multiple cost-saving options and strategies. Very often, these extend to licensing and training too. Productivity gains are made as the tech begins to work with your processes and employees, not against them. Predictable costs are important to every business, which is why Managed IT is the right choice. You’ll know your monthly expenses are capped, and you’ll be able to avoid expensive tech surprises.

If you’re considering Managed IT, reach out to us today. 319-227-7000

2018-10-06T22:24:21-05:00July 31st, 2018|Managed Services|0 Comments