What Makes a Great IT Company?
For most people, their first car was not great. It overheated in the summer, had tattered upholstery, leaked water from the windows. And even though you put up with it out of necessity, you realized with time that so much of the value of a car comes from its reliability and comfort.
Your current IT provider may be like that first car. It might get you where you need to be most of the time, but you have this nagging suspicion that it will leave you with your thumb up on the side of the highway any day now. And just like a car, it can be difficult for a uniformed person to know exactly what is going on “under the hood” of their business’ IT.
Signs Your IT Provider is a Lemon
Besides the obvious—untrained technicians, rude customer services reps, ultra-low pricing—it can be hard to identify a problematic IT relationship. Here is the smoke that could indicate that you are about to be stranded:
- False promises
- Lack of transparency
- Poor communication
- Overly complicated jargon in responses meant to confuse you
- Not meeting with you regularly
- Unexplained or unexpected downtime and interruptions
- A deal that’s too good to be true
- Not encouraging better security
A great IT company will never make you feel inferior, confused, frustrated, or angry. That’s because there is a lot more that goes into IT support than just knowing how to troubleshoot technical issues.
A Reliable Mode of IT Support
Well-built, dependable IT providers need to be smart about IT. But proficiency is not enough. They also need to be smart about business. The difference between a rusty Pontiac and a well-equipped Toyota is not its ability to get from point A to point B—it is the ability to perform safely and comfortably every single time. The same can only happen when an IT provider is proactive.
So how can you identify a proactive IT provider? Ask yourself these questions:
- Do they deliver on their promises?
- Does my IT provider have a clear process?
- Are their staff coordinated and communicative?
- Do I trust them to self-report their activities in a timely manner?
- Do they meet with us regularly to help my business prepare for the future?
- Is the leadership accountable when issues arise?
- Are they budget conscious?
- Do they encourage us to improve our security protocols?
If your IT provider cannot verify the work they have done for you immediately, if they do not seem to have a repeatable process for handling tickets, if they are always reacting to problems instead of preventing IT problems, then you and your employees may be on the verge of hitch-hiking. Your business is too important to be driven by a smoking engine with wobbly tires!
Ready to turn the page on 2020? No matter what business you are in, you faced unprecedented challenges during the last year. The businesses that survived—and even thrived—had to adapt. Remote collaboration, sales, and customer service are here to stay. But is that enough? What else can you do to grow your business in 2021 amidst the continuing complications of COVID, uncertain economic pressures, and high levels of unemployment?
Embrace Remote Technology
Everyone is now acquainted with Zoom, Skype, Teams, or some other remote streaming platform. But just having access to an app may not be enough—at least not to distinguish you from your competition. For many businesses, the inability to interact face-to-face with clients, prospects, and teammates disrupts normal best practices. Here’s what you can do to embrace the new normal:
- Upgrade audio capabilities so you can communicate clearly
- Consider what background will best represent you and your business
- Turn on your video or webcam for every professional interaction
- Ensure your home or office has adequate Internet connectivity
- Train every employee on the fundamentals of Zoom, Teams, and other popular platforms
Think Outside the Office
Successful businesses in 2021 may find that reducing or eliminating office space is now a cost-efficient option. While changes to your operation will present challenges, the new remote office environment can also offer new opportunities. Here are some of the benefits:
- An expanded talent pool for new hires who may not need to live in your area
- Greater flexibility for employees to complete projects and collaborate from anywhere
- Face-to-face sales and customer service
- Expanded training and outreach opportunities including webinars and online conferences
Protect Your Digital Spaces
COVID wasn’t the only plague infecting our world in 2020. The largest information breach in history took place as well, compromising many government agencies and corporations. Your online data and privacy are too important—especially in the new digital office environment—to leave vulnerable to attack. Every virtual office needs to address the following:
- Password protocols and multifactor authentication
- Firewalls, antivirus, and antimalware
- Using virtual private networks (VPNs) when sharing information online
- Phishing scam avoidance
- Security updates and maintenance
- Data backup and recovery
Simpleworks—Your IT Partner for the New Digital Workspace
Simpleworks IT in Colorado Springs is a leading managed IT services provider. We offer an array of services and packages for small- to medium-sized businesses who want the benefits of an in-house IT team without the overhead. The transition to digital office space has been challenging for many businesses, but you aren’t alone. Get in touch with Simpleworks today and learn more about how we can help your business thrive in 2021.
In a year that brought suffering to every community in the world, perhaps no group has been hit harder by COVID-19 than assisted-living facilities and nursing homes. Not only are residents disproportionately affected by the virus, but they have also found themselves cut off from their families and friends.
However, thanks to Zoom, Skype, and other video conferencing software, elderly residents in assisted living facilities and nursing homes can stay connected to their loved ones. This requires, though, that their facility have the necessary infrastructure and support needed to keep them connected. At Simpleworks, we are deeply concerned about the quality of life of the seniors in our community and want to reach out to administrators of assisted living facilities to offer our help and support.
Connectivity—A Requirement in the Post-COVID World
Nearly every assisted living facility and nursing home has Wi-Fi connectivity. But just having Wi-Fi available is likely not sufficient. Residents are spending much more time streaming video to keep in contact. More streaming requires more bandwidth. If your facility is not keeping up with the demands of its residents, there are several possible issues:
- Insufficient bandwidth from the Internet provider
- Inadequate router
- Poor area coverage
- Outdated technology
Many times, facilities assume that if they have slow Wi-Fi, they must need more bandwidth from their provider. But this is often not the case. The most common issue in a multi-user environment is the router device itself and its deployment.
Simplify Connectivity for Seniors
Simpleworks specializes in setting up Wi-Fi networks that ensure every user has the bandwidth he or she needs to have the best quality of life possible. Our certified technicians can assess the Wi-Fi connectivity issues at your facility, install appropriate devices where needed, and train or assist staff. We also offer managed IT services if your facility would benefit from additional IT support.
To do our part to help a vulnerable population in our community, Simpleworks would like to offer a free network evaluation to all assisted living facilities and nursing homes in the Colorado Springs area. All of us need to stay connected – we can help.
Contact us today about scheduling your free network evaluation.
The success of the Windows Server 2008 operating system can’t be denied. It became a mainstay with small- and medium-sized businesses across a variety of industries. Around 85% of companies still run Windows Server 2008 due to the server’s proven reliability.
And that’s part of the problem.
What Companies Risk by Sticking with Windows Server 2008
On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will discontinue support for both Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. The costs and time investment required for upgrades are why so many companies still cling to the program. With the 2020 stop date rapidly approaching, here are the risks of not upgrading:
- Extensive Security Vulnerabilities. Once Microsoft stops making regular updates, there will be no further security patches to Windows Server 2008. Continuing to use the operating system without these fixes exposes your important business and customer data to hackers looking to steal data. You could also end up infected with malware designed to take your systems hostage for ransom.
- Limited Cloud Compatibility. Not upgrading to a new version of Windows Server limits your options when it comes to expanding your technology platform via cloud technology. Windows Server 2008 isn’t fully capable of providing support for cloud or hybrid environments, which will limit your options on software that is only cloud-based.
- Performance Issues. Without regular updates, you’ll see your hardware performance slow down as Windows Server 2008 becomes more and more incompatible with your current hardware and software. Virtualization becomes harder since bugs and slowdowns would severely hamper your ability to provide a smooth multiuser experience.
Upgrading to Windows Server 2016 provides companies with access to features allowing them to build an IT Infrastructure capable of meeting the demands of today’s digital business space. Imagine not having to hear the words, “Our system can’t handle it,” when a great idea is proposed involving technology that moves the company forward.
Here are some of the advantages gained once a company commits to installing an updated operating system to replace Windows Server 2008.
- More Extensive Security Protection. Windows Server 2016 provides companies with the ability to implement either single sign-on or multifactor authentication, allowing for better account protection. All of your virtualization instances receive more security from breach attempts from in and outside of your company.
- Expanded Cloud Capabilities. The operating system also adapts smoothly to running in a full or hybrid cloud environment. Windows Server 2016 provides an excellent on-ramp for customers looking to explore what they can do with cloud computing, including incorporating Office 365 into their workplace. The IT department can make cloud services available to individual virtual machines (VMs), which could be deployed with a lot less overhead.
- Built-in Backup Services. Windows Server 2016 provides administrators with an out-of-the-box backup system. Resilient Change Tracking (RCT) allows you to perform both full and incremental backups of your VMs.
Upgrading to Windows Server 2016 allows businesses the freedom to explore software as a service (SaaS) offerings like Adobe, QuickBooks and JIRA. Your employees will appreciate the responsiveness of the new server which enables them to increase their daily output.
Simplifying the IT Experience
Partnering with an experienced Microsoft partner to handle your Windows Server 2008 upgrade makes it a stress-free experience for your company. Simpleworks prevents your upgrade from getting bogged down in the details and handles the miscellaneous technical issues while keeping you on schedule.
Simpleworks believes in making IT simple and effective. Our team of professionals confirms that all your processes and hardware function as they should upon completion of the new server installation. When Simpleworks handles your Windows Server upgrade, here’s a few of the many processes we cover:
- Outlining what your final environment should look like
- Assessing your server and cataloging everything on your network
- Backing up your current server environment for possible rollback if you encounter issues during the transition
- Communicating system downtimes to all affected parties
- Installing the physical implementation of the upgrade
- Testing all systems, applications and hardware affected by the update
Don’t continue falling behind on your Windows Server 2008 upgrade. Contact Simpleworks at (719) 476-0444 or online to get your company on track for a brighter technology outlook.
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