Advantages of Remote Monitoring in Winston Salem

PC maintenance can sneak up on any business owner. Sometimes it’s software errors that keep adding up until the machine can’t function, or that sneaky virus that started out nonchalant so you didn’t notice it — right up until it’s taken your whole machine hostage.

Not only can things happen while you’re busy or to a machine you haven’t paid attention to in awhile, but the challenge of routine maintenance grows as you add more and more computers to the business. How integrated are all the systems, and how much would it impact your business if a few were to suddenly go down?

Remote monitoring services for max uptime

So What Is Remote Monitoring?

Remote monitoring involves the use of software on your system(s) that allows an IT firm like Utopia’s Edge to track things that happen with that system. The software can monitor system resource usage, like processor and hard disks, to determine unusual patterns. It can monitor when updates are installed and when virus scans are run. If software or other components aren’t working, there are often ways to observe those as well.

A system covered by remote monitoring allows for the user and the IT company to institute good maintenance habits.

Once set up, remote monitoring can:

  • Make sure regular virus scans are scheduled, performed, and reviewed. If there are viruses, ensure they’re dealt with.
  • Perform maintenance functions like disk scans, defrags (for non-SSD), Windows updates, and driver updates
  • Monitor internet connectivity and address issues
  • Reboot or shut down machines as needed
  • Determine as proactively as possible if an on-site visit is needed to address something before it becomes a huge deal

Simply put: having a full time staff IT guy (or gal) can be pricey, especially for smaller companies. If you don’t have a lot of computers you probably don’t have enough work to justify a full time person anyway. But you do need support and to know that if something happens you have someone who can correct it quickly.

So where does that leave you?

That’s precisely where outsourced IT comes in. For a much lower monthly cost you can have all the protection your systems need without the overhead. When you need someone on-site, we can have someone there to handle things directly and get you back in action as quickly as possible. With remote monitoring, we can ensure your systems are always up to date and protected. If the machine is going to need upgrades that can’t be done remotely, those are things we can plan for with you. And with our Gold plan, with any covered PC we’ll rebuild it or install upgrades without a service charge when those upgrades are needed.

Ready to learn more? Contact us today to explore the options best for your business!

Outsourced IT for Network Support – Greensboro and Winston Salem

Business networking is a very different animal than creating a home network where a few computers can share files and printers. This is especially true when there’s a server computer involved. Between setting it up and maintaining it, network support can be a lot to handle for the typical Greensboro and Winston Salem business. This is where we recommend outsourced IT services.

Outsourced IT Promotes Positive Work Flow

Our businesses run on information these days, so we can’t afford down time when issues arise. A server computer going down, for example, can cripple all the workstations attached to it and prevent staff from getting much done. When this happens it’s not just about resolving it quickly, but in being proactive about the technology in play to prevent future snags as much as possible.

Call (336) 580-1787 ext 1 for network support! We’ll help you out as soon as we can.

If your business is growing, certain decisions that seemed reasonable in the beginning may not cut it as more and more technology is added to your operation. Hardware, network speeds, and even software used plays a big role in how efficient things run and how reliable it will be under regular work load. Network support is as much about planning as it is solving problems as they occur.

We’re happy to help on the fly if you’re in this situation, but we also recommend one of our Managed IT packages to alleviate these types of concerns. With 24×7 monitoring we can track everything from connectivity to viruses to address them promptly. At the end of the day the idea is to be invisible; the smoother your business runs with fewer interruptions the better. When it’s something we can’t handle remotely, our on-site techs can get hands on with your network support.

Network Support Outsourced IT Greensboro

Outsourced IT can be an efficient solution for small and medium sized businesses throughout the Triad. Outsourcing your IT needs costs less than a salaried employee, and this way you’re only paying for the help you need, when you need it. That and of course since it’s not another employee you can save that office space for someone else.

With these benefits in mind, the network support you need is a phone call away. 

Call (336) 580-1787 ext 1!

What’s the Difference In A Business Class Laptop or PC?

These days you can get a fairly modern PC with decent specs for a few hundred dollars. Given that your typical business class workstation or laptop can be significantly more, a lot of folks wonder what the difference is that explains the extra cost.

The short answer is what they’re built to be used for each day. Your typical PC or laptop you’d get at Best Buy or Office Depot is built for personal use. The idea is that you probably have a day job and will mostly be using your computer in the evenings for email, Facebook, and paying bills.

The frame probably isn’t particularly rugged because it’s not made to travel excessively. Most folks replace their computers every couple years, so often these types of computers are built with that in mind. Parts and components favor the inexpensive to keep the price tag competitive since long term durability is less significant.

The business class computer is built to be used for work. Rather than a light duty 1-3 hours of usage per day, these types of computers are built to work all day. If they’re laptops, they may also have sturdier metallic frames to help them hold up to wear and tear of being frequently packed up and moved around.

Being used that long and that often puts more strain on the components, so higher-end parts need to be used. Since most companies prefer not to change workstations out often, there is a larger appeal to a computer that can last 3-5+ years.

Plus, if the business computer can hold up to rigorous use better it theoretically has less down time due to replacing parts etc. That improves office productivity.

Examples of the Differences

Take Lenovo laptops for example. You can find models like the G series in most stores, aimed at the general consumer. Some of these models have fewer USB 3.0 ports, a cheaper keyboard, screens with simpler color output or contrast ratios. For the average person none of these things may be a concern, and each of them are a cost-cutting measure that allows the user to obtain the computer at a better price tag.

The ThinkPad series of Lenovo computers, on the other hand, are geared for the workplace or for traveling professionals. ThinkPads have a heftier price tag than various consumer series, but that means some other things that may be important.

  • Better keyboards. ThinkPads have a reputation for awesome, responsive keyboards. For the general user typing emails and browsing the web the difference may not be important. But for someone who types all day and needs tight, responsive keys for accurate typing, this makes a big difference.
  • Touchpad location. Notice on a lot of ThinkPads the touchpad is off-center, usually to the left of the middle of the laptop’s width. This is because it’s centered on the main keyboard, and also the nub. This makes it comfortable and intuitive to switch quickly from typing to clicking without moving your hands much, and in a straight up and down motion you can move the cursor and resume typing without taking your eyes off the screen.
  • Beefier hardware. The base specs in the average ThinkPad tend to be loftier than the consumer equivalent. Again, for all day work having the extra CPU horsepower, RAM, or even hard drive space can make a notable difference.
  • Easier access to components. Consumer laptops may allow you to open the bottom and access the RAM and hard drive, but that’s usually it. Because business machines are built to work for many years, other upgrades may be required over time. Even if you also use the computer for personal use, being able to swap DVD ROM drives, wireless radios, and other components can be alluring to the power user.

Whether you have an office with a staff or work solo as a freelancer, in many cases you’re doing yourself a favor to use a business class computer. After all, your business runs on that technology. Even with reliable IT repair services there’s always downtime. As with many things, preventative maintenance is always preferable to repairs.

Just like when you’re shopping for cars where choosing a brand with a reputation for reliability can save you time and money long term, the solidarity and reliability of business class computers is important for heavy usage.

Make an informed decision about your next computer upgrade or replacement! We can assess your business’ technology and help you find the system that works with your budget and specific needs.

Managed IT vs. Your Smart Nephew

A lot of folks have someone in their family they use as their go-to IT person. If your laptop is acting up, call Uncle Bob or your nephew — he’s a computer genius. In some cases this is a fine solution, but when it comes to your business you owe it to yourself to take an extra step.

First of all, there’s a difference between home computing and business IT needs. This is true from software to the types of things the computer is even doing, the devices it interacts with, and the technology it’s dependent on. How you resolve warranty claims or deal with technology vendors can also be a fairly different ball game.

There’s also a big difference between setting up a home computer to work on a home network versus advanced networking protocols for offices and corporations. There are similarities, and sometimes a person knows just enough to make it work short term, but not a good long term solution. That never becomes clear at an opportune moment, right?

Technology Needs Are A Time Commitment

One of the big advantages of managed IT solutions is that in the event that you need to contact services providers, such as Time Warner, your IT professional can handle that for you. “How do I explain what’s even wrong? How do I do the solution they’re giving me, and is that fair?” These are questions you don’t need to worry about with managed IT.

And if it ends up being a long call, you not being personally tied up for that length of time is doubly valuable.

Your nephew has a life of his own outside of your IT needs. Can you count on calling on him or her at any point of the day? On weekends?

No one wants to be in a situation where crucial technology breaks down and no one who can fix it is available. How long can that technology stay down before it really impacts your business or damages relationships with your customers?

Simpler to let the pros handle it.

Our managed IT solutions are tiered to fit your business needs. We can ensure your PCs are maintained, updated, and that virus scans are run and dealt with, or we can manage all aspects of your systems. Either way, we think of ourselves as your technology partners.

How to Tell If Your Email Has Been HACKED!

Most people run a lot of information through their email, and when it becomes compromised it can be inconvenient — or if it’s a business email account, both embarrassing and expensive. Often your contacts such as clients, customers, employees, or patients will start receiving junk emails from you, some of which can contain viruses or phishing scams.

That’s particularly dangerous since the email is coming from “you”, so some recipients may trust a link they otherwise wouldn’t click.

It’s important to remember that email is insecure by nature, mostly because it’s sending clear text through the internet that can be read by anyone that intercepts it. When you factor in all the places an email is duplicated, such as the sender’s PC, the mail server that actually sends it, the recipient’s machine and their mail server, it opens up more opportunities for trouble.

That last bit isn’t to scare you, but just to be clear about the technology involved and why it can be vulnerable.

Signs Your Email Might Be Compromised

Particularly if you’re using a free webmail like Gmail, Hotmail/Live, or Yahoo, an occasional check of your mail settings is helpful. This way if anything has been changed you’ll see it. A common change on webmail accounts that allow for external POP access is the activation of this feature that, by default, is usually off. If you haven’t been using POP to check your webmail, seeing this feature activated is a warning sign.

Your contacts can be another valuable sign. If your compromised email has been sending out junk to your contacts, sometimes one of them will reply letting you know or asking about the strange email they received. Since you know you didn’t send it, it’s another giveaway. If you’re curious, you can periodically review your sent items folder to see if there’s anything unusual.

Some mail platforms, like Gmail, actually monitor for this suspicious behavior. If a bunch of strange emails just went out, you’ll see a warning message the next time you log in. Gmail will tell you it either blocked a bunch of spam from being sent or that you should review it.

What You Can Do to Get It Under Control

Change your password immediately, and if you’ve used this password on other accounts that are in any way tied to this email you’ll want to change those as well. Some mail platforms ask for a secondary or backup email address, which can be handy if the spammer has changed your password before you can. This leaves another way to reset your password at a secondary address they don’t have access to.

If you’re using a native application like Outlook to check your mail, a thorough antivirus and antimalware sweep is a good idea. Some malware is designed specifically to affect email, so removing it is the only way to know the email won’t be hijacked again.

Email Best Practices

We are all about prevention, so let’s also talk about some of the things you can do to prevent any form of issues with your email.

Using some type of spam and virus filtering on your email is a must these days. If you’re using a native application like Outlook or Thunderbird to check email on your PC, your antivirus software usually has settings specific to email that you can activate and adjust. If you’re using services like Gmail or Windows Live, they come with pretty solid anti-spam and virus filters.

It’s a good idea to change your password at least every 90 days. This can be a tough habit to start if you have passwords you’ve used for a long time, but the longer you use the same passwords the greater the likelihood is that someone else will figure it out. Avoid using obvious passwords that contain kids’ or pets’ names, birthdays, or other personal information. Use a mixture of letters and numbers, as well as capital and lowercase letters.

Lastly, if you’re using email for business, never send sensitive information through an email. Because it’s un-encrypted, anyone with the right tools and know-how could intercept it and the information within. That’s why sending things like login information, account numbers, financial info, confidential client information, etc. can be a bad idea.