IT considerations when selecting an office location.
There are many things to consider when selecting an office location. Obviously size, cost, and location are key, but one very important piece is often overlooked; what type of internet service is available in that area. If your business requires faster internet speeds or if bandwidth limitations could impact your business negatively, then this is a very important factor to take into consideration when selecting an office location.
Another item to consider is the condition of the existing cabling structure if any. This can be an unexpected and expensive additional cost if not inspected properly. Many times clients move into a building or office space without inspecting the cabling only to find out that it is either not sufficient for their needs or is has been damaged or cut when the previous tenants moved out.
Over the years we have had many companies come to us after they have already signed a lease and scheduled a move in date into the new location only to find out the cabling infrastructure is not adequate to meet their needs. This can greatly impact productivity, push back the full operational date of your office, and become a costly mistake.
If you are interested in having TH2 help you find what internet providers are available and what your bandwidth options are, please don’t hesitate to ask. There is no charge for this valuable service. We have relationships with almost all of the Internet service providers in the area. We can also schedule a time to come look at your potential office and determine if any additional cabling or work is needed.
Things to consider when moving an office.
There are a lot of things to consider when moving an office. One of the biggest mistakes we see companies make is not providing enough time on the front end to have internet setup and delivered. In some cases it can take up to 90 days to get internet installed and tested. On average we expect 30 days from the date of an order to the circuit install and testing. The last thing you want to hear when your move-in date is in 5 days is that you have to wait 30 days for internet.
Some additional questions to think about:
Does the new office have sufficient cabling and power infrastructure to the locations where the desks, printers, and servers will be located?
Is there cabling going to the suite or office from the building telco closet for the internet provider to deliver internet?
Who is moving what equipment (router/firewall, networking infrastructure devices (switches and access points), servers, etc.) and then who is setting it back up and testing it to make sure the network is up and running?
Who is responsible for changing the public domain name service (DNS) records?
Who will reprogram the network to reflect the new carrier settings?
If phone services are used, is everything being transferred and when?
It is really recommended to have the internet and phone service up and running in the new location prior moving in to ensure a smooth transition. In some cases the phone service may not be able to be moved until the cutover day due to keeping the same numbers in service.
My computer won't start up/boot, can you still recover my data?
We can generally recover most data from computers that won’t boot, won’t turn on, or from data that has been deleted. We can also recover data from cameras and video recorders that have been accidently deleted. The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember is don’t use the system or device in question as you run the risk of damaging or destroying the data. Immediately take it to professionals like us to get checked out. We have about a 90% success rate if the disk or SD card has not been physically damaged.
Failed hard drives still have some hope too. Recovery for failed drives can easily cost into the thousands for lower level recoveries, but there are some tried and true methods to get failed hard drives back online for long enough to retrieve the data. These methods do not further damage the drive, so if they prove unsuccessful, you’re back to where you started, but no worse off for trying.
Is an onsite visit from a tech required to fix my system?
In most cases, as long as the computer can get on the internet, we can connect to your system remotely and resolve your issue without having to roll out a technician. In some cases where the system is unable to connect, we can guide a semi-technical individual through some steps to check for common problems that prevent connection to the internet to save you the trip out! This is especially helpful when we find the whole problem is just that the computer was unplugged from the network! It happens more than you’d think.
Things to consider when selecting computers.
NOT ALL COMPUTERS ARE CREATED EQUAL
In our professional opinion, if you rely on computers for business, you should be purchasing business class systems. Business class systems use better hardware, usually have multi-year hardware warranties, and North American support. They tend to last longer and have fewer issues than store bought or consumer grade equipment. They also come with the business software and operating system versions to work in business environments.
We can’t count the number of clients who decided to try and save some money by purchasing cheaper, often home systems, only for us to tell them they don’t have the correct versions of software to work with their network. It ends up costing them more in the long run for us to upgrade the equipment and more to troubleshoot the constant problems that cheaper equipment tends to have. The age old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
To sum it up….
Business class equipment
- Tend to last longer and have fewer problems
- Tend to have next business day, onsite warranties
- Tend to have North American Support
- Tend to be more reliable
- Tend to have better ROI in the long run
Consumer Class equipment…
- Usually have consumer versions of software
- Usually have tons of bloatware(unnecessary programs) that slow the systems down
- Usually have only mail-in warranty service that sometimes take weeks
- Use lower quality parts to keep costs down
- We consider these throw away computers, use them until they break
- Tend to have proprietary software and settings used
Why use a company like TH2 vs a single consultant?
There are many reasons to use a company like ours vs a single consultant.
- We are available and easy to get a hold of!
- Unmatched knowledge and expertise. We have engineers with combined experience of almost 60 years with expertise in specific disciplines such as wireless, routing, network security, malware removal, servers and PCs.
- We can respond much quicker as we have numerous resources at your service.
- Not dependent on one individual if they are sick or on vacation.
- We’ve invested thousands of dollars on the latest troubleshooting and testing tools available to help us be proactive, not reactive.
- We can pull multiple resources for complex issues to help resolve them quicker.
Why your network should be maintained by Proactive Management.
A regularly maintained network means fewer failures, resulting in higher productivity and savings on support costs. At the same time, your exposure to security risks is dramatically lessened and frustration from unstable IT resources almost vanishes. This allows our customers to focus on their core business functions by taking the worry out of owning a computer network.
Virus & Malware
I have a virus(es) on my computer, can you remove it (them)?
Yes. Many times remotely.
How can we reduce the chances of viruses or malware from entering my computer and what are some common misconceptions about antivirus software?
There is no way to 100% prevent virus’ on someone’s computer. There are only best practices to help protect against them.
There are 3 primary areas that needs to be functioning well in order to best protect a network from being compromised.
- Using a firewall that does deep packet inspection on all incoming and outgoing traffic. The firewall needs to functioning properly and be up to date. This is your first line of defense. Business class firewalls can prevent a potential malicious file from getting into the network in the first place. Of course the better the firewall, the better protection it provides. However, again, there isn’t a firewall made, regardless of how much money you spend, that will prevent all viruses from getting in.
- AntiVirus software needs to be running and up to date. This is your second line of defense. If something gets past your firewall and your Windows firewall, then the AV tries to prevent a malicious file from infecting the computer. The AV compares files coming into the computer or being installed on the system that might have malicious content. It compares files, file names, file extensions etc., and how it acts (what files and parts of the computer the program is accessing) against an enormous database. If everything checks out, it doesn’t do anything. If it knows for sure it is malicious, it will block it immediately without prompting the user. If the file is similar to something the AV software has in its database, but it’s not exact, it will ask the user if they are sure they want to allow a program to run.
- The user is the final and a critical line of defense. Education really is the key here. If the person using the computer is prompted by Windows or the AV to allow a program to run, they need to be sure that the file is ok to run before clicking yes or even opening the file. Most people when prompted will just click yes to get the popup off their screen or click the red X to close the window. However, if the virus created the popup, then the red X can also be a “yes” to run the program.
Best practices for users:
- Stick to websites related to work only. Random browsing on the internet increases chances of getting infected. Even legitimate websites can be compromised and infect your system.
- Be sure that the attachment you are opening in an email does not have a virus. Having a hosted email service like Office 365 for your business messaging needs provides the best and most secure way of email scanning in our opinion, but nothing is perfect. We recommend that if you receive an email attachment from someone and you weren’t expecting an attachment from, call them to make sure they meant to send it. We’ve looked at tons of these attachments for users as well, and you’re welcome to forward a suspicious attachment to us for review!
- Anytime a suspicious popup to run a program on your system comes up, call us to verify it is ok.
How IT can be used to increase productivity.
One of the most common mistakes we see business owners / office managers make is the continued use of slow, outdated equipment. Many think they are saving money, and in some case they may be. However, in other cases, by holding onto and using this old, slow equipment they are actually spending far more money in lost employee productivity as well as a poor customer /client experience because their customers are waiting for the system to perform its function which wastes their time leaving them with the perception their time is not important or your company is behind the times.
It can also negatively impact employee morale, fostering dissatisfaction with their jobs.
On the other hand, it’s easy to see how the opposite is true as well. Services provided to your clients and employees that are responsive and on a modern infrastructure bolster confidence in a business, and encourage employee confidence in your company.
Finally, the level of network protection is greater when business class equipment and virus scanners are used. These components decrease the odds of being hacked or getting a virus on the network. Critical uptime and protection is literally purchased by investments in yearly support contracts with the vendors anti-virus programs and firewalls. These critical components should not be neglected in any conversation about productivity.
How IT can greatly reduce productivity.
We see many business owners make costly mistakes by holding onto older and slower technologies trying to save money while in reality they may be costing their business huge money from lost productivity from multiple employees waiting around for older systems to perform basic tasks or multiple reboots in a day. This may seem like an inconvenience but in reality it can be very costly not to mention how it looks from the customer side.
I'd like to be able to connect with my office network remotely & securely. Is this possible?
This is possible and fairly easy to do with the right equipment and software. There are many solutions for remote access and different reasons to use different types. Reach out to us if you have any questions and we will be happy to help you for your given situation.