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Transition to Outsourcing Business IT Support and Management

Technology is quickly and continuously evolving, transforming how companies operate. Keeping pace is critical to maintaining a competitive advantage, but not all enterprises, including small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), can afford it. That’s where Business IT support comes in.

By working closely with an established managed services provider, enterprises of all sizes can quickly adapt and compete in a rapidly changing technological landscape. This approach also frees up staff to concentrate on core business outcomes.

In this post, we’ll dive into what outsourcing IT support really is and how to figure out if you need it.

What Is IT Support?

Outsourcing business IT support describes the process of hiring a third-party provider to manage your technology infrastructure, devices, users, and services, including systems administration, network support, and helpdesk services.

A professional managed IT services provider will handle all the IT protocols integral to enterprise operations and ensure seamless processes across departments and hierarchies (with little to no downtime).

While every managed support services provider offers different services, most provide the following:

  • Authentication
  • Data centre, storehouse, and warehouse management
  • Data backup and retention
  • General management and support services
  • IT security
  • Helpdesk services
  • Network management, monitoring, and security
  • Process execution and enforcement
  • Systems administration

The primary advantages of outsourcing your IT support function are immediate access to cutting-edge technology and top tech talent access. Companies also access significant cost savings, mitigate risk, and ensure uninterrupted uptime by outsourcing their IT operations.

Do you need to outsource your business IT support function? The answer to this question depends on the following:

You Need Access to the Latest Technologies

If you need access to the latest technologies but can’t afford the capital expenses that go with it, managed services enable access to cutting-edge technology cost-effectively. What’s more, you won’t have to bother with the setup, deployment, management, or maintenance (as it’ll all be outsourced).

Your support services provider will also ensure that you have the latest hardware and software. They will also help you manage the hardware end of life scenarios safely and resourcefully.

You Need Access to Top Tech Talent

If you can’t afford to compete in a highly competitive labour market, again, an IT support services provider can help fill the skills gap. This approach can help augment or extend in-house teams, or you can outsource all your IT support requirements.

This approach helps businesses plan, strategize, and scale their operations efficiently. Outsourcing models have historically helped businesses tackle existing labour constraints cost-effectively. Going forward, expect this process to become critical in a highly digitised world.

You Need Enhanced IT Security

Maintaining security and compliance is a monumental task that demands specialised skills and automation. In the current threat landscape, bad actors are relentlessly attacking enterprise systems. To stay a step ahead of threat actors, you have to identify and rectify potential vulnerabilities in real-time (with 24/7 monitoring, blocking, patching, updates, and more).

As everyone is now a live target, SMBs and corporations alike can access expert cybersecurity services through managed IT services. This approach ensures peace of mind as your outsourcing partner will work to keep your brand out of the headlines.

You Need to Increase Efficiency

Let’s face it. We can’t do it all by ourselves without the necessary resources. If you do, you’ll end up losing time, money, and (in a worst-case scenario) a data breach. Every company has heaps of stuff going on at any given moment, so managed IT services providers make it all manageable and help boost operational efficiency.

Even better, your managed services partner will accelerate the research, development, and implementation to make the transition to outsourcing business IT support painless.

To find out if your business can benefit from outsourcing IT support, schedule a commitment-free consultation.

META: Outsourcing business IT support helps Australian businesses ensure efficiency and business continuity. But do you need to make the transition? Learn more.

Can Managed Services Reduce Total IT Cost?

Enterprises of all sizes have to contend with capital and cyclical expenses. These expenses relate to accounting, business processes, business IT support, development, helpdesk services, and much more. In this scenario, managed services providers help fill the skills gaps, enhance efficiencies, and reduce costs.

What started in the manufacturing sector has grown exponentially across the technology vertical. Today, companies can take advantage of asset and resource allocation management, IT support, and even software as a service (SaaS) models specifically designed to minimise capital expenditure.

Cutting IT costs through managed services depends on the organisation and business model. Sometimes companies are equipped to handle IT operations internally, efficiently, and cost-effectively. But most often, small and medium-sized businesses find that they can’t keep up with the rapid evolution of technology.

Whenever this is the case, enterprises benefit from outsourcing some or all IT operations to a managed IT services provider.

Let’s take a quick look at how managed services help reduce total IT costs:

1. Reduce IT infrastructure Costs

Setting up your own enterprise IT infrastructure demands massive investment in both hardware and software (and let’s not forget personnel). For example, when businesses leverage managed IT services and move to the cloud, they immediately access substantial savings.

They don’t have to invest in an in-house data centre, and they don’t have to pay for prohibitive expenses like power, cooling, software, storage, security, and more. What’s more, the cloud services provider will provide network support, systems administration and will keep track of hardware and software updates.

The best part of managed infrastructure services is the fact that you’ll never have to worry about updating your hardware and software ever again. Your business IT support services provider will ensure that you’re always working with the latest technologies. Sometimes they will also offer software like Office 365 at a discounted rate.

2. Reduce Operational Costs

Deploying IT infrastructure is one thing. Maintaining it is another. The maintenance of robust enterprise infrastructure requires a dedicated team of experts to oversee it daily. Maintenance costs are also unpredictable. You never know how much time and money it’s going to cost to resolve a problem.

Managed IT services help eliminate surprises down the road and provide maintenance and security services at a fixed cost (monthly or yearly). With the help of cutting-edge tools and experienced professionals, your outsourcing partner will monitor the infrastructure 24/7, engage in regular backup and retention, and minimise the risk of downtime by resolving potential problems in real-time (saving you thousands of dollars).

3. Reduce Human Resources Costs

Software engineers and technology professionals are in high demand and don’t come cheap. This makes hiring and retaining a full-scale IT support team will be expensive.

The ongoing tech talent shortage in Australia also makes attracting IT professionals much more challenging. If you manage to hire some engineers, you also have to consider training costs, benefits, and overhead expenses (to keep them on-premises).

Often, IT departments are overwhelmed with mundane and manual work like maintenance or fixing minor issues. When managed IT support services take on this responsibility, your staff is free to focus on what’s important, your business, and your customers.

This approach goes a long way to streamline processes, improve operational efficiency, and boost productivity. Happy employees are also easier to retain in a highly competitive labour market.

When companies are supported effectively by business IT support services, they can invest more in core business teams. This means that you’ll be able to add more qualified personnel, allowing you to scale without resource-related bottlenecks.

Managed services help reduce total IT costs. It’s just like renting or leasing an office space for a few years rather than buying the whole building. You also don’t have to deal with expenses related to infrastructure depreciation, hiring costs, or worry about creating additional space for new employees.

Are you looking for a managed IT services provider to enhance operational efficiencies, improve productivity, and cut total IT costs? We can help, schedule a commitment-free consultation now.

What Is the Real Value of IT Managed Services?

In an age where data is just as good as gold, robust IT support is critical to enhance operational efficiencies and avert potential data breaches and disruptions. But in a highly competitive marketplace, enterprises find it both difficult and costly to manage on their own, so it makes sense that many turn to managed IT services.

Today, IT managed services are at the heart of digitally transformed businesses. When companies partner with an established managed IT services provider, they get immediate access to cutting-edge technology and professional expertise (that’s often out of reach), cost-effectively.

What Is IT Managed Services?

IT managed services describes the practice of outsourcing secondary IT functions and processes to a third-party provider. This approach helps organisations concentrate on their primary tasks while drastically improving efficiencies and cutting costs.

For example, a Systems Administrator in Canberra commands an average salary of $85,000 per year (not including the costs of benefits like healthcare, paid time off, and more). But with IT managed services, companies can refocus their capital and other resources and concentrate on their core businesses.

Based on service level agreements, companies can focus on their customers without worrying about systems administration, helpdesk services, maintenance, network support, updates, upgrades, and security.

What Are the Key Benefits of Managed Support Services?

There are several direct, and indirect benefits to signing up with a managed IT services provider. In this post, we’ll explore the top four advantages of partnering with a managed IT services provider:

1. Access to Cutting-Edge Technology

When you sign up for business IT support, you avoid expenses related to hardware and software upgrades. With enterprise infrastructure deployed in a state-of-the-art data centre, you can rest assured that your data is safe, secure, and always available.

You won’t have to hire a team to assemble technology products, pay for training, and so on.  A managed support services provider will be equipped with the right infrastructure to start the project immediately.

It’s the most effortless and cost-effective approach to staying up to date with the latest technology. IT support services also ensure that small and medium-sized businesses compete on par with corporate giants.

2. Enhanced Efficiency and Improved Proficiency

When your staff is free to focus on core business tasks, there’s an opportunity to boost productivity with lower downtimes and reduced lead times. Employees are also better placed to identify new opportunities and create new revenue streams.

With highly experienced IT professionals just a click or call away, you’ll avoid significant disruptions and ensure compliance and business continuity.

3. Lower Risks and Robust Security

Ensuring regulatory compliance, privacy, and IT security is getting more complicated by the second. In the current threat landscape, expertise and experience mean everything.

For example, your support services provider will boast significant knowledge and expertise to deploy robust security protocols and secure your infrastructure in real-time. You’ll also benefit from their wealth of experience securing similar enterprise IT infrastructure.

Your business IT support services provider will also secure your business with the latest security tools. For example, if you have a payment gateway operating on your system, they will help ensure compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI/DSS). They can also help with training exercises to mitigate the risk of human error.

4. Save Time and Money

When you partner with an established IT support services provider, you’ll have a clear idea about your IT spend (whether it’s on a monthly or yearly basis). This amount will be significantly lower than hiring an in-house support team, which comes with additional overheads like benefits, office space, training, and more.

With managed support services, you decide your contract terms and pay for only what you need. Furthermore, you avoid situations like the sudden need for capital expenditure to update and upgrade your technology infrastructure.

Your business IT support services partner will breakdown these expenses into fixed, manageable monthly, quarterly, or yearly payments and ensure seamless upgrades with little to no downtime.

As you’re always getting immediate access to the brightest minds in the business, you’ll also save time (with fewer breakdowns and troubleshooting exercises).

There are plenty more advantages to outsourcing your enterprise IT function. To learn more about IT managed services, schedule commitment-free consultation.

What Are Managed Services in the IT Industry?

Managed Services Providers (MSPs) offer a wide range of technology services following a subscription model. This approach eliminates initial capital expenses and ensures immediate access to cutting-edge technology, cost-effectively.

Originally designed to help corporations outsource some of their operations to boost efficiency and cut costs, managed services are now accessible to small and medium-sized businesses.

But before we go any further, let’s first define it.

What are Managed Services?

Managed services describe the process of outsourcing certain functions (like back-office processes) to enable efficiency and optimise costs. As it gets harder for small businesses to access the expertise they need, things like managed helpdesk services and support services are quickly becoming the norm.

Whenever enterprises adopt this approach, they get an external dedicated team of experts assigned to handle specific tasks and a team leader who is accountable for the services rendered.

When you partner with an MSP, you essentially free up your staff and resources to focus on your primary operations and what’s really important–your business.

As this industry vertical evolves, Managed IT services have grown to offer services like cloud hosting, real-time monitoring, maintenance, and more. This approach helps organisations fill the skills and technology gaps while ensuring business continuity and regulatory compliance.

In this scenario, managed services don’t just help enhance operational efficiency through technology adoption but also control expenditure and mitigate risk.

What Kind of Services Does an MSP Provide?

MSPs today offer a wide array of services. However, it’s important to note that all service providers won’t provide the same kinds of services. Some might provide all the services listed below, while others might just offer a handful of services. Some might only offer business IT support.

Managed Data Analytics

Data is the underlying force that drives digitally transformed companies forward. Managed data analytics services help companies access business intelligence technologies, data management and analytics tools, and real-time monitoring services.

Managed Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure management is widespread, especially in a post-pandemic world. Managed cloud infrastructure services providers help manage cloud computing protocols, operating systems, data storage, software, and more. Some even provide virtualisation services for apps.

Managed Communication Services

Managed communication services or managed unified communication services provide extensive communication capabilities for a monthly (or annual) fee. For example, a managed communication services provider may deploy communications infrastructure to enable instant messaging, VoIP (voice over internet protocol), and video. Some MSPs also provide third-party call centre services.

Managed Network Support

MSPs that provide managed network support usually manage the entire enterprise network. In this scenario, they’ll handle your LAN, WAPS (and other connections) and manage backup and storage options.

Managed Print Services

Managed print services blend both business and managed IT services. For example, the MSP will provide the technology, remotely assist with data and file infrastructure, and (sometimes) connect to external printing services. This type of service is suitable for companies with highly complex file management and printing needs.

Managed Cybersecurity

As data breaches become the norm, it’s now critical for companies to fortify their infrastructure. But not many boast the necessary resources and personnel to achieve it. Managed cybersecurity services help even the playing field by deploying robust security technologies that are supported by real-time monitoring, 

Managed Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

While you can directly access SaaS options from a company, for example, Office 365 from Microsoft, it’s often cheaper to subscribe to through an MSP. This is because managed IT services providers often have special agreements with tech giants that enable cost savings (that trickle down to the customer).

Managed Support Services

As alluded to above, the most common service offered by MSPs is IT support services, which usually takes the form of helpdesk services. This approach provides businesses with real-time IT support without any of the HR or overhead expenses.

If your company has been digitally transformed, you’ll benefit from support services. It can also have a positive impact on your bottom line by boosting productivity and keeping costs down.

To learn more about managed services and how it can help your business, schedule a commitment-free consultation.

Equipment Destruction and Recycling

Technology is evolving at an accelerated pace. For businesses, having the latest hardware is vital to staying competitive. Failing to implement an equipment destruction and recycling strategy can put your organisation at risk of operational inefficiencies and poor customer experiences.

While staying up to date is important, it’s also essential to have a safe and ethical e-waste recycling policy. If you’re working with a managed services provider, they will have their own protocols to update, recycle, and destroy server hardware and more. However, the devices used on-premise is your responsibility.

If this process isn’t handled with care, you’ll put your business at significant risk. If enterprise equipment isn’t properly sanitised before it’s destroyed or recycled, it could lead to a data breach.

That’s why a proper IT asset disposal programme is designed to protect both your business and the brand. Furthermore, it ensures that enterprise hardware is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.

A proper equipment destruction strategy will:

  • Protect your brand value
  • Refurbish and re-market legacy devices and other assets while ensuring privacy
  • Securely destroy or recycle media onsite or offsite

Destroy Data Before Destroying Equipment

Enterprises destroy end-of-life equipment, sometimes, unnecessarily, because of outdated security policies. However, before dumping legacy hardware in a landfill or recycling them, it’s critical to destroy the data stored in them.

In this scenario, deleting the files isn’t enough. You need to take steps to ensure that the data is properly wiped clean before taking the next step. Regardless of whether it’s a PC or a PoS device, the same rules apply.

Your organisation decides the level of data destruction and recycling required. For example, if you’re a healthcare provider, you might need magnetic degaussing of computerised data.

In highly regulated industries that handle sensitive information, you may also need to have dates, descriptions of processes used to destroy data, and signatures of those who witnessed the destruction of old hardware.

However, destroying enterprise equipment shouldn’t be your first option. According to the World Economic Forum and the United Nations E-waste Coalition, about 50 million tonnes of electronic waste is produced each year. Most of this waste is either dumped in the landfills of the world’s poorest countries or incinerated.

Recycle Whenever Possible to Save the Planet

When you recycle end-of-life equipment, again, data destruction is the first critical step. In this scenario, you can leverage software that purges and wipes hard drives (and storage drives) clean.

If you engage in magnetic degaussing, it’ll render your hard drive useless. So refurbishing the device to sell it on won’t be an option. Either way, even if you decide to smash your legacy devices, you can recycle some components( and not throw it all in the bin).

After the data is wiped clean, evaluate which parts are viable for repair and resale. Whenever electronics still have something to offer, refurbish and resale is the most environmentally sound option.

However, refurbishing old enterprise equipment doesn’t necessarily have to take the resale route. Instead, you can support ongoing corporate social responsibility programmes by donating your old devices. This approach not only breaths new life into old hardware but also enhances your brand image.

Whenever you’re unable to manage this process in-house, it’s best to engage an established third-party partner. A third-party partner will have tried and tested strategies for the safe and environmentally-friendly disposal of enterprise electronics.

It’ll also ensure that end-of-life equipment is either destroyed or recycled following strict security policies. As long as they follow the Australian government’s ICT equipment sanitisation and disposal guidelines, your company will remain protected.

To learn more about establishing safe and environmentally-friendly equipment destruction and recycling protocols, schedule commitment-free consultation.

What Is the Role of a Data Centre?

In a highly digitized post-pandemic world, data centres power modern businesses by enhancing efficiency and productivity. Data centres leveraged by managed services providers and corporations are modern marvels that feature cutting-edge high-density servers and revolutionary cooling systems.

In recent years, data centres have evolved significantly and will continue to do so. What started with proprietary mainframes on on-premise servers have grown into the cloud, hybrid cloud, and cloud-native infrastructures.

The sheer demand for d cloud computing and data storage has made a wide range of services accessible to everyone from the smallest start-ups to multinationals that demand state-of-the-art enterprise infrastructure.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s define it.

What Is a Data Centre?

A data centre is a facility that helps organisations centralise their shared IT operations and equipment to process, store, and disseminate data and applications.

As a company’s most valuable (and critical proprietary) digital assets are housed in data centres, they are located in highly secure and often impenetrable structures.

A few years ago, data centres were traditionally on-premise physical servers. With the emergence of cloud computing, they’ve evolved to host virtual networks that support applications and workloads across on-premise and multi-cloud environments.

What Are the Key Components of a Data Centre?

The primary components that make up a modern data centre differ significantly, based on the business model. For example, a public cloud services provider will have a different infrastructure and security requirements than a data centre hosting a private cloud on-premise (like one in a highly regulated industry like banking and finance).

The most popular data centre models are as follows:

  • Cloud data centres (like those used by Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud)
  • Colocation data centres (where businesses rent space within a facility located off-premise)
  • Enterprise data centres (owned by companies, housed on-campus, and optimised for the end-user)
  • Managed services data centres (operated by managed services providers who allow companies to lease the hardware instead of buying it)

Since these facilities house business-critical data and applications, they’ll be able to withstand physical intrusions, cyberattacks, and natural disasters.

Standard components found is data centres are as follows:

  • Computing resources (like servers that enable processing, memory, local storage, and network connectivity)
  • Environmental control (to allow cooling, heating, and ventilation supported by exhaust systems)
  • Network infrastructure (both physical and virtualized to enable essential services like external connectivity to end-user locations)
  • Physical and virtual security systems (like biometrics, CCTV video surveillance systems, and encryption technologies)
  • Storage infrastructure (to house its most valuable commodity—data)
  • Support infrastructure (with equipment to ensure the highest availability possible or uptime)
  • Uninterruptible Power Sources (like battery banks, generators, and redundant power sources)

What Is the Purpose of a Data Centre?

Data centres are at the heart of digitally transformed enterprises. These facilities are designed to support big data and analytics, email platforms, high-volume e-commerce platforms, data storage, management protocols, and backup and recovery systems.

These facilities also support cutting-edge artificial intelligence and machine learning applications used by many businesses and government agencies.

As enterprise demands grow exponentially, data centre infrastructure will continue to move off-premise into virtualised environments that support multiple workloads and applications across pools of physical infrastructure and multi-cloud environments.

To learn more about our data centre and hosting services, schedule a commitment-free consultation.

Backup Retention, How to Set a Rotation

Backup retention strategies are at the heart of enterprise data protection protocols. However, it’s critical to choose the right rotation scheme that best suits your operational schedules. This approach helps avoid potential disruptions and downtime.

In this scenario, organisations can leverage user-written scripts or different software applications to schedule data backup, retention, and rotation schemes. But most often, enterprises, including managed services providers, use tape backups because they’re durable and cost-effective.

What Is Backup Tape Rotation?

Backup tape rotation is the process of backing up data to tapes. This approach helps reduce the number of media needed because you can reuse the same tapes for future backups.

However, it’s vital to manage your backup rotation schedule with several redundant copies. This retention method helps preserve rapidly evolving and changing file versions.

Companies need to have a robust strategy in place to determine when each tape is scheduled for another backup. Most businesses, including managed IT services providers, do this based on how long the data on it needs to be retained (before it’s scheduled for another backup).

Although the data that’s backed up most of the time is the same, enterprises can better balance retention requirements and costs by deploying different rotation and vaulting schemes.

What Are the Different Types of Backup Tape Rotation Schemes?

The right backup rotation scheme for your business depends on your specific storage and retention requirements.

The three leading backup retention and rotation schemes are as follows:

First In, First Out (FIFO) Backup Tape Rotation Scheme

FIFO focuses on backing up the newest or the most recently modified files and saves it on the oldest tape. When companies do this, they ensure that they use a backup tape with the least useful (previous) data.

When you follow the FIFO retention and rotation model, your backup depth goes as far as the number of tapes used for this activity.

Grandfather–Father–Son (GFS) Backup Tape Rotation Scheme

GFS backup schemes are popular among companies that leverage three or more backup cycles. The GFS model leverages daily, weekly, and monthly data backup models, depending on the business’ specific needs. However, these daily, weekly, and monthly backup tapes follow the FIFO rotation system.

The Tower of Hanoi Backup Tape Rotation Scheme

The Tower of Hanoi retention and rotation model is the most complex of the three strategies. This scheme follows a mathematical puzzle created by French mathematician Edward Lucas.

The Tower of Hanoi backups and tape rotation cycle follows exponential retention periods. The scheduled tape backup schedule follows a recursive pattern instead of using a large number of backup tapes daily.

For example, Tape A is used to backup data every two days, while Tape B is used every four days. Tape C and Tape D are backed up every eight days.

The idea here is that data from eight days ago can be used for restoration despite using just four backup tapes. If you use five tapes, then the backup data from 16 days ago will be available to restore data.

Backup Retention and Rotation Tips:

  • Always verify the seamless recovery of your backup data
  • Always create a version history (regardless of the backup and retention approach)
  • Always store backup tapes off-site.
  • Always have a robust management system in place

At GoHosting, we recommend that enterprises use one of the regular rotation schedules described above. They provide for different file versions and backup most applications and software packages.

The best backup and retention method for your organisation is relative to your company and business model.

If you need help identifying and deploying the right backup data retention and restoration scheme, we can help schedule a commitment-free consultation.

How Long Should You Keep a Computer?

When enterprise devices start to slow down, we fear that the end is near. While the knee jerk reaction is often to replace the whole fleet quickly, there’s a lot to consider before placing an order for new machines.

Questions like “how long do computers last?” or “how long should I keep my laptop?” are common in technology forums. But the answer to these questions is relative. It all depends on the hardware components, the software, the environment, and more.

But first, it’s important to make a distinction between consumer-grade computers and enterprise-grade computers. This is because consumer-grade computer brands compete fiercely for the attention of price-conscious customers.

They are often built with cheaper components at the lower end of the spectrum (to keep costs down) and aren’t designed to last long. For example, consumer-grade laptops aren’t meant to last more than a year or two (at most). On the other hand, enterprise-grade computers are built with cutting-edge parts and complemented by the enterprise version of the operating system and Office 365.

What Are the Signs That You’re Due for a Technology Refresh?

Slow Downs

As mentioned above, when your computer slows down, it’s one of the telltale signs that you need an upgrade. However, it’s important to make sure that a virus or Windows 10 didn’t cause it.

Update Issues

Another common indicator that it may be time to replace your computer is update issues. If you’re running into problems with every software update, it means your hardware can no longer support the application.

Multitasking Challenges

Computers are built to run multiple applications simultaneously. So whenever you run into compatibility issues, it often means that your motherboard needs replacing. In other words, whenever you experience hardware issues like this, it’s safe to say that it’s time to buy.

What Are the Dangers of Waiting Too Long to Replace Your Computer?

Waiting too long to replace your company computers will have a significant impact on your bottom line. Under-performing computers often lead to the following:

Significant Downtime

Legacy hardware and systems break down more and result in device downtime. For example, if you’re a small business and your accountant’s computer is out for repairs, it’ll delay the deployment of customer invoices.

For large corporations, even a small amount of downtime impacts interconnected activities. This often costs multinationals hundreds of dollars per minute.

Lost Productivity

When company computers slow down, it has a direct impact on employee productivity. Low productivity can cost your business more than the cost of a new computer.

In this scenario, if computers slow down and cost your business (let’s say) an hour a day in lost productivity, that equals about 20 hours every month (or 240 hours a year in lost productivity).

Increases the Risk of Data Breach

When legacy computers have issues with compatibility and security updates, the risk of a data breach grows exponentially. Whenever this happens, your entire network becomes vulnerable to a cyber-attack.

As ransomware attacks and data breaches can cripple small businesses with fines for compliance violations (and loss of brand value), it’s vital to consider an upgrade to ensure business continuity.

Lose a Competitive Advantage

If your business desktops and laptops can’t support the latest tools and technologies, you risk losing a competitive advantage in the marketplace. So it’s essential to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and strive to get the maximum return on investment.

So How Long Should You Keep Enterprise Computers?

If you get your computers through a managed services provider, you’ll already have a deal in place to replace your machines every few years. Most often, these technology refresh cycles last five years for business desktops and three years for company laptops.

Managed services providers come up with these time frames from experience. If you reach out to your network on LinkedIn, you’ll notice that other companies also work with a similar time frame.

This approach also provides organisations with discounted operating systems and Office 365 that come preinstalled. You can even bundle these managed services packages with IT support, helpdesk services, and network support.

If you need help replacing legacy office computers, we can help! Reach out to one of our in-house experts, and we’ll be happy to walk you through the entire process.

Buy a computer

Buying a Computer for Business

Helpful guide on buying a computer for Business

Why does it seem like every time you buy an appliance – TV, Washing Machine, Fridge or a Computer they seem to fail at the most inconvenient time when they are just outside the warranty period? It’s so frustrating when things fail when you just want them to work.

As with the entire IT industry, computer’s rapidly change. Over the last few years, we have seen things change from spinning disks to SSD’s (Solid State Drives), more CPU power, smaller form factors, higher resolution monitors, all in one PC’s and much more.

The majority of hardware failures we see in devices these days are Hard Drive failures and less commonly power supply failures. Generally, we see a lot more failures and issues from consumer grade machines that are built to compete mostly on price, verse business grade machines that are designed to be robust.

When buying a new Desktop Computer, Workstation, Laptop or Tablet i treat the purchase like I am purchasing a new lounge. Yes, I mean “lounge”, you know that big comfortable thing you sit on after a hard day at work with your beverage of choice. Why a lounge? Well think about it, you might spend a lot of time on your lounge or you might not, but the time you do spend on your lounge you want it to be familiar, comfortable, reliable and recline when it is supposed to, and last a long time. This is exactly what to look for in a computer.

Think about the following:

  1. How long do you want the computer to last for? A good rule of thumb is 3 years, as this coincides with the warranty period for most mainstream manufacturers (for business grade computers) – That said, I am writing this on a 4-year-old laptop that I love and has not missed a beat but yes, I do have backups and I have backup machines I can use if this fails.
  2. What are you going to do with it? I always like to over spec a little, as I want the best bang for buck and to get the most mileage out of all my new devices. I, like many people, really hate when a computer doesn’t respond or is slow, and my stress levels are important to me so I like to have a high performing computer at all time.If you are doing graphic design, then you will need a machine that can handle what you are going to do with it. It is never a good idea to buy a $500 laptop from a retailer and expect it can handle AutoCAD or Photoshop (or anything really) with any reasonable amount of performance.If you only work on cloud-based products like Xero, Office 365 via the portal and web clients, then you might get away with a slightly less high performing computer because the workload of these applications is mostly done by the servers up in the cloud.
  3. Warranty – You may or may not know, but if you buy a business grade computer from a well-known manufacturer you can generally purchase different types of hardware replacement warranty. You can even get 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 2-hour onsite hardware replacement warranty. This essentially means that the manufacturer will send a tech out to your home or business and repair or replace your device within 2 hours. Not a cheap exercise, but various options are available. Most business’ use 3-year next business day onsite warranty which is much more cost effective. Think about your needs and talk to your supplier about what you need.
  4. Features – Do you ever use the Bluetooth on your computer? What about WIFI? Or maybe you need an Ethernet port or a large amount of storage. Think about what you need and try not to pay for features you will not use. Also think about things like weight, battery life, screen size and resolution.
  5. Hard drives: At the time of writing this (September 2018), I would never again purchase a computer or laptop with an old school spinning disk hard drive. It must be Solid state disk all the way. The difference in performance is huge and not an area to cut a small amount of cost.
  6. Laptop Screen resolution: One mistake I have seen a few times is getting suckered in to buying a laptop with a poor-quality screen and low resolution. Windows 10 is simply not going to work well with a screen resolution that is not FHD (1920×1080) unless you have a screen size under 14 inches. However, if you were to by a 15-inch laptop, with only a HD 1366 x768 screen, you will be trapped, and the only option is to drop it off a cliff (as you will feel like doing) and buy something better.

In conclusion, as someone who sees many different types of PC and specs, your order of priority when buys a machine should be:

1. Specification
2. Warranty
3. Looks
4. Feel
5. Smell
6. Taste
7. ……….
8. Price

AUIT helps many of our customers choose the right hardware for their requirements.  We would be more than happy to have a chat to you about your business computing requirements.  If this is of interest to you,  please contact us at https://auit.com.au/contact-us/

Fortinet 30E – Review

Firewall Fortinet FortiGate 30E – Review

Fortinet

Fortinet 30E Managed Firewall

In our day to day operations providing IT support to small and medium business in and around Canberra, we often are tasked with installing new networks or upgrading existing networks. As part of this process we come across a lot of different networking equipment such as, Routers, Switches and Firewalls.

More recently, we have rolled out several different Fortinet products including the Fortinet FortiGate 30E Firewall.

The Fortinet FortiGate 30E is a compact unit not much bigger than your typical ADSL/VDSL router, its heavier than it looks and is a relatively plain looking device. It has a USB port, a Console Port, 1x GE WAN port and 4x GE Switch Ports.

The FortiGate 30E is much more than a typical firewall. It has many features and a lot of ability for its sub $1000 price tag. Its features include, IPS (Intrusion Prevention Scanning), NGFW (Next Generation Firewall), Threat Protection, AntiVirus Scanning, Web Filtering, DNS Filtering, Application Control, SSL VPN and even a Web Application Firewall for those wanting to run on premise web services.

The claimed throughput on this device is 950Mbps (Standard Firewall), 300Mbps IPS, 200Mbps NGFW and 150Mbps Threat Protection Throughput. Whilst we have not tested the maximum throughput, we have installed these devices in multiple locations with 100Mbit NBN connections and around 15 – 20 users without any issues.

The interface is very intuitive, and settings can easily be found, I wouldn’t say its super easy to configure for a novice, but with a little know how these devices can be deployed very quickly and very seamless.

Fortinet Dashboard

Managed Services Canberra Firewall

The visibility into network traffic is amazing once you know where to look. You can look at FortiView which provides information on traffic in and out of LAN/DMZ and traffic from the WAN interface. This gives you a good summary of the bandwidth used by device, by application, the category of the traffic and the risk associated with the traffic. You can also look under Log and Report for real time traffic, what policy is being used, application control and web filter triggered events.

Fortinet Fortiview

Fortinet Canberra Screenshot

With all Business Telephone Systems being switched to VoIP (Voice Over IP) on the NBN in Australia, it is imperative to ensure bandwidth hogs do not affect the quality of telephone calls in your business. One of the excellent features of the FortiGate 30E is the Traffic Shaper. You can assign a high priority to VoIP traffic and a minimum amount of bandwidth to ensure you clients can hear you clearly and concisely.

Business owners might also be thrilled at the ability to schedule firewall policies. For example, if you wanted to lock users out of social media except for during their lunch break, you can do this with ease with Fortinet Schedules.

Overall, we have found this device to be very stable with a high level of protection and performance. We would recommend this product to all small business who require more protection and visibility than a default ADSL / VDSL modem / router built in firewall.

The only downside of FortiGate Firewall 30E is for reporting and any logging of events outside of what is happening right now, you need to purchase the additional FortiAnalyzer. Which does have some cool features, but pushes the price of the solution up. It is well worth it if you are interested in exactly what is happening on your network.

There is an annual subscription for the FortiGate products, but not overly expensive. I can’t say this is the best firewall on the market under the $1000 mark as I have not tested them all. I can say that value for money we are very impressed with the level of protection and performance.

This is not a paid review.