Network Services: The Apex of IT Support

Running a business smoothly requires focus and energy, not to mention time. Including the responsibility of managing a network may be over the top. Keeping in mind the fact that technology is constantly evolving, outsourcing network services is essential for many businesses. The rapid growth of networking needs forces companies to broaden their IT infrastructures. They implement top network services to gain and maintain their competitiveness on the market.

Network services are crucial for everyday business activities. They ensure internet security, constant connectivity, virus-free environment, and data back-up in emergencies. Your IT support business partner should provide specialized services. This helps ensure your network runs efficiently and without interruptions.

Broadly speaking, there are four types of network services to consider:

Email

Emailing is one of the most crucial activities for a business. Messages are sent and received, internally and externally, throughout the day. In order for the employees to do their jobs, they each must own a company email. It must have sufficient storage capacity, as well as file-size limitations. Email, therefore, is a core concern for network service providers.

User Management

When owning a business, and especially a large one, there’s simply not enough time and resources to face IT communication setback. Daily operations must run smoothly. For this reason, businesses should look for IT support firms that can act as network administrators as well, with tasks including monitoring necessary applications, monitoring file access, and equipping employees with necessary user names and passwords.

System Administration

To enable a good quality business network, minimizing the employees’ need to delve into computer maintenance, it may be wise to consider a central IT support location that is responsible for such activities. IT support that is capable of handling network services will act as a system administrator, maintaining and regulating the needed software programs for the whole office. In addition to ensuring that the business’ resources are available to everyone who needs them, network services reduces stress and gives employees more time to perform their true roles.

Printing

Shared printing is very beneficial to many businesses. With this use of a network, all office computers can print to any printer, which makes daily duties more efficient and can save a business a lot of money by eliminating the need to provide and maintain individual printers and equipment.

When a problem halts printing, however, this can cause massive delays that affect multiple users and, often, customers. IT support with network services can act fast in cases of printer malfunction. Repairs or fixes of network devices such as printers can be incredibly efficient, because staff is specially trained to deal with device issues and only a few machines need to be addressed, as opposed to individual devices for every user.

SRN Offers the Highest Quality Network Services Available

Network services reduces downtime and glitches, saves on resources, and allows efficient, expert regulation of the network’s performance. It is also a solution that streamlines data back-up and provides enhanced security. General network optimization provided by dedicated network services stimulates growth.

As a business owner, your focus should be directed towards innovation and the growth of your business. Play smart by letting experienced IT support professionals take care of the technical aspects of your mission. Let’s talk.

What IT Support Should Entail

When owning a business, it is imperative to make sure your potential IT issues are immediately identified. Otherwise, they will have an opportunity to become a real threat to your business. Downtime can be extremely costly, and data loss can be so damaging that many businesses are unable to recover. The best way to avoid this is to hire an IT support partner who can solve any IT problems.

Hiring outsourced IT support saves time and is generally more cost-effective than employing a traditional IT department. Doing so negates required IT training and certification for an in-house team. It also allows a business to benefit from top-notch services with predictable monthly fees.

Since companies of all sizes need IT support to ensure their systems are correctly installed and continue to work effectively, it’s definitely best not to cut corners with IT support. Rely on an experienced IT support provider to take care of any issues or offer practical, tried-and-tested solutions in emergencies.

Here are some of the qualities that an IT support team should have:

Experience

When considering whether to contract an IT support partner, make sure they have lots of experience. Look for testimonials from happy customers. Experience will come in handy if your business faces a major issue, such as a cyber attack or accidental loss of critical data. In such cases, a reliable IT support company will support you and minimize your downtime, reducing business disruption while getting your business back on its feet and minimizing or eliminating lost earnings. In short, make sure your IT support team can demonstrate it knows what it’s doing.

Ask for Certificates

For some people, this may sound harsh. For peace of mind (and the security of your business), however, it is essential that you work with certified, accredited IT professionals. This will mean you are 100% sure that your team has all the relevant knowledge at the beginning of your business relationship and that it will not have to improvise or waste time with trial-and-error when reacting to urgent matters.

Look for Practical Support

Whenever your business faces a technical issue, it is crucial to receive assistance ASAP. If you need to report your urgency through email or a contact form, waiting for your ticket to go through may freeze your business activities. The right type of IT support should entail an experienced IT professional who instantly picks up your call and immediately acts on finding the right solution for the issue. When your IT team can provide quick, practical responses, you can rest assured any obstacles to your business goals will be handled with minimal stress.

Prompt Reaction

Imagine having a large retail business connected to customized retail software that is responsible for all purchases and billing. Now imagine your business experiences a major network shutdown and cannot continue with normal business activities.

In such situations, a prompt IT support response is required. Downtime costs businesses money, trust, and reputation. Make sure to partner with an IT support provider that is available for immediate on-site intervention if necessary so you can always maintain your daily activities.

24/7 Availability

Many technical issues seem to arise during weekends, nights, or holidays, making the consequences even more severe. With this in mind, be sure to contract an IT support company which will guarantee non-stop availability. If your business needs to operate at any moment, your IT support should do the same.

Trust the Craftsmen with Your IT Support

IT support protects businesses and enhances their productivity. Don’t settle for getting by. Choose the best IT support for your business to ensure that it will weather any storm that comes its way and that it has every opportunity to grow. Talk to SRN about your needs, and learn exactly how we can help you.

Wireless Solutions of the Future

Can you believe the introduction of Wi-Fi took place at the turn of the century? Before this, several variations of modern wireless technology were produced beginning in the early 1970s. Although wireless technology is still far from perfect, the future of wireless solutions looks promising.

Wi-Fi becomes a Household Term

The original version of 802.11 wireless technology, the building block for current routing devices, had its introduction in 1997. Its link speeds capped around 2Mbps, equal to 0.25MB/s. To put this number in perspective, it takes 70 minutes to transfer 1GB of data at this speed.

The Wi-Fi Alliance formed in 1999, trademarking the popular radio technology. That same year, the Alliance introduced 802.11b, with speeds of up to 11Mbps. Within just a couple of years, Wi-Fi became a household term and created a global revolution.

Evolving up until 802.11n in 2009, this technology transmitted frequencies over 2.4GHz bands at speeds up to 600Mbps.

The Future of Wireless Solutions

From its humble origins, Wi-Fi has dramatically advanced. The latest advancement to reach the marketplace is 802.11ac. This technology takes advantage of 5GHz bands for transmitting signals at speeds up to several gigabits per second.

Wave 1 of 802.11ac technology replaced 802.11n in 2013. While the previous technology got businesses where they needed to be for productivity, the ever-growing Internet of things forced wireless solutions’ development further to prepare for the crowded future. Wave 1 technology can deliver speeds up to 1.3Gbps.

Wave two is the latest iteration of 802.11ac and is theoretically capable of delivering multiple gigabits per second. The technology is in its early stage of adoption, so it’s currently hard to give final numbers.

So how fast is this technology? Netflix suggests its users have an internet connection speed of 25Mbps or higher to stream movies in 4k. This means Wave 2 technology when pushed to its current limits could stream dozens of 4k videos at one time.

Beyond data transfer speeds, Wave 2 technology comes with a variety of upgrades, including security, reliability, and scalability.

Bluetooth and Cellular Data Services are other familiar wireless technologies that have grown alongside Wi-Fi. Each serves a different purpose because of their inherent technological capabilities. You can read about the advancement of these technologies here and here.

Is This the First Time You’ve Heard about Wave 2?

Wireless technologies are expanding at an astronomical rate. While we’ve just brushed the surface in this blog, there’s so much to cover. Finally, if this is your first time reading about Wave 2 technology, or you’ve never considered upgrading your current wireless solutions, you could be costing your company time and money.

 

Don’t watch your productivity decrease while the rest of the world keeps getting faster. Let our team at Secured Retail Networks help.

Ready for the future?

Get More Family Time with Professional Services

Weekends, evenings, and holidays are for relaxing and spending time with the family. But for business owners or management, they can also be a time to check off tasks that don’t fit into the regular workweek. Some tasks are simple, such as cleaning out old filing cabinets. But other chores are daunting and can lead to more frustration than just loss of time with loved ones. One such job is upgrading computer and network systems, otherwise known as professional services.

There’s no time to upgrade slow computers when the CFO must complete accounting in time for a quarterly budget meeting, so their plans for sleeping in on Sunday must suffer. Moving office spaces is hard enough, but remembering how to reconnect servers after moving can turn a morning weekend job into a 12-hour shift and a canceled afternoon trip to the park.

Stop missing your children’s soccer games and take your spouse on a date by trashing your IT hat and allowing someone else to do your professional services.

Professional Services to the Rescue

Let an IT company that specializes in Professional Services take care of you by working for you during off-hours. From removing and updating old computer systems to installing new servers, no task is too big or too small, and each service can be tailored to fit your company’s needs and budget. The beauty of professional services is they are most often one-time expenditures.

Beyond saving your precious weekends, anytime an IT engineer conducts professional services for your company, they think about your weekdays as well by ensuring your new/upgraded equipment is configured to increase productivity. If you can better manage your week’s workload, you might also have peace of mind about taking your child to the doctor midweek instead of hiring a babysitter.

IT professionals think of time-saving solutions most companies would never consider.

Imagining Life Outside of the Office

Stop thinking it will only take a few minutes. It’s not just a menial task if it involves any additional work on your part. Here’s a list of some professional services IT companies offer and what you could be doing with family instead:

  • Replacing your entire accounting department’s computers, when you could be grilling barbecue at the park with your grandkids.
  • Updating your Wi-Fi routers to Wave 2 technology, when you could be bowling with your spouse on a date.
  • Installing a digital phone system, when you could be calling your parents who live out of state.
  • Configuring your existing servers to maximize space and performance, when you could be your siblings.
  • Rearranging your company’s unsightly cabling and dropping new lines, when you could be mountain biking with your kids.

The possibilities are endless for both, but only one is personally enriching and relaxing. Let your IT engineer explore technology solutions while you explore the world outside of your office with loved ones.

The Value of Family and Professional Services

The cost, time, and knowledge required to conduct IT services varies depending on your company’s specific needs, but the value of time lost with family never changes. It’s always a lose-lose situation when relationships take the backburner for the sake of productivity.

While not every IT company sees it the way we do, Secured Retail Networks treats each client like family. Let us protect your network while you protect your time with your personal family.

Take your weekends back.

How Professional Network Services Can Quickly Help Your Business

If your business is still relying on old-school data management options like sharing files through email or thumb drive, or your local area network and aging hardware barely keeping up with your burgeoning requirements, productivity can suffer considerably. Most small businesses don’t consider the utility until they’ve already grown to the point where they need them or are suffering from a lack of quality network services. If your business is at this stage of its growth, then professional network services could give your company the jolt it needs to get back on track and continue growing to its full potential.

In simple terms, network services are applications that run on a server which allows for user recognition and authentication and communication. This basic definition encompasses a wide variety of actual uses for network services, including but not limited to instant messaging, email, file sharing, shared printing services, video conferencing, and online gaming.  In short, nearly every form of digital communication is made possible by a network service, and while it’s nearly a 100% guarantee that your office is currently using network services, it may not be leveraging them to the degree that a professional could.

What Network Services Can Do

In modern businesses, technology can sometimes feel like a drag. When employees sit down at their desk and do everything they can to avoid logging into the company network, it signifies that there may be some problem with the business’s current network services. Many companies still use archaic file sharing methods that employees don’t even use in their personal lives, and when a day at work feels like a trip to the 90s (and not in a fun, nostalgic way, morale and productivity inevitably suffer.

Professional network services can be powerful tools for businesses that are looking to streamline communication and productivity and can make the digital landscape within the office much more user-friendly and intuitive. Many communications platforms can be customized to meet the needs of organizations.

When it comes to network services, it’s best to trust a professional. IT is an increasingly complex business; in a best-case scenario, your current capabilities may only need tweaking to yield dramatic results. On the other hand, sometimes businesses can take advantage of sweeping overhauls to their technological capabilities and procedures to achieve their potential. Regardless, investing in them is sure to aid your business for years to come and prepare it for new growth. Consequently, settling for mediocre network services can lead to stagnation, cultural problems, and lost productivity.

Let Us Craft Your Network Services

The best IT service providers are ready to get their hands dirty building your network and helping your business reach new heights. We’d love to sit down with you and discuss how our personalized IT offerings can help your business grow.

When You Know It’s Time for a Technical Support Specialist

Some people feel they don’t really need a technical support specialist to help them maintain the tech in their organization. That’s fine, they’re free to feel that way. But when they start to notice certain things within their own business, it might be time to reconsider and look into a technical support specialist. Let’s look at a few.

When Your Machines Turn On You

Allegedly, we’re still a few years away from true AI allowing computers to self-manage, but that doesn’t mean your current setup will always cooperate. We believe computers don’t have feelings, but are we really sure about that? Is it just happenstance that every time you are rushing to meet a deadline, THAT’S the time your computer decides to do one of the following:

  • Lock up
  • Run a “required update” and reboot
  • Dddddrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaggggg assss sllooooowwwwlllyy assss posssssibbbblllle . . .

Coincidence? Maybe. Or . . . maybe you said something to offend it and it just doesn’t feel like playing nice-nice with you anymore? It could be nothing. But you’d best have a technical support specialist, just to be sure.

When Your Current IT Guy is Stumped

It’s a bad sign when your IT equipment simply refuses to function. It’s an even worse sign when your IT guy is as clueless as you are about how to fix the problem. It’s worrisome when your handsomely paid IT support person’s range of technical repair knowledge consists of:

  • Control+Alt+Delete
  • Reboot
  • Blowing in the vents
  • Hard reboot
  • Jiggling the wires

After all this, if your IT guy’s solution is to say, “Well, you need a new computer,” it’s time to look into hiring a technical support specialist.

When Your Technology is as Old as You Are

If you still see the value in your “perfectly well-functioning computer and printer setup,” even though it’s – as you may put it – “a few years old,” you’ll likely be amazed at not only the amount of productivity you can gain from upgrades by your technical support specialist, but also at the refreshingly reasonable amount you’ll pay for their services. If you have any devices that include:

  • Commodore 64
  • Apple IIc
  • Amiga
  • Windows 3.1
  • DOS (as one of your MAIN operating systems)
  • A dot matrix printer with perforated spool paper

You definitely need to speak with a technical support specialist.

It’s Your Lucky Day! Secured Retail Networks HAS Technical Support Specialists!

Don’t let trivial things get in the way of your company’s success. Let us sit down with you and figure out how to take your business to the next level. And, if you’re really still using any of the previously mentioned systems, we’d love to see them!  . . . annnnnd then replace them. Let’s talk.

“Technical Support Specialist” Defined

There really is a pretty big difference between your everyday, run-of-the-mill “IT guy” and a technical support specialist. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the differences you’ll typically see (or SHOULD see) between the two.

A Technical Support Specialist Makes Recommendations

While your average IT guy may likely say, “Buy what you need to run your business, and I’ll take a look at it,” then follow up later with, “I’m not familiar with that, so it’s outside of our support spectrum,” – a technical support specialist will listen to your needs, then make suggestions as to which software or program will likely help you to best accomplish that goal. Often, if they’re unfamiliar with any of the software which would best help you, they will take the time to study up on them in order to not only make the best recommendation about which you should utilize, but also so they can support the software for you moving forward.

A Technical Support Specialist Handles Issues Proactively

Some IT guys let licensing and compatibility issues go until they stop your work dead in your tracks. Their solution? “Open a ticket and tell us what the problem is. We’ll get to it.” Meanwhile, you’re sitting at your desk, twiddling your thumbs while your competitors enjoy continued productivity. With a technical support specialist, they get alerts for issues before you do, and can usually handle them remotely before they even evolve into a problem on your end. If they see one of your hard drives starting to fail, they can come by, switch out the hard drive, restore the data from backup, and you’re back in business in no time.

A Technical Support Specialist Watches Your Network Like a Hawk

Suppose you have a terribly important presentation you’re scheduled to deliver in the morning. At 3am, you wake up with an incredible idea you need to add to the presentation. So, you hop out of bed, connect to your network, and start adding it. Five minutes later – ZOT! – your network goes down. Frantically, you call your IT guy, who is – not surprisingly – asleep, and none too happy to hear from you. However, with a technical support specialist, they are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If your network goes down at 3am and you need it back up, they probably already know about it before you can even call them, and are likely already working on the problem. Suddenly, you’re back online, you’re back to work, and you present an amazing presentation the next morning.

SRN Only Staffs Technical Support Specialists

With Secured Retail Networks, all our techs are technical support specialists. Morning, noon, or night, it’s our job to ensure you’re always up and running. Let’s talk about what we can do for you.

Cradlepoint Saved Me!

Written by: Todd Dorn, Sr. Information Security Engineer at Secured Retail

Cradlepoint saved my butt! While performing regular upgrades on a distributed remote network for a client, I ran into an issue where the firewall at one of the sites would not boot up. I was able to immediately use the Enterprise Cloud Manager (ECM) to log into the Cradlepoint at this site and then use the serial connection to view the firewall’s boot sequence. I found a bad image and used it to break the boot sequence, soon forcing the device to boot up with its backup firmware and image.

The Cradlepoint device deployed at this location, with its remote console Out-of-Band Management, served as a secondary secure path to the downed firewall. It significantly reduced the downtime at this site to 30 minutes compared to a full business day it would have taken to resolve this issue otherwise with legacy troubleshooting methods. We would have had to ship a replacement unit immediately and then dispatch a technician to the site which would have been a $250 field service call at a minimum. Cradlepoint empowers us to save time and money spent managing network issues and ensures business continuity at our clients’ distributed remote locations.