Storm Preparation for your Technology

Storm Preparation for your Technology

Contacting Us disaster planning News

With a huge blizzard descending upon the Northeast here are a few tips to prepare your business’s information technology infrastructure.

Turn off your computers (even better, unplug them)

During storms the loss of power is very common. When the power is eventually restored a power surge can occur damaging electronics. Make sure your employees turn off their desktops and unplug them from the wall if possible. Double check that your network gear is protected by a UPS or power strip. While you are at it, run a battery test on your UPS devices (there should be a button on them for this).

Check and protect your backups

Make sure your last few backups were successful. If you use media for your backup solution (e.g., tapes or other removable media) make sure they are in a safe place just in case disaster strikes (e.g., flooding or other physical disaster). If you have a fireproof safe that should do it. If you use a cloud provider make sure the last backup report was successful. Just a note, you really should be incorporating a cloud solution in your disaster recovery planning. Pricing are reasonable and not having to worry about getting your company up and running after a major event is worth every penny. Wireguided offers a business level cloud backup solution which will allow you to sleep well at night.

Have an updated contact list for your critical employees

Make sure you have an up-to-date list of employee home and mobile numbers if their expertise would be needed in the event of a disaster. Mobile numbers are important because even in the event of power failure (aka no Internet) you can reach the people you need to.

Remote Access

With large storms it is hard to predict when business will resume. Each day your office is closed is productivity (and money) lost. Make sure you have a remote access solution for your business to allow at least some level of work to continue even if all your employees are stuck at home, or on a beach in a much warmer climate.

If you need any assistance Wireguided is always here to help. Our emergency contact number is 781-679-0660, ext 1.

Good luck and stay safe.

-Tim

Mobile Phone Survey Results

Mobile Phone Survey Results

mobile News

On May 23rd we sent out a one question survey asking folks what type of mobile phone they use. The intention of the survey was to see what business men and woman were using for their mobile device. Thank you to everyone who responded. There were some interesting results which we will get to in a second. Ninety-two people responded to the survey which provided a pretty good sampling size.

The Surprises

What was the most surprising result of all? 13% of respondents do not have smartphones. In this age of constant communication it is significant to know that a portion of the workforce is possibly ‘out of the loop’ when out of the office, at least as far as electronic communications are concerned (email, document access, etc.). The other tidbit was that only two people reported having separate phones for business and personal use. For a business owner this means that control of your internal digital communications is not stored on devices you control. What happens to your confidential business communications (e.g. email) when a personal mobile device goes missing? For an employee, you may not realize that when connecting your phone to your company’s email system you may also be granting your employer permission to remotely lock and/or wipe clean your phone (bye bye personal photos). These are issues for a future article.

[quote]For an employee, you may not realize that when connecting your phone to your company’s email system you may also be granting your employer permission to remotely lock and/or wipe clean your phone. [/quote]

The Winners

Not surprising, the top two phone types were the Apple iPhone (45) and Google Android base phones (27). This backs up up recent market share studies which show Apple controlling between 36-59% of the US mobile phone market (depending on which statistic you read). Android devices also control a large chunk of the mobile arena. Unlike the Apple iPhone various manufactures release Android based devices with different feature sets. Some better than the current iPhone (4S) and some worse.

The Losers

The results of our little survey also were consistent with what is happening in the marketplace. Both Blackberry and Nokia show dramatic little usage. Only 8% of respondents use a Blackberry and none reported phones made by Nokia. These once mighty companies have been left behind as they could not keep up with the technology advancements by other companies. As contracts expire we are seeing businesses dump Blackberries en mass.There was also only one reported Microsoft Windows phone. Microsoft is getting back into the mobile market but expect to see a bigger push when they release their new mobile software at the end of the year (about the same time Windows 8 is released for PCs and tablets)

Conclusion

While the sampling size was small is is interesting to see how employee owned devices are now the new normal for businesses. While the current market share numbers were really no surprise it will be interested to see once the next generation of the Apple phone (iPhone 5, Sept/Oct 2012 release) and Android top level phones( Samsung Galaxy III / HTC One X) go head to head if these numbers will change.

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IT Skill Shortages Hamper Profitability

IT Skill Shortages Hamper Profitability

Budget Savings News

A survey, conducted by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) online between December 15, 2011 and January 23, 2012, asked 502 managers in the U.S. about skills shortages inside their IT departments, the impact of those skills deficiencies on their organizations, and how they attempt to address their IT skills shortages.

Over 90 percent of respondents reported that the level of skills their IT staff had did not meet the company’s need.

  • Over 40% said this skill gap hampers productivity.
  • 30% said it impacted customer service.
  • 39% said it affected their ability to protect themselves from cyber attacks.
Another key figure is that 43% said budgets deficiencies were a cause of this skill gap. If your business is in a similar situation it may be time to talk to Wireguided about employee training, IT Outsourcing, or a departmental analysis to help determine where improvements and cost savings can be made.
For more information please contact us at 781-679-0660.
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Can you hear me now? Good!

News

Over the past few months we have been hearing from you, our customers, about issues with reaching us via phone. Dropped calls, voice mails not being received, and other phone related problems. Our internal troubleshooting has come to the conclusion that our existing phone system is just not up to snuff anymore.

Instead of trying to fix it we are tossing it out the window and installing a brand new, cutting edge, voice response system. The following are the biggest changes coming in about 4 weeks:

  • Single number for everything – Our existing office number, (781) 679-0660, will not be changing. Instead, we will be eliminating all other numbers.
  • Better connectivity –  Dialing an engineer’s extension will now be forwarded to where they can best be reached (mobile, home, etc.). In addition, voice mail messages will now be within the system (instead of on the mobile phone) . This allows other support members access to messages if the person is out of the office.
  • Enhanced emergency response – When dialing the emergency response extension all support engineers’ phones are rung. In the instance where nobody is available to pick up the call, voice mail messages are now sent as email to all technical support staff. Engineers receive a text message as well.
  • Streamlined menu options – We have flattened out our menu to be just one level. No more pressing 1, then 2, then 3.
  • Dial by name directory – Simple (and now working) dial by name option.
  • Improved audio – You will now be much better able to hear the menu options.

We will be sending out more notifications as we get closer to the cut over date. We hope these changes will improve our response times and make it easier for our clients to reach us.

UPDATE (11/29/2010): Cutover is scheduled for Dec 7th.

End of XP – Oct 22, 2010

News

If you look around your office, you will notice that most (if not all) of the computers are running Windows XP. On October 22nd Microsoft is ending the ability of OEMs (Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc.) to sell new computers with Windows XP preinstalled. Is your business ready for the transition to Windows 7? Let’s explore what you need to know.

A recent survey showed that over 80% of business PCs are still running XP. That means your employees are use to the ‘look and feel’ of XP. It also means all your applications work on Windows XP. Windows 7 is a new in both look and operation. This means that you will need to prepare your employees (training) and make sure all your software will still work with the new operating system.

Issue 1: Licensing

Up until Oct 22nd, 2010, companies can buy computers with XP preinstalled, but with a Windows 7 license. This is called the ‘downgrade option’. Any new computer purchased after June 26th, 2009 with Windows XP, should have an available Windows 7 license. Before purchasing any Windows 7 upgrades, inventory your systems and find out how many Windows 7 licenses you may already have. You can then contact your hardware vendor for Windows 7 upgrade information if you already do not have it.

Issue 2: Software Compatibility

Applications that work in Windows XP should mostly work in Windows 7 (if it runs in Vista, it is almost guaranteed to work). However, older software or industry specific applications may have problems. Contact your software vendor and find the compatibility status of your current applications to make sure they will work in Windows 7. Upgraded versions may be needed so prepare your budget for new software expenses. If your business critical software will not work in Windows 7 you may still be able to run it if you have Windows 7 Pro. Windows 7 Pro has something called XP mode. It is a virtual machine which runs a full XP operating system on top of Windows 7 (XP desktop and all). You will need to test this however and your mileage may vary.

Issue 3: Training

Windows 7 has many performance and usage improvements. However, there will be a learning curve that your employees will need to be prepared for. Depending on the size of your business you should either set aside training classes, prepare some documentation on the new features and usage, find some training videos (Hint: Click here), or a combination of the above.

Issue 4: Rollout

After doing the above steps, you will need to determine how to roll it out. The options usually are all at once (make sure you have great training and support ready) or in drips and drabs. Depending on the size of your business you will need to see what works best. If your business is large enough I recommend a small beta group of users to work out the bugs before switching everyone over.

If your business has any questions or needs help with the transition to Windows 7, please contact Wireguided.

-Tim

Wireguided enters the Cloud!

Wireguided enters the Cloud!

Budget Savings News

Wireguided LLC is proud to announce that we are now offering hosted solutions for Email, Intranet, Sales Management, Business Communication and Disaster Recovery.

Why Cloud Services?

Cloud Services (aka hosted, aka Software as a Service/SaaS) allow an organization to have the services and solutions of large businesses without having to purchase or support  the infrastructure (servers & software).  Also, businesses looking to have secure remote backups or shrink their IT footprint should consider this solution.

How does it work?

Instead of spending thousands on hardware and software licenses, companies pay a small per user fee. In the case of  our remote backup solution, the fee is based on how much data is stored. Wireguided has a 30 day no questions asked refund policy on all our hosted services (except remote backups). We offer a 99.99% up time guarantee on all services.

What is offered?

Wireguided is offering a broad range of IT services that meet the needs of businesses large and small:

  • Microsoft Exchange – Industry leading solution includes Email (built in Spam/Anti-virus), private /shared calendars,  and contact lists. Free Outlook 2007 client with each account. Mailbox sizes start at 5GB. Additional services such as Blackberry /ActiveSync support and compliant archiving are available.
  • Remote Backups – Backup your data, from servers to desktops, in a secure off-site location. All stored data is encrypted and meets all state and federal regulations (SEC, GBL, SOX, HIPPA). A free local backup is included and the process is fully automated. No need to swap tapes anymore.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Improve your sales management. CRM software allows you to manage existing customers, prospects, and support teams. More info HERE.
  • Microsoft Sharepoint–  Sharepoint allows your staff to collaborate via the web in order to share documents, run blogs, intranets, wikis, and more.
  • Microsoft Office Communication Server – OCS provides a secure, private, and legally compliant method for instant messaging and 1-to-1 video. OCS integrates with Outlook and Sharepoint and allows for conversations to be saved and free/busy status to be provided.

To see if a cloud service solution is right for your organization or to get pricing please contact Wireguided.

Email: info@wireguided.com

Phone: 781-679-0660