Fentons are often asked what can be done to minimise the cost of Business IT Support Services?
The answer is Effective IT Maintenance
Essentially there are two costs associated with IT outages; the cost of repair and the cost of lost revenue.
The cost of repair is usually easy to define, if it’s broken it needs to be replaced or requires parts and labour to fix it. The cost in lost revenue is harder to define, it could be the cost of employing staff that are unable to work or worse still the cost of losing important clients!
We recommend businesses consider the following money saving tips:
- – Replace old IT equipment
- – Ensure all essential hardware has warranty cover
- – Get the IT network right
- – Make sure your business IT support and security is up to standard
- – Have a disaster plan for your IT
When to replace old kit…
When technical equipment is old things go wrong! We recommend a 5 year replacement cycle for almost all hardware, apart from laptop/tablets, where we encourage a 3 year cycle, simply because they get knocked about a bit when being moved.
If a device stops working so do staff! If it’s a PC, they may be able to jump on another computer, but if it’s a server then the office is down and everyone’s waiting for things to be fixed. That’s paying wages with no work being done!
Are hardware warranties really worth the money?
We don’t recommend purchasing hardware warranties for every IT purchase, but it’s essential that items such as servers, routers and network switches are warranty protected. These devices keep all employees productive, if any of these devices fail, generally the entire network is down!
Most hardware vendors offer 3 years as standard, and extensions up to 5 years, most business IT support warranties ensure same day replacements and prove a very worthy investment.
Why is our network always so slow?
If staff are noticing speed issues then either the server, network switches, internet or PC’s are not up to the job! and a business is not being as productive and efficient as it could be. The likely causes of these performance issues are:
- – When a server was installed it was right for the business’s needs, now things have changed; there are likely to be more staff now or new software has been installed making things slower
- – The IT infra-structure was the best at the time, or it was all we could afford, it’s probably time to upgrade and invest in something more professional
- – Technology is always moving, new software needs new hardware and vice versa
Making the right IT purchase is an investment, a recent example where Fentons increased productivity in a client’s business is when upgrading a client’s server with faster SAS hard disk drives. Spending an extra £600 ensured the business could access its database in seconds as opposed to minutes! Staff are now far more productive and generating more money for the business, the £600 investment paid for itself in days
Old 100mbps speed network switches are slow compared to the 1000mbps (gigabit) network switches that are now commonplace in businesses. If a company has large files on their server, investing in faster network switches will dramatically improve file opening times.
Security saves money!
Computer viruses cost businesses vast amounts of money in downtime and labour expenses, it works out far cheaper to invest in adequate hardware and software to prevent such security outbreaks. As our lead engineer Oliver says..
“The simple solution is good antivirus, good firewall and good passwords keep things safe!”
Antiviruses are not all equal some products detect only ‘genuine viruses’ or claim to protect against malicious software and then don’t! ESET is a great product because it can be relied upon to detect things that are malicious and a threat to your network. Unfortunately even with the best products, the only way to detect certain Malware infections is to scan with several different tools making your computer slow and unstable. This is why we recommend SonicWALL products!
You get what you pay for with firewalls. Fentons recommend Draytek and SonicWALL, Draytek Firewalls are a solid reliable firewall that’s adequate to keep most attackers out.
SonicWALL Network Security Appliances are Next Gen Firewalls are designed to respond to threats as they enter your network. SonicWALL’s extra security services are part of an annual subscription that puts the cost above that of the Draytek, but these services include industry leading antivirus and anti-intrusion features.
Plan for the worst!
If a disaster recovery plan is well thought out and has been vigorously tested, then it’s possible to quickly get a business’s IT working again in the event of fire or theft.
Investing in a DR plan is pointless unless it’s tested, in fact the only way to create a reliable DR plan is to carry out a disaster test case scenario. Fentons have experience in Business IT Support Services and can help any businesses interested in saving downtime and loss of earnings.