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In today’s business, technology seems to be advancing at an alarming rate. Just when you think you’ve got the latest and greatest tech; something is developed that makes your new tool seem antiquated. Nowhere is this more evident than in the management of your IT.
As the tactics have changed over the years, the technology has changed with it. We thought we would outline how the industry has changed over the years and discuss some of the technology used that we use and how we are always trying to improve the ways we streamline the management and support of your business technology.
For an IT service provider, managing projects is the name of the game, and is typically one of the most difficult parts of the job. For most of the past decade software developers have attempted to create tools for businesses to use that make project management easier. By integrating innovative time and task management tools, we can easily set guidelines for success, and keep your team working effectively until a successful conclusion to a project is made.
Much of the innovation has been in the way that we’ve dedicated to documenting everything. We utilize a slew of tools to manage our everyday support responsibilities, scheduling our technicians, maintaining our communications with you, and keeping track of projects, but without our massive internal library of best practices and documentation, repeat issues would be a real problem.
It goes much further than simply having an archive of all of the problems we’ve solved though—we document absolutely everything and tie it all together based on the hardware and software in use. Here’s a perfect example:
Let’s say that a few users on your network report weird slowness issues when accessing certain files on the network. We spend time troubleshooting the issue, and it turns out to be a particular access point. Six months later, it happens again. We’re able to look up the history of support for that particular access point and use the data from past support tickets to more rapidly determine a solution or make the decision to swap out the access point.
This makes it so remedies for oddball issues rarely have to be started from scratch, and it’s a huge part of keeping things running smoothly. We also thoroughly document model and serial numbers, warranty information, installation info, product keys, and a whole lot more to ensure that your network can be audited at any time and support is as effective as possible.
One of the biggest differences between IT management of the past and today’s current IT services environment is the presence of so many automation tools. Larger organizations have benefited from many of these tools for a while now, but for the small and medium-sized business, it has been difficult to consistently manage and maintain hardware and software resources.
With more businesses using multiple tiers of computing: some locally hosted and some cloud-hosted, it is important that there is at least a basic understanding of how these systems interrelate. Today’s monitoring and management tools are getting smarter, making it easier for us to automate certain tasks. This ensures that we can not only manage your whole organizations’ computing infrastructure remotely but allows us to ensure that any inconsistency is remediated quickly to avoid problems with production. Today’s software also provides a level of transparency that wasn’t possible only a few short years ago. With data driven insights that provide the information needed for well-informed decisions regarding growth and maintenance to be made, resources can be made available faster, allowing your business’ pace to hasten.
For example, let’s say that every PC on your network needs to have a certain suite of software tools that all employees need to have access to, as well as certain network configurations. We would establish what software needs to be installed and create an image to rapidly deploy it to new workstations that are added to your network in the future.
One of the core responsibilities that we have is to ensure that we are on top of the latest developments in IT security; and today’s IT security is much more complex than it’s ever been. Today’s IT administrators need to cover a lot of ground including networks, servers, workstations, mobile devices, and the Internet of Things. On top of that, it is their responsibility to implement policies and procedures that work to protect a company’s IT assets. This all must be done without grinding production to a halt. It can be a major challenge.
Many of today’s most secure companies use a variety of dynamic security tools. Outside of outfitting companies with the standards, like antivirus, we can utilize enterprise-level software to get a high-level security view of network traffic as it is and over time. This exposes unauthorized traffic immediately and allows professional technicians to eliminate risks before they can become problems. Much like how we originally brought enterprise-level IT solutions to smaller businesses over the last several years, we’re doing the same but for cybersecurity solutions today.
Along with monitoring traffic, we’ve always utilized solutions that give them a top-down view of how each piece of hardware is functioning to keep problems to a minimum. To keep an organization secure, all of its IT needs to be working in concert and needs to be sufficiently managed. Cybersecurity is going to become an increasingly major issue for businesses of all sizes, and we strongly feel it is our responsibility to be at the forefront so we can offer the compliance and security that our clients need.
Today’s IT departments are complex and require complex tools to manage. At Preferred, we pride ourselves on delivering IT services and support that will positively impact your business’ ability to succeed. Call us today at 708-781-7110 for more information.