This is the second in a series about the concept of Zero Trust, which means in the IT sense that you trust nothing and always verify everything surrounding and connected to your network. Today’s discussion will be on the vendors you purchase network equipment from.
Trusted vendors are those who supply workstations, servers, routers, switches, power protection, software, and anything else connected to your network. Here are some questions that you should be asking yourself:
Do you know who makes your network equipment, servers, computers, and software?
Do you know the way to contact their support and have current account access information?
Do you have current warranties / support contracts on hardware and software?
Is the hardware able to perform at the level needed?
Are you purchasing software from those who meets industry standards?
If a subscription, how much are you paying and are you on the correct plan for your needs?
When is the last time you upgraded your software and hardware?
Have you budgeted for the next upgrade?
Take time to think about these questions and decide where changes can be made to better protect your IT investments, or contact us to do the thinking for you.
Farmhouse Networking continues to make strides in providing our customers with the best, most cost effective, and environmentally friendly computing experience possible. Part of that process is what has come to be known as Lifecycle Management. Each piece of hardware has an expected amount of time in which it is cost effective to use and support it. Once this time frame has been exceeded the cost of supporting the device becomes greater than the cost as shown in the following graph:
FHN Lifecycle Management
So the question remains what to do with the old computers when the time comes to replace them. Previously here in Grants Pass, OR we could support a local charity by taking them to Southern Oregon Aspire to have the computers dismantled and hard drives shredded. Now that their doors are closed we are stuck with dropping them off at the local dump, but what if you could make money while being responsible with the environment?
Farmhouse Networking is now partnering with a company called Arcoa, who do just that. Here is what they do in their R2 rated responsible recycling facility:
“We help you recover value from retired electronic equipment through responsible methods of reuse and recycling. Resale offers the best potential for value recovery, but the fast pace of innovations in technology and short product life cycles can limit equipment’s potential for reuse. From there, the best option may be to recycle the items in an environmentally friendly manner. We’ve built a robust de-manufacturing process to offer additional options for asset value recovery by disassembling equipment for commodity grade materials, which can be diverted from landfills and be used to create new materials.”
Hard drives will be electronically wiped, magnetically degaussed, or shredded based on need. The rest of the parts will be dismantled and sold with part of the profit returning to your company to help offset the cost of buying new computers. What could be better than making money on the buy?
If your company is heading towards a hardware refresh, then make the environmentally sound choice by contacting us for assistance.
As we work on finishing our 5th year in business, Farmhouse Networking continues to enhance its offering to our clients and improve the way we do business. Each one of these changes is carefully researched and painstakingly implemented to make sure that impact on end-user experience is minimally invasive. Here is a list of the major changes taking place now:
New Customer Documentation: We have been using a new document management system to securely store information about our clients networks, create standard operating procedures on how we specifically care for individual clients, and keep track of passwords for all the things that need securing. This will keep our staff and backup techs apprised of all our customers equipment and standard operating procedures so that things get done right.
New Maintenance Software: After much market research to improve our current system of auto-magically maintaining customers computers, we found something better. It took some negotiations with them but we got the price down to close to the same, so there will be no increase in price. Just better software to serve our customers with. We can now monitor more of the network and in a deeper way so that there is even less possibility of downtime due to computer issues.
New Employee: You read that right. Farmhouse Networking has officially contracted with our first employee. The work load has finally reached the point where occasional help from my family is just not enough. Peter deGreyt will start work on Monday, November 11th, 2019. He has previously worked for another local managed service provider and graduated from Southern Oregon University with a degree in business analytics. His first contact with many of you will likely be to input customer information into our new document management system.
If your company is interested in working with a company that takes IT seriously, then contact us for assistance.
As small businesses change and grow, the ability to quickly scale up — or down — becomes a necessity. Adding new employees, for example, requires the company to adapt its phone system to accommodate the need for more lines.
That is harder to accomplish using traditional on-premise telephony systems due to higher setup and maintenance costs, the need for hardware on-site and reliance on IT support. A cloud-based phone system, on the other hand, would enable small businesses to manage communication services in a less costly, more streamlined and agile manner.
Benefits of a Cloud-Based Phone System
1. Fully-Integrated Communications System
Business tools that operate in the cloud are easy to deploy, enabling employees to stay connected whether they are in the office or on the go. In this way, the cloud provides a consistent business presence and helps to increase productivity with seamless access to CRM tools, email, instant messaging, voice and videoconferencing.
2. Control Over Modes of Communication
A cloud-operated system puts businesses in the driver’s seat, allowing them to pick and choose what features they need, with access to turn them on or off easily. Also, cloud solutions give employees anytime, anywhere access via a smartphone, desk phone or softphone to all their calling features.
3. Top Line Business Features
A cloud-based phone system would give small businesses access to the types of network applications that one would typically find at larger corporations. These include features such as a Virtual Assistant, Auto Attendant, Never Miss a Call or Call Center solutions.
4. Mobility and Ease of Use
Today’s workplace is increasingly mobile, and small businesses especially need to be able to operate from multiple locations. With a cloud-based system, small business employees have access to features that allow them to log in from anywhere so that they can be reached while on the go, giving customer-facing and revenue-producing employees greater control over their productivity.
5. Time Management and Efficiency
Web-based customer portals enable IT staff to manage their system more efficiently. With insight into the installation, service configuration, trouble tickets, training, billing and call analytics, this full access to a customer’s system and account allows them to spend fewer resources on project management and focus more on work that adds to the bottom line.
6. Flexibility to Scale Up (and Down)
As a business grows, so does the need to hire new employees, open new offices and onboard new customers. This requires a communications system that can scale up — or down — as the need arises. With a cloud-based phone system, businesses can add as many extensions as they need to accommodate heightened call volume, or, if necessary, simply call in to deactivate these extra extensions. Unlike traditional systems, businesses only pay for the extensions they need for as long as they need them.
7. Business Continuity
Working with a phone system “in the cloud” allows businesses to remain connected to their customers no matter the environment. A cloud-based communications system is likely to be unaffected by outside factors such as severe weather or other issues that may keep employees from getting to the office.
8. Improved Customer Service
With the Virtual Receptionist (VR) or Auto Attendant feature, businesses can easily direct calls to various departments and even create greetings unique to a given department. For example, a business could set up a holiday greeting in advance (via the administrative portal) and pre-set it to revert to the non-holiday greeting on a specified date. It could also add an on-hold message about special promotions or commonly asked questions.
9. New Service Features Added Easily
During busy seasons, some businesses will add premium calling features to increase call-taking efficiency and maximize staffing. Call Groups, for example, allow incoming calls to ring on multiple extensions. Call Queues provide a “dynamic waiting room” for callers that let businesses customize the on-hold experience and better manage call volume. Both help to decrease voicemails, missed calls and busy signals, enabling service to as many callers as possible.
10. Cost Savings
Cost savings are another benefit of cloud-based phone system. Moving telecommunications off of PBX platforms and to the cloud can be less expensive relative to monthly service rates versus that of a traditional system, helping to reduce costs and, ultimately, increase profitability.
If your company is looking to reap the benefits of moving to the cloud, then contact us for assistance.
Give your business freedom from hardware constraints with the agility and functionality of cloud computing.
Cloud requires no upfront costs, which makes it an operating expense rather than a capital expense. Your business will benefit from predictable monthly payments that cover software licenses, updates, support and daily backups. Cloud technologies provide greater flexibility as your business only pays for what it uses and can easily scale up and down to meet demand.
Moving to the cloud enables your business to no longer pay to power on-premises servers or to maintain the environment. This significantly reduces energy bills.
Finally, for those concerned with security, cloud data centers employ security measures far beyond what most SMBs can afford. Your company data is much safer in the cloud than on a server in their office.
Move your business to the cloud ahead of Office 2010 and Windows 7 End of Support!
If your company is looking to make the move to cloud, then contact us for assistance.
Technology as a Service [TaaS] enables organizations to procure the latest hardware, software, and services, without the expense of a large, upfront purchase. With TaaS, it’s easy to configure and deploy an all-inclusive solution to meet all of your needs, for a single monthly payment.
Orders can be fulfilled from a wide variety of new or refurbished equipment, and can include cloud software, services, and tech support – all in one monthly invoice.
Realize lower total cost of ownership [TCO] with payments spread out over time, while still enjoying the latest technology to meet the business needs of today.
Once a contract is up, the equipment can be returned or purchased at a reduced rate. Or, you can simply extend the contract – in some cases, month-to-month.
Simple–Experts help to make product selections.
Variety–Choose from a wide range of hardware, software and services
Flexible–Ability to choose short-term rentals provides maximum flexibility
Upgrade to newer, faster equipment at the end of the contract
Easier to budget expenses more effectively with a recurring monthly invoice
No up-front capital expenditures means lower TCO over time
More flexible financing options so you can tailor your payments
Easier to implement hardware initiatives as needed without waiting for funding
Reduce the risks associated with owning the technology
If your company is looking to upgrade to the latest technology or just doing a hardware refresh, then contact us for assistance.