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To Control IT Costs, Control Your Technology

Clare Computer blog - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 14:17

For many companies, their IT costs are out of control. Some months, they’re low, and other months, due to unexpected tech issues, the costs are much higher.  The reason for these out-of-control costs is simple: out-of-control technology.

Technology is not something that can be installed and forgotten – it is interwoven into the business itself, and thus needs to be managed just as the business itself is managed. In addition, technology must also play a role in the business strategic planning.

Technology should not be a cost center

Handled properly, technology is not a cost center – it’s a cost controller.  Technology can enable your staff to easily communicate, gather data, process orders, analyze business trends, plan marketing, manage the supply chain, and handle accounting. With something this important, why wouldn’t any business seek to actively manage this set of tools?

The roots of the problem go back to the days when technology was applied piecemeal, to solve specific problems. One person needed a better typewriter, so they got a PC. Everyone with a PC wanted to share a printer, so that was set up. The accounting person needed accounting software, so it was installed.

Often, little or no strategic thought went into these implementations. Each one existed separate from the other, and each implementation was considered an end in itself.

The problem is, as networks grow in complexity, with an uncontrolled mix of various technologies of various ages, things start to fail, and those failures have a ripple effect. When systems fail, emergency efforts are brought to bear (and emergencies are always expensive!), with solutions intended to address just the immediate symptoms. And that cycle can go on and on, draining money and energy from the company.

Align Business and Technology

The modern office aligns technology and business. The Information Technology (IT) infrastructure is seen as a part of the business process. Expenditures and implementations are made with this in mind. Any changes, implementations or improvements are made with an eye on the big picture.

For day-to-day operations, the infrastructure is monitored and proactively managed. These practices ensure, on an ongoing basis, that the network is up-to-date, and trouble spots are often identified before they impact productivity.

This type of involvement pays huge dividends, because network downtime is expensive – over $10K per hour, according so some studies. Therefore, if bringing technology and business into alignment can reduce network downtime by just a few hours, the technology truly contributes to the company’s bottom line.

When IT service companies take on the network management for a business, it is called Managed Services.  The emergence of Managed IT Services in the past decade or so has revolutionized how businesses use technology to control costs and boost profits.

Clare Computer Solutions has been providing Managed Services through their NetCentral service for well over a decade. At first, communicating the value of this service was difficult – companies were too accustomed to the “break-fix” support paradigm. Managed Services also translates well to the hybrid onsite/cloud IT infrastructure model.  Contact us today, and find out how your business can benefit from NetCentral.

The post To Control IT Costs, Control Your Technology appeared first on IT Consulting & Planning Blog | San Ramon, All East Bay.

How Do Next Gen Firewalls Compare? The Results Are In. And we win!!!

Fortinet blog - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 00:32
At Fortinet we work hard every single day to build solutions that deliver world-class security with unparalleled value. Our teams of engineers, developers and specialists located across the globe work tirelessly to improve our current products and br...

Are iOS and Android vulnerable to the Shellshock bug?

Fortinet blog - Fri, 09/26/2014 - 07:50
While the Shellshock story is taking the media by storm, and as the reports of exploitation in the wild start to emerge, some questions about the worse-than-heartbleed infamous bug remain unanswered. "Will there be a Slammer-like worm owning half of...

Shellshock FAQ

Fortinet blog - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 10:50
Shellshock FAQ Version 1.4 - Monday September 29 12:20PDT This document will be updated and maintained as new or updated information becomes available. Continue to check this page for updates. Update: Two new CVE's have been reported in Bash that...

FortiGate Cookbook - IPsec VPN with FortiClient (5.2)

Fortinet videos - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 12:06
FortiGate Cookbook - IPsec VPN with FortiClient (5.2)
In this video, you will learn how to provide a group of remote users with secure encrypted access to the corporate network using the IPsec VPN Wizard. The tunnel provides group members with... From: Fortinet Views: 139 3 ratings Time: 05:13 More in Education

A New Version of the 3rd Generation of Pushdo

Fortinet blog - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 11:00
Wei Wang, RAP Team Jia Wang, RAP Team Jiaying Su, RAP Team First discovered in 2007, the botnet malware known as Pushdo quickly became known as one of the most prolific sources of email spam in history. At its peak, it was estimated that Pushdo w...

Desktop Backup and Imaging Can Be Invaluable

Clare Computer blog - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 14:32

In the pantheon of devices that make up a company’s IT infrastructure, the lowly PC seems to be of little concern. They’ve come down in price considerably over the years, so despite the fact that the PC is often the primary connection between workers and the network, the desktop doesn’t get a huge amount of respect.

Until one dies, that is.

A failed PC doesn’t warrant the same response (or prevention) as a server or router. And yet, it is disruptive, and often the disruption radiates outward as the workers with whom the user of the broken PC interacts find they can’t do THEIR jobs as easily, either.

So, what’s the course of action when a PC dies, or becomes too malware-laden to be useful? This is where the low cost of the device actually works against it. Any “repair” that takes more than a few hours is likely to end up costing more than a new machine. But even a new machine will have to have all the productivity software installed and be configured for the end user’s role in the company.

Ideally, nothing of value should be stored on a user’s PC. The network should be configured to that the disk drives that store the user’s working information should be mapped network drives.

But old habits are hard to break – invariably, something important is always stored on a user’s machine.

Desktop Backup and Imaging Pays for Itself

By installing technology to back up the data for each desktop along with an image, recovery time is greatly reduced.

If a PC becomes unusable due to a virus, the machine can be “wiped clean” and the backed up image and data restored in about an hour.

Similarly, if a PC flat out dies, a new one can be purchased, and the backed up image and data applied to the new machine, and productivity restored very quickly.

If you need to use the image and data backup even two or three times in a year, it will save more money than the solution costs.  Don’t let problems with a desktop machine affect your users’ productivity!

Clare Computer Solutions offers desktop backup and imaging as part of its NetCentral network management service.  Contact us today to get started!

The post Desktop Backup and Imaging Can Be Invaluable appeared first on IT Consulting & Planning Blog | San Ramon, All East Bay.

IT Technology Tips for Small Business

Windstream (Allworx) blog - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 09:02
No matter if it’s equipment, service, or new marketing tactics, technology the foundation that can provide the catalyst to help you boost your business goals. Windstream offers SMB tips for a sound technology strategy to help your small business succeed. -- Read More »
Categories: Allworx news, Latest News

Enabling Secure Collaboration and Mobility for the US Government

Windstream (Allworx) blog - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 05:55
Improving citizen-facing and employee-facing collaboration efforts is a top priority for the U.S. government. While users want the freedom to choose their own device, it is critical that the information sharing meets stringent security, reliability and real-time demands of government communications. Windstream is enabling collaboration and mobility efforts with secure solutions for U.S. government agencies. -- Read More »
Categories: Allworx news, Latest News

My Day Unbricking a Friend's Phone

Fortinet blog - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 23:00
Recently, a good friend of mine complained she had lost all her contacts and photos. "Oh, what happened" I asked. "I went to the operator's shop and they told me my phone could not be repaired. I bought a new one, but I'm so sad I lost all contacts a...

Android Botnets Email Home

Fortinet blog - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 07:08
A recent news article described email as the undying "cockroach of the Internet". To validate this statement, seeing some of the Android malware samples I've analyzed recently, malware authors might share that sentiment. In 2013, we saw the first An...

IT Trend Analysis is Like a Crystal Ball for Your Business

Clare Computer blog - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 10:16

No one likes to deal with the unexpected, when it comes to your company’s technology. If any part of your company’s Information Technology (IT) infrastructure has a problem, it has a ripple affect across the enterprise.  Production slows or stops, and everyone has to scramble to get the problem resolved, and emergency help is always expensive.

What if there was a way to see problems before they happen? Why can’t the company network have gauges and lights to indicate its health on an ongoing basis, just like an automobile?

The fact is, the technology exists to not only know the current health of your IT infrastructure, but the same tools can gather data over time to spot slower developing trends that can enable planning for problems on the horizon, before they adversely affect your business.

Measure to Manage

The company network cannot be managed if it appears as an opaque monolith. Just as with your vehicle, it’s important to know what’s going on inside, and be notified if something is amiss.

There are technology tools that can assess certain processes in key elements of the network, and thresholds can be set that will cause alerts to be sent if those thresholds are exceeded.

But live alerts, while helpful, are still creating reactive action, rather than proactive preventive action.  For that, trending data over time is needed.

Getting the Big Picture

The same mechanisms that can send alerts for trouble conditions being detected can store the day-by-day data, and that data, when viewed in a month-to-month context, can provide valuable insights into the future of the IT infrastructure.

Common examples would be CPU usage, or disk storage. A trend towards increasing CPU usage or disk storage can indicate when a server should be replaced, or upgraded, often months in advance.  This has hugely positive implications.  A server that crashes due to being pushed beyond its capacity is disruptive and expensive.  Moreover, the resulting expense is unexpected and affects cash flow.

With IT trend analysis, it can be possible to anticipate future needs and budget for them. The result is an IT infrastructure that’s more reliable, and under control.

Clare Computer SolutionsNetCentral enables your company’s technology to provide the operational feedback to stay ahead of most problems. We can help interpret the resulting data to leverage that knowledge to ensure your network is reliable, and running at optimum levels. Once NetCentral is implemented, you will wonder how you ever got along without it!

The post IT Trend Analysis is Like a Crystal Ball for Your Business appeared first on IT Consulting & Planning Blog | San Ramon, All East Bay.

Rural Health Care: Our New RHC Infographic has all the Information You Need

Windstream (Allworx) blog - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 09:08
It’s an exciting time in rural healthcare! The USAC is still offering support for the Rural Health Care Program, and has also started the first full year of funding under the new Healthcare Connect Fund. Find out more about the two main programs and which one is right for your healthcare facility with our RHC Infographic. -- Read More »
Categories: Allworx news, Latest News

Live from Cloud Partners 2014: Optimize Cloud Delivery with Cloud Management Tools

Windstream (Allworx) blog - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 13:00
What does cloud management mean to you? Expectations and definitions differ in this session: Optimize Cloud Delivery with Cloud Management Tools. But some best practices are agreed upon, and they are shared here so partners stay on top of their game when the pressure is on. -- Read More »
Categories: Allworx news, Latest News

Live from Cloud Partners 2014: The Perfect Fit: Use Cases Best Suited to Hybrid Cloud Computing

Windstream (Allworx) blog - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 09:55
Determining where to store customers’ data, applications and computing assets may sometimes prove challenging, especially with the frequent confusion surrounding private and public cloud definitions. It’s exactly because of this that hybrid clouds are becoming more popular. -- Read More »
Categories: Allworx news, Latest News

Live from Cloud Partners 2014: Building a Case for Cloud Backup & Disaster Recovery

Windstream (Allworx) blog - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 08:55
As more businesses move to the cloud, what once was regarded as a safety net for a low-probability event has now become top-priority. We’ve made a list of some essential reasons why businesses should be prepared with business continuity and disaster recovery plans. -- Read More »
Categories: Allworx news, Latest News

FortiGate Web UI Tips & Tricks - Part1

Fortinet videos - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 14:26
FortiGate Web UI Tips & Tricks - Part1
This video shows few GUI tips & tricks that will make it easier to configure and modify firewall policies. (FortiOS v5.2) From: Fortinet Views: 941 4 ratings Time: 03:37 More in Science & Technology

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