Posts Tagged ‘VOIP telephones’

  • THIS works…now THAT doesn’t

    Date: 2011.11.09 | Category: About, buying new equipment, systems integration, troubleshooting | Response: 2

    Remember the Rubik’s Cube?  If you were alive in the 80’s you remember it (and if you weren’t…too bad for you).  Did you ever get four of the sides perfectly lined up to one solid color…FINALLY…only to notice the top and bottom all messed up?  Didn’t it drive you crazy?  Were you like my “friend” who just ripped the stickers off, placed them perfectly back on and called it a day?

    Cause and effect.  It’s a sometimes mind boggling and often frustrating thing that refers to the philosophical concept of causality, in which an action or event will produce a certain response to the action in the form of another event.  Here’s another example.

    Imagine that you are Farmer that raises goats.  You don’t raise the goats for fun, you raise them to earn a living, making and selling Goat’s Milk Cheeses.  Things are going along okay, until one day when you hire a new helper, but the goats don’t like him.  Unfortunately for you he’s not too smart and he leaves the gate open.  The goats take this as their opportunity to go rouge and high tail it out of there.  So, what’s a Goat Cheese Farmer to do?!

    Hire a professional Goat Wrangler to bring back your goats and get rid of the lamebrain who left the gate open in the first place.  But wait there’s more!

    Now your goats are pissed off and sure they’re back but they’ve rebelled, there is infighting and now they refuse to play nicely together.  Luckily for you, the professional Goat Wrangler that you hired knows how to not only make the goats get along…but more efficient than ever by producing even greater amounts and better tasting milk.  Sales are up, profits are up and everyone is happy!

    That’s what we do.

    As Systems Integrators we are your professional Goat Wranglers – making technology work together seamlessly and more efficiently than ever.  Why is this important?  Now I’ll give you a technology example.

    Let’s say you have a business or you run one.  Things are humming along nicely, in fact you are growing.  You then decide to improve efficiency, and thereby profits, by undergoing a major software upgrade.  So you purchase industry specific specialized software from that nice software company that you’ve heard so much about.  They take your money, blow in to install it then blow out in a hurry.  Problem is…now your hardware doesn’t work and your network is slow and keeps crashing.  So you call “Tech Support” but they only have one technician for your region and you have to wait.  Even worse, you have employees, which you are paying, that now can’t perform their job.

    The problem is that by hiring separate people to install specialized software, a phone system, CCTV cameras/security system, point-of-sale system, electronic medical records system, etc. you are looking at each problem separately.  This causes problems in itself because they are tied into your network but networks are designed to work as one (cause/effect). 

    Looking back, I never solved the Rubik’s Cube (embarrassing yes) because I approached each side separately; trying to get one side to work instead of looking at the puzzle as a whole.  System Integrators, do just that…they look at the technology puzzle as one big picture that they solve as a whole.

    Would the Goat Cheese Farmer have been better served by hiring a team of counselors to talk down each goat separately?   Expensive and not a very efficient use of their time…wouldn’t you say?

    Our advice?  Hire a technology provider, specifically, a Systems Integrator that can look at the big picture and make certain that ALL technologies for your business can and will work together in the first place.  If it can’t, discuss/plan/budget for the changes that need to take place in order to support those improvements.  Once the strategies are fully mapped out, they’ll need to have the experience an ability to make it happen.  Surprises can still come up (and you thought technology was boring) but a professional Systems Integrator is agile and can move things along to keep your overall costs down and save you many headaches along the way.

    Copyright © 2011 Help Me!!® Tech Team, a division of HELP ME!!® Computers, LLC

  • Up in the Clouds

    Date: 2011.10.11 | Category: About, business security, cloud computing, working remotely | Response: 1

    The Hidden Costs of Cloud Computing

    There is so much buzz these days about cloud computing.  You hear it everywhere, television commercials, business meetings, articles and newsletters so maybe by now you are thinking that you might need to inquire about it.

    The first thing to know is that the cloud isn’t really all that new.  For example, if you go to Facebook, bank on-line, or use Google or Yahoo for your email, then you are already on “the cloud.”  Simply said, the data in the cloud isn’t stored on your computer, it is stored on the Facebook, Google, Yahoo and your banking institutions server.  You do not have control of this data…they do.

    Some people don’t care where their data is stored, who sees it, or what happens to it…some do.  For example, if you are in a profession where the data is particularly sensitive, such as medical or the legal profession there are real consequences to a security breach.

    The cloud doesn’t have to be an all or nothing equation.  For your business for example, you might gain some real benefit from using a software application that is on the cloud.  But just because it is on the cloud (or accessed through the internet) doesn’t mean that you can’t be the one hosting it on your own server.  This is the best of both worlds.  It combines the beauty that is “the cloud” with its ease of use and access of information but the control some need to maintain by running it off of your own server.

    Our advice?

    Things you should know about “cloud” computing when contemplating if you should jump on the cloud bandwagon yourself:

    1. Internet Connection.  For the cloud to work, your internet connection must be maintained at all times.  In other words, if your internet is down…your cloud is down.  This may not be that big of a deal for you but if all of your data is on that cloud and your internet is down for more than a few minutes, it might turn into a more complicated situation for you or your business.
    2. Internet (data) Bandwidth.  Specifically, synchronous bandwidth.  For your data to reach the cloud you must have sufficient bandwidth availability through your internet provider.  This isn’t cheap.  Really not cheap and it is a vital part of making the cloud work for you.  Before moving over to a cloud hosted anything you must find out how much bandwidth you need to make it happen.  This will depend on the amount of data that you or your business uses.  So you must consider how you and your employees use the internet (video streaming, music, etc.), your VOIP phone system (if not on a separate phone line), security cameras, etc.  This clogs up your bandwidth super highway and drags down the speed and ability to drive your data to the cloud (not to mention use your phones, access the internet, etc.).
    3. Cloud Server Down = bad.  If the cloud server is down, your data can not be reached until they are back up.  Again, this could be mere seconds or days depending on the situation and it is out of your control (a scary thought for some business owners).
    4. Security.  Who is hosting the cloud?  Wherever it is hosted is where your data resides.  Who will see it?  How long will they store it?  How secure is their location?  Do they store it in multiple servers in various locations (redundancy) just in case the building burns down?  Can the data be intercepted while in transit to the cloud?  Yes, it should be encrypted, but because there are more people and businesses using the same cloud – there are more potential victims swimming in the same pool.  Making you a much more enticing target.
    5. Rent not Own.  Imagine that you rented a storage unit for your most valuable stuff for a really good price.  You saved lots of money because you didn’t have to buy a house big enough to fit it all in plus, they gave you a really good deal.  You had it there for years and years and luckily nobody stole any of it.  So now, you’ve decided that you want to cancel your lease for whatever reason.  But now the storage company won’t give you back your stuff.  Fine.  Since you’ve complained enough they’ll give it back to you but shred to pieces.  If you ever end a contract with a company hosting your cloud data, you might be able to save it or get it back from them but it will be in their format – that you no longer have access to thereby rendering your data unreadable and useless.  If you have been using a hosted cloud software application to run your business, what is the cost of not having access to all of that data (that has now multiplied significantly)?  Again, some people don’t mind this…some do.  Which are you?

    The bottom line is that if you are considering moving to the way of the cloud, for your software applications or even your server, really give it some thought.  Be aware of the hidden costs involved to truly know if it is in fact a great money saving deal.  Also, if you are considering moving your server to a hosting center, read your contract to be fully informed as to what will happen to your data and server if you ever change your mind. Weigh the benefits and the risks and talk to your trusted advisors.

    Copyright © 2011 Help Me!!® Tech Team, a division of HELP ME!!® Computers, LLC

  • Break the chains that bind you!

    Date: 2010.08.06 | Category: All, working remotely | Response: 2

    Were you aware that with today’s technology you don’t actually have to BE at your office to LOOK like you’re at your office?  Now, what if you could do that AND be more productive and efficient than ever.  Wouldn’t you want to know more?

    Being in the technology business I have access to tools that you may not know exist.  Or maybe you knew that they existed but didn’t think that YOU could use them or weren’t sure how.  “Working remotely” is one of my favorite uses of technology hands down.  See, like you, I am a busy person.  I am a wife, mother, business owner/sales person/marketer/problem solver/cheerleader, volunteer AND I actually do have a life (no matter what my kids say).  Not only can’t I be  chained  to the office but frankly, I don’t WANT to be (maybe it was my 40th Birthday last year).  So, I no longer am.  Does anyone really know that…no.  Does that mean that I don’t work…absolutely not.  You see I have created that balance that we are all looking for everyday by using technology to work for me.  (Yes, technology is SUPPOSED to work for you instead of you for it.)

    Okay, so I have some technicians at my disposal but I promise, you too can harness the power that is “working remotely” while you are on vacation, at home, waiting in the pickup line at your kid’s school, on a business trip…whatever.  If you happen to own a business or run one…you will love this technology.  From wherever…I can not only do the usual stuff like, access the company network, see who’s on it, share and send files, emails, surf the web, forward calls to my cell, check voicemail, etc. but I can also see every call that comes into my business, who answers it (or intercept it myself), see how long they are on the phone, chat live with an employee at any moment, see what employees are on the phone at any given time and to whom (in addition to whether or not they dialed it or received the call) and even see if they are AT their computer working.  Additionally, if you have cameras at your business (yes we do that too) you can even WATCH your business at any time.  So, in truth, you’d only know that I’m not present if you showed up in person to see me (in which case I’m “in a meeting”).

    Our advice? Explore what “working remotely” could do for you and/or your company to save time, reduce labor/overhead, travel reimbursements/fuel consumption, improve productivity, efficiency and moral with a trustworthy, reliable technology partner (see my blog about the cautions of remote access).

    Random DID YOU KNOW? Beware of Facebook “friend requests” – don’t be so eager to accept them unless you KNOW the person making the request.  Hackers, Phishers, and general cyber bad guys can find out loads of information through your profile, access your computer or just infect your system by your clicking the accept link through your email.

    Copyright © 2010 Help Me!!® Tech Team, a division of HELP ME!!® Computers, LLC


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