4 Ways to Avoid IT Downtime

Avoid computer downtime

Technology is a wonderful thing, but what happens when the IT stops working? In today’s world IT is a necessity. Unfortunately, this means when downtime inevitably hits, you have a BIG problem.

Maybe it’s from a malware or virus attack, a bug in the system, hardware failure or something else… Whatever the cause, the impact is real and measurable and you need it fixed ASAP. Research firm Gartner, reports that 43% of small businesses close their doors right after a major data loss, and only a tiny 6% survive long term. The financial cost of each hour can be in the thousands, and the damage to your brand could be irreparable. While downtime will occasionally strike every business, there are things you can do to minimize the duration, frequency and interruption to your business.

Taking a few simple actions now may result in your business staying open while your competitor gives up.

1. Use monitored antivirus and firewalls

While most businesses have these protections, not all have embraced the idea of monitored antivirus and firewalls. Instead most small business setups have more in common with a home network than a robust professional system. Given that SMB are a primary target for malware and cyber-attack, you should seriously consider moving to the monitored versions. Our experts set up custom protection to block all attacks, both known and emerging. All updates are taken care of and company-wide protections applied.

2. Have backups you can count on

A backup can not only protect you from digital threats like viruses and ransomware, they also protect you against physical threats like robbery, fire or natural disasters. The last thing you want is for your business to be crippled by data loss. A robust backup system can be as simple as asking our team to take care of it, or if you have an on-site technician, using the rule of 3: one backup on the server, one unplugged from the server, and one off-site. If anything ever goes wrong, you’ll be able to pull up the most recent backup and continue as normal. Businesses without good backups tend to be down for days, if not weeks. You also need to regularly test your backups to confirm they are working and also backing up the correct data.

3. Planning

Nobody likes to think about their business flooding or being hit with ransomware, but do you and your employees know what to do if the worst happens? Having a comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan helps you get up and running quicker and  minimises downtime. Everyone knows what their role is, what steps they need to take, who to tell and which systems take priority.

4. Monitor hardware for early signs of problems

Computer hardware is like any piece of equipment – when it’s getting old it will let you know! This could be anything from making noises, being louder or slower than normal or even system crashes. Each symptom is your early warning sign that allows you to take action before a crash that sends everything into downtime. We can even implement hardware monitoring to look for signs of impending issues. If the signs point to imminent failure, we can let you know and often repair or replace the affected hardware with little or no downtime.

Downtime is an unavoidable part of all modern businesses but your preparation can dictate whether it goes for one minute or one week and how often it happens. According to one study, most firms experience 43 hours average downtime per year, a number much too high for most peoples comfort. While scheduled downtime can sometimes be unavoidable, your business will appreciate being able to skip the panic of surprise downtime events. Reducing your risk is the best action you can take, making downtime a truly rare occasion. Even better, our Proactive or Managed Services can take care of this for you, stopping many downtime events before they occur.

Talk to us about ways to reduce your downtime. Contact us today on 08 8326 4364 or at support@dpcomputing.com.au.

Outsourcing vs Proactive IT Support – What Is the Difference?

Outsourcing Vs Proactive Support

Outsourcing has become a dirty word. It implies that you are taking jobs and work offshore or giving up oversight over a key part of your business. Proactive It Support or Managed Services (or MSP – Managed Service Provider) is the complete opposite of that and is a local solution. Your business already looks for help in various places, hiring consultants, agencies and other contractors, all so that you can focus on running your business. Proactive IT is simply another of those specialized services, designed exclusively to help with your technology needs.

A True IT Partner

Our team act as partners dedicated to achieving your business success. We are able to analyze your strategic needs to tailor IT solutions specific to your business requirements. We work hand-in-hand with you to design, implement and maintain your IT and keep you involved at every step of the way. We will also be up to date on industry news and where relevant can apply it to your business so you don’t lose your edge. When new software versions are released, we can help you make informed decisions about whether to upgrade, stick with current version a little longer or switch to an alternative. You will have a true partner on your team that’s always looking out for you and your business.

Better Results

Since our team get to know your business so closely, we are able to ensure all your tech support and maintenance is handled quickly and without disruption to your daily running. You will be able to keep your employees on task while our experienced technicians work through the issue, often remotely so the response is quick and disruption is kept to a minimum.

Visible and Accountable

Unlike standard outsourcing where you lose control of certain elements and are left to hope for the best, Proactive IT Services are completely transparent. You can get reports on the status of your computers or networks, the number of support tickets we’ve answered and exactly what we’ve been doing to keep your technology up and running. This level of visibility also means you’re able to see IT trends across your business and make strategic decisions to improve productivity and efficiency.

It Is A Local Solution

All of us have called a support number and found ourselves stuck in a frustration loop with an overseas call center. It is almost the entire reason outsourcing has earned a bad name. Our Proactive IT support service is actually a local service, a real-life business near you who employs local people and supports the local economy. Keeping your IT support nearby means you can get the tech assistance you need, with local knowledge, and customer service standards that make the process easier.

You Stay Protected and Prepared

Part of any Proactive or Managed IT service is to ensure your computers, network and digital devices are secure against threats. This means updates, patches, scans, tweaks, backups and system maintenance are all done for you. Your employees no longer have to worry about making time for these tasks and you don’t have to worry that they are getting skipped and opening up your systems for possible attacks. This level of proactive support ensures problems are stopped before they can occur and your business is able to keep on functioning. If anything ever goes wrong, your IT provider will have prepared disaster recovery and continuity plans so that you are up and running asap.

It Is Cost Effective

With Proactive or Managed IT, you will be able to reduce infrastructure costs very quickly as your IT partners are able to recommend better, faster solutions such as cloud storage and mobile technology. Instead of replacing hardware and software when things break, your IT experts will present plans with multiple cost-saving options and strategies. These can often extend to licensing and training too. Productivity improves as the technology begins to work with your processes and employees, not against them. Predictable costs are important to every business, which is why Proactive or Managed IT is the right choice. You’ll know your monthly expenses are capped, and you’ll be able to avoid expensive surprises.

Considering Proactive or Managed IT? Then reach out to us today on 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au.

How to Get the Right Tech for Your New Business

getting the right tech

Congratulations on starting your new business! Costs can easily escalate and tech is often one of the bigger expenses. Just the sheer number of technologies available can overwhelm and confuse you. The latest tech has amazing features you didn’t know you needed, and suddenly your budget has gone skywards!

So how do you get the tech right for your business, without all the headaches and drama?

Do You Actually Need It?

Using a cloud application may mean you can skip the big server purchase and the ongoing maintenance costs of a server. Many line of business applications will have a cloud option that allows you to get all the benefits without the big upfront expense. So before you make the hardware purchase, look at what applications you require and whether a cloud version will suit your needs. You may be able to start with a basic package and expand to new versions as your business grows.Things to consider include: do you require remote access, will you need collaboration, do multiple users require access. This level of detail can be overlooked and causes expenses to spiral.

Get Professional Advice

It is easy and cheaper to ask friends and family what their recommendations are, but there are many more factors to consider than just their personal preference. Of course you can trust their input but they may be speaking from a consumer perspective, basing their recommendation on brand loyalty or on how another business does things (which may not be the best business model). As every business is different and matching the correct technology with the business can save you a lot of money and time in the long run.

Buy Business Grade

The majority of computers and laptops you see in the big department stores are not up to business standard. They are designed for home users to perform quick tasks and not run a full 8 – 12 hour (or more) a day workload. Business grade systems have additional features that your business needs, plus longer warranties and better support. Even attached peripherals like network switches and printers are built to a higher standard, to last longer and perform better.

Prioritize Flexibility

Businesses grow and evolve during their first few years and the last thing you want to do is go out and buy new tech, playing catch-up and cobbling together an assorted mismatch of devices. Your new technology should be as flexible as your business, which means making purchasing decisions based on business strategy and not just on price. Perhaps this means instead of workstations for employees, they may only need tablets or rather than having a fixed point of sale system, you might choose mobile checkout devices so your staff can assist customers on the go. These two examples highlight how easy it is to commit to certain tech because it is ‘what you do’ but later discover you’re locked into a certain way of doing business. Trying to change business processes down the line impacts productivity, efficiency and culture in a big way, so we recommend buying with your future success in mind.

Choose A Trusted IT Partner

During your initial set up and growth, you will need an IT partner who can not only help with your purchase strategy but support you through any problems as they occur. That is the difference between a partner and a supplier, a partner is committed to driving long-term business success for you.

You can call on your partner and know they are immediately up to speed with your business, they know how IT can help leverage your competitive advantage and which critical systems they should focus on.

Getting good technology in place shouldn’t be seen as just an expense. It improves your productivity and allows you to serve your clients and customers better while enjoying consistent growth.

If you need an IT partner to help your business grow, give us a call at 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au.

Why You Shouldn’t Let an Amateur Loose on Your Network?

Amateur Computer TechnicianMost of us know a fair amount about computers, even kids are soldering electronic circuits and doing programming courses in schools – but does that make everyone an IT guru? Most workplaces have an employee they can turn to for basic computer troubleshooting. Yes they have skills, but they often know just enough to be dangerous if let loose on your business network.

Casual IT skills are learned on home computers which are very different to a professional business setup. When something goes wrong on a home computer, there is no drastic impact if parts need to be replaced, data is lost or it stays down for a week or two. In a business setting, every problem costs time and money and can create a domino effect throughout the entire network. Would you gamble the success of your business with a non-professional who did a quick Google search? You wouldn’t let someone be your lawyer purely on the fact that they can deliver a good argument, nor would you let someone perform surgery just because they saw it in a video on YouTube! Businesses have unique, specialist IT needs that to go beyond amateur computer skills and there is always a lot more money and time at stake.

Designing a custom backup solution for your business is a particularly interesting area. While most home users skip this part entirely, an IT professional has seen (and recovered) all manner of situations and will use that knowledge to ensure that if the worst happens to your business, you are safe and the data can be recovered. This could mean anything from having a complete copy of your drive stored securely in the cloud or drilling down to backup only the most important data. An IT expert is equipped to help you identify the value in each piece of data and implement a plan so robust that if your business is ever hit by disaster or breach, downtime and any losses are kept to a minimum.

If a disaster ever does occur, like fire, flood or theft, would an amateur know what to do? Who to call? These situations are so charged with tension and panic and making a wrong moves can lead to more damage. A professional helps design continuity / disaster plans, which show exactly what should happen, who should do it and in what order. It takes out the guesswork during the mayhem when issues occur and minimizes downtime. Perhaps more importantly, the expertly written disaster plan will include a complete risk analysis so that you know in advance in what areas to strengthen your protection. It also includes a business analysis so you know which systems are dependent so you can stop the domino effect, plus know the legal / contractual & financial impacts and so on.

Your IT professional will also help ensure your business is meeting any regulatory requirements. Many businesses are subject to strict data rules set by the government. These regulations change often and demand increasingly more attention to data security, with hefty penalties for businesses that fall behind. Professionals are constantly in the loop around upcoming revisions and how to best comply with little to no disruption to your daily business. Part of ensuring your business is safe means staying on top of security, software updates and patching multiple computers at the same time.

The best option is to run the updates before employees arrive for the day, and since the process can take a few hours and be quite fiddly, it is generally not something amateurs will prioritize and thus they can tend to forget them. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with recent cyber-attacks, delaying a security update can lead to disaster. Engaging an IT professional is a cost-effective solution that keeps your business running, growing and earning.

Let the professionals manage your tech the right way by calling us at 08 8326 4364 or at support@dpcomputing.com.au.

eBook: 6 Business Problems You Can Solve With A Single Phone Call

6 Business Problems You Can SolveProactive Support or Managed Services can solve many problems in your business, while at the same time opening up a world of growth and cost-saving opportunities. This eBook explores six specific ways your business can benefit from outsourced IT management, with an emphasis on helping you compete and innovate.

 

We have written a free eBook that explains how you can solve 6 problems and improve your businesses growth.

Click here to subscribe to our monthly newsletter and access your copy of this book – don’t worry we won’t share your details and you can unsubscribe at anytime. If you are already a subscriber and would like a copy please email david@dpcomputing.com.au. You will also receive a free copy of our other great eBooks including the following so sign up now!

  • Is Your Old Tech Dragging You Down?
  • Spectre and Meltdown: How you’ll be affected.
  • 10 Tips to Stay Safe Online
  • Digital Transformation – What’s In It For You?

4 Smart Reasons You Shouldn’t Have In-House IT

In house IT.It can be tempting to hire an in-house IT technician to take care of your network and set them up with a cozy office just down the hall, but is it the right decision for your business? If you are like most businesses, you’re always on the lookout for ways to save money while improving results. Sometimes this means expanding your staff to include a team of tech specialists to be at your beck and call, but this can often be an unnecessary expense that leaves you with highly paid employees twiddling their thumbs when not needed. For SMEs who are looking for the best of both worlds, we recommend Managed IT services.

Put simply, Managed IT is our solution which gives you that team of specialist technicians and network experts, without the ‘quick, look busy’ element – and at a fraction of the cost. Naturally, you’d rather see your IT budget working to support your growth and be kept as low as possible. That is our focus too, and why we don’t simply maintain and repair your systems, we proactively monitor to avoid downtime and work with you to ensure your IT increases productivity and efficiency. Whether you already have in-house IT staff and are auditing the value or are curious about what having external IT support might be like for you, we have put together a few factors to consider before making your choice:

Availability: Most employees work 9-5, but what happens if something goes wrong with your systems outside these hours? Your in-house technician won’t appreciate being woken at 1AM and being called in for an emergency. It is more likely that they simply won’t answer the call (or “hear” it), or if they do, expect some hefty contract renegotiation come the next business day. Managed IT is very different as we are ready for after hours issues and have support technicians ready. We know that every minute of downtime is affecting your revenue, plus your business reputation, so we prioritize getting your systems up and running ASAP. As a bonus, with our Managed IT these types of disasters are rare as we are constantly monitoring and correct and problems before they become an issue.

Total cost: One of the things that may have attracted you to having an in-house technician is the cost. Yes, you may be able to pay them a lower hourly rate but there are extra costs like hiring, training, sick leave, holidays, ongoing training and superannuation. Once you start adding up the cost of an in-house technician, you may find it is eating up your IT budget and leaving you scrambling to fill gaps you didn’t expect. Upgrades get delayed, opportunities missed, and IT expenses become a sore point. In comparison, Managed IT is one fixed monthly rate delivering enormous value, including access to specialists with a wide range of knowledge and experience.

Ongoing Training: Putting aside the fact your technician will often spend entire weeks away upgrading their skills and leaving you scrambling for support while they’re gone, those training costs quickly add up. With a salaried technician, you will have to pay all their ongoing training and certification costs (including travel and accommodation costs for industry conferences). We know how important it is to remain current, certified and skilled in new technologies, so we spend the money to invest in our technicians so that we can serve you better. We are also part of industry related associations and attend multiple conferences each year, all at our own expense (saving the end clients money).

Different goals: For most employees, a higher wage is the goal and many move jobs to achieve that. You may spend time and money training a salaried tech only to see him move on to a better paying job. In these modern times, switching jobs regularly is expected, with an average of only 3 years in each position. Considering how much it cost your business to acquire, train and upskill your technician, 3 years is an unreasonable ROI. Unlike an internal staff member our goals couldn’t be more different – we only aim to keep you a happy customer for as long as we can!

In the end, your business needs to find the right balance between profit and expertise. When you partner with our Managed IT, you’re securing availability, ever-increasing expertise and a commitment to your success. We work closely with you to provide the very best support and protect you against costly disasters by taking preemptive action to keep you safe and operational. There’s no doubt Managed IT is a better decision than hiring an in-house technician, and we’d be delighted to prove it to you.

Talk to us about Managed IT for your business. Contact us at support@dpcomputing.com.au or at 08 8326 4364.

How to Maintain Your Computers and Network (Without Lifting a Finger!)

Computer maintainance

For a device that’s supposed to make life easier, computers involve a lot of work! As there is so much to keep track of most people forget the routine maintenance that is needed until it is too late. Of course then the damage is already done. Critical business data can get lost forever in a crash and information gets stolen in a hack. It’s a bit like closing the gate after the horses have already fled. This is where proactive people come out on top. Thousands upon thousands of businesses around the world are using managed services to put computer and network problems firmly behind them. It’s a done-for-you maintenance program we offer, and here’s why it is the best choice for your business:

  1. You’re always up to date. It seems like every other day there is some new and urgent update waiting to be installed. Whether they are patching security flaws or adding new features they seem endless. Even if the updates install automatically, they tend to do it at the worst possible moment and do you actually know if it will break something else in your system?. Using our special managed services software, we can make sure your computer’s updates are all finished and done – before you sit down to use it. As part of our service, we also make sure all updates are compatible not just with your hardware, but also with your other software. After all, updates are supposed to make you computers more secure and more enjoyable!
  2. You’ve got super anti-virus. The best anti-virus is the one that’s up-to-date and running, yet you’d be surprised how many people switch it off, never let it update and / or let the subscription expire. While you might be in the habit of scanning files and browsing safely, others in your office might not have the same priorities. Having managed services ensures your anti-virus is always running and dealing with any viruses it finds. As soon as a new virus becomes known, we make sure your system is actively protected against it. We can also monitor for cyber-attacks and alert you before they become a problem.
  3. Your hardware stays healthy. While a reactive person is always stuck without a computer when hardware fails, proactive people with managed services have already had the problem fixed. Our special software monitors the health of your hardware, eg, your hard drive, looking for early warning signs of failure. If detected, we can let you know in advance. This means you’re able to get it repaired at your convenience, making sure no files are lost and no other hardware is damaged in the failure.
  4. You never miss a backup. The worst part of a crash isn’t the financial cost, it’s losing your data forever.  Whether it is a report you have just created, a recipe handed down for generations or a novel you’ve been working on for longer than you’d care to admit, managed services ensures your backups are working correctly. Backed up files are ready to go when you are, and losing files to corruption, failure or theft is a thing of the past.
  5. Support is a call away. Just got a new printer and it won’t play nice? Got a weird error popping up? Your laptop won’t talk to the wifi? Our remote support team can help with whatever technology issue has been annoying you and wasting your time. No nonsense advice is just a phone call away, and our team can remotely connect to diagnose and fix any problems. This means you can likely skip the cord shuffle and carting your computer into the shop and get your most pressing computer issues fixed fast.
  6. You’re always optimized. Whether your computer is actively playing up or not, our monitoring service can keep in touch with your event logs, services and processes and look out for anything that needs correction. This means we’re effectively stopping problems before they get to you, making sure that when you sit down to use your computer, it’s doing exactly what you want.

Put computer problems behind you – get managed services today. Call us at 08 8326 4364 or at support@dpcomputing.com.au.

Here’s How Managed IT Can Help Save Money In Your Business

Managed Services

When it comes to running a modern business, technology is always a growing line item in the budget. Costs can creep up every quarter, along with a new learning curve for simply keeping everything running along smoothly. It is no wonder then that budget restrictions for IT were recently found to be a universal concern for small and medium business.

You are balancing the outlay of maintenance with replacement, plus securing against a steady stream of threats – all while making sure every dollar gives you maximum return on investment. It even sounds exhausting! What typically happens is the tech budget gets stripped to a bare minimum, hoping nothing unexpected pops up and everything keeps moving along nicely. After all, everything is working just fine and that money could make a real difference elsewhere… except as soon as an IT emergency strikes, that tiny budget is obliterated and you’re left to either limp along with insufficient technology or have to dip into another budget area.

Now imagine if budget wasn’t an issue. Imagine that all your tech expenses were predicted and capped, and you got everything you needed without resorting to financial magic tricks. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Put simply, that’s how a Managed IT Service works. It’s a service designed for businesses with a limited budget who don’t have time for tech issues. For a fixed price each month (which is no doubt less than you’re thinking), you get a team of IT technicians actively monitoring your systems in order to catch issues before they occur, repairing problems on the fly, and ensuring your business is always as secure as possible. Included as part of your Managed IT Service, you also get expert business consulting around the solutions you need now, which solutions will help you rapidly scale, and which technology you don’t need. All for one predictable, fixed price each month. It even gets better with the following benefits:

Reduced downtime and associated revenue loss.

Forget scrambling while systems are down, with Managed IT Services you’ll know which tech is failing and can proactively repair or replace before it impacts your business. Downtime is planned or minimized and your staff are working on what they are supposed to be doing instead of being interrupted by technical dramas.

Your efficiency will skyrocket.

Currently you have probably been responding to your IT events in a ‘firefighter mode’, essentially dealing with problems as they arise and switching to new, improved equipment only when forced by a system failure. With Managed IT Services, problems are automatically reported and optimal solutions designed in advance. Even the small issues that have been slowing your business down and limiting progress come to light, ready to be solved for greater efficiency.

You will be secure against data loss.

Whether you’ve been following the news and worrying about the next cyber-attack, or you are working with confidential customer or proprietary data, your Managed IT Service has you covered. Our technicians secure your business against attack using the latest technology, full backups, software updates and leverage every drop of their know-how to keep your valuable data safe.

Learn know how Managed IT Services can benefit your business – give us a call on 08 8326 4364 or at support@dpcomputing.com.au.

WannaCry Ransomware Explained: Is Your Business At Risk?


With all the media attention last week you would be hard-pressed to not of heard about the WannaCry cyber-attack. Businesses of all sizes and even hospitals and police departments found themselves crippled with out warning.

Here in Australia we looked to have missed a large part of the attack due to the time zone differences and the fact that a kill switch was found for the malware. We shouldn’t rely on these factors going forward though. This articles details what the malware is, why it caused so much damage and how to protect ourselves moving forward.

What is WannaCry?

The WannaCry cyber-attack was a type of malware (the collective name for malicious software which includes viruses, worms and spyware) called ‘ransomware’. Just like the name suggests, it actually demands money from the owners of the computers infected. Like all ransomware attacks, WannaCry encrypts your files and holds them hostage until payment is made –  in this case, the price was set at $300 payable with the internet currency Bitcoin (and you had 3 days to pay before it doubled). If you don’t pay the ransomware threatens to permanently delete all your files. It is not yet known how much money the WannaCry hackers have earned with their latest attack – but you can be sure that plenty of people have paid the ransom. Even the FBI recommends paying the ransom – especially if the ransomed files are of a sensitive nature or weren’t backed up.

How It Spread So Fast

WannaCry self-replicates and spreads. So far, no common trigger has been identified, as is normally the case with phishing links (a phishing attack needs to be activated – usually with a click). WannaCry moved rapidly from system to system, spreading out through the entire network, including all connected backups and storage devices. At the same time it infected other networks, who then spread it further and further. Given the nature of the internet it had spread widely within hours.

Why Some Businesses Were Safe

WannaCry took advantage of a specific vulnerability in Windows of which Microsoft patched months ago. Thus only systems that have fallen 2 months behind in their Windows updates were infected. Without that patch, the ransomware could waltz right past the firewall, past the anti-virus and directly into the system (the NHS were reportedly running Windows XP – which is no longer supported by Microsoft). Those running Windows 10 or a fully patched, recent version of Windows were completely unaffected as the virus literally had no way in

This outbreak shows the importance of staying up to date with security patches on your systems. We haven’t yet seen a second spike in WannaCry attacks yet, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be one. A quick Windows update could protect your business from weeks of downtime and lost revenue making attacks like this a non-issue.

With our regular maintenance plans we can make sure you stay up to date and protected. Give us a call today at 08 8326 4364 to discuss ways we can help your business stay safe.