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Press Start Ltd Blog

Press Start Ltd has been serving the East Anglia area since 1996, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Increased Network Complexity Necessitates Shifts in Monitoring Strategies

Increased Network Complexity Necessitates Shifts in Monitoring Strategies

Businesses of all sizes have come to depend on their IT for productivity. IT administrators that constantly monitor their network and infrastructure reduce downtime, leading to higher resource availability. With the increasingly complex makeup of an organisation's network this becomes quite the task.

What Makes a Network Complex?
First we should mention that computers are complex machines and if you’ve ever tried to fix one without the specific knowledge it takes to do so, you more than likely ended up like everyone else who has tried, and called a professional. The traditional computing network was made up of centralised servers, end points in the form of workstations, and some networking equipment that allowed these machines to communicate with one another. Adding the availability of the Internet to that equation makes the network much more complex, mostly due to the breadth of the Internet as it exponentially increases your business’ exposure to threats.

Expanding that even further with the growing number of endpoints on a network due to the deployment of wireless networks that connect all the smartphones, laptops, and tablets to the network; and, all the other connected devices that are out there today... there is a lot of ground to cover. That’s not even considering virtualised data, cloud platforms, a website, and other higher-bandwidth applications such as video streaming or communications systems.

Network Monitoring Best Practices
Before we start listing ways you can monitor your network and infrastructure more effectively, we should mention that as trained professionals, we recommend entrusting your network monitoring to people who are versed with the makeup of your business’ network and infrastructure. Our managed IT services platform is a perfect complement to a large complex network filled with potential problems.

5 Monitoring Practices to Consider

  1. Pay Attention - This goes without saying, but by keeping the health of your network at the top of your list of priorities and monitoring components in real-time, you can be more proactive in fixing issues before they become downtime-causing problems.
  2. Find an Overreaching Solution - By integrating an end-to-end monitoring strategy, it gives you the power to coordinate efforts and present technicians with one version that they can act upon. Find a solution that handles both wireless and wired networks, virtual and physical environments, databases, and applications and supports all necessary protocols and languages to be able to monitor any device or program.
  3. Optimise Bandwidth - Data flow bottlenecks can absolutely hinder your business’ ability to utilise all the tools effectively. Monitoring bandwidth levels can bring about favorable results.
  4. Prepare to Scale - For the modern business, scalability is key. To ensure that the staff of your business has access to the productivity systems they require, being able to scale up or back depending on the situation is essential.
  5. Ensure Your Solution Is Flexible - When you choose a monitoring platform, be sure to choose one that doesn’t have inflexible licensing models as you need it to be able to work across all types of devices and applications.

The IT professionals at Press Start Ltd are experts and monitoring and managing business networks. Call us today on 01638 603204 to find out more about how we can help you run a more efficient business with technology.

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Why It’s Great that Managed Services are Managed

Why It’s Great that Managed Services are Managed

One of the key benefits of managed IT services is right in the title. It’s managed, meaning that you don’t have to worry about maintaining or configuring your systems. Many small businesses see these kinds of advertisements out in the world but don’t necessarily understand what services are being marketed to them. We’ll take a deep dive into what you can expect from “managed” services for your organisation.

Defining Managed Services
Managed services are any services your organisation takes advantage of that aren’t managed directly by your company. Perhaps the best example is comparing it to the way the average consumer uses their email. Let’s say you use Gmail as your preferred email service for personal use. Do you manage the mail server running Gmail? Probably not, making the average Gmail user a patron of managed services. If you think about it in this sense, any service that your organisation doesn’t manage on its own could be considered a managed service.

In the case of managed IT services, the term “managed” means anything that’s not hosted on your infrastructure or maintained by your on-site employees. This can be anything from cloud-based data storage and web applications to entirely hosted hardware infrastructures that are accessed virtually through the cloud. If you can think it, you can build it the technology infrastructure of your dreams, without all of the frustration of managing and maintaining it on your own.

The rise of managed IT services has its roots in break-fix IT, where businesses would take their technology to a specialist in order to get issues resolved. This approach meant that they didn’t need employees to maintain the technology on-site, but it also came at a steep cost. Break-fix IT companies would take advantage of businesses that came to them in this fashion, taking care of immediate problems without taking measures for the long term. This meant that businesses would often experience even more issues without addressing the overarching problem, leading to wasted dollars and wasted time.

Now, back to the “managed” part. When a business isn’t managing its own IT, they don’t have to worry about these issues because they are being addressed by a company that A.) Knows how to take care of technology, B.) Takes proactive measures to ensure issues don’t reoccur, and most important of all, C.) Can save your business precious time and resources that can be better spent on other tasks. Imagine having enough time to invest in new outreach initiatives for potential clients, or finally having enough in your budget to not only invest in new technology solutions but implement great ways to increase your bottom line.

Press Start Ltd specialises in providing small businesses with the managed services they need to stay competitive with larger organisations. Managed services often come at a better price point than hiring an entire internal IT department, making it an attractive option for both businesses that don’t have resources to maintain an on-site infrastructure and those that have enough of a staff to manage one, but not enough to maintain it properly. We can either supplement your current help or function entirely as an outsourced IT provider. All you have to do is reach out and ask what we can do for your business.

To learn more about the managed IT business model, call us on 01638 603204.

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A Better Way to Be Rid of Old Cables

A Better Way to Be Rid of Old Cables

Are you drowning in old computer cables? Do they sit in a drawer and take up space? Chances are that you’ll have quite a lot of old cables that are sitting around collecting dust due to your organisation picking up new devices that come with even more new cables. Sure, you might think you still need that old 25-pin serial cable for that legacy scanner from 1997, but it’s probably time to let go. While there is some merit to keeping old cables around just in case, the proper alternative to throwing out unneeded cables is to recycle them.

Take an Inventory
First, you need to see what cables you have on-hand. This includes cables, wires, and adapters. Basically, keep an eye out for anything that might be of value to your organisation. This doesn’t mean to hoard them rather, keep an eye out for anything that could potentially be useful, but not obsolete in the near future. For example, smartphone chargers with USB Type-A and Type-C cables might come in handy for travel or to keep as spares for staff.

Recycle (Don’t Discard) Your Unwanted Cables
If there are any cables remaining, you should always, always recycle them rather than throwing them in the bin. Modern computer and video cables are typically made out of valuable materials, such as copper and gold. On their own, they might not be worth much, but if everyone recycled their old cables instead of throwing them out in the bin, it would have a pretty large impact.

You can reach out to Press Start Ltd for assistance with getting rid of your unneeded and unwanted hardware. This goes for more than just cables if you have anything at all that you simply don’t need, we’ll take it off your hands.

For help with recycling your unused technology, give us a call at 01638 603204.

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Tip of the Week: Why You Shouldn’t Just Kill Power to Windows

Tip of the Week: Why You Shouldn’t Just Kill Power to Windows

There’s a big difference between turning off any other appliance, like a stereo or a television, and turning off a computer. A computer takes much more time to shut down than your average device, but why is this the case? Is there a way to speed up this process? This tip will explain these processes and provide some ideas for how you can make this process much faster.

Why Shutdown is So Slow
Let’s take a look at this process as a whole. As a computer is running, there are many components that are doing different jobs. When a computer (or any computing device, like a phone or game console) is shut down, it needs to follow a procedure to make sure data doesn’t get lost. A full shutdown will aim to minimise damage to internal components, empty the RAM, wipe the virtual memory on the hard drive, remove all cached data, close all open applications, and turn off the operating system.

If your computer shuts down without going through this entire process, it could cause file corruption or other damage to its contents that could create issues.

Steps to a Proper Shutdown
It’s important to remember that even though there are a lot of different stages to the shutdown process, but it should go pretty quickly.

The first step in this process is that any applications that are opened are checked to make sure that the data has been saved. If not, the process is interrupted to inform the user. The computer then initiates a sequence that shuts down all services and programs, and it has to confirm that they have indeed been closed before eliminating any unneeded program data. A log is made of anything strange happening during the process, so the user can consult it later. All users are logged out of the system and the computer shuts down on an operating system level. Once this happens, any updates are installed, and the machine is turned off completely.

Speed Up Your Shutdown (and Startup) Times
There are ways your business can improve shutdown speed, but they are somewhat complex and difficult to do on your own with limited IT experience. This is why we recommend working with a provider like Press Start Ltd to make the process easier and more efficient for your organisation. We can help your organisation make sure that the shutdown process is as streamlined as possible. The same goes for your computer boot times. If you or someone on your staff has a laptop that seems to take forever to ‘wake up,’ there are steps we can take to investigate why and resolve it.

We recommend that your computers get restarted regularly (based on their performance) so as to help the computer keep itself in top working order. To learn more, reach out to us at 01638 603204.

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The 3 F’s of a VoIP Solution

The 3 F’s of a VoIP Solution

Communication is pivotal to the success of your business, but it’s hard when you have a telephone system that seems like it was built for an age long past. A modern telephone system that utilises the cloud is the ideal way to approach collaboration in the workplace. You have some options for this, but the easiest to take advantage of is a cloud-hosted Voice over Internet Protocol solution.

Compared to the traditional telephone system, a VoIP phone solution provides substantially more freedom to go about your business as you see fit, as well as the flexibility to adjust needs on a whim and the functionality you expect from an enterprise-level modern phone system.

Freedom
If all you’ve ever known are corded desk phones with a limited reach, then you don’t know the heightened experience of putting on a wireless headset and taking your business on the road. Traditional telephone systems are limited in scope because you’re tied to your desk or within a certain radius of your handset. VoIP phone systems can be used on any connected device, be it a desktop, a laptop, or even a mobile device. Since it’s a cloud-based application, your business can make use of it wherever and however it pleases.

Flexibility
When you implement a traditional telephone system, chances are you have a specific setup in mind that caters to your current needs. Now imagine that your organisation is growing at a staggering rate and you don’t have enough phones for everyone. Knocking down walls, running cables, and changing your physical infrastructure just to add a few phones to your network is an overly complicated and expensive process. A cloud-based VoIP system allows you to add new numbers and users when they are needed. As long as your network can sustain the bandwidth (have the IT professionals at Press Start Ltd consult your Internet service provider for more information on this), you can add as many users as you need.

Functionality
A traditional telephone system is subject to the whims of phone providers. This in itself isn’t inherently bad, but the fact that so many of them bundle together unnecessary services makes for a frustrating and expensive system. For example, your business certainly doesn’t need 300 channels of cable television in addition to its phone system. Instead of bundling unnecessary services together, a VoIP solution offers you the opportunity to customise the solution to fit your specific needs. This includes additional options like instant messaging and video chat, in addition to all of the tried and true basics like conference calling and voicemail. Basically, you only pay for what you actually want and need, not what the provider thinks you want and need.

Could your organisation use hosted VoIP? Press Start Ltd can help. To learn more, reach out to us on 01638 603204.

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Businesses of all sizes have come to depend on their IT for productivity. IT administrators that constantly monitor their network and infrastructure reduce downtime, leading to higher resource availability. With the increasingly complex makeup of an organisation's network th...

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Press Start Ltd launches new website!

Press Start Ltd is proud to announce the launch of our new website at www.pressstart.co.uk. The goal of the new website is to make it easier for our existing clients to submit and manage support requests, and provide more information about our services for prospective clients.

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