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Can You Tell the Difference Between an IT Issue and an IT Problem?

The hard truth is that it can often be difficult to discern a technology issue from a problem, but if you?re in need of a cold, hard definition for the two, we?ve put these together: An IT issue is one which is potentially disruptive to everyday operations, but it may not be apparent at the present moment (i.e. it?s not immediately effecting your business). An IT problem is basically an IT issue which has matured. It is the result of not dealing with minor disruptions as they happen. It is now negatively affecting your business. One of the biggest differences between an issue and a problem is that one of them is easily preventable. To help you further understand the difference, we?ve put together several scenarios which can be prevented thanks to proactive IT services. Security DiscrepanciesYou?re checking your email and you see what looks like a perfectly legitimate sign-up form from one of your favorite websites. However, what you didn?t realize is that the URL to the form starts a download, which in turn installs malware on your system. In a situation like this, all of your pains could have easily been avoided if that email didn?t make it to your inbox in the first place. In this case, email spam is the technology issue which could lead to malware or viruses infecting your system, which is the problem. White Mountain IT Services?s Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution is designed to keep threats out of your system, and quickly neutralize the threats that do land in your network. In this particular case, the UTM provides spam blocking features which prevent suspicious emails from making it to your inbox in the first place. Putting Off MaintenanceYou know your business?s technology needs to be up-to-date and current, but in the throes of business it can be difficult to remember when patches and updates should be applied. Not applying the latest patches and updates to your operating system and your software is like leaving a wide-open hole in your defenses, and you?re practically begging for a threat to get through. If you?re thinking the issue is the unapplied maintenance, then you?re right. Neglecting proper maintenance leads to potential vulnerabilities and security breaches. With a remote maintenance solution from White Mountain IT Services, we can automate the patching process for you so your systems are always up to date and secure. Data LossA business that doesn?t keep external backups of their data stands to lose it all. Let?s say a flood wipes out half of your office. Technology certainly isn?t water-proof, so naturally your servers and workstations take some serious damage. In the event a natural disaster strikes, your hardware could be destroyed by the elements; and with it, your data. Businesses who can?t access their data for an extended period of time likely won?t be in business for much longer, so it?s important to take natural disasters and data loss into account. In this case, the issue is a lack of data backup, and the problem is data loss. Data backup is sometimes considered an afterthought for some businesses, even though it should be a top priority. White Mountain IT Services?s Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution prepares your business for any type of data loss disaster, whether it?s caused by hardware failures, natural disasters, or hacking. You?ll enjoy several backups […]

It Might Be Time to Reevaluate Your VPN Strategy

VPNs are a common means to extend the reach of your business?s network. They are often used by remote workers to access corporate data locally through their Internet-connected devices while on the go. This, in turn, allows for increased productivity and availability of mission-critical information. However, with the advent of cloud computing and the immense amount of new Internet-connected devices entering the market (thanks to the Internet of Things), your VPN solution might be in need of a good evaluation. To find out how your current solution holds up, it?s important to see how the cloud and other new technologies are going to affect it in the years to come. Considering the CloudAccording to Processor magazine, the cloud is changing the way that company?s look at VPNs and mobile computing in general. VPNs are a technology that?s been around for a while, and it hasn?t changed much since its inception; unlike the cloud, which is growing more popular and dynamic by the day. For instance, many VPN users might only be using it to manage their own on-site network, and their particular solution isn?t designed to cope with the advances in cloud technology. When considering that your business?s data will be directly available for anyone able to connect to your network, it?s important to take into account the different ways a user will access that data. This includes mobile access points, wired connections, and even through the cloud. Security and Identity AuthenticationThis, naturally, leads businesses to a solution which should be designed with security in mind. The purpose of the VPN is to provide users with a secure avenue of access for confidential corporate files, even if the WiFi hotspot is sketchy at best (think free hotel WiFi). Therefore, you need to ensure security if you?re hoping to reap the benefits of a VPN successfully. According to James McCloskey at Info-Tech Research Group, ?If a person is [connecting via VPN] from an unmanaged, non-corporate device, you do really want to make sure they?re not going to be in a position to intentionally or otherwise access resources they don?t need and store them on their local machine.? This is a very real risk that is associated with VPNs and must be addressed if you want to continue taking advantage of one. White Mountain IT Services?s VPN is capable of maximizing the security of your business?s network while taking advantage of a flexible, easy-to-use solution. Additionally, with our other managed IT services, we can augment your VPN with cloud management, security services, or a mobile device management solution. If you?re not sure how to approach a reevaluation of your network security and performance, we?d be more than happy to lend you our expertise on the subject. Give White Mountain IT Services a call at (603) 889-0800 today for a free analysis of your network security and efficiency. Together, we can help your business achieve optimal productivity with your technology and push your bottom line to greater heights.

How to Handle an Employee that Wants to Use their Smartphone at Work

Situations like this are created by the influx of employee?s bringing their mobile technology into the workplace. This makes for a whole new paradigm that business owners haven?t had to deal with in the past. If there was sensitive data on the device and it was lost or stolen, you, as the business owner, would be liable to notify your affected clients. This is one embarrassing phone call that you don?t want to make, and if you have clients in other states, it quickly becomes a federal issue. Due to complex liability issues such as these, many business owners are opting to ban the use of employee-owned mobile devices in their offices altogether–a move that may hurt the morale of your technology-loving staff. While it?s great that an employee is willing to check their work email from their own smartphone, or bring their own iPad into meetings to take notes, it starts to spread your data out into areas your company might not be able to control. This is where mobile device management comes in. It starts with building a Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, policy, establishing company rules for employees who want to access company data and communications with their mobile devices. Setting up policies that enforce the user to password protect and encrypt their devices, and being able to remotely wipe the device if it?s lost or stolen, will protect your data from the worries that BYOD causes. We can help you gain control of mobile devices that are accessing your data, and with the risks of BYOD accounted for and covered, you will open your business up to the benefits of BYOD, which include: BYOD is cost effective. BYOD gives you access to the latest mobile technology designed to improve efficiency. BYOD makes your company more attractive to younger workers. BYOD improves employee satisfaction. BYOD gives you a mobile workforce. To confidently take advantage of these BYOD benefits and more, reach out to White Mountain IT Services at (603) 889-0800. We?re happy to help you find the best mobile solution for your business.

3 Concepts to Think About Before Adding Thin Clients in Your Workplace

While bulky desktops can eat up a ton of electricity and space, the thin client is essentially a desktop terminal without a hard drive. That might sound pretty useless at first, but their truly redeemable factor is that they are incredibly versatile. The thin client doesn?t have anything stored on it locally. It calls all of the applications and other mission-critical information from the server it?s connected to. It?s not uncommon to find these devices on college campuses, public places like libraries, and in more recent years, the workplace. These machines generally only consist of the graphics interface, and for businesses who store their information and services on the cloud, they only need a web browser in order to function properly. Are you considering setting up thin clients for your business? Here are three topics to think about when making your decision. Fewer Costs Associated with Thin ClientsAs you can expect, thin clients tend to not use up as much energy as a full-fledged workstation. This is because all of the computing power is coming from the server itself, rather than the hardware. Wouldn?t that put a lot of strain on the server itself, though? Servers consume a ton of energy, producing excessive amounts of heat, and they generally require some sort of dedicated air-conditioned environment. However, there?s a solution for this. If your business takes advantage of virtualization services, you can move your server to the cloud and save on those energy costs, too. If you?re not sure how to proceed with your server virtualization, White Mountain IT Services can handle this daunting task for you. Minimal Points of FailureThis particular fact is a double-edged sword. If the server does indeed process the applications and information for several clients on your network, what would happen if something were to go wrong with the server? A thin client infrastructure is vulnerable to all of the same issues that plague server maintenance. If a hardware failure were to strike and cause server downtime, the thin clients would cease to function properly. On the other hand, this also means that thin clients rarely need the heavy-duty protection that the full-fledged workstation would. The only machines which need software-level protection from common threats would be the server, since the thin clients pull all of their applications and information from it. It?s imperative that you keep data loss and security in mind when using thin clients. White Mountain IT Services can arm your hardware with the best security solutions on the market, so you can concentrate on maintaining normal operations. We also have our powerful Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution available to prevent downtime and data loss in the event of a server crash. This is especially important when using thin clients, since all functionality relies on the server itself. Our BDR can take the place of your server in the event of a disaster, so operations can resume while you integrate a more permanent fix to the issue. Flexibility and ScalabilityIf you find your business is really taking off, it?s simple to add another thin client to your IT infrastructure. Think of it in these terms: When you hire a new person, they?ll require a machine to work on. Equipping a workstation with all of the software they?ll need to perform their duties can take plenty of time […]

How to Find the VoIP Solution that?s Perfect for Your Business

VoIP provides businesses with a wide array of phone features, so much so that it can feel overwhelming if you?re new to VoIP. Knowing which features will best enhance your company?s operations is a conversation worth having with a knowledgeable VoIP provider like White Mountain IT Services. And unlike working with a multi-national phone company that only views your business as an account number, we?ll take the time to really understand the needs of your SMB because we?re a small business serving New Hampshire, just like you. VoIP is a communication solution designed for business, which means that its features are scalable and delivered to you in one affordable package. The flexibility offered to your company by VoIP is a nice advantage over being locked into a phone package from a traditional landline company where you may end up paying for more features than what you really need. This billing waste is in addition to paying for long distance phone calls–an age-old expense that VoIP removes from your plate. Here are some considerations for you to think about when it comes to implementing new VoIP features for your business. Do you have a remote team that you frequently meet with? You will want to make sure to get a robust video conferencing package. Do you travel a lot? You will want an integration for VoIP with your mobile device. What kind of growth is your company expecting to see in the next one or even five years? It?s important that you implement a VoIP system that?s designed to grow with your business, instead of one that gets in the way. White Mountain IT Services can assess this technology need for you with our IT roadmap. How much bandwidth do you currently have available? Before signing up for a VoIP package, it?s important to assess your company?s Internet connection so that you?ll have enough bandwidth to operate all of your amazing new VoIP features. White Mountain IT Services can check on this for you with your Internet Service Provider. Does your network have an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS)? One difference between VoIP, which piggybacks off your company?s IT infrastructure using your Internet connection, and traditional phone systems is that landlines still give the caller the ability to use their phone even when the power goes out. For VoIP, you will want to have a backup power system in place like a UPS so that you won?t miss any calls if the power goes out. Do you have time to manage an in-house VoIP system for your company? When it comes to VoIP, either you can host and manage everything in-house, or we can host it for you offsite where system maintenance is out of sight, out of mind, and off your plate. There are advantages that come with each option. White Mountain IT Services can talk you through each of these and set you up with a VoIP solution that?s most advantageous for your business. Transitioning your business to VoIP is a major deal when it comes to enhancing your company?s communications possibilities, but it doesn?t have to be a difficult move if you have a knowledgeable IT expert like White Mountain IT Services walking you through the process. Call us today at (603) 889-0800 to get the lowdown on all the money-saving benefits of VoIP.