IT guy fixing servers in a server room

Network Cabling 101

There is no one-size-fits-all method to networking and infrastructure. Businesses are unique, and a Band-Aid approach never solved networking problems or protected a business. When you consider the responsibilities and goals of your company’s network, you will soon discover why network cabling and strategic mapping is absolutely necessary.


What are Your Goals for Your Network?

When you are creating a new network for your business, don’t lose sight of your goals while still focusing on your company’s day-to-day operations. When you are planning a new network, consider a few factors first:

  • What are your business’s daily connection needs?
  • Do you need to plan for scalability?
  • What types and how many devices are on your network?
  • What type of data are transmitting on your network?
  • What does your network budget look like?
  • What type of applications and devices do you and your employees use most, and on what bandwidth do they rely?
  • What does your existing infrastructure look like? Are you replacing, upgrading, or replacing completely?
  • How does the set-up of the space your business occupies hinder or support your network? How can you optimize the space, such as door trims, walls, carpets, corners, and electrical outlets?


Types of Cables

You don’t just plug in and go. You need to consider connection types, devices, speeds and hardware that accompany each cable type. The common cable types include:

  • Coaxial cables
  • Fiber optic cable
  • Unshielded twisted pair cable
  • Shielded twisted pair cable
  • Wireless


Cables for Connectivity

When you are designing your network’s cabling system, keep in mind the depth or reach of your system. Depending on the size and nature of your business, you will probably choose one of the three most common scales.

  1. LAN (Local Area Network)

LAN is what you typically find in most single-building businesses that connect only their own computers and equipment together. A company may choose to go wireless, to connect directly to the net with an Ethernet, or to utilize twisted pair cables.

  1. WAN (Wide Area Network)

A wide area network is for larger companies with greater connectivity demands. WANs are used to connect companies or offices with multiple, locally or nationally. For example, banks and other companies that tend to have a home office utilize WAN, which relies on various connection methods, speeds, bandwidths and devices for effective and comprehensive connectivity.

  1. CAN (Campus Area Network)

This is the connection you think of when you talk about large campuses or businesses with multiple offices within a single geographic location. CAN is a network that connects multiple LANs.


Now, to decide which cables you need, the type of connection your company requires, and where it all goes, you can start brainstorming, hiring contractors, making phone calls and tackling most of it by yourself. Or, you can call the professionals at IT NOW for thorough, reliable and dedicated network cabling services and expertise.

Why IT Support Time Matters

Why IT Support Time Matters

IT support allows your business to handle customer questions and complaints in a timely manner. Not only can customers call you with their issues, but they can email, Tweet, post or fill online forms out on your website. Whatever way they use to get ahold of you, the faster you respond, the better for both your customer and your business. Studies show that slow response times can lead to a loss of customers, which is never a desirable outcome. Below we discuss in further detail why IT support time matters.

IT Support Means Shorter Customer Response Time

Studies have shown that customers are willing to spend at least 13% more money in the US with companies that provide excellent customer service, especially with short response times. Not only will customers in the US spend more on a business with good customer service, they are more likely to recommend that company to a colleague or friend, as well as consider that business for another purchase or service in the future. These studies show that great customer service is heavily correlated with loyalty.

Take Social Media Complaints Seriously

If your business has a Facebook page or Twitter account, it is important that you seriously maintain it and respond to customer inquiries in a timely manner. People are using these tools more and more, and if they don’t get any feedback via this medium, studies show they will abandon your company completely. Amazingly enough, there are still high percentages of businesses that ignore social media feedback from customers. This looks unprofessional, especially if you are running an IT company who thrives on computers and their networks for survival. Don’t forget that bad reviews of the customer service experience with your company can easily be shared on social media or business review sites.

Short IT Support Response Time Shows Consideration

Customers want to feel valued and appreciated for their business to a company. When there are long response times to their requests, the customer tends to feel neglected and is likely to move on. When it comes to IT support, there may be an entire business depending on your company to fix their problems, otherwise they are risking costly downtime. By tending to your customers’ needs in a timely fashion and with respect, it shows the customer that you value their business and they are likely to stay with you.

The Bottom Line With Slow IT Support Response Times

When it comes to customer service, you are never going to make everyone happy. However, it helps to know that a high percent of customers expect a response to their issue within 30 minutes. Even if this is not realistic, know that this is what people expect and be sure never to ignore them outright on a social media platform. Bad customer service costs US companies over $83 billion annually. Under 10 percent of customers will take the time to file a formal complaint, while the rest don’t even bother to come back after being ignored or encountering a long wait time. Make customer service a priority in your company so that your customers do not have to wait, otherwise you’ll be losing business left and right.

Click here for a speedy customer service for your customers with IT support time.

Team members in front of the I.T. Now car

CRAM the Car Event Was a Success Thanks to You!

i.t.NOW wants to give a HUGE thanks to all of our clients and partners for their participation in the Cram the Car event!  We were able to cram the i.t.NOW car up to the roof with donations for the family support center as well as collect hundreds of dollars in cash donations from our generous donors.  We’re excited to have a part in supporting such a great cause, and hope to have the opportunity to continue to work with this organization in the future.  Thanks for helping to make this event such a big success!

Check out our photo gallery of the event and what each of you helped make possible by showing your support.

The Importance of Network Monitoring

Network monitoring is absolutely necessary for your business. The whole purpose of it is to monitor your computer network’s usage and performance, and check for slow or failing systems. The system will then notify the network administrator of any performance issues or outages with some kind of an alarm or an email. This system will save a lot of money and reduce many problems. It is the best possible way to ensure that your business is operating properly.


One of the most important parts of network monitoring is keeping your information secure. It will keep track of everything and alert your network administrator of any issues before they become real big problems. A few of the things that a network monitor can tell you is if something stops responding, your sever fails, or your disk space is running low. Network monitoring is perhaps the most proactive way to deal with problems so that you can stay ahead of them, especially since you will be monitored 24/7.


Another great advantage of network monitoring is its troubleshooting abilities. You can save a lot of time trying to diagnose what is wrong. With network monitoring you can quickly tell which device it is that’s giving you the problem. Your support team will be able to pick up on a problem and fix it before users are even aware of it. Because your monitoring is constant, it can help you to track certain trends in the performance of your network. When problems occur sporadically or at peak times they can be hard to diagnose, but a network monitor will help you better understand what is going on.

Save Time and Money

Network monitoring will save you both lots of time and lots of money. Without it, a lot of time would have to be spent investigating, which would result in more hours having to be worked. This will not only cost more money but it will lower productivity. When you can quickly point out and fix network issues you are increasing your profits. When everything is running smoother, this gives you more time to run your business. When you understand how all of your devices are being used, you are able to identify what needs additional disk space so you can increase the capacity quickly and effectively.

Plan for Change

With network monitoring, you can track if a device is running near its limit and needs to be changed. It gives you the ability to plan ahead and easily make any necessary changes. All of the reports that you will have showing your activity and what type of health your system is in will come in handy as great tools for your business. They will allow you to easily prove to others what is happening and show why one of your devices needs to be fixed or replaced.


6 Of the Best Time Management Apps

Time is money in business, so it is important to work as efficiently as possible. This sometimes seems impossible as tasks build up and it seems that there is not enough time in the day to get all important tasks completed. Luckily, technology always finds a way and it has brought us apps to make all aspects of our lives easier, especially at work. Below we discuss the 6 best time management apps for business.


Have you ever wanted an easy way to keep track of your remote team and ensure they’re being productive?  Hubstaff delivers that and more with helpful time tracking software that allows you to see screenshots of the work your employees are doing and measure activity levels.  It has cool reporting that helps to see who’s getting things done and who isn’t.  It also has integration with a bunch of payroll apps that make getting your employees paid a breeze.  Pretty cool product that’s sure to save you time and money.  Check it out here.


Used by more than 40,000 companies and freelancers, Timely allows you to schedule your time and then log it. Plan ahead by the week, day or hour. There are features in Timely that are perfect for planning new projects at the office, delegating work to employees and seeing who is taking on too much. You can even integrate your existing calendar from places like Google and Yahoo with an auto-import.


Focus Booster 

Perfect for those who get easily overwhelmed or procrastinate, Focus Booster is the ideal app. If you find yourself looking on Facebook or Youtube all day, Focus Booster will nail you on it! This app uses the Pomodoro Technique to keep track of where you’re spending your time, then empower you to manage distractions and get more done during the day. The dashboard report then gives you a visual of your progress to improve your productivity.


Universal Password Manager

How much time is spent managing all the different passwords required for different sites throughout a given day? How about when you forget a password and have to wait for an email reminder or do a reset? Universal Password Manager app lets users keep all passwords in a single encrypted database, which is protected by one password. This makes it easier to use a variety of passwords so that you don’t compromise online security.



Evernote is a popular app that lets users capture all of their thoughts, ideas and images via voice, notes, pictures and more. Record interviews, meetings, speech ideas, make lists and attach text or voice attachments to share with colleagues. With Evernote you can quickly access all of your notes in one location from anywhere over your mobile device, saving tons of time throughout the day.



Harvest is the perfect app for teams to track time spent on different projects and other items throughout the day. The boss can approve the staff’s time sheets as well as set up Harvest to automatically remind the employees to submit their time sheets. Staff roles and permissions can be set up to meet the needs of the team. Harvest will produce reports that display how your business is performing and the way it is distributing its time across tasks, projects and employees. Individual filters will highlight only non-billable, billable, contractor or employee hours. Invoices are seamlessly created that organize billable hours so your billing is fast, accurate and easy.


Any of these apps will help with managing your time better and improve productivity within your business!

4 Mobile Apps for CPAs

Thanks to apps that run on our mobile devices, most of us can get through a work day without being tied to our desktop. This increases productivity as well as breaks up the monotony of being stuck in a cubicle or office all day. There are truly apps for everything and every profession, from CPAs to personal trainers. Whether they are productive or just fun, you can find an application for what you need. Below we discuss 4 essential mobile apps for CPAs that will make your business run more efficiently than ever before.


  1. Dropbox

Dropbox is by far the best and most popular file sharing app out there because of all it can do and how easy it is to use. Accountants have seemingly endless amounts of paperwork and digital files to contend with, but this app can help you organize and manage it all. Dropbox allows users to create client folders, sort files within them, then access them from anywhere with your iPad or iPhone. Files may be shared with other users, making Dropbox ideal for team collaboration. You also get the added security of cloud backup. No longer will a CPA be chained to bulky file cabinets, stuffed file folders or overflowing inboxes when they use the Dropbox app.


  1. powerOne Finance Pro Calculator

powerOne Pro Financial calculator is an app that is ideal for CPAs, to be used on the iPhone or iPad. This financial edition of the app will do 401k calculations, currency conversions, auto leases and loans, breakevens, cash flows, bonds and more. PowerOne even has a graph feature that helps users visualize information, which can be helpful if you’re explaining figures to a client.


  1. Keynote 

Keynote is a fantastic presentation app for when you need to address a group of colleagues or clients. Now available for iPad, users can create a detailed presentation with transitions, animated charts, themes and customized graphic styles, as well as many more cutting-edge features. To add or edit slides, you can open up Microsoft PowerPoint and simply add videos or photos with Media Browser. Access and edit presentations from your iPad, iPhone, Mac or iPod Touch via iCloud. Keynote will automatically save presentations as you make changes to them. Presentations can easily be copied to apps like Dropbox, and exported to PDF format or PowerPoint. Links can instantly be shared via Facebook, Twitter, Messages or Mail.


  1. iDonatedIt

Created by a CPA firm, iDontatedIt is an app that tracks values and reports non-cash donations to charity for income tax purposes. With this app, a CPA can assist those who have decided to donate items instead of having a time-consuming garage sale. When it comes tax time, iDonatedIt will have kept track of all the IRS compliant donations in an organized list as well as allow users to attach photos of the items.


If you are a CPA, we suggest using these apps to make your life easier and your business run smoother!

Staying in Compliance: The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

online paymentDoes your business deal in point-of-sale transactions using any type of electronic payment method? If so, are you in compliance with The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)? If you’re unsure, then most likely you are not. This is an important security standard that applies to all types of business which conduct any sort of electronic point-of-sale transactions. While not being in PCI compliance isn’t against the law, it can result in many negative consequences including lawsuits, insurance claims, and government fines. IT Now is familiar with PCI DSS and what it entails for your business. We can help set up your point-of-sale terminals and assess whether or not your data is secured under this standard.

If your business engages in any type of credit card or electronic transactions, chances are that PCI DSS applies to you. Credit card machines, near field communication terminals, internet transactions, data storage, and many other elements of businesses are covered under this industry standard. At IT Now, our IT experts can make sure that your business is in compliance and also help you understand exactly what compliance means for you. We have experience helping our customers sift through technical jargon by explaining it clearly and politely.

As technology continues to develop and put itself into the hands of everyday users, it can be hard to know whether or not your company is in compliance with all the different regulations it needs to be in compliance with. IT Now will help you learn more about regulatory standards in your industry and what you need to do to be in compliance with all of them. While we certainly can’t take care of everything, we can definitely take care of your computer requirements. Additionally, our company is in compliance with several data standards which may actually help with other aspects of your business like accounting and reporting.

If you have any questions about regulatory compliance in your industry, don’t hesitate to get a hold of us. Here at IT Now, we are passionate about what we do, just like you’re passionate about your business. Let us help you out with all of your technology so you can focus your attention on your own passions. You can rest assured that we’ll help keep your business up-to-date with the rapidly changing environment of data standards, compliance, and certifications.


Cyber Security in the Information Age

Fifty years ago, security compliance was associated with having a picture badge, stopping at physical checkpoints, and remembering to lock file cabinets when leaving a room. In the age of information, security compliance protocols are increasingly about IT securities. Many companies still use physical securities like photos and physical checkpoints, but in a way these have become measures taken specifically to augment IT security. While leaving carbon copy documents exposed is certainly still a security concern, it is nowhere near as much of a concern as is a stolen password. The simple reason is that a single password has the potential to give thieves access to far more information that can be stored in carbon copy, and it gives thieves computing power to boot. Read more

Modern Data Standards: HIPAA

HIPAA Employee BenefitsYou’re probably not directly familiar with HIPAA unless you work in the health industry or an industry that has to interact with it. So, why should you care? The simple answer is that these are the laws and standards that govern personal information about our individual health. HIPAA is an acronym for: The Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Among many things, it sets forth guidelines for how health data is to be stored, transferred, and processed between different organizations that require that information. Read more

Modern Data Standards: SAS 70

compliance on digital tabletIn this day and age every industry has different standards that they need to meet. However, there are some standardization systems that transcend industries. This is especially true in our industry of IT service and data storage. We often deal with many different companies in many different industries. We are responsible for data that ranges from company records, to customer profiles. Read more