using office 365

Using Office 365 To Improve Collaboration

What Is Office 365?

Office 365 is a powerful business suite that contains well known applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. What separates Office 365 from other business suites is its collaboration tools which push documents to the cloud and make them easily accessible to all team members. By using Office 365, you can easily enhance your project completion speed by allowing your employees to work on the go. You can access documents in Office 365 from any device that can connect to the internet, and other team members can see the edits made to documents in real time. Office 365 isn’t static, and you can easily upgrade to newer versions that become available over time. With strong security and privacy options, you can keep your data safe while working on new projects.

Using Office 365 to Boost Productivity

Businesses are always looking for new ways to stay competitive. But sometimes, the easiest ways to get a leg up go unnoticed or get glossed over. Although Office 365 is well known, most companies do not maximize it. By properly utilizing Office 365, you can easily access all of your documents with any device at any time. That means in-house projects and collaboration is easier than ever, and communicating with clients and sending out files is a breeze. Our team at i.t.NOW can help you troubleshoot through any issues that you might have with the business suite so that you can keep work disruptions and technical issues to a minimum.

Make Collaboration Simpler

Whether you are working on a spreadsheet, an animated video, or a Word document, sending files through email is inefficient. You can’t tell if your recipient has seen what you sent over, much less if they’ve been able to make edits or changes to your project. With Office 365, you can instantly see in real time if another team member is working on your project. With communication and collaboration made easier, you can speed up project timelines and deliver completed projects to clients faster.

Technical Support From i.t.NOW

When you use Office 365, you won’t be alone. i.t.NOW’s IT support staff will be there for you every step of the way. We’ll help you avoid technical issues so that you can continue to use your business suite while avoiding downtime. Our goal is to help you improve productivity and keep your suite up and running smoothly.

backup and recovery

Backup and Recovery Is Critical To Your Company’s Success

Downtime Is Damaging To Any Business

When your systems go down, your prospective clients can’t view your website. But downtime is more than simply a website that potential clients can’t see. That’s business that you are missing out on, and trust that you are losing. If your business develops a reputation for downtime and unreliability, your current clients and prospective business will take their dollars to a competitor. When your systems are down, you can’t provide the products and services that your clients rely on, and losing that trust can be difficult to overcome. That’s why the best businesses avoid downtime at any cost. You shouldn’t let downtime stop you from growing your business—with the right backup and recovery services, you can keep your clients satisfied and avoid downtime, damaged systems, and lost files.

Data Backup and Recovery Keeps Your Company Protected

Downtime doesn’t come on a predictable schedule. Your systems can go down after a disaster such as a flood or a storm. Or it can come when a hacker attempts to get into your systems. There are a variety of scenarios that can damage your systems or take you off-line, so you need to be prepared. Keeping your systems protected means using backup and recovery services that fit your company’s needs. Backup and recovery isn’t a monolith service—there are a plethora of different solutions that you can utilize. You can have a physical on-site backup, or you can have a physical backup off-site. You can also backup your systems in the cloud, or through virtual servers. And you aren’t limited to choosing a single solution either. You can backup your systems through the cloud as well as have a physical backup on-site.

Finding The Right Backup Solution

Every company needs to have functional backup and recovery services. But the chosen backup solution might be different for each company. You should determine your company’s needs—such as how much data you need to back up, and how much you are willing to pay for the service—before you determine which backup solution you want to choose. You can scale your backup solution upwards as your company grows, so if you start out with a small backup and recovery package, you can upgrade it as your needs expand. You can always rely on the IT experts at i.t.NOW to help your business find the right backup solution for your needs. If you are interested in backing up your company’s data, give our team a call today! We’d be happy to get to work on keeping your systems protected and helping you avoid downtime.

backup solution

Get the Backup Solution That Your Business Needs and Stop Worrying About Downtime

Why a Backup Solution Is Critical

Your systems are absolutely critical to your company’s success. Your employees depend on your systems being up and running to complete projects and communicate smoothly. Your customers count on your systems running properly so they can communicate with you through your website and other channels. When your systems crash for any reason, every second counts. Every moment down, is a moment where you are inefficient and your employees can’t effectively collaborate.

When your customers can’t view your website, they are likely to just go with one of your competitors. Downtime adversely affects any business, but it can absolutely cripple a small business. Losing customer trust can be a difficult factor to overcome. So why put yourself in that position at all?

Get a backup solution with i.t.NOW and make sure that your company’s systems are protected. Easily backup your systems and recover everything you need in the event of a crash. Every moment matters, and i.t.NOW will get your business’s systems back up in moments, not days or weeks.

 

Keeping Your Systems Safe With i.t.NOW

Keep your systems safe and get the peace of mind that you need to focus on growing your business. i.t.NOW offers several backup and recovery solutions that can help any business stay protected in the event of a natural disaster. Get high speed recovery, and get your systems back online in less than 15 minutes. i.t.NOW’s data loss avoidance and verified protection means that you can recover your data from an offsite backup and ensure its protection and functionally.

One of the best features offered by i.t.NOW is complete visibility, which allows your business to proactively monitor your systems and get alerts to potential issues before they can cause damage to your network, hardware, or critical files.

 

Customizing Your Backup Solution

Take full control of your backup solution and customize it based on your company’s specific needs. i.t.NOW offers several device storage capacity options along with customizable monthly service options such as on premise backups and cloud retention. Customize your backup to your company’s technical needs and get the options that best fit your long term goals. i.t.NOW can work directly with you to help you find the best backup and recovery solutions for your business.

Cloud computing

Cloud Computing Benefits

There’s a reason so many businesses are taking advantage of what the cloud offers. Cloud computing allows your employees to work on the go, boosting productivity and collaboration, while simultaneously reducing costs. Purchasing, installing, and maintaining your own servers and IT infrastructure can be very costly, and if you ever have to face a disaster, such as a flood or a power surge during a storm, your systems could be damaged and productivity could slow to a crawl. In order to avoid many of the pitfalls and expenses of maintaining a complex IT infrastructure, more businesses are opting to go for the cloud instead. Here’s why:

Working On The Go Is The Future

By now, you’ve probably noticed that your employees are using smartphones and tablets when they work. The smartphone revolution has made working on the go a breeze, but if your business doesn’t have the necessary cloud infrastructure, you will be leaving productivity on the table. Today’s employees are traveling more than ever in order to meet clients, suppliers, and business partners. The cloud allows them to work as they travel, instantly keeping up with new changes to company projects and never missing details from that critical meeting.

Reduce Costs and Increase Productivity

As previously stated, it costs a lot of money to install and maintain servers and other IT infrastructure on-site. But it can be even more expensive to upgrade that technology when the time comes. To make matters worse, you can’t be quite sure if you bought enough hardware to meeting your company’s capacity, especially as your business grows over time. The cloud takes care of all of those issues. You can easily scale your cloud usage up as your business grows, and you only pay for what you use. You can avoid costly installation and repair costs for hardware that will likely soon become outdated anyway too.

i.t.NOW’s Cloud Computing Services

At i.t.NOW, we provide several cloud based services for our clients. We understand what our clients are trying to get out of the cloud, and that’s why we offer several cloud computing packages, all of which include business applications such as QuickBooks. Office licensing is also included, so you can easily complete and share projects through the cloud computing. Getting acclimated to the cloud is easy, and we offer unlimited remote support for any issues that you may have. Start getting more done in less time with i.t.NOW’s cloud based solutions!

Reduce Server Room Costs

3 Ways to Reduce Server Room Costs

Your server room is essential to your company’s daily operations and connectivity. Unfortunately, it is eating away at your company’s budget as well. One of the biggest money-guzzling features of your server room is energy costs. When you put that much equipment in a room, it is going to heat up, eat up power, and send your energy costs through the roof. Follow these three tips to help reduce server room costs for your organization.

 

  1. Cool it down

Many companies constantly keep their server rooms much cooler than the rest of the building. That is not necessary. In fact, much of the equipment can withstand higher temperatures. What you need to do is increase airflow. Consider spot cooling instead of trying to cool an entire room. Make sure the airflow pattern in the room is front-to-back. An easy method is to open the door to the server room, remove a ceiling tile, and to place a fan where near the equipment releasing the heat. You can also consider a portable cooling system that can be moved around the room and is inexpensive to operate. If you have the capital, air conditioned racks and cabinets are an option as well, or air conditioning systems that are dedicated solely to the server room. Finally, a ceiling mount A/C system is an option that can be installed in the ceiling.

 

  1. Rethink the space

As we said before, you can rethink the entire setup of the server room space. Common obstacles companies face include lower IT budgets and even smaller server rooms, so how can your company overcome that without cutting corners or breaking the budget? One of the easiest and most affordable ways is to rethink the server room space. When you are reconfiguring the room, make sure the machines are front to back. You can also consider hot aisles and cold aisles. Hot aisle/cold aisles are necessary if your company has a large data center, however. This design is not suitable for servers with Plexiglas or glass doors.

When you are rethinking the space, remember to condense and consolidate. Do you need all the equipment you are hanging on to, or is there an opportunity to retire outdated, inefficient and unused equipment?

 

  1. Go online

Give the room a break and go online. Consider speaking with an IT professional about not only the configuration of your server room but its overall operational goals as well. One way companies are saving money on server room costs is by virtualizing the data center. Allow someone else to house your data. This is where companies decide to make the shift to the Cloud. Virtualization reduces downtime, cuts energy costs, protects your company’s data in an off-site location, and allows users and business owners to scale and deploy according to the business’s unique needs.

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.

Network Monitoring

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.

Security

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.

Troubleshooting

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.

Time Management Apps

5 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 5 best time management apps for business.

Timely

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

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

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!