Business Technology

Remote work from home

Top 6 Tips for Effective Working from Home

Top 6 Tips for Effective Working from Home 1920 753 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

With the outbreak of COVID-19, we are increasingly having conversations with our clients about working from home, so we thought it timely that we share some of our recommendations to help us all get through the next few months with as little disruption to business as usual as possible. While every business is different, here are just a few of our suggestions to help enable more flexible work places.

1. Make effective communication your top priority

This is more of a leadership issue than technical, but it is extremely important for your staff to know what is expected of them. Create a detailed list of what you expect from each team member working from home. List the activities required to do their job well, then have a discussion to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Once these are in place, use the collaboration tools mentioned below to keep things running.

2. Ensure that your team are ‘work from home’ ready

It is very easy to assume that everyone has fast internet and a quiet place to work uninterrupted. Not everyone has NBN just yet, and ADSL might not be good enough to collaborate on large files, so the tools and way we interact as a team needs to be considered. Home environments are also an issue. It might be the case their partner is at work and children are at school and they can work quietly and effectively from their apartment, but circumstances can change rapidly. 

Is providing your staff member a laptop and using 4G a consideration?  Do they need a second monitor, or an IP voice handset, or even a mobile phone? The way we managed this internally was to set up a shared spreadsheet, and asked everyone to update their individual situation to finalise the logistics of what each team member needs to enable them to work from home effectively.

3. Choose and implement the right communication & collaboration tools

Having a quick chat to the person in the cubicle, or quick team meeting is now going to have some challenges. Fortunately, there are already a number of collaboration tools to choose from. Email is great, but online chat, and video conferencing tools will help even more. Many vendors are also assisting by offering free access for the next few months. Some tools to consider include:

4. Think about how you will share files

Once we solve the team communication problem, the next challenge is how do we access our documents and file shares. Unless you already have a Remote Desktop or Citrix environment, this will pose some unique challenges. But there are options:

Option 1: Configure a dial-in VPN to the office and get your IT support team to map a network drive from your file server. 

With this option, your remote workers will see their G: drive (or whatever letter you choose) from their home PC just like they would in the office.   Only downside is that accessing large files can be slow, and is contingent on the internet speeds at the end users’ home, and more importantly at your office.  If your office still runs on ADSL, this is probably not a viable option. Security is also a concern with this option as although the VPN ensures data transmission from home to office is secure, you cannot always guarantee that a user’s home PC is not infected with any number of malware or even worse – ransomware – that could easily impact the server data over the VPN. A robust business-grade anti-virus/anti-malware installed on home user’s PC is essential in this scenario.

Option 2: Use a cloud-based file sharing platform

Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business can help. They will keep a copy of your work files in the cloud and both Google Drive and SharePoint Online allow simultaneous user collaboration of files. Microsoft Teams also allows this (since it is built on SharePoint Online).  If these tools are not already in place, have a chat to your IT team about getting it set up correctly to avoid problems in the future, especially when it comes to who has access to what files, as by default everyone will typically have access unless the structure is configured correctly from the start with specific permissions.

Option 3: Take a copy of the files and try to reconcile later

Our least preferred option would be to copy a batch of files to a USB drive and take them home.  Obviously, this has major security implications if the company data is lost or intercepted, as well as the problem of merging back the changes at a later date (which would be an extremely time-consuming process). This should only ever be considered as a last resort, and not recommended.

With any of these options it is also important to consider how you will continue to back up company data once it has been dispersed outside of the normal server infrastructure to either a cloud-based platform, home PCs or a combination thereof. With cloud-based platforms like SharePoint Online and OneDrive, products like Datto SaaS are perfect for ensuring back ups continue no matter how many staff the company data is shared with. If the data is being stored directly on home PCs this becomes more difficult (but not impossible) however company data stored in this way is not recommended.

5. Think about how you access applications

Once we have access to the raw data, we need some software both for the documents and your unique line of business applications. For Microsoft Office documents, customers with Office 365 Business Premium or E3 may be entitled to download and install an instance on their home computer.  Otherwise licensing might be a problem. Talk to your IT team about your options.

For your business applications, generally you won’t be licensed to run them from home and you probably have a server in your office where the database resides. So your options are: Use or create a Remote Desktop Server, or potentially remote control your office PC.  There are a number of ways to implement this, with varying security considerations, so it is best to talk to your IT team about what the best option with the least risk is for you.

6. Think about your processes

Some roles are more suited to remote work than others so we might need to adapt the way we manage and allocate work. Line managers may need to have daily morning huddles with their team and potentially break work down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Goals and tasks might need to be tracked in a shared spreadsheet or an online tool like Asana. If you don’t have scorecards for your team now is the time to implement them.

With a bit of planning businesses should be able to get through the next few months without too much of an impact on productivity from your remote teams working from home. Keeping in mind government and health official advice changes daily and no one really knows how prolonged this crisis will be. However once this crisis is over the way we work may be changed forever.  If you have any questions about the suggestions in this article please reach out to us.  As always, at Greenlight we are here to help.

Medical Cloud Hosting Australia

DHS Gives The Latest Mandatory Policy on Medical Data Management in Australia for 2020

DHS Gives The Latest Mandatory Policy on Medical Data Management in Australia for 2020 1920 1280 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne
DHS Gives Mandatory policy on medical data management in Australia

The medical data management system in Australia is not where it should be. According to Dr. Bernard Robertson-Dunn, who chairs the health committee of the Australian Privacy Foundation (APF), says that rather than focusing on improving patient health, or reducing the cost of healthcare, all the government is doing is putting patients data at risk.

According to the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme (NBDS) report from April 2018 to March 2019, there has been a 712% percent increase in data breach notifications alone.

60 percent of those data breaches were recognized as malicious attacks with 28 percent off the attacks coming from unknown sources.

55 percent of the attacks and notifications were attributed to human error in the health sector and 41 percent in the financial sector.

Across all industries, 35 percent of those data breach notifications were set off by human error which can be attributed to the loss of a storage data device or the unintended disclosure of personal information. We wrote about more of these Cybersecurity Statistics here.

All in all, it’s safe to say that between the data storage systems and infrastructure as well as the medical community have failed their patients in terms of information privacy and the management of their security. That is why stronger rules have been put in place to patient’s worries on privacy at ease.

Mandatory DHS Rules, Requirements and Consequences

The Department of Health Services (DHS) plays the role of ensuring that health providers comply with the requirements of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and other programs, including incentive payment programs.

To help maintain the privacy of patients’ personal information, the DHS has adopted new requirements for third-party software providers. It’s a part of their campaign for the Digital Transformation Agency’s (DTA) Secure Cloud Strategy. Under the Secure Cloud Strategy, the DHA requires that all applicable Australian software companies undergo a process of accreditation and compliance of their data management practices.

The new policy applies to any party using cloud-hosted services that connect with the DHS to provide services such as Medicare, PBS, NDIS, DVA, MyHealthRecord, Child Care, and Aged Care.

The accreditation process involves earning the Australian Signals Directorate Certified Cloud Services List (CCSL) certification and can maintain assurance that all data will remain within the Australian jurisdiction. Additionally, the policy encourages the physical separation of the infrastructure as well as limiting access to patients’ private data to those with Negative Vetting 1 (NV1) security clearance. 

Failure to comply with the DHS’s rules and policy under the Secure Cloud Strategy by the deadline on April can result in major consequences. Those consequences could mean fines, suspended licenses, and ultimately the loss of your practice.

Managing DHS Requirements and Running Your Practice

Under the DHS’s policy, all practices are required to utilize a DHA certified infrastructure to ensure the privacy of their patients. So, how do you manage that and still do work for your practice? —Managed Cloud Services, i.e., medical hosting.

What is Medical Cloud Hosting?

Medical cloud hosting is private hosting (or, more specifically, private cloud hosting). When we talk about cloud hosting, we’re referring to hundreds of individual servers that work together as one. With cloud hosting, there’s no need for an on-premise infrastructure that costs money, space, and time in maintenance. With cloud hosting, everything is managed and stored for you via a cloud service provider.

In general, you have the option of public and private cloud hosting. Of course, medical hosting is private, but for your information, here’s the difference:

Public cloud hosting involves a standard cloud computing framework consisting of files, storage, applications, and services that are available on a public network. (Think Gmail).

Private cloud hosting is comprised of the same things—only all of those things are protected by a corporate firewall controlled by the corporate IT department. (Think Microsoft Exchange, as it requires authorized users and a secure VPN connection).

In other words, private medical cloud hosting equals privacy and protection. If you’ll recall, the DHS policy applies to all third parties using cloud services that connect with the department to deliver services such as Medicare, PBS, DVA, NDIS, and so on. This could only mean that private hosting is viable.

It’s also a necessity considering the fact that it’s DHS Compliant, ISO Certified, and handled offsite via your service provider but remains within the Australian jurisdiction.

How much Should I budget for Cloud Hosting?

Cloud computing and data management within a compliant industry isn’t going to be cheap—but it will become cost-effective in the long run. Ultimately, your budget will come down to your industry and the data capacity that you need, managed services, private vs public cloud hosting, and so on.

Of course, sticking with your outdated, on premise hardware, you’re looking at heaps of unnecessary spending in system maintenance, upgrades, equipment—not to mention paying an IT team to take care of it all for you.

Is you current provider DHS compliant?

If you’re a medical practitioner responsible for running a practice and wondering where to turn for your medical cloud hosting, Greenlight ITC is here to help.

We have one of the few providers of DHA certified cloud infrastructure for medical hosting. We are your ultimate technology solutions partner. Our medical cloud hosting capabilities can make your staff more efficient, and ultimately, your businesses more profitable under its data management practices. Not to mention, we’ll keep you safe from phishing scams and serious data breaches so that your patients can rest easy knowing that their private information is safe while they’re getting the care they need.

Greenlight is also a Tier-1 Microsoft Azure Partner and 2017 Watchguard ANZ Partner of the Year.

If you want to know more about how much switching to private medical hosting is going to cost you and your practice, your best bet is to call Greenlight ITC at 02 8412 000 to get a custom quote today. You’ll get to speak directly with one of our IT experts (aka, Data Doctors) who will walk you through the entire process.

Top 5 Risks When You Stay with Windows 7 this 2020

Top 5 Risks When You Stay with Windows 7 this 2020 1920 1280 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Windows 7 End of Life

Microsoft will no longer be supporting Windows 7 after a ten-year stint—as announced last December 16, 2019.

The purpose of this direction is for the tech giant to pour its ample resources into more lucrative, newer technologies. Essentially, Microsoft has squeezed as much juice as it can out of Windows 7. It doesn’t make sense for them to continue providing technical assistance and software updates that protect PCs using the outdated program.

The Impact on Your Businesses

First and foremost, Windows 7 is still being used on 39% of all PCs.

And a year from now in January 2021, Windows 7 will be used on 18.7% of all PCs, which accounts for around 281 million machines.

What does that mean, exactly? That even at under 20% of total usage on PCs, there are still over 280 million systems with Windows 7 in place. At such a vast number, it’s fair to guess that small to medium businesses make up enough of those totals. Especially since many owners might wish to sidestep the costly nature of upgrades.

Though, with the removal of all support for the system, keeping Windows 7 installed will end up being more costly than merely paying for the upgrade to Windows 10.

So, as a business owner or stakeholder who may still be using Windows 7, you’re likely interested in knowing what might happen after neglecting to upgrade.

Let’s examine some of the most significant risks involved in continuing to use Windows 7 on your PC and how it can affect your workplace:

The Top 5 Risks of Staying with Windows 7

Risk # 1.      No More Technical Support

Last year, Microsoft patched 29 Windows 7 vulnerabilities in April alone.

Of those vulnerabilities, 6 were rated critical with the other 23 being deemed important.

Think about it, that’s one month alone—and the only reason those changes were made was due to an extended support phase focused on fixing flaws. Those snafus on Windows 7, since it’s an older system, have continually surged over the years. Now, without support, these issues will be seemingly never-ending.   

Risk # 2.      Heightened Cybersecurity Risk

Studies from 2018 about cybersecurity in small-and-medium-sized businesses reported that 67% of survey respondents experienced some form of cyber-attack. On top of that, another 58% went through a data breach with employee or customer information.

These stats prove that businesses are already susceptible to these attacks. With Windows 7 now lacking the infrastructure to deal with these issues, if you don’t upgrade, the consequences could be disastrous.

Risk # 3.      Additional Costs

On a per-system basis, it’ll be possible to receive extended security support. However, there’s an additional fee paid to Microsoft per computer to obtain the appropriate security updates. Furthermore, the dollar amount owed to Microsoft will double every year and caps out at a maximum of three years.

The price begins at $50 per machine—meaning by 3 years it’ll be $150 per device. If you have around 10 machines, that can prove quite costly.

Risk # 4.      Falling Behind the Competition

As Windows 7 becomes more obsolete, more businesses will be using Windows 10. 

As technologies keep improving, functionality enhances. If you’re on an outdated system, the slower it’ll run, and it’ll be less equipped to handle the state-of-the-art tools that’ll keep you ahead of your competitors.

Risk # 5. Frustrating Your Team

When your employees end up with inferior technology, their morale tends to suffer. For many staff members, it can be a bad look when you fail to equip them with systems, programs, and software that isn’t – at the very least – up to date.

If you don’t update to Windows 10 soon, your team might get the idea that you aren’t invested fully in their success. From there, frustration brews, work tends to be negatively impacted, and you’ll have an office full of employees at their wit’s end.

The Very Real Problem of Malware in the Workplace

As technology keeps reaching new heights, so does its propensity to be malicious and dangerous. Businesses far and wide must be eternally vigilant in the face of these threats that can damage both their reputation and bottom line.

For instance, recently, Landry’s, Inc., an American, privately owned, multi-brand dining, hospitality, entertainment, and gaming corporation, identified malware on its payment processing system.

The malware was designed to access payment card data from cards used in person. Interestingly, the card data wasn’t readable due to the end-to-end encryption technology used at points-of-sale. So, the malware was prevented from accessing payment card data.

Although this hasn’t occurred on a Windows 7, these attacks come from everywhere when sensitive information or money is involved. As proven by Landry’s, with state-of-the-art systems in place, these cyber breaches situations can be nipped in the bud.

So how do you mitigate these risks?

The short answer is to move to Windows 10 to receive the full support from Microsoft. This can be done by upgrading your operating system on your existing PC’s, assuming your hardware is capable of handling the demands of a modern operating system. If you PC is more than 3 or 4 years old, it is probably more cost effective to simply replace the PC.

2018 IT Security Update

2018 IT Security Update 1920 1280 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Our computer systems will never be entirely secure. New techniques and procedures are constantly evolving, being implemented to circumvent current security measures. When one attack method is too heavily defended against, attackers look for new, innovative ways to avoid detection, increase infection rates, and gain wealth. 2018 saw the rise of cryptomining and cryptojacking, a shift in ransomware and malware, and a new target for phishing attacks. The best defense in this changing landscape is a layered approach involving proven security technology and end user education and awareness training.

Hardware-Based Threats

Two new vulnerabilities, Meltdown and Spectre, affected nearly every device with a modern CPU – that is, a processor made in the last 20 years – due to the way these processors function and isolate private memory. These vulnerabilities have existed for two decades before they were discovered, and until they were fixed, gave access to private data such as login credentials.

Cryptomining – The New #1 Threat

Cryptomining is an easier, less risky way to profit than ransomware. It works on any device, so not only are laptops and smartphones vulnerable, but so are other IoT connected devices like routers and TVs. The processing power of the CPU is redirected to mine a cryptocurrency, most commonly Monero, chosen for its anonymous blockchain and ability to run on consumer-grade hardware. The victim’s energy bill increases as the criminal profits. When scaling is used, the drain on the CPU is minimal when the mouse is in use, and then increases up to 100% at other times.

Some sites intentionally use cryptomining to generate revenue instead of bombarding site visitors with ads. These sites are primarily pornography, torrent, and streaming sites, that may not inform their visitors they are actively mining. The top cryptomining domains are xxgasm.com making up 31%, coinhive.com at 28%, and cumception.com at 26%.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a widespread and damaging type of malware typically used to extort money from the victims by encrypting their files. In 2017, ransomware hit hard. Companies were forced to pay expensive ransoms for their data. With the implementation of cloud backups for previous versions of files, and the widespread adoption of Windows 10, a more secure operating system, it is much harder for a ransomware campaign to be successful.

Ransomware attacks now target unsecured Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) connections. Lacking adequate RDP settings leaves the environment open to attack; RDP access to previously hacked devices can even be purchased on the dark web. This allows the criminals access to the system and turns it into an entry point for browsing all of the data, disabling endpoint protection, and deploying ransomware or other malware.

Malware

Malware is software that was written to cause harm to data and devices. Malware continues to be a prevalent threat, but it is declining. Cryptomining is much easier and more profitable than deploying malware. In the first half of 2018, malware web traffic dropped from 2% down to 1%. With threat tactics and attack methods constantly changing in response to security, malware is becoming more resilient, harder to detect, and longer-lasting.

Botnets are the most common method to deploy malware. Emotet is currently the most persistent botnet. “[Emotet’s] payloads are delivered at an impressive pace, showing that threat actors have automated multiple steps in their campaign operations. Emotet aspires to increase the number of zombies in its spam botnet, with a concentration on credential-gathering.” (Webroot). Emotet can turn routers into proxy nodes for command and control infrastructure. As most residential routers are Linux-based without antivirus, they are often not set up properly and are easily exploited, with the victims being unaware that the Universal Plug and Play is used to plug IoT devices into their router.

Other forms of malware are also evolving. Trickbot can now ensure that their attack modules and web injections remain active for longer; this is accomplished with Tor servers as their level 1 command and control infrastructure. Zeus Panda, also called Panda Banker, has started to target more regions around the world. Criminals are changing their attacks to be less noticeable and more profitable.

 

Phishing

Phishing attacks are on the rise. Phishing attempts increased from January to June by 60% (Webroot). Dropbox was a primary target, getting 17% of the attacks. Dropbox accounts can store personal, business, or financial data that leads to a much bigger payoff if the attacker can get access.

93% of breaches in an organization are due to phishing. Employee security awareness can be the difference between preventing an attack or being the victim of cryptomining, ransomware, or malware. Ongoing security training, especially when the course content is current, reduces the risk of infiltration proportionately. Based on testing:

  • Companies that run between one to five employee security awareness campaigns see a 33% phishing click-through rate
  • Companies that run between six to ten employee security awareness campaigns see only a 28% phishing click-through rate
  • Companies that ran at least 11 campaigns to train employees on security awareness saw the phishing click-through rate reduced to 13%.

Educating end users on how to spot and avoid phishing scams should be an ongoing process, to ensure that employees are aware of the most current methods of attack. End user training is the best form of defence, because even the most advanced security technology could potentially be circumvented by attackers eventually. Well-trained end users who know what to look for and are kept up-to-date on threats are more equipped to prevent attempted attacks. To educate your employees on current threats and attack methods, contact us for our security training.

In a constantly changing threat landscape, your computer security is only as good as your technology and training. New techniques are constantly being discovered, with targets and attacks changing all the time to exploit weaknesses in security. When one security area is bolstered, attackers change their methods and find another way in. The best defence is to combine proven security technology with ongoing end user training that will teach them how to spot a threat before it’s too late. Reduce your risk and keep your environment secure by providing security awareness training for employees. Contact us to learn more about IT Security.

Desktop CPU

Which Desktop CPU do you need for your next PC?

Which Desktop CPU do you need for your next PC? 1000 667 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your desktop computers or workstations, you might be spending some time researching what CPUs (processors) you should be considering. If you’re a bit overwhelmed with the jargon and still don’t know exactly what it all means, this article is for you.

Ultimately, you want to make sure that what you are buying is right for your needs. While the name of each processor tells you quite a bit about what you are buying, if you don’t know the difference between i3, i5, or i7, you might wind up having to repeat the process down the road.

Desktop Intel CPUs

i3, i5 and i7 processors are very similar in many ways as they are all based on the same basic architecture. They all fit in the same sockets and come with the same sets of instructions and largely do the same things with performance being the main differentiator.

i3 differs from i5 and i7 in that it only has two cores. i5 and i7 have four cores. Technically, your computer could run on one core, but it would be very slow, especially if you were to be asking it to do two or more things at once. Four cores will allow your computer to run several processes at once and still maintain efficiency even if you are running a program in the background, such as an anti-virus scan or rendering a large file such as a video.

Having more cores will dramatically improve the speed at which your applications run, at least for the most part. If you are primarily engaged in word processing and perhaps have several tabs open in a browser, a quad-core processor isn’t really going to make that much of a difference. However, if you are building games, graphics, audio, video encoding, or anything that requires intensive and fast processing, more cores will deliver the efficiency and quality you need without compromising your workflow. Twice the cores equal twice the performance.

Is clock speed important?

One of the first things you may notice when comparing the features of each processor is that the clock speed on the core i3 is actually faster than the i5 and i7. Simply put, the clock speed represents the number of calculations the chip can handle in a second and generally speaking, the bigger the number, the faster the chip.

That said, comparing different generations or different manufacturers of CPUs is like apples to oranges. It’s what the chip can accomplish in each cycle that is of greatest importance, much more so than the GHz.

You might also notice a feature called Turbo Boost, something that is mentioned for the i5 and i7 processors but not for the i3. Turbo Boost increases the clock speed of these chips, but only when more power is required. This allows the processor to run faster without drawing extra power or generating extra heat. It increases the clock speed of the processor to a much higher value than the stated base clock speed and in general, helps the computer to run more efficiently.

GPU vs. CPU

GPUs, or graphics processing units, are integral to the efficient processing of any graphics-intensive application, such as running or designing a game, in professional audio-visual processing or visual effects rendering. It is a programmable logic processor that is specifically designed for display functions and important for rendering graphics, animations, and video to the computers’ display. If the CPU is the “brains” of the computer, the GPU is its eyes.

There are two kinds of GPU:

Integrated, which is bound to the motherboard and shares RAM with the CPU, and dedicated, which has its own RAM and therefore does not compromise the computer’s performance.

You may want a dedicated GPU if:

  • You are rendering audio or video
  • You are running graphically intensive applications such as games, photo editing, or a media player
  • You are engaged in 3D modelling or visualization, CAD, VR, or VFX
  • You are running a 4K display

GPUs and CPUs may be different, but they are linked. For instance, high CPUs require high GPUs, and the reverse is also true. You wouldn’t be doing yourself any favours if you were to choose a computer with a high CPU but a low or integrated GPU. Running applications that require a higher GPU may not run as they should, and eventually it will overload your motherboard.

For best results, choose the highest processor speeds with the highest dedicated GPUs you can afford, that way you will always have enough to power whatever you might get up to, even if what that looks like happens to change in the future.

Greenlight is an IT consultancy and managed services provider in Sydney and Melbourne. If you are looking to upgrade your device fleet and have any questions about what you should be purchasing, give us a call today.

How long do business desktops and laptops last

How Long Should Your Business PC or Laptop Last?

How Long Should Your Business PC or Laptop Last? 1000 667 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

We hear this all the time: “Is it okay to keep my business PC or laptop until it dies?”

It’s a good question. In a perfect world, how long will a business desktop PC or laptop last?

Planning for obsolescence as well as for the need to repurchase is important, but just how do you gauge what that timespan might be? The answer is far from being cut-and-dried.

New technology has been keeping us all on our toes, and it might seem like what was shiny and new last year doesn’t quite stand up to this years’ new and improved model.

Add to that the likelihood that you’ve had to undertake some major upgrades to infrastructure, servers, and storage, and let’s not forget the ongoing expense of licensing, updates, and upgrades to your software.

It’s a lot to manage, even without the hardware concerns, but this is the precise reason why many companies are thinking about it right now.

Signs of IT stress is an indication that it is time to upgrade

If you’ve upgraded to the latest operating systems and security patches, and all of your applications and utilities are functioning well, there is really no pressing need to make any changes. However, if processes are becoming difficult, time-consuming, and are therefore costing you money instead of the other way around, you may want to consider your options.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Are your computers suitable for the purpose they are meant to serve?

Your staff is likely the best source for answers to this question. Find out how they feel about both the hardware and the software they use every day. Does it support the way they need to work? Does it facilitate and enable the level of productivity you expect? Based on their feedback, you may have your answer.

2. Are there any standards in your industry, and if so, do your PCs and laptops meet them?

As new technologies and platforms come into the marketplace, they are often designed to be deployed on the latest hardware. If your systems are or will soon become incompatible, you may be forced to upgrade simply to avoid obsolescence. Knowing what technologies your biggest competitors are using will help to keep your IT relevant.

3. What benefits will you realize if you decide to upgrade?

If there are new opportunities that would be facilitated by a company-wide hardware upgrade, perhaps this is something to consider. If you feel that productivity would be improved by an upgrade, or if it will mean your employees will spend less time on day-to-day tasks while opening doors to gainful opportunity, then a hardware upgrade may prove beneficial.

How often should I upgrade?

Cloud computing, cloud servers, cloud data storage, SaaS, managed IT, and virtualization has enabled SMEs to realize significant financial benefits by not having to continually upgrade their server infrastructure and other hardware. These technologies have effectively extended the lifespan of our existing workstations and maximized profits for many companies, and will continue to do so until the “next big thing” comes along.

While it is impossible to predict just how long one desktop or laptop computer will last, there will inevitably come a time when it’s necessary. For now, suffice to say that if your employees are happy and productive, and if they are not hindered by their IT in any way, and if you are happy with how things are running across the enterprise, you can relax. There is really no reason to shake things up.

Greenlight ITC: IT consultants in Sydney and Melbourne

Ultimately, your PCs and laptops should provide a seamless user experience. If your existing hardware is getting in the way of your progress and you’re feeling the need for an upgrade, call Greenlight today. Our technicians are ready to help with all of your hardware purchasing and upgrade needs.

Business Technology

IT technologies: the balancing act between new and functional business tech

IT technologies: the balancing act between new and functional business tech 1000 602 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

With all the new IT technologies hitting the streets these days, how do you find the balance between the “latest and greatest” and those tools that actually deliver the results you need to run your business more efficiently?

Keeping up with new technology is vital. However, the success of the technology you choose hinges on the people who are using it. It’s equally as important to your company’s culture as it is to your vision and mission. After all, if it is too complex or cumbersome, or if it disrupts the workflow in a negative way, it won’t be doing you any kind of service at all.

The psychological pull of new technology

Sometimes the very idea of new technology is the most attractive thing about it. This is especially true if you’re in an industry that needs to be on the cutting edge of the latest and greatest. The truth is, however, that each additional tool in your tech arsenal should add value and solve a specific problem, not create more questions, issues, and chaos.

Just as barriers exist to new tech adoption, the opposite is also true: some people just have a compulsion to jump on the next big thing. However, the barrier that the new tech creates is similar in scope; specifically, if it is not integrated into the workflow and widely adopted by all stakeholders, its value is diminished.

Many companies invest a great deal in technology solutions but fail to properly train their workforce in how to use it. There also might be transitional issues and resistance to new processes, such as may be the case in industries like the legal profession, which is typically slow to adopt.

IT only holds value when it can be leveraged as a means to an end. Here’s how it can fail you:

  • If the new tech does not improve or complicates a working process
  • If users are not properly trained in its use and management
  • If stakeholders are resistant to adopt the new workflows
  • If the results do not return a significant ROI
  • If it causes more problems than it solves

The last item could happen if you buy into an IT supplier that is not well-funded, or is not well-established. An example might be a medical office management suite that has all the bells and whistles, but is so expensive to purchase that the company goes out of business in a year and you’re left with no support, no updates, poor integrations with industry compliance modules, and having to start from square one again. The salesperson obviously did a great job, and now you’re stuck with a lemon that has a finite shelf life.

Finding solutions that work for you

If you are going to invest in new IT solutions, here’s a checklist to determine whether it’s a good idea or not:

  1. Does it solve an existing problem?
  2. Does it make your life, or that of any one department, easier?
  3. Can it grow and scale with you?
  4. Do the payment terms make sense financially?
  5. Does it facilitate and streamline current processes?
  6. What is the company’s reputation?
  7. Do they have a background in your industry?
  8. What are other people saying about them?
  9. Is it easy enough to implement that it isn’t going to disrupt your current processes?
  10. And finally – do you like using it, and will your staff like using it?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, maybe it’s worth a shake.

However, you need to make sure your entire team is on board right from the start. If your new IT is something that you are introducing into an established workflow, start small, and have just a couple of trusted employees try it out first and see how they like it. Accept the feedback, both the positive and the negative, and weigh your decision based on that as you move forward.

Otherwise, stick with what’s working. Or, if you need to modernize, or desperately need a solution to a specific problem, don’t always reach for the shiny new thing. The tech with staying power will still be there once you’ve done your due diligence. Take your time, do your homework, or ask a trusted business IT consultant like Greenlight for some insight.

Your IT gurus in Sydney and Melbourne

Greenlight ITC supports companies in Australia with technology expertise that spans the evolution of IT as we know it. If you are in need of new IT solutions to replace your legacy infrastructure, or are wondering how to get started with your cloud migration, call Greenlight today. Our technicians are passionate about what they do, and they’re here to help.