Why risk revenue and employee productivity loss during an unplanned disaster? Circumstances around the event have enough unpredictability.
March is considered the beginning of tornado season for much of the United States. In Southern states, tornado season is typically from March to May. For Northern states and upper Midwest, peak season is in June or July.
School closings and tornado warnings are in full affect in my area as I write. There is some concern that due to an unusual warm winter across most of the United States that the upcoming tornado season could be more severe than usual. Wind, hail, and lightening are also damage concerns for storms of this magnitude.
Is your business prepared for disaster recovery due to severe weather?
There is a difference between disaster prevention and disaster recovery. Both are necessary, but the former only mitigates the risk of downtime. The latter makes sure if downtime happens you can quickly and effectively get your IT back online.
Disaster recovery utilizes geographic and power source redundancy through the following measures:
- Backup power supplies
- Backup generators
- Power surge grounding planes
- Backup AC availability
- Geographic network redundancy
- Server cross-connectivity
API Digital offers the above recovery measures through our managed disaster recovery services in an effort to keep your business technology up and running even when disaster strikes. We do this by implementing a focused, organization-specific disaster recovery plan that encompasses your organization's overall strategy and business recovery concerns while developing detailed action plans for various disaster scenarios.
Managed disaster recovery services will help protect your mission-critical data by leveraging our infrastructure and support services.
In the event of a natural disaster, we work around the clock to reduce downtime and avoid revenue loss for your business. Our team of expert engineers ensure ample and reliable power supply for your technology equipment. No matter what happens, you resume business and employee productivity quickly and more cost-effectively in the event of an unplanned disaster.
Most importantly, this allows you to focus on your core responsibilities without the added pressure of protecting your organization technology in the event of a disaster.
Click below for more information on API Digital managed disaster recovery services.
API digital offers business continuity and telecommunications failover solutions in 3 strategic locations: Atlanta (GA), Chicago (IL), and Huntsville (AL).
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New technology integration requires a lot of planning and finesse on the behalf of the IT project manager. These projects require strategic planning to meet implementation deadlines while considering the following:
- technology set up
- sunsetting (or phase-out) of existing technology
- staff training
- technical support
Organizations often times face problems when trying to cross the ‘technology chasm.’ They struggle to figure out how to swing from one vine to the next (from one technology to the next), but they simply don’t have the momentum to grab hold of the vine ahead.
During times of rapid development, moving from one technology innovation to another can be difficult. IT managers must attempt to sustain the balance between leveraging existing technology and maintaining an efficient work place. Often times the process squeezes existing IT resources to the breaking point.
Transition-minded IT managers are forced to rethink their strategy.
The trick is balancing the project without compromising business efficiencies. In order to do so, IT project managers offset additional workload through one (or any combination of) the following options:
- Redistribute operational IT responsibilities. Training and support of new technology implementation adds workload to engineers and technicians. To offset some of the workload, operational IT duties are redistributed throughout the department in an effort to minimize lag.
- Hire temps or new employees. These new hires will carry out the continuous operational IT while the new technology is being integrated into the company.
- Outsource operational IT support services. Hire an experienced IT support team to take care of operational IT duties during the new technology integration project.
API Digital applies simple, proven methods to get the job done, to enable the CIO to create an organization that masters innovation, rather than becoming a slave to technology.
Click below for more information on API Digital's IT support services.
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A forward thinking end-user help desk will improve customer care and create a more efficient work day for your business.
Forward thinking means being a visionary, one who understands future forecasting and is able to intuitively act on trends based upon past history and experience. Ultimately, a forward thinker acts upon the long-term approach to a specific problem.
There are many benefits of providing long term help desk solutions to a specific problem. For businesses, addressing specific problems will actually reduce call volume and workload, while increasing end-user satisfaction and productivity.
These are 5 things that you want to consider when building a forward thinking end-user help desk service for your business:
- Make sure that the right person is responding. Sometimes routine support calls are being handled by key IT persons and employees that should be working on projects that leave a more significant footprint in your business growth. Make sure you have a dedicated staff responsible for all end-user service calls.
- Establish an escalation plan. Premature alerts to the senior IT Executive can be avoided by establishing a proactive escalation plan that designates when and how alarms should move to upper-level management, if at all. An effective plan includes clear directions for alarm escalation.
- Document your calls. An effective escalation plan is systematically documented and routinely monitored for trouble patterns. Documentation ensures that 100% of your customer service calls are resolved in a predictable, repeatable manner. Adhering to the documentation ensures that your team is in-the-know at all resolution stages.
- Fix the root of the problem. A smart help desk service works to eliminate the problem by sniffing out the source of it. Solving the root cause of issues through a continuous improvement process ultimately guarantees that you will have fewer support calls. This makes for a more efficient work day and a more satisfied end user.
- Consider Outsourcing your Help Desk Services. If your daily support tasks are the majority of your business’ workload, outsourcing your routine end-user help desk support may be a good solution for significantly improving IT efficiencies.
The key is developing a proactive process that your forward thinking help desk staff can utilize to solve internal network problems with limited upper management involvement.
For more information on how your business can partner with a forward thinking, U.S. based, end-user help desk service team click the link below.
At API Digital, we enable businesses to focus on revolutionary initiatives without leaving their users behind.
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If you are one of the millions of businesses that depend upon your technology to keep your business running, proactive monitoring plan development will save you money, improve your efficiencies, and reduce your downtime.
You can develop a proactive monitoring plan for your organization that discovers network issues before they become service impacting problems by considering 3 key objectives: purpose, scope and methodology.
1. Purpose. Why are you monitoring? A simple way to answer this question is to consider how your business is directly affected by your technology. If you had a technology blackout, how would your business be impacted? Consider key users of your technology and how it impacts factors such as customer experience, profitability and employee productivity.
The establishment of a specific purpose will give your IT department a common mission and allow them to deliver measurable results.
2. Scope. What are you monitoring? A simple way to answer this question is to consider which areas of your business are most impacted by the use of your technology. How long can your business sustain a technology outage?
Establishing a reasonable scope for your monitoring plan will ensure that you develop a plan that suits the needs of your organization.
3. Methodology. How will you implement your monitoring plan? Establishing a clearly defined escalation plan will ensure that problems are taken care of by the right people at the right time.
This is a key component of proactive monitoring. It is the ‘now what’ when alarms and issues present themselves.
API Digital has built a strong business around this monitoring process. Our assessment team works with you to develop a network monitoring and response strategy that best fits the needs of your organization. API Digital has developed proactive monitoring and maintenance plans that maximize uptime and reduce IT costs over time.
Systems can be patched and updated overnight without the need for onsite visits, or disrupting an organization's work day. Our experience and expertise in proactive enterprise and telecommunications network monitoring is the reason why large and mid-sized business choose to partner with API Digital for network monitoring development.
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What is Colocation?
Being proactive means that you anticipate future problems and implement changes to avoid them. It means taking control and making things better rather than just adjusting to a bad situation or waiting for something to break.
Dentists have built a successful practice from proactive monitoring. They perform scheduled oral maintenance to prevent their patients from experiencing the pains of serious dental issues. Those of us who have gone through even temporary dental pains know the urgency of getting the issue fixed--now.
Why? Because nerve network pains take charge of your overall functionality. They cause head and stomach aches and, most of the time, stop productivity. To avoid this, you and I get bi-yearly checkups (as much as we dread them). It is our proactive approach to avoiding dental pains and costly surgical fixes.
Smart network monitoring strategies are much like a dental check-up. First of all, consider the integration of technology and functionality for your business. If you had a technology blackout, how would your business be impacted? Think about customer experience, profitability and employee productivity.
Reactive systems acknowledge and answer a past event. This method is adaptive, at best but can be disastrous in the worst case scenario. In the same way, you have a sensitive tooth, so you call your dentist. The issue could indicated weak enamel, at best or it could mean a root canal. Ugh. I just cringed at the thought.
Bottom line, reactivity is adapting to change, while proactivity is initiating change.
The cost associated with a reactive network monitoring platform is much higher than the cost associated with proactive monitoring strategies. Think of the time and cost associated with a dental check-up versus the time, cost and pain of an oral surgeon visit.
Best network monitoring practices follow a WATCH, RESPOND, RESOLVE method.
- Watch. A continuous network surveillance that anticipates problems, minimizes risk.
- Respond. Has a plan set in place for fixing network issues.
- Resolve. Solves the root of the problem to avoid future problems.
Finally, smart businesses choose to partner with experts in the field of continuous network monitoring. These experts, like dentists, have the experience, knowledge, staff and skill to take care of your needs now to prevent major problems, 24 x 7 x 365. If we could find a dentist that kept those hours, we’d really be in business.
Click the link below for more information on developing a reliable network monitoring partnership for your business.
Network monitoring is an investment in your business’s future and is especially vital for any business that relies on technology for day-to-day business operations.
What should be monitored on your network? Whether you are learning how to watch your business’ network or you are looking into hiring someone to do it for you, it is important to know what exactly to monitor.
- Endpoint Connectivity. Managing endpoint connectivity is a fundamental part network management. It is keeping watch in real-time, or close to real-time, that your endpoint nodes are connected.
- Switch Management. Management of your network’s various switchpoints should be kept as central as possible, as all these elements are intertwined. In a complex network environment, it is vital that all ports, QoS, VLANs, etc. be monitored and accounted for to properly and efficiently attack a network issue.
Many large and mid-sized businesses who want the features of a large scale IT department without the private costs, outsource their network monitoring to businesses who manage multiple networks in a specially designed NOC (network operation center), providing the necessary redundancy, security, and environmental controls.
- Server Connectivity. Server connectivity blocks are common and frustrating to end users. VM (virtual machine) management, remote connections, port-specific services (such as HTTP, or SQL) should be continually monitored.
Visibility into your network is critical in all IT environments. Network monitoring allows you to stay ahead of network issues before they become service impacting events.
- 24x7x365 monitoring is key. The best monitoring plans include an around-the-clock watch, respond, resolve process.
- Systems don’t solve problems, people do. Monitoring software will alert your business to a problem or potential problem but it is important to have someone watching and responding to issues in your network 24x7x365.
- Fix the root of the problem. Creating a proactive system that discovers issues before they become service impacting problems is the goal, but the key to a successful monitoring system is one that both monitors your network and seizes opportunities for network improvement.
API Digital has built a strong business around this monitoring process. Our group continually and systematically looks for issues, quickly responds, and then creates a process to permanently resolve an issue. Our experience and expertise in proactive enterprise and telecommunications network monitoring is the reason why smart large and mid-sized business choose API Digital to be a vital part of their IT solution plan.
A follow-up from my previous post, What is Colocation?
I received many useful responses to this article. Thank you! Most notably, I found it interesting the various ways that you spelled “colocation” (the way i spell it) in your response.
So, What is the proper spelling? Colocation or Collocation...or Co-location?
If this question came to mind then you are not alone. In fact, I had to look into this my first week on the job at API Digital.
The reality is that both colocation and collocation correct spellings, but due to the meaning associated with their spelling you can not use them interchangeably (like whether and weather).
Co-location is also used on occasion because it works grammatically and it is recognized by most spell check software functions, unlike the word colocation. For this same reason, automatic spell check functions change colocation to collocation which is largely why collocation is so common.
Collocation is an English noun, of Latin origin meaning to set or place together side by side, arrange in the proper order.
In Linguistics collocation is used to mean words which are commonly found together. For example, a pretty woman or a handsome man. These words are considered in proper order, or collocated, because “pretty” and “handsome” are feminine/masculine words respectively. In other words, you would not say pretty man or a handsome woman, in most cases.
In America and Europe, colocation is the most common spelling when referring to a business data center (ie: server colocation, colocation facility, and colocation data center). It is derived from the French term colocataire, which means renting a house (or flat) with another tenant.
Finally, for those of you that utilize colocation data center services, you just say “colo.”
And that's OK too.
What is a colocation data center?
A colocation data center is a hosting option for businesses who want the features of a large scale IT department without the private costs. Colocation is dedicated web hosting (the server machine is dedicated to your site’s exclusive use) that also allows you to safely share bandwidth with other business servers in secure racks nearby.
What is Colocation? And why consider it for your business?
Colocation is a hosting option for businesses who want the features of a large scale IT department without the private costs. Colocation is dedicated server hosting (the
server machine is dedicated to your site’s exclusive use) that also allows you to safely share bandwidth with other business servers in secure racks nearby.
A colocation facility consists of temperature controlled storage rooms and a 24-hour NOC (Network Operations Center) staffed with engineers experienced in various monitoring platforms. NOC engineers work as an extension of your team, using tools and process to continually monitor your network alarms and troubleshoot issues as required.
Your colocation company provides IP (Internet Protocol), bandwidth, and power to your server. It generally costs more than standard Web hosting, but less than a comparable amount of bandwidth and redundancy into your place of business. Once it's up and running, you can access it much like you would access a Web site on a hosting provider. The difference being that you own the hardware.
Advantages of Colocation
- The biggest advantage of colocation is the reduced cost for bandwidth. For about the same price or less as standard business class DSL a single server can be placed in a colocation facility that provides higher bandwidth speeds and better redundancy for the network connections.
- Colocation facilities have better outage protection. Generators and backup power protect against long-term outages due to network issues or natural disasters.
- If your business moves, you can leave the server up and running. When you host your own domain, at some point you will have to either pay for two lines to move the domain to the new location or deal with outages while the server is moved to the new location.
- Colocation providers give additional security for your machines with 24x7x365 problem watch and network access in up to date, temperature controlled, NOC facilities.
- Most colocation servers offer a service where they will manage and maintain your server for you for an extra cost. This is especially useful if you don't have IT team members or your office is located far from the provider.
Is Colocation the way to go for my business?
Colocation is also a very good option for the mid to large businesses with the following characteristics:
- Businesses that have a robust Web presence
- Businesses that don't want to deal with (or purchase) network connections, 24-hour network monitoring and operations team, or generators
- Businesses that handle SLAs on a regular basis
- Businesses that heavily rely on intra-office web related communications
Colocation ensures all network operations are uninterrupted and your dedicated servers remain running.
On Super Bowl Sunday, 6:30PM, few things will drag most of you off the couch and away from the big game.
Why? Because it is the biggest game in NFL. It's the pinnacle of the entire NFL season. It’s American football.
But what happens when your teenage daughter calls at 6:30PM letting you know that she has a flat tire and needs your help?
You go and help fix the problem because it is your daughter and if you did not respond, who will?
Businesses that rely solely on their IT manager to respond to service issues put their manager in similar circumstances every day. When a customer calls with a service issue it is up to them to respond. They pull away from meetings, projects, tasks, etc. to fix the problem.
They do this because IT managers and business owners alike know that customer satisfaction directly impacts customer retention; and customer satisfaction depends heavily upon prompt and fitting responses to service complaints and technical questions.
The challenge for today’s IT department is staying focused on development, training and implementation of new technologies that build the customer base while simultaneously maintaining a consistent level of current customer service satisfaction.
The problem is repetitive customer support calls are exhausting today’s IT Managers and are keeping them from focusing on impacting initiatives that grow their customer base and their customer’s overall satisfaction.
What is the solution? To stay ahead, enterprises are getting smart about managing daily end user support needs. More businesses are choosing to outsource their help desk to relieve or totally alleviate their IT managers from the daily distraction of support calls. This solution also improves customer satisfaction because they benefit from a consistent level of support from a dedicated staff of technical help desk providers.
Technology innovation is the driving force behind enterprise growth in today’s technology driven market. Lets get your IT manager back in the Big Game, guys.
CLICK below for more information on how you can improve your business customer service.
Have you ever thought about the impact your help desk service has on customer satisfaction and retention? The quality of your help desk support service is a critical factor in your telecommunications company or enterprise.
In any IT department or technical support service industry, keeping operation costs low and labor utilization efficiency is key.
When considering the total cost of help desk support services for your company, outsourcing your end user technical support services will likely be the most profitable solution for your company.
Partnering with a remote support service provider has 3 main advantages:
1. Increased customer satisfaction.
What types of calls keep your customer service lines busy? I have found that most of these calls are related to a customer's personal use of their technology.
Today, owning your own computer is more affordable than ever. Studies have shown that over 70% of Americans have a computer with Internet access. Some of these new users are not familiar with the way their Personal Computer or Internet technology works and they turn to their Internet Service Provider for support.
Does your business really have the time and resources to transfer knowledge to the novice end user that may have trouble simply locating the "Any" key? But on the other hand, can you afford not to provide routine technical assistance for your customers?
Absolutely not. In the competitive world of today's enterprise and telecommunication service providers, helpful customer support is critical to maintaining a profitable customer base.
2. Faster Problem Resolution.
Remote technical support works by using a remote desktop connection which enables a technician to access the subscriber's computer from a remote location.
In most cases, the user can just sit back and watch as the technician goes to work correcting the issue. Compared to the the traditional talk/walk through method, this method significantly reduces the call time. Customers are impressed with the efficiency of the remote support process.
3. One Call Resolution.
This process allows issues to be fixed right the first time.
Although infrequent, there are times when a problem is a network fix that requires an onsite technician. Using a proactive resolution process and a systematic ticketing system, trouble patterns among multiple users can easily be detected and a solution can be made before your phone lines are flooded with repeat calls for the same problem.
Here at API Digital, our technical support organization takes full advantage of Remote Support Services. We are privileged to serve thousands of subscribers.
Implementation of Remote Support Services has given us a great advantage by increasing customer satisfaction, resolving issues more quickly, and eliminating unnecessary callbacks.
Click the button below to download FREE information on evaluating your customer service plan: