System Performance Checks

It is day 4 of our 5 day write up and we are going to talk about system performance checks. Just a reminder that over the next 7 weeks we will be sharing valuable tech information with you.  Please check in daily for new content.  This week we are continuing to focus on the importance of Asset Tracking and how it can benefit your company.

The first 3 days we covered how Asset Tracking compiles your systems hardware and software and outlined some of the benefits of using it regularly.  Today we are going to talk about System Monitoring – Performance Checks which is another key feature of our Asset Tracking module that is found in our Managed Services offering.

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Performance checks monitor over 15 hardware resources on your workstations and over 25 different services on your servers.  In the past our techs had to manually review each workstation and server and look at all these settings individually.  The time involved in doing so was huge!  Our Managed Services Software is installed on each computer and server in your network and these “checks” are automatically run every 30 minutes; Reports are sent back to our office and reviewed hourly.  We can now be proactive in monitoring your systems with a real time look at how each computer/server is acting on your network.  Tomorrow we are going to give examples of how this can benefit your office/network.

Reporting on Assets

Today is day 3 of our 5 day write up on Asset Tracking.  Once again Asset Tracking provides multiple solutions; hardware and software reporting were covered in the first two days, today we will be diving into the ways those reports can be used in the workplace to save you time and money!day 3.jpg

Reporting on Assets

All of the hardware and software that has been captured via Asset Tracking can now be presented in a viewable format.  This information can provide multiple uses:

        1) Yearly I.T. review of your systems

        2) Comparable reporting to make sure systems meet software requirements

        3) Government reporting and auditing

        4) Internal asset tracking

There are numerous different uses available with one touch reporting.  What use to take hours now takes minutes and the information is easily accessible in online form.  Looking for new Client Relations software?  Download the system specs from the vendor and compare them with your Asset Tracking module to know exactly what your hardware costs will be to implement the new software.

Importance of Documenting Software on Systems

Today is day 2 of our 5 day write up on the importance of asset tracking! Over the next 7 weeks we will be telling you about our managed service software! These are going to be short informational write ups that will only take you a few minutes to read. We hope you enjoy them!

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Yesterday we spoke about the importance of documenting your hardware; today we will be talking about the importance of documenting your software! “Asset Tracking” is a module that is a part of our Manage Software Service offering.  Asset Tracking is an important aspect in documenting your systems and network.   Capturing all of your software and licensing information and listing it in a reviewable format is the first step in streamasset-tracking-2.jpglining your systems for reporting.  Our Manage Services Software allow us to view all of the software on your computers and servers, what versions they are running and the date that they were installed. This keeps it in an organized log so we can easily access it and relay that information on to you. A few examples of the software it logs are all windows programs and industry specific programs (Quickbooks, Dentrix, Chirotouch, PCLaw). This is much easier than spending all day sorting through all of your folders on your computer to see if you have the right version of adobe!

Now you can affectively budget I.T. costs and be pro-active on your network!! Look for tomorrow’s post on the system performance checks! Call us today if you would like to chat with one of our techs about what our managed software services can do for your company!

Importance of Documenting Hardware on Systems

 

Over the next 7 weeks we will be telling you about our managed service software! This week we are focusing on the importance of asset tracking and how it can benefit your company. These are going to be short informational write ups that will only take you a few minutes to read. We hope you enjoy them!

“Asset Tracking” is a module that is a part of our Manage Software Service offering.  Asset Tracking is an important aspect in documenting your systems and network.   Capturing all of your hardware and listing it in a reviewable format is the first step in streamlining your systems for reporting.  Our Manage Services Software allow us to view all of the hardware on your computers and servers real-time and keep it in an organized log so we can easily access it and relay that information on to you.

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An example of where Asset Tracking is used is in preparation for software updates.  Upgrading your software on your server you might have to upgrade certain pieces of hardware in order for that software to run, if it is not compatible, you could be facing larger issues in the software might not work at all.  Our software allows for a review process; know what components you currently have and if a hardware upgrade would be needed PRIOR to installing software that will not run on your system. 

Use this same technology as a yearly review model.  Now you can affectively budget I.T. costs and be pro-active on your network!! Look for tomorrow’s post on the importance of documenting software! Call us today if you would like to chat with one of our techs about what our managed software services can do for your company!

What is the big deal about Patch Management?


What is a Patch? A patch is an update to a piece of software to fix or improve the usability or performance. Patch updates come out daily, weekly, and monthly; they keep your systems up to date and safe; without those downloaded correctly you could be opening up your system to hackers. Hackers target websites and implement their code into the website in hopes that you as the website visitor do not have all of your programs up to date. With our Managed Service Software we can make sure that all of your software is automatically updated daily. We remotely monitor your system and if a problem arises, we can squash it before it renders your computer useless.

 

There are a lot of small businesses that choose to do maintenance on a quarterly basis; people think that they are keeping their systems up to date when they are actually leaving an open door in their security that allows tons of threats and viruses to walk right in. Patch updates and basic web security are a big portion of preventative maintenance that business owners do not think about but should be aware of when coming up with a tech plan for their employees.  A lot of the time they have security software installed and they think that they have nothing to worry about, as time goes on they do not realize that their subscription has expired, or that it is not installed correctly which can lead to data breaches that will cost you big time. To prepare for these events, it is very handy to have someone monitoring your security settings and updates to make sure they are running as planned; here at KNS we are a Managed Service Provider (MSP) and through our software we monitor your computers and servers remotely; if a threat gets into your computer, we get an instant notification and can remedy the situation. This gives you, as a business owner, piece of mind.

If you would like to know more about our pricing or how our Managed Services Software works please email us or call the office and we can answer all of your questions!

 

The Benefits of Microsoft Office 365 and your Business

 

The Benefits of Microsoft Office 365 and your Business

Small businesses have a lot of competition, so it’s important for you to take advantage of all the technology available to help increase productivity. Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud-based subscription service hosted by Microsoft, and it offers your small business many benefits that will help you run your company more efficiently. There are different plans to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that suits your office-365business needs and budget.

Microsoft Office 365 makes it possible for you to continue using all of the Microsoft programs that you use in your office now. Just imagine how convenient having Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, Excel, and other programs available almost anywhere or anytime you need them would be for your business! One of the benefits you’re sure to appreciate with this service is having access to the newest versions of your business applications as soon as they’re available. The new versions load quickly and all your information is automatically saved. With Microsoft Office 365 you don’t have to worry about having to constantly delete emails, they offer unlimited data!

How can Microsoft Office 365 help you when you are away from the office?

Since Microsoft Office 365 with Outlook is available on almost all mobile devices, you can stay in touch with employees through instant messaging and you’ll never be late or miss an appointment that you forgot about because you’ll always have access to your calendar. You can view and edit documents while on the go without changing the formatting and even prepare for business meetings in the hotel room when traveling because you’ll have access to all of the same information you would have in your office.Iphone pic.jpg

You can also sort and respond to emails using Microsoft Office 365 so it can help improve the time it takes for you to respond to clients. This will make a big impression with the clients because people appreciate receiving a response to their questions or problems in a timely fashion. Since you will no longer be tied down to answering your emails just when you’re in the office, you can send a reply anytime it’s convenient for you. Having this much freedom will also help liberate some of your time when you’re in the office to take care of other important business because you won’t have so many emails to catch up on. Checking and answering emails when you’re out of the office will help you spread the workload out a little. This makes you more productive because you have the services needed to multi-task more efficiently.

Microsoft Office 365 is Secure!

Keeping your company’s information and that of your clients, private and safe is top priority for any business and you won’t have to worry about it when you use Microsoft Office 365. Anti-malware and spam protection is built in to help keep your informationLock and Chain.jpg safe from unauthorized users. Another great benefit of using this service is that you won’t have to worry about viruses sent through emails that can damage your files because everything is scanned before it reaches your inbox.

Small businesses can struggle just to keep up, so anything you can do to set your company apart from the rest will help you grow and thrive. Increasing productivity and having the freedom to conduct business efficiently when you’re not in the office will greatly benefit your company and that is what Microsoft Office 365 is all about. Please let us know if you are considering making the change, we would love to tell you more about some of your options and get you set up on Microsoft Office 365!

So what’s with Cortana?

Cortana is a personal assistant that will be on your Windows 10 update. Most people are a little off put by the thought of this feature on their computer, but there are some pretty cool features about it that you may not realize. It learns as it goes, and this might seem a little futuristic, but it is extremely helpful. You can tell it to make appointments, to tell you a joke, write an email out or to make a note. It was designed to learn how you act and to help you based on what it learns from you. It has a personality, and if you don’t like something that Cortana says, you can tell it “no thank you Cortana” or “That’s not nice Cortana, please don’t” and it will not do whatever it may be that offended you. The designers spent countless hours going over questions that Cortana would encounter on a daily basis, if she cannot answer the question, she will simply redirect you to a Bing page.cortana picture

The name Cortana started as a nick name from the blue lady on the game Halo, the person who does the voice of her also does the voice for Windows 10 Cortana; when word got out that its nickname was Cortana, a petition was started to keep that name, and thus the name Cortana stuck. Unlike the blue naked lady in Halo, Cortana is a pair of concentric circles that throb with regular cadence, like a heartbeat. But, BOTH Cortana’s are voiced by the same lady, Jen Taylor.

One big question that the Microsoft team had was “How should the ideal personal assistant act?” to find out, Microsoft interviewed personal assistants from Hollywood executives and technology CEOs. The one thing that they had in common was extremely detailed notes about their bosses, usually in a notebook that the personal assistant was glued to. Those notes included anything from what they ate for lunch, to what their favorite music was. To do their job well, the personal assistants had to be able to anticipate their boss’s desires and be able to make them on their behalf. Cortana will have access to your calendar, emails, vacations, family photos, you name it and Cortana probably has access to it.  Users will be able to see what data Cortana collects, see what she does with it and then have the opportunity to change it.

A unique thing that Cortana can do is “chit-chat” with its user. If you ask her if she likes dogs, she will give you a witty response.  Testers have found that the more that they talk with her, the more they treat her like a human. They catch themselves saying “Please Cortana”, “Thank you, Cortana” or apologizing to her. Being able to provoke these sorts of responses to a computer program makes you feel more connected to her, trust her more and you feel that you can rely on her.

Let us know how you feel about Cortana, or if you have any questions on how she works. Please visit our website at www.kitsapnetworking.com, or visit us on Facebook at Kitsap Networking Services!

KNS Initial review of Windows 10

There are a few new (and old) things that you will find with Windows 10. The most noticeable one is the start bar.  The start bar for Windows 10 has combined the start bar from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, so it has live tiles as well as the ability to search like on the Windows 7 start bar. You can customize the start bar to have more or less live tiles; you can put the more important ones on top, and get rid of the ones you do not want or need. There is also Cortana on the start bar. She is a personal assistant, similar to Siri on IPhones or Echo on Amazon. She learns the more you ask her and if she doesn’t know an answer to something she is asked, she will direct you to a Bing page.

Bill gates meme.JPGEdge is the new search engine on Windows 10. It is very direct; you just search either words or an actual website into the search bar. Some people do not like that there isn’t a URL search bar, but I personally find it very efficient, it just takes some time to get used to. A handy tip to optimize productivity is to use the split screen; you can use half of your screen for one program and the other for another, you can also split your screen into four sections. There is a task view which is also very nice, it allows you to toggle in-between all of your programs currently in use and choose which one you want to use.

Most people’s main concern is that their current programs will not transfer over to Windows 10, or that is will be completely different like Windows 8, but that is not the case. If Windows 7 or 8 was supported any of the old programs, it will support them on Windows 10. A lot of people are also concerned that it costs money to switch over to Windows 10, but it does not; it is free to upgrade to for the first year, but after that is when they will start to charge you to upgrade. When you boot up or restart your computer there is the option to use the previous platform or to use the new Windows 10 platform.

Windows 10 has made itself a lot more clean and efficient with this new upgrade. It has taken all of the problems that people had with Windows 8 and solved them completely. It takes a little while to get used to but I HIGHLY recommend that people download it while you have the free upgrade. Let us know what you think and feel free to visit our Facebook page or website if you have any questions!

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Why should your company outsource IT needs?

In a recent study, smaller companies (those with less than 300 employees) are leading the way with outsourcing their IT processes. Some say that estimates of cost savings are as high as 40%. But how do you know if your company should make the switch?

For starters, outsourcing can make costs more predictable; for example, if you sign up for Managed Service Provider (MSP) it would be a set amount, each month that would guarantee that all of your software was up to date. If you back up your data as well, you know that in the event of a crypto wall virus attack on your computer, you already have all of your data safely stored away that you can access with a phone call to us.

Many companies start out outsourcing basic support services (work stations, etc.) and eventually begin to include more advanced operations (security management, for example) in the outsourcing contract. IT outsourcing companies also provide services like virus protection, data backup and recovery, wireless support, purchase consulting, and network architecture.

Some people could argue that it is an unnecessary cost, and that they could “update the programs themselves”, but in the event that a virus were to infiltrate your company, you would need to call in an IT specialist to come in and help save the rest of your data, in the end, it could cost you thousands in lost work and for the specialists time.

The biggest reason to outsource for your IT needs is purely the peace of mind. All of your information is safe, up to date, and you know that if something were to happen, everything would be taken care of. If you don’t have to worry about updating all of your programs and running backups, you will have more time to focus on your company.

Please contact Kitsap Networking Services if you would like any more information on pricing or if you had any further questions about outsourcing your IT needs. Or, check out the Kitsap Networking Service website or Facebook page!

How to protect your bank account from hackers?

Imagine this, you are out on vacation, with little to no cell reception, and you stop to buy groceries for your family vacation and your bank card gets declined. What are you to do? You try to call your bank to see what is going on, because you know that there are enough funds in your account, but you can’t reach them due to the fact you are in the middle of nowhere. Now your family vacation is ruined and you have no food. Nothing can ruin a trip faster than a car full of hungry teenagers, hours away from home. Things like this happen all the time, but how do you prevent them from happening?

It is a common misconception that hackers just sit behind their desk all day typing away, there are hackers all around you every day. They have card readers that pull data off of your card when you are at an ATM, shopping for groceries or getting gas. If you are looking for an easy way to keep your card safe from card readers or people “bumping” into you to read the RFID (RFID stands for Radio Frequently Identification) off of your card, there are wallets that block those scanners.

So what should you do if your bank accounts become compromised? If your bank accounts do become compromised, the first thing you should do is to immediately contact your bank and report what has occurred. The second thing you should do is to monitor your accounts closely to see if there are any changes and report those, if any changes occur. Most bank allow you to receive electronic notification or alerts of transactions on your card via text or email, it is highly recommended to set that alert system up. Third thing you should do is to ignore any emails or call from “your financial institute” that ask you to confirm your account; your financial institute would never call you to verify your account, this normally occurs only when you call or email them.

Your information is at risk every day and there is no guarantee that you will be able to protect your account information from hackers, but you can always take every precautionary step to try to prevent it from happening.