If your Zoom meetings freeze or computer’s spinning dial spins for ages — it’s time to call the business IT doctor. We interviewed Matt Fawver. LightHouse’s System Services Manager to understand the IT issues that grind down business efficiency. Why they are happening more frequently than ever and the best way to make sure they don’t happen to you. His answers may surprise you!
LH: So “Dr.” Fawver my Zoom meetings freeze, my computer’s slow, my VoIP calls drop, my business is a hot mess! Why is this happening and what’s my prognosis?
MF: Slowdowns are subtle and sneak up on businesses because everything, I mean EVERYTHING is online today. Network traffic like voice and video is not very tolerant of misconfigurations and bottlenecks. Here’s an example, just the other day I met a company that had begun adding security cameras to their network. It seemed innocuous enough, but those cameras were the last straw, their network couldn’t handle the additional traffic. The cameras didn’t perform well, and they began having voice problems. Every business adds equipment to their networks. Security cameras here, digital door locks there, maybe a new companywide tablet-based app that taxes wifi. Before you know it, the network is down.
LH: So a network that worked fabulously last year, grinds to a halt as we add new conveniences. Even small ones, it’s cumulative!
MF: That’s right, technology has expanded to touch every last corner of business. Unlike just about anything else in our lives. When your washing machine breaks, it impacts your ability to do one thing: wash your clothes. When one part of your IT infrastructure breaks, it can bring your entire business to a halt. That’s not just a financial loss, it can be a repetitional loss too!
LH: That’s the killer! Then it can take hours or even days to understand the root cause and remediate the problem. (And when it’s your business that feels like forever).
MF: That’s when we look at everything! Is it the Internet Service Provider (ISP) who’s service is no longer fast enough? Or, the internal network with software or hardware that isn’t updated? Or is the problem one that crosses service providers? Often you’ll get service providers pointing fingers at each other. It’s so important to conduct an objective analysis to find the root cause and resolve the issue. We have systems and software that we use to identify the source problems.
LH: Zoom calls that keep freezing up will be responded to with urgency. What are problems people put up with for a long time?
MF: Computers that have become painfully slowed. People seem to tolerate that for years. It’s super common to talk to a CEO, COO or a business owner that is using a terribly old computer. They’re losing valuable minutes that turn into hours each week. They’re putting off spending a modest amount for a new computer that’s will run 10 times faster.
If you want to run smoothly and manage your budget, you need a process for managing hardware life cycles. We suggest a four-year workstation hardware life cycle. That’s one of the benefits of signing up for LightHouse managed services. We work with you to plan and build a process for workstation replacements. The plan ensures that each employee has the right, optimally functioning computer, for the job.
LH: So buying a new faster computer obviously increases productivity. How do you reliably improve productivity across the entire business? How do you keep your business IT fit and healthy?
MF: I would say the biggest thing we provide is a proactive approach. We use systems, software and processes to monitor and proactively perform maintenance. We make sure software is up to date and systems are patched. We ensure you’re running the right antivirus software. All of this sounds like common sense stuff. It’s surprising how many organizations don’t do a very good job at it.
It’s important for the IT Service provider to look beyond the technology — and that takes good communication’s skills. When we walk into a business for the first time we take a great deal of time, understanding the business, in addition to the tech issues. Then we take care to explain tech solutions clearly and in a business context. This empowers the business owner make informed business decisions when it comes to upgrading their IT systems.
And, we don’t take a set it and forget it approach. We return frequently to understand what is going on inside your company. What are your plans? What are you considering adding? What has changed? Plus we monitor your network continuously. We are able to see in advance when you are pushing the boundaries of your network’s bandwidth. We take action before you experience poor performance.
LH: Thanks Doc! Be proactive. Keep things up to date. Understand that even small additions to the network can, overtime, cause trouble. And of course, partner with the LightHouse team to keep your business IT fit and your people productive.
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