Small Business IT Essentials: Easy Ways to Keep Your Computers Running Smoothly

As a managed services provider that works with many small businesses, we come across a myriad of seemingly random computer errors on a regular basis. In my experience, after “user errors,” most computer issues are caused by what I refer to as “Lack of maintenance” and you can take a look at this PC Revive blog post if you come across such issues. As part of our IT services, we provide comprehensive monitoring and maintenance for our customers’ PCs and servers, but there are some things  that you can do to minimize common issues on your computer and the computers in your small business.

  1. Restart
    Many quirks and unexplainable issues you have on a day-to-day basis with your computer are easily prevented and/or resolved with a quick restart. Restarting also allows your PC to install critical system updates, the importance of which is covered in the following section. A good policy is to restart your computer as the last thing you do when leaving the office. This way, you can come in to work the next day and have a “fresh” PC waiting for you.
  2. Update
    As mentioned in a previous post most virus infections are a result of computers not being fully patched and up-to-date. Keeping everything (operating system, applications and drivers) up-to-date on a system is a bit of a chore, but 15-minutes of maintenance could save you a lot of time and money down the road. Secunia PSI by Secunia is an amazing little application that will scan your PC and tell you every update you’re missing for all the applications you have installed. It will even initiate the update processes for you. It’s great if you only need to keep one or two PC’s up-to-date. If your small business has five PCs or more, talk to your IT provider about their maintenance plan. It’s well worth the investment.
  3. Upgrade
    We’ve all heard the saying: “Time waits for no man.” The same is true of technology. The truth is that restarts or software updates are only going to help you  so much if you’re using an old computer. If your computer is 3 years old, start thinking about replacing it. If it’s 5 years old, stop reading this article and go buy a new computer. Old computers usually mean buggy and failing hardware and software incompatibility. The truth is that the latest version of a business application is going to be slow on your 4 year old laptop no matter what you do (assuming you can even get it installed). Plus, it’s always much easier and less stressful to replace a computer when the old one is still in working order rather than after the old one has failed and you’re forced to get a new one.

Visit here to find Microsoft certified professionals form the Reboot computer repairs company who can guarantee you a perfect repair for all your systems.

Performing basic routine maintenance on your computers will help them run better, for longer. This means less errors and overall better stability. Put aside 30 minutes every month to make sure your PC is fully up-to-date; it will thank you. Also remember if your computer is over 3 years old and it’s unbearably slow you should definitely think about a replacement. Call us for IT support and with help creating a maintenance plan for your computers.

Inexpensive Computer Upgrades to Make You More Productive

As IT Consultants we are always looking for ways our clients can get the most bang for their IT buck. Most of the time this involves squeezing the most out of their current systems to increase the lifespan of the PC’s and/or make them more useful. Cost is always top of mind and over the years we’ve learned some great ways to get this done on the cheap. Let’s look at a couple of inexpensive upgrades you can make to your systems to increase your productivity.

Numero Uno: Memory/RAM Upgrade

Desktop Computer RAM/Memory ModuleThe only thing you need to know about RAM is that it largely controls how fast you computer boots and how fast your programs run. This means that the more RAM your system has, the faster it runs and the more you can get done, in less time. Most aging computers can get a second breath of life with a simple, inexpensive RAM upgrade. If your PC has anything less than 2GB of memory then this upgrade is for you. Depending on your PC or laptop 2GB of RAM should cost around $50. If your computer can support more, get as much as possible (up to 4GB in most cases) because a little RAM goes a long way.

You can use the Memory Advisor Tool on Crucial.com to determine what kind of RAM your system needs. While upgrading your RAM is fairly simple you will have to open your computer or laptop and you may prefer to have your IT support technician handle the job. If you’re up to the task, most desktop and laptop user guides will provide instructions for installing or replacing RAM.

Number Two: Multiple Monitors

Dual MonitorsI won’t waste any time here convincing you that you should have at least two monitors on your desk. Trust me, you should. If you need further convincing see this New York Times article from 2006, yes multiple monitors is old news. The good news is that today many PC’s ship with dual monitor capability (or at the very least can be easily upgraded) and nearly every laptop supports this feature.

Have your tech check if your computers’ video card supports multiple monitors. If it doesn’t you can pick one up for less than $100. Grab a second monitor (look in to a 20″ widescreen LCD for around $150) and you have yourself an upgrade that will make you more productive and you can continue to use even if you get a new PC.

Bonus: External Hard Drive

External Hard DrivesThis upgrade may not necessarily make you more productive but an external hard drive is a must for anyone with decent sized music, home video or photo collection. Having an external hard drive provides two main advantages: Firstly it gives you significantly more storage space for files (easily 1TB for less than $99). Secondly, because the drives are portable you can take your files with you very easily. You can free some space on your PC by moving your media files to an external hard drive or even use it as a backup drive.

There’s no time like the present to make these inexpensive upgrades to your system, so have at it and go be the productive maven you are.

Invizio Launches The MissingPiece℠ IT Infrastructure Management Plan

Miami, FL – September 15, 2008 – Invizio LLC a company that specializes in providing information technology (IT) services for small to medium-size South Florida businesses, announced today the launch of The MissingPiece℠, it’s new IT service plan that promises businesses all the benefits of a fully staffed IT department at a fraction of the cost.

“We are very proud to offer South Florida businesses this opportunity,” said Kevin V. Michael, CEO, Invizio. “Many small businesses struggle to manage their own IT environments or to go through the hassle and expense of bringing someone on staff to get the job done. With The MissingPiece℠ they have an external IT team that works everyday to maintain the reliability of their IT assets and reduce the ongoing cost of IT management.”

The MissingPiece℠ is offered as a monthly service plan that includes a buffet of much needed IT services for the small business market. The key feature of Invizio’s The MissingPiece℠ is the proactive maintenance that it provides. Mr. Michael also pointed out that “Most business owners are used to calling in IT services when things break and then they get hit with a bill they didn’t expect. Our service consistently maintains systems to avert unexpected IT emergencies before they happen and allows business owners to budget for IT more effectively”.

“The recent passage of hurricanes Ike and Gustav have reminded us that being prepared for a disaster is not an option for small businesses,” says Kyle Hurst, CTO, Invizio. “So we designed the MissingPiece to include an offsite data backup and recovery component that will aid businesses in securing critical data and getting back on their feet should their business be affected by a storm.”

Other notable components of The MissingPiece℠ include a 24/7 support desk for business owners and their employees, network monitoring and full management of computer and network security. “Our goal is to provide all of these services to our clients remotely with little interference or intrusion, and in the event that a system fails we’re never more than a phone call away”, added Mr. Hurst.

The MissingPiece℠ plan is available immediately. For additional information on Invizio, LLC and The MissingPiece℠ contact Kevin Michael or visit http://www.invizio.com.

About Invizio

Invizio, LLC (www.invizio.com) is an information technology services, solutions and consulting firm that specializes in serving small businesses. Based in Miami, FL, Invizio provides managed IT services to clients in Miami-Dade & Broward counties and offers a wide range of IT solutions across a variety industries.