Archive for December, 2009

Dec
29

Start the New Year Safely - Quick Tips to Secure Your Network - Part I

IT Solutions - Stay Secure, Launch Pad News, Small Business IT Management No comments

Data and network security in small businesses is a largely grey area for many owners and managers without specialized expertise.  Basic concepts such encryping wireless connects and using passwords on devices and in programs has become common knowledge.  Most busineses understand that they should be backing up data also.  However, network security has many more levels of complexity than those few simple manadates.  So, what steps should you take are both simple and instanly effective?

1. Inventory of Authorized and Unauthorized Devices

2. Inventory of Authorized and Unauthorized Software
Deploy an automated asset inventory tool that both scans designated IP address ranges and analyses traffic to identify devices and software. You can’t secure your network unless you know exactly what hardware and software is running on your network.

3. Secure Configurations For Hardware and Software on Laptops, Workstations, and Servers
Remove games, hyperterminals and “crapware” that comes bundled with many end user machines, and unnecessary software on servers. If you need six applications on a machine, then there should be six, not twenty. Ideally, deploy standardized images, and document whenever a non standardized image is used for any reason.  We have three words:  standardize, standardize, standardize!
Continue Reading >>

  • Share/Save/Bookmark
Dec
27

What’s in your Budget? Are You Spending the Right Amount on Your Technology?

Launch Pad News, Small Business IT Management No comments

benchmarking IT

How do you know if you are spending too much or too little on your technology.  Benchmarking IT costs in terms of others in your industry can help you find the right level of spending on information technology.  While you know how much your company spends on its technology, how do you know if you have the right balance to avoid getting left in the dust by competition without negatively impacting your profitability.

Since the competition may not be easily forthcoming on their budgets,  looking at benchmarking data may be the next best thing.  Luckily, one well-known research company, Gartner, Inc., offers just such a benchmarking study.   The study examines average annual IT spending in dollars-per-employee, by percentage of revenue and by expected growth in 27 different industry sectors.   So, if you own a financial services firm, you may not be able to find out what the other firms in your town are spending on technology.  However, if you know the number of employees, you’ll be able to get an industry average on what they are spending.  If you are the principal in a financial services firm, you may be surprised to know that compared to the travel industry which spends less than $2,000 a year per employee, your industry averages more than $20,000 per employee.   One  statistic that will probably be of interest to small and mid-sized businesses is that you will spend more per employee if your company is small.   Another is that smaller organizations that employ a managed IT services model of outsourcing bring more profitibility to the bottom line. Continue Reading >>

  • Share/Save/Bookmark
Dec
17

Has Your IT Company Hit a Wall? Tell Us About It. Maybe We Can Help Find the Door

Launch Pad Franchise Forum, Launch Pad News No comments

As we draw near to our official RevITup™ franchise launch date and have had opportunity to speak with IT companies from around the world of various sizes, business stages and facing directions, we find one common thread:  They all face challenges which impede their ability to drive the kind of growth that many of them desire.   While there are certainly a large number of echoed sentiments relating to struggles with sales and marketing, these challenges are far from homogeneous.

However, at the end of the day, through the larger lens, the ultimate common denominator is the general inability to make ALL the pieces fit together into a highly functioning and well-oiled machine.  The tools are at hand;  the desire is there; parts of the puzzle are perfectly aligned… but there is a piece or two missing, some secret sauce that seems to bring many of us right up to a certain point… and deposit us in front of the wall we can’t get past.

So, what is it that’s missing? 
It isn’t one thing or another.  It isn’t easily identifiable.  What is really missing is the entire system, in a package… with all of the moving parts working in sync,  ready to drive down the highway.  It’s the chalk that you can take out of your pocket when you are staring at the wall,  scratching your head … and draw a door to walk through to the other side.  As our Franchise Business Development Manager so astutely points out; “It is very difficult to change a tire in a moving car… especially if you are the one driving.”

We don’t evangelize a Launch Pad Franchise as being the perfect fit for every IT company or every entrepreneur.  What we do know is that we have developed an airtight model, boxed and ready for consumption,  based on almost two decades of success in IT services that is a great fit for a core group of forward-thinking IT Service companies and visionary entrepreneurs ready to invest the time and energy to apply the solution.

The question is, are you one of them? 
Even if you are not, we would love to hear from you and we suspect that the IT service community would as well.  We encourage you to post your challenges and share what your wall looks like.  We believe the underpinnings of our success as a Franchise is based on all of you, whether you become directly involved in a Launch Pad franchise or not.  We consider this to be the start of a very long conversation and we invite all of you to join in.  The road to success is journied one day at a time and one challenge at a time.  With the right approach  we learn, when confronted with the wall, how to take the chalk out of our pocket, draw a door and make our way to the other side.

Ilene Rosoff
CEO
RevITup Enterprises
The Launch Pad Franchise

Visit our webiste to learn more about Launch Pad franchise opportunities.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark
Dec
17

10 Reasons Why Windows 7 is Better Than Vista

Launch Pad News, RevITup Business Care Client Forum, Small Business IT Management No comments

We have all seen the commercials by Apple putting down Windows Vista ever since its release. Same thing is true for the new Windows 7 operating system that was released October 22nd, 2009. Before Windows 7 was released to the public I was able to review the new Microsoft Operating system and there are several improvements that caught my eye. These may seem minor in the grand scheme of things but are worth mentioning.

1. User Access Control (UAC) (and its faster)
This is at the top of the list for a reason. When Vista came out the first thing that became annoying and frustrating was the UAC. Anytime you wanted to make any changes to your desktop Vista would black out the screen, pop up a box and ask you “Are you sure you want to continue?”  With Windows 7 there is much more control on the UAC.  Windows 7  is set up to only notify you when a program tries to make a change. You can even eliminate the pop up all together.

2. Program not Responding (and its faster)
Vista seemed to be very quick to throw out (Not Responding) on any program that took some time to load. Programs like Quick Books and Adobe products take some time to load and getting a not responding message all the time can be a bit much as the first thing a standard user would do is close the program down and try again. In Windows 7 this message rarely occurs. If you see the (Not Responding) message in Windows 7, then your program is not functioning.

3. System Tray (did we mention that its faster?)
The System Tray which displays the programs running in the background can become very cluttered in Windows XP and Vista. With the new Windows 7 your system tray is more organized and out of site. You can view the system tray by clicking the selection arrow in the bottom right hand corner.
Continue Reading >>

  • Share/Save/Bookmark
Dec
12

Slouching Toward Virtualization - Thin Clients, Fat Clients & “Thinning” Your Existing PCs

Launch Pad News No comments

Thin is In

One of the main advantages of moving your servers to a virtualized environment is the ability to eliminate standard PCs and use thin clients which don’t have a hard drive or traditional operating system.  To reduce the overhead of device management and meet security policies, thin clients are generally diskless workstations centrally managed from administrative  servers.   Instead of booting from a hard drive as a traditional desktop computer does, a thin client can boot from PXE, flash, optical media, or USB devices. The best known thin client operating systems are Windows XP, embedded, Windows CE, Linux, and various proprietary operating systems. Thin clients have traditionally been used in larger environments where the Windows “desktop” and accompanying applications are actually published from the server.  This means user desktops can be easily centralized and are not vulnerable to user tampering.  Even better, if a thin client fails, you just plug in another, log in the user and you are up and running.

So, does this mean I have to replace all of my PCs to virtualize?
Continue Reading >>

  • Share/Save/Bookmark