Outsourced IT Services Save You Time & Money

Outsourced IT services save you time and money! When you outsource your IT services with Integrinet IT, we team up with you to manage your technology so you can focus on the rest of your business. We optimize your network, quickly get your systems up and running when they are down, and increase your cybersecurity shields.

If your technology is not optimized, your business loses money. For instance:

A sluggish inefficient computer network ends up costing you a lot of time and money.

When your systems are down, your business loses money.

Vulnerable networks are being hacked into more and more often. Victims of ransomware pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their confidential and proprietary data back.

Take advantage of the benefits of specialization by partnering with a professional IT company.

Specialization Makes the Best Financial Sense

In 1776, the year our country became a nation, a Scottish economist and moral philosopher named Adam Smith published a book called, “The Wealth of Nations”.  Since that time, it has become a part of classic economic thought.

Read "The Wealth of Nations" on Google Books

In this book, Adam Smith evaluated the benefits of specialization. By observing pin makers at a factory, he found that one worker could hardly produce one pin a day. But 10 people working together and performing different pin-making tasks could produce 48,000 pins a day.

Watch a video that goes into more detail about the concept of the Division of Labor: Division of Labor - Adam Smith 

It makes sense that productivity increases with specialization. This is true because a person’s ability to perform the same task improves with practice. Additionally, repetition and iteration usually result in the improvement of tools and processes.

Outsourced IT Services = Specialization

With outsourced IT services, a team of seasoned and licensed IT professionals manages your computer network while you focus on what you do best. 

Outsourcing your IT services saves you time by delegating the care of your IT environment to a team of IT service engineers. These professionals are highly efficient at what they do because they are trained, certified, and experienced. They work on IT all day, every day. And for small to medium-sized businesses, outsourcing is much more budget-friendly than paying for a full-time IT technician.

To sum up, the result of choosing an IT Managed Service Provider is metaphorically equivalent to 48,000 pins a day for your company!

We bring expertise to our Outsourced IT Services

Try us out for a month or two at no risk to your company. If you are not satisfied with our services, you are not held to any contracts. We are that confident that you will be pleased with the IT expertise we bring to your team. 

If you are looking to outsource your IT services, we want to be your IT company. One of our technical consultants will come out and do a free assessment of your network and go over all your IT needs. Give us a call:

Utah (385) 316-7202  |  Idaho (208) 510-0967

NIST 800-171 Standards: Why SMBs Need Them?

Does your small business provide resources to the Federal Government or the Department of Defense (DoD)? If so, you have had to jump through many hoops. You have had to legally qualify as a small business and officially register as a government contractor. And in order to register, you have had to comply with all the laws and regulations in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR).

And some of those regulations that you most likely know about are the NIST 800-171 standards, the cybersecurity guidelines for government contractors. Not only are the NIST standards helpful to businesses working with the government, but they are also a valuable resource for small businesses in general.

What is NIST 800-171 Compliance?

Adherence to the NIST 800-171 standards is vital to your organization’s wellbeing

While these standards may seem like just another hoop to jump through, on closer inspection adherence is vital to your organization’s wellbeing as well as the government’s. This is true because of the fact that we are fighting a new type of war against cybercriminal gangs. These gangs are engaging in cyber-terrorism through ransomware attacks on our businesses, our government, and our nation. And it only seems to be getting worse.

Read about how the Biden administration is seeking to rally allies and the private sector against the ransomware threat.

Threat actors working 24/7 to break into our computer networks

Did you know that threat actors are trying to break into our computer networks 24/7?

Check out this live cyberthreat map

They are looking for vulnerabilities like:

  • weak passwords
  • unmanaged service accounts and automated tools
  • permission inheritances that are not functioning properly

Vulnerabilities in business networks are common and threat actors know it. Because of that, businesses cannot afford to be negligent in cybersecurity. And we need to work together to protect sensitive information and proprietary data. In today’s Internet-connected business world we are all connected. Bad actors who hack into one business’s network, can then access other networks that they are connected to. To strengthen our defenses, it is critical to increase our cyber awareness and establish effective security controls.

Advantages to implementing the NIST SP 800-171 standards

It is also important to know that implementation of the NIST cybersecurity standards results in an advantage over competing contractors. This is true because government entities are required to do business with contractors that are diligently working to implement these standards. The more secure your network, the more you have to offer them.

The good news – you are not alone!

The good news is that you don’t have to figure it out by yourself. As an IT Company that specializes in helping businesses improve their cybersecurity, Integrinet IT can reduce the time, money, and stress it would take you to do it alone. We understand the technical lingo and guidelines in the NIST standards. So if you work with the Federal Government, we can assess your current cybersecurity compliance level against these standards and then help prepare you for the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC).

We would love to help you. Give us a call! Utah (385) 316-7202 or Idaho (208) 510-0967.

Read more about our NIST Assessment & CMMC Services.

5 Critical IT Services For 3PL Organizations

As an IT company for Utah and Idaho small businesses, we specialize in providing IT Services for 3PL organizations (Supply Chain Logistics & Fulfillment Center). For the past four years, we have managed Elite OPS‘s network and have identified 5 critical IT services that every successful 3PL company should have.

  1. API integration to offer 100% customization
  2. Experienced personalized network management
  3. Clear WiFi coverage throughout warehouse
  4. Strategic network configuration for times of growth
  5. Business to business cybersecurity

“We are a supply chain management business in the Greater Salt Lake area and offer outsourced logistics. We would highly recommend [Integrinet IT] to any company in need of IT services.”

Elite ops

1: API integration – 100% customizable

Firstly, API Integration is one of the most critical services 3PLs should have. Elite OPS seeks to be 100% customizable to their customers. Every one of their clients has customized branding, software, and business operations. In order for their customers to manage business finances, operations, and customer relations, they use a variety of software and services. For example – their CRM software: some use Amazon Prime Seller Fulfilled, others use Magento, and still others use Oracle NetSuite to name a few. Elite OPS manages these integrations with a state-of-the-art warehouse management system. It translates the orders coming from each of these CRMs so that Elite OPS can efficiently process them.

That is to say, it takes a lot of strategy behind the scenes to allow the different network configurations and software packages to play nicely together. Incompatibilities between unique businesses with unique computer networks are inevitable. API, or Application Programming Interface, is a tool that connects two or more applications and allows them to exchange data. In other words, it enables Elite OPS and other fulfillment centers to organize the multitude of incoming orders and outgoing shipments. And that increases their productivity. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of these technology tools and want to learn more about them, here are 2 videos and one article:

“One of the greatest benefits of using API technology in a 3PL business is that APIs are capable of transmitting data back and forth across the supply chain in milliseconds, making real-time supply chain management a reality.”

Elite Ops

2: IT services for 3PL organizations require experienced personalized network management

Secondly, like most logistics companies, Elite OPS has a complex network with many moving parts:

  • 450,000 sq ft warehouse
  • Wireless Internet network (warehouse-wide)
  • Warehouse management system
  • Data center with several servers
  • Internet and WiFi
  • Switches
  • Firewall
  • Printers
  • Scales
  • Hand-held Scanners
  • Mobile devices
  • 150+ Workstations (computers, keyboards, mice, monitors)

In order for Elite OPS to get the most out of their infrastructure and warehouse management system, they need all of these components to work together seamlessly. They need them to be consistently up and running. For this reason, Integrinet IT’s service engineers work behind the scenes to manage their network. They know downtime is revenue lost and work hard to prevent it from happening.

Our engineers monitor their systems 24/7, provide onsite and remote helpdesk services, ensure their WiFi coverage is clear and consistent, back up their data regularly, and tighten their security. When we first started taking care of Elite OPS, our engineers spent months getting to know the ins and outs of their infrastructure. They created network maps to document their extensive configurations. So, when something happens (and it always will), they can more efficiently troubleshoot it.

We Provide Elite OPS with:

  • IT Consultancy
  • Onsite & Remote Services
  • Hardware Care & Procurement
  • Cybersecurity Protection
  • Email Health & Maintenance
  • Data Backup & Business Continuity
  • Personalized & Professional Pro-Action Team

If you don’t have an IT company with expert service engineers that get to know your computer network personally, you most likely are experiencing a lot of unnecessary pain.

Check out our Managed IT Services

Read about our Customized IT Solutions

3: IT services for 3PL organizations must include clear WiFi coverage throughout their entire warehouse

Thirdly, most supply chain organizations have huge warehouses to manage their customers’ inventory. Elite OPS has a 450,000 sq ft warehouse with 60 ft Ceilings. They also have huge 30 ft shelves to safely store their customers’ goods. But these shelves end up blocking WiFi signals generated from low-level access points. And while large spaces and shelving units are perfect for their fulfillment services, they always present a challenge for WiFi coverage.

When we first began services for Elite OPS a few years ago, they didn’t have WiFi coverage at all. So one of our first major projects with them was designing and building a powerful wireless network. It provides them with Internet access at every square foot of their space. Mounting several access points from the 60 ft. ceilings has enabled their teams to stay in continuous communication with their customers, their management system, and each other. We implemented tools to remotely monitor the hardware on the ceiling to keep it fine-tuned, ensuring it works with all devices. Rarely do our technical engineers need to physically get up there to service them.

If you don’t already have a powerful wireless network that reaches every square foot of your fulfillment center warehouse, you need to find a good IT company to design and build it for you.

Read more about Integrinet IT’s WiFi/Internet Solutions:

WiFi solutions for a Boise manufacturing company

Customized High-Speed Internet For Your Unique Business: Case Study

4: Strategic network configuration for times of growth

Fourthly, with the E-commerce, logistics, and distribution boom over the last year, 3PLs have experienced an intense spike in growth. While this has been an exciting journey for Elite OPS, it has given them a lot to manage. Our service engineers worked long hours to assist them with their rapid expansion of services. They recommended and installed new hardware, software, cabling, security, and WiFi system in their new Georgia warehouse.

“Since we have been with Integrinet our business has quadrupled in size and we have expanded into another state – we added an additional warehouse in Georgia. Integrinet has been with us throughout our journey and has facilitated our growth with innovative solutions every step of the way.”

Elite OPS

So, if your 3PL business is expanding exponentially, you need an experienced managed IT service provider that has already set up the infrastructure for other businesses like yours. Choosing an IT company that is familiar with your specific industry’s needs and has actual experience taking care of 3PL organizations will reduce the time it takes to set up your network and thus your costs.

Free Crash course in Office 365: How it can help you grow your business

5: IT services for 3PL organizations & business-to-business cybersecurity

And last but definitely not least is cybersecurity. As a large 3PL company, Elite OPS interacts with countless businesses. They have the responsibility to keep their confidential and proprietary data safe. With ransomware attacks on the rise, it is more important than ever to fortify your network to safeguard your business as well as your clients’ and partners’ businesses. Integrinet IT’s service engineers and remote tools are working 24/7 to secure Elite OPS’s network. We monitor their servers 24/7, ensure they have a strong backup and disaster recovery plan in place, and administer employee security training.

Additionally, we perform security patches, operating system updates, hardware drive/firmware updates, and server monitoring. Server monitoring includes weekly checks of event logs. We ensure their hard drives have plenty of disc space to store data and data backups. Our service engineers watch for alerts that signal it’s time for equipment replacement. They make recommendations to purchase new equipment before the old fails or warranties expire. This minimizes downtime and cost. In the event of a crash or hard drive failure, they are covered by their warranties and backups.

Because you do business with other businesses, you need to keep your network cyber secure. Cyber gangs are working 24/7 to hack into large and small businesses. Don’t make it easy for them. Did you know that if you are hacked, they can potentially hack into your customers’ networks through your portal as well?

If you don’t have a strong defensive cybersecurity strategy that consists of multiple layers of protection, make the move now to reach out to an experienced IT company to help you get started.

Backup Solutions Decrease the Severity of a Ransomware Attack

IT Services For 3PL Organizations

In conclusion, while we haven’t been the reason Elite OPS has been exponentially growing, we have been behind the scenes supporting and securing their network so that they can.

“It’s important that our IT network runs at peak efficiency at all times so we can keep up with the demanding process this industry requires. Integrinet IT does that for us. They have been our managed service provider since 2017. Our service engineers are the best that we have ever had. They keep us at the top of our game.”

Elite OPS

If you are a Supply Chain Logistics & Fulfillment Center and in need of IT Services, give us a call.

Utah (385) 316-7202

Idaho (208) 510-0967

What is RAM? Choosing the Right Amount for Your Needs

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. This is the short-term memory your computer uses to store all the information it is actively using. So, if you are a multitasker with several applications open at once, your RAM enables you to quickly switch between them. You don’t have to restart every application anew when you come back to it.

RAM allows your applications to run smoothly. Your applications include your email, browsers (Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc.), word processing (Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, etc.), data entry (Microsoft Excel, Apple Numbers, etc.), and many other programs and tools you use that make your job easier. So if you are alternating between writing a document, creating a spreadsheet, and browsing the Internet during a normal workday, your RAM streamlines these processes to make your workflow efficient.

Because RAM determines the performance and speed of your computer, it is one of the most important variables to consider when shopping for computers.

The Classic RAM Metaphor

A common metaphor may help you to remember what Random Access Memory is. Most companies still work with paper and file cabinets even though they predominantly work with and store data on computers. On your physical desk, you may have a number of projects you’re currently working on. This is like your computer’s RAM. You can’t have everything in your file cabinet there. That would be confusing and overwhelming. You just have what you’re working on this week. So, your file cabinet is like your computer’s long-term memory. This is your hard drive or SSD (Solid State Drive). When you are finished with a project or filling out a form, you file it away in your file cabinet for easy retrieval when you need it again.

The Goldilocks Principle

  • Too little RAM causes your computer to run sluggishly.
  • Too much RAM for your computing needs is overkill and isn’t cost-effective.
  • Just the right amount of RAM for the way that you use your computer is what you need.

How much RAM do you need?

If your workflow includes running a number of programs at the same time, you will need a greater amount of RAM. For most users, 8GB is enough. The more programs you have open at the same time on your computer, the more RAM you need. Additionally, the more complex your programs are (i.e., graphic software applications like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Premiere), the more RAM you need. 16GB is usually plenty for graphic designers, web developers, videographers, gamers, and other users of programs at that complexity level. Any more is overkill.

If you are running a large database, Vendor Management System (VMS), or using a RAMdisk, you need more than 16GB. Extremely large amounts of RAM (I’m talking TB) are possible for 64-bit processors, but they will cost you.

One common sign that you need more RAM is a sluggish computer. Are you are pulling your hair out waiting for it to complete tasks? Or are you sitting there, chin in hand, watching the spinning beach ball (pinwheel, flipping hourglass, etc.) more often than not when you have major deadlines to meet? If so, it may be time for that upgrade.

Upgrading Memory vs. Upgrading Your Whole Computer

You can upgrade your memory on your current computer or buy a new computer with more short-term memory. The amount of RAM you get should be compatible with your other computer components. Since tech is always evolving in speed and efficiency, upgrading just your RAM on an older computer may not be the best way to solve the problem. Without that compatibility, adding more RAM may not give you any substantial improvement. You may have to purchase a new computer.

I know buying new computers isn’t always fun. It’s expensive. And we remember all too well how much we paid for our current computers. We want to put to good use, for a good long time, the investment we have already made in our current technology. This is why we don’t need to buy too much RAM but instead, we can use the Goldilocks principle of finding just the right amount for our needs.

For more on when to upgrade your computers and other devices, see: Why Do We Resist Updating Our Technology?

A Handy Tool: Crucial System Scanner

If you are going to upgrade the RAM on your current computer, you can use Micron’s Crucial System Scanner to determine what is compatible. If you don’t feel comfortable having an application from the Internet scan your computer, ask your IT Company to safely and securely walk through this process with you.

Customized High-Speed Internet For Your Unique Business: Case Study

The Need: Faster Internet Speeds

High-Speed Internet is constantly evolving. What was once cutting-edge speeds have now gone the way of all dinosaur technology. Newer technology gives businesses the highest speeds and the most reliable connections. But integrating the new solutions with your business’s infrastructure can be tricky.

One of our clients wanted faster Internet speeds to handle synchronous off-site backups and other cloud processes for three separate locations. One of their locations is in the middle of a desert. Another is in a small rural town and the last is close to a large city. Their Internet Service Provider (ISP) was a global media and technology company. They had been providing them with Broadband Internet services with maximum speeds of 150 Mbps. A few years ago these speeds were at the high end but with advancements in Broadband and Fiber Optic cabling technology, it’s now possible to get up to 1,000 to 2,000 Mbps. There are even some companies offering, on a very limited basis, up to 10,000 Mbps and more (Fastest Internet Providers 2021).

The ISP’s Proposed Solution

The ISP promised they could provide Fiber Optic Internet to all three of our client’s locations. They also included in the plan the promise of:

  • Personalized and customized project management
  • VPN tunnel between all three locations
  • Guarantee of Higher Speed Internet
  • VoIP phone system
  • Backup Internet solution during their wait-time

Problems With Setting Up High-Speed Internet

There were many problems with these proposed solutions, but our client didn’t spot them right away because they are not IT professionals. The first was bringing Fiber Optic Internet to a location in the middle of the desert. It’s starting to become more widely available but it is not yet available in such remote locations.

Additionally, their ISP’s progress in implementing any of their solutions was incredibly slow. They were unresponsive and their project management was nonexistent. Eighteen months into the project, they told our client that they couldn’t do many of the things they had promised:

  • Upgrading their desert location to Fiber Optics Internet was not a viable option.
  • They never provided the VPN tunnel.
  • VoIP phones were never installed.
  • The backup Internet solution was provided but never discontinued even after it was no longer needed so our client was paying for services they didn’t need.

Integrinet IT’s Solution

As a service engineer for Integrinet IT, I was asked to take over the management of the entire project. Because I was personally familiar with our client’s complete network and knew the ins and outs of Internet services, I understood what they needed versus what they didn’t and I understood what was possible versus what was impossible.

Discovering that many of the solutions the ISP had proposed were not attainable, I worked with them and our client to develop customized and cost-effection solutions that were.

High-Speed Internet Services In Remote Locations

Because it was impossible to get Fiber Optic Internet in the middle of the desert, I came up with a viable solution that would speed up their Internet. I upgraded their satellite Internet to faster speeds. I also discontinued their DSL connections which were costing the company an exorbitant $3K a month.

Additionally, their satellite Internet provider has its dishes on top of a couple of local mountains. A hawk made its nest on one of the dishes. Because the hawk is a protected bird, moving the nest was out of the question. It took two weeks for the provider to install another dish up there. Meanwhile, our client’s Internet was incredibly sluggish.

Consequently, I consulted with our client about backup Internet solutions for future protection. We ended up deciding to pre-order Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellite Internet. Elon Musk has been launching Starlink satellites for the last 3 years with his company SpaceX. They have nearly 1,500 satellites in orbit. It’s just starting to go live this year (SpaceX continues Starlink deployment with latest launch).

Fiber Optic Internet Services

Fiber Optic Internet was available through our client’s global ISP for their city location. I worked with them to get it set up, which was time-consuming because they were slow to respond. But now that it is up and running, our client enjoys speeds of up to 1 Gbps. There was also Fiber available in the small town but through a local provider. Instead of paying higher fees to their global ISP to piggyback on the local provider, we were able to acquire Fiber Internet directly from the local provider at a significantly lower cost.

VoIP Phone Systems

I brought in our VoIP provider who we partner with. They came in and installed everything needed in a timely manner. I also worked with our client to consolidate various redundant services. Discovering that certain lines, connections, and services were not even needed, I advised them on what was needed and what wasn’t. These efforts resulted in a savings of roughly $1K in their monthly bills.

Duplicate Charges Refunded

In regard to the backup Internet solution, I worked with their accounting department to evaluate the plethora of bills and communications from their ISP. I unearthed some costly duplicate charges. Our client had been receiving five different monthly bills, each with a different account number. These totaled over $6K a month!

I then navigated a consolidated solution, which reduced their number of bills to only two. Their total monthly cost was reduced from $6K to $2K. On top of that, they had been paying over $3K a month in duplicate Internet charges. And for that, I negotiated a refund of over $13K for the backup Internet services that should have been discontinued sooner.

IT Managed Services: Viable, Cost-Effective, Time-Saving Solutions for High-Speed Internet

In order to manage major projects like acquiring High-Speed Internet, it is much more cost-effective and time-saving to hire an IT Managed Services company that assigns your business a team of service engineers. These service engineers should oversee your entire infrastructure. They should understand the ins and outs of computer networks in general. And they should personally come to know the uniqueness of your specific network and how everything works together. It is not wise to leave the management of it up to an ISP or any other vendor because the software and hardware of various vendors are interwoven and interdependent on each other. They also may not be aware of your locations and specific limitations.

It has been a pleasure to become part of our client’s team. I have seriously enjoyed the opportunity to use my experience and education in computer technology to bring solutions that saved them time and money. Even though they have to pay for our IT Services (which, by the way, ends up being much less than hiring in-house IT staff), they ended up saving more than $24K with the elimination or consolidation of redundant and unnecessary charges, equipment, and services. And not only did they save that much money, but they also have much faster Internet connections at all of their locations and a more streamlined, secure system to boot.

Learn more about Fiber Optic Internet: What Is Fiber Optic Internet?

What Is A Computer Network?

You don’t have to be an IT expert to understand the basics of your business’s computer network. In fact, the more you know about it, the smarter the decisions you will make on how to care for it.

A computer network is a collection of computers and other devices connected together to communicate and share resources. For example, several computers often share the same printer. And shared resources reduce business costs. A small to medium-sized business usually has a variety of devices connected to one another. That may include:

  • one or more servers
  • desktop computers
  • laptops
  • printers
  • tablets
  • phones (landlines and mobile)
  • other specialized industry-related devices

Additionally, there are devices on a network specifically designed to facilitate the connection between devices as well as the connection to the Internet. These devices are called switches, routers, and modems.

What is a Switch?

Technicians use switches to connect computers and other devices within a network. Switches enable communication and data sharing between devices. So, even if your computer workstation is in a different office than another team member’s, you can still communicate with her via computers and send her information. In short, everything in a network links together through switches.

What is a Router?

While switches connect devices within a single network, routers connect multiple switches (and thus multiple networks) together. Technicians connect two or more networks using a router to form a larger network. Metaphorically, each network is a solar system. Multiple solar systems combine to form a galaxy.

What is the difference between a Router and a Modem?

It is easy to confuse a router with a modem. Let’s look at the differences between them. While routers connect multiple switches and their respective networks together, a modem connects your network to the Internet. Modems give you the power to connect with other networks connected to the Internet. The modem connects to your network through your router and switches.

Smaller businesses can use routers that have built-in switches. They play a dual role by connecting your devices to each other and to the modem. And even more convenient, wireless routers enable laptops, tablets, and mobile phones to connect to your computer network as well as the Internet.

However, if your business only has one device that needs to connect to the Internet, you don’t need a router or a switch. You can connect directly with the modem to access the Internet.

Modems connect to the Internet in two different ways:

  • Coaxial Cable (think Comcast and other providers of cable television)
  • DSL (phone lines like CenturyLink)

There are modem/router/switch combination devices.

Business computer networks usually connect to the Internet through a coaxial cable modem and a business router. If your router doesn’t have enough ports (places to plug the connecting cables into), then you can add a switch to give you more.

We’re here to partner with you

We hope that after reading this article you know a little more about your computer network and feel more confident about this part of your business. We’re here to partner with you in caring for it. We know your business is unique and requires a customized setup. We have experienced and friendly service engineers who can work with you to design and care for your computer network.

The following videos offer fantastic visual explanations of switches, routers, and modems:
Modem vs Router – What’s the difference?

Hub, Switch, & Router Explained – What’s the difference?

Learn more about Servers:
What Is A Server?

Is Your Business Network Vulnerable?

Is my business network vulnerable? That’s a question that keeps many business owners awake at night. Penetration tests for business networks often show that a network is most vulnerable from the inside. For example, it is not unusual when people write down their passwords and put them on their desks. I see it all the time.

Awareness of Local Exploitation

It’s important to be aware of the fact that there are vulnerabilities that can be exploited locally by individuals with the intent to steal data or cripple a business. Some might pose as a repairman or janitor. Some might be dumpster diving searching for information like account numbers, contact names, and numbers. And they want to breach your business to access your data.

The Value of Your Data

Your company’s data is the meat on the bones. It’s the most vital part of your business. Everything but the data can be replaced. So, if hackers can access your network and take your data, that can be devastating to your business. Too many businesses don’t realize how crucial it is to have their servers and networking equipment physically secure with a locked door or cabinet.

My Experience with Business Network Vulnerability

In my previous experience, I performed work for a large business that worked with sensitive, protected data. I brought it to the attention of management that the building’s network had a physically exposed element that could have been exploited by a hacker posing as a repairman or janitor.

This is why I continue to encourage the clients I work with to secure their network.

The following article (and video) is a great resource to understand how businesses can increase their network security. In non-techy language, it explains the most common network vulnerabilities. It even includes things like shoulder surfing, tailgating, and dumpster diving.

Read the full article: Common Types Of Network Security Vulnerabilities In 2020

At Least Put a Lock on the Door

The above article says businesses should have biometric authentication (fingerprint or face recognition) and access cards to protect servers. While I agree with this one-hundred percent, it is better than nothing to at least have a lock on the door and managers holding the keys.

Customized IT Solutions for Unique Businesses

Every business requires Customized IT Solutions because everybody’s business is different. The way people run their business and the layout of their buildings is different.

Industry Specific Tools

Everybody has different needs and different IT solutions. When you have this uniqueness between clients you can’t just use cut-and-paste solutions. My goal is to help tailor the IT solutions to the client’s needs.

Every business has industry-specific tools that integrate with their network in unique ways. We have clients who run equipment from imaging machines for x-rays to CNC machines (a computer-controlled cutting device). With each business, I have to consider the best, customized solution.

Customized IT Solutions: updating hardware & software is an investment

Another thing we run into a lot is that many of our clients invested a lot of money several years ago into their IT hardware and software when Windows 7 was still around. This makes it a challenge to come in and clean up their network. When a business has old equipment, there are a lot of things that need to be upgraded for it to run smoothly. I know it’s an expense for a company and it seems like it doesn’t directly profit them. It takes a portion of their budget and it’s hard to see the benefit of the investment.

Updating hardware & software is like maintaining the tires on a pickup

Their investment is kind of like the tires on a pickup. You can spend time with flats, downtime, and low traction. You can spend a lot of time and effort constantly fixing flat tires. Or you can invest in some new tires which don’t slow you down and keep your workflow optimized.

The tires on the truck don’t make the truck money but they are a crucial part of the truck that allows it to function optimally. They are vital for the truck to run, whether it’s coming or going.

Wi-Fi stability & connectivity issues at a school with a large campus

Recently, I assisted with restructuring a large network to improve Wi-Fi stability and connectivity speeds across a school’s large campus up in Idaho City. The students at this school constantly rely on assigned laptops. They have to carry them from class to class. And they reported that they were having nothing but headaches with their connectivity. Their speeds were slow. The signal was constantly dropping off.

Customized IT Solutions: the handoff

Because the structures of businesses’ buildings are always different, the way we have to run cable for Wi-Fi connectivity is also different. But, I’m constantly trying to apply the knowledge that I learn from one client to issues that another client has. When I troubleshoot, I’m always looking for something out of place and something that needs to be improved.

I recently worked on optimizing connectivity for another one of our clients who was having similar issues in their large warehouse. I applied the same solutions to the school district in Idaho City. When I went out to look at their campus, I noticed that a lot of their network was not optimized. So, I took a map of the school and mapped out the location of all the access points. I then restructured the way that their controller was set up in order to make the handoff smoother.

Handoff is when students with laptops walk outside of the bubble that the access point (AP) is capable of listening and talking on.

I corrected the handoff issues they were having by adjusting what’s called the RSSI or Received Signal Strength Indication. When the performance level goes down, the laptop knows that it needs to look for another access point.

Tailored IT Solutions: access points and laptops need to communicate

With the RSSI adjusted, the access points and laptops could communicate with each other. Now, when a student walks to the edge of a bubble and the laptop gets to that threshold of performance, the AP says, “Hey you’re out of my limit. You need to start looking for another access point because I’m going to drop.” The device will then respond, “Okay, is there another access point that I can connect to that I’m getting closer to?” The laptop searches for a closer access point and switches over to it with barely even a hiccup.

Monitoring outages mitigates major issues

I also wiped out and rebuilt their controller on the server, so it was easier for us to manage and monitor outages. After setting up remote alerts for their network, I could see their outages ahead of time. We are able to mitigate major issues because I call the school every time a switch or an access point goes down.

The outcome of our Customized IT Solution

Before, the students would avoid using the wireless because it was just too unreliable. After I implemented these solutions, the students are using the Wi-Fi and are more confident that it will work. Now, it’s actually helping students with their education and learning. They can actually complete assignments. The Wi-Fi is being used for what it was intended for.

Read more about Wi-Fi Connectivity: Wi-Fi Extenders for Business

“Thank you so much for your article about David Rucker.  Although, we have gotten to know him fairly well over the time that he has been our technician, it is always nice to know more.  He is very professional in all that he undertakes and is also a wonderful guy!!”

Debbi Mills-Havey
Cathedral Administrator
St. Michael’s Episcopal Cathedral

WiFi Extenders for Businesses

Situation 

A large manufacturer in Boise needed WiFi extenders. They needed them because they were adding a new ERP* system to assist with tracking and in-production job costing for their manufacturing line. They planned to use iPads in multiple buildings and throughout the property to update where they were in production.

*“Enterprise resource planning (ERP) refers to a type of software that organizations use to manage day-to-day business activities such as accounting, procurement, project management, risk management, and compliance, and supply chain operations.” –Oracle

The Problem 

Wireless Internet

The company had wireless internet in their business office and in their main building. But they did not have it in their other facilities throughout their property. To run multiple underground cables to different buildings would have been extremely expensive. It would have also disrupted their business’ production processes. In their day to day workflow, materials needed to be continuously shuttled around the property. And a major underground cable install would have considerably slowed this process down. So, their CIO asked our sales engineer if Integrinet IT could help with a solution to solve the issue.

Our Solution: WiFi Extenders

As a wireless solution partner with Ingram Micro, we leveraged their expertise with ours. After providing our clients with a map and their property dimensions, we put together a Point-to-Point solution to beam Internet to the other facilities on their property. We did this by mounting WiFi extenders–strong exterior wireless access points throughout their propert–which gave them WiFi coverage everywhere.

Impact 

The cost savings for the project were considerable. Because they didn’t have to trench to multiple areas of the property and run conduit and cable throughout the entire area, they saved thousands of dollars. The project came in at less than $2,500 and the underground cabling system would have come in at ten times that.

With WiFi extension throughout the property, the company can now easily update inventory and track production line stages. These improvements have significantly increased efficiency in their overall production tracking process.

Conclusion 

To conclude, if your business is experiencing similar problems, schedule a free consultation. Joe (Utah) and Fred (Idaho) specialize in learning about your specific business needs. They are excited to help you find solutions that are right for your business. 

Read another case study: End of Life (EOL) Server – Server Consolidation

Customer Story: Clifton Coffee | Connect and Collaborate

Clifton Coffee Roasters was the first specialty coffee roaster to adopt the Teamwork solutions from Microsoft platform. This means they’re breaking new ground in communications methods for their industry. As the company expands, they depend on Teamwork solutions from Microsoft. They use these solutions to manage their growth, drive innovation, and help their employees connect in the most meaningful and productive ways possible.

A Construction Company Gets Hammered by A Keylogger

Every business needs #cybersecurity regardless of how small it is. This case study reported by the National Cybersecurity Alliance increases our awareness of this fact: The owner of a small family-owned construction company was notified that an unknown source initiated a $10K ACH transfer. They contacted the bank and learned that cybercriminals had made six transfers in one week from the company bank accounts, totaling $550K. How? Read the full story here. We are here to make sure you are protected from these kinds of attacks. Give us a call if you are in need of a free security assessment.

Read More…

Business Communication Increases Net Profit

Most businesses want to build a solid organization that provides quality products and services for their customers. They hope to increase net profit over time. One major player in achieving this goal is efficient and consistent business communication. Here’s how that works:

Business Communication affects Healthy Business Relationships, which affect Productivity & Quality, which affect Net Profit - mobile version

Efficient and consistent communication builds healthy business relationships. With healthy business relationships productivity and quality increase. As productivity and quality improve, net profit increases.

Efficient Business Communication

First, in business, we are exchanging information, ideas, news, and feelings with our coworkers, customers, partners, and vendors. Efficiency is communicating as quickly as possible without compromising meaning, quality, or value.

Consistent Business Communication

It is also important to keep communication consistent. Consistent communication is about fulfilling the expected frequency of interactions and exchanges. It is also about maintaining frequency over time. The longer we can hold isometric in this one skill, the healthier our business relationships will be. Even when conflicts arise, we strive to maintain our communication to let others know that things need to change for a time.

What Disrupts Business Communication?

Disasters, illness, changes, growth, and life in general disrupt business communication. Even so, most businesses can establish patterns in their communication processes and stick with them. Well established processes increase our communication speed. When our teams learn a company-wide process, workflow is improved.

But when technology advances, so do the tools we use to communicate. If we don’t update our older communication methods with the rest of the business world, we lose our competitive edge. Other companies who choose to update their methods will increase their communication speed while ours remain the same.

Updating our processes slows workflow down because everyone has to take time to learn a new way of doing things. This is similar to Steven Covey’s seventh habit: Sharpening the Saw. It seems counterproductive at the moment because of the time it takes to develop the higher-level processes. But over time it increases efficiency. Yet it is also true that too much change is counterproductive. Finding the progressive balance is the key to success.

An explosion of Business Communication Tools

In today’s world, technology is changing, updating, and advancing at a faster rate than we have ever known before. With this growth has come an explosion of choices. Trying to maintain that progressive balance is harder than ever.

We now have a number of options to choose how we will communicate and store communication data:

  • Mail
  • Email
  • Social Media, Instant Message
  • Web Page Chat
  • Company Phone System & Voicemail
  • Cell Phone, Text, Chat
  • Video Chat & Conferencing
  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) – Contacts/Calendars/Appointments/Billing
  • File & Data Storage

When we want to communicate, we have a plethora of choices: Should we email or call? Use basic chat or a video chat? Invest in a CRM or manage our contacts, calendars, appointments, and billing in spreadsheets or individual applications? Should we bill through the mail or go paperless? Where should we store our files — In a file cabinet, on our computer, server, or the cloud?

Business Communication Plan

If we do not slow down long enough to make these choices, the result is slower communication. If we do not consciously make a communication plan of how we will use the technology at our fingertips, we will waste time trying to make those decisions anew over and over again. This scatters our minds, files, and data, which leaves us less productive in our workflow.

If you haven’t yet designed a communication plan for you and your team, take the time to do it. Go through each of the tools and determine how and when you will use them. Of course, there can be flexibility when it comes down to your personal workflow, but for the work that involves other team members, it’s best to stick with a communication plan in order to establish good habits, tried and true procedures, and best practices. When you establish these, communication quality, speed, and agility increase. Business relationships improve. And with that improvement, productivity and quality of products and services increase. More people purchase from you, opt in, follow you, subscribe, and sign up. Subsequently, your net profit increases.

But Which Brand Is Best?

To complicate things even more, we also have to choose from several different brands of hardware and software applications that offer the same tools. Which brand should we use? Which one is best?

Computers

  • Dell
  • Apple – Mac
  • Microsoft
  • IBM
  • Toshiba
  • Lenovo

Email Clients

  • G-Suite
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Apple Mail
  • Mozilla
  • Thunderbird

Internet & Phone

  • Landlines
  • AT&T
  • CenturyLink
  • Comcast

VoIP

  • Carrier SI
  • Zoom
  • RingCentral
  • Nextiva
  • Vonage

Wireless Carriers

  • AT&T
  • Sprint
  • T-Mobile
  • Verizon

Chat

  • Microsoft Teams
  • iMessage
  • Facebook Messenger
  • WhatsApp

Video Chat & Conferencing

  • Microsoft Teams
  • Slack
  • Zoom
  • Skype
  • RingCentral
  • Google Duo
  • Apple FaceTime

Calendar

  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Calendly
  • Apple Calendar
  • Google Calendar
  • Fantastical
  • Lightning

CRM – Contacts, Appointments, Billing

  • Salesforce
  • Zoho
  • Monday.com
  • Hubspot
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • QuickBooks
  • FreshBooks
  • Many Industry Specific Options

Cloud Storage

  • OneDrive
  • Google Drive/Cloud
  • DropBox
  • iCloud
  • Creative Cloud
  • Amazon AWS
  • Microsoft Azure

Should we test each of these choices out to assess the best choice? Even if they offer a free trial, every time we make company-wide changes, it costs time and money.

Learning from Other Businesses

Most businesses make these choices by communicating with other businesses similar to their own. They read reviews and go to conferences or online workshops. Many join peer groups and talk to other mentors to find out what has worked for them. They research these sources to identify the best practices for their industry. This step saves time and money. Yet, we still need to decide who to listen to out of all the advice we receive from our trusted sources.

Many of the choices businesses have in regard to technology and communication tools depend on their specific industry and business. Making the right choices is crucial to a company’s success. There are entire fields of study on this topic, i.e., Systems development life cycle (SDLC).

Involving stakeholders in the planning phase is very important, especially if it is a transformational change like adding Microsoft Teams verses changing your Internet Circuit. At minimum, each department head should be interviewed so their point of view and needs are heard, and nothing is missed. When all are involved in making decisions, stakeholder buy-in increases and there is greater motivation to incorporate the strategies into their workflow.

Individual Preference Vs. Best Practices

Additionally, there is plenty of room for individual preference. This means that some choices are similar in quality. The differences between them are negligible. Once the choice has been made and everyone is in agreement, efficient communication is predominantly achieved by sticking with the same brand and communication procedures.

But there are also many choices that are more universal – there are best practices for all businesses. For example, using a notepad, rolodex, ledger, file cabinet, and snail mail is usually not the most efficient way to communicate in today’s business world. Storing files and data on your desktop or laptop that you need to share and collaborate on with other members of your team is less efficient (and usually less safe) than storing them on the cloud and providing your co-workers with a link.

Managed IT Services – Experienced Mentors

Because Managed IT Service companies work with hundreds of small to medium-sized businesses, they know how to get your business set up with the most up to date communication tools. Many trusted IT service companies have worked with businesses in healthcare, logistics, construction, engineering, financial services, hospitality, community organizations, and more. As a result, they have the mentor experience to guide your business to quality tools that are most relevant to your organization. They can help you navigate the profusion of choices you have to make, which saves you money and time. It also gives you peace of mind

To recap, we know you want to build a solid business that provides quality products and services for your customers. We know the way to do that is to:

  1. Increase the efficiency and consistency of your communication
  2. Which helps build healthy business relationships
  3. Which in turn positively influences productivity and quality.

When all of these pieces are aligned, you will achieve real satisfaction in your business, have happy customers, and increased net profit.

Finally, if you need help in navigating the plethora of choices you have to make for your business, give us a call. Schedule a free consultation with either Joe (Utah) or Fred (Idaho) – (844) 400-0616.

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