Posts tagged "managed services"

Entry-level Workstation is the Way to Go

August 24th, 2016 Posted by Best Practices, Devices, Staff 0 thoughts on “Entry-level Workstation is the Way to Go”

There’s something about that label. An “Entry level” workstation is seen as insufficiently powerful, marginally useful, and substandard when placed on a professional’s office desktop.

This characterization might have been accurate years ago. But today, even entry-level workstations can be capable, powerful computing devices that, under the right circumstances, can be “cool” for users to work with.

Moving entry-level systems from stigma-inducing to cool requires properly making a handful of critical decisions. Get them right, and your organization could save significant money, while boosting user satisfaction with new systems.

What is an entry level workstation?

It usually starts with a modestly powered CPU (often one generation behind the current market leader) and continues to have the following:

  • Minimal RAM (generally 4 GB at this point)
  • Basic graphics capabilities (sometimes, those on the motherboard; other times, those available from an inexpensive graphics board)
  • Gigabit Ethernet

Wrap it all in a basic box with a standard keyboard, mouse, and video monitor, and you have your entry system.

apple-692186_640It might be the perfect system

As companies race to embrace cloud services, it can be argued that the entry workstation is the perfect system for most employees to use.

It might be that what you need is an internal marketing campaign, not a larger budget for desktop workstations. It all depends on the job you’re asking systems to do and the way you present the systems doing the job.

Chromebooks are the very definition of minimalistic workstations. The barest entry-level workstation will be more powerful than the most powerful Chromebook, so the comparison should be frequently made when talking with employees.

Spend where it will be noticed

Spend a few dollars on the components that have the biggest impact on user satisfaction.

1. Keyboard

There is now a dizzying array of keyboards available for purchase. Most of the keyboards that make the “enterprise class” grade are within a few dollars of one another, so employees can be allowed to “customize” their system with little difference in purchase price and no difference in support costs.

2. Mouse

Management could offer employees their choice from a selection of mice or other pointing devices to be used at the desktop.  For minimal difference in price, the employee has a maximum feeling of personalization.

3. Monitor size

The enterprise standard has been twenty-one-inch or twenty-four-inch monitors for nearly a decade. But today, it’s possible to purchase twenty-seven-inch monitors for little to no more money.

The entry-level system doesn’t need to be a symbol of shame, for it can gain access to cloud-based services and information as equally well as much more expensive systems. And if Management will allow for some choice in monitors and accessories, the users will come away feeling more digitally empowered than ever before.

Please contact our sales team at [email protected] if you would like our recommendations or a quote.

10 essential steps to protect your data

April 26th, 2016 Posted by Best Practices, Hosted Services, Security, Services 0 thoughts on “10 essential steps to protect your data”

Nobody likes feeling panicked about a lost phone, broken computer, or system failure. Unfortunately, these things happen every day, so we need to be prepared. What would you do if your business computers were damaged or destroyed? Do you have a backup plan?

There are various ways to calculate the cost of losing work stored on computers. Perhaps the easiest way to get a gut feel for the cost is to think for a moment about how long it would take to replace lost work. How many people would have to spend how many days to create everything from scratch?

Here is a simple 10-step plan for making sure they do not have to.

1. Have a strategy

You will not know what approach is right for you until you have answered these questions:

  • How long can you go without the lost data?
  • Will you be making full backups or incremental or differential backups?
  • How quickly will you need data restored?
  • What devices will you use?
  • How secure do your backups need to be?
  • How long do you need to keep the data for?

2. Prepare for the worst

If the building burns down, your onsite backups might go the same way as your primary systems. You should think about offsite or cloud backups as part of your plan.

3. Get help

You might not have all the answers or even all the questions. Speak to the backup providers you are looking at. Talk to the other companies that work on your IT infrastructure.

4. How much can you afford to lose?

Catalogue which data would have the biggest impact if you were to lose it. Break data into categories and work out how old you are happy with the backups being in each category.

5. How long can you go before your data is restored?

The answer to this question will be different for each of the categories of data you identified. And it will inform your decision about what backup systems you need.

6. Consider your applications

Not only does your solution need to fit your business needs, but it also needs to suit the applications you run.

7. Choose your device

What will you backup onto? This is an area where it is worth taking advice.

8. Set up your file backups

If you are working with someone, you should be able to borrow their expertise to make sure you set up correctly. If not, look for vendor tutorials that walk you through the process.

9. Take a picture

Do not just set up to backup data. Image backups capture your whole system so that you can restore everything. That includes your operating system, applications, settings, bookmarks, and file states right before disaster struck.

10. Check and double check

Your system is no good to you if it is not working. Check and check again that you are capturing usable backups in the format you are expecting.

Need advice on securing your data assets? Get the peace of mind that comes with a good backup plan. Call Think at 970-247-1885 to get started today.

Think receives award from ColoradoBiz Magazine!

December 9th, 2015 Posted by Awards, Staff 0 thoughts on “Think receives award from ColoradoBiz Magazine!”
2015 Award

2015 Award

Think Network Technologies has been named one of the Top 250 Private Companies in Colorado, by ColoradoBiz Magazine. We are proud to represent Durango and the IT sector, and are grateful to our customers and employees for making our success possible! Looking forward to another exciting year in 2016. Onward and upward!

End of the Road for Windows Server 2003

June 12th, 2015 Posted by Best Practices, Networks, Services 0 thoughts on “End of the Road for Windows Server 2003”

By: Alicia Hernandez, Think Technical Writer

Ladies and Gentleman, this is the final curtain call for Windows Server 2003. Microsoft announced a long time ago that July 14, 2015 will be the end of the road for Windows Server 2003.

Granted, it isn’t like at 12:00 A.M. on 07/14/2015 your WS2003 box will shut down, never to boot up again. But it does mean that Microsoft will no longer support WS2003. Here’s what this end of life date really means for you and your business if you are still on Windows Server 2003.

What this means to your business

When Microsoft stops “supporting” a product, in this case WS2003, it means they will no longer release any more patches and fixes. This includes those important security patches that help keep your [very vulnerable] Microsoft infrastructure [relatively] safe from viruses and hackers. Maybe this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to you and I, but unfortunately the Payment Card Industry does. If you are a merchant required to maintain PCI standards and compliance on this WS2003 box, you will officially be out of compliance on July 14, 2015, and “likely blocked by any partners or customers.”

If you haven’t started your migration planning, you really need to do so as soon as possible. Some tools have estimated an average of 200 days to migrate off of WS2003, mostly depending on the applications running on your server, where you want to migrate to (WS2008, WS2012, WS2016, etc.), and the problems that you will run into along the way. Common problems include 1) Kernel hooks, 2) 32-bit apps, 3) Obsolete/abandoned apps, and 4) 16-bit dependencies.

In the meantime, if there is absolutely no way you are able to migrate off of WS2003 before July 14, 2015, you should prepare for a costly extended maintenance plan. Microsoft might charge upwards of $600 per incident per server for updates/patches. And other third parties will be jumping on this money train to offer their own variety of extended support. So yes, you really need (and WANT) to get off of Windows Server 2003 ASAP!

For more answers to WS2003 end of life questions, ITworld put together this FAQ sheet for you.

Think Network Technologies
3067 Main Avenue Durango, Colorado 81301
970-247-1885 Fax 970-247-0883

The Virtual Desktop – VDI at a Glance

June 12th, 2015 Posted by Hosted Services, Networks, Services 0 thoughts on “The Virtual Desktop – VDI at a Glance”

By: Alicia Hernandez, Think Technical Writer

The concept of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) has been around for years, yet adoption and deployment rates have missed the predictions-mark year after year. As Tom Rose pointed out in his post The History of VDI “…the running joke is that 20XX will be ‘The Year of VDI’…” But virtual desktops aren’t going anywhere, and maybe 2015 is YOUR year of VDI.

What is VDI?

VDI is a solution similar to its more common big brother, virtual servers, where multiple desktops are hosted on a single piece of hardware and then accessed by the end user on a smaller, more mobile system. Desktop virtualization splits out the applications and operating system from that big box that you rest your feet on in your office and layers them within a single physical server usually housed in a data center.

virtual desktop infrastructure

Virtual desktops

These virtualized desktops can then be accessed from any system at any location, provided the right security, permissions, and credentials are set up. The end user powers up whatever device they are using (thin client, laptop, mobile phone, etc.) and accesses their virtual desktop through the provided software icon or link. While there are many VDI software solutions out there, Citrix and VMware are the two most common options.

So why VDI?

The key to this solution is to save time and money on necessary hardware and desktop management. Technology changes rapidly and software applications are requiring more and more resources (RAM, Storage, CPU, etc.), therefore desktops need to be replaced often – usually every three to five years – and beefed up to meet the resource needs of the software it is running. This can be very costly.

A VDI solution, though costly up front, will hopefully save you time and money in the long run by reducing your desktop hardware sprawl and the manpower it takes to maintain those numerous desktops.

So where do you start? Write down your VDI goals, calculate your ROI for VDI, research your options, and plan your VDI pilot project. TechTarget has a great series of Guides linked within Beginner’s guide to VDI project planning to help walk you through this stuff. It is daunting at first, but some simple planning and research can really go a long ways when it comes to determining your VDI plan. If you’re still confused or just don’t want to do the work for you, Think is always just a phone call away!

Think Network Technologies
3067 Main Avenue Durango, Colorado 81301
970-247-1885 Fax 970-247-0883


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