Virtualization got its start on the PC side, but did you know the same functionality works with Macs? Running a Windows application on your Mac allows you to access features on a number of products not available to Macs. Parallels Desktop is just one of several solutions available for running Windows on Macintosh hardware. Depending on your business needs, virtualization can open up the best of both Mac and PC worlds in a simple, efficient way.
Setting up virtualization isn’t complicated, but you’ll still need to install Windows with a disk. With this method, you install it in an application – a kind of shell inside of your computer. People with virtualization sometimes have the false impression that they are protected from viruses or that viruses are less prevalent. Virtualized Windows can still get attacked. From the moment you put Windows on your computer, your Windows environment can become infected just as easily as if you were using a PC. You also have to do maintenance and software updates on both sides separately.
At thinkCSC, we use Parallels or Fusion to run Windows-only business applications, so we have to keep them open all day. The same goes for Act! contact databases and any number of products that don’t have a Mac client. Another reason to use virtualization on a Mac is that sometimes the Windows version is better. For instance, QuickBooks for Mac has yet to receive feature parity with QuickBooks for PC. Many people prefer to go ahead and run QuickBooks inside their virtual machine (VM), so they get all the features and functionality that the Windows version has.
Boot Camp is another viable, but imperfect, option for running Windows on Mac hardware. Essentially, it entails holding the alt key down to boot off of a Windows CD, installing it directly onto the hard drive. Macs even allow you to partition your drive, so half can be allocated for Mac and the other half can be for PC. To do this, you hold down the alt key and hit ‘Okay’ to boot into either Windows or Mac. The problem with doing this is that Apple doesn’t optimize their Windows driver. The battery in a MacBook would last two hours using Boot Camp, whereas it lasts up to five hours when running virtualization with Windows inside of it.
Companies today don’t operate in cookie-cutter environments; every business needs customization. So,the more versatility available, the better. While the technology for PCs and Macs often runs parallel, performance is not always equal. Virtualization makes it fast and easy to run a Windows application on your Mac whenever you want to.
If you’re wondering whether or not Mac is right for your business, contact thinkCSC today for a free consultation.
thinkCSC has a partnership with LifeCare Alliance. LCA provides a wide range of services to elderly and medically-challenged members of our community. Those services include Meals on Wheels, cancer clinics, wellness clinics and housekeeping services.
On a personal level, I have been a driver for LCA’s Meals on Wheels program since 2006.. I have many fond memories of the people that I have served over the years. One memory, in particular, always puts a smile on my face. Catherine was 95 years old and still lived on her own. Every time I arrived with a meal, Catherine would have a gift of candy waiting for me.
Catherine was an only child, and her parents and friends had long passed away. Although I was sure that Catherine was lonely, she never acted that way. She was always happy and engaging with whomever crossed her path. During many of our visits, Catherine would describe trips that she had taken over the course of her long life. She had traveled to each of our 50 states, with the exception of Rhode Island! Even at 95 years old, Catherine’s mind was sharp. Hearing her stories gave me a sense of self-awareness — so often we tend to rush through life that we pass by spectacular opportunities to hear how others made a difference in our world. Catherine passed away a few years ago, but the memories of our visits together still make me smile.
Leola, a 90-year old woman currently on my route, has weathered many losses. Her husband and daughter have both passed away, as has one of her grandchildren. She has three other grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Leola is not able to leave her apartment very often, but she always has a smile on her face. The simplest outings make her happy. I always ask what her plans are for the week, and usually it’s a doctor’s appointment or a trip to Olive Garden for dinner. Whatever her plans, they are the highlight of her week. I have come to care about her a great deal, and if she has nothing planned, I feel a little sad. When I know that someone will be coming to take her out, it warms my heart.
I think that opportunities with non-profit organizations like LifeCare Alliance help us to truly appreciate life. Too often we tend to judge our older citizens on what we perceive as the end of their path, and we forget about the life they have lived and the people that they touched along the way. We are all walking our own paths, and, in many cases, we are unaware of the people whose lives we may be impacting. There is so much we can gain by learning from the experiences of others who have come before us.
It is easy to get caught up in the rush of our lives. But slowing down, even for a brief moment, can be a powerful and rewarding gift to yourself. If you would like to support LifeCare Alliance and their efforts, please sign up to volunteer or visit their giving page.
thinkCSC was selected, by Columbus C.E.O. Magazine readers, as the 2012 Best of Business in the category of Information Technology Consultants. Columbus C.E.O. polled readers about the best business products, services, and venues in the Columbus area covering 75 different categories. All the results for the Best of Business categories can be found in the November 2012 issue of Columbus C.E.O.
We are grateful to everyone who participated in the poll for helping us achieve this distinction! More importantly, we are proud of our Team who, every day, strives to give our clients the best client experience possible.
Sometimes the best way to address solutions for business continuity of computer network systems is by example. Picture this recent real-life situation: a local school district learns a back-to-school lesson involving safe storage of vital network data under the secured services of thinkCSC’s disaster recovery software. Fortunately, the lesson had a good outcome.
In this teachable moment, the virtualization software environment operating the school system’s multiple servers ran out of data storage space, essentially crashing all the servers. The data wasn’t actually lost; the servers were just basically offline and inaccessible, creating a major roadblock for teachers, administrators and students to accomplish much of anything. Normally the downtime for restoring multiple-server functionality would be several days. However, the school district had thinkCSC defending its network, and the solution for backup and disaster recovery — commonly known as BDR — was fairly simple.
thinkCSC’s BDR solution, bundled into a rack-mount box that can be conveniently placed in any room, only requires power and a network connection for initial startup. In an emergency situation, one that requires image-based backup and a timely solution to restore business continuity, this BDR system can actually activate incapacitated servers in a virtual environment until the original server platform can be repaired or replaced.
For the school system, it was just a matter of activating and turning on two or three of its 10 servers in what’s called a “virtual boot,” which expedited the backup process in just a few hours without having to engage in full data recovery or restoring, something that usually takes days to complete. Consequently, everyone was up and running in less than a day, without any further interruption to their daily routines; all the while, the more extensive server reconfiguration was being addressed. After all, education must go on!
It is important to note that we offer several levels of backup from which to choose. You can back up only files, and you can also select image-based backup or full BDR. There are certain levels of restoring, too. You can simply restore files and images, or you can choose to restore the entire network. You can also temporarily turn on the system, which mirrors a premiere level of disaster recovery, because you don’t have to wait around for the full restore time to be functional.
From a business continuity angle, here’s another teachable application of BDR. A small business of nearly 20 employees had recently contracted managed services for IT support. A week after installing a BDR system, the company’s one server completely crashed. Prior to that protective installation, though, replacement of the server was recommended, but due to budgetary constraints, the decision was delayed. Nevertheless, the deployment of thinkCSC’s BDR a week earlier safeguarded the company’s data storage in a virtual environment for more than week following the server crash, while new equipment was on order.
Both of these disaster recovery examples point to the importance of having both basic file and image-based backup systems in place 24/7. Equally important, the value of having multiple levels of BDR protection cannot be overstated, either, including off-site data storage solutions. Off-site data replication provides ultimate data protection for clients and serves as valued assurance that data losses will not occur.
Balancing the demands associated with providing technology to students along with meeting the demands of a limited budget can be difficult for school administrators, but there are solutions. CSC believes the right answer for schools is in taking a balanced approach to investing in technology.
While many schools are joining the trend of buying iPads for their students because of their extreme portability, iPads are also costly – around $500 each. iPads are also more difficult to maintain, because the proprietary technology and warranty requires Apple-certified technicians. When you’re talking about technology for students and you realize the amount of handling (and mishandling that might occur), iPads may not be the most cost-effective solution in the long-run.
Some of the schools we’ve been working with over the past year have been able to obtain much better deals on laptops and netbooks, allowing teachers to introduce the technology to more students than ever. When you’re shopping for laptops for your school, be sure to work with a local vendor who can negotiate directly with the manufacturer for the best possible pricing. CSC was able to save one school more than $10,000 by leveraging our access to the Venture Tech Network.
Implementing new technology in schools cannot be about the price of the equipment alone, however. One of the most important cost savers a school can consider is the kind of warranty available. When many different hands will be using the equipment and many different minds will be finding creative ways to experiment with the technology, the warranty becomes the most important investment a school can make in technology. The extended manufacturer’s warranty might be tempting, but having to call the manufacturer each time a piece of equipment breaks and having to troubleshoot over the phone to determine whether or not they will repair it can add a lot of frustration and cost to having technology in the school.
Instead, work with your local tech vendor to obtain extended warranty coverage that includes repair service. CSC offers a 20% discount to schools on warranties for laptops, iPads and PCs. For example, if the manufacturer’s extended warranty costs $100 for three years, we’ll provide the same coverage for $80.
More importantly, rather than being required to troubleshoot equipment over the phone, ship product to the OEM or install the part- CSC takes care of all those details, saving you not only money, but time! All your school has to do is fill out a web form or give us a call. With an average of 10-15 laptops needing some form of repair each week, CSCare warranties can eliminate the need to hire a FTE Tech(s) and allow your IT Dept to focus on your mission: Supporting your students, faculty & administrators
One of the most rewarding aspects of providing technology to many different types of businesses and organizations is what happens when you build those relationships beyond the professional level. One local client that we’re closely tied to is the YWCA Columbus. In providing IT support for them over the years, we have heard countless stories about the displaced families who go there and get help - not only food and shelter but with getting back on their feet. We couldn’t help but look for ways to get involved beyond the extent of our professional services.
The YWCA is an organization that does so much for so many people. Knowing this has touched me over the last few months as I have further developed my partnership with them. thinkCSC contributes as a sponsor of the YWCA’s various annual events, including Women of Achievement, their Annual Meeting and their Women to Women event. It has been an eye-opening experience to give back to one of our clients in this way.
Jay, one of our younger engineers, works closely with the YWCA. Jay was so impressed with the YWCA’s commitment to the underserved of our community that he went to the grocery store, filled his cart with home goods and groceries, and dropped them off at the YWCA. Most people at that age are thinking only of themselves, but he spent time at the Y and was touched by what he witnessed and experienced. That resonates with me, because it speaks to our culture here at thinkCSC. When our guys take off their work hats and see how they can make a difference elsewhere with a client, it makes me proud to be working with them.
We have come to believe in what the YWCA does. Our sponsorship and individual contributions led us to find out more about them than we ever thought we would. As a business owner, it is very powerful when our clients’ mission circles back and motivates us to do more. On a professional level, our technology services help them run efficiently, so they can focus more resources on the women and families they serve, but it is the impact they’ve had on us as individuals that inspires me.
Downtime can equate to death for business owners whose customers rely on them to be available and accessible. Those same business owners spend a considerable amount of money on hardware to protect their businesses. Redundant backups and server upgrades are designed to offer some protection. But what do you do when the server or system goes down? Backups are not going to keep you running.
thinkCSC recommends that every company develop an emergency preparedness plan. Preparing for disaster means reducing or eliminating downtime to ensure that you are able to provide uninterrupted service to your clients. During a disaster, significant repairing and reconfiguring may be required. That's going to turn into lost money and lost opportunities, unless you have a hardware-independent restore option.
Most company executives operate under the assumption that their backups will protect them, and they don’t discover the risk until the first time they’ve experienced a significant outage and their customers are left stranded. Because of the time it takes to access and re-install your files on the new or repaired hardware, the only way to ensure continuous service to your customers is by having a hardware-independent restore.
thinkCSC can help you take the hassle out of recovery, so you can get back to doing business.
We offer a suite of tools dedicated to disaster recovery that goes above and beyond simple backups. StorageCraft is a set of technology tools that builds a chain of backups that can be consolidated and replicated to an off-site destination. When disaster strikes, this solution ensures that there is a back-up chain that you can work from virtually while you start repairing the failed equipment, without shutting down the virtual machine that's operating as your temporary server. The virtual machine can be housed locally or in the cloud. You can continue operating as normal during the repair period; once the problem is fixed, simply shut down your virtual machines, and boot the last incremental back-up chain to the new environment.
The advantages of thinkCSC’s StorageCraft solution include:
- Drastically reduced downtime
- Better business availability during emergencies
- Cost effective and scalable solution
- Need-based pricing
- Enterprise class recovery for every business
When you're not being tied to one piece of hardware or one piece of virtual infrastructure, you can be responsive and flexible during any kind of disaster, meeting the needs of your clients without delay. While your competition is struggling to bring their computers online, thinkCSC can help you develop a plan that ensures a seamless recovery.
Are you still not convinced that you should convert your traditional PBX (multi-line) phone system to a Voice over Internet Protocol system (VoIP)? If your company employs a virtual structure, there are many reasons to make the switch. VoIP easily solves those pesky challenges that often plague virtual businesses.Connecting Employees Anywhere
Do you have employees who work exclusively from home or in offices scattered across the country? With nationwide distribution, no matter where your offices are or where your employees work, VoIP can connect you. If you currently use PBX, you know that you have to use 800-number dialing hubs for each company location or employee work center. VoIP eliminates the need for that dialing hub.
Phones on the VoIP system are pre-programmed with a server address, and they use the Internet to place calls. No more dialing hubs or phone lines; VoIP just needs a working Internet connection. You can also get creative with VoIP and customize your system. A follow-me service can be extremely useful for those employees that work in multiple offices or travel frequently. VoIP can be programmed so that calls literally follow you where you go. For example, calls to your office phone can ring for one second, and the call is not answered, VoIP will redirect the call and ring your mobile phone.
Along with managing multiple offices, employees of virtual businesses are often tasked with managing multiple mail boxes. VoIP allows you to contain all voicemails in a central location. No more checking multiple assigned voicemails on multiple phones or numbers. Again, because VoIP can be programmed specifically for you, your voicemail will go wherever you need it: your email, your home or work office, or your mobile phone.
Who’s Calling Me?
With PBX, you know the frustration of receiving an internal work call and not knowing who it is, because one central number is displayed. The nature of the PBX native-line format can often disrupt Caller-ID functionality, omitting extension or internal caller information on the display. VoIP preserves that caller information, and it can be as detailed as you need it to be. Because you can program VoIP to your own specifications, you can decide the call display and extension information that makes sense to you.
There is one wrinkle in both the PBX and VoIP system Caller-ID set-up: the lack of ability to relay appropriate information to 911. For example, if you have an employee working at home and his Caller-ID information is set-up to display the head office number, calls into 911 from that home office will direct emergency responders to the head office instead of the employee’s home. However, because of the ability to customize VoIP, it is possible to assign a unique number to each virtual office. Another option would be programming your Caller-ID information to display corporate information for outgoing business calls, but local information for calls to 911.
With VoIP, you can let your imagination run wild and customize the office communication system you’ve always dreamed of. If you’ve been thinking about converting to VoIP, the question isn’t “what can it do for my virtual office?” The question is “what can’t VoIP do?”
Call thinkCSC's sales team today to schedule your free VoIP assessment!
I recently attended a Columbus EO event featuring one of central Ohio’s most distinguished business & community leaders, Les Wexner.
Wexner shared many stories that helped shape both his personal & professional life. He also discussed his love of reading, and in particular, he singled out biographies. He stated that biographies help him gain insight as to how other leaders think and act. In turn, these lessons help Wexner as he continues to grow his businesses and effectively lead his community.
Wexner went on to say that every leader goes through crucible moments. It is because of these extraordinary circumstances that we are able to glean valuable lessons about leadership from others, as well as ourselves. Mr. Wexner explained that the best leaders have a lot to teach us, based on both their successes and their failures.
Les Wexner is known here in Ohio and beyond for his exemplary leadership qualities and level of perseverance. During his talk that evening, he told us about a time, after much success in business, when he looked into a mirror and asked himself a direct question: “Am I somebody that I would want to meet?” His question really made me think. Why would I want to meet myself? What character traits do I have that would make me want to get to know me better?
Can you pinpoint the precise instance a character trait became a trademark of who you are? Sometimes we have a crucible moment that shapes our character. Mr. Wexner’s story was one of learning about honesty from his father. Hearing his story reminded me of an event from my younger days which I hadn’t thought about in a long time. One of my crucible moments, much like Mr. Wexner’s, helped shaped my future leadership tenets and beliefs.
I was 12 years old when I and several friends shoplifted from the local convenience store. As fate would have it, I ended up getting caught by the shopkeeper, who in turn called the police. The shopkeeper called my parents, too, and my mom was the one who took the call. He and my mother were very good friends, but he didn't realize who I was. When he understood the situation better, the manager felt terrible that he called the police. Right when it looked like I might not have to deal with the long arm of the law, my mom encouraged him to stay the course and let the police come because, as she put it, “My son needs to learn a lesson.” This important lesson about honesty, albeit a painful and frightening experience, has stayed with me to this day. I credit my parents, the shopkeeper and the police officer for instilling this trait in me.
What about you? What crucible moment(s) have shaped you up to this point? Are you someone you would like to meet? If not, you may be motivated by this sage advice from George Eliot: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
Due to the overwhelming success of Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad, more and more consumers are faced with this dilemma – whether to continue using a PC or to make the switch to Mac. In recent years, it seems that Apple has marketed Macs with this in mind. If they can hook you with one of their popular, ancillary products, you might think it appropriate, as Apple’s website suggests, to “make the ultimate upgrade” and buy a Mac.
Of course, if you have your own business, or if you are in the process of starting one, the stakes are much higher because the choice you make will determine both your everyday productivity and the ongoing support services you will need to make it work. It is easy to get swept up by clever marketing or even that colleague of yours who insists that Mac is the only option. However, making an informed decision is always best. Included here are several things you will want to consider before choosing Mac for yourself and/or your employees.
First, you should reflect on whether the end will justify the means. The hard truth is, if you are in an office environment and have a Windows Server and Windows-based apps, switching to Mac may entail more than you are really prepared for. For instance, you may find that your current business software is not compatible with Mac and has to be replaced. To sidestep this problem, a lot of Mac users decide to run virtualization on their computers, allowing them to choose which OS, Mac or Windows, they want to use at any given time. Yet, virtualization itself can lead to additional support costs and security issues. The moment you put Windows on your computer, your Windows environment can get infected just as easily as if you had a PC.
So when is it smart to choose Mac for a business environment? Generally speaking, if your business is small, web-based and your primary needs involve web, email, productivity, and file access, there is no reason why Mac would not be more than suitable. Apple’s hardware is infused with user confidence, and for good reason. You will definitely have fewer security and configuration problems. If price is a concern, you might consider the MacBook Air, which cannot be matched in the PC world for all that it offers. Unfortunately, the larger your business, the more complex a transition to Mac could become, requiring much more in the way of support services.
All that said, the decision to use Macs or PCs for your business needs may not be as straightforward as you’d like. Based on our broad history with the Mac platform, thinkCSC can help you determine which route is best for you.
As a public administrator today, finding cost-effective answers for your agency’s information technology questions can often be your greatest challenge. After all, there is a lot to consider when dealing with IT: staffing, networking hardware and software, building infrastructure, centralized data backup and disaster-recovery planning.
With an increasing number of public employees using their personal laptops, portable devices and other mobile applications to perform at least some of their duties, it makes good fiscal sense for government offices to deploy some form of safe wireless technology for wider use. This goal is not without its obstacles, though. Your agency may not have the necessary back-end hardware to support some of the newer wireless technology, your data may be stored in several locations, or you may be required to have specific hardware controlling numerous access points.
Fortunately, several of the current cloud-based wireless applications address these scenarios. For instance, with just a couple of mouse clicks on the “dashboard” of one of these Web-based management interfaces, you can control all of your access points. Simply enter the appropriate data into your network during the initial setup process, and you are ready to begin. Your agency needs no physical controller, and the system is easy to deploy and change whenever necessary.
If your IT challenges need staffing solutions, outsourcing is a cost-effective way to provide technical support for your employees or to assist in the integration of local or regional IT operations, even on a small scale. Plus, there is another distinct benefit for government agencies when it comes to outsourcing IT support. Your agency becomes privy to a large, collective amount of experience that has dealt with hundreds of different customers. If an IT issue arises in your office and no one single person on your staff can address it, chances are there is someone on your outsourcing team who has knowledge of current technology trends on a much broader scale.
Still, perhaps your most vital responsibility within your own government agency, aside from providing a valuable service to the public, is the protection and security of your information database. The importance cannot be overstated of having a disaster-recovery plan in effect and the necessary hardware in place for a quick IT recovery. As an example, before your software crashes or your physical hardware goes down, you should have a local hardware server that can remotely have your system up and running within 10 or 15 minutes, so no one even knows there has been a failure. Instead of being offline for several days, you have a temporary solution in place while your main hardware is being permanently restored.
Whether your agency is considering outsourcing IT tasks or deploying in-house solutions, the key point to remember is planning ahead. Because you rely on public monies to operate, having funding in place to advance your IT program will be your foremost hurdle. However, keep in mind that while much attention will be focused on your proposed upfront investment, your bottom line may be more attractive in the long run because of more efficient IT infrastructure — and fewer problems.
Well, we did it. We’re in our new facility. thinkCSC has moved from an office renter to a property owner and it’s really very exciting! It’ll take a few weeks of unpacking, hanging pictures, arranging furniture and all of those other fun tasks that come with a move, but we're definitely settling in.
Our new facility fits our needs and gives us room to grow. Our 12,000 square foot building offers us much more space than our old offices had. 7420 Worthington Galena, Worthington OH 43085, our new address, is just a couple of miles north of our old location. We're literally neighbors with Emerson Power, Mettler Toledo and Worthington Industries. In fact, Emerson’s global headquarters are right in our back yard, which leads to wonderful possibilities for greatly expanded data and power capability for our hosted services clients.
I’m especially proud of the design of our physical plant. We’ve built out two-thirds of the building and have plenty of space for everybody. We put a lot of glass in the main area of the building where our Sales Team, NSG (Network Services Group), and WSG (Warranty Services Group) work.
Our three teams literally have glass between them, which opens up their work space and encourages collaboration. Our NOC (Network Operations Center) has three 47” monitors, so the entire company can view our client dashboards, including tech support phone calls in our queue and schedule openings in each of our engineers’ calendars.
At the same time, our thinkCSC Managed Services Program (MSP) is reporting back client IT alerts that allow us to proactively monitor and remediate from our NOC. We’ve built cohesion into our three teams because each of them knows what the others are doing. The area is so spacious, accommodating, and convenient that it’s easy and exciting for the teams to collaborate.
Because we want our employees to really love coming to work, we’ve also tried to make it a great place to relax as well. To that end, we added a billiards room next to our break room & an audio system for fun tunes. It's cool that we have this area where the team can go after work and shoot pool and let off some steam.
So, we have a bit of unpacking yet to do, but sometime in March, we'll invite everyone in for a look at the new digs.
This time of year provides us all with an opportunity to be grateful for the people and experiences that make our lives worthwhile. I am proud to work with such a fine team and humbled by the opportunity I have had this year to connect with extraordinary people in our community.
I had the chance to spend time at a leadership retreat, where I realized the enormously positive impact each business can have on our community. I am committed to finding new and innovative ways to make a difference in Columbus, to developing the leadership potential of our youth by volunteering time in schools and to supporting growth and development in the Columbus community. I hope you will join me in choosing to make a positive difference - not just at Christmas, but throughout the coming year.
From our thinkCSC family to yours – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
As we move more and more into a cloud-based environment and online learning becomes the norm, many schools are switching from land-based to wireless networking. And, with extensive budget cuts to education, many schools are turning to a bring-your-own-technology (BYOT) methodology, where students are required to bring their own equipment to school.
There is simply not enough space to provide a computer lab for every student. With a new law that requires mandated online testing, schools are trying to convert to wireless and BYOT as an easy way to provide localized data management for the entire student population.
The problem for many schools is that their infrastructure is outdated. Often, servers and other electronic hardware must be replaced before even attempting the installation of a wireless system and implementing BYOT. From thinkCSC’s perspective, the key to wireless in schools is planning.
There is still a year or two before the mandated online testing takes effect, so it's imperative that schools not wait until the last minute to make the necessary changes. Until we get a team in the school to examine the infrastructure and take readings, we don't know if there are any wiring needs, which can add time and expense.
The physical structure of the building and what it is made out of, such as drywall or brick, can have a tremendous effect on wireless capabilities. We set up an access point and take measurements on its strength to determine an appropriate setup.
Once we know what the school needs to accomplish their wireless goals, the school can secure finding and find a time during which we can install the access points. Some schools may have a technology budget, but many schools have to obtain grants or pass special budget addendum. Most schools also try to avoid disruptions during classes, and try to schedule the installations for vacations. While these systems can be built in as little as three days, we have to know exactly what we are dealing with before we can give them an accurate estimate.
Luckily, we have partnered with an easily deployed cloud-based system called Meraki. Unlike most interfaces that require a physical piece of hardware in the school controlling the wireless access points, Meraki lets schools use the company's website to control the access points with only a few clicks of the mouse. It's easy to install, set-up, and change.
Some people worry about security with a wireless system, but the system can be as open or locked down as the school needs. A lot of these schools want wireless access for events or other functions so parents and guests can have access to their system. As far as security is concerned, there really are no major issues as long as it’s professionally installed.
Many schools wait until it's almost too late and end up rushing to get it done. With the mandate still more than a year away, there is still plenty of time for us to review the school’s infrastructure and draft a proposal so that the school can find funding and install the system before the deadline for the mandated testing arrives.
For the most part Macs run well, but like any technology, eventually they will fail. When that time comes, the odds are you will not be able to fix it yourself. You are going to need some professional help in order to get your system back in working order.
To complicate matters, you can’t just hire any technician. You need to deal with someone who knows how to work with Macs - and a PC technician just won’t cut it. Macs have a unique system architecture that require specialized knowledge. Even the best Windows tech could end up doing more harm that good if they issue the wrong commands through Terminal, which provides the technician nearly unlimited access to the core of the system.
So, how do you pick a good Mac service provider? There are four basic credentials you should look for that will help you to decide which service provider is the one that can meet your needs.
When it comes to getting your systems repaired, experience matters. You need a service provide who is familiar with the system but every company’s marketing department is going to tell you that they are the best company to meet your needs. Only by talking to their customers and finding out how they have handled problems in the past can you ensure that the service is responsive, friendly and able to meet your needs. Never use a service that cannot provide you with references.
Remember, this is IT. Technology changes quickly. You’re not looking for a company with 50 years of experience. In fact, IT companies that last longer than five years are doing really well. One good example is CSC, which has been in business since 1992. Not a lengthy history when you compare it to a brand like Kellogg’s, but it is an impressive span for an IT services provider.
2. Apple Certifications
When you are choosing a company you need to be sure that the providers who will be working on your systems with have the appropriate Apple certifications. These credentials, issued by Apple, show that the people who will be servicing your systems have demonstrated the knowledge and the skills needed to work with your systems to the satisfaction of the Mac makers themselves.
3. Apple Authorized Repair Center
Apple Authorized Repair Centers come with a guarantee that the service will be done right. Even more important, using an Apple Authorized Repair Center is a guarantee that the service will not void your warranty.
4. Managed Services
A number of problems with your system can be avoided simply by making sure that your system gets the monitoring that it needs on a daily basis, and the maintenance that it needs on a monthly basis. A company that provides its customers managed services simplifies that process and helps to prevent problems before they happen. This kind of service gives you what you don’t know you need but can’t live without.