IT Simplification

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Easy Steps to Help Maintain IT Security

Cyber-security breaches all over the news these days.    The enemy is creative, sophisticated, and apparently operating with relative impunity.   The typical business has a lot of exposure, via each email account, computer, mobile phone, and Internet connection.    What is the typical business to do in response to all these threats? Keep software up-to-date Software has to be updated ..
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Optimize Internet, Telephone, and Fax

Internet and telephone are almost to business as vital as keeping electricity as keeping the lights on.   Those services also add up to a significant monthly expense.   All the more reason to make sure your business gets the best service for the best possible price. Business owners should not assume that the dominant local phone ..
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Reduce Hassle – Insist on Continuity of IT Products

For many small businesses, acquisition of new IT products doesn’t necessarily involve consideration of how the product will fit with existing understanding and expectations.  That’s unfortunate, because an IT product that fits poorly can cost thousands of dollars in lost time and frustration. For example, consider the purchase of a new multi-function printer (MPF).   Such printers print, copy, scan, (and some still fax) — but has a completely ..
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Tips for Procuring Remote Desktop Terminals

Regarding computer terminals (such as those that connect to Microsoft Remote Desktop Service), there is little benefit to purchasing units bran-new.    Bran-new units can cost as much as a standalone PC, yet usually have no benefit over a unit procured at a fraction of the price through a site such as Ebay.   The components of a terminal are ..
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Tips for Purchasing Printers

Regarding printers, we recommend avoiding inkjet printers except in a few exceptions (such as wide-carriage printers and plotters).    Inkjet printers suffer from costly supplies, ink “clots”, and (typically) short lifespans.   The resulting downtime, frustration, and expense simply isn’t worth the lower acquisition cost of the printer. For most businesses, the best printers are Laser for standard sheet-fed printing, ..
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Tips for Purchasing Business-Grade PCs

Businesses typically have slightly different demands of their PCs that home users.  Not surprisingly most major hardware vendors market PCs designed specially for business. Regarding laptop PCs, business-grade units are typically more durable, feature better warranties, and often have the ability to “dock” the laptop, which makes it a breeze to connect to monitor(s), keyboard, mouse, and a wired Ethernet ..
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Tips for Purchasing a Server

As for server hardware, we highly recommend rack-based units, even if you do not store them in a typical rack enclosure.   The rack form-factor appears to be the de facto  standard once you get to a certain level of power and redundancy, and is therefore usually offers better features and more value than the typical “tower” server. You can save ..
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Procure Business-Grade Hardware & Software

Tech hardware is a commodity like any other.    Consumers are motivated by low prices, which motivates vendors to supply a plethora of low-priced hardware options.   This is all fine for the typical consumer and a business model where technology is increasingly disposable. Businesses, too, can enjoy low-cost hardware, but should be careful not to pass-up business-grade features and benefits.   Standardizing on “workhorse” ..
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Choose Software Licenses Wisely

When purchasing software products, there are frequently license options that consumers do not even know exist.   Knowing and understanding the different license types (and associated benefits and/or restrictions)  is key to optimizing any software purchase. Each software vendor is free to devise their license types, and set of rules for how that software may or may not be used.   ..
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Convert Old Desktop PCs to Terminal Clients

Terminal computing doesn’t require much computing power of the clients.    With minimal time investment, your old PCs may be able to be converted into wonderful Remote Desktop terminals. It is probably safe to assume that your old PCs have an obsolete Operating System (OS) that is no longer secure.    So, the first step is to ditch that baggage and get an LTSP server going ..
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Connect to Remote Desktop Using LTSP Terminals

We’ve already written about how converting standalone PCs to dumb terminals can simplify and standardize your computing environment.   A great way to enhance the terminal strategy is to use a Linux LTSP server to “power” the dumb terminals. Dumb terminals require a basic operating system (OS) that provides basic keyboard, video, mouse, network, and a remote desktop client application (for connecting ..
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Simplify and Standardize with Remote Desktop

Maintaining standalone desktop PCs is expensive.    Each one requires software updates, an antivirus license, and administration such as printer installations.   When they fail, you scramble for repair parts or a replacement PC.   When it comes time to upgrade, new units start around five-hundred dollars each, then — on average — require several hours from IT staff to configure and deploy.    To make ..
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Cut Overhead and Clutter — Virtualize Your Servers

Is your server room cluttered with noisy, hot, energy-hungry servers?    Each physical server increases overhead and contributes to risk of hardware failure.   It can even be a challenge to keep server rooms properly cooled. Server virtualization is a low-cost way to reduce clutter, complexity and risk.   When you virtualize, you run several virtual servers “piggyback” on a single physical server.    The virtual ..
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