Author Archives: MATS

Black Friday Deals: Who Is the Target Market?

Occasionally we get a customer who calls us and is very excited about a recent deal they scored. It goes something like this:

“We just got 4 laptops that need to be added to our network. My brother sent me the link and they looked good- I had to buy them before the deal expired! They’ll be in the office- can you add them to our domain later on next week?”

And just like that, we become the bearer of bad news. These devices run Windows 10 Home, not Windows Professional. We’ll need to purchase those licenses. Oh- they don’t come with Microsoft Office or Office 365, either. It’s just a 30 day trial. And they contain an inferior processor that will not keep up with modern business applications.

Can businesses take advantage of Black Friday deals? Absolutely! Contact us first, and we can evaluate potential purchases to see if they work with your network configuration. For general business-only deals, check out Dell’s SMB Black Friday site, which includes several configurations geared towards business professionals in office environments.

Black Friday Antivirus Deal

For most Black Friday technology deals, you have to sacrifice something. Maybe it’s in the form of performance, such as a desktop with inferior parts. Or a laptop that uses a processor and motherboard that came out two years ago. These considerations pass most deal hunters by, as they fixate on the price and never check under the hood to see what they are really purchasing.

Antivirus applications are different, in the sense that, a) you are purchasing a software product and; b) this type of product cannot be a watered-down version of the actual product. Imagine a 4th of July car sale where they didn’t include the wheels with the vehicle- it simply would not work! The same goes for antivirus programs: it’s all or nothing.

Right now, Dell is offering a 1-year subscription to McAfee antivirus for less than $5.00. This is a tremendous value, one which is seldom seen at this price point. The price will certainly increase after your first twelve months of service- but wouldn’t the peace of mind for the next year be worth it?

Follow MATS On Social Media

We know the importance of being connected. We are proud to invite our customers and partners to follow us on social media. We share updates related to industry standards, security breaches, threats and new products. Most importantly, we use these tools to connect with industry professionals as we continue to offer leading products and services to maintain your network.

Click an image below to connect with us on either Facebook or Twitter. We appreciate the follow! Of course, you can always contact us through email if you need an immediate response.

Productivity Derailed: Wasted Time

How much time do employees waste during the work day? It depends on the industry, and it is difficult to track. One would have to start with defining “wasted time.” Is that time away from the main project? Time spent off-site dealing with other issues? Time on-site, but off task?

Consider an employee conversation at a water cooler. Employees ask each other about their weekend plans and a recommendation for a new spot to have dinner. They casually mention an upcoming sales meeting and the reports they need to produce before heading back to their respective work spaces. Few people would consider this to be a waste of time. Every employee needs a restroom break or to occasionally stretch their legs- if not standing altogether– while working.

Human nature requires us to have short mental breaks from our tasks. This allows us to step back and reflect, and perhaps to consider a new angle when attacking a problem. Nobody can be expected to work for 8 straight hours. Some research has indicated those taking short breaks can yield greater productivity.

But what about the employee who checks personal email throughout the day, or is constantly liking Facebook posts? Even worse, how about the ones comparing and booking summer vacations or comparing homes for sale? These examples pale in comparison to those employees who are accessing online games, gambling, or even pornography!

We offer many different products that help to monitor employee access to certain websites. Some products do not allow employees to access certain websites, like Facebook or Instagram. Other services block categories of sites, such as online gambling or pornography. New sites are added daily; a subscription provides automatic updating to the blocked sites list.

Managers should also have the ability to override certain sites. For example, an employer may want to block Facebook access from employee workstations, but HR staff may wish to review the digital profile of prospective new hires. The same could be said for employee vs. manager access to job-hunting sites like Monster or Indeed.

Organizations must ultimately choose the level of online security that best meets their vision and focus. The good news is that there are many affordable solutions that can keep employees more focused. Contact us today if you would like to learn more about these solutions.


Why Managed Services?

“Can’t I just pay for services when I actually have a problem?”

One of our most common questions revolves around the type of company we run. We are a managed services company, not a break/fix shop. What is the difference- don’t both types of companies have to perform the same essential functions?

Different companies subscribe to competing theories in regard to network maintenance. In our case, we believe that proactive network monitoring and maintenance will actually make it more affordable for the customer over the long haul. That’s a big hurdle for customers who have never experienced this type of service, though.

For example, consider a small office with 6 workstations, network storage and a firewall. When it was professionally installed three years ago, office personnel notices faster network speeds and better performance. They probably thought nothing of it after that. But this office has several aging devices, some of which have not received updates in months. Employees keep delaying software updates. The firewall’s firmware- what’s that?- has never been upgraded! The backups were tested when they were installed, but nobody has ever tested them to verify they are still functioning.

As you can see, myriad issues can develop over time. Hence the need for managed services. We perform proactive maintenance on workstations and network equipment, usually after users are gone for the day. In most cases, workers won’t know about the updates and modifications we made to keep the network running smoothly. It’s almost as if you don’t know we’re there… and isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? IT staying out of the way of productivity?

Of course, there are always times when we are called on-site for equipment failure. Or certain upgrades that need to be done during business hours in conjunction with 3rd party vendors. But these are usually calls a business makes that request our services, instead of us deciding to take down the network for updates during the middle of the work day.

So, why do we offer managed services?

  • We proactively monitor and maintain all facets of the network, and receive alerts when hardware is not performing properly.
  • Many problems are resolved before they impact end users.
  • We can make recommendations to decision-makers regarding the life span and performance of network components.
  • Offices have a predictable monthly budget that includes almost all of their IT expenses, which removes the peaks and valleys of network maintenance.

Does your IT provider offer these benefits? If not, maybe it’s time to give us a call. We can perform a free network analysis and provide you with a quote.

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