St. Louis Computer Company IT TechWatch Newsletter

First IT TechWatch of 2016

We hope your year is off to a wonderful start! St. Louis finally received its first snowfall, and everything looks beautiful outside.

On January 21st, we sent out this month’s IT TechWatch, which featured several articles on critical technology issues important to every business ranging from data security to the IT infrastructure necessary for success. Our client feature article explains how implementing a proactive Managed Services program improved the reliability of a long-time client’s pet care business. Finally, we’re thrilled to introduce you to the newest member of our expert computer team, Luke Bragg.

If you’d like to receive our newsletter on an ongoing basis, there’s a sign-up section on our home page.

St. Louis Computer Experts-IT Infrastructure Success

St. Louis Computer Experts Share Their Secrets for IT Infrastructure Success

The start of a new year is full of expectation and a great time to look forward and plan how to best grow and “do things better.” We recently spent time reflecting on some of the IT challenges we’ve seen small to mid-sized businesses experience and how best to avoid them. The question becomes, “What do businesses need to do well in the IT infrastructure space in order to best set themselves up for success?”

Two primary categories must be addressed: internal and external systems and efforts. Throughout the coming year, our St. Louis computer experts will share more detailed information on many of these areas to give you technological peace of mind. For now, let’s take a quick look at infrastructure issues you need to be thinking about.

Internally: Within Your Office

  1. Maintaining a stable computer infrastructure environment
    • How well do your workstations, servers, routers, firewalls, printers, and other hardware operate? Are they secured against external threats? Are they up-to-date or just “limping along?”
  2. Having a reliable wired and wireless network
    • Do clients or employees bring their laptops to meetings in conference rooms? Do you allow open access to your Wi-Fi network, or are those networks password-protected? Do you have both PCs and Macs and, if so, can they talk to each other? Can they both save documents to any shared drives you may have? When you send something to the printer does it actually print, or does it go into a “black hole” of unprinted documents?
  3. Managing robust network security
    • Your networks should be secure and accessible only by those with approved access. Are there any vulnerabilities in your systems that need to be remedied?
  4. Consistently backing up business-critical data
    • Losing a file erases your time, data, and effort. Make sure you have backups that actually work. Have you tested your backup systems recently to see if you can actually retrieve a document from your backup system? Just because it’s sitting somewhere “in the cloud” doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s properly backed up.
  5. Protecting computer infrastructure and business-critical data from malware: viruses, spam, ransomware (cryptolocker)
    • It only takes one corrupted file to wreak havoc with your whole data infrastructure. If you are in a non-critical industry, it might not seem worth the extra effort to properly protect yourself. But if data reliability and systems functionality are important to your business, you’ll want your systems locked down like Fort Knox.
  6. Protecting clients’ private data
    • Whether the law requires you (for firms entrusted with sensitive client information) or whether it’s more of an expectation in your industry, you need to have the proper systems in place to protect customer records and personal data.
  7. Being vigilant against developing cyber threats
    • Cybercrime happens at the speed of data. Hackers know that a brilliant piece of malicious code today will be worth very little six months from now. They won’t wait, neither should you.
  8. Complying with all governmental regulations appropriate for your industry (HIPAA, etc.)
    • For some industries, there are very specific, very strict rules that need to be followed; for others, there are merely “guidelines” that act as the hallmark of a company following “best practices.” Do you know the rules for your industry, and do you have a plan to keep abreast of changing regulations?

Externally: What Do You Need?

  1. Reliable e-mail platform capable of weeding out spam as much as possible
    • Of the hundreds of e-mails you get a day, how many of them could be classified as digital junk mail? Can you access your e-mails from anywhere, and does your e-mail automatically update in a timely manner? While it might seem like a hassle to switch e-mail platform providers, the benefits might be worth it!
  2. A digital presence which accurately communicates your organization’s value to your target audience
    • Websites, social media platforms, SEO efforts, Google AdWord campaigns and a whole host of other digital outlets should put you in the spotlight in the most strategically-grounded way.
  3. Reliable website hosting
    • Not all web hosting is created equal. For a few additional dollars per month, have the confidence your website is automatically backed up,secured from external threats, and kept “up-to-date.”
  4. Reliable telephony infrastructure
    • How many problems do you experience with your VoIP phone system in a day?Lost calls equate to frustrated customers and potentially lost sales. Don’t let an outdated telephone system weaken your growth efforts.
  5. The ability to collaborate effectively with clients, employees, and vendors
    • Let’s face it; we live in a shared, digital world where sending files via FTP and e-mail is considered too slow. People don’t want to wait for files to be delivered via e-mail; they want them immediately! And they want to be able to make changes and share those changes with colleagues or clients right now. Set yourself up with fastest methods of data transfer and enhance your collaboration efforts.

There are a many components to keep track of and successfully put in place in order to fully realize a reliable IT infrastructure. Master them and your business will experience less hassles, less downtime, and less computer angst. Keep a firm grasp on these core concepts and you’ll experience more—more productivity, more confidence, and more success.

And as always, if you have a pressing need we’d be happy to help!

St. Louis Computer Expert Luke Bragg

Meet Luke Bragg: A St. Louis Computer Expert Joins Our Team

Anderson Technologies is proud to announce that Luke Bragg has joined the company as a Senior Systems Administrator to serve our clients’ growing needs. “Luke is a perfect addition to our team!” Company principal Mark Anderson shares, “He comes to us with almost nine years of systems administration experience managing computer infrastructure in a wide variety of corporate end-user environments. Our clients will be able to immediately benefit from his experience and broad knowledge base. Luke’s government security clearance speaks to his commitment to maintain the highest-level security standards. We also appreciate his CompTIA Security+ industry certification.”

Luke has worked for a wide variety of companies like Empire District Electric Company, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, and most recently Tapestry Solutions (a subsidiary of Boeing) in areas that required a focus on computer system architecture as well as very high-level technological expertise. Luke also understands the intricacies of system-wide solutions to protect against a host of security threats, including viruses, malware, spyware, and ransomware. He’s right at home managing large computer networks, installing and administering over 100 servers and deploying over 1,000 virtual desktops in one environment.

Company principal Amy Anderson says, “We’re very selective about the people we work with, and Luke’s background makes him a perfect addition to our top-notch team. He’s technically outstanding, has a very personable manner and a high sense of integrity, all of which align with our company. Luke is the kind of expert I would trust with my own computer, and that’s what we were looking to add for our clients.”

Luke is enthusiastic about working with clients one-on-one and values that interaction. He explains, “I love the vision of Anderson Technologies’ personalized service and ‘take-the-time-to-do-it-right’ mentality. As a systems administrator, you wear many hats, and I’m excited to know I will be making a real difference in the lives and businesses of our clients.” Luke is immediately available to work with all clients, getting them properly set up with our proprietary Managed Tech Services, installing system upgrades, and increasing security protection to keep client data from being compromised.

Luke lives in Swansea, Illinois with his children and wife, Amy, who teaches first and second grade. They have three children, James (11), Lucas and Logan (7 year old twins!) who keep them very active. Luke also enjoys singing in his church.

Congratulations Luke, and welcome to the team!