Thursday, June 20, 2019

Top 10 Reasons to Outsource Your IT Support Desk

Delivering IT services to users is a necessary function to ensure the success of any company. Businesses typically have their own IT team, that they have come to rely upon with varying degrees of success. It is the responsibility of the internal IT team to keep things operational, secure, and efficient. However, navigating the requirements of the rapidly-changing IT landscape has presented quite a challenge for internal IT teams.

 When problems become too difficult to manage effectively in-house, it's time to outsource this function to a professional managed service provider to continuously monitor, maintain and manage the technology. The managed service provider can provide a team better suited to the task, and the existing IT staff can then focus their energies on growing the business.

These are the Top 10 Reasons to Outsource your IT Support Desk:
  1. Staffed Helpdesk Available 24/7/365 Most organizations have limited IT staff that are not available on-call, are off on holidays and weekends, or are unreachable or unavailable after normal business hours. If you cannot reach IT support outside of business hours, it equates to lost productivity.
  2. Automated Patch Management Windows Update Services just doesn’t work. Most IT departments have limited visibility into what patches may cause bigger issues and/or may not interoperate well with their environment. Conversely, managed providers perform extensive regression tests against the patches, and automate the distribution to production servers with little to no IT involvement.
  3. Access to Vendor/Industry Best Practices Vendors often share knowledge of the most intimate details about their products with their business partners and certified professionals. This leaves IT blind to trends and best practices, unless they are aligned with a managed provider. Certification can be invaluable to troubleshooting with failure isolation and remediation on a specific technology. That means less downtime and increased productivity.
  4. Service Level Assurance Most enterprises do not have visibility into their own service delivery metrics that ensure incident response, mean time to repair, and system restore times. Managed providers draft and level set acceptable metrics to the business, and have the tools to measure their level of success in satisfying the requirement.
  5. Existing IT Staff can Focus on Business Needs Leaving the general IT Operations function to a managed provider allows existing IT staff to focus on more pressing needs of the business, and/or the team’s high visibility projects.
  6. Reduce Labor Costs Smaller IT teams are not as cost-effective in managing IT as their enterprise counterparts. SMB’s can level the playing field when partnering with a managed provider. A managed provider can ensure scalability for an IT team, and can scale personnel resources at a lower rate than an individual small business.
  7. Less Downtime Most companies do not measure their systems availability times, but industry reporting suggests that most companies maintain below 99.9% uptime on their systems. Managed providers deliver 99.99%. The gap of that downtime is measured in days per year, not hours, and can cost a company over $250k in lost revenue per hour.
  8. Increased User Productivity Improving response times, fixing the root cause of reported issues, and making sure the fix is permanent can improve the output of your team. Managed providers follow up service calls with customer satisfaction surveys to measure their successes and failures.
  9. Greater (Proactive) Security Antivirus, anti-spyware, spam, encryption, patch management, intrusion detection, periodic penetration testing, centralized firewall management, application traffic validation are all technologies aimed to improve the security of a business’s data. Most companies are not adequately staffed to manage security at an effective level. Once a breach has occurred, existing IT teams are mostly reactive,  whereas a managed provider is constantly monitoring and proactively remediating.
  10. Better Asset and Software Licensing Management Managed providers must track and document assets in order to invoice a customer accurately and in a timely manner. They have the appropriate tools in place to perform this function in real time, thus taking the burden off the IT department. Warranties can be better leveraged to reduce CAPEX costs by unnecessarily replacing equipment that is under warranty. In the same manner, Finance departments can better manage their capital assets by being notified of disposed assets, so that it can be properly taken off the books.

Contact Us or call (201) 644-9699 today to discuss IT Managed Services

IT Service Teams

Monday, April 22, 2019

Handling Heavy Data Center Equipment: Is it Time to Buy a Lift System?

Some data center servers and rack-mounted equipment can weigh over 800 pounds. For data center employees working among narrow aisles, and sometimes working overhead, this can lead to hazardous conditions for both the employees and the IT equipment itself. Work-related injuries could cost a company hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Sensitive IT equipment, if dropped or moved incorrectly, could sustain irreparable damage.

10 Things To Know Before Buying A Data Center Lift System

The Right Tool for Moving Data Center IT Equipment Moving IT equipment in a data center requires purpose-built tools reduce or eliminate injuries and damage to equipment.  The tools must be designed specifically to handle the data center workspace: narrow aisles, tight turns, rack height accommodation, single-person operation, etc.

Some features in considering a Data Center Equipment Lift System:
  • Certified for use in data centers
  • Designed specifically to move data center IT equipment
  • Ambidextrous operation from multiple operator positions
  • Rigid and stable platform
  • Overhead safety to prevent overhead damage to the facility
  • Ability to secure equipment to the device platform
  • Precision up/down movement
  • Bi-directional sliding tray
  • Full height allowance for full range of data center cabinet
  • Braking system to prevent movement during lifting and installation
  • Casters/wheels to allow movement without damaging data center floor
  • Proper load capacity for devices being moved
  • Lifting speed
  • Manual vs electric lift
Data Center Equipment (Server, Rack, Battery) Lift
Good: Manual Operation, Medium weight capacity, basic control
Data Center Equipment (Server, Rack, Battery) Lift
Better: Powered Operation, Medium weight capacity, precise control 
Data Center Equipment (Server, Rack, Battery) Lift
Best: Powered Operation, Heavy weight capacity, micro-precise control

Purchase a Data Center Equipment (Server, Rack, Battery, etc) Lift System

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Top 6 Ways Audio/Visual (A/V) Can Improve Your Business

Top 6 Ways audio/visual A/V Can Improve your Business
Audio/Visual technologies are dramatically improving the modern workplace. While traditional offices are changing rapidly, with open plan environments, huddle rooms, and mobile/remote working, these challenges must be met with technology in order for these spaces to continue to work effectively. This is especially true when connecting people in different geographies.

The way we work has evolved over time, and the technology necessarily should also evolve. Intuitive collaboration tools are transforming the way teams work. An understanding of how to apply current workplace technologies to meeting spaces and environments of all sizes will ensure your enterprise can remain productive and efficient, while eliminating the connection headaches of the past.

Here are the Top 6 Ways A/V Can Improve Your Business:

  1. Fluent Communications from Any Device Users no longer have to draw a distinction between an audio conference, video conference and/or web presentation. In addition, customers don’t need to have separate providers/accounts for each. Instead, products like Zoom or Microsoft Teams allow call attendees to join the call from whatever device they have available. Office users can join from a conference room or from their computer. Mobile users can join on their smartphone or tablet. All participants can be on video and share/view content on the call – all using a single service; no more siloed communications.
     
  2. Start Meetings On Time By inviting the room itself to the meeting along with the remote attendees, the meeting is sure to start on time – and with just a touch of a button. Every aspect of the room can be accurately controlled, including, but not limited to: lighting, multimedia integration, email schedules, and meeting and presentation control.
     
  3. No More Worrying About Having the Right Connector BYOD wireless content sharing allows anyone to share content from any device (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, etc.). No more dongles, and no more worrying about finding the “right” cable or adapter.
     
  4. Extend Branding & Corporate Communication Into Common Areas & Conference Rooms Effective use of digital signage ensures the timely delivery of information to all people, be they clients, employees, or vendors.  This eliminates the need for the labor and expense of printing posters and static signage.
     
  5. End Conference Room Squatting Conference room scheduling panels installed at the room entrance allow rooms to be scheduled in advance, and/or booked ad hoc. The schedule for each room is easily displayed with the touch of a button. Room analytics are also available to measure usage and occupancy to provide actionable data on resource utilization.
     
  6. A/V is Not Just for Auditoriums, Large Rooms, and Board Rooms A/V systems that enable calls, as well as share/view content, have become very affordable and easy to implement and use.  This makes them very effective solutions for both small & medium spaces, too, which is where most of the real day-to-day work and collaboration happen.

Contact PTS on 201-337-3833 to learn how A/V can improve your business

Top 6 Ways audio/visual (A/V) Can Improve your Business

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Top Advantages of Upgrading to PoE LED Lights for Your Commercial Spaces

Power over Ethernet (PoE)-based LED lighting has been available for several years. Due to the recent (2018) release of the IEEE Approved Draft Standard for Power-over-Ethernet, the LED lighting industry has started devoting attention to this technology. The new standard includes significant enhancements for LED lighting systems. The main improvement is the specification for up to 90W of delivered power for cable lengths of up to 100m through the use of all four pairs of wires. This allows for daisy chaining of several luminaires, which can simplify the installation process. Power over Ethernet PoE Network
Other enhancements include improved efficiency for current PoE levels of 25.5W of delivered power, as the power loss in the cable is reduced by approximately half. For example, power sourcing equipment operating under the previous standard needed to supply a minimum of 30W to ensure that the power device receives 25.5W because as much as 4.5W can be lost in the Ethernet cable. Powering the same device under the new standard will reduce losses to less than 2.25W, translating to about a 7% efficiency increase.

Top Advantages of Upgrading to PoE LED Lights for Your Commercial Spaces:

  1. Lower Installation and Operational Cost With UPoE ports (60 watts) powering two 2x2 lights each, PoE costs the same and often less than traditional AC lighting in new  construction and deep retrofit.  A simple 2x4 system in a Class A office space with custom and tunable fixtures can be built for less than $17 per square foot, installed! With the rollout of high power PoE (90 watts), Capex will be consistently lower than AC, while providing dozens of feature-rich applications. Opex results are similar, but emergency maintained lights can be remotely tested every month/year, yielding significant savings. Additionally, since lighting accounts for 35% of your building’s electrical load, LEDs reduce this draw by 50-90%, as compared to a line-voltage system.
  2. LEDs Provide More Light per Watt LED lights can provide more lumens per watt than both fluorescent and incandescent lights. LEDs can provide 160 lumens per watt versus 80 lumens per watt versus for fluorescent, and 20 and 14 lumens per watt for incandescent lights.
  3. Easy Modifications to Lighting Circuitry and Control A PoE LED lighting systems works with nearly any LED light, including UL924 PoE emergency lighting options. Additionally, conventional line-voltage systems have to be hardwired to match the layout of the space. If the space is re-organized and new walls go up, most often the lighting has to be re-circuited and its controls modified, which require an electrician and, therefore, more time and cost. With a PoE system, changes in circuiting and control are made at the software level, thereby making changes fast, easy, and virtually cost free.
  4. Lighting Control is Software-Based By combining power and control onto a single network connection, it is very simple to create comfortable, healthy and productive work environments. It makes every light an internet-of-things (IoT) IP-enabled appliance. In addition, wall switches, sensors and other low power accessories attach to any node.  Also, the software is easy to use; devices are automatically discovered and configured through a drag-and-drop function.
  5. Real-Time Room-Level Monitoring and Reporting Many sensors are available to support daylight harvesting, light level, motion, temperature, humidity, CO2 and other environmental conditions to ensure customers save as much energy as possible, while providing outstanding light quality. As such, room-level environmental condition monitoring and reporting is greatly simplified. Not only can lighting optionally be controlled by occupancy sensors, but room-level occupancy can be tracked and analyzed to determine space utilization statistics via the software.
  6. Real-Time Energy Monitoring and Reporting Besides tracking and analyzing occupancy, it is also possible to track real-time energy usage on an LED-by-LED, room-by-room, and/or building-by-building basis. The outcome is a platform that enables building managers to customize the user experience without giving up the ability to conserve energy. Doing so enables businesses to future-proof their digital ceiling infrastructure to grow with new applications.
  7. Advanced Color Scene Control, Including Circadian Rhythm Color tuning can be used to create visually stunning environments that can be programmed and scheduled with just a few button clicks. Furthermore, tuning color temperature and syncing with circadian rhythm will improve productivity, and health and wellness in the workplace. High quality lighting has been scientifically proven to improve altertness, thinking, concentration, mood, morale, and sleep. At the same time, quality lighting helps reduce absenteeism, errors, accidents, eye strain, fatigue, headaches, hyperactivity, cardiovascular events, and obesity!
  8. Leverage Existing IT System Management Tools and Personnel A lot of time and money was spent optimizing the tools and processes used to manage the organization’s IT systems. The IT personnel and/or the outsourced managed services provider are typically adept at monitoring, responding, and fixing problems as they arise. All these tools, processes, personnel, and experience can now be leveraged to manage the lighting, as well as all the IoT devices connected to it.
LED light savings compared to incandescent

 Contact PTS on 201-337-3833 for help with PoE LED Lighting

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

New Office Technologies Improve Efficiency, Cost, and Management in the Workplace

Businesses are connecting more devices, people, and processes in their attempt to gain a competitive advantage, and are undergoing a digital workplace transformation. The Digital Workplace extends the benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT), changes the way buildings operate, and how workers connect to the technologies in place. When fully implemented, the Digital Workplace will offer building occupants a combination of information, efficiency, convenience, security, and comfort. Operating costs are lower, and more detailed analytics are now possible across the system. Deeper insight means improved efficiency, and, ultimately, smarter business decisions.

Lower Costs and Simpler Management

The Digital Workplace yields major cost savings by converging previously disparate networks over a single, centrally controlled architecture using IP and Power over Ethernet (PoE). The Digital Workplace delivers the essential capabilities needed to make these cost savings a reality:
Converged IP Network for building and IT systems
  • Reduced power and lighting costs
  • Streamlined maintenance
  • Simplified installations
  • Reduced operating expenses
  • Optimized energy efficiency
  • Shift from capital investments to operational savings

Digital Workplace Efficiency:

  • Lower-cost, more efficient workplaces: The Digital Workplace lowers the cost of workplace system installation, operation, and management through unified communications and centralized control of global facilities. As a result, it is easier to automate workplace services.
  • Transformative new experiences: Different systems (lighting, heating, and air conditioning, as well as communications, A/V, physical security and access control) can now easily and securely work together. They can adapt to users’ needs in real time to make spaces work better for individuals, groups, functions, and teams, while significantly improving the productivity, safety, and comfort of facility occupants.
  • New business insights through analytics: By combining connected endpoints with sensors, organizations gain deeper insights into how employees, customers, and guests utilize indoor spaces. You can adapt workspaces to improve productivity and efficiency, and make better use of valuable real estate. You can also glean concrete data to inform decision making about facility operations and planning.
  • Increased/seamless security: Advanced security features provide comprehensive threat intelligence and defense by using the network as a sensor and enforcer.

free download commercial workplace technologies planning checklistFree Download: Workplace Technology Planning Checklist

Download this FREE CHECKLIST to ensure you don’t forget the cost of any of the technologies you will use in your next commercial/industrial workplace renovation or new construction project…

Contact PTS on 201-337-3833 when you're ready to make your smart building even smarter.

digital ceiling, digital workplace

Friday, March 01, 2019

Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Data Center Support Infrastructure Up and Running

When data center construction is complete, data center operations & maintenance begins. These services may include comprehensive operational management and regular scheduled maintenance for all facility supporting infrastructure and assets, or just preventive maintenance for specific assets in the data center. The aim is to provide continuous operations for network services, so it is imperative that your data center support infrastructure be kept in top shape.

Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Data Center Support Infrastructure Up and Running

  1. Read Your Equipment Manuals Become familiar with your equipment. Equipment manuals outline recommended maintenance and timelines. The documentation will provide details on how to operate under: normal, maintenance, and emergency operating conditions. Human interaction is the #1 cause of unplanned downtime.
  2. Purchase and Maintain Warranties Purchasing parts on an individual basis is expensive. An active warranty will ensure that whatever breaks will not only be covered, but will save money in the long run.
  3. Purchase and Maintain On-Site Service Agreements Most of the time, just receiving the replacement part is not enough – now you need someone to install it and make sure it works. In the event of failure, it is best to always have a service contract in place to ensure repair. These agreements usually include preventive maintenance as well.
  4. Schedule and Perform Regular Preventive Maintenance Visits Regularly scheduled maintenance helps to circumvent downtime by addressing issues early. It greatly reduces the chance of failure. Regular maintenance will also extend the effective service life of your infrastructure.
  5. Infrared Scanning
    Data Center Infrared Scanning Thermography hotspots
    Over time, heat can build up around sensitive data center equipment, and can ultimately cause failures. Data center hot spots are invisible to the naked eye, and often cannot be detected via touch. Infrared scanning thermographic equipment guarantees you can quickly identify the “hot spot” that may be the source of an eventual failure.
  6. Keep Detailed Up-to-Date Event and Maintenance Records Consistently documenting the, “who, what, when, where, why, and how” of everything that happens in your data center eliminates questions down the road. Historical work order information can be used to identify chronic equipment problems and/or patterns.
  7. Data Center Operations and MaintenanceMonitor Levels and Performance Regular or real-time monitoring your equipment’s operation ensures you have an understanding of the current operating load versus its capacity and/or redundant capacity limitations. In addition, if you keep a running log, you will have a better understanding of how the load is growing or decreasing, perhaps defining a trend.
  8. load bank testingRe-Test Under Load Unfortunately, an unplanned failure is inevitable. When repairs are made, re-testing the equipment with a “dummy” load in a controlled environment will ensure proper operation when the equipment is put back in service.
  9. Keep it Clean Don’t forget basic housekeeping. Dust can block airflow and create issues with equipment overheating. Data Center Site Cleaning should be part of your regular maintenance.
  10. Plan for Retirement Nothing lasts forever. Be aware of the expected usable lifespan of your equipment, document it, then plan and budget for its routine maintenance and eventual replacement.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Free Download: Commercial Workplace Technology Planning Checklist


Planning a New Office Build? You need this FREE Commercial Workplace Technology Planning Checklist to save you $$$ by helping you budget for ALL the Technologies your people will need and use.

Our goal is to help you establish realistic and accurate cost estimates for all the Workplace Technologies you will utilize in your new space. Ideally, this will be done as early as 12-months in advance of signing any leases or hiring any professionals or contractors. Download this FREE CHECKLIST to ensure you don’t forget the cost of any of the technologies you will use in your next commercial/industrial workplace renovation or new construction project…
  • Avoid cost overruns due to making moves, adds & changes during construction
  • Eliminate delays of moving because the space is not ready to move into
  • Deploy the right technology that meets your needs and that you can afford by considering design options early
  • Retain Employees by creating an inviting, yet functional work space
“Not many companies have the depth of knowledge across such a broad array of workplace technologies as PTS. Our clients end up with technologies that are appropriate for their needs, that they use, and they can afford”
– Pete Sacco, Founder & President
PTS Data Center Solutions, Inc.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

NJCCIC Alert: Chinese APT10 Intrusion Activities Target Government, Cloud-Computing Managed Service Providers and Customer Networks Worldwide


The FBI is providing the following information with HIGH confidence – NJCCIC (New Jersey Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Cell) Alert: this FBI Flash is being provided, with no guarantees or warranties, for potential use at the sole discretion of recipients in order to protect against cyber threats.
The FBI obtained information regarding a group of Chinese APT cyber actors stealing high value information from commercial and governmental victims in the U.S. and abroad. This Chinese APT group is known within private sector reporting as APT10, Cloud Hopper, menuPass, Stone Panda, Red Apollo, CVNX and POTASSIUM. This group heavily targets managed service providers (MSP) who provide cloud computing services; commercial and governmental clients of MSPs; as well as defense contractors and governmental entities. APT10 uses various techniques for initial compromise including spearphishing and malware. After initial compromise, this group seeks MSP administrative credentials to pivot between MSP cloud networks and customer systems to steal data and maintain persistence. This group has also used spearphishing to deliver malicious payloads and compromise victims.
This FBI Flash provides technical details and recommended mitigation measures to assist organizations in guarding against the persistent malicious actions of cyber criminals. Contact PTS to help ensure your systems are properly maintained and safe from the latest threats.

This information is marked Traffic Light Protocol (TLP): WHITE. Disclosure is not limited. Subject to standard copyright rules, TLP: WHITE information may be distributed without restriction.