MTC recommend factory built name brand PC’s, in particular Dell, HP, Microsoft and Apple. MTC recommend your critical machines, if not all business PC’s are covered under a three-year onsite warranty, and can organise warranty repairs for you. This saves you spending your time on the phone organising replacements or repairs, let us do that for you so you and your staff can keep working.
MTC maintain PC’s also, and can also monitor and pro-actively maintain your PC’s covered under managed service contracts so they are working properly all of the time. If you have a MaintainTech or ManageTech contract, it allows us to work on the pc’s constantly to fix issues before they occur. This means less downtime. And even on a MonitorTech agreement it allows us time to monitor system resources and backups. With the amount of devices and even the data you hold growing, it’s very important to maintain them properly, and not for your organisation to lose control of its valuable assets and resources.
Desktop support and Sales
Our recommendation for business grade desktop machines, laptops, and tablets is to use PC’s, and not MACS. Some clients use primarily use MACS, especially those in design fields, as the screen display is a lot clearer and sharper than you get with standard PC displays. Other reasons may be that their staff like the ease of use of Macs, and it is what they are used to, and they use an iPhone, and IPAD, so they wish to use an iMac as well.
For supply of Mac hardware, we recommend you purchase directly from the Apple Store, either in person or online. It is a good idea to get AppleCare as well, and get it extended to three years if possible. We can provide support for your hardware and software configuration of Apple products, but try to use the AppleCare function to help reduce your organisations IT support costs. Generally, the Apple hardware runs well, but getting Microsoft products particular Outlook and Excel to configure correctly on Apple hardware can be a headache for everyone involved.
This means for any hardware faults, the repair process is this: You, the customer, call our 1300 Helpdesk, and report the fault. We attempt diagnosis over the phone, or visit site if required. We call Dell for you, and organise the Dell technician site visit with hardware component for swap out. This is done within two business days as per your warranty. If the PC can’t have any downtime, e.g. a critical machine, then MTC can arrange for a loaner machine. We can deliver and install the loaner machine with necessary software to your premises. This is subject to disaster recovery planning previously undertaken at your office, so we are aware of your requirements ahead of time.
For a desktop solution for a high value staff member spending 10-16 hours a day at the desk, we would recommend:
27” panoramic Dell IPS monitor. This has extremely high resolution so there is no requirement for dual monitors anymore. Just one large monitor on the desk, at eye level. This allows for multi-tasking, with several windows open, as well as the email program, and about 100 browser tabs! (If they are anything like the normal user!)
Microsoft Arc Bluetooth Mouse and Microsoft full sized Bluetooth Keyboard, with number pad.
The PC: i7 4th Generation processor, 16GB RAM, 250 GB SSD Hard drive, DVD drive, all covered by a three-year Dell onsite warranty.
The purchasing process for new hardware:
MTC recommend a replacement machine for a staff’s PC that is end of life. End of life means the PC is no longer covered by warranty. For critical machines, MTC always recommend that an organisation uses up to date machines, with a current warranty. We also require that your machines have up to date and licensed software installed, there is a backup policy in place which is monitored and tested.
MTC quote the client the new machine for the client, be it high end critical hardware for valuable staff members, thin clients for high staff numbers, tablets for traveling staff, or a budget, custom built one year return to manufacturer PCs that are designed for a tight budget. The quote will be broken down into:
Hardware cost, specification of parts, and details of warranty.
Cost of software licenses, type of licenses, e.g. yearly or lifetime.
Antivirus (AV) licenses
Backup licenses and hosting costs
Labour estimation (this is only charged on project completion and sign off for approved clients. For new, unapproved clients it is charged either in advance or 50/50 ((50% deposit / 50 % on completion)))
Call out fees (charged to ad-hoc clients only).
Larger quotes (eg $2000+ in value) will be presented in person by either MTC Owners and or the Engineer, presented to the client representative or owners/partners. This is so any questions raised by the client can be addressed there and then, this helps avoid lengthy email conversations, and helps the project flow smoothly.
Once the quote is accepted by the client (must be in writing), MTC accounts will send an invoice to your accounts. We order once the invoice is paid in full, this helps avoid paying for stock, and then the client changing their mind, and assist with our cash flow; vital for any business. We acknowledge payment, and order items immediately. We then provide proof of purchase, and an ETA of delivery, as well as on-site installation date. This helps assure the client they are being well looked after, and helps your stakeholder keep track of project milestones.
One consistent issue that arises is the reluctance of business owners to upgrade hardware that still appears to be working OK. We always recommend replacement of machines on end of life cycle.
A case in point is one client of ours who run a server that is over eight years old. We have quoted twice, have had two quotes accepted, but they never paid on the invoices, so we have been unable to replace. It actually beeps constantly due to hardware failures. Needless to say we keep a very close eye on the backups, but we are knowing one day we will get a phone call from them in a panic, and we will be put in a time constraint by them to get up and running quickly.
We have email traffic recommending a replacement taking up to five business days, so we are covered but it is not a good business practice to have business critical assets in such bad order.
Please understand we make recommendations based on our 20 + years’ experience, and they are based on keeping your business running smoothly, affecting everything from cash flow, profit, staff morale and professionalism. Spending revenue on advertising can easily show ROI (return on investment), but IT ROI’s are less easy to measure, but definitely have a high ROI but that can only be seen by keen observers.
A good way to make sure your businesses PC’s maintain 100% uptime is to engage proactive support. Clients that contract us to a ManageTECH Service Level Agreement get their computers automatically covered for proactive maintenance. This means we work on your pc’s all the time, and they are also covered by a product called IT Brain, which actively monitors your PC and reports to our helpdesk for anything not working like it should, so we can repair errors before they occur. Things like hard disk space, CPU utilisation, memory usage, firewall errors, anti-virus failures.
We use Teamviewer program and hold professional licenses to remotely access our client’s
Even without emailed reports, we also pro-actively log onto machines and check:
Windows error logs
User feedback; is it running OK are you happy with performance.
Check Anti-virus program and run manual scans
Delete temp file speeding up PC performance
Removing malware, and bloatware, improving performance and user satisfaction
So you can see the benefits of proactive maintenance, and it is unwise as a business owner not to have it for your computers. Why wait for Sally from accounts to say her pc isn’t working, therefore delaying payroll, invoicing, accounts receivable and payable, all because her pc isn’t working and takes two days to get her online again. This would affect relationships with clients, suppliers and staff, just because there was not forward planning. MTC can help avoid it all with simple proactive maintenance.
Server Support and Sales
A total server solution is critical to keep your business running smoothly with maximum up time. For this you require a server currently covered by three-year onsite hardware warranty, virtualised server images configured correctly, and all constantly monitored resources, up time, internet connection, and backups. The OS has to be constantly updated, error logs must be checked constantly, and the data should be checked for viruses with real time protection, and with manual scans also.
Data security is important, so testing should be done to check that users have the correct access and security to the folders as per your instructions. With staff leaving and new staff joining, it’s important to make sure all user accounts are up to date. And as new staff join, we can have new workstations, with email, printing, and folder access all setup on time so they can commence work straight away, meaning greater efficiency and less downtime for you.
Server Support - how we can help
The server is the most critical component of your IT asset list. It stores all of your company data, dictates what user accesses what folder, or program. It controls printing, scanning, it can provide hosting for websites, it can host your SQL database; therefore, controlling your entire company, it can control your phones, backups, finance, and emails.
It is crucial we have proper proactive maintenance rules in place for your server, and especially backups. These have been covered already in the Backups Services sub page. MTC Company Policy is to always have a Backup Policy for a Server it is responsible for. We will soon be making it mandatory for any server we support, that it is covered by a Disaster Recovery Policy AND a ManageTECH Agreement.
Disaster Recovery Policy
This is a policy agreed upon by MTC and the customer. It includes the following:
Roles of the server (e.g. Domain Controller, Active Directory, File, Print, Email Exchange, SQL, Backups).
How critical is the server to the Company; i.e. what is the affect on the company if it goes down, and what is the expected turnaround of a new server to be installed. Keep in mind the normal turnaround is 15-30 business days. Most servers are shipped from South East Asia, and take 15 business days just to get to Australia. Then you would expect another 5-10 business days to install on-site.
Once replacement server is installed, what is the recovery process of company data. For SQL database records; when was the last record saved; how long can company operate without record keeping. Is there a replacement machine that is ready to go that just needs a Database import? How often were records being backed up? Was it daily or monthly? When was the last test restore? How long can your company last before it needs the server back up and running?
Is MTC required on site during business hours, or during weekends/public holidays?
What are the clients legal obligations to data loss, safe keeping of IT’S customers financial/medical/family data, are these being considered?
What documentation and safe keeping practices are required by the customer’s insurance company?
What is the minimum requirements set within the client’s industry regarding data location? Note that MTC Cloud backups are compliant with the Australian Privacy Principles in the Commonwealth Privacy Act.
Server Proactive Support
As with desktop machines, servers also require proactive maintenance to be done regularly. Proactive maintenance for a server includes:
Active Directory: sorting of users and computers, pruning any that are no longer active. We check that AD recycle bin is enabled also. Active Directory backups are done also.
Performance monitoring and tuning using Windows Resource Monitor
Check temperature of the room, and get the air conditioning serviced and checked prior to shutting the office over holiday breaks.
Check all vents and fans within the rack / tower server are clean and serviceable.
Backup testing and monitoring. Regular IT road map meetings with the client to check that we have an updated list of what data needs backing up. Disaster recovery testing and scenario training. For SQL server, checking the backups of the database and configuration files also.
Install monitoring software for temperature, fans, ECC errors, hard drive status, SMART, RAID controllers, arrays
Investigate any unexpected reboots.
Investigate any critical UPS equipment and make sure it is working correctly. Is the error reporting setup? What is the run time of the battery’s? Does the client need the UPS running for extended period of times for any phone system or hosted websites?
Consider network redundancy. What would happen if networking components would fail? Check the software or firmware of the components is up to date. Consider a fault tolerant, IE load balanced router solution
Windows Operating systems receive regular updates that need to be researched and tested prior to installing on live production machines (servers).
We also need to check the anti virus software. Is it up to date, and are the scans running automatically. Have there been any attacks and where did they come from. Consider training of staff so they don’t bring USB drives to work that are infected as this could lead to damage to the company data, and expensive restorations from backups. Are all the anti-virus products activated, up to date and licensed?
Do applications on the domain need updating? We can deploy application updates via GPO or via scripting. We also make sure application data is backed up prior to updating any applications, and we roll out updates gradually, we don’t do them all at once in case we need a back out strategy due to failed updates.
We also track memory utilisation, and keep records of statistics so we can baseline our stats and see if there are any changes over the course of time.