IT Support

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Owston Grange provides a comprehensive Small Business IT Support Service

What does Owston Grange IT Support entail?

Well, the way we see it is: It's as though you have your own IT department - but only when you need it

Broadly speaking, our IT Support service can be divided into the following main areas:

When things go wrong (as they inevitably do from time to time), when you or a staff member has an IT related question or when you need to add a new printer, scanner or email account; these are the times when you need access to someone who knows your IT system in every detail, who has well structured and up-to-date network documentation showing all of the devices and nodes on your LAN.

This is when IT support stops being a "back-room" task and shifts to being "front-and-center" until the issue is resolved.

Most small businesses succeed because the people involved in running them know their own field in detail; they are experts in their chosen field and are best employed using their expertise to concentrate on nurturing that specific business.

Unless your field happens to be IT (specifically small business computing systems) you are probably too busy running your own enterprise to stay fully abreast of this complex and fast-moving field. Just the same as when driving a car, your skills and concentration are probably best employed in steering you and your passengers safely and smoothly from A to B and hopefully you are not being distracted worrying about the intricacies of the car's engine management system or whether the prop-shaft universal-joint is due for lubrication this week - you leave those concerns to the mechanic who services and maintains the car for you...

Your IT system is just like a modern car, it's a little more complex than the average owner can comfortably maintain for themselves, occasionally you need to consult the mechanic to get the best out of the investment you've made...

Our primary goal for IT Clients is to provide them with a reliable, secure and functional IT infrastructure.

This process starts with Network Design - the selection of a well-resourced, reliable Server running a business-class operating system and server applications is the foundation of a well designed system.

The backbone of your LAN is the underlying networking equipment and wiring - this cannot be ignored without compromising the entire system.

Adding Workstations that are appropriately specified to handle the tasks that their users need to perform, running properly set-up and licensed application software provides the tools to help your staff carry out their day-to-day tasks effectively.

Once the system is up-and-running, the work really begins; now we have to keep it all maintained in tip-top condition, ensuring that the entire network is always kept availible, up-to-date and secure.

Backups need to be planned, implemented and verified, Antivirus definition and patch management systems need establishing and the inevitable daily issues that will occur need to be proactively resolved without disturbing your users.

We utilise a variety of specialised software tools to monitor and proactively maintain our customer's IT systems.

One of the most powerful tools we deploy is the Paessler Network Monitoring System - this system allow us to add software "sensors" to all the nodes on your network, these sensors then monitor and report on the minute-by-minute health of your equipment and the software running on it.

Using these tools we monitor Disk space, memory useage, CPU utilisation, network traffic and machine responsiveness plus a myriad of other parameters. All this data is then collated and analysed by our dedicated servers and live reports are genetated giving us details of errors, warnings and unusual statistics. Interpreting these reports forewarns of potential problems and bottlenecks in your system, this is what we mean by "proactive monitoring".

We can also use this system, at your request, to monitor for inapropriate use of your company's IT resources (you dont want a vital email conversation held up due to someone soaking up all your bandwidth by downloading last night's Soap Opera or streaming their favourite pop music from a file sharing site, do you?)

Owston Grange provides a wide range of business-grade IT hardware & software.
We recommend and Supply the following:

IBM Servers
HP Workstations
Netgear Networking Equipment
Draytek ADSL Modems

Microsoft Operating Systems
ESET Antivirus Software
MailStore Email Archiving Software
BackupAssist Backup Software
Famatech Remote Administration Software
RoboForm Password Manager & Form Filler Software

Basically, the way our Remote Data Backup System works is like this: The backup destination is a facility in Zurich, Switzerland which uses Servers featuring RAID 6 disk redundancy, conditioned power to the entire facility, battery-backed, dual power circuits, redundancy of Servers, redundancy of communication channels (these are triple-homed), the entire system is audited quarterly for network throughput and network latency and the high security data-centre installation features IDS on every host. The physical facilities are manned by live technicians 24 hours per day, biometric access controls are employed at the location with video recording and strict entry/access logs. If required we can arrange for your data to be encrypted before it ever leaves your Server and we can even geo-redundantly co-locate the data on another continent too! - In other words your data is pretty well as safe as it is possible to be.
Should restoring your data become necessary, we can restore using the original backup program to the original location or any nominated target location, we can also restore via the ftp protocol (without decryption of course) thus providing direct restore from the backup Server to any nominated destination. Protected access can be also granted to a 3rd party if necessary for direct download of stored data.
Backup space is essentially unlimited; more servers and more disks are simply added as required.
The backup software utilises a technique called 'single instance storage' and what this means is that once your original files are safely backed-up, subsequent backups only transmit the changes in your data - thus the process is extremely fast. For example; in the case of a client of ours who has a couple of Terabytes of files stored on this system, their daily backup typically only takes between 25 minutes and 1 hour.

What about specialised requirements?

Most small businesses run standard business applications to cope with the usual email, word processing, spreadsheets, desktop publishing, contact management and presentation tasks. However there are often applications vital to a particular market sector that place specific demands on an IT System.

Here are some examples:

Accounts Software

Sage Line 50 require a very specific environment to work nicely in a networked environment - a small dedicated server, gigabit networking and some hign speed disks just for Sage is a good solution. Workstations and Antivirus need setting up right too, but a perfectly functional system for several users, even with a large number of splits can be built surprisingly economically

Engineering Industry Specific Applications

Applications like AutCAD, Rhino 3D, Electronic Schematic Capture software and CAD / CAM systems have graphics, storage and communications requirements that can easily be accomodated when the supplier for your IT needs knows your systems intimately.

Legal Business Applications

Many law firms use software sold with associated support contracts - we are happy to work alongside other support professionas and can then ensure:

  • Application software such as "Lawmaster" will have a suitable hardware and O/S environment

  • Backups will be correctly set-up to accomodate the Client Database

  • Off-site backups will always be encrypted

Smartphones

We install and support RIMs Blackberry Enterprise Server to facillitate email, contact and calendar integration between your desktop and Blackberry Smart Phone

Remote Working

All the networks we install have firewalls that support secure VPN technology; thus we can easily set-up the following remote working scenarios

  • Home working for Business Owners

  • Remote email access

  • Mobile workforce support

Monitoring and Optimisation

Once your applications are up and running, our monitoring systems can reveal any bottlenecks that may still exist in your network and thus guide your future upgrading in directions that are most cost effective

Here is a summary of Owston Grange IT Support Services for Small Businesses
Hardware Software Antivirus Backup
Supply & Install Yes Yes Yes Yes
Monitor & Optimise Yes Yes Yes Yes
Maintain & Configure Yes Yes Yes Yes

What our Clients say

"We are a very busy small business with limited in-house IT expertise; Owston Grange designed, supplied and installed our computer system for us, they now monitor and maintain it on our behalf.

Our system works very well and reliably with excellent security, email archiving and automatic remote backups, also I can now work from home in the evenings and deal with my emails wherever I am.

It is very reassuring to know that someone is always keeping an eye on things and catching most problems before we even know they exist! We no longer worry about our computers, we just get on and use them to help us run our business - our Owston Grange maintenance subscription is definitely money well spent!."

- Small Business Owner, Scotland