Excitement builds for the Express & Star Business Awards 2013

Only a few more hours to go until the prestigious Express & Star Business Awards 2013 and the excitement is building in the Netshield camp.

The winners of the 9 categories will be announced in the glamorous ceremony held at the Wolverhampton Racecourse on the 16th May 2013. Netshield will be competing against Addmaster (UK) Ltd and Cube Precision Engineering in the Export Award Category.

The whole team are excited and have our fingers firmly crossed for the results tonight!



Implementing Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: Steps You Might Consider

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is simply a different way users can access their desktop – remotely. By transforming tradition desktops into a cloud-like service it offers flexibility and scalability allowing employees to remote-in anywhere and on any device.

If you are thinking of implementing VDI at your workplace we have put together a few steps that you may want to consider.

  1. Choose the Right Virtualization Approach – A company can virtualize in different ways so, a decision needs to be made between whether to virtualize the entire desktop environment on a server. Or create remote access terminals where applications are hosted on a central server.
  2. Assess the Network before Development – Conduct an assessment of the network to check whether there will be adequate bandwidth to support the peak load of each virtual desktop user.
  3. Evaluate the Different Thin Clients – To implement VDI you will need to decide on a ‘Thin Client Terminal Management Software System’. It is advisable for businesses to look at how each department uses different applications in order to choose the most suitable option and to test which will provide the best interface and usability for the business needs.
  4. Develop a Desktop Virtualization Strategy – Servers are the heart of desktop virtualization so, check whether the current infrastructure has the sufficient capacity to deploy VDI. You will need to check whether the Critical CPU, memory, I/O resources are available to support the peak processing demands of users and make sure the datacentre SAN has enough storage to host all the virtual desktops you are planning to implement.
  5. Security – It is fundamental to have strong security measures controlled by IT administrators, they should implement access control and configure each user with the right access level and policies. When deploying VDI it is also important to have endpoint security in place to secure each endpoint.
  6. Choose a Data Backup solution – In order to backup your new Virtual Desktop Infrastructure a virtual or cloud backup solution will be required.  You can use products such as Veeam and Doubletake; each will offer great benefits but, you need to choose the one that is most suited to the business disaster recovery planning requirements.
  7. Plan, Communicate and Deploy – The length of time it takes to deploy VDI in a corporation depends on the size of the company. But, once a plan is in place it should be communicated to the employees stating the benefits of this change, the timescales and any expected downtime that may occur. This will help eliminate confusion, doubts and gain employees buy-in.
  8. Finally, Test your Backups – Always conduct backups regularly, consistently and check whether they were successful to ensure you will always have an up-to-date copy of your data in case of a disaster.

For more information on VDI and how you could benefit contact us today.

Mobile Device Management – Netshield New Service Announcement

On the 15th April 2013, Netshield highlights the importance of mobile data security and protection,by launching a new service – ‘Mobile Device Management’ (MDM).

This new addition to their comprehensive portfolio of Managed IT Services will help businesses lower potential data security risks involved with corporate mobile device usage and ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies in the workplace.

Richard Carty Commercial Director of Netshield commented ‘Due to the growing demand by our customers for ‘Workforce Mobility’ Netshield recognised the need for MDM; as on average employees carries 3 devices with them and working on them while on the move, which can increase IT security vulnerabilities.’

‘Mobile Device Management is essential to today’s businesses. Our new service will enable our customers to work anywhere in the world without worrying about potential data security breaches or business data falling into the wrong hands if the device is lost or stolen’.

For more information on the service visit our website or call us on 0845 603 5552

Top 5 Advantages of Managed IT Services for Businesses

The reliance on IT systems has prompted a movement from traditional break-fix or reactive IT support to Managed IT services. ‘Reactive IT support’ or ‘Break-fix IT Support’ is when an issue arise within the network and the IT engineer is called. Whereas ‘Proactive’ or ‘Managed IT’ involves continuous monitoring and maintenance of an IT network so, an IT engineer can potentially resolve and prevent issues occurring with the system while the end-users remain productive and working.

Here are our Top 5 Benefits of a fully ‘Managed IT Service’:

1. Increase Productivity

By opting for a Managed IT service it can lower the risk and potential impact of IT failure on a business; because by continuously managing and monitoring an IT network the Managed Service Provider (MSP) can take a proactive approach and resolve certain issues prior to it affecting the end user. Also it can decrease the time from major network failure to issue resolution, as the MSP will have in-depth knowledge of the IT network already.

2. Reduce Overheads

Managed IT is a cost effective way for managing and dealing with an organisations business IT; as businesses would not require capital investment i.e. for in-house IT team but, only a monthly operational expense is required. With a managed IT service a business can leverage resources and expertise from the MSP for the length of the contract.

3. IT Expertise

By investing in a MSP for your company will have a team of IT experts with a wealth of experience and expertise to monitor and manage the business IT infrastructure. They will also be trained on the latest technology and be able to offer tailored recommendations based on the current condition of the IT network.

4. Reduce Network Downtime

By having regularly maintenance activities in place conducted by the MSP, it can help reduce the occurrence of unforeseen downtime or incidents and it will keep the business running smoothly. Also scheduled IT healthcheck reports generated by the MSP will also help with future IT resource planning.

5. Customisable SLA

Businesses can often customise a Managed IT Services package to suit the business needs and budgets. Service Level Agreements can be tailored to manage the whole IT infrastructure, certain devices or aspects of the network. The IT support included in the service can be the standard 9 to 5 or 24/7, there is a choice with managed IT.

A good Managed Service Provider can help nurture and grow your business by affectively managing your business IT. There are a number of benefits of Managed IT services that a business can gain from investing in it.

If you would like more information please feel free to contact us.

The Importance of Proactive IT Maintenance for businesses

With the fast-moving nature of technology, IT has fast become an integral part of organisations infrastructure; it has enabled us to communicate more effectively, increase productivity and efficiency. However, we cannot always know whether there are potential problems with our IT systems until they either crash or perform poorly!

So, the question is should it be reactive support or should we adopt a proactive management approach to IT within our organisations?

Proactive management is now the preferential route, as it can help minimise the occurrence of downtime and issues with IT systems. Issues can be resolved pre-emptively and more quickly, and even remotely before they affect the end user experience and productivity.

With a break-fix approach, IT disruptions can occur at any time and the level of downtime can be unpredictable – potentially causing loss in revenue, productivity and in some cases affect brand reputation.

The movement towards this proactive approach is driven by the increasing demand for IT services from users and with key technology trends such as ‘Bring Your Own Device’ and ‘Flexible working’, maximum uptime and 24/7 access is now expected as the norm and working 9 to 5 is a thing of the past.

Whether outsourced, or in-house, ‘Proactive IT management’ can include the continuous monitoring of network resources, routine assessment of hardware and software performance and the daily management tasks and practices of users, to help ensure the network is operating at the optimum level.

When organisations have limited resources to invest in IT, cloud technology has helped alleviate the conundrum. As new technology such as cloud, has enabled Managed Service Providers such as Netshield to provide organisations with secure computing services via its NetHost brand – A service that offers a flexible and robust IT infrastructure, cost-efficiency and dramatically reduced IT issues.

So, whether the IT is in-house, or outsourced, organisations should see their IT infrastructure as the mechanical components of a car; it needs regular inspections, checks and also protection. By looking after it proactively, it will afford a better service, with reduced likelihood of break down and with consistent performance.

If your business is considering proactive IT services and would like more information, give us a call on 0845 603 5552 today for more information.