Why Updates Are Good For Your Computer
- Sunday, 16 February 2014 09:06
~~Have you ever seen that little yellow shield in the lower right hand corner of your PC screen? You might have just ignored it in the past and kept right on working, but here we’ll explain why that little yellow icon with the exclamation point on it deserves a few moments of your attention even if it means restarting your computer after the updates have completed.
Windows updates are usually released on the second Tuesday of each month and they contain packets of software code that updates various Microsoft products on your computer (such as Outlook, Word, and many other programs most businesses use on a daily basis) as well the Windows operating system in general. Sometimes updates and patches are released more frequently depending on what threats and software problems are emerging. Most computers are set to automatically check with Microsoft for updates and then notify you when updates are ready to be downloaded. When your computer checks for updates, it lets you know by displaying that little yellow shield icon with the black exclamation point on it in the system tray (that’s the bar right next to the clock on the lower right hand side of your screen). Most computers are set to download those updates when you shut-down your computer for the day. If you are someone who leaves your computer on at the end of the day, those updates may not be completed for quite some time.
It’s important to allow your computer to install updates as soon as you notice the little yellow shield icon on your screen. Simply click on it and then click “install” when the window pops up asking you about installing the updates. For most users, the “Express install” option is just fine, and the good news is that that is the default setting for the updates installation so all you have to do is click install.
There are several reasons why you should attend to this simple and quick bit of computer maintenance. One is that you will help keep your computer system protected from viruses and malware. While updates don’t protect your computer completely from attacks, they help by inoculating your computer against known threats. It helps to patch security weaknesses in the programs you use every day by making sure hackers can’t take advantage of back-doors and loop-holes. It’s a lot like getting a flu shot. So be sure to buff up your computer’s “immune system” by taking just a few moments every few weeks to allow your computer to do updates. Another great reason is that these updates often contain code that can fix problems in the programs you use at work. Have you seen a weird glitch in Outlook or encountered a problem with Excel, sometimes it’s a software “bug” or benign minor problem that can be fixed with a simple update. The third reason it’s important to keep current on your computer’s updates is that it will save you a lot of time in the future. Rather than installing many month’s worth of updates in one go, which can take a very long time and really bog down your system, a regular update takes only a few minutes usually and then you’re back up and running.
At TRA Consulting, Inc., we also offer managed support software computer solutions for businesses in the Long Beach and greater Los Angeles areas. This managed desktop support software allows our IT consultants to complete updates on your business’s computers for you, so that your employees don’t have to run their own updates. This will help keep your computers in good working order and ensure uniformity among the computers at your business. Take a few minutes to take care of your computer and it will take good care of you!
Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance
- Friday, 25 October 2013 22:55
The recent and ongoing issues plaguing the Obama Administration's attempt at the website spearheading the Affordable Care Act's initiative is a case-study in poor planning and follow through. I can relate this to IT in general. There is an old adage in the IT world which goes, "People never notice IT until something breaks." I think that saying appropriately relates to many aspects of IT.
Something TRA fights every day to change is this very notion of IT as a behind-the-scenes, shadowy, reactive force which only rears its ugly head when something breaks. We proactively partner with our clients to plan for lifecycle management, efficiency, and proactive support.
Back to the Affordable care act, if this website was planned for properly and designed with the amount of care that should go into such a huge implementation, we wouldn't be having these issues. Good luck to the cleanup team. I don't wish that sort of project on anybody.
TRA Consulting, Inc.
IT Consultant or Computer Tech?
- Wednesday, 23 October 2013 17:47
Mr. Varjan says"Most people know the difference between a builder and an architect, a bookkeeper and a chartered accountant and an line cook and an executive chef. But there seems to be some confusion about the difference between computer technicians and IT consultants.
For some reason there is a preponderance of computer technicians who love calling themselves IT consultants.
And probably there are some computer technicians out there who'd like to migrate to the area of IT consulting. And this is what I'd like to discuss this month. This magic migration from being a computer technician to becoming an IT consultant.
And don't get me wrong, one is not better than the other, but they have different mandates, so it's vital that we understand the difference and how companies differentiate, position and package their services accordingly. There is nothing more pitiful than a bunch of computer technicians posing as IT consultants.
The market also perceives them differently."
I find this to be very true in the environment we work in. As consultants to SMBs, many of our clients are unaware of a distinction between the two. The pitfall is years of lost or declining productivity. We spend a lot of time retraining our clients to think of IT as a partner, rather than an enemy. And we have measurable results proving the positive. Likewise, we choose not to work with clients who treat what we do as a commodity, rather than a partnership.
A mentor of mine is fond of calling the IT Department he oversees "IM" (Information Management). He tells me that he wants his techs to think in terms of how we manage information rather than what technology we are using today. It's brilliant. Why? Because the average desktop support tech doesn't care about seeing the forest for the trees. What is on her mind is solving the problem right in front of her. Now that is great for the problem at hand, but it does nothing to raise the customer to a new level of efficiency, or to bring significantly higher value to the commodity of desktop support.
TRA Consulting, Inc. seeks to align our business goals to those of our clients; to form lasting, long-term partnerships; and to maximize our client's efficiencies.
Who is your desktop support provider?
- Tuesday, 22 October 2013 21:38
Our organization has been fighting for years to differentiate ourselves from the rest of our competition. Our competition has changed over the last 12 years because we have followed a model of continual improvement. When we began the process, our target audience was the end-consumer. Beginning with the recession of 2008 and the sharp increase in competition for residential business that same year, combined with the decrease in price of hardware, we realized we had to do a better job of differentiating ourselves from our competition as a local computer repair shop to a value added reseller with a managed services practice. I won't bore you with the blow by blow of that process. What I will do is outline the difference between a traditional computer repair shop and a managed support practice from an executive level outlook.
What TRA does to differentiate from the rest is easily summed up into the words proactive and value-added.
We look for ways to be proactive rather than reactive in our response to problems. We do not strive to be a break-fix shop. There is always a place for break-fix work, and we do fill that need when it comes up. To our customers, downtime is toxic, efficiency is a must, and costs should be predictable. We employ RMM agents to catch issues as they come up, perform updating, patching, alerting, schedule maintenance, and remote support. Furthermore, we employ managed AV agents to provide an added layer of security. By putting the right pieces in place, we are able to successfully charge a flatter rate to our customers, and there are very few surprises.
To our customers, we strive to be not only the "computer guys", but rather a partner in their growth. We seek to align our business to our customer's businesses to partner for long-term growth. This means we are always looking for opportunities which allow us to serve our customers better while increasing their efficiency. This means that in addition to providing traditional deskside and remote support, we are providing the peripheral services that make us even more valuable to our customers; whether that be hosted exchange, business-productivity software, subscription-based services, hardware leasing, or support of proprietary software.
TRA Consulting has developed considerable internal competencies as a result of our growth. We are looking to the future and thinking big for our customer's benefit.
Who do you partner with? Is your IT provider keeping you in a box, hindering your growth? Can you consider your IT provider a partner in your success?
TRA Consulting, Inc.
Will the cloud solve all your desktop support problems? Probably not.
- Monday, 21 October 2013 18:59
See discussion: http://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/05/31/0332220/it-desktop-support-to-be-wiped-out-thanks-to-cloud-computing
For the SMB, many of whom are just beginning to adopt cloud services in their organizations, the cloud will change nothing with respect to desktop support. The cloud can actually, in some cases, increase the complexity of serving the needs of SMBs. The modern desktop support tech needs to not only be versed in the onsite needs of the SMB, but also be familiar with the most popular cloud-based productivity services: Office 365, GoogleApps, Lync, Symantec.cloud, etc.
The future of computing probably sees us moving towards dumb-teminals and 100% cloud services. When we get to that point, services must still be configured and maintained for users IN THE CLOUD. The role of desktop wupport will change at that point. Three things must happen first – internet bandwidth and speeds must increase, QOS must improve, and the price of dumb terminals must come down. I see it on the horizon for the SMB, realistically, in the next two years. The adoption rate will be much slower than that, however.
Be careful when choosing your IT provider. It is imperative you make the right choice, expecially if you have adopted cloud-based services to offset your on-premise services. The industry is changing rapidly. The driving force behind all of these changes are efficiency and price, but IT can turn into a very costly endeavor very quickly if your trusted IT provider is behind the eight ball.