The Troubles of Delayed Maintenance – An I.T. Horror Story

The Troubles of Delayed Maintenance – An I.T. Horror Story

We are celebrating spooky season with a horror story of IT done wrong, a cautionary tale warning about the perils involved when a company does not consider their IT infrastructure a priority.  Hear the tale of a company that decided to do business without a Managed IT Service Plan in place.

It is no secret that Allegiance Technology Solutions is a Managed IT Service Provider.  For those unfamiliar with that term, Managed IT Service refers to outsourcing your IT support and maintenance, rather than hiring internal IT employees.  Depending on the size of your business, Managed IT Service plans provide a cost-efficient technology support system that makes sense from a financial standpoint.  With a good Managed IT Service Provider, you can have peace of mind that the technology your employees rely on will be supported and maintained, so you can focus on growing your business.

However, there are companies out there that can’t justify the monthly overhead costs associated with a Managed Service Plan.  They believe they can’t afford the monthly cost, or they don’t see the value or benefits of having a Managed Service Plan in place.  So they put off such things as required maintenance or scheduled updates.  Although a company can ride for some time without proper maintenance, eventually their luck will catch up with them, and problems occur.  A mission critical application crashes, or hardware starts to fail.  Eventually, something is going to fail.  And it usually happens at the worst time possible, right when you need it to work the most!

The Case of the Reluctant Accountant

Case in point: XYZ Accounting Services, a fictitious name for a real Certified Public Accountant company, recently experienced such a problem.  XYZ prepares taxes for many clients, and heavily relies on a specific application to process, record and file tax documentation on behalf of their clients.  The application was running on a very old server running Microsoft Windows Server 2012.

Yeah, the Windows Server version that was based on the horrid, unbeloved Microsoft Windows 8.  Shivers!

Microsoft Windows Server 2012 without a Managed IT Service Plan

Remember this interface?  The one that Microsoft wants us to forget?

XYZ had contracted our services many times over the years to fix one-off technical problems, choosing to pay our emergency support rate rather than agree to a monthly contract.  Despite several conversations about the benefits of a Managed IT Service contract, XYZ stubbornly refused our monthly service, thinking it was cheaper to pay the emergency fee on an as needed basis.

On a recent emergency support call, it was discovered that the hard drives in their aging server were starting to fail.  After several hours of work, we set up a band-aid solution for them so they could continue to work.  We warned the head of XYZ Accounting Services that their server was beginning to fail, data might become corrupted, and the hardware needed to be replaced ASAP.  He asked for a quote to replace the server.

After receiving the quote, XYZ decided the cost was going to be too much to handle.  And the aging server continued to limp along.  Until one day, a few months later, it could limp no more.

Again, Allegiance Technology Solutions was called upon to provide emergency support.  But the server had served its last record.  It had computed its last calculation.  It was time to release that old server to the great junkyard in the sky.

The server had to be replaced, there was no band-aid solution that was going to work this time.  After lengthy discussions, and a quick turnaround from our support team, a new server was being built while the data from the old server was being recovered.  And a new Managed IT Service contract with Allegiance Technology Solutions was born.

Finally, the new server was in place.  The application was installed and the data had been restored.  But after working for a few days, XYZ employees realized that not all of the data they were expecting to see was there.

Duh! Duh Duhhhhh!

Gasp!  Our horrors were confirmed!  The data was corrupted!

Our team went back to work, doing a deep scan of the failing hard drives.  We were able to use advanced data recovery tools on a Linux computer to recover more data, which was eventually restored to the new server.  XYZ was finally back up and running!  And they will be able to run for many years with a new maintenance agreement in place.

If Only…

If only XYZ Accounting Services had chosen to use us as their Managed IT Service Provider BEFORE there was a problem.  We would have had daily backups ready to restore their data.  We would have performed proactive hardware and software maintenance, increasing the reliability and longevity of the system.  We would have been able to advise XYZ about upcoming hardware replacements way before there was a failure.  And their emergency and weeks of downtime would have been completely avoided.

Life After Death

We are happy to say that XYZ is now a Managed IT Service client.  XYZ has learned a valuable lesson in technology maintenance, that it is something that should not be ignored.  Now their emergencies are no longer emergencies, as they have the service and expertise of Allegiance Technology Solutions just a phone call away.

Now, XYZ’s computers are protected by world-class antivirus software.  Server data is now being backed up daily.  We have remote access tools installed in case their staff needs quick access to tech support.  We have 24-hour security monitoring in place to alert us of security issues and real-time server health.    And now they have a proper network with professionally installed Ethernet cabling, enterprise class wi-fi access points, and internet protected by industry standard firewalls.

What About Your Business?

If you own a business and are interested in protecting your technology assets, increasing security, or just want to avoid a catastrophe like the one above, contact us today and we can discuss a Managed Service Plan that fits your business needs.  Until then, stay safe out there!

 

 

 

Enhancing Outdoor Spaces with Smart Home Technology

Enhancing Outdoor Spaces with Smart Home Technology

Are you looking for ways to enhance your outdoor living space?  As we are finishing up another smart home project for one of our clients, we wanted to show some examples of our work and some ways that you can upgrade your outdoor space with smart home technology.  Our client has graciously allowed us to take some pictures and video of their beautiful 3 story home in Downtown Savannah.

Possibly the most breathtaking aspect of this home is actually outside the structure itself.  This house was designed with amazing use of its outdoor spaces, including a private courtyard and a rooftop area, granting its owners and guests a fantastic panoramic view of the surrounding area.

Starting with the rooftop area, there is a 50-inch LG flatscreen television that had been weatherproofed by Sealoc.  The proprietary weatherization process can take an off the shelf television and shield the internal electronics from weather, adverse elements and corrosive environments, increasing the television’s lifespan and usefulness.  Although you can’t really tell from the video above, the television is comfortably viewable in partial sunlight.  However, on the bright sunny day that we recorded this video, the onscreen images were a bit hard to see, especially with the glare.  In those instances, the owners have a retractable sunshade that completely covers the television viewing area.

Most of the smart lighting, as well as the outdoor speaker system has been seamlessly integrated in and around the rooftop vegetation.  This keeps the rooftop area beautiful without being visually cluttered with unnecessary technology.  The outdoor speaker system is integrated into the rest of the whole home audio via Control4, so the family and guests can comfortably listen to the television or enjoy the music that is being piped all throughout the house.

The downstairs courtyard area, as well as the entire home itself, is monitored by security cameras that discreetly blend into the environment.  Every entryway and window is protected by alarm sensors.  The entire security system, including the camera feeds, smoke, fire and entry alarms are all integrated and controllable by the Control4 panels installed throughout the home.

The courtyard features smart lighting and outdoor speakers, discreetly nestled amongst the trees and bushes of this picturesque garden.  Just like the rooftop area, every aspect of this outdoor system is controllable and integrated into the rest of the home.  Even the water fountain control is integrated can be turned on and off with a simple click of a button.  This courtyard garden this exudes classic old Savannah charm while providing state of the art safety and enjoyment for its owners and guests.

If you have an outdoor area that is in need of a smart home upgrade, connect with one of our professional installation consultants at Allegiance Technology Solutions.  We love to take our client’s vision and make it reality.  We are always researching the newest technology advances and we will be able to intelligently suggest the best components to build the smart home system of your dreams.

 

Using Professional Installation Services

Using Professional Installation Services

Have you ever had a television mounted or some other equipment installed and you weren’t completely satisfied with results?  Maybe the installers did a sloppy job and you were left with a tangled mess of wires hanging around?  Or the installation was done with a “quick and dirty” mindset and afterwards you had a mess to clean up?

You are not alone.  Unfortunately, many installation technicians will use shortcuts and hacks to shave time off of their work.  Sometimes they just don’t pay close enough attention detail.  Sometimes they rush through their work because of demanding workloads.  Sometimes the technicians are inexperienced and make careless mistakes.

We have all been there, and it makes you feel like you didn’t quite get what you paid for.  But if you are like our typical clients, you demand quality, professionalism and attention to detail.  You want the end result to function properly and look like it is seamlessly blended into the rest of your home or office.

Our professional installation technicians are true craftsmen and take pride in their work.  We obsess over the little details.  We keep the visible wires to an absolute minimum.  We strive to provide a finished product that has a clean, professional, seamless look.

We love to take on challenging projects.  Just like the pictures above, mounting televisions to textured walls requires expertise, attention to detail and careful planning and execution.  If you are a person that desires excellence in design and execution, then contact us about your project.  If you want the best, contact the best in the area, Allegiance Technology Solutions.  Headquartered in Pembroke, GA, we normally service Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, such as Skidaway Island, Tybee Island, Statesboro, Pooler, Richmond Hill and Hilton Head SC.  And if you are located outside of the Greater Savannah area, we are always open to working with clients from in any area if the partnership makes sense.

 

 

Automated Shades installation on Modena Island

Automated Shades installation on Modena Island

One of our clients, Adrian Savoie, has graciously allowed us to take pictures and video of our work at his residence on Modena Island, Ga.  Along with setting up home automation across this entire property, Adrian requested that we install a motorized shade system in the master bedroom that could be opened or closed with a button press, as well as integrated into home automation workflows.

Installing automated shades  Installing automated shades  Installing automated shades

Although Adrian’s bedroom has spectacular views of the marshlands around his home, there are times when he wants to darken the room to make it more comfortable for sleep.  Since his smart home system is built with Control4, the motorized shades needed to be compatible with the Control4 interface.  Our team selected Draper’s line of automated shades for the installation because of their variety of shade materials and colors, compatibility with Control4 and because Draper can manufacturer solutions to accommodate custom window sizes.

 

The master bedroom featured 5 large windows providing views of the surrounding marshland.  The client insisted on a single shade to cover all 5 windows, which ultimately gives the room an elevated touch of elegance and simplicity.  This required a custom shade measuring 184 inches.  The other windows in the room were able to use standard shade lengths.  Each automated shade is connected to the Control4 interface and programmed to work in concert with each other.

As you can see from the video above, watching this room transform from sleep mode to daylight mode in seconds is impressive!  The shades are also incorporated into home automation workflows and will close while the room lights turn on.

Installing automated shades increases the level of elegance of your living space.  If you are interested in installing automated shades in your home, contact us and one of our experienced install technicians will help you create the system of your dreams.


 

Outdoor TV in-ceiling motorized lift installation

Outdoor TV in-ceiling motorized lift installation

One of our clients, Adrian Savoie, has graciously allowed us to take pictures and video of our work at his residence on Modena Island, Ga.  Along with setting up home automation across this entire property, Adrian had a vision for the ultimate outdoor entertainment setup.  He wanted to have an outdoor TV, but requested to have that television mounted in the ceiling on a motorized swivel lift that could turn different directions and be tucked away safely when not in use.  Challenge accepted!

This motorized television was going to be installed in the covered porch section of the pool house.  As the outdoor TV could potentially be exposed to the elements, we suggested a weatherized 55-inch model from Samsung.  Designed specifically for outdoor use, the screen is intentionally brighter and completely viewable in partial sunlight.  This model is also dust proof and waterproof, increasing the longevity of this investment.

Outdoor TV in-ceiling motorized lift installation  Outdoor TV in-ceiling motorized lift installation  Outdoor TV in-ceiling motorized lift installation

We were contacted by the client during the construction phase of this project.  This allowed us to start the engineering and design of the Nexus21 ceiling mounted swivel and lift system while the pool house was in the stud stage of construction.  Although we are equally experienced in retrofitting installations in existing structures, it is nice to be able to install this kind of seamless technology without having to worry about drywall, paint or fixtures.

Indoor Tv mounted on textured wall technician performing maintenance on the AV rack

Inside the pool house, we mounted a 75-inch LG television to a textured wall.  In-ceiling speakers we installed inside and out, and all audio and video was routed to a distribution amplifier.  This setup allowed the flexibility to watch either the same or different shows on the two televisions, with the audio playing along with the respective video screens.

Every interaction with the system is designed with as few button presses as possible.  This keeps the system functional while being easy to use for the client.  All in all, the client was very satisfied with the final product, allowing him and his family to be “on vacation” when they are home.

If you are interested in an installation like this at your home, contact us and one of our professional consultants will help you build the system of your dreams.