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Old 11-14-2017, 04:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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IT solution for small business

Hi all

I am currently working for a small (16 persons) firm and I oversee most of the IT stuff even though that is not my main job. We have an IT company that we currently contract some of the work out to, but I am getting more and more frustrated with them. To me, when the cost is $125 per hour, I expect them to come in with a solution for it to be worth $125 per hour. I don't expect them to come in and spend 2 hours on the phone with tech support, waiting for tech support to remote in and guide them, and charge me for that cost.

Does anyone have experience with how to manage or create an IT department for a small size firm? I want someone who can tell me what is the current state of the practice and what is the best practice.

Thanks
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Old 11-14-2017, 04:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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what are the business' IT needs?
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Old 11-14-2017, 04:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Coming from an IT guy, a lot of what we do really does come down to researching the problem on-site since we never really know what the issue is until we see it for ourselves. In some cases, it also requires us to deal directly with the manufacturer/vendor. But when you have to pay $125 per hour for this sort of work, I can see how it must look and feel when you have to write that check. So, if you're looking to pay for a full-time or even a part-time IT employee, you'll have to take into account their salary requirements, benefits and so forth then compare the cost to your existing IT support expenditures. A lot of my time is spent kind of like a firefighter waiting for the alarm to ring. I'll keep busy with system maintenance and other tasks as much as I can. But then there are times when I'm completely caught up and waiting for a problem (yes, I'm typing this at work). So, it really all comes down to what you're looking to get out of it. At least working full-time here, I know this business inside and out. So, when there is a problem, I know how to best support the staff here.
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Old 11-14-2017, 04:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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As a service everything. Office 365 email, one drive for storage/backup, azure active directory, file sharing and intranet on SharePoint. You can even do hosted voip phones now, or use MS Lync. Or do Google docs/email for business if on a tight budget.

For your printers sign up for managed print services, they'll fix and replace, keep sending toner, etc.

Get premium support on your laptops and desktops, buy on lease and replace when out of warranty.

Microsoft has host managed encryption and anti-virus as well.

You should be able to find a hosted CRM/ERP system as well. Chances are the one you use offers this already.

Honestly, there's no reason a small business should have a server for anything. Doing It services is nice because you can just have the end user call someone else if there's a problem.

This is coming from a guy who's an engineer for a company that manufacturers IT hardware, and my advice is to not have hardware unless you're a big enough business to have an IT department.

Even if it costs more everyone will be more productive and the cost is fixed. Support can be 24/7 and people can do their jobs instead of doing time consuming IT ****.

Last edited by theangrydragon; 11-14-2017 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 11-14-2017, 05:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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we are a 4 person company (Civil Engineering) and have a server. It would be virtually impossible to do what we do with some other kind of file sharing because file sizes and constant updating. Just thought i would share an example a small company that would use a server.
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Old 11-15-2017, 02:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by superman View Post
we are a 4 person company (Civil Engineering) and have a server. It would be virtually impossible to do what we do with some other kind of file sharing because file sizes and constant updating. Just thought i would share an example a small company that would use a server.
My company is a civil engineering / transportation planning firm so we need the server.

Currently we have a VPN system that use Sonicwall to access the server from the outside, a hosted VOIP system so we are not worrying about that, the printer is through a lease.

In term of hardware we have:

1 Dell T320 with 48 TB worth of hard drive - my current problem with this one is that currently we only use a portion of the hard drive, I need to move this system to a RAID configuration. Is there any recommendation?


The other problem is have is software maintenance and inventory, as the company grew and the number of computer keep increasing I am having trouble catching up with software update and computer update. Is allowing automatic update a good idea?

Not to mention I also need to go through people computer and check to make sure there that filing system are being utilize i.e. no saving file on desktop etcs.

Do you think it's time I have a part time IT person?
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Old 11-15-2017, 03:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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What type of data is this? GIS stuff? Cad? Is it a GIS server?

If it's just being used as a straight file share Windows Storage Server is available in a lot of products and integrates with Azure AD. It's a very basic and locked down version of Windows server for only doing file share. And it backs up data to Azure active directory.

You may also want to look into managing computers through a mobile device management solution. You can prevent people from saving to desktops, do updates, keep anti-virus and encryption in compliance, do software inventory, and control what licenses the user can use, etc. Also available as a service so no additional server required.

Mobile device management really works well with Windows 10, but it's pretty limited with Windows 7.

Once set up this stuff is set and forget. You really wouldn't need a part time It person.

Last edited by theangrydragon; 11-15-2017 at 03:21 AM.
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