03 443 5499

The costs of owning a website are complex, and a lot of people are surprised by the number of hidden costs. Let’s break it down:

1) Hosting: this can be either a monthly or annual fee. 

2) Regular maintenance, security and updates: A service provided by your IT partner to help stop your site failing, glitching or getting hacked, 

3) Routine backend maintenance of your site.

4) Keeping your website updated and fresh: This includes adding fresh content and articles, for example updating photos and keeping product details updated. 

5) Small change requests: Whilst many web development companies might build you a site, they may not be equipped or even well suited to handling small change requests. Finding someone who handles IT tickets all the time every day means that you can just email your request and it will be done.  

6) Knowing who is visiting your website. This is crucial to the success of your website. You must analyse who is visiting and how you can improve your organic reach. You can get reports for as little as $5 a month, or more detailed custom report which help to understand who is visiting your website. 

7) Marketing your website: In other words actually getting visitors to your website 

  • Marketing can be as simple as having standard SEO added during the website build and then updated as things change. 
  • Having your website on your business card and email signature.
  • More advanced options include: Advanced SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
  • Ad campaigns.
  • Remarketing goggle ads set up.  

This list helps to give you a more realistic distinction around “website costs” . While the costs are not huge, some customers are surprised because they assume that after they have built the site there are no more costs. 

Website Hosting

Once your website is developed you may find that there are so many web hosting options, that it feels slightly overwhelming. 

Before you go with the one with the cute adverts, or the cheapest ones, here are a few crucial things to consider:

  • Having a strong and reliable web host is important for an effective website.
  • The right web hosting should be considered the foundation of your website. 
  • The wrong web hosting can cause loss of sales and security nightmares. 

What you need to know about Web Hosting ?

  • A web host provider is a company that will host those files for you on their servers.
  • Going with a reliable web host ensures your website is web-accessible 24/7. 
  • Web hosting providers guarantee server maintenance by making sure that all the software and equipment is always updated and tested for functionality. 
  • The right web hosting keeps your website up and running with limited issues.

IT Centre will ensure that the hosting provided for you is high functioning and gives you good value. With the myriad of options that are available, this saves you valuable time and money.   

In Summary:

Knowing some of the costs of owning a website at the outset helps with budgeting for success with your website. 

The advantages of having a good quality web host are many. It really does help with the success of your website in the long run, as well as stand you in good stead with your website security.

IT Centre can help you with this important decision by providing information on how best to progress with your budget and strategy. Contact us here.

So it didn’t work with your newest employee, in fact it didn’t work out would be an understatement…they left under quite a cloud! 

A recent Symantec study states that “half of the employees who left or lost their jobs in the last 12 months kept confidential corporate data and 40 percent plan to use it in their new jobs.”

You’ve got the work laptop/computer back, but have they deleted things?

How do you know what they were doing and looking at before they left?

They used their own devices for work, do they still have their work material?

What to do when employees don’t leave on the best terms

The vast majority of staff finish employment and move on with no issues. But occasionally people leave in less harmonious circumstances, or they are just plain dishonest. We’d like to cover off on some of the basics to ensure that your risks are minimised for if, or when, this happens to you.

Importantly, it makes a big difference what systems you use and how you are set up, so keep that in mind. For the purposes of this simple article, we assume you are a small to medium kiwi business, with a fairly simple IT setup, using one of the lower-level Microsoft 365 licences for your email document storage and sharing.

Set up the employee properly when they join and have proper security

To get the best outcome when an employee leaves you need to start when they join the company. 

Practice ‘need to know’ access to systems and data:

  • People only get access to what they need for their job
  • This includes ensuring your work, documents, emails, etc are protected by permissions appropriate to the user. If they don’t need access, they don’t get it!

Set up an off-boarding system

The obvious (we don’t want to tell you how to suck eggs with your HR, but people sometimes don’t do these things, or forget) things to do when the person leaves:

  • You probably have an induction process when someone joins, but do you have an off-boarding process for when people leave? 
  • Ensure the off-boarding process is promptly followed. 
  • Ensure the off-boarding is responsive enough to handle an employee disappearing at no, or very little, notice.
  • Promptly close off email and other systems access.
  • Promptly close off remote access.
  • Take back company owned devices.
  • Ask specifically if there is any company data in their possession and if so, make a plan with them for retrieving it.

The not so obvious things

Of course IT being the mysterious being it is to most of us you might not consider the less obvious things to do:

  • Don’t let people use personal devices for company work – give them the tools they need, and ensure those devices are properly set up by your IT.
  • Setup your business so that ALL work data/information is only ever stored in company systems. Do not allow people to save work anywhere else. Make sure they have a company owned folder they can save drafts and working documents to, if this is needed.
  • Have remote wipe enabled, meaning you can remotely wipe the data from any devices they have accessed. The next time they connect to the Internet, the data is wiped.
  • Review activity logs; these are detailed, but can give you a picture of what the person was up to.
  • If they delete emails or files, systems like 365 and Dropbox Business keep files for a ‘retention’ period and during this time you can restore them.
  • Use a company password manager such as LastPass so that people actually don’t know their passwords, so if they leave you (or your IT support) remove their access and they can’t get into anything.

Use technology to protect your organisation

If you are on a lower level 365 licence, such as Exchange Online, Business Basic or Business Standard, then talk to your ITA partner about the benefits and costs of moving to a higher licence with more security features such as 365 Business Premium. For example, configure 365 to prevent bulk downloading of company data, etc.

In Summary

Put in place protections now, so that you have them there before you have a problem. Once the person has left, it is often too late. In general, these suggestions are a good place to start with ensuring your business is protected. 

If you need a hand with any of these steps get in touch with the team at IT Centre

How a Managed Service provider can help your business

In IT we love to use fancy jargon, and Managed Service provider or MSP is no exception.

In this article we will break down what an MSP is, how it can help your business, and use some real-life examples of businesses, like you, who have made the switch to an MSP.

Firstly, what is a Managed Service Provider???

In a nutshell an MSP is your ‘outsourced IT Dept’ that provides proactive IT support. An MSP provides preventative measures, detecting most issues long before they become a problem.

The mission of an MSP is to protect your business from costly downtime and ensure that business continues seamlessly.

What is the break-fix model of IT support?

In contrast the ‘break-fix’ model of IT support is when you call an IT company when something breaks, and they come and fix it, on an adhoc pay by hour model. There is no ongoing support or preventative security measures taken. This is a bit like the ambulance at the bottom of the hill.  

Top advantages of an MSP for your business:

We become an IT partner to your business: As an MSP we are interested in understanding your entire business. We see ourselves as a business partner who wants to help your business to succeed and grow. This is quite different from the ‘break-fix’ model. We anticipate a long-term working relationship with your business.  

Proactive IT Support: As an MSP, our mission is to keep your business technology safe and available, and to anticipate your needs and requirements. This means minimum costly down time, and maximum business continuity.

Knowledge of your needs: As we have a long-term relationship with your business, we become closely acquainted with your IT systems, and your personnel. Because of this we understand how the parts make up the whole, rather than just offering a quick short-term solution, which may be costly in the future.

Cost savings: By outsourcing your IT management to us, you get a well-informed IT department on your team, without the cost and responsibility of training, recruiting, and retaining staff.

Case-Study

“An IT Alliance member had a company who was reaching out to them on a ‘break-fix’ basis. During Covid the IT Alliance member reached out to them to discuss becoming their MSP. They sat down and discussed what this actually meant, the services that the MSP offers, and the priority that is given to MSP clients. The client has been using them as an MSP for over two years now, and happily sings their praises, saying that having an MSP has revolutionized their business. No more waiting for IT support, no more downtime and so much more alignment”

So, what does an MSP actually do?

Remote Monitoring: An MSP proactively monitors, patches, and updates your software on an ongoing basis with 24/7 monitoring. This is all done in the background on an ongoing basis and requires no input from you.

Security: As an MSP we constantly review your systems to identify and address vulnerabilities. We can keep up with system updates, software patching, antivirus and more. It would be difficult for any business to keep up to date with all the daily security alerts. With an MSP this is all taken care of and is one less thing to worry about, so you can focus on your business.

Optimising hardware: An MSP provides information on optimal hardware that synchronises across your business. This includes laptops, desktops, and mobile devices, plus your network and servers.  We can work with you to understand your growth requirements and work on the best timeline for your budget.

Strategic advice: As IT is our passion, we hear about a myriad of tools that may be of benefit for business goals. We share this advice with you, rather than you having to research or find out how you can optimise technology for your needs.

Regular reviews: As an MSP client, you are a priority which means that we schedule in regular proactive reviews. No more waiting on the phone to talk to someone to get IT support.

Business Continuity and disaster-recovery strategy: Nowadays it is crucial that you have a solid data-backup plan. We can help you with this process and ensure that everything can be efficiently restored should the need arise.

So what do I do now?

So now you have an overview of what an MSP is, and how they can help your business. The next step is talking to the team at IT Centre about your specific needs. Please feel free to reach out here for further advice. 

Hopefully you are all staying healthy over this period. Please let us know if there is anything we can help with personally or professionally, we understand there is a lot of pressure on everyone, if there is anything we can do to reduce stress you are feeling just reach out.

With the unprecedented events we are currently experiencing everything has slowed down and turned on its head, working remotely has quickly gone from a new concept to a reality.

Isolation does not mean you have to be cut off from friends, family or work colleagues. IT Centre has plenty of solutions allowing you to communicate with others, share documents and run sections of your business from home.

Services we provide:

  • Remote support for Desktop, Laptops, Tablets and Phones – This means if you have a problem we can access your device and help to resolve the issue.
  • Setup businesses with technology to allow remote collaboration tools.
  • Migrate company files to the cloud for easy access.
  • Video conference configuration and training.
  • Answer any technology related questions.
  • General chit chat, us IT nerds are known for our ‘Whitty Banter’.

If you are having issues relating to video calling with friends and family we can help to get you up and running. Staying connected over this period will be vital.

Please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 03 443 5499, even if you just want to run something by us.

We can support you with most technology issues using our remote tools, connect into your devices or talking you through the process, along with phone, email, text or video call support.

Are you prepared?

Many of you may have felt the moderate 5.5 magnitude earthquake centred close to the Queenstown Lakes district over the weekend.

If you were anything like me, the next 10-20 minutes was spent thinking “am I prepared?”
These gentle reminders from mother nature trigger us to think about disaster recovery plans at home, but have you thought about technology disaster recovery and continuity plans for your business? What could you stand to lose?

At IT Centre we are here to help, we have strategies to minimise the risk should anything go wrong. Having a backup, stored in a different physical location, is a fundamental step to disaster recovery that can help you restore lost files.  In doing so, if your computer was destroyed, your files and important documents would still be available. From such ‘uh-oh’ moments like accidentally deleting your family photos to larger scale disasters, back-ups can help prevent a lot of heartache and stress.  You will also want to be assured that any backup plan will work, that the data is verified, and you know how you will access it.


Business Preparedness

IT Centre has many options that can help a business prepare for the worst-case scenario.  We can advise on how to reduce your risk of data loss and how you can get back up and running as soon as possible.

With all things IT, the risks you are dealing with are not just local threats.  Disaster recovery can cover natural disasters, cyber-attack, hardware failure, malicious software, sabotage, the list goes on.  As we are so reliant on technology in our businesses and personal lives, mitigating the risk is the first step in being prepared.

Preparing for cyber-attacks can be as small as running up to date anti-virus and anti-malware applications. If anyone call’s requesting access to your computer, this is a good reason to be suspicious. Recently there has been an increased number of social engineering attacks, where people call under the guise of Spark/Vodafone or your bank (ASB/ANZ/BNZ) and talk you through some common trouble shooting steps to have you drop your guard and start providing access to personal files. Just remember that any suppliers of a service will not ask you for your password and should not require access to your computer. If you have any questions about these types of social engineering attacks, feel free to call IT Centre.

Disaster recovery and continuity planning – do you have policies and procedures in place to minimise down time for your business? How long can you cope with your IT being offline? IT Centre can help you identify steps that will ensure your technology is back online as soon as possible.

Having a backup is great but you will need to consider how you will access and use it in the event of any disaster.  It’s going to be different for everyone, but we can help you come up with a solution that fits your requirements.

You may wish to consider spare computers, local backup copies (in case there is no internet access), and alternate locations for work.  Think about the value of the data to your business and how much it would cost to recreate it.  You should also think about the implications to your business if you are unable to access your IT systems.  These factors can help you decide how much time and money to put into Disaster Recovery.


Personal Preparedness

Only you can prepare your family for a disaster as you know your needs better than anyone. Technology plays a part of personal preparedness. Ensure that your local computer is backed up and that your family photos and important documents are saved somewhere safe. Again, we have various options to sort this out for you.


Our Services

We offer a cost effective Managed Online Backup solution.


Contact

Click here to contact us and make a time to discuss this with us, or call us on 03-443-5499.


Other Resources and Considerations

For more information on the AF8 fault line, there is a great video in this link and modelling was completed in 2017 in this article.

The Otago CDEM (Civil Defence Emergency Management) have put together useful resources specific to the Otago region, follow the links below for more information

If you need to pack a grab-and-go bag, here’s a handy list on what to include

Civil Defence New Zealand has put together a handy resource website to make sure you and your family are prepared for a natural disaster.

Don’t forget that pets will factor into whatever your personal preparedness plans will require. Make sure you are prepared to look after your furry friends in an emergency.

FREE – IT Disaster Recovery Audit

One of the most significant, and yet common gaps in New Zealand organisations is the management of IT disaster recovery.

If a catastrophic event, such as a natural disaster (earthquake etc.), office fire, or even a more minor event such as file deletion or corruption, were to happen would your business be able to recover and continue operating? Or like many other companies that are badly unprepared, could such an event see you lose everything you have worked so hard to build?

An IT Disaster Recovery Plan can be a relatively simple, fast and inexpensive safeguard to implement, which means there is no excuse not to have one in place for your organisation.

Be Ready!

Call or email IT Centre today to book a time for your FREE Disaster Recovery Audit

 

How Does it Work

  1. We will come to your office and lead you through our DR Audit Framework so we can assess the criticality and recovery objectives of all your IT assets. We won’t ask you any tricky IT propeller head type questions but it would be useful for you to know what precautions you already have in place. This process will take around 1 hour depending on the size of your organisation.
  2. We then take this information away and compile our report and recommendations.
  3. Lastly we will come back to present and explain the report and recommendations to you.

What we won’t do

  1. Talk to you in complicated IT terminology
  2. Insist you buy anything
  3. Fix anything

 

 

When global car brands head south to test their latest models in sub-zero temperatures, Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground knows it can rely on its network to stay in control and up to speed – no matter what the cars are doing.

Skiers and snowboarders aren’t the only international guests to flock to Wanaka in winter. Between June and September each year, Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground (SHPG) hosts global car
manufacturers who come to trial their newest models in the icy conditions.

SHPG has 16 testing workshops scattered throughout its site, in the alpine landscape between Queenstown and Wanaka. Not only is it a seasonal operation (the testing workshops run only during winter) but the competing car brands need to be certain their new features, as well as test data, are completely secure and confidential.

Rock-solid system needed

 

steve“Our season is busy and demanding. When we open the testing sites we’ve got to know our network and system are rock-solid and ready to go.

“Our clients from the research and development side of the automotive industry are cutting edge – we need to make sure we’ve got support in place to match their expectations.”

Steve Gould,

Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground.

For more than eight years, IT Centre has been looking after SHPG’s IT needs. This involves trekking up to the ice every year to get the 16 test workshops networked and operational. It’s no run-of-the mill job. Each of the 16 workshops has to be completely secret, yet networked to the central system.

Services provided

• Network design, implementation and support
• Computer systems set-up, implementation and support
• Cloud-based services including online back-up and file sharing
• Microsoft Office 365 hosted email
• On-going monitoring and maintenance
• Priority response service

 

Global clients, large data requirements

Through provider Spark, SHPG has a 100MB fibre link and guaranteed connectivity for international traffic. IT Centre worked locally to ensure all technical requirements were met when this was installed. Any new upgrades or software are introduced seamlessly. For example, IT Centre successfully integrated a weather station function that gives crucial real-time updates on weather conditions to all workshops – along with a user-friendly web-based interface. More recently, SHPG moved from standard email to Microsoft Office 365 hosted email – a cloud-based solution that gives greater flexibility and security. And over the 2016 winter, IT Centre is helping manage the implementation of a new management system.

As with any IT system it’s important to be prepared for contingencies – and SHPG uses the priority response service from IT Centre to make sure issues can be resolved promptly.

According to IT Centre’s Rob Facer, SHPG is one of their more ‘fun clients’, and has needed some creative solutions at times. But fundamentally, the need for security, flexibility and reliability is a constant across any business.

 

“We’ve had a long-standing relationship with IT Centre – they understand our business and how we operate. They’re on hand to sort out any issues that come up, and can deliver a creative solution when needed. It enables us to give our international clients the service they require.”

Steve Gould,

Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground.

IT Centre, the new identity of Wanaka Computers, officially launches today, heralding a new era of growth for the home-grown company.

But while it’s losing the town’s name from its brand, IT Centre Managing Director Rob Facer is clear about crediting Wanaka’s go-getting spirit for the company’s growth.

“Wanaka is incredibly entrepreneurial and outward-facing for a town of its size,” he says. “As Wanaka has grown and expanded, so have we – so the time has come for a name and brand that better reflects the broad scope of what we do.”

Rob set up Wanaka Computers 14 years ago with wife Linda Montgomery. Back then it was just the two of them, and a few dozen clients. They’ve seen a period of immense growth: the company now has six staff, and last year had 600 active clients.

 

“Although we’re proudly Wanaka-based, our clients cover the whole of the lower South Island – even as far afield as Auckland,” says Rob. “We felt IT Centre better sums up who we are, and also conveys the idea that IT is central to business because it’s about how we all connect and communicate.”

The company is also planning a move to the Three Parks commercial development next year, ensuring it’s well positioned for future expansion.

According to Rob, the sophistication and diversity of Wanaka’s IT requirements are a world away from where they were 14 years ago. Back then the majority of his business clients were in tourism. Today IT Centre’s clientele cover diverse sectors from management consultancy to helicopter maintenance – with many connecting to global customers, suppliers and partners.

“I don’t believe there’s another town in New Zealand that could give technology experts like us such a fascinating and growing mix of clients, coupled with the lifestyle we have here in Wanaka,” he says.

 

“I think we’re possibly the luckiest tech geeks in New Zealand.”