6 Tips for Managing IT
DOMAIN NAME SLEUTHING
This comprehensive "who is" database by Network Solutions is the first place to turn to track down the owner of a domain name. You can search by domain name, IP address or NIC handle. If an active site is found, the search result shows a thumbnail of the home page along with a contact and other information.Many small, growing businesses rely on the office "techie" to plan and maintain their computer systems. That piecemeal approach may work for a while, but there may be things you are forgetting. Todd Rader, CEO of 4-year-old Winter Park consulting firm Avancent Consulting, has some tips for managing IT in a small business, whether it is done in-house or with the help of an outside IT company.
1. Make software a service. Instead of buying and installing software for payroll, customer relationship management and other functions, access it over the internet. You don't have to worry about updates, and any problems will be fixed at the source.
2. Buy standard, not custom. If you use packaged software, look at your total commitment in terms of cost, training, support and reliability.Resources:
Who Ya Gonna Call?
If you need computer help in a hurry, check out these two services that provide on-site help across Florida and the U.S.
ComputerRepair.comBased in Boca Raton, ComputerRepair.com has more than 7,000 repair workers across the U.S. Enter your ZIP code to pull up names and rates of a service tech near you. A sample of rates shows $40 to $75 an hour for data recovery and $35 to $80 an hour for network wiring.
The Geek Squad (geeksquad.com)Technicians offer in-home/in-office service or you can take your computer to the Geek Squad's service desk at Best Buy locations around the nation. There are flat, rather than hourly, fees for in-home/in-office service. A few examples are $129 for standard installation of a new computer, $159 for virus or spyware removal and $129 to install more memory.
3. Control your domain name. Instead of letting your web-hosting company register your business's domain name, do it yourself. Then, if you want to find a different web-hosting company, there won't be a problem keeping your domain name.
4. Install a firewall between your internal network and the internet. In addition to protecting your own information, a firewall will prevent hackers from using your computers to attack other systems.
5. Establish policies. Spell out the "appropriate use" for company IT systems, including prohibited websites and improper use of e-mail. Determine data storage guidelines such as how long to keep information, when to archive and when to delete. Have a timetable for backups -- and test to make sure your backup tapes or disks work.
6. Keep good documentation. Make sure that password and other critical data are easily accessible in an emergency.
High Tech: Orlando ranked sixth in Nielsen/NetRatings list of top U.S. local markets in terms of at-home broadband penetration. Almost two-thirds, 64.7%, of those in metro Orlando use high speed. San Diego was No. 1; no other Florida city made the top 10.
Low Tech: Miami had the second-highest percentage of homes, 49.6%, connected to the internet by narrowband -- the old dial-up method, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.