Archive for February, 2018

Network Connection Issues Lead to Costly Downtime

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

For most modern companies, their network is the backbone of their business.  When they lose access to resources because of network connection issues, it often leads to costly downtime and even data loss.  While downtime caused by hackers locking your network gets a lot of attention, the most common causes of network outages are more common than you may think.

58% of downtime for businesses is due to human error.

The number one cause of data loss is human error.

What do we mean by human error? Patrick from Marketing tripping on an essential power cord or accidentally deleting an entire folder worth of customer records.  It doesn’t matter how up-to-date and flashy your technology is, it only takes one mistake by an employee to damage data.

The consequences of a network connection issues include far more than wasted time as employees wait for IT to get the network back up.  Although, it’s important to note that small business employees suffer a 34% loss in productivity during network downtime.  Here are some other consequences of network downtime you may not have realized.

Consequences of data loss from network connection issues

  1. Loss of Data:  62% of mid-sized businesses say they have lost access to critical data during outages.  Remember when Mecklenburg County was hacked? Without access to its network, the county couldn’t access permit records, leading to delays in building projects for homeowners and businesses across the county.
  2. Loss of revenue: According to self-reported data, downtime can cost small businesses up to $8,600 an hour. The inability to make sales, or access customer data can drive that cost up. Business owners also have to think about the cost of employees working overtime to recover data, or deal with issues from downtime. Returning again to the Mecklenburg County hack, the County decided not to pay the hackers, and rebuild applications and data.  That means overtime for IT employees.  Some businesses may also see a negative effect on their supply chain caused by downtime, causing delays and fees.
  3. Risk of Security Breach: When the network is down, or even when employees have a difficult time connecting to it, they will often turn to third-party services that are not secured or approved by IT. This opens the company up to the risk of a data leak or hack.  In one survey, 45% percent of employees admitted to using Dropbox during downtime.
  4. Loss of reputation: Some of the costs of downtime are difficult to quantify, such as loss of reputation. Downtime could cause your company to miss deadlines, or be unavailable to customers, which could lead to lack of trust.  It could also mean decreased employee satisfaction.  Frequent downtime can lead to frustration and stress for employees, causing low morale, or even high turnover.

The Network Team has an easy to use tool to help you determine the cost of downtime at your business, as well as solutions to help reduce downtime and data loss. Contact us today to help reduce costly downtime at your business.

 

 

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Enhancing Business Outcomes Through IT

Posted on: February 7th, 2018 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

The Network Team recently hired Jeanne Pritt with People Outcomes to help us formulate a strategic plan for the company over the next three years.   As part of our planning, we came up with a new Mission/Vision statement, which is: “TNT exists to be the technology champion for our customers by enhancing business outcomes through IT.”

That is more than just a fun marketing slogan.  TNT has many examples from current clients of just enhancing business outcomes.

Here are a few:

Commercial Construction company with 10 branch offices in 3 states

Business Challenge: The construction company was losing money and employee productivity due to intermittent lack of access to vital tools, files, and communication necessary to perform their jobs.

Enhanced Business Outcome: The company saves hundreds of thousands of dollars with increased employee productivity due to improved availability of work tools and company resources.

The construction company was experiencing 1-2 days of computer/network downtime in each location every 1-3 years.  These episodes of downtime were expensive in lost productivity and were usually caused by the local server going down due to hardware failure, lack of software updates, or security issues.

TNT implemented two Managed Services solutions that have both reduced the frequency of these computer/network downtime episodes, and reduced the duration of downtime events from days to minutes.  The TNT solutions included 24x7 monitoring and management of the branch office servers to predict hardware failures, keep server services running, and manage patches and updates as well as a BDR/BC (Backup Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity) solution that places a backup appliance in each branch office and includes off-site cloud storage of data and images so that all of the functions of the local server can be run from the cloud if/when that physical server goes down.

Four-campus seminary with just over 2000 students.

Business Challenge: The seminary was unable to fully leverage digital teaching and distance education.

Enhanced Business Outcome: The seminary is gaining more students locally, domestically, and internationally by fully embracing the digital age as part of their instruction methods.

The ways in which education and teaching are digested were changing, and the seminary wanted to stay ahead of those changes. The professors had grand ideas on how to incorporate multimedia and the digital age into their instruction methods. Additionally, the seminary had a desire to introduce more virtual learning for their distance learners to make their experience as close to the classroom as possible.

Unfortunately, none of these ideas were possible with the existing network infrastructure. The network was too slow and not capable of handling the traffic required for professors to take the next steps with their classroom technologies. TNT came in and designed a state of the art new network that was optimized from the ground up. The collapsed core infrastructure model allowed the network to be fast and efficient, while staying simple to manage.  The 10GB backbone could easily handle any and all traffic the professors could possibly want to throw at it. The new network empowered the professors to embrace the digital age as part of their instruction methods and allowed the seminary to stay relevant in the burgeoning field of distance learning.

 

Mutli-state music festival attracting more than 30,000 visitors

Business Challenge: Music festival planners did not have specific metrics on those interested in their festival, making marketing difficult.

Enhanced Business Outcome: Festival planners now have more detailed information on customers, allowing marketing to better target potential attendees.

One of the largest bluegrass festival in the world it happens in North Carolina each Spring.  Organizers found they did not have specific metrics on prospective attendees.  TNT upgraded their phone system to replace it with a Cisco Power voice infrastructure that allowed them to get additional reporting metrics that they didn’t have before.

On the morning that tickets went on sale, we were able to show them that 1 in 8 phone calls were originating in Japan.  Sure, they knew that the festival was international, but they didn’t realize that Japanese interest was so great.

This created an opportunity for them to create marketing material to accommodate their Japanese following.  This lead to additional revenue.

 

You can read more examples here.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you by enhancing business outcomes through IT.

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Mike Wilson promoted to Strategic Engagement Manager

Posted on: February 1st, 2018 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

The Network Team (TNT) has promoted Project Manager Mike Wilson to the position of Strategic Engagement Manager.  In his new role, Mike will build and maintain excellent customer relationships by leading the Sales and Engineering teams.  Current Sales Manager Dan Whitt is moving into an Account Executive role so he can spend more time with his family and pursue his passion of serving others as a pastor.

“Dan has been my right hand since I became president.  His wisdom and thoughtful use of words has been a commonality in our go to market strategy.  He will be tough act to follow.”

With Dan’s career shift, and Mike’s unique skill set, TNT president Jeff Gaura realized the benefits of promoting Mike to lead the Sales and Engineering Departments.

“Mike brings an accountability to the position that will help us grow our business unlike anyone whom we could have brought on externally.  Mike's knowledge of our customer base and vision regarding the direction of IT makes him a good fit to help present TNT's mission and values in our community.  Mike is liked by all he meets and finds great joy in meeting new people.”

In his time at TNT, Mike has improved internal processes in the Engineering department, and was an instrumental part of the team that developed and is implementing TNT’s 3-year strategic plan.

Mike joined TNT in August of 2015.  Before that, taught abused and neglected children for 7 years, and managed two retail stores as the General Manager of Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt.

Mike has a Bachelor's degree in Religion and a Master's degree in Teaching from Liberty University. He also recently completed another Master's degree from North Carolina A&T University in Information Technology. He has a graduate certificate from East Carolina University in Cyber Security and has other industry certifications as well: Comptia Network+ & Security+, Cisco Certified Networking Associate certification in Routing and Switching and Cisco/Meraki CMNA in cloud networking technology. He is currently studying to become a Certified Information Security Auditor and hopes to pursue other information security certifications after that.

 

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The Network Team