IT Frequently Asked Questions FAQs | Network Management Solutions

FAQ

Our IT experts are here to help. Email us if your question doesn’t appear in the list below.

How do we know when it is time to upgrade our IT system?  

This depends on what you are experiencing and what your plans for growth are. If you are subject to slow services or frequent outages, a bottleneck might have developed within the server, desktop, or network layer of your current system. Or, if you have plans for a major software upgrade, you should consider a review of your IT system overall so as not to adversely impact response time and your storage.   Being proactive is smart! Under an NMS’ managed services contract, network traffic and resources such as memory, CPU, disk space, and other variables would be monitored and benchmarked for optimal performance.  Our professional services team can help determine the right time to upgrade, along with what the most appropriate areas of investment might be.

How often do you recommend that we back up, and how long should we keep our backup data? 

Important data should be backed up daily at a minimum.  Certain businesses require shorter backup intervals, or disk-mirroring techniques that allow copies of acquired data to be written across multiple drives and or devices.  Many businesses back up daily and then overwrite tapes monthly, however, if you subscribe to this policy, it is critical to remember that data older than 30 days is no longer retrievable and be comfortable with your worst case scenario.

What is a normal amount of time for a website or video to download?

Most websites should load instantaneously with today’s technology. If you are waiting for web pages to load and this is occurring across all websites, you may have an internet or local network issue.  NMS Managed Services can help pinpoint these issues as they occur, identify the source of the slowdown, and provide remediation.  Uploading or downloading video or data files is a similar issue, however if the file size is very large, a “delay” of some period may be normal.

Why do emails get lost?

There are a few main reasons emails get lost.  Just as letters are routed through a series of postal facilities to reach an address, emails move through the internet and a variety of gateways before reaching their final destination.  A temporary glitch in one of the relays can cause a failed delivery.  Persistent non-delivery of messages may result from other factors, such an improperly configured email host, problems at a domain level, or being blacklisted by spam filtering devices that will discard messages from your company.  You need to be a confident in your email service, both sending and receiving. NMS can assist you in determining the source of your issues and provide solutions.

How can we avoid picking up viruses from the Internet?

Anti-virus software is a critical component on every computer, but informed users can significantly reduce the chances of exposure by avoiding ‘phishing’ schemes or malicious links that are received in email.  Every company should have IT guidelines for employees in ‘acceptable use’ to promote safe browsing and email management .  An investment in simple training sessions reduces the likelihood of viruses and ultimately data theft. Ask NMS for details.

How did our website get hijacked? 

If your company website was hijacked by a hacker, chances are good that it was not properly coded or is not being properly maintained.  Many website attacks happen through applications, eg, email, games, etc.  Certain windows of vulnerability within an application can allow data manipulation and/or total site compromise.  To protect against this, it is important that your web server and your Operating System is properly maintained and regularly updated to fix ‘bugs.’  Your website is your storefront into the world. NMS can help you protect your assets and your reputation.

What do you recommend to store the passwords used on all our office machines? 

What I recommend you DO NOT do is to write passwords down. During Assessment visits to our clients’ offices, I have frequently seen sensitive passwords taped to IT monitors and in other company departments. This opens the door to have your system or account compromised by an insider, an occurrence that is sadly common.  There is a variety of very helpful “password manager” software applications that can be used to create a secured and encrypted user name, password and PIN list. This list is then retrieved with one master password, and is safe from theft by others. Contact NMS if you have additional questions about password management.

Are there extra security risks we should be aware of when accessing information remotely from our phones or notebooks? 

Mobile phones and tablets create a variety of additional security risks, from loss or theft of the devices, to unauthorized and malicious access.  Personal use devices add an additional wrinkle in securing (and recovering) proprietary and confidential data.  In general, all mobile devices should be password protected and remotely “wipeable.”  Many mobile devices are utilized in public venues and on unsecured networks.  It is therefore critical to make sure that the data stored on the device is encrypted to ensure privacy and eliminate the potential of theft of usernames and passwords. It’s also important to keep the device’s operating system current and software updated to protect it, just like you would your computer. NMS will help you secure all the facets of your IT system, in and out of the office.

What makes a server go down?

Server failures can be a result of hardware, software, and/or application errors.  Persistent intermittent failures are often an indication of poor maintenance or hardware problems that should be addressed.  Perhaps a host has run out of disk space, has memory errors, or the Operating System or the applications have not been properly maintained.  Proactive management ensures that devices are managed, updated, and monitored for optimal performance. NMS does this for you.

We bank with a national institution, so isn’t our online financial information secured by their systems?

No. While your banking institution ensures that your accounts are secure from outside access by other users or hackers, your account is available to you via your personal credentials (user name and password), and these are secured by your system. Malware that has found its way on to your computer may allow the theft of your online banking credentials.  Once credentials have been stolen, the perpetrator can utilize your user name and password to access your accounts and make unauthorized wire-transfers.

How can I make sure that my email is private from everyone, including our IT staff? 

First word of caution is that if you don’t want your transmission posted in a public forum (or read in court), don’t write it.  Often confidential and proprietary information is relayed through the internet in clear text, and stored on public hosts like g-mail without thought that it could be intercepted.  Sensitive information should be encrypted, which does a small amount of time and complexity.  If the message is encrypted, generally only the sender and recipient will be able to read it.  NMS can provide more information if you have a need to secure sensitive email transmissions.