Info Advantage was formed in 1992 for the purpose of specializing in Information Technology consulting, which encompasses business solution development, software development, and platform support from IBM’s midrange to a growing number of Intel based solutions.

Three Reasons to Switch to Virtual Servers on Your Next Refresh

Three Reasons to Switch to Virtual Servers on Your Next Refresh

Hardware refreshes are often a time of great turmoil for businesses, particularly because of the cost of new servers and the time it takes to migrate data from one location to another. Thankfully, with the advent of virtualized servers, businesses have a viable alternative to the outright purchase of expensive, new hardware solutions. Instead, a virtual server that’s hosted in the cloud offers not only a more immediate reprieve, but can also significantly reduce costs for your organization in the long run.

Server virtualization is the act of separating the computing resources of the server itself and allocating them within a cloud-like infrastructure, where they can be delegated and managed according to the specific needs of your business. Server virtualization is particularly helpful for organizations that have a limited budget and don’t have the time or resources to manage multiple hardware solutions, as it’s simple to outsource the care of a virtualized server environment to a third party.

Here are three major reasons why virtual servers are your next go-to IT refresh.

Virtual Environments
One of the major boons of using a virtual server is the ability to create multiple computing instances on the same virtual machine. For example, if you have a mission-critical application that only works on a specific operating system, your organization can have a virtual machine dedicated to running it. This prevents the need to purchase an entirely separate server unit just to run one application, and the cost of operation and maintenance along with it.

Save on Operating Costs
Another key benefit of virtualizing your servers in a cloud environment is that you’ll be hosting less hardware on your infrastructure. Servers eat up a ton of electricity, and you need to keep them cool with air conditioning in order to guarantee longevity. This in turn creates higher energy costs that can put unnecessary strain on your budget. With server virtualization, you can consolidate your infrastructure onto one device, rather than spread across multiple servers and network components, significantly cutting down on operational expenses.

Effectively Manage Resources
The convenient part of virtual machines is that you can manage their workloads through a cloud-based dashboard to optimize efficiency. You’ll be able to monitor workloads and adjust them in real time, so as to keep operations moving forward in the best way possible. You can do this remotely, or have a third-party provider do it for you, which is entirely dependant on whether or not you have the IT staff on-hand to handle it.

If you’re considering a hardware refresh for your server infrastructure, be sure to consider virtualization, you might be surprised by how much money and time you can save. To learn more, reach out to Info Advantage at (585) 254-8710.

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Think Twice Before Connecting to Public Wi-Fi

Think Twice Before Connecting to Public Wi-Fi

Wireless Internet signals, referred to most commonly as Wi-Fi, are commonplace in every office. Even organizations that don’t often need access to the Internet, like restaurants and coffee shops, have wireless connections available for customers to use. However, just because you can connect to free Wi-Fi, doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.

One of the big problems with free Wi-Fi is that people who use public connections are fully aware of just how dangerous it is; yet, they still want to use it. The Identity Theft Resource Center claims that 78.5 percent of users who connect to free Wi-Fi understand that there are major risks involved, and yet only 26.7 percent use a VPN to keep themselves safe. Thus, free Wi-Fi should be approached with caution. Here are just a few reasons why you need to be careful when accessing public Wi-Fi.

Anyone Can Access It
If the Wi-Fi isn’t protected by a passcode, the network is vulnerable to hacking attacks and other threats. Plus, if the router isn’t configured properly, the passcode doesn’t offer much help. The fact that anyone can access it at their leisure means that there’s virtually nothing stopping hackers from connecting to the router and spying on other users.

It’s worth mentioning that, although we use the term ‘hacker,’ even a mischievous child with a bit of curiosity and the proper know-how could access your files via public Wi-Fi if the connection isn’t secure.

Free Wi-Fi is Highly Used
It’s natural that a free Internet connection will attract attention from people. That said, the more people who connect to a Wi-Fi network, the slower the connection, and the more likely it is to house a hacker. Hackers understand that free Wi-Fi draws plenty of victims, so they’ll use the convenience to find new targets.

Data Isn’t Encrypted
Encryption adds an extra layer of protection to any data that’s sent to and received across an Internet connection. When routers have encryption, hackers have a more difficult time stealing data. Therefore, you should only connect to routers that have encryption, and it’s unlikely that your run-of-the-mill router at your local restaurant has it.

What You Can Do
You may not be able to control who secures their public Wi-Fi routers, but you can take steps to protect yourself if you’re ever in the position where you feel you must use it. Here are three best practices for keeping your devices safe while using a public Wi-Fi network:

  • Only connect to networks that require security codes.
  • Set your phones and devices so that they don’t automatically connect to any new Wi-Fi network.
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

To learn more about how you can keep your data safe from prying eyes, reach out to Info Advantage at (585) 254-8710.

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3 Major Pain Telecom Pain Points Alleviated by a VoIP System

3 Major Pain Telecom Pain Points Alleviated by a VoIP System

Software-based phone systems are an increasingly popular trend in the workplace. Businesses have found that traditional phone systems, while helpful under certain situations, are somewhat antiquated compared to Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP. A VoIP is a great way to save money by eliminating unnecessary costs and improving overall efficiency. So now you may be wondering: is VoIP right for your company?

VoIP uses your organization’s Internet connection to transfer the call from your phone to the call recipient. Typically, VoIP systems use a software client that’s installed on the user’s workstation, laptop, or smartphone, and will works anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. Many organizations are finding VoIP to be an alternative to the traditional land-locked phone systems issued by telecommunication providers. Here are some of the major benefits of using software-based VoIP phone systems.

Tradition Phones Have No Mobility
One of the major problems with traditional office telephone is that office workers can’t (easily) take their office phone numbers with them when they leave the office. With VoIP, users can install the softphone application on any applicable device, be it a smartphone or a laptop. This makes it easier to stay in touch while on business trips or working remotely. All the user needs is a headset or a microphone.

Traditional Phones Are Complicated
One of the biggest pain points with telecom systems is the struggle that comes from onboarding new employees. When you acquire a larger workforce, you need to add telephones to your communications infrastructure, which can include anything from running new wires around your office, to completely remodeling to accommodate for more space. With VoIP, it’s as simple as adding new users, numbers, and extensions to your software-based phone system. You still have to watch out for bandwidth restrictions, however, due to the fact that your phone system is using your Internet connection.

Traditional Phones Are Costly
Providers tend to bundle together services that your business may not necessarily want or need, which winds up costing your organization more money in the long run. Instead of bundling together undesired services, you can build out a VoIP service that’s specifically designed for your business. VoIP systems can offer great features such as screen sharing, instant messaging, and conference calling. Customers only have to pay for what they want. Regardless, VoIP uses a service which you already pay for--your Internet connection--so that you don’t have to worry about another big expense in your budget.

If your business is rethinking its communications strategy, a VoIP solution from Info Advantage can be just what you need. Every business is different, though, and you need a VoIP solution that’s designed specifically with your organization’s needs in mind. To learn more, reach out to us at (585) 254-8710.

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Slow Computer? Upgrade Your RAM

Slow Computer? Upgrade Your RAM

Sometimes when your workstation feels bogged down, a relatively cheap and simple hardware update can make all the difference in performance. Adding more memory can be a game changer for your computer.

There are several factors that contribute to the speed of a PC:

CPU/Processor

The CPU handles all of calculations a computer performs. These days, consumer-class CPUs handle billions and even trillions of instructions per second. Dated processors can greatly influence the actual speed of a computer, but if your PC is fairly new (as in 1 or 2 years old, and possibly older for higher end builds) it's likely not bottlenecking your performance. Today, CPUs are equipped with two, four, or even more cores, which means the CPU can handle more calculations exponentially and consume less electricity.

RAM/Memory

Random Access Memory (RAM) is basically the short-term memory of your computer. When your computer is loading and running applications, they get stored in the RAM. The RAM is much faster than the hard drive, so your computer doesn't need to spin it's wheels looking for specific files and parts of applications. The more RAM you have, the more "stuff" that can be stored in it. The faster your RAM, the faster your computer can sift through the data that gets temporarily pushed into it. Once your RAM is full, your computer will depend on the hard drive to retrieve information, and that's where things get sluggish. Once you stop running a program, it will remove itself from the RAM to free up some space for everything else running.

Hard Drive

The hard drive is the storage device of a computer. For extremely high-end PCs, the hard drive is often the bottleneck. Hard drives, when compared to RAM, are very slow to access and write information. Once your computer needs to rely on your hard drive heavily for RAM, things are going to start getting slowed down. While it's great that your PC can rely on your hard drive in this way for those times it needs some extra memory, it is likely this is the cause of the slowdown. Unfortunately, because hard drives are mechanical and have moving parts, there's limitations to how fast science can make them perform. There are costly solid-state drives, but as a performance-improving factor on a standard workstation, typically solid state drives aren't the cost-effective answer.

There are software factors as well that can affect your PC speed. Malware and Spyware can bog down your system, and after a lot of use, temporary files can bog things down. Before upgrading hardware, you'll want to have a technician run a quick evaluation on your PC - it's possible a little cleanup can make all the difference in the world.

Otherwise, the next step is upgrading the RAM. RAM is usually relatively cheap, even to double or triple your existing RAM with faster, higher performance memory. Often the cost of the new RAM itself will be between $50 and $100, and more than likely less than that, and that's for a substantial increase, but it depends on your PC.

Is your computer running slow? Does it get bogged down by the time you have all of your day-to-day applications open? Contact us at (585) 254-8710 for a quick evaluation to see if a simple, cost-effective upgrade will help you perform your job more effectively.

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Facebook Tools Every Business Should Take Advantage Of

Facebook Tools Every Business Should Take Advantage Of

 Since the rise of social media, businesses all around the world are taking to online marketing in order to keep up with competition. As social media progresses, more and more sites are offering new and innovative platforms designed for businesses to increase sales and brand recognition. Here are a few tools that Facebook has created to help business owners get their brand out to their target audience.

Facebook Product Shop

The Facebook Product Shop allows businesses to sell products and services directly from their Facebook page. All it takes is a few clicks, and you can have your business up and running. Facebook allows business owners to choose whether they want to let customers buy directly from Facebook, or if they want customers to be directed to their website in order to check out.

Facebook Ads

Facebook has one of the most innovative and easily customizable advertisement platform set up for business owners who want to get their brands in front of their target audience. Along with their traditional advertisements, which show on their target audiences News Feeds, Facebook has recently added video advertisements that play when potential customers play videos. Facebook has also set up Messenger for business pages, which allows businesses to chat with their target audience, answer questions, or even set up appointments.

Business Audience Insights

Facebook’s Audience Insight is a free tool available to all business pages that will help them understand their audience. The Insights tools include information on a business’s target audience, including geography, purchasing patterns, and other pages that your audience has liked. This gives business owners a better idea of who their target audience is and what they want to see in a product or service.

In order to surpass your competitors, businesses need to not only establish a strong online presence, but also know how to use social media forums such as Facebook to their advantage. If you’re interested in learning more about social media marketing strategy, feel free to contact Info Advantage at (585) 254-8710.

 

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