Break-fixing into managed services from the NZ Reseller News

Graham Love talked with Simon Eskow at New Zelanad Reseller News regarding Computer Troubleshooters and how we and our services have grown and chaged over the years.

When the Computer Troubleshooters franchise launched ten years ago in East Christchurch, the business was all about the break-fix.

“We worked from our sitting-room at home,” says director Graham Love. “People rang, and we went out and fixed their computers. Many of our customers have come from where we’ve gone into their home computer, fixed it and they said, ‘I’ve got a business in town, can you come look at that.’”

It only took Love and his small team of technicians two years to build a managed services line of business. These days, Computer Troubleshooters uses Kaseya to manage 500 or so systems, with Shadowprortect for the backup and replication. And while he attributes growth to word of mouth and business references, he says it is crucial to keep to have he and his three technicians go out on home service calls, part of which includes using Kroll Ontrack for disaster recovery.

“We’re getting 30 to 40 customers new every month from word of mouth, and we try to convert as many of them to a managed service plan as possible,” Love says. “We get one or two a month interested, so we’re growing that base.”

Love says his company watches over 150 small businesses, 30 of them with “larger networks” with a total of 35 servers among them. The rest are what he classifies as ‘peer-to-peer’, meaning one or two workstations with an internet connection.

Computer Troubleshooters started using Kaseya and Shadowprotect within the last four years, but Love says he’s been with Kroll Ontrack longer. The company has seen a handful of cases where systems were destroyed, and the client was desperate to restore a surprisingly particular kind of file.

“One guy had a business and had his home laptop on top of his car and drove off, and it got run over by another car,” says Love. “And it had all the family photos on it and his wife was not a happy chappy. So Kroll Ontrack was able to bring that all back and the customer was happy with the price, happy with getting the files.”

It isn’t a problem that Kroll Ontrack is not a brand name among home users.

“The fact that it’s Kroll isn’t relevant or important to the customers,” he explains. “All we’re saying is we can fix it. You pay an assessment fee, then Kroll gives a report and the customer can make a decision.”

Hopeless cases can be sent to Kroll in Australia. One such customer had 80 percent of their data restored, but Love says it effectively rescued 100 percent the files that mattered to the client.

“That can cost around $1,500,” he says. “They can decide if $1,500 is worth their family photos or their wives’ pleasure.”

Recently the company has seen a spike in hard drive failures among his managed services customers.

“The technicians have replaced a record number of hard drives over the last four or five weeks,” he says. “It’s not any particular brand, and all we can think is that the agitation from two years ago and the thousands and thousands of earthquakes that we’ve had since has had some impact on the electronics.”

With a focus on managing customer data and disaster recovery, Computer Troubleshooters tries to emphasise to its clients the importance of having the right backup solution.

“They don’t listen,” he says.

Love says the company charges $30 a month to install and monitor systems via Kaseya agents, and add a solution in which the systems are backed with built-in redundancy through backing up the hard drive backup.

“Even with monitored managed services, what can happen is something can just stop working, and Shadowprotect does that occasionally where it hangs and nothing tells you it’s hanging,” he says.

But the point is, “People who back up once to tin are asking for trouble.”

A recent survey Kroll Ontrack conducted globally of 600 recent Data Recovery customers showed that 60 percent of them had a backup solution in place at the time of data loss. The backup solutions were either not current, or were operated improperly.

“Prevention is the best thing,” Love says.

By Simon Eskow

What Are Managed Services?

The term “managed services” is generally defined as the practice of outsourcing day-to-day management responsibilities with the strategic goal of reducing costs while improving operational efficiency. A managed services provider typically refers to an outsourced information technology company that assumes responsibility for one or more aspects of a client’s IT functions. These responsibilities can range from a single specific task, such as managing network security or offering help desk support, to the complex management of running a client’s entire IT infrastructure. Most managed service providers bill a flat or nearly-fixed monthly fee benefiting clients with predictable IT support costs.

How Managed Services Can Immediately Benefit Your Business

Computer systems now form an integral part of most businesses’ ability to function. Can you remember the last time a computer crisis kept you from your “real job” – managing your business? It might be time to consider the immediate benefits of outsourced managed services for your business’ IT needs. Here’s a list of the top five benefits you can take advantage of by working with a managed service provider:

Control IT Costs by working with a managed service provider to create a customized IT service plan that suits your budget and the needs of your business. A service plan can help business owners reduce IT operational costs while actually providing a higher level of IT service for their business. Plans can be customized by the number of support hours required or the level of monitoring and maintenance that is needed each month. Capital expenditures for equipment will be reduced in addition to staffing costs.

Manage Labor Costs if you do not employ IT professionals in your business, you likely have a designated “go-to” person in the office that handles the technology issues for everyone. You can eliminate the time this person is spending on IT issues so they can get more of their actual work done.

Quickly Implement New Technologies with the help of a managed service provider. Skilled IT professionals can save you both time and money with the efficiency of on-demand services. Also, a managed services provider will have a strong understanding of your business and your technology, allowing them to understand your technology needs as well as your budget. This will save you time in trying to understand new technology, and money you may waste on buying products you do not need or that will not work for your specific network.

Increase Efficiency and Stay Competitive through economies of scale. Most managed service providers can provide small to medium sized businesses with access to technology and expertise usually only available to large companies. Your managed services professional can assist you with identifying the products and services that would benefit your business and are available in an option that will fit your needs.

Security can require constant vigilance. Is your firewall up to date; are you protected against malware; do you audit your servers; are you using the latest customer transaction systems for credit, debit, e-checks and wire transfers? Outsourced security monitoring leads to less down-time, enhanced efficiency and greater profits for your business.

Be Proactive and Consider Managed Services Today

Are you ready to forget about those IT headaches? Whether you only have a few PCs, a network or more than one server, you are probably ready for a managed service provider. Computer Troubleshooters’ managed service experts can work with you to assess your IT needs and develop a customized plan for your business. As a business owner, don’t you want to stay productive by focusing on the actual management of your business – not spending time fixing problems or worrying about what you will do if your systems stop working.

Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooter about how managed services can help to proactively manage your IT environment.

Ex-lease computer for sale

Have you been thinking about upgrading your computer?

We have some more of the popular ex-lease Dell Computers ready to go.

Sold Out for this lot of ex-lease machines. Please check out the next lot.

 Dell Optiplex 960 SFF  Model: Dell Optiplex 960 DCCY Small Form Factor
 Price:  $400 +GST on Windows 7 Pro
 CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz
 Memory: 4GB DDR2
 Hard Drive: 250GB SATA
 Optical Drive: DVD RW (Slimline)
 Graphics Onboard Graphics
 OS: Windows 7 Pro (Installation Required)

* Limited stocks, these computers run out fast.

We can copy data from your old computer for nominal rates, please feel free to call to discuss the options with us.

We also have 19” LCD ex-lease monitors for sale at $95.00 +GST

Backup Solutions

While a lot of people often have a backup solution in place at the time of data loss, this does not always prevent data loss due to the backup not always being current or operating properly. It is important to diligently monitor and verify that a backup is successfully operating and capturing a current, accurate snapshot.

External hard drive backup are still the most used and sought after approach to backing up both business and personal data. Cloud and tape solutions are also often used. Yet, regardless of the solution, several common scenarios can lead to the surprise of data loss:

  • External drive only connected on an occasional basis; backup not automated and instead performed on demand
  • Computer not on during scheduled backup and not configured to perform at a different time
  • Backup software failed
  • Backup ran out of destination space
  • Backup profile did not cover all of the device requiring backup
  • File lost before scheduled backup

“Leveraging a data backup solution is critical for any business or individual protecting against data loss,” said Adrian Briscoe, general manager – APAC, Kroll Ontrack.  “However, even a reputable cloud or external media solution does not always provide predictable results. An effective backup solution hinges on the user or IT administrator attentively validating that the solution is functioning as expected and verifying that the backup is complete.”

After experiencing data loss, the importance of implementing a backup solution becomes apparent. Yet it is the time and expense associated with research and administration to then be able to implement this which is the major barrier.

Tips for Backup Success

  • Take the time to invest in a backup solution and set up a backup schedule
  • Ensure backups are running regularly in accordance with the determined schedule
  • Check backup reports for error indications or failure
  • Test backups on a regular basis to ensure data has been accurately captured and files are intact

Computer Troubleshooters can help. We offer managed plans for your computer which include backup monitoring and administration where your backup is managed and monitored on a daily basis.

Computer Troubleshooters Christchurch West has moved

Computer Troubleshooters Christchurch West has moved to 35 Main South Road, Sockburn, Christchurch 8042. You can find out where we are located at our address page.

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Remember, We Offer Mobile On site Computer Repairs and Computer Support Services in the western area of Christchurch: Belfast, Northwood, Harewood, Redwood, Casebrook, Northcote, Bishopdale, Papanui, Bryndwr, St Albans, Merivale, Burnside, Avonhead, Ilam, Russley, Yaldhurst, Upper Riccarton, Riccarton, Middleton, Sockburn, Broomfield, Hei Hei, Islington, Hornby, Hornby South, Prebbleton, Linclon, Rolleston, Templeton, Wigram, Halswell, Aidanfield, Ladbrooks, Tai Tapu, Burnham, Springston.