News

Three Cheers for the Last Three Months!

We can’t believe we’re at the halfway point for 2018! This has been a huge year for us so far and has absolutely flown by, bringing plenty of excitement with it.

We have so much news from the last three months, and we’re sure that there’s even more to come in the second half of the year!

Keep reading to find out what we’ve been up to…

Tasmanian Office

Our Tasmanian office recently ticked over four years of operations, led by Branch Manager & IT Systems Engineer, Glen Sawtell. He does an awesome job running the show down there – so much so that in May we opened our new office in the heart of Devonport! Located within the Camerons Accounting building, we’re now even better placed to serve the needs of SMBs in Tasmania.

Tasmanian Office
Our new Tasmanian office is located in the Camerons Accountants building

NEW OFFICE

Jon’s baby

A very special announcement – baby Asher Jon was born 29/5/18, to proud parents Jon and Cris. Congratulations guys, we are so happy for you all!

Baby Rivis

Jon
Embracing the dad life

 

Matt R – New IT Support Tech

In mid-April we had Matt Rutter join us as an IT Support Tech to help out the team. If you call the support line there’s a good chance Matt will be your first point of contact!

 

Marisa & Sierra – Six Months

Administration staff Marisa and Sierra reached six months with activIT systems in late May. As Senior Administration Officer and Administration Assistant respectively, they are here to help with any admin queries you may have.

ms & sh

Jon & Matt B – One Year

Yet another exciting milestone – Jon and Matt B have been with us for a year! Well done for reaching this point guys, we’re looking forward to many more years to come.

JR MB
Throwback to the three-month mark – uniforms mean its official!

Steve Patterson – 10 years

Steve Patterson has now reached 10 years of (on and off) service, which is a massive achievement – he’s an invaluable member of the team here and we are so grateful for all he does.

 

Birthdays

In early June Steve Patterson also celebrated his birthday, and Josh’s was in the last week of June. Wishing both the guys a big happy birthday!

SP Birthday

Office Relocations Galore

In the last three months, we’ve had five relocations on the go! From our own at the Tassie office to some large-scale projects here in Perth, it’s been great seeing our clients succeed and grow.

 

 

… There’s so much happening, and this is only a quick recap!

It’s pretty clear to see that we’re experiencing some solid growth and overall good times at the moment, and we hope you are too. Here’s to the rest of the year!

 

– Steve & the team at activIT systems

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Office Relocations – What NOT to do

We’ve been helping our clients with office relocations non-stop since 2014, and during that time we’ve seen it all. Based on our experience, we’d like to present our top six mistakes to avoid when moving office.

 

1. Setting impossible deadlines
Two to three months of lead time is ideal for most office moves to give everyone plenty of time to get prepared and ensure everything happens smoothly.
We love it when a client gets in touch with us at least 8-12 weeks before their move, as it means we have enough time to plan and help provide the best possible moving experience for them

2. Leaving internet, phone & communications to the last minute
You don’t want to end up stuck without phone, internet or emails at any point during a relocation, as these are most likely essential for you to conduct business. By planning ahead, stopgap measures can be put in place to ensure a seamless transition and minimise interruptions to your business. Then, with enough time on the other end to make sure your communications work, you can be ready to go before the entire office moves. Early planning also means you can factor your communications and necessary connections into your budget, reducing any nasty last-minute bill shocks.

3. Throwing old IT gear in the bin
While throwing old PCs in the bin or leaving them in your old office may seem like an easy way to get rid of them, this is dangerous for both the environment and your privacy.
It’s essential that you have your data securely destroyed before disposing of your old hardware, as you don’t want sensitive information such as financials and passwords ending up in the wrong hands. It is also important to recycle old hardware, but not just in your yellow lid bin! There are many chemicals and elements in computer parts that aren’t good for the environment, and which can often be recycled and reused instead of just sitting in landfill.
We can help with both secure data removal and hardware recycling, so if you’re interested in this be sure to give us a shout and we can discuss the best options for you.

4. Having too many people involved the process
We’re sure you’ve heard the saying about too many cooks in the kitchen – but did you know that the same concept also applies to office relocations? Having too many people often means too many approvals through the hierarchy, resulting in the process becoming slow and inefficient. Try to streamline this by having only essential staff involved in the process.

5. Leaving it all to one person
While you want to reduce your office move team to key staff, you also don’t want to leave it all to one person – an office move can be a huge job! Delegate tasks where necessary to the appropriate people, and try to outsource where possible, with a central coordinator overseeing it all. This also lowers the risk of things slipping through the cracks along the way.

6. Having unrealistic expectations
Whether you’re looking at time frames, budgets or the physical limits of what can be achieved in a day, don’t expect miracles! Plenty of planning can make unrealistic expectations less likely, and a more practical approach will overall lead to a less stressful, more successful move for you and your team.

Are you preparing for an upcoming relocation? Don’t know where to begin when it comes to moving your IT, or looking for some specific advice? We’re here to help and would love to chat with you. Get in touch with us at info@aitsys.com.au or 1300 228 480.

 

Video Transcript

G’day everyone, Steve from activIT systems with the last video in our office relocation series.
This one’s all about the things you should not do when planning or undertaking a relocation.

One of the really big things which we should not do is set impossible deadlines! We’ve had a few clients over the journey of the last 10 years or so come to us and say “we’re about to move office and our lease expires in 2 weeks and we want everything to be done and magically move into the new space”. It just does not happen that fast, there’s a lot of things that have to be done in advance – you can check out our previous videos for more information. The impossible deadline will set a lot of stress among yourself and your team, and you’ve got a lot of other tradies and other people needed to get things to happen like removalists, IT companies and phone system companies and who just can’t get things happening in that kind of time frame. You need at least a 2-3 month window from start to finish, more if you can afford it.

The next one is don’t leave phone and internet communications options to the last minute

They’re probably one of the first things you want to have a think about and get the professionals engaged for, even if it’s just on a consultation basis to say we want to move to this location, what are the internet options here, what do we need to do with phones over here, can we pick our phone system up and move it across – you may or may not be able to do this. Going through all these things at the start is very advantageous because it sets the groundwork for things like your budget, how you are going to keep your operations up when you’re moving, and basically make sure that when you get to the new spot you are up and running. Sometimes internet takes a long time to get set up, especially such as a fibre-optic internet connection, and we’ve had clients in the past who just haven’t had enough time for their relocation and have ended up running off a 4G system for a couple of weeks – and if you’ve ever been on 4G, or had excess data usage charges on your mobile phone, you know that’s pretty pricey and adds up pretty fast.

Now the last one, which we see a lot, is when people are moving office they try not to take everything with them and one of the things which gets left behind is old IT gear. Our biggest advice here is don’t chuck it in the bin, especially if it’s old PCs, because you’re probably going to have data floating around on those hard drives – it’s very easy to get the data securely destroyed, you can give us a call or other IT professionals and we are able to consult surrounding this and basically make sure that if you’re going to get rid of this gear, you’re not letting out confidential information and that you aren’t breaching any privacy laws etc.

The other thing is if you’ve just got this old monitor or printer or something if you go chuck that in the bin it’s just going to end up in landfill. There’s a lot of companies out there which will do recycling of IT components and they’ll strip all the pieces out and make sure that the heavy metals like mercury, for example, don’t end up in the ecosystem. This is a real big issue at the moment is there’s a lot of waste and things like cheap printers and similar are sold very cheaply, and quite often it’s cheaper just to buy a new one than to buy toner or cartridges. So they’re assembled, they build a big pile of this IT junk, it doesn’t make sense to move it with you but you can easily get it recycled. It does cost a few dollars, but you’re doing the right thing for the environment as well so definitely do that. If you need any advice feel free to give us a call, otherwise Google IT hardware recycling and there’s plenty of companies that do it.

That’s pretty much it in terms of this last video in the relocation series, I would recommend you check out the other two we’ve done, check our Facebook feed and YouTube and also our website, it’s all listed on there.

If you need help planning your relocation or facilitating it, by all means, give us a call, and we’d love to help.
Thank you!

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Six Signs That It’s Time To Upgrade Your Business’ IT

Computer Frustration

1. Your staff spend more time fixing their computers (or calling IT support) than doing work

  • You need to know your staff can get their job done, and if they’re constantly being interrupted by computer trouble their productivity levels are going to suffer, meaning wasted time and money.

2. It’s way slower than it used to be

  • Turning on your computer and going to make yourself a coffee may be part of your morning ritual, but if you’re waiting even longer than that there may be a problem.
  • The longer wait times get, the less time spent working – if you spend half an hour every day waiting for your computer to load, it adds up to almost 17 days per year wasted! Now multiply that by how many staff members you have and you are potentially losing months of work hours– with ten employees that could be around five months every year of lost productivity.

3. Your data isn’t safe

  • Most of a business’ important information is all stored digitally these days, so you need adequate security to protect this. A new system in conjunction with regular backups and off-site storage can help you know that your data is protected, no matter what happens.
  • We can monitor your systems to address any issues before you and your team notice them, meaning little to no downtime for your business. If there is downtime, you have peace of mind knowing we are doing everything we can to get your systems back online so you can get straight back to business.

4. Your business is growing

  • What worked for one or two people may not work too well for say five or more users, unless you have a scalable system in place that allows for easy addition of new PC’s with access to shared files and backup.

5. Saving the environment is important to you

  • Unfortunately, a lot of older IT gear is not the best for the environment, with high power consumption and declining battery life. New, energy-efficient equipment can reduce the impacts on the environment, while also decreasing your power bills.

6. Your computer looks like it’s from last decade… or century

  • If you’re still running Windows 7, XP or even older, it’s probably time to move into 2018 and make the most of what PC’s are capable of these days. Similarly, if you want to update your software but your computer’s OS isn’t meeting requirements you may be left stuck without essential software, which isn’t ideal.
  • An old computer prone to failure will always die at the worst possible time – and will then need replacing. Better to get ahead with a seamless upgrade to a new system with minimal downtime, when it’s not critical, and a new system with a warranty means that in the unlikely event of an issue, you can get parts replaced, instead of searching for parts from 10 years ago.
  • Plus, if an upgrade will fix issues with productivity and privacy, then the opportunity for a shiny, sleek computer is just a bonus!

 

If you can relate to any of these points, you may be thinking about whether it’s time for new computers for your company (and potential dollar signs) – but fear not! Where possible, upgrades can be used to stretch out a system before a full replacement, or existing systems can be reconfigured to better meet your business’ needs. If you’re looking for a fresh start, a brand new, commercial-grade desktop PC suitable for general admin use typically comes in at under $1500 (ex GST).

Even better, the government’s $20k instant asset write-off can be used for items such as new computer hardware and is accessible for purchases installed before June 30th – so if you qualify,  it’s a great time to get organised with a system that will last you many years to the future, and meet the growing needs of your business.

Get in touch with us to discuss your IT needs and find the best solution for you and your business by calling us on 1300 228 480, or send us an email at info@aitsys.com.au.

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Office Relocations – Planning Is Everything!

When you’re preparing for an office move, there’s a lot to think about and get sorted before you end up in the new premises. As with most things, the more preparation and planning you do, the more likely you are to make it through with minimal stress – you don’t want to be winging something as major as moving offices!

To make it easier, here are our best tips for successfully planning and executing an office relocation.

 

Planning

Decide a budget and get services on board
Moving office can get expensive, fast. To help relieve some of the pressure, it can be useful to set out a budget before moving which can guide the choices you make.

Some of the factors you may need to consider are:

  • Removalists
  • Interior design and fit out
  • New furniture or disposal of unnecessary items
  • IT and telecommunications install and transport
  • Costs of updating address (business cards, mail redirection)
  • Insurance
  • Machinery and equipment transport

But every business is different, so be sure to think about what is most important for you.

By contacting your providers as soon as possible you can compare quotes to meet your needs.

Set out a timeline
When do things need to happen by? Do you need help from specialist companies? All of this needs to be factored in so things happen efficiently, with minimal disruption to your employees and business. Make sure you discuss key dates with your providers and book early, so everyone is clear on what needs to be done and when.

Determine office layout
There are many companies who can help with designing the best possible layout for your new workspace, but depending on your budget you may have to give it your best crack with a tape measure and some accurate measurements. However, if you need anything built then it’s best to call in the professionals.

When looking at the area be sure to consider the best layout for the space, where everything will fit, and whether there’s enough room for the coffee machine.

It’s really important to know where everyone will be sitting before the move happens, so desks can be unloaded first and then the correct equipment can be placed on each desk – and to include this on a floorplan or similar so everyone understands what’s happening.

Now is also a great time to figure out if there’s anything else that needs to be bought for the new space, or ditched at the old office.

Apply for any permits needed
If you require a building permit or similar to make any changes to your new office, it’s best to get these sorted early and avoid causing delays or any issues further down the line. It can take up to 10 days for most building permits, and this must be completed before work can start.

Let people know you’re moving
Be sure to let your clients, partners and suppliers know you’re moving, to reduce any inconvenience.

If you depend on deliveries from suppliers to do business, make sure you update the delivery address when you want to start receiving items at the new address. Mail redirection can also help while you get everything changed over.

 Get connections set up and tested
Internet and phone are most likely crucial to your business, so you need to be able to rely on them. We like to get these set up about 2 weeks prior to the move date so we can get in and test them, meaning we can know they’ll work when it counts.

 Pack everything up
Start packing less used items as early as possible; there is nothing worse than a last-minute packing rush, and while you’re at it make sure you label everything. It’s fairly self-explanatory, but a few extra seconds at the front end means less time wasted on unloading and figuring out what goes where in the new premises.

 

Executing
The success of this stage will really depend on how much planning and prep work you’ve done beforehand, so the more detail, the better!

Get everything there
Have core staff on board to help, but don’t have every employee as it can get too hectic and people end up getting the way. It can be useful to have one or two staff members at both the old and new sites, but this will depend on how hands-on the move is. Having specialist services such as an IT company can also help with handling delicate equipment and ensuring everything is safe and is connected as it should be.

Test communications gear before everyone starts work
This is where an IT company comes in really handy and can take away an unnecessary headache. You don’t want a move to happen over the weekend and then everyone comes in Monday morning with no connection and nothing plugged in. An IT company can help with ensuring everything is where it should be, that your data has been safely transferred and that everyone has access and can get on with their job. And, if any issues do arise later, you can know that if you pick up the phone and get help from someone who knows exactly what they’re talking about.

Providing the above all goes well, you can get onto the most important next step…

Celebrate!
Congratulations, you’ve made it through an office relocation! Hopefully, you and your team can now relax and enjoy the benefits of a fresh workspace while getting on with business.

 

If you need help with making your office relocation as smooth as possible, without IT disruptions and with minimal impacts to productivity, drop us an email or give us a call

 

Video Transcript

G’day everyone, Steve from activIT systems, just following up with our second video of three regarding office relocations. Last video we were talking about the communications aspect of a relocation and what you have to communicate before, during and after a move. This one’s more about how to effectively plan a relocation and actually execute it.

When it comes to planning, the really big thing is to plan well in advance and get the experts involved at this stage, so get your removalist involved, IT company, telecommunications company involved. Go through the plan with them and pick out some certain dates which things need to occur by.

One of the things we need to expect which pretty much always happens is there’s some sort of delay somewhere, usually a fit out or communications delay such as internet connection or getting a phone service up and running. Even though you may have a deadline set to get everyone out of the old office and into the new space there’s always something that throws a spanner in the works so leave yourself plenty of time to deal with those types of these things.

We’ve had a couple of clients where they’ve had really strict deadlines for relocations, and it’s getting really close to crunch time, the date’s getting closer and closer, then plans change. The real big problem with that is that all the third parties involved – removalists, IT etc – they have to reshuffle everything around, and not everyone’s going to be available to deal with these types of things straight away. So the more lead time you have for everything and the more flexible you are everything will be a lot easier and a lot less stressful.

One of the huge things we come across, especially with fitout, is that you can get building permit delays so make sure you have things like that well in advance even before picking a relocation date. In our last video, we spoke about internet connections so really important to make sure those things are lined up well in advance. We like to have an internet connection up about two weeks prior to the relocation date that way we can get in and test it, make sure its fine, and make sure the reliabilities there, you don’t want to bring everyone across to the new office space and internet drops out a couple of days later.

A really big one that we find, we’re often tasked with reinstalling PCs on peoples desks in the new place, so have a really good floor plan in place and mapped out and stick to it – who’s going to be sitting where, because when people like us come in, we want to position PCs on desks based on who’s going to be sitting there. We’ve had a few instances where things have been changed around at the last minute and it creates a lot of confusion, and no-one likes to come into their brand new shiny office and sit down at their desk with someone else’s gear there. So the better floorplan you have in place, and the more you can stick to it the better, but it all really comes down to planning and the smooth execution.

That’s pretty much it for this quick little video, next one we’re just going to be talking about things not to do and we have a big list of them, we’ll keep it to have three or four of them in the video, but we’ll have a big long blog post about the rest

Thanks for watching and stay tuned!

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How to Choose a Tablet in 2018

By Steven, IT Superhero

activIT systems - How to Choose a Tablet in 2018

 

Large smartphones seem to be all the rage these days, and people are getting larger and larger screens so they can consume more and more data, whether that be on Facebook, Instagram, Netflix or simply surfing the web and being able to see more on screen.

For some, the tablet is still the best option when wanting to consume information from the comfort of your lounge room, sitting in front of the TV, but with so many on the market these days, it can be hard to know which tablet to choose.

Many people will go for the largest screen or the one they see advertised the most, but is this the best for your needs or are you spending more money than necessary?

Let’s take a look at what you need to consider when looking for a tablet.

 

Operating system:  iOS (Apple) or Android (or Windows)

  • As with phones, there are different platforms and if choosing a tablet, it will be best to choose one similar to your phone so that the transition from phone to tablet will be smoother
  • This will also allow you to use the same apps on your phone with your tablet (provided the apps are made for both tablet and phone)

 

Screen Size: Bigger is not always better

How you use your tablet will determine the screen size you need, as tablet screens can be anywhere from 7 to 10+ inches across.

  • Larger screens are great for watching movies and playing games, but surfing the web and sending emails can be done on a smaller screen
  • If you intend to watch movies on the bus, a large screen size is great but is heavier, and needs to be carried, potentially with its own bag, which makes it more difficult than something with a smaller screen

Things to consider when looking at screen size

  • Where will you be using the tablet
    • Home
    • Work
    • On the go and being carried around
  • What is it for?
    • Sending emails
    • Writing up documents or viewing spreadsheets
    • Watching movies
    • Taking pictures
    • Playing games

 

Features: Is there anything specific you want on your tablet?

If you’re playing a lot of games or listening to music, you may need larger storage so look for something with 64GB storage and higher, or at least a tablet that allows for expandable memory with a Micro SD card slot.

If you are using the tablet out of the house and do not want to tether your phone to provide internet access, you will need a tablet with 4G LTE connectivity that can use a mobile SIM card.

The amount of RAM or memory will also provide an increase in performance. Look for at least 2GB for good performance and the higher the better. However, Apple devices have a different computer architecture and run very fast on lower amounts of RAM so 1GB is fine for most iPads.

 

Price: How does this work with everything else?

While you may think this needs to be at the top of the list, all of the above will affect the price of the ideal tablet and while best to be considered at the start, it is also something to think about after the other factors have been looked into.

 

While many people would think buying a tablet is relatively simple, this just goes to show that there’s a lot more to be considered than you’d think.
If you know anyone considering a tablet purchase make sure to share this with them – and keep an eye out for more ‘how to choose…’ posts from us in the future!

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We’re hiring! Another IT superhero needed to save the world :-)

2018recruitingHey there! Are you a gun IT technician with a few years of experience in a managed service provider? Want to expand your scope, get stuck into projects, and enjoy a mix of help desk, on site, and remote service? Sick of putting out fires all the time and want to actually make a difference?

We need a fun and intelligent person to join our team, to fill a full time role of IT Support Technician, taking care of a never ending variety of tasks within our technical support department. We’re a growing managed services provider, and we look after the IT requirements for small and medium businesses throughout Australia. This is a full time position based in Malaga, WA. It’ll provide you with MASSIVE exposure to myriad technologies, best practices, and theories. We also talk a lot about BBQ, food, and non-techie stuff.

Within our growing team you will be responsible for performing helpdesk duties, providing level 1 and level 2 technical support to clients remotely, on site, and on our workbench, and level 3 support where your skills are demonstrated. The #1 objective is providing professional service to clients – so be prepared to tell us WHY you’re a professional in your cover letter, and if shortlisted for an interview, you’ll need to demonstrate it to us (a little bit of theory and practical).

We’re very much a people-first company, so if the thought of building long lasting relationships with your co-workers and our clients gets you excited, then you should apply for this role straight away. We have limitless coffee, red frogs, tim tams, Anki Overdrive, and a culture that sets us apart from the rest.

Duties and Responsibilities include:

  • Helpdesk – answering emails, phone calls, assisting the technical support team with triage of support requests and scheduling
  • Fixing IT problems for our clients on site, remote, and on our workbench
  • Taking care of system maintenance across our client base
  • Implementing new systems and solutions for clients
  • Assisting the team with project delivery
  • Accurately documenting work performed and recording it in our job system
  • Following our standard operating procedures and “rules of the game”
  • Installing printers, PC’s, laptops, servers, and network devices for clients
  • Wiring up server cabinets, communications cabinets, and crawling around under desks to perform tidy installations
  • Looking out for your team mates
  • Plus a great deal more

You …

  • Must have common sense!
  • Must be eligible to work within Australia to be considered for this role.
  • Must have a few years experience at a Managed Service Provider, looking after SMB clients.
  • Must have a CompTIA A+ certification or equivalent experience, at minimum.
  • Must thrive for superb customer service and client satisfaction!
  • Must be able to work unsupervised, and take initiative.
  • Must include the statement “all your base are belong to us” in your application to prove that you have actually read this advertisement and are serious about the job.
  • Must have a professional demeanor and personality but be friendly.
  • Must be a problem solver and able to think for yourself, but at the same time realize the limits of your knowledge.
  • Must have faultless attention to detail – dot the I’s and cross the T’s
  • Must be able to put yourself in the clients shoes and look at something from their perspective
  • Must have an amazing phone manner and be a delight to talk to, and have a professional yet friendly email manner
  • Must be well groomed and well dressed
  • Must have your own reliable vehicle, and driver’s license
  • Above all, you must be reliable, punctual, a team player, and committed to making a difference!

Interested? Email your CV and cover letter to employment@aitsys.com.au with subject “IT Tech WA” and tell us why you’d be a great candidate!

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Client Success Story: Realmark Central

 

Realmark Central engaged us in mid 2017 when their IT provider at the time unexpectedly ceased trading, and needed someone to support the IT in their busy office. What started initially as a temporary stop-gap engagement until they could settle on a new IT service provider for the long term, they engaged us within a few months on our activCare plus service agreement, and haven’t looked back.

With a proactive approach to IT management and maintenance, the IT that powers the Realmark Central office is vastly more secure and reliable, and performance has increased across the network. The staff are reaping the benefits as well, with fewer interruptions, and fast support on the other end of the phone line when they need us.

Doug Shannon, the Director / Licensee at Realmark Central, says:

“When we first engaged activIT we were caught between a rock and a hard place; our current IT provider had disappeared overnight, and we would have been really stuck if it wasn’t for the activIT team. One of the real eye openers we had were some pretty big security issues that had been left unchecked by our former IT provider, and these were addressed promptly and efficiently. Now the whole office enjoys prompt support, the company loves the fixed price service, and we have great relationships with all of the team; none of which we had in the past!”

http://central.realmark.com.au/

Realmark Central Office

Is your current IT provider letting you down? We can help.

If your current IT provider isn’t up to scratch, please contact us to find out how our reliable solutions can make your business more efficient and secure.

Click here to email us
Don’t want to email? Call us on 1300 228 480.

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Office Relocations – It’s All About Communications, Baby!

 

If you’ve ever been involved with organizing the relocation of a company office, you know that it’s not the most pleasant task in the world. The super positive emotions conjured by thoughts of the shiny new workspace, new office layouts, and hopefully a new coffee machine, can quickly be destroyed by the Earth shattering realization that you could be in for a world of stress, pressure, and logistics nightmares, with usually a hard deadline that can’t be budged.

That is of course .. if you try and do it all by yourself.

If you’re not a seasoned relocation pro, we have some super useful information that will make your job far easier, and help maintain smooth business operations leading up to and directly after the relocation. After all, no one wants to be in a new office where nothing works! Especially the coffee machine.

Communications are key!

The best advice possible, leave yourself plenty of time to get everything done, and start talking to your key suppliers before you sign a lease or purchase a building. Moving is expensive and time consuming, so you need to talk to electricians, removalists, IT specialists, telecommunications specialists,

Internet availability!

There’s nothing worse than a dodgy internet connection slowing you down. With the NBN roll out across Australia, most small businesses will be fine with the FTTN, FTTP, FTTC, HFC, and potentially fixed wireless internet options that NBNCo are providing.

When you’re assessing potential locations, ask your IT provider to find out what internet connections are available in the area, and what the lead time for connections are. Many of our clients have chosen one office over another, purely because the internet and comms options are better at one location.

Just like “oils ain’t oils”, all internet connections aren’t made equal. If your business needs a true commercial grade connection, with higher speed and reliability, traditional fibre optic solutions are a far better choice. Not all premises are “lit” for fibre, but usually fibre optic can be deployed out to buildings with an upfront or amortized build cost. They cost a few dollars more, but if it is a vital requirement that you have reliable internet, you can’t go wrong.

You can check out general NBN availability here: https://www.finder.com.au/nbn-tracker    but if in doubt, check with your IT support team and get them to assist, because poor internet equals poor communications ability, equals lost business opportunities.

What about your phone system?

If you’re running a traditional wall mounted PBX, how are you going to move this quickly without it disrupting voice communications with clients and suppliers? Can it be upgraded to support NBN-activated offices, or is it time to go fresh with a new system all together?

Quite often you can’t quickly unbolt an existing wall based phone system, plug it back in on the other side, and expect it to magically work. There’s far more to it, and experts are required to assist.

Common strategies to keep communications running during a relocation are to:

  • turn the phone off and have everything go to voicemail, advising that you’re moving office,
  • redirect all calls to a mobile phone,
  • install a new phone system in the new premises ready for use before staff arrive,
  • move to 100% cloud based telephony such as VOIP with a cloud based PBX prior to moving, which lets you take handsets anywhere that has an internet connection, or use a softphone app on your mobile phone

There are plenty of options in the telephony space, with every man and his dog offering something that is the “best deal ever” .. but, consult with your IT service provider as these days phone systems tie heavily into IT, and a wrong decision – usually on a 36 month term – could be very costly.

Structured network cabling within the office

Does your new office have structured network cabling in place? Is it in good condition?

It might sound great that the office is already cabled by a former tenant, but, tread carefully. Similar to having a termite inspection done prior to purchasing a new home – bad network cabling is hidden from view until something big breaks, and costs you a packet to fix. It pays big time to test it before you move in, or even submit a lease offer “subject to network cabling meeting CAT6 certified specifications”.

The quality of network cabling within an office plays a HUGE role in productivity, because if data errors are flowing across shonky network cables, it can cause problems that are often extremely difficult to pinpoint.  Getting your structured cabling right involves having a qualified and ACMA registered technician visit, test each and every network outlet and the cables connected with some very expensive equipment, to give it the green light that it meets required standards.

This is akin to having a termite inspection done prior to purchasing a new home – bad network cabling is hidden from view until something big breaks, and costs you a packet to fix.

Staying online during the move

Does your business need to remain operational during a relocation? Weekend relocations are easier on business productivity, but, come at a higher cost. With the advent of newer cloud services, many businesses are able to relocate during the week but at a reduced operational capacity for a couple of days.

Open communication with your clients and suppliers is vital leading up to this stage, so that they’re all aware of what is going on and that you may be at reduced capacity for a few days.

One of the very common issues we encounter during a relocation, is that a business wants to have a few people up and running at the new premises well in advance of the rest of the team, so that they can keep operations ticking over. We call these the “early movers”, and it is a great idea to minimize the impact to operations.

However, and, believe it or not… it is quite difficult for IT to re-instate computer workstations on desks for the early movers, when all of the desks and chairs were the first things loaded onto a removalist truck, and the last items unloaded. Oftentimes we’re waiting half a day or more for furniture to be ready to reinstate computer systems onto. Good planning means less lost time, and less cost.

There are a LOT of really simple strategies to avoid this scenario, so have a chat with us if you need a hand.

 

 

Video Transcript

 

G’day everyone, Steve Edwards from activIT systems.

We’ve got some videos coming up regarding office relocations – these seem to be flavour of the month at the moment and we’ve got three or four of them about to occur, so we thought it would be good to start to talk about what you need to do when you’re about to do an office relocation – before you do it, during and afterwards.

So we have two videos planned, this is one of two.

When a business is moving office it’s generally a stressful time – there’s a bit of business growth going on, and people wanting a new space that’s nice and fresh and vibrant, but there’s a few things you need to keep an eye out for. So in this first video we’re just going to talk about the IT side of it, in the next video it will be a bit more about general type things we need to worry about.

It’s a very stressful time when you move, how do you keep operating when you move and how do you keep your communications going? Traditionally an office has been about location, location, location, but for this stage it’s just about communications, communications, communications, they’re really important.

Before you move office there’s a lot of things to consider. What are you going to do for your internet connection, as not everywhere has a fantastic connection available? You might have NBN available or being rolled out, but that may not be up to scratch so you may need a proper fibre connection form a provider like Vocus perhaps.

What also are you going to do with your phone systems, do you have a phone systems sitting on the wall, or is it all cloud based? There’s a lot of things to take into consideration.

When you’re looking at a new office space, what’s the cabling like in the space, is it up to scratch or is it 20 years old, does it need to be refit? All of these things add to the cost of moving.

There’s also really basic things like Wi-Fi coverage throughout a building – not everywhere you can quickly run into and everything just works, there’s a lot of things to get sorted out before you even move.

Then we get onto the next stage where you’re basically moving office, you’ve got everything sorted out in the new premises, everything’s tested for your communications, it’s time to basically pick up your equipment, desks, chairs etc and move them to the new location. This can be really stressful as quite often businesses want to maintain keep operating during that time. So how do you maintain communication with all of your clients and suppliers during that time? Will all of your calls go to a mobile phone and will you still have emails during that time? It can be very stressful. A lot of businesses want to do it over the weekend but it adds a bit more to the relocation costs, so a lot of them do it during the week, but it’s really tricky to keep everything running.

After you’ve moved there’s a lot of things to consider – you’ve settled into the office and everything’s really shiny but what about really basic things like updating the address on your website, your email signature and Facebook? This is all part of the communication after you’ve moved to make sure your clients and suppliers and visitors know where  you’ve gone, and make sure you’ve updated your Google business page as when people look for you online you want it to show your current address rather than your old one.

That’s it for this quick video, stay tuned for the next couple of weeks when we’ll be talking about general tips and tricks when you do the relocation to make it really smooth. See you then!

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Software Spotlight: Greenshot

By Matt, IT Superhero

Sometimes, there’s something on your screen that you just really want to just grab and use. Maybe it’s a picture or part of a website? Maybe it’s that annoying error message that you need to show your IT company? Well, put your camera phone down, because there’s a better way.

Greenshot is the best software around for what we call Screen Capture – taking exactly what you can see on your screen (or part of it) and either save or share it quickly and easily. Within three clicks, you can effectively take a photo of part of your screen and copy it straight into your email or document. Greenshot also has a neat little editor, where you can add arrows, boxes, text, or even blur out sensitive information with simple controls.

In our office, Greenshot lets us quickly share information beyond just text between our staff, it lets us document issues we see in a just few clicks, and provide visual aids for clients, all in a few seconds. Best of all, it’s completely free and won’t slow your computer down at all. If you think Greenshot might help you and your staff, we can quickly deploy it to any or all of your systems via our awesome software deployment tools. Talk to our team about it or check it out here!

Greenshot
Greenshot in action
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Alert: Meltdown and Spectre – Critical Vulnerability Advice

Attention: Anyone with a computer, smartphone or tablet – yes, you!

Meltdown and Spectre Graphic

There has been a lot of publicity since the start of 2018 about two security flaws known as Meltdown and Spectre, which are of high risk to most computer and mobile users, relating to a bug in the central processing unit.

Meltdown and Spectre are extremely serious vulnerabilities that allow programs to steal information that is stored in the memory of your computer. Normally programs are isolated from each other and aren’t allowed to read data from other software on your computer without permission, however, it has become apparent that a flaw enabling this is present in most computer processors. This means that passwords and other sensitive data can be obtained and used without your knowledge.

Nearly every device, whether it be a laptop, desktop, a mobile device including smartphones and tablets, or cloud software is affected by this risk, and you will not be able to tell if someone is taking advantage of Meltdown or Spectre on your device.  Antivirus software does not protect users against these and so a patch must be installed to protect against these vulnerabilities.

There is no proof yet that malicious activity has occurred as a result of Meltdown or Spectre, however, it is essential that action is taken as soon as possible to protect your data and privacy.

 

What we’re doing for our clients:

If you are on an activCare essentials service plan, we will review your environment and advise you if any action is required, however, in most cases your systems should be up to date shortly without any substantial intervention from us.

For activCare plus and premium clients, we will review your environment and take action where it is required to keep your systems as safe as possible over the coming days. You do not need to do anything other than sit back and relax.

If you have engaged us in an ad hoc or break-fix fashion (and don’t have a service plan with us), it is very likely your environments will need IT intervention to mitigate this very serious risk; please contact us at support@aitsys.com.au if you would like us to review your environment and formulate an action plan with you.

 

What you can do:

  • Be extremely vigilant with email attachments, websites you visit, and files you download – more so than normal – and pass this on to your office colleagues urging them to do the same.
  • For any of your devices, ensure that you have installed the latest available updates. Windows, Apple and Google have all recently released updates which will help protect a range of devices from Meltdown and Spectre, with more patches on the way for other devices.
    Be extremely careful and ensure you back up all of your files on your smartphones, such as photos and videos, as we have seen many cases of updates breaking Apple iPhones and losing data within.

 

Further reading

We love that you’re interested in cyber security, so please check out these pages for more information. Most of it is in plain English 🙂

 

Queries

This is a complex but very serious matter – please do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 228 480 or support@aitsys.com.au if you have any questions!

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