Largest San Diego Union Chooses Skyriver IT for Managed IT Services

SEUI

SEIU 221, the largest union in San Diego, has chosen Skyriver IT for Managed IT Services

Skyriver IT is proud to announce that SEIU 221, the largest union in San Diego, has chosen Skyriver IT for Managed IT Services. Part of the Service Employees International Union, SEIU Local 221 represents San Diego County employees, employees in cities across San Diego and Imperial Counties, Head Start employees, school employees, and Court Reporters.

Skyriver IT is committed to helping the union find ways to increase efficiencies within their IT operations and bring more value to its members.

At Skyriver IT, we have made it our mission to eliminate the frustration that often comes from working with other IT professionals. We look forward to providing SEIU 221 with frustration-free IT, so they can focus on serving their union members.

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Calculating The Real Cost of Custom-Built Software

IT Consulting Team

Skyriver IT delivers frustration-free IT. We provide small and midsize life sciences companies with the information needed to make better IT and business decisions.

As a life sciences company, you may be using or have considered custom-built software. While most business people get an accurate estimate of the initial cost of getting the software built (although that can balloon as well), two large post-build costs of custom-built software are often overlooked:

1) Maintenance and Support Costs

While most off-the-shelf software provides free software updates and low cost or free support, the maintenance and support costs of custom-built software can frequently cost more over the software’s lifetime than the initial build. For example, any hardware additions or replacement can require software updates if the hardware deviates at all from the original hardware for which the software was built. Plus, after the initial “warranty” period, any bugs found in the software require paid development time to fix.

So when looking at the costs and benefits of custom-built software, be sure to include the costs of a support contract (and be sure to know what is included and what is not) or budget for maintenance and support.

2) System Downtime

Custom software is more likely to have bugs than off-the-shelf software because it is not tested nearly as thoroughly, since that would dramatically increase the cost of development. So, you are likely to have downtime with custom software. The important question to ask is how your company will deal with downtime? Can you afford to have a server or lab equipment be down for 1-3 business days? Or, do you need some type of backup to support you during any downtime.

The important thing is to plan for some software and system failures so that you can have a contingency plan in place before it happens.

For our clients, we typically recommend they use off-the-shelf solutions whenever possible. However, that is not always practical. So when you choose custom-built software, be sure to include all of the costs of the software.

About Skyriver IT
Skyriver IT delivers frustration-free IT. We provide small and midsize life sciences companies with the information needed to make better IT and business decisions. If you would like to discuss how we can help make your IT frustration free, please feel free to call (858) 812-9322 or visit www.SkyriverIT.com

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Why Do Internal IT Projects Take So Long?

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Is your IT Team trained in Project Management?

Most business leaders have faced challenges getting an internal IT project done. Projects that seem like they should only take a few weeks take months to complete. Or even worse, important projects never getting completed.

In my experience, IT people tend not to be closely managed in companies of less than 250 employees. Business managers do not have a strong knowledge of IT, so they let the IT team manage their own projects. However, most IT people have never been trained in a key skill for project success: project management.

Even IT people with 15+ years experience may not have a good grasp on project management, because they have never been trained. Good project management involves understanding what resources are needed, who needs to provide those resources, and the timing for those resources. When things are not planned out well, projects that should only take a few weeks can take months to complete or never get done at all.

So, if projects with your internal IT team are taking much longer than they should, you would do well to invest in teaching your team project management skills. A small investment upfront will make future IT projects go much more smoothly.

About Skyriver IT
Skyriver IT delivers frustration-free IT. We provide small and midsize companies with the information they need to make better IT and business decisions. If you would like to discuss how we can help make your IT frustration free, please call me at (858) 812-9322 or visit http://www.skyriverit.com/

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Don’t Fall Hostage to Your IT Team

IT Services

The right IT Team should never make you feel like you’re held hostage.

Do you ever feel like a hostage to your IT people? It’s a common feeling, because there is often a lack of proper IT documentation. I have frequently seen companies that stay with their IT provider for months, even when there is a significant drop in service. They feel like a hostage when they do not have clear documentation on their network and all of the necessary passwords.

Why does this happen? In general, IT engineers don’t like to document things. They would rather solve problems or test new technology than spend time documenting the network. So, if you leave it up to them, it does not get done.

So, how can you avoid being a hostage to your IT team? Even when things are going well, be sure that your IT team (whether internal or external) documents the network and all passwords. So, if your service levels deteriorate, you can quickly move to a new IT provider. Plus, it’s good to have proper documentation if an emergency comes up. If your IT person is on vacation or is out sick, someone else can use the documentation to quickly solve any problems.

As part of our initial work for a new client, Skyriver IT provides documentation for the system including a network diagram and passwords. This allows you to be be more independent of your specific IT team.

About Skyriver IT
Skyriver IT delivers frustration-free IT. We provide small and midsize companies with the information they need to make better IT and business decisions. If you would like to discuss how we can help make your IT frustration free, please feel free to call (858) 812-9322 or visit www.skyriverit.com

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Is Your IP at Risk Because of IT Vulnerabilities?

IT Security for BioTech Companies

IT teams should regularly update anti-virus software, install software updates, and make sure Windows patches are up to date. That provides protection against known threats.

As a biotech company, you spend a lot of money on intellectual property, and if you are not careful, your IT vulnerabilities can put that IP at risk. As a business manager, you understand the value of your intellectual property, but you may not have a good grasp of your IT security situation. (And don’t assume your IT team truly understands the security needs of your business.) It is worth the extra effort to understand your IT security situation and make sure that your IT infrastructure protects your IP.

However, taking IT security seriously does not mean you have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide a secure environment. You just need clear policies and discipline that ensures your IT people keep your machines and network secure. For example, your IT teams should regularly update anti-virus software, install software updates, and make sure Windows patches are up to date. That provides protection against known threats.

In addition to protecting individual PCs and servers, there are layers of protection that you can add. For example, intrusion detection and intrusion prevention helps you understand when there is unusual activity on your network and shut it down. You can add other layers of protection so that everything is not relying on your anti-virus program. One way is to protect your network at the point of entry to stop hackers before they even get close to your individual machines.

With a little discipline and clear protocols, you can dramatically increase your IT security.

About Skyriver IT
At Skyriver IT, we focus on providing cost effective approaches to protecting your IP and network in general.  Why stress about IT when we can take care of it for you?

Skyriver IT delivers frustration-free IT. We provide small and midsize companies with the information needed to make better IT and business decisions. If you would like to discuss how we can help make your IT frustration free, please feel free to call (858) 812-9322 or visit http://www.skyriverit.com/

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An Important Business Lesson from the Super Bowl Power Outage

footballMany people talked about the power outage at the Super Bowl and how embarrassing it was  that this happened to the biggest sporting event of the year. However, what many people are missing is that the power was only out for 34 minutes.

What would have been the consequences if they could not get the power back on for 4 hours, or even 24 hours? All of the fans would have gone home, and probably demanded refunds. They would have had to play the game again on another day, which would have created all kinds of logistical challenges. Instead, people were only inconvenienced for 34 minutes.

The company that manages the Superdome was not happy with having redundant power supplies (two lines) to the Superdome. They recently added a third supply for additional insurance. While the failure of the switchgear was a surprise, they were able to move over to the alternate line so the game could resume.

The lesson here is that you need to think about potential disruptions to your business and how you would deal with them. This is called business continuity planning. If a problem is likely to occur, or the impact would be severe, you need a plan for alternatives that would keep your business up and running. For example, if you have multiple office locations, could your other offices continue to function even if power is knocked out in your main office?

As the old adage goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and it could not be more true than in developing a business continuity plan. A little work now could save you a lot of problems when disaster strikes.

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Using Virtualization for More Server Uptime

Virtualization makes your operating system, applications and data independent of a single physical machine.

Virtualization makes your operating system, applications and data independent of a single physical machine.

Virtualization is a powerful way to reduce your reliance on a single physical server. With virtualization your operating system, applications and data are independent of a single physical machine. You can put more than one virtual server on a single machine, or you can spread a virtual server across more than one machine.

By leveraging this technology, you can ensure that you reduce your risk of server downtime. You can do this in one of two ways:

The first way to minimize downtime is to spread your virtual server across several physical machines. While your server acts as a single server, it actually uses the computing power of several physical machines. So, if any single machine fails, your virtual server continues to run with a little less computing power until the physical machine can be replaced.

If you do not need the computing power of several physical machines, you can still take advantage of virtualization. Your IT team can take regular “pictures” of your virtual server. So, if there is ever a problem with the physical machine your server is running on, your IT team can use the “picture” of your server to get up and running on a new machine in minutes rather than the hours it can take to restore a typical backup of a server.

Whichever way you choose to use virtualization, it is a great tool to ensure more uptime for your servers.

Want to learn more about how virtualization can benefit your company? Contact SkyriverIT.com

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