Riven Associates specialises in outsourced IT support for small to medium sized businesses. We love looking after customers’ IT systems, making sure you can go about your daily business with no interruptions. It’s true, IT systems do have problems from time to time and it’s our job to get them working again and we are happy to help.
Whenever you call our support desk our team will be ready and willing to deal with your request and begin to get things working again.
OK so you’re thinking about taking Riven’s award-winning IT support, here’s what we need to do. As a new customer we need to carry out a network health check, the purpose of which is to examine the IT systems you have and gain an understanding of how your business uses its IT systems.
The health check is a thorough document, so much so that it forms the basis of all your system documentation. From here we gain an appreciation of how your current level of IT support works alongside your business and whether it is sufficient.
The next stage is simple: we help guide you through the level of support required and what your business is used to. It’s at this point that we work our IT magic and tailor the IT support to your individual needs.
“No two businesses are the same – at Riven we know this.”
We know most companies are changing for a reason and so more often than not there is work to be done to improve your current systems. Don’t worry, we take care of all of this too and work with you to deal with those problems or upgrades that have been looming over you.
That’s it. Our experience and skills make sure all your IT support needs are taken care of – Physical, Virtual or in the Cloud.
Virtualisation is one of the most significant recent advances in business technology and can apply to both Servers and Desktops.
In basic terms it refers to software that allows you to run more than one operating system at a time on a single server – the software ‘virtually’ creates multiple servers out of one single physical server.
This means you can have a single physical server running 1, 2 or even 4 operating systems at the same time.
The control software that runs to make all of this possible resides on the server and is what makes virtualisation possible. This software allows the physical hardware to be shared out among the virtual machines convincing each operating system that it has its own exclusive set of hardware to use – all clever stuff.
Needless to say there are lots of other factors to consider but this technology is becoming more and more common, even for small businesses. You can speak to us at Riven Associates to learn about how a virtual environment can help your business.
Riven Associates will help you select the platform you use as this will depend on what you need to accomplish with the technology. Other factors to consider include the IT infrastructure that you currently have and your level of technical expertise. We can do all the hard work for you and make this process as easy as possible.
If you are considering virtualisation technology, here are Riven’s Top Ten reasons that you may wish to consider.
Virtualisation Top 10… in no particular order
- Server Performance – The utilisation level of physical servers is on average only 15 – 20% due to extra capacity being required to allow for peaks in server performance. Rather than leaving this spare facility to remain idle, virtual servers allow this free capacity to be used for running more than one server operating system on a single hardware platform.
- Being Green – Energy costs continue to consume an ever greater share of company budgets, and demand on energy is constantly increasing. Virtualisation solutions help companies to reduce energy costs and achieve carbon emission targets.
- Reduce Overheads – The hardware for physical servers will need to be replaced approximately every three to five years. Unlike hardware, virtual servers never wear out so physical server replacements do not require a complete rebuild of a virtualised image.
- Increased Flexibility – Server virtualisation allows the user to rapidly build a new server in order that new applications can be swiftly deployed. In addition, rather than the necessity for having one physical server for testing and another for production, the same physical server can house multiple workload types and functions, such as development and test, production and other capabilities. This increased flexibility and consolidation is facilitated by the use of consistent hardware builds.
- Better Availability – Owning backup servers was previously a very expensive but necessary solution, whereas images are all able to share several physical servers via virtual servers. If hardware fails, virtual images can automatically be relayed to another physical server.
- Reduce Costs – It helps to reduce costs as you don’t need to buy additional hardware. Virtualization also helps cut down on maintenance costs that you would incur if you had more physical servers.
- Business Continuity – Virtualisation offers great business continuity opportunities. Along with reduced downtimes and increased security, virtualisation helps deliver immediate and effective disaster recovery.
- Less Space – Virtualisation helps save space as you don’t need to buy additional physical servers.
- Test Environment – It’s an ideal testing environment. A virtual server works well as a test environment or “sandbox” as it is isolated from other servers. Test new applications or new configurations without having to purchase new hardware – “Will the new version work well on this hardware?”~
- Maintain Legacy Applications – If you do have an old application that has compatibility issues with newer software or that must run on a certain version of an operating system, you can dedicate a virtual machine just for those applications. By doing this, your IT system and planning won’t be held back because of a few old applications.
Cloud Computing, Cloud Services and Hosted Services are all common buzzwords and really they all mean the same thing. At Riven Associates we call it Cloud Computing and believe it or not most companies have been doing it for years.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing nowadays generally means running an IT service that traditionally would have been run on in house systems but which is now outsourced to a provider and runs across the internet.
Should we put our IT services in the cloud?
While there’s no single answer to this question, hopefully this information and our expertise at Riven will help you arrive at your conclusion. We have listed here some common cloud services; the important thing to remember is what is right for your business and that Riven Associates can help you.
Whether the final decision means heading straight to cloud computing or developing longer-term plans to eventually head towards cloud computing depends on your specific circumstances. When it comes to the cloud, there is no “one size fits all” approach.
In plain terms, Business Continuity Planning (BCP) refers to the contingencies which a company may choose to put in place in order for it to stay in business in the event of a disaster.
The creation and establishment of this plan (BCP) allows a company to recover and restore interrupted critical IT functions within a predetermined time after the disaster or extended disruption has taken place.
With our help BCP is not as difficult as it seems. Just ask yourself, What if this server failed? Speak to us if you cannot answer that question.
The objective is that BCP should ensure the continued operation of business functions in the event that the company suffers loss of one or more critical IT systems.
Typical disasters include local incidents (such as building fires, flooding or security alerts), regional incidents (for instance earthquakes), or national events (such as pandemic illnesses). However unlikely these events may seem, proper planning, preparation and most importantly, testing of your plan is critical.
Aside from the obvious benefit of enabling a company to recover swiftly from unforeseen IT disruption, there are other reasons for the establishment of a robust BCP:
Compliance: In many industries there is a legal requirement to have a recovery strategy in place.
Customer reassurance: Evidence that a company has an effective continuity plan provides them with a competitive edge on winning and retaining customers. BCP can be an integral demonstration of quality assurance in many industries.
Insurance: Reduced insurance premiums can be secured if there is evidence that a company has effective BCP in place as it is a clear illustration that their business risks are being managed efficiently and effectively.
Increased value: A company which makes use of BCP, and is therefore able to cope with unexpected IT catastrophes, is a more valuable and reliable investment than its competitors who do not make use of this technology.
Network security encompasses the range of measures which a company may establish in order to protect its data, intellectual property and IT systems. In short, you want to keep unwanted people out and make sure your company data is safe and sound.
Such systems prevent internal and external access to the IT systems by unauthorised users and focus on protecting your business from malware attack, viruses, spyware or simple mistakes made by individuals within the organisation.
There are many elements to network security, some of which you probably already have in place. At Riven Associates we are here to make sure that these continue to work and do the job you need them to.
Why do we need Network Security?
Network Security is crucial for businesses as it offers confidence and protection in the face of potential cyber criminal attacks.
Believe it or not these attacks are now so commonplace that you probably don’t know they are happening and that your security is doing its job.
Your IT systems are susceptible to threats from a number of sources but there are some key areas that need to be addressed:
Viruses – Programs created by unscrupulous programmers the purpose of which is for the programs to duplicate themselves and infect computers when activated by a specific event.
Vandals – Destructive software applications.
Data Interception – Spying on communications or modifying data being transmitted.
Social Engineering – Gaining access to confidential network security information via non-technical means e.g. posing as IT support staff and requesting passwords for certain individuals.
Attacks – Reconnaissance attacks (collection of data which is used to destabilise a network), access attacks (exploitation of network weaknesses to gain entry to e-mail, databases and so forth) and denial-of-service attacks which foil access to some or the whole of a computer system.
Thin Client Computing
A thin client or “dumb terminal” generally refers to a computer which has less internal resources than a regular PC or Laptop and is dependent upon the server to carry out the majority of its traditional work. Because Thin Clients typically do not have the computing power of a regular desktop pc or laptop they are often more favorably priced and can eliminate the constant renewal of PC’s.
Typically Thin Client networks utilise Microsoft Terminal Services to provide the desktop environment to the staff.
Speak to us at Riven to find out more about this technology and what it can do for you.
Desktops & Servers
These almost seem old school now as they have been around for so long. The reality is that desktop PC’s, laptops and servers are still very much our bread and butter and make up a good proportion of our business.
We will supply, install and support your desktop PC’s and laptops within your organisation. We will install your PC’s and laptops and configure them to your exact requirements and ensure that they are ready for use by your staff, this includes business applications and custom settings.
Server installations are a little more complex but we make it a breeze. By following migration paths and by carefully project managing and planning your transition to new server hardware we will ensure downtime is reduced as much as possible.
Speak to us to find out how our installation services can help you.