Preventive Maintenance - At the Core of Our Processes
Our IT support philosophy emphasizes preventive maintenance rather than reactive "fire drills". We have installed several applications on your machine that monitor, maintain, and update your system around the clock. While most of what we do will be invisible to you (these applications run in the background), you may need to occasionally restart the machine when prompted.
Your Responsibilities - Daily and Nightly Actions
It is therefore important to adopt the following routine:
- During the workday, save your work regularly.
- At the end of your workday, quit all open applications.
- Log out of your user account, but don’t shut down your machine.
- Leave the computer plugged in, turned on, and connected to the internet, overnight.
For laptop users who take their machines home, the above applies to you too. Your laptop cannot be updated if it is sitting in your bag, or if the lid is closed. Since systems maintenance tasks are often scheduled to occur at night, if your computer is turned off or not connected to the internet, the update will occur the next time you are connected (probably during your workday).
One more thing: Certain software cannot be updated by Smart Sourced IT, and you will need to perform the upgrades yourself. Examples include:
- Adobe Creative Cloud Apps (which you update from the Adobe CC icon in your system tray or menu bar)
- Anything you've downloaded from the Mac or Windows app stores using your own AppleID or Windows ID.
- Any applications you've downloaded directly from a software vendor.
Smart Sourced IT works as your organization’s IT department. Some examples of what we do are:
- Respond to “help”, “how to”, and “please do this” requests from end users.
- Proactively check the health of computers, and alert users to impending issues.
- Push operating system and common software updates to machines that need them.
- Scan systems for virus/malware infections and security breaches.
- Install and configure new computers, peripherals, and mobile devices.
- Decommission old equipment and advise on its disposal.
- Maintain servers, cloud based applications, and users’ authentication to these systems.
- Onboard / Offboard users and train staff when needed.
- Hold quarterly IT status updates with your leadership team.
Most of our work is done remotely, with minimum involvement from end users. When an issue (filed by you or discovered by us) arises that requires your involvement, we will call or email you to resolve it, and then use screensharing tools to see what you are seeing and implement a fix.
Tools We Use: LANrev
Although most updates we install do not require a machine restart, and will occur silently while you work, there are a few that will require you to reboot your machine within 9 days of installation (you have 7 days during which to allow the software to be installed, and a further 2 days after installation before the machine will be force restarted to install the update). Such alerts will come from LANrev (previously known as Absolute Manage) as in the two screenshots below. It is very important that your machine be left plugged in, turned on, lid open (for laptops) and connected to the internet each night -overnight- so these tasks can occur.
Tools We Use: Sophos Endpoint Security and Encryption
This tool runs periodic virus and malware scans, filters offending web traffic, and alerts you –and us- if your machine has been infected. It also ensures your computer meets the device encryption policies set by your organization. Do not replace this application with any other antivirus tools.
Other Tools We Use
Besides the above, we also use screensharing tools (LogMeIn), remote backup tools (CrashPlan), system health check tools (SSI Beacon), and network discovery tools (Meraki Systems Manager).
How to Reach Your IT Support Desk
Our support staff are available during regular business hours of 9am - 6pm (US Pacific Time) Monday through Friday, excluding US federal holidays.
The simplest way to reach us is by clicking the SSI Beacon from your Menu Bar (Mac) or System Tray (PC), then selecting your choice of email, web form, or phone callback. We respond to requests on the basis of severity and time since reported. Please report any issue, big or small, so we can begin addressing it before it mutates into a critical matter.
This short video provides a demo of the SSI Beacon:
A Note About Passwords
When your machine is first set up, we provide a series of temporary passwords for you to use to log into your computer and cloud service accounts. We ask that you change these passwords to ones only you know, and that they be complex passwords with a minimum of 12 characters, a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and one or two special characters. Realizing that it is impossible to remember every password for every service, we suggest using a password management tool like 1Password, LastPass, or DashLane, rather than writing these passwords on a piece of paper.
We look forward to working with you in the months and years to come. Welcome aboard!