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Small Business Phone Systems in Fort Smith

 

We are proud to be a Samsung authorized dealer for the River Valley. Our relationship with Samsung goes back several years and we have many systems in the area. The piece below speaks to the benefits the Samsung Officeserv systems bring to small business. Please read below and use the button at the bottom if we provide more information on how a new phone system can help your business.  

Don't forget we have customer appreciation day on Friday November 8th. Send an email to tcole@newroadstelecom.com to let us know how many to expect!

Newroads Telecom Samsung

Newroads Telecom Samsung Fort Smith

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Fort Smith - Time to Upgrade from Windows XP

 

Windows XP and Office 2003 support ends April 8th, 2014. Microsoft offers support for a minimum of 10 years on all Windows and Office products, so they figure now is the right time. Newroads Telecom Microsoft Partner

What does that mean for your small business that is still running XP? Sorry, but it's time to upgrade. After April 8th there will be no new security tupdates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates. In reality what it means is the software updates for your other applications will most likely cease to be supported soon as well.

Maybe the biggest issue is the security and complicance issues. Unsupported operating systems are ripe for attacks, which can lead to any number of issues possibly including the suspension of various certifications including suspension of services by your internet service provider.

Newroads Technology Group suggests you get with us to discuss what your options are and how we can help.

The good news is you have 6 months to implement the change, the bad news is you have 6 months to implement the change. For small to medium businesses that can be ample time to migrate, but you do not need to delay any longer. Use the button below to find out how we can help and answer any questions you might have. Here is the link to the official Microsoft announcement and details page. 

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Fort Smith's only Toshiba Dealer

 

Many businesses (small to large) are looking at equipment purchases in the 4th quarter. Phone system sales always begin to pick up this time of year. It's hard to believe that almost one year ago Newroads completed it's purchase of Service Communications and the Toshiba Dealer network that came with it. We'll get into Toshiba's features and benefits in another post, today I want you to be aware of something none of Toshiba's competitors are offering.

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Have small businesses in Fort Smith planned for disaster?

 

This article was featured on Spiceworks website. The original article can be found here.

This is the 244th article in the Spotlight on IT series. If you'd be interested in writing an article on the subject of backup, security, storage, virtualization, mobile, networking, wireless, cloud and SaaS, or MSPs for the series PM Eric to get started.


Photo credit: Cedward Brice

Down in southern Arizona, we get some very, very wild thunderstorms. During the monsoon, they hit suddenly and can be exceedingly violent. Usually these deluges are out in the desert, away from town, and are fun to watch but pose very little threat to homes and businesses in town. This year, that was NOT the case.

I’m the sole IT manager for a large group of automotive dealerships. Our system isn’t terribly complicated, but it relies heavily on our fiber Internet connection because the vast majority of our business applications are cloud based or hosted off site. We also use a SIP-trunked VoIP phone system, so virtually everything we do here is dependent on our ability to get out. Our system is running on a Layer-2 Metro Ethernet provided by our ISP. It’s fantastic because I have direct access to almost everything in our system, but the Achilles’ heel is our central network room — one or two key components in there run everything. The two most important pieces of equipment are of course our UTM router and our primary switch that handles our VLANs.

The worst month for monsoon storms is July and let me assure you, this past July was the worst I’ve seen in 13 years here. We had a night storm that lasted for about six hours that was literally right on top of our town. The thunderclaps were so loud they shook my apartment to the extent I was worried about windows breaking.

Around 4 a.m., I woke up to my cell phone alerting me of a problem with our system. I have an outside service that pings our router at regular intervals. Sure enough, I attempted to log in to my router, and it was down.

Then I realized MY home Internet connection was down, too! Thinking it was just an area-wide outage, (our ISP is very good at recovering from unforeseen outages) I took my time getting up. So, I showered and wandered into work.

By the time I got to work, the ISP had re-established Internet, but virtually half of our company was not back online. A quick trip to the central network room and a bit of investigation and I quickly found that one of our primary L2+ switches had been zapped by lightning along with a wireless backhaul that feeds one of our smaller dealerships.

Now, I’m fairly certain the surge that took out the switch is the same one that brought down the wireless backhaul. I had been careful to install an arrester block as close to the backhaul hardware as possible and even tested that it was properly grounded. But, apparently that wasn’t enough.

One of my policies — and believe me, it took a while to convince my boss it this was worth doing — is to keep a backup of key pieces of equipment on hand. This includes a Layer 2+ 48-port switch and a spare UTM router. It was a big investment, but being down for one to two days is not an option. When I buy other smaller items, like the surge arrester, I tend to spec out at least two units.

My boss understands that while I may not need two units now, or possibly ever, being in a relatively small town we have to invest to have equipment on hand.

So, I quickly got the backup switch in place, changed out the wireless backhaul and the blown arrester, and we were back up and fully operational by noon! I then ordered and installed indoor, in-line surge arresters on every network line that connects to an outdoor device. I had the boss approve the purchase of another switch, and we were good.

All told, I lost a lot of equipment at another of our locations that also had a switch blown out that night and a backhaul at a third location was ripped off the roof by the severe winds.

I learned a lesson about “assuming it won’t happen,” and I looked the hero because I was able to recover from a significant “act of God” outage quickly. My recommendation: Talk to the powers that be about keeping redundant critical equipment on hand, and don’t think that just because it hasn’t happened to you yet that it won’t ever.

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How do you know if you are properly equiped for a disaster like the one above? Use the button below to find out how Newroads Technology can help. 

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8 Interesting Facts - Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Famous Businesses Infographic
Source: Today I found out

*Newroads Telecom has not verified the authenticity of the claims made in this graphic. 

Small Business, the Cloud and Fort Smith - Newroads Technology Group

 

Cloud based file sharing has been around for some time now. Does your company use cloud based file sharing? If not, what are you waiting for? Oh, you don't know what it is....well then. Newroads Technology Group File Sharing

Cloud based file sharing allows your company to work without file servers for the most part. Saving costs related to the servers can be a big savings for a company, and the possiblity exists to do away with virual private networks (VPN) in some cases. Some of the more popular cloud based offerings include - Dropbox, Google Apps, egnyte, OpenDrive. 

All of the above mentioned vendors have their pros and cons, you should enlist the help of professionals when considering your options. 

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For instance some cloud based file share vendors don't allow for media streaming on their service. Clearly that would not work for an advertising agency, but could it for an insurance office? Probably...

So as to avoid confusion, cloud sharing is not cloud backup. You should have your company's valuable business information stored and secured via online cloud backup if that is the best solution for your company.

If you are wary of another technology gimmick I would certainly suggest giving cloud sharing some of your consideration. This service is actually perfect for testing to see your particular needs. If you're a small business owner you should open an account with a service provider and give it a try with a small sampling of files and see what you think. We would love to hear your opinion. Please share below. 

Did you know May 1st Newroads Telecom celebrated our 13th anniversary here in Fort Smith!Welcome Fort Smith resized 600

Interesting Facts - Newroads Technology Group

 

Found an interesting infographic that some might find interesting related to our governments history with computers/IT. Hope you enjoy. To visit the website for more information please visit here.  

Also, remember our Free Network Assessment program ends September 30th. Don't delay, get on the calendar today!

Newroads Telecom

5 Tips for your computer health

 

Like many, if not all, of you I would like to find the person who invented the computer virusnewroads technology group anti virus and inflict some bodily harm! But since I can't do that, and I would advise against you trying:) I can share some tips for you to keep your computer virus free. 

  1. Never open an email or attachment from a suspicious address or name (spam filters have helped a lot)
  2. Stay up to date on your anti - virus updates (see bullet point #6 here)
  3. Always back up your files - ALWAYS
  4. Let Newroads Technology Group put our own proprietary anti - virus software on your computer (you know that free Norton is out of date and therefore worthless)
  5. Do not waste time if you think your computer is infected, call Newroads Technology Group today and let the professionals handle the problem.
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Small Business IT

 

Recently the IT community group Spiceworks published their annual state of Small Business report. 

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After interviewing over 1,000 IT specialists here are some of the noteworthy findings:

  • 6% of companies with less than 20 employees are reducing IT personnel
  • Small business with fewer than 20 employees have tripled their IT budget in 2013 over 2012
  • Smartphones have stalled and tablets are exploding
  • 46% of SMB plan to purchase new hardware vs. 24% upgrading
  • Conversly, 13% of SMB will purchase new software with 51% choosing to upgrade existing software
  • Cloud business is booming, accounting for 12% of annual IT budgets this year
So what to make of that. Obviously Small Business is seeing the need to invest in technology. Whether it be hardware infrastructure or upgrading software. 
We have known for some time that there is value in outsourcing some or all of your IT professional needs for SMB. With budgets tripling in one year and companies with fewer employees cutting staff that confirms what we are seeing. 
SMB has embraced the cloud and its efficiencies. Just a couple of years ago that was certainly not the case. 
Click our link below and look at a few of the services we offer help with. 
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Small Business Expo -

 

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This year on August 29th, Go Ye Employment Services is presenting our 2nd Annual Small Business Resource Expo.  This is a free expo to attend, and consists of the largest single gathering of small business resources that businesses statewide can take advantage of.  It will be hosted at the Fort Smith Convention Center from 8 am until 5 pm.  Our exhibitors will not consist of companies trying to sell you on their services, but instead will be made up of government funded (state and federal) agencies that exist to help you grow and develop your business.  Exhibitors such as the Small Business Administration, Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center, Arkansas Small Business Technology & Development Center, Arkansas Minority Supplier Development Council, and many more! (For full list of exhibitors visit our website at www.workfortsmith.org)

Our expo also boasts two of the most informative speakers you are likely to hear, speaking on the most relevant topics of the times.  Mr Ted Phlegar of the US Chamber of Commerce will present at 11 am and talk on many different bills that are being introduced and voted on and how they will affect your business.  Mr Sylvester Smith will be our second speaker, going on stage around 12:00 pm.  Sylvester will present his updated presentation on the Affordable Care Act (AKA ObamaCare) and dissect the soon to be implemented Individual Mandate and how it affects you individually and your business, as well as the looming Employer Mandate.  It will be difficult to get any better information on these topics than what you will get from these two men.  And just to re-iterate, this is a completely free event!  There is no cost for you to come and visit with the exhibitors, or come listen in to our lunch speakers.  And just to further incentivize you, if you RSVP by August 27th, you will be provided with a free lunch to enjoy during the speakers.

I’m starting to ramble, and I have yet to discuss the Town Hall meeting that will be held at 3 pm later in the afternoon with an expert panel of professionals and legislators….but you can find out more about that by visiting our website to stay updated on all of the developments.  www.workfortsmith.org

fort smith small business expo

My name is Miles Crawford, and I have been working at family owned Go Ye Employment Services for over 7 years now.  I am a Certified Staffing Professional™ through the American Staffing Association, which helps to represent the dedication to excellence we offer to our clients.  Go Ye Employment Services is a locally owned staffing agency, and a far cry from your typical staffing agency.  As opposed to specializing in high turnover, “warm body” type staffing arrangements, we prefer to partner with other local small businesses and work with them to develop their business.  We have a very “hands on” approach and become a business partner with our clients more so than a vendor.  And because of using this type of approach, we have founded the Small Business Resource Expo.

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