Deploying Devices and Software in the Field

Managing the devices and related software and web applications you have deployed in the field can be a complicated undertaking. Now IT Connects has decades of experience managing device and software deployment remotely. Here are a few tips we’ve learned over the years.

Move Essential Tools to the Cloud

If you manage software locally across multiple sites, it’s time to upgrade your management strategy. Keeping software localized to single locations silos data and makes it onerous for your team to collaborate. This setup also makes it more difficult to troubleshoot software issues as they arise.

Instead, upgrade your software to cloud-based solutions. Start with your company’s server network to make data available across all of your locations. We often recommend Microsoft Azure to our clients because of how easy it is to migrate data to Azure. Plus, since your data is on a Microsoft platform, your team can use all of your favorite Microsoft 365 tools to access it and collaborate, wherever they are.

If you have software deployed on mobile devices in the field, cloud-based solutions are indispensable. Web applications and other cloud-based tools can be updated and maintained from a single location in real time, making it easy to keep your team up and running.

Manage Devices from a Single Dashboard

Gathering all the information about your deployed devices and software into a single place is absolutely essential. Mobile device management software, or MDM, allows you to see, track, and manage all mobile devices you own and operate in the field from one place, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. You can locate lost devices, shut down devices, and make software and security updates all from a single dashboard.

Automate Backups, Monitoring, and Alerts

Mobile device management and other IT management tools allow you to automate many essential tasks, even when your devices are spread out across multiple sites. From a single piece of cloud-based software, you can automate data backups and continuously monitor all devices from a central place. Any alerts or emergent needs also come through the dashboard so you can resolve issues quickly, minimizing downtime.

We can help you find the right tools to help you keep track of your assets or take the entire responsibility off your hands. Get in touch with Now IT Connects today to see what’s possible for your company.

How to Migrate from Local Servers to the Cloud

How to Migrate from Local Servers to the Cloud_now it connects

So, you’ve finally made the decision to migrate to a cloud-based server like Microsoft Azure. Congratulations on taking the next step in making your business scalable, more productive, and more secure!

Migrating your data and systems over to the cloud is a big undertaking, and you don’t want to lose any valuable information in the process. To make the migration go as smoothly as possible, we recommend following these four steps.

Step 1: Take Stock of Your Software and Apps

The first step in the data migration process is to create an inventory of all of your current applications and software that will need to move to the cloud. Make a list of all of the software everyone at your company uses. In larger organizations, it may be helpful to tackle this department by department.

In the process, you will likely uncover tools that are rarely used or are no longer helpful or valuable. If that’s the case, consider using your migration to the cloud as the opportunity to get rid of these programs. Before you cut any tools, however, confirm that other applications and software don’t rely on them to operate. Dependencies between applications can complicate the migration process. If you fail to migrate tools that other apps depend on, your whole system may break down until you resolve the issue.

Step 2: Develop a Migration Plan

IT professionals use six migration strategies when they move data from local servers to the cloud. Rehosting your servers creates a clone of your current local servers and moves that clone to the cloud. Replatforming transfers applications from the local server directly to the cloud.

Refactoring makes changes to the code of applications to optimize them for cloud-based use. Repurchasing may be required if you are moving from individual licenses for your servers to a SaaS provider. Retiring applications and software that you no longer use is often a part of the migration strategy. Finally, some companies find they must retain certain applications that cannot be migrated to the cloud.

Step 3: Create and Implement a Backup Plan

Before you move your data and system to the cloud, make sure you have a robust and efficient backup plan in place. Sometimes, moving data from local servers to the cloud can cause issues with software and apps. Having a backup allows you to reload these tools and try again.

Another thing to consider is how you will back up your data once it’s on the cloud. Most cloud-based server providers offer backup tools and best practices training that can keep your data safe, including automated backups. In addition to these fail-safes, train your staff on how to use the new cloud-based server and avoid accidental data losses while using the system.

Step 4: Migrate Your Data

Once you’ve taken an inventory of all the programs you wish to move, developed a migration plan, and implemented a backup strategy, it’s time to take the plunge and migrate your local servers to the cloud. Working with a reputable and professional IT company can help the process go smoothly and allow you to continue to focus on running your business as your servers are moved to the cloud.

For help with your server migration or to learn more about cloud-based server options, get in touch with the Now IT Connects team today.

Introduction to Microsoft Azure

introduction to microsoft azure_now it connects

Hitting a wall with your local server network? Keeping your company’s data on local servers can limit your productivity and your ability to scale your business. When we encounter businesses who’ve reached this stage of frustration with their local servers, it’s likely we’ll recommend a cloud-based solution such as Microsoft Azure.

What Is Microsoft Azure?

Azure is Microsoft’s cloud-based server product, where your data is stored remotely on the cloud rather than in a server closet in your office. It offers companies Microsoft’s computing expertise and reliability as well as multilayered security and scalability. Manufacturers, health care organizations, retailers, and financial service providers all use Azure to run their business networks.

How Can Azure Help Me Save Money?

Not only is Azure often more affordable than other cloud-based network options, such as AWS, it can also save you money in the long term. Azure is more than cloud-based storage. It’s powerful software that helps you understand your company’s data better. This can lead to cost savings in other areas of your business. Azure also offers ways to optimize your workloads and your spending on cloud computing to optimize your costs.

Can Microsoft Azure Help My Team Collaborate?

When your company’s data is managed on Azure, it empowers apps, software, and your team to communicate more effectively than is possible on a local server network. You can gather data from across different systems and view and analyze it from a single dashboard. Azure can host and support your favorite collaborative tools, such as Teams, OneDrive, and Outlook, too.

What Does It Take to Migrate to Azure?

Moving your entire network from local servers to the cloud may seem like a big deal, and it is. Fear of the unknown and the work of moving a network to the cloud keeps many companies from taking the plunge.

But with the right support, migrating to Azure or any other cloud-based network can be the move that takes your business to the next level. It can improve your team’s productivity and make it possible for you to scale your business.

Now IT Connects has helped all sorts of businesses move to the cloud. Give us a call or shoot us an email today to learn how we can help you take your business to the next level.

Case Study: Upgrading a Construction Company’s IT Infrastructure

upgrading construction company's IT infrastructure_now it connects

When Lakehead Constructors was moving not one but both of its locations, IT director Matt Dallam knew it was time to upgrade the company’s IT infrastructure from localized servers to cloud-based solutions. He knew the upgrade would make the company’s entire operation more efficient, but he didn’t realize just how much more time he’d be able to redirect to other projects.

About Lakehead Constructors

Based in Superior, Wisconsin, with an office in Aurora, Minnesota, Lakehead Constructors is a commercial construction company that got its start in 1916 building large-scale harbor facilities. Today, the Lakehead team completes large-scale commercial and industrial construction projects across the Upper Midwest. Since its staff is split between two locations and maintains a large field crew, the company relies on its IT infrastructure to keep its team connected and productive.

Lakehead Constructors’ IT Challenge

Matt knew that most of Lakehead Constructors’ IT infrastructure was reaching end-of-life, and some legacy hardware and software were well past that milestone. With the company’s impending moves at both of its locations, it was a great time to upgrade its localized IT infrastructure and move to cloud-based solutions that would require less hands-on maintenance and allow the company to scale.

Now IT Connects’ IT Solution

Matt contacted Now IT Connects for help moving their on-premises systems to the cloud. After reviewing Lakehead Constructors’ IT needs, the Now IT Connects team chose Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Exchange to host the company’s servers, email, and other applications. Older switches and routers got upgrades, and the Now IT Connects crew installed new firebox equipment as part of an improved cyber security plan.

The Result

Now that Lakehead Constructors’ system is cloud-based, the crew has an easier time working remotely. The improved IT infrastructure is easy to manage and maintain and offers much more peace of mind than the on-premises system did. Since the new system has been in place, Matt has spent less time on weekends managing the hardware, too.

“Since working with Now IT Connects, our system has been much better everywhere,” explains Matt. “It’s faster, it’s more secure, and I spend less time on infrastructure and network management.”

Cloud-Based Computing for the Remote Workforce

Cloud-Based Computing for the Remote Workforce

The past year definitely made the case for cloud-based computing, as the cloud is what empowered many companies to move to a remote workforce in 2020. Cloud-based technologies have more than proved their worth these last 12 months. If you’re still running your business off local servers in your office, or have hobbled together several cloud-based technologies out of necessity, it’s time to get strategic about the cloud.

The Case for Cloud-Based Computing

Imagine a workweek where every tool you need is at your fingertips, whether you’re at the office or at home. These tools work seamlessly together. The document or spreadsheet you’re working on is automatically saved and backed up, so you never lose your work or your data. You never accidentally delete an email. The recording of your last meeting with your client is available to review as soon as it wraps up, and you can share your notes from that meeting with your colleagues with a click of a button. When you log off for the weekend, you know all of your data is safe from harm because it’s protected by two-factor authentication and automated backup.

That’s what cloud-based computing can do for your workweek. It takes away many of the frustrations you have about storing and sharing files, collaborating with your team, and backing up physical servers.

Choosing a Cloud-Based Server

So, how do you go about moving your operations to the cloud? Find an IT partner like Now IT Connects! Having a knowledgeable, professional, and cloud-smart team like us takes the stress out of setting up your new work environment. We have the product expertise, know-how, and experience to develop a cloud-based strategy for your company.

Our favorite cloud computing tool is Microsoft Azure. It’s built specifically for businesses and contains hundreds of apps so you can move your entire operation to the cloud. Azure uses AI and machine learning to uncover data insights and keep your data safe.

Microsoft Exchange is an email and calendaring tool that helps teams communicate more efficiently. It’s highly customizable, has tools to foster collaboration, and makes setting appointments a breeze. Microsoft Exchange email servers are highly secure so your inboxes and data are continually protected.

Making the Migration to the Cloud

It’s easy to grasp the benefits of migrating your business operations to the cloud. The hard part is making the move to your new cloud-based system. Migrating any process from one tool to another is complicated and time-consuming, which is why we recommend you work with an experienced team of IT professionals. The Now IT Connects team will work with you to design a cloud-based solution for your business, then complete the migration and implementation for you.

Ready to learn more? We’re here to help. Contact Now IT Connects today to discover with the cloud can do for you.