Business solutions

Business networks: What can we do for you

CHC Solutions can help you plan, install, maintain and expand any part or all of your business IT infrastructure. Internet service providers and software and hardware suppliers have support desks but they are often impenetrable. CHC solutions is happy to be your first port of call for all IT problems - we can find the solution more quickly, allowing your staff to get on with their own work.

Most businesses rely upon the stored data within their network, ensuring its security and easy availability should be a primary objective.

We recognise that your business is unique and therefore requires a unique IT solution. With this in mind we offer free consultation and advice to help you choose the solution that is most cost effective and advantageous for you.

The following services are all provided by CHC Solutions at highly competitive rates.

Types of network

There are three types of business network in common use today.

The most common and most simple small office network is a basic peer-to-peer network which allows users to share files and printers. However this option has little flexibility and it is difficult to achieve centralised secure and reliable data backup.

The domain-based network is more common where businesses have five or more users. A domain is a secure container for your network controlled by a Microsoft Windows server promoted to a domain controller. All objects including printers, user accounts, email boxes, computers and servers reside within the domain allowing simple and secure administration. Coupled with Microsoft Exchange server this configuration is very flexible and can give you features such as:

  • Central data management, allowing for a complete nightly backup rotation to be taken off site.
  • Central administration of user access rights allowing you to partition off who can view or edit what, or what each user can do on their PC.
  • Roaming profiles allow you to log on from any PC and see your own personal desktop.
  • Shared calendars, notes, and folders.
  • Advanced email functionality, - ie multiple mail addresses for each user, shared email boxes, company disclaimers, auto replies, out of office and redirection.

 

The third type of network uses a powerful central server and terminals rather than fully featured PCs across the network. It is less commonly found as it is more complicated to set up and administer. Microsoft Windows Terminal Services runs all applications on the central server, allocating to each user a sufficient part of the processing power and memory. Applications and updates are only installed on the terminal server, so you don't waste hours upgrading and updating PCs across your network. A terminal PC could be a second hand 10 year old PC or a modern cut down version of a PC called a WinTerm. Your support company can access the server remotely for routine maintenance and troubleshooting. The total cost of ownership is lower as software licences are generally cheaper for this configuration. Hardware can cost less as it is not important to keep up to date with the latest PC technology and finally support is more efficient. This type of network is suitable for 2 to 200 users, the larger the network the greater the cost benefits.

Network availability

Availability is defined by the number of users and how they access the network.

The number of allowable users is affected by licensing and application constraints.

Users may access the network via fixed or mobile PCs or PDAs and may be located on a single site, in branch offices, or remain mobile. Connectivity can be wired or wireless, via landlines or internet.

Data backup

Everyone agrees that backup is important but in practice it is often neglected. The usual reason is that it requires the user to remember to do it. Reliable and secure backup must therefore minimise user input. To achieve this backup should be central and automatic. The only required user intervention is to change the tapes and take a copy offsite at the end of each day - and even that can be automated by transmitting a backup to offsite storage.

Virus and malware protection

In recent years Virus activity has risen dramatically and is a serious risk to your data.

Spyware is everywhere and although generally less damaging is the greater nuisance. Its purpose is to make money for somebody else by collecting data for advertising and market research purposes. You collect spyware as you surf the net just as a ship collects barnacles. The most common symptoms are unwanted popup windows and slow performance.

Prevention is much better than cure and a reliable antivirus suite with automatic updating and a well secured network are the best methods.

Internet connection and security

ADSL provides reliable fast internet access. Business ADSL has a lower contention (fewer sharing the bandwidth) and usually a better service specification than a home ADSL service.

SDSL may be more appropriate for heavy internet users, such as businesses with significant numbers of remote workers, or branch offices requiring data replication.

Internet connection can be monitored, and malicious content or contraband websites can be blocked via a proxy server such as Microsoft ISA Server.

Web design and hosting

Websites are an important marketing medium. A well designed website has to be a good source of information and have simple and stimulating user interface. Another key consideration for the web designer is how it will be interpreted by search engines, a well coded site will sit much higher in the search engine ranking, driving more traffic to the site, than a poorly designed site.

Web site hosting is just as important as the site itself. A slow website or website downtime can be costly to your business.

Email

A reliable flexible email system with anti spam and anti virus, which takes valuable minutes from your users working day, is a must for most businesses. A good email configuration allows email groups, remote access to your mailboxes, as well as many other advantages.

Telephony (call management)

It is estimated that by 2010, 90% of businesses will be using some kind of Voice over IP (VoIP) for their telephone systems. Outgoing calls are cheaper as they are carried over your broadband connection and released on the public network close to the destination. Also you will no longer need a bundle of phone lines and the many thousands of pounds worth of hardware that a normal call management system requires. Many simultaneous calls can be made over your internet connection, and the call management is handled by VoIP provider.

Advantages

  • International calls can cost the same as a local call
  • Landline and mobile calls are cheaper than standard rates
  • Free calls to other service users (ie. branch sites)
  • Low cost call management
  • All the features of a standard phone service and more

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