• Tommy Wald

Is your 'IT Guy' enough for your business?

Is this you? -- “I have an 'IT guy' that takes care of my computers.”


I have heard this a lot over the years of my experience of owning and operating an IT services company. This is the response I receive, or something like it, from some owners when discussing how they are getting IT support.


However, these owners are typically under the false assumption that this sole IT person can take care of all their IT needs and issues, especially for what’s required for today’s technology needs and protection.


The results of hiring this ‘local IT tech’ can be mixed, and eventually even more expensive. And while this local tech may have some technical skills, many do not have the more advanced skills that all networks require at one point or time.


I understand the plight of the solo IT-guy as they typically do not have the training, resources or support to provide the level of support required today. Managing IT networks is a more complicated endeavor today than what it once was.


This lack of skills and management usually shows up in the form of recurring network issues such as slow login, malware infections, slow applications, printers disconnecting, voice latency on phone, WiFi not working and more.


These are the typical symptoms that are created as the IT tech tries to ‘figure it out’. And plus, the owner will receive various excuses and reasons from the IT tech for why these issues exist…and will do so in technical terms that you do not understand.


That’s why it’s always a good idea to talk to a full-service IT firm that has depth in skills, veteran experience and a partner eco-system of supplemental providers for addressing additional needs.


Today’s IT support is not a one-person job as it requires a broad level of network support skills and capabilities involving data backups, cybersecurity, network access, domains, firewalls, redundancy, IP addressing, server management, and much more.


Eventually, when the performance gets so poor, the owner decides to make a change in IT support. After all, staff productivity will drop and employees get frustrated when network issues are apparent. This is when our company arrives to save the day and makes the necessary repairs to eliminate these work-stopping network problems.


What we usually discover when assuming management of an IT network from one of these ‘local IT techs’ is a myriad of issues related to configurations, user access, updates and security. Some issues are simple to fix while others are more complex. Many times, we conduct a project to stabilize the network and clean up those issues causing the most problem.


Here are a few real-life examples:

  • Finding that Microsoft Server is operating under a non-supportable ‘trial version’, rather than a fully supported and licensed version (and in some cases already paid for).

  • Misunderstandings of implementing redundancy and not procuring the appropriate hardware, often leading to increased spending.

  • Delaying needed hardware upgrades, leading to issues with data storage, patch updates and performance.

  • Delinquent updates to existing key business applications, software and operating systems leading to security vulnerabilities and slower application performance.

  • Firewall misconfigurations that leave the business vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

  • Backup solution was ‘installed’ but not working, or no test restores on a regular basis.

  • Attempting to use consumer grade versions of Microsoft operating systems that do not integrate with key support and management platforms.


Other key issues we often find include:


Firewalls: Typically, we find that this local tech does not know how to manage the firewall, in conjunction with the Windows firewall and network firewall, resulting in slow performance. Many times, these symptoms are perceived as a lack of bandwidth issue leading to unnecessary expensive monthly costs. While the real solution may be something as simple as modifying some configurations.


Data Backup & Storage: Investing in a quality offsite data backup solution is an absolute necessity for all businesses today. There are so many threats to losing data today that every company should plan for this event. In some industries, it’s required to be able to preserve 7 years of data. More importantly, in the event of a data loss is the ability to recover in a timely manner so that your business is not materially impacted.


Network Performance: Today’s technology is mostly plug-n-play which is why most local techs can implement easily with not much skill. However, when other solutions such as VoIP phone, wireless printers, security cameras, time clocks, and video conferencing compete for network resources, performance can suffer.


For companies that depend on a reliable IT network and technology, the impact of low-level IT support can be costly and disruptive. Engaging in a more experienced and professional IT support firm will result in a more productive, resilient and profitable business.


* * * * *

RIATA provides the level of support and confidence every business needs in their IT network and technology. Contact us to learn more about how RIATA may be a right fit for providing professional IT support.

About the Author: Tommy Wald is CEO of RIATA Technologies, a full-service IT provider located in Austin, TX. He can be reached at TWald@RiataTechnologies.com.


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