Our company is unique. We have custom software. Can you support us as well?

Yes. With more than 30 years in the IT industry we have worked with businesses in every sector. We have also provided support for public utilities, municipal and town governments, hospitals, etc. Our approach to IT is to build a custom plan for each individual client. We offer as much or as little support as you need. If you use it, we have probably seen it and can support it.

We have had issues with geographical distance with outsourced remote IT support in the past. Where is your support based out of?

We are owner-managed and reside in London. We are a community-focused company. Our support team is based out of London. Our technicians are graduates of local post-secondary programs.

I am always hearing stories of cloud accounts being hacked. Is my data safe?

First, that would depend on the company that stores your data. Second, most hacking is done on accounts with simple passwords. We only recommend companies that follow industry best practices for security and we recommend people use complex passwords with at least 8 characters, a combination of upper and lower case, and numbers. Something like “Aardvark2018” without the quotes would take approximately 730 years in a brute force attack using 2018 standards.

We are looking at new software to run our production facility. How can you help us with this process?

There are many ways we can help. We can be present at all the meetings with the developer or their agent and lend our experience to the process. Sometimes what isn’t said in these meetings is more important than what is said. We can help you make an assessment of your needs in a software product and help you ask the right questions to make sure it is a good fit for you. We will also research the vendors reputation and reach out to their other customers for feedback if possible.

Why can't I just set my computer to update automatically.

An excellent question. The issue with automatically installing updates is that frequently software developers release an update that breaks more things than it fixes. To mitigate this, we wait a week or two to allow companies to pull any “oops” patches.

The other issue is that some developers prompt you to install updates rather than automatically installing them. Malware is frequently disguised as one of these updates and catches many people offguard.

I have XYZ antivirus software. Why do I need a managed security service?

As much as software developers love to tout the “automagical” software myth, it doesn’t exist. Off the shelf security software can offer basic protection but relies on you to tweak the settings based on your needs. With Managed Security Services, a security expert looks at your infrastructure and gauges your exposure and designs an appropriate plan with multiple levels of security. In terms of IT planning, using off-the-shelf security software is like buying a car and cutting costs on the brakes.

Where exactly is my data in the cloud being stored?

Storage locations vary for each cloud services provider. The providers we use have geo-redundant data centres in Canada as their primary storage facilities for Canadian customers.

What does geo-redundancy mean?

Geo-redundancy is the process of replicating stored data in multiple geographic locations. If you are located in Vancouver, it would likely be your primary data centre with replication in cities like Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, etc.

We like the convenience of using the cloud but are worried about hacking. Is our data safe in the cloud?

Yes. Your data is actually safer in the cloud than on your computer. Our cloud backups utilize military grade encryption that can only be unencrypted by the person with the authentication key. We safeguard that key for you. Even if someone could intercept a transmission they would need the authentication key or a very powerful computer and roughly one trillion years of free time for a “brute force” attack by current standards.

In addition, the data is stored in geo-redundant Canadian data centres. This means that if your data was stored in Vancouver and in a catastrophic earthquake the city happened to slide in to the ocean a copy that was stored in Calgary would come online.

Can two people edit a document simultaneously?

Yes, the document you are reading was originally created in SharePoint by multiple people working in different locations simultaneously.

Why do I need a cloud backup? I can back up to an external drive and keep a copy at my friend Paul's house.

Well you could do that but in order to keep the data fresh you would have to go to your friend’s house every day. The other issue is that if that drive was ever lost it may be found by someone and they would have access to your data.

How do I know what my IT needs are? I don't even know where to start.

We can help with that. Part of the services we offer is an in-depth analysis of your current IT environment, including assessing your business continuity needs. This can be provided to you in a written report with our recommendations.

Do we have to buy our computer equipment from you?

No. Purchasing hardware from us is not required. If we can supply the hardware and save you time and money, we’re confident you would want us to but that is your decision. Our role is to help you choose the best hardware for your business needs.

Our software developer says our computers are causing our software problems. Our computer supplier says everything is fine. Who is right?

This is a common complaint that we hear. Unfortunately for most businesses, software developers and computer suppliers simply don’t have the resources to troubleshoot what may be an issue isolated to your environment. Add to that a lack of knowledge of your network and its internal workings. At Reliable Technology Services we specialize in small business LAN environments and can usually isolate the problem quickly and work with the appropriate vendor to resolve the issue.

What industries do you provide service to?

Our services are not industry-specific. We can provide service to any business entity that uses IT (computers, internet, email, printers, etc.). Some examples of industries we currently service include but are not limited to:
• Manufacturing
• Accounting firms
• Law firms
• Medical practices
• Industrial contracting
• Automotive
• Finance and Insurance
• Non-profit
• Trades and contractors
• Restaurant
• Business consulting

How long are your Managed IT Service Plan contracts?

We don’t believe in locking clients into a contract. Our Managed Services Plan Agreements are cancellable with 30 days’ notice.

How much do you charge?

Our plans start as low as $20/user/month. We customize our plans to fit your needs as well as your budget. Options include all-in pricing that includes all labour charges or a nominal monthly fee with labour billed on an as-needed basis.

I've heard that if I store my data in the cloud I don't own it anymore. Is this true?

We can’t speak for all cloud service providers but Microsoft, Google, and iCloud are pretty clear in their terms of service that they have no claim on your data. If you hired us, we would have checked that as part of our due diligence.

We are thinking of moving to a larger/smaller office. Can you help with the transition?

Yes, we can. We have moved many companies over the years and planning ahead of time is essential for a smooth transition. Depending on the level of involvement you require, we can provide a checklist of what will need to be done and/or execute any of the items on that checklist for you.

If I have cloud email, can other people read it?

If you are using Microsoft Office 365, Google Apps, or Gmail, then all email is encrypted. iCloud, when used on the web version, is encrypted. If you are using IMAP (third party email clients like Mac mail) then encryption is optional.

I still don't quite get it. What exactly ARE Managed IT Services?

Managed IT Services are like hiring a group of computer experts without the typical expense of an IT department staff.

Can you see what I am doing on my computer?

No. Our monitoring software mines the error collection database of Windows and Macintosh computers and reports it to our dashboard. The only time we can see your screen is when we are offering remote support. We only do this with your prior approval.

Can you see me when you remote in to my computer?

No. It’s not that kind of service.

Will a Managed Security Services Plan guarantee that I won't get malware or hacked.

While we can’t guarantee that this will never happen, not a single one of our Managed Security clients has been breached. A Managed Security Services plan, when coupled with a proper Business Disaster Recovery plan, will ensure that whatever hackers dream up in the future you will be covered

I've had email for years and never had to pay for it. Why would I start paying monthly for my email account?

Good question. Years ago, email was an adjunct to business communication with phone being the primary form. You could get away with not returning someone’s email correspondence for 2 or 3 days. Now people expect a response within 24 hours or less. Saying your mail server got hacked/blacklisted, insert other excuse here, is just not acceptable anymore and could tarnish your reputation in the eyes of your client. Automatic backups, military grade encryption, 99.99% uptimes, and full synchronization across all your internet enabled devices is important to your staff and your business credibility all for a few dollars per month, per user.

Will my cloud-based email account be backed up in case something happens to my computer or mobile device?

Yes. Your email, contacts, tasks, notes, and calendar data are stored in the cloud. Simply log in to the nearest available internet enabled device and your data is there.

We've never had an issue with our backup. Why would we add the expense of an offsite backup?

Theft and fire are two good reasons. Without an offsite backup these two circumstances can seriously jeopardize your recovery. We recommend your offsite backup only contains critical business data, minimizing the costs.

How many backups are enough?

Each business situation is unique. We recommend enough backups to satisfy recovery needs for various scenarios. The minimum would be two: one onsite and one offsite.

What is a Business Disaster Recovery Plan and what does it include?

A Business Disaster Recovery Plan (or BDR) is a plan to mitigate common circumstances that can prevent or seriously impact the core functions of a business as it pertains to its IT infrastructure. It could be as complicated as clustered servers replicated on geo-redundant data centres or as simple as having a spare system in the closet as a failover solution. We work with you to assess your company’s vulnerabilities and help you develop a plan to deal with these circumstances should they arise.

Our switch is out of ports. Should we replace it or add on?

That depends on a few factors: Space limitations, speed required, growth rate.

Almost always the answer is to replace the current switch with a larger one. Daisy chaining switches (hooking one switch up to the next one via cable to achieve more ports) can cause many problems. The industry has developed a collection of “best practices” that should be followed for optimal results.

What size of companies do you service?

Our current clients include businesses ranging from 1 user to 100 users.

What geographical area do you service?

With remote support capabilities, geographic location is becoming increasing less relevant when deciding where to outsource your IT support. We currently have Managed IT Service clients located throughout Canada and the United States.