Nashville Web Design | Programming | IT | Atiba.com

Archive for the ‘Network Services’ Category

Network Services Employee Spotlight

Network Services - Joey Baggott

As part of a new series exploring our “Half-Human” side, we recently (virtually) sat down with Joey Baggott from our Network Services team.

How long have you been with Atiba and what is your role? 

I joined Atiba in March of 2020 as the Business Development Manager, so I’m still fairly new to the Atiba teamI primarily focus on Atiba’s Network Services offering.  My goal is to help businesses develop the most efficient solution to their network environment and architecture. Atiba doesn’t sell “one size fits all” solutions, so I work with our Senior Network Engineers to create custom solutions for every organization. 

What is your favorite part about working at Atiba?  

My favorite thing about working at Atiba is the like-minded people. I’ve always enjoyed video games, comic books, other geeky things, but I’ve never been around others in the workplace who share those interests. At Atiba, I fit in well and I can truly be my nerdy self. I’ve never been able to describe myself well until I got to Atiba and heard the line “Half-geek, Half-human” and I finally understood a little more about my own personality. It’s like I’m in a galaxy far, far away. 

 What motivates you to wake up and go to work? 

My amazing family is my primary motivation. I have three beautiful kids and a gorgeous wife. It’s important to me to show my kids what it looks like to work hard. I also want to be an example to them of what it looks like to truly help people. So many salespeople are just trying to close a deal. Atiba focuses on finding what works for the client, even if that means turning down business. 

 What is something most people don’t know about you? 

When I was in college at the University of Tennessee, I was captain of the UT Paintball Team. We actually won a National Championship in my final year.  

 

 

 

 

 

Hiring the Right IT Services Company for Your Business

it-services-company

As a small business, you are always making difficult decisions about when to do things in-house, and when to outsource certain processes or projects. When it comes to IT work, there is often a steep learning curve. Sure, you can do the work yourself but it may take precious time and resources to train yourself, and even then, it might be done wrong. That’s even before we get into regular maintenance and troubleshooting.

From creating secure and reliable networks to digital marketing plans and collateral, there is so much to consider when building the IT side of even a small business. But investing in proper IT services can have fantastic dividends.

Holding back on properly investing in IT services may lower your productivity, reduce efficiency, and see you fall behind your competitors. Nobody wants to miss out on any of that. So let’s talk about why small businesses hire IT service companies to hire experts.

What are IT Services?

IT Services is a broad term for the contracted development of custom software for business. So just like you might hire a cleaning service to vacuum your office, you might hire an IT Service company to manage the development and management of your services and systems.

What Services are included?

There are many kinds of IT Services and each company is going to have its own unique options. Let’s talk about some of the most common IT Services that small companies contract out:

  1. Website Design and Hosting
  2. Network Services
  3. Custom Program Development
  4. Digital Marketing

popular-it-services

Let’s run through each one and check them out a bit more.

Website Design and Hosting

It seems almost unimaginable that you could have a business without a website these days. You might be surprised to learn that around 40% of businesses these days don’t have a website. If you find yourself in that camp, then it’s time to get on board.

website design

And people’s expectations for how a website should look and function are higher than ever before. But building and hosting websites takes skills and knowledge a small business owner might not have. And even those who do may find their time is better spent running the business than the website.

Building a great website goes hand-in-hand with online marketing and SEO (search engine optimization). You want your website to be mobile responsive, load quickly, and look nice. You can reach your target audience better having solid marketing and SEO tactics.

Your website might be the first interaction a customer has with your business and the value of that first impression is huge. Ensuring that customers see your business in the best possible light is worth investing in experts.

Network Services

Even small companies find they need their various devices to connect and talk to one another. Plus, they need all of their tech protected from intruders. But sometimes setting up reliable, secure networks can be complicated and is often time-consuming.

We’ve all had fights with printers or faulty internet. Who hasn’t ever wanted to toss their laptop right out the window?

network-services

Fighting with tech is exhausting and frustrating. Bad IT setups can leach time and efficiency out of business. You want your tech and devices to be reliable so you can spend more time working and less time troubleshooting.

Businesses who’ve hired high-quality IT services contractors often find the experience worth the investment. Network services often expand from basic services to more comprehensive services like emergency help desk support, data backup, disaster recovery services, and more. Hiring professionals can expedite the process and ensure that it facilitates work instead of making more of it.

And it might keep you from throwing a laptop out a window. 

Custom Program Management

Custom software can create fantastic opportunities for businesses to optimize workflows and services. In her article on Technology Advice, Tamara Scott says, “The software that provides the highest value to companies is often the hardest to implement.” 

We know this to be true from years of experience. When software is built for your business it provides the biggest return on investment. And when there is so much value to be had from custom software, it’s worth hiring a company with knowledgeable and reliable experts to help you along.

Digital Marketing

Marketing has grown into a living part of business. The days of brochures and billboards doing the majority of marketing are long gone. Social networks, blogs, video, email, and many other forms of digital marketing are becoming common, trusted forms of building a customer base and communication channels.

digital-marketing

In his Business.com article, Don’t Go It Alone: The Case for Hiring a Marketing Expert Ryan Ayers says, “Modern marketing is complex and requires a wide variety of skills and breadth of knowledge that can take years to acquire. Your business can’t limp along until you’ve learned everything you need to know about digital marketing.” That’s a powerful endorsement for the value of hiring an experienced digital marketing team.

How to Choose a Great Service Provider

How do you go about choosing the right service provider?

Just because a business is large doesn’t necessitate the need for a large IT services company. The company you hire needs to be able to make you a priority. You’ll be able to identify over-extended and bolstered promises from IT Service companies pretty quickly.

it-services-hire

 

So, what do you look for?

  • Clear and reasonable SLAs (service-level agreement). If the company has experience in solving tech issues, they’ll know how long a service should take and what you can expect to spend. Make sure they can offer service agreements that are created before the work begins.
  • Specific services and areas of expertise. A great IT Services company will have individuals who are experts in specific parts of IT Services. They’ll offer years of experience and knowledge that only a focus can offer.
  • A company that wants to understand what you do so they can provide what you need. Are they asking you a lot of questions about what your needs are, or are they only talking about what they do?
  • Look for references! Who have they worked for and who was happy with the job they did.

Contact Atiba for IT Hosted Services

Atiba has a talented and knowledgeable crew ready to help you get the most out of your IT. Our team of IT professionals over 20 has years of experience in focus areas to ensure that the work you need is done properly, quickly, and meets your needs.

We’ve helped many businesses just like yours grow their IT capabilities to better serve their business (check out our Case Studies).

We’re part human and part geek and we’re excited to help you! Contact us today for a free project quote.

Zoom Etiquette in the New Norm

5 Commandments of Zoom Etiquette

We all know those coworkers, clients, and even family members who struggle to adhere to basic Zoom etiquette.

A couple of weeks ago the homebound cast of Saturday Night Live pulled off a classic skit that made fun of quarantine life via a Zoom video conference call.  There was the “too close to the camera” lady who was 2 inches away from her webcam.  They had the “forgot to mute in the bathroom” character and the Zoom office jokester who did the already old “you only want to see me from the waist up” quip.

 

Zoom Etiquette - Nashville IT

Working remote etiquette…

The funny thing, of course, is that their portrayal of the new norm of video conferencing from our living room couches rings true to life.   For most people, Zoom and similar services are new.  The world has had to adopt a new way of communicating almost overnight.

In normal times, new technologies take a while to catch on.

They usually start with the “early adopters” (aka ‘”gadget geeks”) who, when it comes to tech, want to be first in line.  Often a younger crowd, these are the tech adventurers who bought cell phones when they were the size of bricks and spent big bucks to get the early version of the iPod.

If the early adopters are all-in, next comes what is often termed the “early majority.”  This is where most of us fall—the users who are willing to dip their toe in the water, but only after someone else has jumped in to test the temperature.  They may not have been the first ones to try out Uber or buy a Prius, but they are the ones that will collectively take an innovation from underground to mainstream.

And finally, the “late majority” and the unfortunately named “laggards” get into the mix.  Some are older and others are just set in their ways.  These Luddites are the users who resist until it’s futile, the old schoolers who prefer paper maps to GPS and would rather not have to learn yet one more invention.

This “technology lifecycle” that is well known in the startup and marketing worlds is predictable and repetitive.   New tech products usually take years to become mainstream.

But these are not normal times.

In the midst of a global pandemic, we have had to learn and embrace what is for many a new communication platform almost overnight.   Who would have thought just a few weeks ago a Zoom meeting would become the new default for business communications?

With this rushed mass adoption of video conferencing, as the SNL skit portrayed, social norms, best practices and etiquette are works in progress.  Everyone knows that when the phone rings you answer it by saying “Hello” and that emails should never be typed in ALL CAPS.   And (most) people know that it can be awkward to show up to a meeting at the office in your pajamas.  These unwritten rules are less defined for video conferencing.

Nevertheless, as the weeks of never leaving your house continue, ideas are starting to take hold about which behaviors are deemed acceptable and which are frowned upon.

5 Tips for Proper Zoom Etiquette

        1. Mute yourself when you’re not talking
          Unbeknownst to you, your mic might be picking up your washing machine or a car driving by. Be courteous to the speaker(s) and mute yourself when it’s not your turn.
        2. Pay attention to your background
          Your background can make you look either professional (like a bookshelf or cabinet) or slovenly (like an unmade bed).
        3. Limit distracting noises
          Dogs barking or babies crying in the background are cute and even humanizing, but a pair of teenagers arguing is distracting.
        4. No multitasking
          It’s oh, so tempting, but multitasking during a call is more obvious to viewers than you think. Again, be courteous and give the speaker(s) your undivided attention.
        5. Eat and drink with caution
          Drinking coffee is fine, wolfing down a sandwich is not.

The technology around video conferencing is nothing new.  But the speed at which it’s replaced phone calls and in-person meetings has been head-spinning.  Until our collective understanding of the etiquette of video conferencing takes shape, we all need to be patient with one another (and never do a video call from the bathroom).

 JJ Rosen is the founder of Atiba, a Nashville IT consulting and custom software development firm.  Visit Atiba.com or AtibaNetworkServices.com for more info.

 

Is Remote-Only the way of the future?

A day in the life of a Nashville computer geek:   Remote-Only

Published April 12,2020 in The Tennessean – JJ Rosen

It was just a few short weeks ago that a day-in-the-life at work meant shaking hands with people, meeting over coffee, flying places, and grabbing an occasional beer with some co-workers.   Online meetings were not uncommon, but face-to-face was always preferred and often needed to be efficient.

Flash forward to today.

With an ongoing global pandemic, everything about work has changed.  This change from our daily norms has not only been drastic, but it’s also been sudden.  For most of us, the transition to being  100% isolated at home, doing all meetings virtually, and having work and family-life become one and the same has been challenging to say the least.

For me, a creature of habit (for better or worse), I was completely out of whack for the first couple of weeks of this new life.  But as time has gone by, new routines and work habits have formed. Although it’s taken a bit of getting used to, I’ve started to settle in and somehow feel comfortable.  The whole situation is still weird, but I guess I’ve managed to adjust.

But what’s been interesting and unexpected is that some of the friends and co-workers I talk to are not just feeling more comfortable working only at home, but they’re also beginning to feel more productive working only at home.

I don’t think there are any silver linings to a global pandemic that is causing so much suffering.  But in the context of work, the situation we all find ourselves in these past few weeks is presenting some alternative ways of doing business.

Virtual meetings over Zoom, Slack or Microsoft Teams, have cut down on the amount of time it takes to physically gather.  All the sudden, it’s become acceptable to video conference with co-workers and clients in faraway places rather than to deal with the time, expense, and hassle of travel.   And even meetings that you would normally have face-to-face in your office have become faster and more efficient when they are moved online.

Commutes have alternated from 30 minutes of driving to 30 seconds of walking from the kitchen to the quietest place in the house to get some work done.   There is now more time in the day to manage as each person sees fit.

Business phone calls have become less formal and less stressful.   Who would have thought I could take a care of several business calls while simultaneously walking around my neighborhood getting some exercise?   Where it used to be embarrassing to have your kid crying or dog barking in the background of conference call, it’s now no big deal.

Will these new ways of working stick?

No one knows how long we will need to stay home.  But, if working this way makes employees happier, more productive, and more efficient, we may be in for a transformation from the way business has always been done.  At least for some sectors, fancy conference rooms and corner offices may become obsolete in favor of simply working in an old chair at the dining room table.

There are some companies, especially in the tech world, that were already seeing the upside of being a completely remote workforce before the pandemic was forced upon us.  Studies of these early-adopters has revealed that ditching the office and making an entire company remote-only does indeed increase employee happiness and productivity.   Which in turn increases retention and profits.

As technology advancements make it simpler and easier to keep us connected no matter where we work, we can expect our new norm to become a permanent change to the way many of us work.

JJ Rosen is the founder of Atiba, a Nashville IT consulting and custom software development firm.  Visit Atiba.com or AtibaNetworkServices.com for more info.

 

Battle of the Clouds: AWS vs Azure

Atiba: Nashville’s AWS and Azure Consultants

Thinking about moving to the cloud?

The next step in determining which cloud to use.   Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, and Google Cloud are the main players.

As die hard computer nerds, our crew at Atiba likes them all!  All three provide similar services and all three have proven to be reliable and cost-effective.

So how do you choose?

Here’s a quick list of the factor we consider when determining which cloud to use for our clients:

  • If you are managing your own cloud, AWS is slightly easier to understand.
  • AWS can be slightly cheaper
  • Azure is great if you are heavily invested in Office365 and have any complexities our Active Directory
  • Azure AD is cheaper that AWS AD
  • DaaS / VDI is equal.   AWS was ahead until 2020…
  • Auto-scaling  is a great way to save $ on both
  • AWS RDS offers more options, but Azure’s integration for PowerBI is better
  • Google Cloud, not as popular but its a low cost way to backup cross-cloud
  • Azure has more built in account hardening tools for security

So both are great.   Contact Atiba at info@atiba.com for help deciding what’s best for your organization!

 

 

 

 

 

Atiba is looking for a Nashville Microsoft Azure Architect to join our team.

Nashville-based Microsoft Azure Architect

We’re looking for an Azure Architect to join our team.

 

About this job:

Job Role:  Azure Architect                                            Industry:  Technology Consulting Services

Job Type:  Permanent                                                    Company Type:  Private

Experience Level:  Senior                                           Company Size:  50 to 100 employees

Location: Nashville or remote                                      Culture:  Heavy tech, flexible, supportive

 

Technical Skills Required:

Azure, SQL Server, PowerShell Scripting, DevOps, Containers, Azure AD, API Management, VPN

Bonus Skills:

Table Storage, Linux knowledge

If you worked for us, here are some of things you would have done over the past month:

  • Migrated on premise SQL Server to Azure SQL
  • Setup SSO between Azure AD and G-Suite
  • Designed an identity management solution for a Fortune 1000 client
  • Completed from scratch the technical architecture for data warehouse
  • DevOps work for a development team
  • Participated in daily standups
  • Logged your time
  • Answered emails directly from clients

 

The type of person we are looking for:

We are a medium sized consulting company doing work for organizations of all types and sizes all over the world.   We are a fun bunch of techies who have been working together for years.  We are looking for fellow techies who:

  • Enjoy flexibility and are self-starters
  • Can manage their own time
  • Love all things tech
  • Have real-work experience developing with SharePoint
  • Want to always be learning new things
  • Support their fellow techies

 

About us:

Atiba is a custom software development and IT consulting company located in Nashville, TN.  We have been in business since 1992 doing technical project for clients ranging from small startups to large enterprises.

We work in multiple tech platforms, both Microsoft and open-source based.    We have a very easy-going culture but at the same time we work hard to be the best techies we can be with a focus on doing great work for our clients.

Many of our employees have been part of Atiba for 10 years or more.

We offer:

  • Flexible hours
  • Self-managed vacation time
  • Peer to peer training and learning
  • Options on what technical platforms to work with
  • Small company, family style culture doing large and impactful work

 

Contact info:

If you are interested in learning more contact us today!

info@atiba.com  or   https://www.atiba.com/employment-application/

 

Thanks!  We look forward to talking to you.

Managed Services: 5 Benefits of Outsourcing IT

Featured Video Play Icon

5 Benefits of Outsourcing IT Managed Services

 

In an ever-growing world of technology, it can become overwhelming trying to keep up with the changes and risks involved with “doing it yourself”. That is why more businesses and organizations are outsourcing all or a portion of their IT department to a Managed Services provider like Atiba. Below are 5 benefits that can immediately be gained through outsourcing your IT through Managed Services.

 

IT Managed Services headquartered in Nashville, TN with additional IT support in Huntsville, AL, and Chattanooga, TN.

 

  1. Controlling Costs

Outsourcing allows you to budget effectively by only paying for what you use when you need it. Also, full-time IT staff may not have “enough work” to justify their compensation. Outsourcing Managed Services allows you to focus your resources where you need them most.

  1. Reduce Risk

No matter the business, there is sensitive data and information that needs to be protected. Are you positive that your current firewall, servers, and security measures are up to date and doing their assigned tasks? A Managed Services company that is familiar with the requirements and standards needed to stay compliant will allow you to minimize the risk associated with maintaining sensitive information.

  1. Experienced and Qualified

If the HR department is hiring the IT staff, how do they know they have the experience truly needed to meet the needs of the organization? Would you go to a doctor if you were their only patient, or would you want one that has seen and diagnosed many issues before? The same is for your IT department. Trust the experts that are seeing more “patients”.

  1. Higher Efficiency

Organizations that use the DIY approach can have much higher costs and longer time frames for implementation and fixes. This will filter down to their customers. A highly skilled Managed Services team can implement new technology and forecast issues prior to them happening. This eliminates downtime and loss of production. It also allows the organization to focus on their core business rather than IT decisions that may or may not be correct or needed at all.

  1. Level the Playing Field

Having a Managed Services partner will allow your organization to have access to similar technology and expertise that typically only larger corporations have. This allows you to grow and scale at the pace you want without worrying about your IT keeping up. It is also closely related to the first benefit I listed regarding controlling costs.

 

Each one of these benefits can be used to create a much larger list of reasons to outsource your IT, but this should give you enough information to start the conversation within your organization. It can help determine what is best for you and your business. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, Atiba uses a Half Geek, Half Human approach to offer Managed Services to the entire US. This includes recent expansions to offer additional IT support and Managed Services in Huntsville, AL, and Chattanooga, TN.

 

Contact Michael Baker – National Director of Business Development at 615-866-1832 or mbaker@atiba.com for more information and a free estimate.

https://www.linkedin.com/company/atiba-software-llc

https://instagram.com/atibageeks/

What is Technical Debt?

Does technical debt actually exist?

“Rather go to bed without dinner than to rise in debt.” — Benjamin Franklin 

The thought of debt can be a scary one that conjures up images of credit cards, mortgages, car payments, and sleepless nights.  To most of us, it’s simple to define:  an amount of money you owe someone else. 

But, the concept of debt is not always related to dollars and cents.   

This was weighing heavily on my mind last week as I was looking at my end-of-year-calendar. 

In the IT field, the term “technical debt” is often used to describe the habit of taking technical shortcuts that, over time, accumulate and cause more work down the road.  Because it’s hard to quantify and often hidden from management until it’s out of control, the buildup of technical debt on a project is sometimes even more dangerous to a company than money owed on a balance sheet. 

Delaying IT infrastructure upgrades to save money, not testing software thoroughly because of a tight deadline, blowing off doing a disaster recovery plan—these are common examples of shortcuts that build up technical debts that will always come back to bite you if not paid off at some point. 

There are other types of debt as well.    

Some of us (me) eat too much and build up an “exercise debt” that we must pay off at some point if we want to maintain a healthy weight.   Some work too much, building up a “sleep debt.” Others play too much and amass a “work debt.”    

These non-financial “soft” debts are more difficult to measure than what we traditionally think of as debt, but they have real costs nonetheless.  And just like money debt, if you’re not careful, you can spend all your time and resources paying the interest instead of paying down the principal. 

Proactively managing different types of debt is an often overlooked but critical skill that determines the long-term viability of every business.  Soft debts should be tracked and managed in much the same way that financial debts are. 

In tech, we call it a “backlog.”  It’s simply a list of any tech-related shortcuts, band-aids or items we skimp on because of deadline or budget constraints, along with estimates of how much work (debt) it will take us to fix them down the road.  Some technical debts are intentional – a conscious choice to save time or money. Others are accidental, discovered in the form of bugs.   

As the backlog list grows, the key is to treat each item as a debt owed, the same way you would as if you were making payments on a bank loan.   This involves planning your “savings” (in the form of time) so that you can eventually make your “payments” (in the form of future work).    We basically mark off time on our calendars for every project to pay off our backlog debts. 

Earlier this year we began to explore this simple backlog approach to managing other areas of debt in our company.   As expected, just like tech, the constraints of time and budget created a backlog in everything from HR to marketing.  Things like updating our employee handbook and standardizing our email signatures made it to our backlog.  And just like tech debt, we have marked our calendars for our end of year payments to clear out the backlogs. 

Thinking of debt as something that is beyond a purely a financial metric has changed the way we operate.  It’s forced us to justify any shortcuts we take company-wide, because we are now tracking them as real costs rather than forgotten to-do lists that will inevitably come back to haunt us. Sleep well. 

JJ Rosen is the founder of Atiba.  A Nashville IT consulting and custom software development firm.  Visit www.atiba.com or www.atibanetworkservices.com for more info. 

 

 

Atiba Is A Google Fiber Tech Partner

Google Fiber Tech Partner logo

There has been a lot of buzz around Nashville over the last few years about the arrival of Google Fiber. There are T-Shirts, Twitter posts about fiber being installed in neighborhoods, and a general excitement about the potential what this high-speed network option has to offer.

Some small businesses can get overwhelmed at the thought of setting up a new network for the office, especially if they have been using the same provider for years or decades. Questions about data security and cloud computing hang in the air, and many businesses don’t know where to look for help.

That’s where the Google Fiber Tech Partner program comes in. Google has authorized small to medium sized businesses with IT capabilities to officially help businesses to make the most of their new Google Fiber connection. Google Fiber Tech Partners can help with:

  • VoIP
  • Virtualization
  • Email hosting and spam protection
  • Cloud computing
  • Enterprise IT architecture
  • Virtual data centers
  • Disaster recovery
  • Help desk services
  • General hardware consulting

Atiba is a proud Google Fiber Tech Partner. In fact, we were the first company in the greater Nashville area to be named to the program. If you need help or guidance setting up your Google Fiber network, call us at 615.353.1921, drop us a line at info@atiba.com, or fill out the Nashville Google Fiber Partner form online and we’ll let you know how we can help.

Should You Consider CIO To Go Services?

speed

Many established businesses that don’t provide technology services have an on-site IT team out of necessity. As a company grew, there were enough desktops, laptops, servers, networks to maintain that an IT staff was necessary to keep everything up and running smoothly.

However, times are changing, and with more and more computing and storage being moved to the cloud, some companies are finding themselves with fewer IT situations to have to keep up with. That’s where CIO To Go services come in.

arrowOutsourcing your IT services can be far more efficient and effective than having a dedicated full-time staff. There is little to no up-front investment involved, and no salaries and benefits to keep up with.

With CIO to go, you don’t necessarily have to completely eliminate your IT department if you don’t want to, but you can use a third-party company to handle specific aspects of your tech needs, and only pay for the time that you use. For example, if you have legacy systems that are still critical to your operation, you could keep maintenance and updates to that in-house and outsource everything else.

As you add new processes and start using the cloud more, outsourced IT services may begin to make more sense. Your CIO To Go service provider keeps up with the latest technology and trends, and can guide you and keep you up-to-date on all your technology systems.

It takes time to transition to a CIO To Go, also know as It as a Service (ITaaS), and it can create a cultural shift in your company, so weigh your options carefully. If you’re thinking of switching, call us at 615.353.1921 or send an email to info@atiba.com and we’ll be glad to go over your options.