IT support small business

15 years in business!

It is hard to believe that it has been 15 years since IT 4 Offices Ltd was formed. It seems such a short time ago but I thought I would take a quick look back on how much has changed within IT with technology and how we help customers today.

In 2009, most small businesses would struggle along with help from a friend, a relative or have in-house IT to help look after a few computers but it was probably not their main role. Businesses may have a small server and email was optional.

Many early clients had ADSL broadband connections, with 1/2 meg download if they were lucky. The cloud such as Office 365 had not been invented yet. Most clients were using a POP3 email service, so their servers would collect emails from every few minutes, and imported into a Small Business Server 2003 or 2008 which has its own Exchange Server for the company. All backed up to a trusty tape drive that the client had to change daily.

A business company network typically had desktops that had to be left for a few minutes in the morning, giving you time to make a cuppa before seeing the login screen.

A typical desktop 15 years ago would have an Intel dual core processor, 2-4GB Ram, 40-80GB Hard Disk and CDRW. A 15″ or 17″ Monitor. Windows XP or Vista would have been common and Office 2007. Mcafee or Symantec Antivirus would protect the client but would often slow the PC down so you would have to wait for the screen to catch up with the users typing.

Some cutting edge clients would be running Act! or Maximiser CRM that was linked to Sage and Outlook to email all their clients.

Most conference calls would have been via Skype or Netmeeting with usb camera and a headset or speakers. If you wanted to share a screen or present a presentation then you probably had a separate system with its own dedicated hardware.

Working from home was quite different too. A laptop certainly weighed more and were more costly, dial up connections were still being used for sales teams.

Has IT changed?

The speed of PC Devices have dramatically improved, the CPU technology with Intel’s i3/i5/i7 & i9 releases almost each year, Solid State Disks has been a major improvement over the years, noticable differences on both laptop and desktop. Multiple screens has almost become the norm for a majority of our clients too.

Broadband Internet speeds has rocketed. Depending upon the location, most clients can receive around 50Mbit which is 100x faster than 15 years ago and we are seeing 1GB connection speeds to some sites which is nearly 2000x faster.

Our clients today, primarily use Office 365, File storage via onedrive or sharepoint and Teams.

The ability to work from home for businesses has reduced the number of companies requiring large offices with PCs at each desk, hot desking with a lightweight laptop means staff can work from anywhere. VOIP & mobile tethering means you can work from anywhere with a 4G/5G signal.

Has IT Support changed?

IT Support over the years has got faster, we could connect into clients connection using VPN (Virtual Private Network) on their router or Server. We would often have to ask the client what is on the screen as remote control of a device was slow and site visits would be more frequent.

We use remote management software that monitors devices and pre-empts a wide range of issues. Clients can work from almost anywhere, we can still connect remotely as long as they have an internet connection. This can be via a mobile network or working from home or cafe.

IT 4 Offices V15

What will the next 15 years bring?

We know technology will change, Artificial intelligence is growing at a rate that we may not need to offer IT support in the same way for too much longer. This is progress. AI is great for some tasks and not for others, it can be used as a tool much like a PC with different applications. Each client will choose how much they use AI to help with their business.

We help more clients with their cyber security now, we see fewer actual virus attacks now and the antivirus products do more to protect the client from clicking on bad links that may bring their whole network to a halt.

We are trusted advisers. This is one of the founding beliefs & strategies that we started the business upon. Giving honest advice and recommending the right solution to help our clients so they can concentrate on their business.

Thanks to all of our clients for trusting us over the past 15 years and we look forward to your future calls!