HOW TO PROTECT AGAINST THE LOSS OF A KEY IT EMPLOYEE

2017-07-27T00:00:59+00:00 November 9th, 2015|News|

November 9, 2015 – It’s Monday and the day starts like any other at your hospital. Patients are arriving for their appointments, doctors are rotating shifts, and IT operations are running smoothly. Then, you hear a knock at your door. It’s one of your top IT staff members and he has some bad news — he received an offer from a competing facility and he’s resigning, effective immediately.

What does this mean for your organization?

If you’re not prepared for that departure, it could be disastrous. Here’s why: At many healthcare facilities, data centers are managed on-premise and the organization is dependent on hundreds of legacy applications. In that scenario, IT staff often hold the keys to the kingdom because they possess the knowledge (and credentials) to keep that infrastructure operational. If you haven’t created a plan to limit your dependence on their expertise before they walk out the door, it can expose your facility to significant technological and operational risk.

So, how can you protect against this? In short: Move to the cloud.

While it’s impossible to completely remove your dependence on IT staff and some technology will need to stay on-premise, what you can (and should) do is create redundancies that take certain day-to-day processes and responsibilities out of human hands. The virtual cloud empowers this shift by:

  • Relocating infrastructure (servers, VM’s, the network, etc.) externally. This protects your facility from the loss of a key individual who’s responsible for keeping it all going. When IT staff no longer hold the keys to the kingdom, you no longer need to worry about how or when important updates and maintenance will be completed.
  • Virtualizing applications to create greater control over how you deliver them (physical or virtual desktop). This can create greater flexibility and control for your facility, while also removing the overhead of maintaining how those applications are delivered to the end user. As a result, this critical aspect of IT is less reliant on specific IT staff, which protects your organization and frees up employees to focus on more important tasks.

It’s important to keep in mind that there may not be any warning signs before an IT employee leaves. Their departure might be money related, or it might be prompted by a spouse’s relocation. Regardless of the reason, the last thing you want is to find yourself in a position where losing someone negatively impacts day-to-day operations, team efficiency, or patient care.

Transitioning to the cloud before this becomes a problem is a simple way to mitigate this risk.

This not only lessens your reliance on key IT people to keep the proverbial lights on, it also creates an environment for IT staff to thrive, learn and grow. Instead of focusing on mundane, day-to-day maintenance, they’ll be able to focus on strategic builds and key business challenges. It’s a win-win for everyone, and you can rest assured that your facility is vaccinated against the loss of any one person.

BYOD – IT’S A PARTY

2017-07-27T00:00:59+00:00 November 4th, 2015|News|

November 4, 2015 – BYOD – it’s similar to BYOB in a lot of ways.

For starters, BYOD gives your employees the flexibility to work from whatever device they are most comfortable with (as opposed to being forced to “drink” the company standard). Secondly, it puts the financial burden of purchasing and supporting the devices on the employee themselves (their trade-off is they get want they want). You, the employer, aren’t paying for everyone to participate in your technology infrastructure (although some organizations offer some level of offset stipend). And finally, people are much more protective and careful with their devices when they have personally selected and acquired them, meaning less spilled “beer”, fewer ruined “rugs”, etc. etc. etc. (aka fewer technical malfunctions that slow down operations and require expensive repairs).

You get the drift. Allowing your staff to bring their own devices to work makes for a better party – or productive workday – for everyone.

Still, there are aspects to BYOD that can be dangerous for companies who aren’t taking a proactive stance on this rampant practice.

For starters:

  • BYOD doesn’t work well unless you are using desktop virtualization. This is what allows secure “Any Device, Anywhere Access” to a full business desktop.
  • Without desktop virtualization there is less compatibility across technologies, and the system that was intended to make life easier actually makes life harder – for everyone.
  • Without virtualization, BYOD can carry significant security risks.
  • Compliance issues can also become a concern without a proper BYOD-protecting virtualization platform.
  • Mixing employee’s private information with corporate data on their personal devices can be precarious for both parties involved.

So there’s your predicament.

Your employees want to use their personal devices in the workplace. In fact, they will likely do so regardless of whether or not it’s been approved by management in order to increase their productivity and flexibility.

But, if you aren’t careful, proactive, and strategic about your company’s own BYOD management, BYOD will actually decrease productivity, increase security and compliance risk, and can possibly lead to very disgruntled employees down the road.

To protect both your company, your employees, and your customers, it’s imperative to put desktop virtualization technology into place – either through the cloud or through virtualization optimization of your on-premise technology infrastructure.

Without using desktop virtualization technology, your employees are storing company data on a personal device over which you have no control. With a virtualized desktop delivered from the datacenter, your employee’s personal device is not actually directly connected to your network (like it is with a VPN). Employees are only use the device’s screen and keyboard to access all corporate communications, which are encrypted and secure.

If there is ever an issue with the employee’s personal device – i.e. it gets lost, stolen, or the employee leaves the company – access to the data can be shut down immediately. And, most importantly, the company has control over all security and compliance infrastructure, making sure company and customer data is properly protected.

Look at it this way. You’re throwing a little party called work. Everyone wants to BYOB… or BYOD. And by implementing virtualization, you can ensure that your party stays under control, everyone has a good time, and the cops are never called. It’s like checking IDs at the door. If you don’t, you’re just asking for trouble.

CORETEK SERVICES RELEASES VIRTUAL DESKTOP ENHANCEMENT SUITE (VDES) VERSION 1.3

2017-07-27T00:00:59+00:00 November 4th, 2015|News|

November 4, 2015 Farmington Hills, MI – Coretek Services, an industry-leading IT professional services consulting company, announces VDES 1.3, the latest version of their software. Virtual Desktop Enhancement Suite (VDES) 1.3 offers features upgrades to the Reboot Manager, Citrix XenApp Now, and Battery Monitor modules.

“We want to ensure that partners receive the most innovative and most stable release possible, and version 1.3 is a prime example of that,” said Ray Jaksic, Coretek Services Vice President and CTO.

New Features of VDES version 1.3:

XenApp Now

    • Support for Citrix receiver 4.2

Battery Monitor

    • Support for Battery Monitor in XenDesktop

Reboot Manager

    • Updated Management Console to allow for multi-selecting of hosts and editing properties
    • Added ability to enable/disable reboot schedules
    • Added ability to view “uptime” of managed server and desktop OS’s from within the Management Console
    • Added ability to reboot based on uptime

 

VDES 1.3 is now available to all current partners using previous versions of VDES.

 

About Coretek Services

Coretek Services is an industry-leading IT professional services consulting company headquartered in Farmington Hills, MI. Coretek specializes in virtualization technologies which include: Infrastructure Consulting, Server and Desktop Virtualization, Win8 / Win10 Migrations, Mobility & End Point Strategies, Project Management, Systems Management and Microsoft solutions. Coretek carefully assesses their customer’s current IT investments, specific use cases, and workflow before recommending any products or services.  Coretek has successfully implemented over 400,000 virtual desktop users nationally, addressing each client’s unique needs with an appropriate solution. Coretek Services’ goal is to help our clients achieve and sustain predictable and cost effective IT results. Project Success. No Exceptions.

For more information, visit www.coretekservices.com or call 248-684-9400.

10 REAL LIFE END-USER DESKTOP COMPLAINTS

2017-07-27T00:00:59+00:00 November 3rd, 2015|News|

November 3, 2015 – Many companies are still relying on aging distributed desktop computer technology. Despite the option to utilize new technology – like thin clients, tablets, laptops, etc. – there are a number of reasons that you might still be using legacy PC hardware.

For starters, using desktop hardware you already own can appear less expensive than investing in a whole new fleet. Or, perhaps IT department is most comfortable trouble-shooting desktop technology and you don’t want to pay for additional training. Or maybe determining the best upgrade solution for your company feels overwhelming, and so the decision has simply been avoided.

Regardless, legacy desktop technology can weigh down your workforce in more ways than you might realize.

We did a survey and compiled the top ten real life end-user desktop complaints that are holding companies back.

“I can only work at my desk at the office, where I have access to my data and applications.”

In a world where work can happen anywhere, anytime, forcing your staff to only work at their desk limits their business agility and substantially cuts into their productivity.

“I have terrible, unreliable and limited access when I’m away from the office.”

Most employees will still seek remote access, which typically leads to frustration and security violations through use of personal email or USB devices. In the end, this can and create “shadow IT” workarounds.

“I hate how slow my login is.”

Implementing desktop virtualization can reduce login times to about 20 seconds, from the 1 to 3 minutes login times of a typical legacy desktop (often longer for laptops).

“The corporate supplied PC desktop is basically uncool, ancient technology.”

Many of the millennials now in the workforce have likely never owned a desktop PC computer in their lives. Flexibility is what they expect from their technology, and have their own devices they like to use.

“I never know if I should store stuff to my hard-drive or to our network.”

The answer is always the network, where data’s secure and backed up. But even top level executives will mistakenly feel like the closer the file is to them personally, the safer it is, when actually their C-Drive is their most vulnerable point.

“It seems like the hard-drive gets filled up really quickly and works really slowly.”

Most staff don’t know how to manage storage capacity on their own, and either suffer through a slow computing process, or try to improperly fix it themselves, causing even larger malfunctions.

“If I’m having an issue, I can’t just take it to the technician to get it fixed, they have to come to me.”

When your technicians are running all over to fix IT issues, they can quickly turn into the help-less desk, rushing through maintenance repairs, sometimes even making the problem worse.

“I hate upgrading anything because I’m used to what I have and never know what will happen to my computer with an upgrade.”

Ignoring upgrades can pose significant productivity and security risks. Desktop virtualization takes upgrade responsibility away from the end-user, ensuring upgrades are tested and undisturbed.

“I’ll get a virus warning and I feel paralyzed. I feel worried I’ve ruined company hardware, and afraid of what the consequences to my workflow will be, and how upper management will react.”

Infected downloads, improper firewall or virus protection upkeep, and phishing scams are all culprits of the legacy desktop computer. A virtual desktop can practically eliminate viruses and create a much more secure environment.

“Sometimes my applications have random issues and I don’t know how to handle it, and have even lost work.”

Again, this could be due to a virus your business staff doesn’t realize they have, an update they didn’t do, or they could be failing to back up their documents properly and could lose critical work.

A virtual desktop environment can resolve all of these end-user complaints. For more information on the benefits of virtualization, you can read another of our recent blog posts, “3 Options for Dealing with an Aging Desktop Fleet.” You can also contact us here.

IS YOUR HEALTHCARE FACILITY PREPARED FOR A MAJOR DISASTER?

2017-07-27T00:00:59+00:00 November 2nd, 2015|News|

November 2, 2015 – What would happen if a tornado struck your area? Or a devastating flood, like the one that recently hit South Carolina, knocked out the power grid and sent hordes of patients rushing to your facility? How would you continue to operate? Particularly if those disasters also caused direct damage to your facility’s data center?

For many healthcare facilities — particularly the ones that build and manage IT infrastructure On-Premise — the results could prove devastating.

In the short-term, doctors might not be able to access patient records, which could hinder their ability to deliver proper immediate care. In the long-term, re-constructing infrastructure and restoring data could require a significant investment of time and money. And, because doctors would likely revert to paper charting during that time, even a brief outage would require time-consuming manual re-entry of that information, as well as potential HIPAA concerns.

What “Being Prepared” Really Means

From an IT perspective, every healthcare facility should strive to achieve total service reliability — even during the most extreme “worst case” situations. Very simply, the goal must be continuity through every conceivable scenario.

How can this be done? For starters, consider these technologies and strategies:

  • Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB): By spreading out client communications across multiple data centers around the globe, healthcare facilities can minimize their exposure to localized outages or regional disasters.
  • Virtual Clinical Workstations: With this technology, healthcare providers are no longer coupled to a specific machine or location. As a result, if service or capabilities are lost in one facility because of a disaster, doctors are still able to access their desktops virtually from any Internet-enabled device.
  • Cloud: As cloud based services become more mainstream, leveraging “The Cloud” for these critical workloads allows for a lower cost, on-demand option than building out new and costly On-Premise data centers.

The purpose of these technologies is continuity. When disaster happens and patient needs escalate, you want to ensure your facility is fully capable of delivering the absolute best care.

How Can an IT Partner Help You Prepare?

Unfortunately, there’s no prescriptive formula that can be applied across the board to prepare every healthcare organization for every scenario. In some circumstances, building out a second or third data center off-site might be the best course of action. In others, leveraging the cloud is the right choice.

This is where an IT partner, with their deep experience helping healthcare facilities, can be valuable. They can provide:

  • Full technology assessment: The first step toward disaster preparation is understanding what technology you already have and what technology you need to build out a truly fault-tolerant environment. An IT partner can do this by evaluating your existing infrastructure and network, and developing a roadmap for acquiring the technology that’s missing.
  • Hardware or Cloud technology procurement and production deployment: Once you know what you have (and need), an IT partner can help you procure and pilot those technologies, and build out proof points for full implementation.
  • Ongoing testing: After new technology is fully implemented, partners can deliver peace of mind by performing ongoing tests of various disaster scenarios to ensure a fully functional environment. The hope is that you’ll never need to deploy these capabilities in a live scenario, but the last thing you want is to discover a problem in the midst of a disaster.

There are many other ways IT partners — and new technology — can help healthcare facilities prepare for the most extreme scenarios. If you’d like to learn more about Coretek Services and how we’ve helped healthcare organizations across the country ensure total service reliability, click here.


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