Software and Computer Network Conflicts Part II

Network problems can crop up at any time. In my previous blog post, I talked about how many businesses experience problems with software systems and their computer network. In that post, I talked about mismatches between how current either the operating system or the software program is can be the issue. There are other possibilities, however, that can cause your network problems.

One way to determine how your network is doing is called a Technology Performance Review. A Technology Performance Review by NoCo Technology Solutions of Fort Collins helps determine the source of network problems. An issue we often see is network traffic has gotten so heavy that your system is experiencing slow-downs and crashes.

Network traffic can increase for numerous reasons. Sometimes software can be part of the network problem, but sometimes not.

The best way of thinking about network traffic is to think about a busy highway. Data moves along the network much like cars do on a freeway. Even if there is lots of traffic on the highway, and cars are bumper to bumper; when everybody’s moving at a fast, consistent speed, everybody gets to their destination quickly. But what if you add one more on-ramp to that busy freeway? Just a bit more traffic on a busy freeway can significantly slow everyone down, sometimes to a crawl.

Another issue is when two sets of data, called data packets, are sent along the network at the exact same moment. Neither can get to their destination and it’s called a Data Collision. It’s like two cars jockeying with each other to get off the freeway at the same exit at the exact same time. On a network, neither of the data packets gets to their destinations and they have to be sent again.

Data collisions can become so frequent that they noticeably slow down your network performance. The same thing can happen when you add just one or two more users to an already busy network. If the network traffic was close to the maximum amount it could handle effectively, adding even a single user can have huge effects. Everyone will be able to see how much slower the network has become.

Another possibility is that you installed a software upgrade and it included a new feature that creates lots of network traffic, such as a dashboard that continually updates itself. If lots of users start using that dashboard, you can increase network traffic significantly and cause network problems.

More possible explanations include: 1) Software “bloat”, when an application uses more and more system resources, such as memory, each time it gets updated. Bloat can cause problems with a network’s ability to handle the load. 2) An error in the software, called a “bug”, could be the issue. For example, a memory leak, where the software uses memory while it’s working and then doesn’t release it for other applications when it’s done is a type of bug. Software companies often want every other possibility ruled out before they agree the problem is a software bug.

Yet another possibility for software/hardware conflicts is that you have a combination of issues. This is the most common situation we find with businesses we work with. IT and technology are complicated and there are many factors to consider when resolving network problems.

The owners of NoCo Technology Solutions of Fort Collins previously owned a computer software business, so we have experience on both sides of hardware-software conflict. We put that experience to work for you when we look into finding the solutions to any software and computer network problems you’re having.

To figure out what’s going on with your network and the software you’re trying to run, call NoCo Technology Solutions at 970-223-1885. We know how to make technology the solution, not the problem.

If you would like to have the NoCo Technology Solutions blog delivered each month to your email inbox, sign up here.

Alesa Locklear provides content marketing, such as blogs and e-newsletters, to companies wanting to stay in touch with prospects and customers. She can be reached at ablecontent@gmail.com.

Copyright © *2013* NoCo Technology Solutions, All rights reserved.

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Software and Computer Network Conflicts

When we first hear from businesses, they frequently tell us about the problems they are having with their computer network and their software. They have talked to software support and were told the problems are caused by their computer network or their technology hardware. Often they have consulted with an IT technician and he disagrees, telling them it’s a software problem. The business is stuck in the middle and they don’t know what to do.

The only thing that’s certain is that they have a big technology problem and no solution in sight.

This is where NoCo Technology Solutions comes in. We understand problems that create issues between software programs and computer networks. We have extensive experience figuring out what’s really going on and how to make things work so you can get back to your business.

One of the first things we look for and ask about is updates. Have you updated your software recently? Installed a new software product? How about the operating system on your network—when was the last time you installed updates for it?

The answers to these questions are clues on where to start. The fact is, hardware and software can get at odds with one another when one part of the system is out-of-date compared to what the other is needing in order to function properly.

For instance, if your software specifies that it needs a particular version (or newer) of the operating system, the software is relying on capabilities only that newer operating system provides. If you haven’t updated your operating system for some time, you may find you can’t run a particular software product.

The problem is tougher when you don’t just need to update your operating system, you need to upgrade; meaning you need a new version of the operating system. If you’re still running XP, for instance, you may find fewer software products that run properly on that older technology. Moving to a new operating system may be painful but it may be the only way to keep your business processes functioning.

So, to avoid problems with operating system and software conflict, you need to stay relatively current. And relatively is the key word. You don’t need to buy the newest technology the moment it comes on the market but you don’t want to wait until you’re one of the last ones still using old hardware and operating systems. Spending a reasonable budgeted amount each year to stay current enough is often the best plan to keep your computer network and software reliable, functional and affordable.

The mismatch between the software and the network can go the other direction, too. If you have a new operating system, you may find your old software doesn’t work as well as it used to. Again, since software is written with certain “expectations” about the operating system, you may find your operating system has outdistanced your software. Keeping your software up-to-date is the key. Occasionally, however, we find customers that use software that is no longer being updated. In that case, you may have to revisit your software solution.

This is the first part of a two-part series of blog posts about problems between your computer network and your software. In my next blog, I’ll discuss other reasons you may experience conflicts of this type.

NoCo Technology Solutions of Fort Collins, Colorado has extensive networking experience and applies a higher level of technical knowledge to your business needs. We know how to make technology the solution, not the problem. Call us at 970-223-1885 to apply our experience to your company and your goals.

If you would like to have the NoCo Technology Solutions blog delivered each month to your email inbox, sign up here.

Alesa Locklear provides content marketing, such as blogs and e-newsletters, to companies wanting to stay in touch with prospects and customers. She can be reached at ablecontent@gmail.com.

Copyright © *2013* NoCo Technology Solutions, All rights reserved.

Posted in Network Performance | Comments Off on Software and Computer Network Conflicts

Does Your Company Have a Technology Use Policy?

While Fort Collins business owners and managers are usually aware of threats to their network and computer systems from outside the organization, they often don’t think about how their employees use their computers and if there are any risks that should be addressed there.

A thoughtful technology use policy, however, can minimize very real security concerns. And, while even comprehensive policies may not stop an employee bent on violating them, they will minimize opportunities and provide a basis for disciplinary actions.

Policies about using email are pretty common, but there’s more to be considered. First, there are issues with malware; including viruses, worms and other hostile code. Policies to counter those problems include: educating your users to potential threats; installing antivirus software; regularly updating the antivirus software; specifying procedures that minimize infection potential; and installing all security patches for operating systems, web browsers, email clients, and applications.

The second area of concern is the amount of time employees are using the internet inappropriately—spending time on social media sites, downloading pornography, and pirating software. Even the smallest companies are vulnerable to losing many hours of productivity and many dollars of wages for time employees spend not doing their job.

A third area of concern is illicit access to and theft of the company’s information and intellectual property by employees. From accounting and payroll data, to customer lists, project data, and trade secrets; there’s great risk a business could lose critical information. All businesses need a clearly-stated Technology Use Policy and controls on who has access to data, who owns information, privacy expectations and confidentiality.

A Computer Crime and Security Survey conducted by the Computer Security Institute and the FBI reported that 55% of the respondents reported unauthorized access to information by persons inside the organization, compared to just 30% who reported intrusions by outsiders. A quarter reported theft of proprietary information and 69% reported theft of laptop computers. Ninety percent (90%) reported virus contamination and a staggering 97% reported systems abuse by insiders (i.e. pornography, pirated software, inappropriate email usage).
It may be impossible to completely guard against all data security threats, but implementing a comprehensive Technology Use Policy will certainly minimize potential threats. All users should be provided a copy of the Technology Use Policy and be required to sign a statement that they understand and agree to abide by this Policy. This applies to new employees, current employees, contractors, temporary workers, etc.
NoCo Technology Solutions of Fort Collins, Colorado can help you develop a Technology Use Policy and procedures to protect your business. Give us a call at 970-223-1885 if you’d like to know more.

If you would like to have the NoCo Technology Solutions blog delivered each month to your email inbox, sign up here.

Bill Locklear is the COO of NoCo Technology Solutions of Fort Collins, Colorado.

Copyright © *2013* NoCo Technology Solutions, All rights reserved.

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