Does ASE provide both remote and on-site support?

Yes. It is true that most problems can be solved remotely but there are some issues that need to have an expert come to the site. In some cases, it is simply best to provide the support at the site. Many times, companies are implementing a new technology and it is best to not only install it but to provide some training to the users as well while on the site.

Will we see the same expert, or will we see different people each time?

ASE assigns a lead expert to your account. Once the relationship is started you will have direct access to the expert. If the need arises, another expert can be deployed to your site but after communicating with your lead expert.

Where do we get product such as hardware and software? Should we buy directly from the manufacturer?

As a reseller, ASE can source all IT related product for you. We have direct relationships with the manufacturers and we source from the largest distributors in the country. In almost all cases, the manufacturer will charge retail pricing. Resellers can purchase at a discount and therefore pass that pricing to you, not retail.

Why do we need a monthly support service when for years we never used it and therefore we feel we don’t need it?

You may not need monthly support but the bigger you are the more it is likely that you would benefit from it. Just like a car or a house, buying is one thing, maintaining it is another. You don’t wait until the car seizes up due to no oil. This is reactive and usually costs more to resolve, such as buying a new engine. You check it from time to time. This is proactive and usually costs less over time like simply adding oil. Over the years support has changed. Today, systems can be configured to send information continuously to your support partner. This is remote monitoring. Along with monitoring comes the ability to remotely access your systems or your network. These tools provide better coverage to you, better response and faster resolution compared to a call in for tech support and waiting for dispatch. The tools the provider uses to perform this service come with a monthly cost and therefore is why they need to charge you monthly.

Why do we need to upgrade when it works fine now?

You may not need to depending on what ‘it” is used for. Regarding IT technology, manufacturers produce updates for both hardware and software. Users such as you, partners such as ASE, and, continuous testing by the manufacturers, find problems. Some of these problems reveal themselves as holes, weaknesses hackers can exploit. Manufacturers provide remedies (patches & updates) for these problems and send them out routinely. It is very important that these get applied to provide better security like stopping malware from entering your network and wreaking havoc (big cost to resolve). At some point the manufacturer decides to not support a particular hardware or software (End of Life). This includes discontinuing tech support (email or phone). It is at this point that upgrading is needed. If your product is not connected to the internet in any way and is used for a simple reason that no other system relies on, then it may not need to be replaced or upgraded.

Why do we need to change the way we do backups? We have been using a tape drive for years and it works just fine.

Because of the rise in threats back up services and techniques have changed dramatically. There are now many more companies that provide various back up services, and, it has become best practice to employ more than one type of back up service or procedure. Tape backups tend to be very expensive solutions and typically are scheduled in the middle of the night. This means that continual backup of the files as they change throughout the day are not done. If there is a loss of data for whatever reason, the most recent backup to retrieve data from was last night. This means that you might lose all of the data from the timing of that last backup to the time of the disaster. Incremental or differential backups are continuous and better for more up to date backups. Therefore, if you have a disaster later in the day then you would have a more up to date (up to the hour or minute) backup to work with, unlike traditional every night backups.

Do we have IT compliance for our industry?

Depending on what you do, you may not but don’t let that deter you from protecting your data so that others won’t be at risk. Remember, if you have information about your employees, other people in other companies and other company’s basic financial info, then you are putting that data at risk by not protecting it. ASE, specializing in FISMA and HIPAA compliance, can help you determine what, if any, compliance there is for your industry.

Compliance is about privacy and security of data. Without security you don’t have privacy (which includes integrity of data). Data is no good if it cannot be guaranteed that it is correct. This means that you need to provide protection of your data, if for any other reason, to protect yourself. Compliance is a set of guidelines that need to be followed to help protect the data you have, and, must be followed over time.

Is Compliance costly?

Performing an assessment of an existing network takes time/hours and can range from a few hours to many. A basic rule of thumb is the larger the network the larger the cost. Existing networks require more work to assess than establishing a new network, therefore, less cost to perform a new network compliance assessment.

Do we have to purchase a large expensive firewall for compliance?

No. Compliance, in most cases, requires a firewall appliance but does not state a brand nor size. However, there is a difference between a firewall and a router. Don’t be confused or misled that a router does the same thing. ASE can help you determine the best fit for you needs.

What do we do with data accumulated by ex-employees?

You should have an archiving policy, a retention policy and more. Just because a person leaves the company for any reason doesn’t mean you can delete the data associated with them such as emails and files. There could be many reasons why you would want to keep it. For compliance, you have to keep it and for a certain period of time.