Serval Systems Ltd Blog

How to make IT systems more efficient for accountants

Posted on 23/03/15, filed under Cloud Computing, IT Guides | No Comments

Today’s accountancy professional must find new ways to manage an ever greater quantity of client data securely and confidentially, and also engage with the technology that allows access to this data ‘on the move’.

At the same time, large businesses are expected to take a more thorough approach to their reporting.  Bosses and boards need expert accountancy advice – in particular, people with the technical know-how to help guide them through increasingly complex regulatory requirements.

Equally, smaller businesses who may still be feeling some aftershocks from the economic crash want to extract the maximum value from their accountancy service.

Meeting client expectations requires an efficient, robust, fit for purpose IT infrastructure.  Serval Systems has helped accountancy firms to acquire one.

Offsite storage

In our offsite server room we can build the latest IBM rack-mounted host server to take the pressure off your existing system and ensure the capacity is there to allow for more data to be stored  – ready for a future in which, hopefully, your client base has expanded.

Using a host company which provides the very latest in server technology, as Serval Systems does, will speed up your applications and handle the toughest workload challenges.

Further efficiencies

An offsite solution means you can concentrate your energies on your core, chargeable business.  IT maintenance is taken care for you.  Strong and streamlined backup and disaster recovery processes go on ‘behind the scenes’, but you can still gain access to them if you want to.

Meanwhile, in the virtual world of the cloud, you and your staff will be able to access files wherever you or they are.  You will be able to make very best use of time spent travelling to meet clients as your desktop travels with you.

Virtualisation

If you feel comfortable with your existing server and are reluctant to make a change that may feel abrupt, then it can be virtualised by a host server.  The interface you have become accustomed to will remain the same, but you will also have the option to launch the hosted desktop from a smartphone or similar device.

Clarity Accounting is one of the firms we have helped.  Our service included upgrading all the firm’s PCs to Windows 7 Professional, which users found made a noticeable difference to performance.

If you think your firm needs advice on making your IT infrastructure more efficient, what backup method is best for you, or any aspect of cloud computing, please call the Serval Systems team today on 0843 636 6700.

Top 5 IT solutions to increase office efficiency

Posted on 12/03/15, filed under Business IT Services, IT Support, Top IT Tips | No Comments

In a competitive world, it’s a case of ‘survival of the fittest’ for many small or medium-sized businesses.
If your office is lean and streamlined, you will reap the rewards in terms of time efficiencies and increased productivity – and it comes down to getting your IT right.

So here are five tips on how IT solutions can improve your business efficiency.

1. System upgrades
Many companies are relying on old equipment. Just a look at the shape of your computer monitors will remind you how long you have had them.

You might only need to upgrade the hard drive and ramp up the memory, though a completely new system is often the best choice.

2. Outsourced technical support
You and your employees have enough to do without also dealing with IT security and network problems. Turn to specialists wherever possible: they will apply the expertise your team lacks, from First Line Support (immediate access to a helpdesk consultant) through to Third Line Support for complex matters.

3. Project planning
Strictly speaking, project planning is a management approach rather than an IT solution, but we think it’s important so include it in our ‘top 5’.
Replacing obsolete hardware interrupts the flow of work: think beyond your immediate needs and work out just what it is your business needs to meet its objectives in the longer term. It might be better to do a couple of major upgrades in one go rather than cause disruption through several smaller, staggered upgrades.

4. Offsite data storage
A data centre doesn’t only offer safe storage for your information, it’s also a crucial back-up, should something go wrong in-house. What’s more, when these offsite servers are undergoing maintenance, your business will be able to carry on its normal operations without hold-ups. Even just moving to the cloud will help – with the bonus that your staff will have access to their data and information wherever they are.

5. Smart devices
Talking of cloud computing, for efficient IT on the move, it’s well worth considering investing in smartphones, tablets and similar devices. Employees can effectively take the office with them when they’re out and about, and create presentations or spreadsheets while sitting on a train. A number of apps have come on the market, which help the employee-on-the-move to prioritise tasks.

Finally, the experts at Serval Systems can ensure your IT works for you: contact us today on 0843 636 6700 or info@servalsystems.co.uk.

Is your Data Really Hidden in The Cloud?

Posted on 19/02/15, filed under Cloud Computing, IT Security | No Comments

The concern which, above all others, causes IT heads to think twice about migrating to cloud computing is security.  This is understandable: from the hacker’s point of view, the cloud has a silver lining – a rich store of sensitive (and therefore valuable) data.

This is why it is important, if choosing a provider, to make sure the company has a robust approach to handling security matters.  If you are not completely reassured after completing your homework, then look elsewhere.

So, what are some of the issues around cloud computing and how are they being overcome by reputable suppliers?

A cloud service provider often uses the same software and infrastructure to serve several customers.  The term for this set-up is ‘multi-tenancy’.  It has its risks: for example, there have been cases of software bugs passing from one customer to another.  You should make a point of discussing the options – which include a personalised, ‘single tenant’ model – with a provider who places a premium on security.

A cloud service provider will typically work with a range of third parties. If you turn to a provider which demonstrates a professional approach you can at least have a degree of confidence that its associates can be relied on to keep your data safe.  You should also ensure that the provider can answer some vital questions.  Does it own both servers and software (this is not always the case)?  What is the level of technical support, should things go wrong?  Is there a disaster recovery plan?  The provider should specify the same level of protection which you would have in place if you were storing the data yourself.

The customer is unaware of where their data is being held or which country’s laws apply. Before finalising your contract you should find out exactly which jurisdiction and laws would apply to each party involved if certain incidents developed, and also satisfy yourself that the data centres comply with the particular regulatory standards of your business sector.

A provider must, of course, heed the basics: safeguarding data with a web application firewall, taking due care that any third party code it uses passes the same security tests as their own code, and carrying out proactive testing of systems.  A high degree of anti-virus protection and a system to prevent malicious code arriving via email are other essentials.

Security must always be integral to a company’s move to cloud computing – and not just an add-on to be considered later.

If you would like to discuss potential security threats or wish to know more about cloud computing, contact us now on 0843 636 6700 or info@servalsystems.co.uk.