Managed Services

iValley’s Premium Managed Services offering provides your company with remote management of PCs and Servers, full 24×7 monitoring of critical services, monitoring of ant-ivirus / anti-malware / anti-spyware, automated tasks to keep your systems in top condition, system inventory, and quarterly reports on system health to help plan for future upgrades and expansion.

iValley’s Premium Managed Services include:

Monitored Antivirus/Antispyware –

This feature includes an antivirus platform, which is constantly monitored by the Network Operations Center (further abbreviated as NOC). If a PC becomes infected, the NOC will be able to notify iValley via an automated alert, allowing us to respond quickly and keep the infection from spreading. Antivirus definitions are also monitored and alerts are sent when workstations are not receiving updated virus definitions, which can be caused by other computer problems. We can then quickly resolve the issue. If antivirus definitions become long out of date, this increases the possibility of the system becoming infected with a new virus. Many times, these issues can be resolved without the necessity to disturb the user, or interrupt the company’s work schedule.

Periodic cleaning of temporary Windows and Internet files –

As the operating system, applications, and Internet Explorer are used, the system will save temporary files to the hard drive for faster access later. Many times, this data is never accessed again, but the temporary files remain on the hard drive, using storage space and causing file fragmentation (more on this later). As the file system becomes filled with these unnecessary files, the system begins to slow down. By periodically removing these files, Windows can continue to operate at peak efficiency.

Periodic file system defragmentation –

As files are written and deleted from the hard disk, file fragmentation occurs. When a file is written to a disk, the operating system will find the first empty space on the drive to write the file. If the file is larger than the empty space, then after the space is filled, the next empty space is used, and so on. For instance, if you have 4 files (File A, File B, File C, File D), written to the disk and each is 5 kilobytes in size, you will have 20 kilobytes of contiguous data written to the disk. Now, assume File C is deleted. You now have 10 kilobytes of contiguous space with File A and File B, then 5 kilobytes of empty space, and finally 5 kilobytes of used space with File D. Next, you create a new file 10 kilobytes in size. The operating system will use the 5 kilobytes of free space made available by deleting File C to write the first 5 kilobytes of the next file. The rest of the file will be written in the free space after file D. Over time, this causes many files to become fragmented. So, what’s wrong with fragmentation? As the fragmented files are read, the hard drive head has to bounce from location to location on the hard drive to read the entire file. This causes delays in reading the file, thereby causing the system to run slower and slower the more files are fragmented. The process of defragmentation takes all the little pieces of the files and restructures them so they are contiguous on the disk, allowing read operations to occur faster.

Verification and automation of Windows security updates –

Microsoft releases new Windows updates and security patches every 2nd Thursday of each month. Many of these updates plug up security holes, which viruses and malware use to infect a system. By keeping the system current with Windows updates, it reduces the chance for the PC to become infected by new viruses which the antivirus definition is not yet available and attempting to take advantage of these security holes. This is also a catch 22. Microsoft has released security patches, which cause other programs to crash, or even the operating system to crash. There have been a few updates which Microsoft removed from the update site because they not only crashed the operating system, but made it impossible to boot up. The only fix was to reinstall the operating system from scratch, causing a loss of all data. With verification and automation all the Windows updates are first sent to our lab, where engineers install and test the patch for compatibility and functionality. The patch is then given 1 of 3 ratings. If the patch is found to have no issues after testing, it is white-listed and released to the desktops or servers for installation. If the patch is known to cause problems in very specific circumstances, the patch is grey-listed. All grey-listed patches can be installed at the administrator’s discretion. Any patch that proves to be very problematic is black-listed, which means it is blocked from installation to any server or desktop.

Remote access to any PC at any time for administrative assistance –

This allows the administrator to access a back end console on each machine. This console shows current CPU and memory usage, hard drive space, error logs, and what processes and services are running. If a user has a problem and needs assistance, many times the issue can be resolved with the back end console without the need to disrupt the user. For instance, if a user cannot print, the problem may be that the print service has stopped. With the back end console, we can restart the print service and the user will not have to stop working. The remote access from anywhere also allows us to take remote control of the keyboard and mouse of the PC to assist or walk someone through a problem quickly. The user would not have to wait for an engineer to arrive on site to troubleshoot a problem. This saves time and money, not only by providing quick problem troubleshooting, but also this allows iValley to bill at 15 minute increments, instead of a 1 hour minimum charge for an on-site visit.

Quarterly health reports –

These quarterly reports show trends of disk, cpu, and memory usage. It also shows how many temporary files are deleted, and how many infections have been cleaned from systems. These statistics help plan for upgrades, or can reveal systems that are used contrary to company policy (extensive web browsing during company time). The trend analysis allows the company to take a proactive approach to planning for I.T. expenditures, rather than the more costly reactive approach where funds were not set aside for a system that shows signs of failure. * PC inventory – Each monitored system is cataloged with how much memory is installed, type of motherboard, CPU speed, and other data which can assist with planning for future upgrades. The question of “Will my PC run Windows 2015 (when available)?” Could be answered by looking at the inventory page on the administrative console for a quick answer.