Archive for Third Party Maintenance

what is network uptime

What is Network Uptime? | July 10th, 2020

Your business network is an invaluable part of your organization. Whether you’re inputting sensitive patient data, managing construction projects or completing administrative tasks, network uptime supports smooth operations. Though uptime is vital, it isn’t always guaranteed. Let’s take a deeper look at uptime and ways you can optimize it for your business.

What Does Network Uptime Mean?

Network uptime refers to the time when a network is up and running. In contrast, downtime is the time when a network is unavailable. A network’s uptime is typically measured by calculating the ratio of uptime to downtime within a year, then expressing that ratio as a percentage.

The concept of “five-nines” — a network availability of 99.999% — has been an industry gold standard for many years. This uptime percentage translates to about 5.26 minutes of unplanned downtime a year. Though five-nines or 100% uptime rates may be difficult to achieve, getting as close as possible is a worthwhile pursuit. Your business likely feels the impact of even a fraction of uptime difference. Making sure your service provider meets your requirements can help you minimize the costs of unplanned downtime.

Service Level Agreements and Uptime

Service level agreements (SLAs) promise a set of performance standards between a service provider and their client. In an SLA, a provider may:

  • Identify customer needs
  • Provide a foundation client comprehension
  • Address potential conflicts
  • Create a space for dialogue
  • Discuss practical expectations

SLAs can help you determine whether a service provider meets your company’s needs and wants. The central components of an SLA are uptime, packet delivery and latency. While successful packet delivery and low latency are important, uptime is an especially crucial component to consider. Network service with high availability translates to maximum profitability for your business.

The Costs of Downtime

Network failure is a huge inconvenience, but even the best systems confront unforeseen issues. A power outage, for example, could cause hardware failures and threaten network reliability. In this scenario, you could increase your network uptime with a backup power supply. But if you haven’t planned for the situation, you might face extra difficulties taking reactive measures and returning your network to normal function.

Network downtime can cost a business thousands of dollars each minute, which makes 24/7 network monitoring essential for many industries. With Worldwide Services, you can protect your business from downtime with our recurring network and IT maintenance. Worldwide Services can help you prevent unnecessary network outages and prepare for when they occur. We’re experienced with a variety of different industries and are equipped to make uptime minutes count.

How to Determine Server Uptime

You can calculate your network uptime with some simple math:

  • 24 hours per day x 365 days per year = 8,760 hours per year
  • Number of hours your network is up and running per year ÷ 8,760 hours per year x 100 = Yearly uptime percentage

For example, if your network is down for one hour total during an entire year, this is how you calculate your network uptime:

  • 8,759 hours ÷ 8,760 hours = 0.99988
  • 0.99988 x 100 = 99.988%

You can also use free or paid website monitoring services to check your server uptime. A website monitoring service tracks and tests your servers and may send an alert if something goes wrong. Besides checking network uptime, comprehensive monitoring services offer feature-heavy programs to keep your business operational during network disturbances.

Worldwide Services can support your network by resolving hardware failure, managing your network performance and providing 24/7 network monitoring through our network operations center (NOC) services. With our services, you can significantly decrease network downtime and maintain optimal customer satisfaction. Since our IT management team handles your network issues, your staff can be more productive at what they do best. You can also stay up-to-date about what’s going on with your network with our real-time tracking services.

How to Improve Network Uptime

Your business can learn how to increase network uptime by analyzing the structure of your network architecture. Network architecture is typically composed of four main parts — the core network, interconnection networks, access networks and customer applications. The core network is the network component from which we expect optimal performance, or five-nines. The core network is also essential to the other parts of the network as its functions support customers who are interconnected with the access network.

From the access network, clients can open customer applications. But if there is a problem with the access network, such as the local area network (LAN), clients may receive less than optimal results. The LAN may be negatively affected by the infrastructure of the provider’s network terminating unit (NTU) that connects the customer’s equipment on location with the network.

Decreasing downtime starts with identifying potential points of failure like above and addressing them before they cause issues. These are our top network uptime best practices and ways to improve network uptime for your business.

1. IT Mapping

When you assess the core components of your network architecture, you can create an IT map detailing network device availability and network health. The map should show all your IT assets and services, including inventory hardware, software, and relevant locations and vendors. When completed, you can use the IT map to:

  • Note how network components are connected with one another.
  • Consider how one failure might affect another device or functionality in the overall IT system.
  • Identify what components are most essential.
  • Note unnecessary redundancies and potential issues with physical resources.
  • Look for vulnerabilities and re-organize accordingly.

In addition to hardware, it’s a good idea to get a headcount of all the other IT resources that are critical to the system. This may include:

  • Human resources
  • Budget
  • Executive officials
  • End users

Map these resources in regards to their qualitative and quantitative effects. Operational budgets, for example, could be mapped to recovering your IT system.

2. Hardware Warranties

The migration from physical systems to cloud services has lessened the weight many businesses once carried knowing they could lose vital infrastructure. Though cloud services are on the rise, many businesses still rely on smaller devices like projectors or tablets for essential functions. While repairs can be an option, relying on a warranty for hardware repairs is usually the better option.

If a piece of hardware is still under warranty, you shouldn’t have to pay for repairs or replacement, which helps you minimize the total costs of system downtime. It can be helpful to keep track of how long a warranty lasts for a piece of hardware, what’s covered under the warranty and which pieces of hardware are reaching the end of their warranty. If a piece of hardware is nearing the end of its warranty, compare the costs of repairing it and replacing it with upgraded hardware.

3. Software Management

It’s also helpful to keep track of your software, whether you have Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscriptions or local programs. A system performance management (SPM) provider can help you manage your software inventory, including titles, upgrades and deployment. The most useful SPM programs have holistic functionality that also lets you monitor overall network health by collecting and analyzing other operational metrics.

With a solutions-focused SPM provider, you’ll only need one platform to manage your network performance. Effective SPM programs should be able to manage and solve your network issues, all while keeping you in the loop with automatic updates.

4. Faster Connections

Faster Ethernet connections can help prevent outages due to traffic overload. Many businesses connect their servers to the internet with Ethernet connections that run at 10 gigabits per second. To support uptime, consider switching to a faster Ethernet speed like 40 gigabits per second. Depending on your network, you may experience dramatic spikes in usage that can bog down a slower Ethernet connection. A 40-gigabit per second router-to-router link can keep things running smoothly for everybody.

5. Security Patches

It’s common for security updates to take place immediately as they become available, but this timing can be cumbersome for your business. Most security patches require system restarts, which can disrupt your uptime during crucial operating hours. Plan patches for a time when you can increase your network’s safeguards and reduce disturbances.

When you trust Worldwide Services to maintain your server systems, our technical support team can help manage your security patches. With the right patch timing, you can enjoy better productivity, increased security strength and greater regulatory compliance.

6. Caches

A cache is a data-layer stored in a computer’s random access memory (RAM), which operates with much higher speeds than standard hardware storage. Its basic use is to recall small amounts of application or web information that may be useful when a user returns to a location they’ve already visited.

Caching uses caches to store data in memory so it can be accessed easily later on. In the event of network downtime, a slow connection or a traffic spike, users can still use cached content. Caching is the principle way popular social media sites can handle large network surges. With increased or improved caching, your business may be able to facilitate uptime when your network is under stress.

7. Performance Testing

Great network performance requires thorough attention to your network’s efficiency from every angle. Throughput, bandwidth and other metrics can all impact how well your network is running. Website monitoring tools usually have numerous features to help you track these metrics, including:

  • Domain lookup times
  • Uptime rates
  • Individual page element load times
  • Redirection times
  • First byte download times
  • Connection times

Perhaps the greatest benefit of network monitoring is its nonstop service. This level of surveillance keeps you in the loop with your network without the need for constant attention. Most application performance monitoring (APM) software can even give you a root cause of a problem, saving you the trouble and ultimately expediting the troubleshooting process.

8. Redundancy Building

Redundancy refers to any backup schemes that are in place in case of a network failure. This can occur in several ways:

  • Providers can use alternative network paths or replacement equipment to build a redundant system.
  • Businesses may stock extra switches and routers to swap out a failing unit quickly and diminish its effects.
  • Businesses may program network protocols to switch paths when an initial path has failed.
  • Businesses may connect subnets to multiple routers within a network. These routers can update one another on the best path for a signal.
  • Businesses may use two cables to make a connection. If one cable is disconnected, traffic can continue flowing through the other.

Wide access networks (WAN) were once the norm for network connections. But the rise of cloud computing has made experts question their reliability. Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) offers another means of network redundancy. SD-WAN has the capacity to migrate network traffic to the internet once traditional systems have failed.

9. Emerging Technologies

HTML5 is an emerging software that improves upon HTML, the code that describes the layout of webpages. HTML5 can manage text, video and graphics without the need for any extra plugins. On its own, HTML only employs text function. Effective programming with HTML5 can lead to better network performance.

Managed IT services can also be considered an emerging technology. These services are one way to implement the above tips easily and effectively. Worldwide Services offers an array of solutions for your network needs, including:

  • Professional consulting and project management to secure your network
  • Repairs that extend asset recovery programs
  • Assistance planning, designing, building and operating your network

Work With a Network Maintenance Expert

Every business has network uptime needs that impact the welfare of their clients and their company. A reliable network can play a pivotal role in satisfying customers, improving productivity, increasing revenues and driving overall savings.

Maintaining your network should be a top priority for your business. Curtailing network failure begins at the hardware level. Worldwide Services can provide the third-party maintenance you need at lower costs with an increased return on investment. NetGuard, our around-the-clock technical assistance, keeps your best interests in mind, including saving money and increasing network availability. Contact us to get started today.

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EoL vs. EoSL | April 10th, 2020

Imagine if you got a message from the manufacturer of your hardware saying they were discontinuing support for one of the most vital parts of your company. That would be a frustrating message to hear, and one that may send you scrambling for a solution. You might think you have to buy the latest hardware to continue receiving support. Or, you may think you’ll be stuck struggling with old, outdated equipment until you can convince higher-ups to spend money on new hardware. Fortunately, these aren’t your only options.

If you get a notice like this from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), it typically means the equipment is entering one of two stages: End of Life (EoL) or End of Service Life (EoSL). So how is EoL different than EoSL? Keep reading to find out what these terms mean and how a third-party maintenance (TPM) solution can help you minimize their effects.

What Is EoL?

As the term suggests, an EoL product is at its End of Life. This typically means the manufacturer will not be producing any more of the item. The OEM might have a new generation coming up or a completely different product they want to focus on, so halting production allows them to refocus funds toward new developments. Usually, the OEM will still offer maintenance and post-warranty support on EoL products. The firmware is typically stable by this point, so you probably won’t have any updates or patches come through.

If your product has reached its EoL, it may be a good time to put new hardware on your radar. You can typically still get a few more years out of it — especially with the help of TPM — but eventually, you will need to get something new. Since substantial hardware updates often require significant capital, make sure the decision-makers know about potential replacement costs in the upcoming years. Advance notice may make the transition more manageable when you do need to purchase new hardware.

Another reason to stay on top of the life cycle of your equipment is to maximize resale value. For instance, you might have a product that currently has excellent resale value. If the OEM announces it is going EoL, it quickly loses value when the manufacturer stops offering the product, accessories and support. By staying up-to-date with EoL status announcements, you can more appropriately gauge and plan for resale.

What Is EoSL?

In looking at End of Life vs. End of Service Life, support is the biggest differentiating factor. The EoSL label is a little more final than EoL. At this stage, the OEM stops selling the product and won’t offer any more maintenance or support. If they do support the hardware in some way, they may charge you greatly for the service. You also won’t see firmware updates or patches for the product.

By this point, a piece of hardware has likely been out for a while, and the OEM might be trying to push a new technology or product line. Like with EoL products, you’ll want to keep new hardware in your sights. You can maximize your use for a while after the EoSL designation, but the product will probably still be on its way out the door. Technology advances quickly and, depending on the hardware, yours might become outdated rapidly.

Some issues that can pop up when a product reaches EoSL without you noticing include the following:

  • Decreased performance
  • Software compatibility issues
  • Security weaknesses, though patches may still come through or be available through other sources
  • Lower operating efficiency

Always be aware which stage of the IT life cycle your equipment is in so you can budget efficiently. In addition to saving you time and money, appropriately managing your EoSL equipment can be more convenient. For instance, updating your servers at the wrong time, like your busiest month, could be a real pain — slowing productivity and adding stress to the workday. It requires downtime, investment and change. TPM can help you manage your hardware until you’re ready to switch.

network hardware

What Is the Difference Between EoL and EoSL?

One of the main differences between EoL and EoSL products is service offerings. While the OEM may still offer support for EoL products, EoSL products no longer receive support. You’ll have to go through TPM or another service provider for any kind of assistance since the OEM has cut EoSL products off completely.

Aside from the maintenance aspect, the terms “End of Life” and “End of Service Life” are relatively close in meaning. Both signal the OEM cutting ties with the product and reducing or eliminating support. Usually, they do this to push marketing and development efforts for a new product. Plus, by eliminating or reducing support on the old product, they can often convince companies to upgrade before it is really necessary.

OEMs aren’t service companies. They make a profit by turning around new products and generating upgrades. OEMs charge a high amount for EoL services for a few reasons:

  • Their business model is not intended for long-term service. The high prices of their policy keep things profitable for them. Remember, they generally want to focus on creating and selling products, not servicing existing ones.
  • Their part supply diminishes after production stops. As OEMs run out of refurbished parts, they may have trouble procuring necessary components. During your initial warranty phase, which is usually two or three years after the purchase date, manufacturers have plenty of access to these components and often supply you with new ones as needed. The further your product gets from the EoL date, the harder and more expensive it is to get certified, quality parts.

What Can Your Organization Do With EoL or EoSL Equipment?

You might feel backed into a corner if your products are deemed EoL or EoSL. It may seem like you have to get a new product if you want to continue getting any support, which means spending money and losing the value of the old hardware. If you keep your equipment, you’ll have to proceed without OEM support. But how will you deal with technical difficulties or breakdowns? And how can you be confident that your hardware will work properly as new software, technology and security concerns arise?

In some cases, the OEM might offer you a “solution” with an exorbitant price for continued services. These prices may rise over time as the OEM expands further and further away from your product. Another “solution” you may try to adopt is to keep the hardware but attempt to handle maintenance and repairs on your own. That service often requires a higher level of expertise, and it also costs you money in terms of your IT department. You may need to hire someone to do that work and may struggle to find the right parts. For the same price, there are other options available that may fit your business better.

Worldwide Services employee working on hardware

Third-Party Maintenance (TPM) Solutions

A TPM company can step in when the OEM support ends and keep your hardware running smoothly for years after its EoL or EoSL. Just because manufacturers like Cisco and HP have stopped supporting a piece of hardware, doesn’t mean the hardware can’t continue to support your business.

You might not be ready for a sizable new purchase, especially if your existing equipment is working just fine. You can significantly extend the life of your EoL or EoSL hardware by looking to TPM. A TPM service can step in and perform repairs or fixes as needed long after the OEM’s support ends.

TPM companies typically have access to OEM parts through trusted channels or the OEMs themselves. They can provide expert service at the same or higher level of care as the OEM, but at a much lower cost. TPM solutions often exceed the original service level agreement, which can allow you to free up capital and use your hardware as you see fit.

Some of the benefits of working with TPM programs include the following.

1. Extended Hardware Lifespan

When a manufacturer stops offering support for a product, the equipment is not suddenly useless. It still maintains much of its original value, and if the product works for your company, it is convenient to keep using it. As long as there aren’t any glaring issues with the hardware or problems with its place in your company’s infrastructure, you can stretch your initial investment and keep the product working longer with TPM.

2. Sticking to Your Own Schedule

Maybe your hardware is going to reach its EoSL at a time when your company doesn’t have much extra capital to spend on upgrades. Or maybe it will happen during your busy season when a hardware upgrade might be too disruptive. Regardless of when it happens, you shouldn’t have to alter your schedule because of the manufacturer.

You have your own business to run and your schedule to balance. Plus, you don’t want to be rushed into a hasty decision because you feel like you need new hardware. By continuing to use your existing equipment with the help of TPM, you can choose to upgrade when you’re ready. You can prepare for the transition and have your finances in order before purchasing new equipment.

3. High-Quality Repairs

If you’re working on hardware yourself, you may not have easy access to OEM parts and may have to turn to less-than-trustworthy manufacturers to get what you need. Working with TPM entails more access to trusted parts that will work with your equipment. Plus, the technicians performing the repairs are experts in the field and may be more familiar with the equipment than in-house techs.

4. Lower Costs

Avoid the sky-high prices for post-EoL OEM services by working with a TPM company. With much lower prices and a similar skill set, they can get the job done without charging a premium.

In addition to savings, the scope of work included with TPM may be more expansive or personalized than what is offered by your OEM. You also get to push back the cost of new equipment. While an upgrade will still be necessary at some point, TPM can help keep it at bay.

5. Attention to Your Needs

While an OEM specializes in their equipment, TPM programs can focus more on the needs of your company. They might be able to perform a repair in a way that creates as little downtime as possible or offer more encompassing services that can provide a better deal. Some TPM options, like Worldwide Services, let you purchase only the services you need. You can even create a hybrid model with elements of OEM and TPM support if that’s what fits your business.

network hardware data center

What to Look for in a TPM Program

TPM is an excellent solution for EoL or EoSL hardware that you’re not ready to part with. It can help you extend the value of these tools and ensure you get to upgrade whenever you’re ready — not when your OEM says you should.

One factor to keep in mind when selecting TPM is the type of organization it is. According to Gartner, you can find two kinds of TPM:

  • Traditional TPM: Traditional TPM companies are independent support contractors that make most of their money from annual support contracts. They are typically more established and have investment funding.
  • Secondary hardware suppliers: Some TPM companies make most of their money from the resale of hardware. Many in this category started as resellers before offering TPM, so they have typically been around for a shorter time.

Traditional TPM companies tend to have the advantage of more experience and a devoted maintenance focus.

Whether you only need online technical support or you want a comprehensive maintenance solution, Worldwide Services can help. Our experts work to provide 24/7 access to assistance that fits your business needs. Our NetGuard program offers TPM support for over 200 current and legacy lines of OEM products from major manufacturers like Cisco and HP as well as lesser-known brands.

Partner With Worldwide Services

When it comes to maintaining EoL products, you need a company you can trust. We allow you to retain full control over your equipment, so all your sensitive data stays where you want it. Plus, you can save up to 50% on maintenance costs when implementing NetGuard. Paired with an established presence in the industry and our proven track record, NetGuard is a trustworthy, reliable option.

Our TPM solution can help protect your hardware investment and save you money. For more information on how Worldwide Services can benefit your company, contact us today.

Worldwide Services as a TPM

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Do I Need a Cisco Catalyst 9000? | March 13th, 2020

Cisco engineers designed the Catalyst 9000 for use in the modern digital era. With the 9000 models, users can connect to virtually any network, including cloud, mobile and wireless. These switches range in size and power with models designed to fit any need.

As technology improves, the right tools for connecting must advance with it. Companies looking for fast and secure connections are often encouraged to upgrade to Cisco Catalyst 9000, but it is not necessarily required. Business is about the bottom line. Companies must find the right balance between cost and performance when improving a system.

What Is Cisco Catalyst 9000?

The Cisco Catalyst family of switches offers solutions for businesses and organizations of any size. Demands on networks are growing each year. The right equipment will be necessary to process incoming data, maintain security and ensure connectivity. Cisco 9000 switches include:

  • Security: Cisco uses enhanced-threat-analysis (ETA) to identify cyber threats. Advanced analytics identify risks to your network, including threats hidden in encrypted traffic. Additionally, 9000-series switches allow users to host private cloud networks, limiting exposure to hackers.
  • Connectivity: The 9000 is for the internet of today and the network of tomorrow. Cisco designed the 9000 with cloud and mobile connectivity as a top priority with the highest UPoE available. These switches are created to withstand data usage predictions well into the future.
  • Access: Improve both yours and the user experience with constant connectivity. Cisco 9000 switches are always on, ensuring the latest updates are consistently applied and users enjoy constant connectivity.
  • Programmability: Cisco Catalyst 9000 switches include built-in programmable UADP ASIC. Switches also come equipped with x86 CPU with OPEN IOS-XE installed. Simplify operations with blue beacon technology and built-in RFID capabilities.
  • Design: Discover, configure and provision devices across your network in a fraction of the time. Cisco DNA and SD-Acess allow for better network management with reduced risk to vulnerabilities. Automate more tasks for greater efficiency with less room for error.

Pros and Cons of Cisco Catalyst 9000 Switches

If you’re thinking of upgrading your network capabilities, you have a lot of options. Cisco 9000-series switches do offer some performance benefits, however, there are other options are available. These other solutions can offer similar performance at a much lower cost. Business resources, network demands and future planning can all affect your decision to act.

Before moving to a Catalyst switch, it’s essential to explore both the advantages and disadvantages of making the change. Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of Cisco Catalyst 9000 switches:

Pros

  • Density: Up to twice the density of comparable switches
  • Safety: Better security features for cyber threat reduction
  • Analytics: Intelligent analytics for better network management
  • Support: Ongoing training and technical assistance from Cisco

Cons

  • Licensing: Subscription-based software licensing means you are limited
  • Price: Catalyst 9000 switch pricing often exceeds business resources
  • Vendor Lock-In: Reduces your flexibility and increases long-term costs

Though there are some benefits of moving to the latest option from Cisco, there are disadvantages that could affect you if you were to choose that option. Fortunately for your organization, there are Cisco Catalyst 9000 alternatives that can provide comparable performance without the drawbacks.

What Is Your Alternative?

Worldwide Services has switching solutions to fit your needs and your budget. Finding the right IT solutions for your organization starts with a better understanding of your network. We will perform a complete walkthrough of your system to identify areas for improvement, helping your business maintain a competitive edge.

At Worldwide Services, we work with businesses and organizations of all sizes. Get more information on Cisco switches, comparable products, or how we can help optimize your network. Contact Worldwide Services today at 855-894-6400 or send us a message online.

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DNA Center Alternatives | February 12th, 2020

If you’re a business owner that relies on networking, you’re probably familiar with Cisco and its many offerings. You may even have some of their equipment or have worked with their software in the past. Their latest in networking technology, DNA Center, is a significant architecture platform for businesses. But running their programs can be expensive and daunting, especially for smaller and mid-sized companies.

The good news is there are other options for DNA Center for businesses looking to find similar services at a lower cost. These options will provide your business with several other benefits as well.

What Is Cisco DNA Center?

Cisco is a big name in networking software, and DNA Center is no exception. In their context, DNA stands for digital network architecture, a platform that is designed to create a comprehensive and integrated management system. Cisco’s DNA Center is a graphical interface system that provides complete management and control to drive your business’ growth. With it, you can direct workflow by strategically adding devices, assigning roles, analyzing the impact and completing many other proactive tasks.

Organizations turn to Cisco DNA, as it allows them to simplify management with groups of any size across multiple continents. It also comes highly regarded, as Cisco is a leading brand in networking platforms and infrastructure hardware. However, there are both pros and cons to Cisco DNA Center. For one, it requires that you purchase their equipment to implement the software. The high cost of Cisco DNA Center is also an issue for businesses with smaller budgets.

On top of the price, Cisco locks you into their ecosystem. DNA Center is compatible with other Cisco software, but you’ll have a difficult time trying to integrate it with other branded hardware and programs. It’s convenient if you solely work within a Cisco network, but not otherwise. Additionally, while third-party providers typically support and service multiple brands of equipment, with Cisco, you may have to enter into various vendor contracts to get the tech support you need.

DNA Center software subscription stacks come with technical support, but for full hardware support, you’ll also have to pay for Smart Net Total Care, also known as SmartNet.

Are There Lower Cost Alternatives to DNA Center?

Automating a network can be challenging for any business. But it’s also well worth the time and expense. It can help prevent outages, ensure compliance, simplify your management responsibilities, improve overall workflow and aid in scaling and evolving.

While Cisco stands out as one of the largest software companies for businesses, there are plenty of lower-cost options to Cisco DNA Center that may be better options. Third-party providers offer high-quality networking programs at a lower cost than the original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, such as Cisco. They’re typically lower cost as they have more independent focuses, have less brand notoriety and can streamline your tech support.

choose to upgrade at your own pace

Alternative options may also allow you to choose the services you need without being locked into a single provider or manufacturer. You can choose to work with older tools and upgrade at your own pace, rather than being required to invest in new equipment and software when the provider deems it necessary. Third-party providers are more flexible, cost-effective and can give you more individualized service than large companies like Cisco.

Are There Cisco Maintenance Alternatives to Consider?

Third-party providers also offer Cisco SmartNet alternatives that provide the same type of technical support, security alerts and product life cycle management for your system. Like DNA Center alternatives, these Cisco maintenance alternatives come with some valuable advantages, including a more affordable cost.

It’s important to note that choosing to use a third-party maintenance provider is not an all-or-nothing decision. You can still rely on Cisco contracts for some of your service needs while choosing outside maintenance alternatives for other aspects of your network. For example, you may want to use SmartNet for certain security functions while using an alternative for other services. A hybrid approach can allow you to tailor the ideal maintenance solution for your business.

Benefits of Choosing Another Provider

DNA Center isn’t necessary for businesses with network infrastructure needs. There are many noticeable benefits to partnering with a third-party provider that can help your business grow while providing the services you need. Alternative programs to Cisco’s DNA Center and SmartNet will allow you to:

  • Enjoy lower costs: Whether you’re working with a limited budget or trying to find ways to save money, choosing a third-party provider can significantly reduce your network costs. For one, you can price shop and find solutions that fit your budget and company needs. You may also be able to support older equipment for longer, meaning you don’t have to upgrade prematurely when a company deems its hardware obsolete.
  • Avoid vendor lock-in: Cisco’s systems require specific maintenance and support, and their programs run with their branded equipment. The software locks you into the company, requiring you to purchase other solutions from the same provider. With a third-party brand, you can merge multiple brands of hardware and invest in various programs without being limited to a single vendor.
  • Make your hardware last: Large companies like Cisco tend to evolve quickly, regularly updating software and developing new programs. While forward movement can be positive, it also means hardware and equipment become obsolete faster. These companies don’t typically offer services that are compatible with the equipment they consider out of date. By partnering with a third-party provider, you can upgrade on your terms and keep servicing your existing equipment.
  • Get tech support for any equipment: While OEMs provide tech support for their equipment, they often don’t service other brands of hardware. Many businesses work with a variety of manufacturers, and replacing them to match their provider may not be a financially viable option. The alternative is to work with a reliable third-party provider. They should have a team of knowledgeable technicians who service and maintain a wide range of equipment, new and old. With the right partner, you’ll have comprehensive tech support.
  • Streamline your support channels: Rather than enter into contracts with multiple service providers, your business can streamline your tech support through a single third-party partner. With the right company, you can have a single point of contact, even while supporting equipment from multiple manufacturers.

Why Work With Worldwide Services?

Worldwide Services offers your business one of the top alternatives to Cisco’s DNA Center. We focus on creating comprehensive, high-quality technology solutions through a variety of managed IT products and services. Our software focuses on helping you decrease your expenses, protect your business and increase overall efficiency.

With Worldwide Services, you won’t experience vendor lock-in. Our solutions are compatible with many supported tech brands, including Cisco, Arris, Fujitsu, HP, Dell, Microsoft, IBM and more. If you don’t want to get rid of the familiar hardware you work with daily, you don’t have to. We make it easy to upgrade at your own pace.

We want to provide you with high-quality service at an affordable price for any budget. Whether your company is large or small, we can accommodate you and your technical teams. Worldwide Services can create customized packages, so you get what you need without overspending. You can also save 50 to 80% on maintenance services when you choose to work with us.

Beyond the general benefits, we offer services to help your company evolve. Our managed IT services include:

  • 24/7 field services and technical support
  • Asset recovery programs
  • Cloud and network migration services
  • Consulting and project management services
  • Materials management and reverse logistics
  • Multi-vendor maintenance programs
  • Network lifecycle management
  • Network monitoring and infrastructure management
  • Network security
  • Spares management and repairs

How Does the Cost of NetGuard Compare With SmartNet and DNA Center?

Our third-party maintenance service is known as NetGuard. NetGuard is compatible with Cisco infrastructure, so you can use it to replace or supplement your SmartNet maintenance.

At Worldwide Services, we provide high-quality service at an affordable price for any budget. Whether your company is large or small, we can accommodate you and your technical teams. Worldwide Services can create customized packages, so you get what you need without overspending.

You can save anywhere from 50% to 80% on maintenance services when you choose to work with us instead of going with an OEM contract. You can also save substantially through our other services that can stand in for DNA Center’s functionality. When you find ways to eliminate waste from your IT budget, you can funnel the saving into other important applications and help your business grow.

You may look at all the features you get with DNA Center or SmartNet and think the price is worth it, and for some companies, maybe it is. However, for many companies, being able to choose third-party services that are more tailored to your needs can save you from throwing money away on services included with DNA Center or SmartNet that you’ll never use. This is one of the main reasons you can see significant financial savings when you use a hybrid approach or choose our services over the OEM’s.

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Partner With Us

If you’re looking for one of the best alternatives to Cisco’s DNA Center, Worldwide Services has everything you need for successful network automation and architecture. Our tech teams use cutting-edge technology and have decades of expertise, making us a leader in the networking industry. Worldwide Services will keep your business up and running with increased uptime and a rapid response rate to any technical inquiries.

Get started improving your network experience today. If you have any questions, contact us or request a quote to begin your business’ networking evolution.

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What is Third-Party-Maintenance

What Is Third-Party Maintenance? | November 27th, 2019

When you build a company and expand your reach in the modern age, you are likely to amass an extensive computing infrastructure. If left to deal with different manufacturers for service support, you could end up with incomplete and contradictory advice when compatibility issues are taken into account. Regardless of the size or scope of your company, it is crucial to have an integrated support system in place for your computing arsenal.

Thankfully, today’s businesses have an alternative option to the basic support packages of original equipment manufacturers. If you’re looking for an integrated support service that can accommodate the unique design and scale of your IT infrastructure, your best option is a third-party maintenance service. To understand the benefits of this option, we first need to look at the definition of third-party maintenance.

What is Included in TPM?

Third-party maintenance is a type of system-support service offered by a third-party service provider, outside the confines of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). A typical example of third-party maintenance is when a company hires an independent service for IT system monitoring beyond the scope of the manufacturers of the organization’s equipment.

A range of areas are covered under third-party maintenance. Depending on the reach or scope of the service you hire, third-party maintenance may include one or more of the following:

1. Phone Support

A third-party maintenance service could offer support over the phone for issues like computer troubleshooting, system upgrades, virus removal, firewall protection and other IT-related issues. Some companies will hire a third-party service for technical backup on computer issues once a warranty plan has expired with the original equipment manufacturer. Third-party phone support is an ideal option for smaller companies that cannot afford to hire an in-house IT staff.

2. Online Technical Support

Similar to phone support, third-party online support is a money-saving option for companies of varying sizes that need assistance with computer-related issues. A company might enlist the services of a third-party maintenance provider when the time comes to scale up, scale down or roll out a new computing infrastructure on a local or international level.

3. On-Site Engineering Assistance

Some third-party maintenance services offer on-site support and assistance with various aspects of engineering and equipment use. Companies may hire this type of service for help with the details of organizational infrastructure.

4. Remote Monitoring

As you roll out a system and interact with different branches and partnered entities, a third-party maintenance service could offer valuable insights into the safety and efficiency of your operation. If holes exist in your network that could expose your company data to cyber thieves, a remote monitoring provider could alert you to these dangers before a breach affects your system.

5. Operating System Support

Each time you install an upgrade to your operating system, a third-party service could help you ensure a smooth transition. For smaller companies, this can be a huge time-saver, as rollouts can sometimes take more than a week to complete across large companies with devices of varying compatibility. Third-party maintenance can also be helpful when you switch to a competing operating system.

6. Cost-Management Strategies

One of the main advantages of third-party maintenance is the money-saving benefits. The third-party service can help companies in numerous areas, saving valuable time on computer and engineering-related issues, all at a lesser charge than most OEMs. In a variety of areas, third-party maintenance services will often extend far beyond the bounds of what OEMs have traditionally offered customers.

It is important to note that with third-party maintenance, your company retains full control of its own data center and computing infrastructure while benefiting from the support and expertise of a qualified, certified, independent third party.

What are the elements of Third party maintenance

Who Uses Third-Party Maintenance?

The money-saving benefits of third-party maintenance are advantageous for companies of all sizes. For the smaller company, it makes expansion more manageable and affordable. For the global giant, third-party maintenance helps reduce overhead and boost profit margins. As such, third-party maintenance is used by a vast range or public- and private-sector entities that could be broken down into the following categories:

1. Small Companies

Third-party maintenance services are the perfect option for smaller companies that need to save money on IT support. If you are just starting to grow and expand as a company, you could significantly cut your overhead by hiring a third-party maintenance provider for help with all of your computing issues, from system upgrades to device integration and repairs.

For small companies, the services offered by OEMs can be especially confining because you must cope with the limited help of one or several companies. When you are starting out and trying to save money, you are more likely to buy discounted equipment from several manufacturers and combine the various devices into a single integrated arsenal. If you rely on the OEMs with this kind of setup, you are likely to wind up with a confused and incomplete service arrangement. By opting for the third-party option, all of your maintenance is included in one service at a fraction of the cost of an OEM.

2. Expanding Companies

If your company is expanding into other territories, your IT service costs could skyrocket as you add more equipment from various manufacturers. As you open up locations in different states and countries, you could end up with dozens of OEMs, each charging high fees for service support at your growing number of operating locations.

A third-party maintenance service can help you seamlessly expand the scale of your operations across state, regional and national lines. As you upgrade your system and link your international staff onto a centralized cloud network, the third-party service will help you roll out these updates and handle the more complicated aspects of updates and integration.

3. Organizations and Agencies

Third-party maintenance services are the preferable option for organizations across various industries in both the public and private sectors. For manufacturers in the automotive and food industries, third-party maintenance makes it possible to consolidate system support on complicated computer arsenals. This allows these manufacturers to save money on overhead and pass these saving along the supply chain.

For organizations that run databases with sensitive private data, a third-party maintenance service makes it possible to maximize system security with a single group of trusted service hands. Each time a firewall or anti-virus software must be installed onto a system, the rollout can be conducted instantly and seamlessly across an arsenal of machines and devices, all thanks to the diverse expertise of third-party maintenance specialists.

4. Large Corporations

When it comes to IT support on a national and international scale, third-party maintenance is the preferred option among some of the world’s largest corporations. As a company grows, it becomes more likely that its computing costs will grow out of hand as different parts from different manufacturers are added to ever-expanding infrastructures at dozens of facilities. If an OEM service package is retained for each of these purchases, a company could rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual IT overhead.

For large corporations, the complexities of managing a computing infrastructure can be complicated at numerous levels, especially when you have headquarters in different cities throughout the world. When it comes time to roll out a system upgrade or install a security patch, the task should be assisted by a unified team with extensive prior experience and a vast understanding of a range of computing equipment.

Who uses Third party maintenance

What to Know About Third-Party Maintenance

Should you use third-party maintenance providers? If your computing equipment includes products from various manufacturers, one of the most practical and cost-efficient choices you could make is to hire a third-party maintenance provider, especially for benefits in the following areas:

1. Objective About Hardware Choices

Third-party maintenance providers are neutral when it comes to the hardware purchases of client businesses. When you hire these experts to come to your headquarters and examine your equipment, they will not push one brand over another or try to steer you toward a particular manufacturer. The job of the third-party service technician is to examine what you have and offer solutions for system operability.

2. Able to Handle Virtually All Equipment

Third-party maintenance specialists have worked with many different types of equipment from numerous manufacturers. Some companies use computers purchased at the same time from the same manufacturer, while others have many different types of computers purchased across a 35-year timespan. Regardless, third-party maintenance specialists can quickly find solutions for even the most unorthodox setups.

3. Capable of Integrating Equipment From Various Manufacturers

Some companies collect computing equipment over long periods from numerous manufacturers, both domestic and international. If you have a computing system that consists of components made in the U.S., Japan and Europe, you could run into complications if you opt for OEM service packages. With a third-party maintenance provider, the techs that come to your IT department will know from past experience how to integrate systems comprised of parts made in different parts of the world.

4. Seamless Rollout of System Upgrades and Security Patches

For most companies with computer networks that store high-security information, annual system upgrades are essential. For security, it is also crucial to update security patches and upgrades to anti-virus programs periodically. With a third-party maintenance service, such upgrades can be conducted seamlessly and instantly, allowing your company to carry on without interruption.

TPM helps with system upgrades

Is Third-Party Maintenance Right for Me?

What can third-party maintenance do for me? That is one of the most common questions among companies of various sizes when they first hear about the third-party maintenance option. The answer is yes if you wish to save money, consolidate your service support and extend the life of your equipment. The benefits of third-party maintenance can be summarized as follows:

1. Save Money

Third-party maintenance services are more cost-efficient and longer-lasting than the typical OEM service, which can cost more than twice as much and be far more limited in scope. While an OEM can only offer support for its own products, third-party maintenance techs can generally offer help with a vast array of makes and models within an IT system.

If like many companies, your computing arsenal consists of devices from different generations and providers, third-party maintenance can offer a more complete and integrated form of tech assistance. With a third-way maintenance service, you can extend the life of your IT equipment and boost your return on investment.

2. Streamlined Support

With third-party maintenance, you can get support from a single source on a range of computing equipment. This can be especially advantageous if your IT arsenal consists of numerous machines purchased over the years from various manufacturers. Third-party maintenance relieves you of the trouble of having to cope with conflicting services from competing OEMs and consolidate your support into one maintenance service.

With third-party maintenance, you can avoid the confusion that the advice of an OEM that fails to understand the complexities of your integrated IT infrastructure may cause. Most third-party maintenance providers offer customized service choices that you can pick and choose from to suit the scale and design of your operation.

3. Availability

Third-party maintenance providers can usually provide replacements parts for a range of makes and models in an IT system. If you deal instead with five different OEMs, you are not as likely to get all the parts you need when you need them. For instance, you might have a defect on an old machine that is nonetheless unique and crucial to your arsenal, yet the OEM in question will no longer offer replacement parts for the corresponding device.

Due to the sheer volume of systems that they service, third-party maintenance providers generally have access to a wider range of parts. Even when a part is out of stock, the third-party service will usually know who to contact to get that part back in stock and deliver it to you.

4. Extend the Lifespan of Your Equipment

Third-party maintenance providers can extend the life and operability of equipment that would otherwise be rendered unusable due to compatibility issues with newer systems. If you want to upgrade your equipment slowly and continue to use some older devices, a third-party maintenance provider can offer you that luxury. On the one hand, they’ll help you update the parts of your system that can accept new generations of software. At the same time, they’ll help you find ways to incorporate older devices into your updated system.

Most OEMs will simply tell you to upgrade your system across the board and not even entertain the more creative solutions offered by third-party maintenance providers.

Choose Third-Party Maintenance From WorldWide Services

In an era where computing is integral to business operations, it is crucial to consolidate maintenance services and reduce operating costs. At WorldWide Services, we offer third-party maintenance and managed IT services for companies throughout the manufacturing, medical, retail, enterprise, construction, gas and utility industries. Contact us today to learn more about how our services can help you streamline your computing needs.

Work with a Third party maintenance company

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