Archive for Third Party Maintenance

Why you should work with a GSA-certified third party maintenance provider

Why You Should Work With a GSA-Certified Third-Party Maintenance Provider | June 25th, 2019

Companies have a range of choices when it comes to choosing a maintenance provider.

You can partner with businesses certified by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) or work with uncertified organizations, like original equipment manufacturers (OEM) or third-party maintenance (TPM) providers.

While your business has a variety of options, many companies find success with GSA-certified companies.

The benefits of a GSA contract range from streamlined communication to optimized budget spending, which impacts not only the day-to-day of your staff but also the bottom line of your business.

Before your company chooses a maintenance provider, whether an OEM, TPM, or GSA-certified organization, it’s essential to understand the value and importance of a GSA-certified partner.

What Is a GSA Certification?

GSA approval is a certification that stipulates the authorization of an organization to engage in commercial transactions with the U.S. government. All sales to the government get handled through the U.S. General Services Administration, which serves as the purchasing branch of the U.S. government. The GSA produces a list of contracts and schedules that approved vendors can access to place bids on government business.

Vendors in a range of industries receive GSA approval.

Any company that manufacturers products which could be of use to the U.S. government can apply. To become eligible, a vendor must get a DUNS number and submit to the federal System for Award Management (SAM) program. An application must also contain contact information of prior customers so that the GSA can evaluate the applicant’s performance history.

To become GSA certified, a vendor must submit to a stringent round of vetting.

Government approval of GSA organizations

In addition to the application period, each applicant must undergo a pricing review and furnish proof of compliance with a range of regulatory entities. Once the application process finishes, certification gets rewarded to vendors that have met strict criteria.

To be approved, your organization will need to have a track record of success, compliance and customer satisfaction.

GSA Schedules classify the various industries and contracts that are open for transactions with certified vendors.

The biggest of the 60-plus GSA Schedulers is IT Schedule 70. Due to the rapid development of computer technology, government entities are taking extra measures to ensure that all new products are tested to the highest standards to prevent the possibility of risk.

Third Party Maintenance Providers vs. Uncertified OEMs

An uncertified original equipment manufacturer will generally require that customers submit to a pre-conceived service-level agreement, granting the customer little in terms of leeway.

OEM companies also fixate on hardware as opposed to service.

Not to mention, OEM protocols are generally rigid, as is often necessary among companies that work at such a massive scale. The service-level agreements are also strict and do not take into account the individual needs of customers. OEMs will typically stuff their service offers with disclaimers, thereby covering themselves if they cannot fulfill an agreement.

The Importance of GSA Certification

Why get GSA-certified help for your business?

When you hire the services of a GSA-certified maintenance provider, you can have access to a range of top-quality tech skills and talents, the likes of which are hard to come across in the outside world. Best of all, the services can get rendered at a much lower cost than you would otherwise pay with an in-house team or by hiring an uncertified OEM.

The best reasons to work with a GSA-certified third-party maintenance provider can be summarized as follows:

1. Communication

One of the most significant benefits of having a GSA contract is the ease of communication that the relationship facilitates between your company and the third-party IT service. The staff that provides GSA-certified maintenance services is always easy to communicate with whenever any questions, concerns or issues arise.

When you hire a GSA service, the personnel are happy to put things in laymen’s terms.

GSA-certified maintenance providers are always available for contact too.

Whether you operate from a single headquarters or multiple locations, your staff can contact people from the third-party IT department to get answers to questions at any time, night or day. GSA-certified services are staffed with IT techs that will answer any questions that you might raise regarding systems or services.

Even if an issue seems confusing to the people on your end, you can get answers quickly with a simple explanation by the IT staff of your third-party GSA-certified maintenance provider.

The IT staff of a GSA-certified maintenance provider will speak in a language that you and your team can understand. You will never have to worry about receiving answers steeped in technical jargon and industry code. Your provider will word answers in a way that’s clear and transparent.

IT staff of a GSA certified maintenance provider

GSA-certified maintenance providers are ready to work on your terms as a company as well.

If you need to scale your business down for a season, the third-party IT staff will be willing and ready to scale back according to your needs. The services are also flexible and accommodating. If you need to scale up for a particular time of year, the third-party staff will be willing and ready to take on the extra workloads.

GSA-certified third-party maintenance providers understand a full range of solutions.

Whatever issues arise in your computing operations, the third-party IT staff will meet the challenges head-on.

2. Service Life

Another one of the benefits of GSA contract services is the skill that the third-party IT techs can provide your organization.

On all the equipment submitted to the third-party IT departments, everything is given careful handling during the technical processes carried out on a given shift. You never have to worry about delicate equipment falling into unskilled hands.

GSA-certified maintenance providers employ qualified techs who have each undergone extensive amounts of training. Each staffer is extensively versed in the full range of hardware installation and software programming.

If you need to have an operating system upgraded or replaced with a newer version, you can count on the expert programming of a third-party IT department from your GSA-certified maintenance provider. Whenever you invest in expensive equipment and high-tech arsenal components, you can count on the third-party IT techs to handle the hardware with the utmost care, ensuring a long-lasting service life for each part in your computer infrastructure.

Unlike in-house operations, which are often blindsided by security breaches, a GSA-certified third-party IT staff will protect your system and computing infrastructure from foreign attacks, taking on challenges the moment they get detected. When you outsource your computing to a third-party IT department, you are protecting your investment in all your high-cost computer equipment.

You never have to worry about viruses due to in-house human error.

A GSA-certified IT staff can make expensive computer equipment last far longer than it would otherwise last if subjected to the use and abuse of less qualified hands. As such, you can save money that would otherwise get invested in the frequent replacement of computer parts.

Third-party IT services allow you to maximize your investment in a computer infrastructure. Instead of having to adjust to new operating systems and update each component on a one-by-one basis for compatibility, everything gets updated and made fully compatible at once.

With all the benefits of GSA contract services, your organization can become a more profitable enterprise because it allows you to save money and time that might otherwise get spent on computing. Instead, you can focus on your core strengths as a company.

3. Savings

GSA-certified maintenance services are reasonably priced, especially when compared to some of the other options on the market in today’s third-party services sector. For example, a GSA-certified maintenance service will generally help you reap significant savings in contrast to the equivalent services of an uncertified OEM or TPM, which sometimes charge twice as much for the same services.

OEM prices are typically steep and inflexible, with a service-level agreement designed to put their needs over yours.

You are unlikely to find an uncertified OEM that will negotiate terms with consideration for your needs as a client business. OEMs will often set terms that include other services that might be unnecessary for your business. Despite this, you will still have to pay for these extra services because the agreement is ironclad and will not allow flexibility.

For example, there may be times when your business will only require computing for a range of operations at a moderate scale, yet the OEM will still have you pay for maximum, full-scale services that could more than double your overhead.

Likewise, an OEM might lock you into a set of terms with no flexibility for possible changes that may occur over the year. If you suddenly need to scale up or scale down because of a surge or gap in business, for example, you are still likely to be charged a stiff, flat rate with an uncertified OEM.

GSA-certified maintenance providers receive certification, in part, due to fair pricing and a proven track record of customer satisfaction. During the stringent application process, a service provider must demonstrate its commitment to fair service prices to become certified.

The money that your company could save by employing a GSA-certified maintenance provider could ultimately get allocated for other uses, such as new equipment, increased advertising and employee pay raises.

Your company can be saving money from working with a third party maintenance provider

Overall, choosing a GSA-certified service over an OEM or TPM can help you lower costs and increase your bottom line, leaving you with more money to invest in other areas.

4. Centralized Maintenance

The importance of GSA certification becomes readily apparent when you consider the benefits of centralized maintenance, which gets provided to the highest standards by third-party IT teams.

GSA-certified maintenance providers work with simple setups that utilize necessary hardware and software. Thanks to the tech expertise of the staff at GSA-certified companies, computing arsenals are minimized to their essentials.

When you employ a GSA-certified maintenance provider, your entire IT arsenal gets organized for maximum efficiency.

There is no risk of equipment wearing down due to bent cords or dusty parts. Unlike in regular IT departments, where a company runs everything in-house and a company’s staff handles computing tasks, there is no disorganization with a certified maintenance provider.

With a GSA-certified third-party maintenance provider, all equipment gets conveniently laid out so that all functions are immediately accessible the moment one needs activating. While an in-house IT department might consist of an overcrowded room with company staff that often fumble for different commands, everything is laid out for maximum ease of use by a third-party maintenance provider.

The services provided by a GSA-certified maintenance provider get designed to meet your needs, regardless of the size, scope or scale of your company. In the areas where computing gets handled, there are no external components to soak up energy, adding needlessly to your monthly expenses.

If a component is not necessary for your operations, it is not left plugged in to serve as an energy drain.

GSA-certified third-party maintenance providers have all IT arsenals set up for easy execution.

If you need to have a program or update rolled out, it will all be done from a remote location and made universally compatible across your active, in-house devices. GSA-certified services also offer maximum security, keeping your computer system protected from viruses and cyber attacks.

5. Qualified Staff

When you enlist the services of a GSA-certified maintenance provider for your IT needs, your company will benefit from an in-depth level of computing knowledge second to none.

GSA-certified maintenance providers only employ the most qualified IT techs, each of whom come to the job with vast experience in all areas of computing technology, from hardware repair and troubleshooting to program installation and security.

The skills that each IT tech brings to the table for a GSA maintenance provider combine to make third-party IT services virtually foolproof. There is almost no risk of programs getting executed poorly or corrupting your pre-existing system when you outsource to a third party.

With a third-party IT service, you also get access to numerous insights regarding computer efficiency.

You can get numerous insights regarding efficiency

You might learn that various machines within your arsenal are unnecessary and have served as nothing more than an energy drain. The IT tech professionals employed by GSA-certified maintenance providers are also known for having great foresight when it comes to security matters.

The moment a new threat appears, the IT staff will set up barriers to prevent an attack on your system.

GSA-certified maintenance technicians are also creative when it comes to solutions that make computer arsenals more efficient and up-to-date. When you have access to the ingenuity of some of the most skilled and insightful minds and hands in the tech world, your company can gain invaluable insights that will help you save money and move forward in the marketplace.

Overall, GSA-certified companies provide organization to the computing operations of the client businesses they serve. When you outsource your computing operations to a GSA-certified third party, you can save money and allocate more resources for running your company.

GSA-Certified Maintenance From Worldwide Services

When you run a business, many different areas need simultaneous management.

Even though computing is one of the most crucial aspects of business operations in today’s world, computing requires a set of skills peripheral to most companies. The solution is to hire a GSA-certified maintenance third-party service provider, which will handle your computing needs so that you can focus on running your business.

Consider GSA-certified third-party maintenance with Worldwide Services.

To learn more about our range of services, contact us today and request a quote.

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When You Should Use a Third-Party Maintenance Provider | January 03rd, 2019

All equipment breaks — it’s just a matter of time. What’s most important when that happens is how soon you’ll be back up and running. Your choice of maintenance providers and repair services can mean the difference between keeping your network going strong or having to wait, delay and refund customers.

It can be difficult to understand when to use third-party maintenance providers in these mission-critical situations. We’d like to provide you with five main things to consider about your big maintenance decision.

1. Supporting Every Piece

One of the best reasons for choosing when to use third-party maintenance is when your network uses equipment from different providers. A TPM can provide service on equipment from multiple OEMs and even more product families under a single contract.

Having one source for your maintenance and emergency repair support means you only need to have one contract, regardless of what needs service. When a TPM is your sole provider, you can save significant time when your network goes down, and it can speed up repairs to get top-line equipment back in the field.

Third-party service providers also have more experience with different OEM equipment. Their expertise ensures the technician can address your product and its larger role in your network. For instance, our support team can best advise repairs or replacements for your Oracle gear based on what’s deployed in your back office, remote sites and on-premise installs.

Knowing when to use a TPM can dramatically speed up your recovery with comprehensive support.

2. Saving Money

You already know that third-party equipment providers can help you save significantly on the items you purchase. Turning to that same company to provide your service and maintenance can continue those savings.

Your equipment provider typically offers a comprehensive warranty on the goods you buy. For instance, Worldwide Services provides a lifetime warranty on each piece of new or refurbished equipment we sell. Relying on that warranty, instead of purchasing a warranty or service through an OEM, ensures you’re getting the most out of your investment.

The main concern for costs with a TPM is whether you’re using unauthorized or unlicensed hardware and software. Ask your TPM about the products they sell and the support they offer. Always request documentation around licensing, too. One of the biggest questions around when to use a third-party maintenance provider is if you can trust them. It is perfectly reasonable to ask a TPM to back up that trust.

3. Prioritizing Availability

Large OEMs have large maintenance and service departments filled with multiple layers of managers and complex hierarchies. Every request for support is raised up the flagpole higher and higher, until it’s finally approved. For your network and mission-critical components, this might take too long.

TPMs specialize in availability. It’s how they earn their living with support, plus it’s how they ensure they have the right products people need. To meet these needs, TPMs have teams that can quickly be deployed to service or replace customer components. The faster a TPM can get to you and make that repair, the sooner they get paid or have a new piece of equipment to sell to someone else.

TPMs prioritize speed to maximize customer satisfaction as well.

4. Extending Equipment Life

Equipment in your network can be dozens of years old. Some pieces might even be beyond their end-of-service and end-of-life dates. When equipment reaches those dates, traditional OEMs limit or halt the service and maintenance they provide.

If you’re looking at older equipment you need to keep to run your networking, consider a TPM. These providers are often able to keep your equipment in prime condition, extending its life. TPMs aren’t trying to get you to replace equipment with the newest model. TPMs want to help you maintain your network however is best for you.

5. Improving Costs Versus OEMs

In our experience, OEM support costs and contracts tend to rise in price after your initial term, sometimes as short as a few months. In other words, the costs go up when you’ll actually need maintenance or service. You don’t have a chance to negotiate this either.

Working with a TPM gives you a chance to have costs set for the full contract or warranty period. Plus, most offer packages designed to reduce your costs or are willing to discuss specific coverage and pricing options to fit your budget. An OEM is large and has standard contracts to streamline the process on their end. What’s most important, however, is getting things right on your end.

Think about your biggest concern. Is it price, replacements or innovation? How does an OEM’s rigid structure support these ideals? What would make it more appealing to you?

The right TPM can help you answer those questions and tailor a package to suit your needs based on those answers. Worldwide Services does just that for the more than 14,000 businesses we partner with each year. It’s the main reason they come back time and again.

Contact us for a free consultation to see why it might be the right option for you.

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How Your Business Can Reduce Network Equipment Maintenance Costs | December 04th, 2018

Network Equipment Maintenance Costs

IT managers spend ample time choosing network equipment that best suits their companies’ needs, but often make less-than-optimal decisions about the most cost-effective strategy to save money on network maintenance costs. However, the job doesn’t end with selecting and installing the equipment. Understanding which maintenance and support contracts to purchase, aligning their payments with other contracts, planning for the machine’s projected lifespan and taking advantage of new technology are only a few aspects of how you can reduce network equipment maintenance costs.

Network equipment maintenance is necessary to make sure your investments in equipment last as long as possible and keep your tools operating at the highest efficiency levels. Every internal and external device within a network plays a role in ensuring data is accessible, and all facets of the system are functioning properly. Without a properly working network, strategic decisions become more volatile and unpredictable. There are several ways to increase network availability, reduce maintenance costs and make your business run much more cost-effectively.

Review Projections to Reduce Costs

IT professionals should always keep thorough documentation of the inventory and map of the network. Doing so allows you to assess each network component, and assign it an appropriate maintenance service level. Implementing a good network strategy will make it easier to create and meet measurable goals while optimizing network design, making the wisest investments for necessary equipment and gaining maintenance contracts.

Conduct network growth projections two to five years in advance. Doing so will save you time by not having to establish different subnet designations each time you make a change to the network, and you can also find areas where you can save money by reviewing how critical each component is to the business. After deciding which elements are the most vital, IT professionals can better plan for network performance and alternative support options, and further improve hardware, maintenance and support.

Analyze Current Maintenance and Support Contracts

Analyze Current Maintenance

When reviewing existing maintenance and support contracts, the first step in measuring their effectiveness is to rank them in order of their importance. The more critical the device is to the business, the higher the service level it requires. Gear more toward the bottom of the list may not need any maintenance. When considering the application of maintenance and support in your networking software and hardware, here are some things to consider:

  • Importance equipment has to the business
  • Risk of having lower-level service
  • Impact equipment failure would have on the business

For example, if a workgroup switch goes down and affects a dozen or so employees, it won’t be too detrimental to the company’s well-being, and the workers will likely be happy to have a bit of a break in their day. However, if a core router goes down and impacts many functions and individuals working throughout a network, significant problems could arise for the company.

Keeping spares on hand is a great idea, combined with spares management contracts for your equipment that will replace a faulty part upon its failure. Instate a sparing policy to determine the minimum total cost of investment and load curtailment costs, while classifying spares and failure rates. Using a sparing method can optimize your substation components to maintain network uptime and save your business money by helping you know what spare materials you have on hand and how best to use them.

OEM contracts have also earned a reputation for tacking on certain perks that aren’t necessary to gain access to a service or offering you may need. By bundling services, they appear to be offering more value, but in reality, they are just creating unnecessary coverage and substantially increasing the cost.

Maintenance contracts often include guarantees for replacements or repair if you have an issue with any parts. Frequently, the agreement encompasses more than just this benefit, and regularly releases software updates that keep routers and firewalls running optimally. IT managers often overlook these updates, so make a point to check equipment for software updates.

Worldwide Services customers save as much as 50 to 90 percent on network equipment preventive maintenance with NetGuard. NetGuard is Worldwide Services’ third-party maintenance program that allows IT professionals to add and manage any support contract. If you order a replacement, it will arrive within 24 hours, and come with expert-level technical assistance.

Extend Equipment Life

Extend Equipment Life

Once a piece of equipment is more than 10 years old, it is likely time to consider a replacement. When searching for equipment to purchase, always be mindful of limited lifetime warranties many manufacturers offer. These types of warranties are best for less critical parts of your network, and come packaged with technical support and hardware replacement. In addition to the benefit of not having to worry about your equipment failing prematurely, you also can save on support and maintenance costs. When deciding the best maintenance service level to purchase, a few elements should be at the forefront of your decision:

  • Type of equipment
  • Age of equipment
  • Importance equipment has to the business

IT managers often choose the same level of service for all their equipment to save time and maintain uniformity among contracts. However, this isn’t the best practice, since it typically results in wasteful expenditures that would have been preventable with a little more research and time during the selection process.

Original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, get IT managers to spend extra money by building in a need for equipment replacements, or double-covering existing equipment. A strategy they use is to issue an “end-of-life” notice on equipment that may be at the end of its shelf life, but is still performing perfectly. Taking the OEM’s word for the equipment needing a replacement leads many customers to make new purchases unnecessarily.

Proper Management of Maintenance Contracts

Networks are always changing, with new parts coming in simultaneously as older parts are getting repurposed and swapped to other machines, or in some cases, discarded. While there’s such a vast variety of devices on different contracts from separate vendors and expiration dates, managing contracts and keeping track of equipment can be incredibly stressful and time-consuming.

Most IT professionals who deal with these challenges in their line of work use basic methods of contract management that may do a proficient job at keeping track of your assets, but ensuring with complete certainty your inventory is not causing any problems due to coverage gaps can allow you to create an even more successful maintenance strategy.

Aligning your contracts to terminate simultaneously can make for an easier renewal process going forward. Consolidating various maintenance contracts to tailor to your business’ needs, instead of a deal that spans multiple years or locks you in indefinitely, is a lousy option as opposed to a more flexible monthly plan. Avoiding automatic renewal clauses is good practice, because although these contracts ensure you’ll never lack coverage, they keep you locked into the same coverage and price plan, potentially prohibiting you from getting their best rate. By planning when your contracts will renew, you can enjoy increased network availability and reduced maintenance costs.

A good practice is to lock in your annual rate for three to five years ahead of time. Negotiating a set rate ahead of time will save you time annually because you won’t need to renegotiate budgets, which simplifies planning. You can use the time you saved to look further ahead in your business plan and figure out the best method of attack once the predetermined time you set your annual rates expires.

Be sure your contracts explicitly state a clear understanding of requirements, so no party involved can plead ignorance to fulfilling it. Any network maintenance contract should describe which services the agreement covers, what it does not, the role of both the OEM and the client within the deal, timeframes of service and specific procedures for resolving issues.

Many inventory and contract management tools have systems in place to help maintain your network equipment and develop better strategies without the added stress. If your network uses more than 1,000 devices, it is even more important to use third-party software to organize your inventory maintenance and renewal processes.

Consider Hybrid Support Services

Hybrid Support Services

Hybrid support services — the combination of internal and external services using both internal and public clouds to support a business outcome — are a growing trend that is transforming the role of information technology. These services are best for the following:

  • Connecting several clouds
  • Identifying and classifying data
  • Implementing a more service-oriented architecture

Cloud computing comes with advantages and disadvantages. It offers significantly lower overhead through the transfer of services to cloud providers in exchange for a more volatile and dynamic market than traditional IT computing environments.

It may be a good idea to use cloud computing for less critical IT services like projects in the development phase or testing applications. There’s little risk in experimenting with hybrid support services in situations that prove less detrimental if anything were to go wrong.

When handling critical data and essential applications, several drawbacks make IT organizations more reluctant to embrace cloud services fully. Common issues include:

  • Failure to meet security requirements
  • Failure to integrate with enterprise management
  • Hosting critical applications is not guaranteed

Combating these issues is where hybrid IT architecture can come into play. By using both the external cloud and internal methods, IT organizations can offer their customers the speed, price and capacity of the cloud while keeping the security the organization requires for its most critical components.

Be a Savvy Shopper

Limited research leads IT decision makers to succumb to marketing tactics, or arrive at a costly decision when there is a better one at a more affordable price right around the corner. Take ample time when choosing equipment and contracts, and always be sure to get quotes from multiple vendors to drastically cut costs from your IT budget.

Shopping around allows you to become more familiar with the market and make more sensible decisions on what a reasonable price is for the sort of coverage you are looking for. Also, be wary of deals that seem to be a steal, because you have very likely overlooked details in the fine print.

Once a potential vendor has informed you of their rate, make sure that is the best price they are willing to offer. Rates are always negotiable, and the vendor is likely to reduce their costs if they know it’s the difference between landing you as a customer or not. It never hurts to ask, even if you have to be assertive in your negotiations.

Third-party hardware maintenance providers are also excellent for finding coverage very similar to more expensive competitors while paying a fraction of the price. Compared to OEMs, third-party providers also generally operate more freely, allowing them to grant you more flexibility in a plan. Their business also usually follows fewer protocols compared to a large manufacturer, so they can tailor a plan specifically to you. It is important to research a third-party company to ensure you are not sacrificing quality, but most of the time, manufacturers use third-party providers on their own accord to handle maintenance coverages.

A used product is also an option if you are not looking to invest in brand-new equipment. Considering purchasing a secondhand device isn’t a bad suggestion if its function is less critical to your business. If a used product is significantly less expensive than its brand-new counterpart, a little research into the item to determine if it has any faults, or its projected lifespan, could prove to be cost-effective if it operates just as well as a new part.

Companies such as Worldwide Services provide millions of products that are available online and for immediate delivery. Worldwide Services offers 24/7 technical support, certified engineers for configuration support and system design and spare and repair services, all to the highest international standard. If you believe a third-party hardware maintenance company may not offer the same security in your purchases compared to a name brand, this is untrue for many smaller, reputable dealers. Worldwide Services provides a lifetime warranty, and we give value to our customers by offering information and assistance on our company blog that has industry-specific insights into the IT world you can use to optimize your career. You can also contact us directly here for any questions you may have.

Understanding the Market

Understanding the Market

Saving on network maintenance costs ultimately comes down to allocating your time and resources to the right actions. Projecting the rate of growth within your network, setting a standard for equipment and contracts years ahead, reviewing ongoing contracts’ efficiency and relevance to your business’ success, choosing the correct warranty for your equipment and exercising wise shopping practices are at the forefront of importance for how your business can reduce network equipment maintenance costs.

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What Is Network Maintenance? | September 27th, 2018

what is network maintenance

As with auto, household and facility maintenance, sometimes your network requires a little extra assistance to avoid problems. While there are some preventative maintenance tasks you can perform on your own to minimize network downtime, you may find that you need to pair your efforts with those of the experts to keep your operations running smoothly on a daily basis.

Well-maintained networks encounter fewer problems and are much easier to troubleshoot than those left without consistent upkeep. To ensure that you don’t find yourself running with faulty settings, risking damage to both software and hardware over time, you will need to clean up your network regularly. That is where network maintenance comes in, and it is often most effective through a comprehensive third-party platform, like our network maintenance plan. Worldwide Services is a third-party maintenance provider that offers a range of services including network monitoring solutions, server maintenance, and IT storage maintenance.

What Is Network Maintenance?

At its core, network maintenance constitutes all the tasks and systems in place to monitor, update and run your organization’s computer network before problems strike.

That “network” itself involves your entire portfolio of physical IT assets, like the hardware and servers, and non-physical IT assets, like the software and cloud access — also known as your IT ecosystem.

Similar to other business functions, a healthy IT ecosystem relies on proactive, daily activities and strategic foresight rather than reactive adjustments or ad-hoc, spur-of-the-moment patches. The basic tenets of maintaining your network — and the basis of a successful regular network maintenance plan — typically include the following:

  • Network cybersecurity: Implementing robust and up-to-date network defense layers, such as traffic-managing firewalls, virtual private networks, user access controls, double authentication measures, log inspections for usage documentation, real-time breach notifications and auto-generated security reports.
  • Network performance: Analyzing top network performance concerns influencing the speed and reliability of your devices, including bandwidth usage, traffic patterns, bottlenecks, frequently down or crashed servers, connection lags, delays and more.
  • Network scalability: Ensuring proper software and hardware systems fitting your current operations, number of network users, endpoint locations and businesses functions.
  • Regular hardware and software updates: Scheduling updates prorated across network components and interfaces, which in turn bolsters both a network’s overall performance and security defenses.
  • IT infrastructure compliance: Maintaining internal compliance with company practices as well as external government regulations and industry policies.
  • Preemptive network repairs: Using auto-generated reports and analytics to spot and patch usage problems across the IT ecosystem — or at the very least troubleshooting them — before they turn existential.

    Network Maintenance Mean

Who Conducts Network Maintenance?

Today, there are three primary approaches to overseeing network maintenance:

  1. Internal IT staff: In-house IT employees manage top-down network devices, security defenses, traffic monitoring, data storage and retrieval, hardware health, user controls, compliance, scalability and more on-site within your business’ premise, with peripheral assistance from original equipment manufacturers.
  2. Original equipment manufacturers (OEM): Pieces of software, as well as your network’s wider operating system, will often come with a maintenance contract delivered by the OEM. OEMs are in a prime position to deliver maintenance tenets, such as system updates, performance audits and smooth installation and integration, though they may not offer the most robust or cost-effective total preventative care. Examples of some of today’s top OEMs for software and hardware include IBM, Cisco, Dell, Arista, Juniper, Nokia, HPE and more global industry players.  
  3. Third-party maintenance (TPM): Third-party maintenance plans provide an outsourced alternative to shouldering end-to-end IT systems and equipment, alleviating several concerns around managing your entire IT infrastructure on your own while juggling industry changes or disruptions. They also tend to provide more detailed, personalized maintenance packages compared to an OEM’s.

There are innate benefits to both internally managed and outsourced IT maintenance. The scale of your organization, the capabilities of your IT staff and your budget will be major variables in determining if a traditionally in-house, outsourced or hybrid approach works best for the health of your IT infrastructure.

What Is a Network Maintenance Plan?

Network Maintenance Plan

Your typical network maintenance plan is the detailed package of services you can expect to receive to keep your systems running. This plan should cover the range of services your business will need to operate, including running necessary updates, ensuring proper installations and performing audits to detect potential errors. Often, your original equipment manufacturer (OEM) will offer management service plans to try and minimize complications with their products. But there are several reasons why relying on your OEM alone may not be the best course of action for your business.

One of these reasons is that you will want your network maintenance plan to be efficient, cost-effective and strategically flexible, which the expensive, rigid OEM contract doesn’t always guarantee. Neither can you be sure that your OEM will complete every task that is necessary for all of your network needs. What a third-party maintenance (TPM) provider can do is oversee your entire system, even if you use a variety of manufacturers, and do so at a much friendlier cost.

Additionally, a TPM can create a maintenance plan that’s entirely customized to your needs and usage habits, making sure not to overdo it on non-essential services, while also covering all of your network bases. It can be helpful to become more acquainted with examples of what these typical tasks are so that you can be more aware of potential needs within your system infrastructure.

What Are Examples of Network Maintenance Tasks?

Network Maintenance Tasks

Many business operators have a basic understanding of what network preventative maintenance is all about, but there may be some confusion surrounding the specific measures you can expect your service provider to perform. Here are six of the most common tasks involved with keeping your servers and devices up to speed.

1. Troubleshooting Network Issues

If warning signs or small troubles go ignored for too long, you may run into problems that are disruptive and potentially expensive to repair. What you network maintenance provider can do is use their experience and knowledge to troubleshoot any issues your network is experiencing, and they’ll be able to recognize if there is a simple fix. If there isn’t, you can be sure to receive several suggestions on the most viable and cost-effective solutions.

2. Installing and Configuring Products

Whenever you get new equipment or have software to update, it is very likely that there will be some form of installation and configuration needed. Similarly, when inevitable shifts occur in the office or a new user is added, your network settings may need to be reconfigured to accommodate those changes. If done incorrectly, the growth of your company could be hindered and valuable time may be taken away from your employees as they try to navigate improper settings.

For these reasons and more, getting started on the right foot is crucial. Your network maintenance provider can help with that.

3. Monitoring and Improving Network Performance

Network performance can be a quiet killer of your company’s potential. If the performance of your network is not up to par with other companies, then your company will have a much harder time keeping up with your competitors in other ways.

Network performance can be difficult to judge if you have nothing to compare it to. But by bringing someone in to troubleshoot and monitor your network, you’ll be able to see the truth about how it is operating and what can be done to make your system function more efficiently.

4. Planning for Growth

As a business, you are always looking forward. If you are not maintaining your network diligently, it may not be able to handle the weight of expansion as your organization grows. It’s essential that you have a server that is capable of adding more workstations if you plan on increasing the numbers in your workforce. You’ll need to be able to add these new users without any difficulty as they enter your network.

Additionally, by creating network documentation and keeping it up to date, the growth of your business will be obtainable without the risk of slowing down due to a lagging network. Making sure scalability is structured correctly in your system will optimize performance and reduce growing pains down the line.

5. Ensuring Compliance

An essential part of maintaining your network is making sure that all of your tools are compliant with your company’s policies and legal regulations. Compliance should always be a top priority. Not only do you want to avoid putting yourself and your business at risk, but it’s also critical to protect your customers. This responsibility may seem daunting, but with the right network maintenance plan, you won’t have to worry about regulatory upkeep constantly.

6. Establishing Reliable Network Security

Unfortunately, anyone can be susceptible to network breaches, especially without the right precautions in place. Considering the vast amount of data on your server, you don’t want to leave it unguarded. Fortunately, your network maintenance service can help secure necessary firewalls, VPNs and intrusion prevention tactics, while also setting up user validation systems that use a dependable authorization, authentication and accounting (AAA) method.

The security of your network is one of the most important elements to maintain, and consistent upkeep will help your company remain safe against potential threats. If a breach still occurs, a properly maintained network will have procedures in place for logging the event and automated responses to streamline the process of moving forward.

Bonus: Creating a Plan That Works for You

These are six common responsibilities, but there are many other tasks that a network maintenance plan can entail. Depending on your company’s needs, you may find advantages in other services, such as having your accounts managed, backups scheduled or faulty equipment replaced. Talking with your provider about your options will help you create the custom plan to keep your network and all of your devices functioning on their best behavior.

Which Hardware Devices Are Serviced Most Often Through Network Maintenance?

Network Maintenance Hardware

It’s good to be familiar with typical network maintenance tasks, but it may also be beneficial to understand the variety of firmware involved in helping your network run smoothly. Aside from regular workstations, your network is powered by an arsenal of other devices, including a cable modem termination system, servers, switches and routers. Here is a closer look at each of these and how maintenance keeps them at their best.


A cable modem termination system, or CMTS, is a device that allows for the exchange of digital signals. It takes incoming traffic on a single channel and routes them to an ISP. A CMTS can serve different cable modem population sizes, and the cable modems associated with it do not change in quality dependent on distance.

Network security is helped with a CMTS, as they are capable of some basic filtering for protecting against attacks and unauthorized users. It is one of the reasons that it’s essential to perform updates and maintenance on devices like your CMTS, which prevent the decay of the systems that keep bugs and security threats at bay.

2. Servers

Having a reliable and working server is an integral part of having a secure, robust and profitable business. It allows you to manage network resources and stay consistent as a company. Technically, any capable computer, device or program can be a server, as long as it is a dedicated central repository that helps provide resources, such as the access to hardware, disc space or other necessary files and information, to any other computer on that network.

While any computer could work as your server, the functions that the server performs are going to differ from those of other workstations within the system. Most dedicated servers have unique features and configurations to boost their performance. A server might also be connected to separate power supplies, networks and even other servers. Because of any added high-performance RAM, faster processor, several high-capacity hard drives and the critical tasks the server performs, server maintenance on these computers tends to be much more intensive than that of your average workstation.

3. Switches

A switch receives incoming data and redirects it to the destination on the local area network. Essentially, a switch creates an electronic tunnel between a source and its destination where no other traffic can enter. Because of this, there can be communication with no collisions. However, if something goes wrong with the switches, your communication will likely be disrupted. Your network needs to be able to share information, and the proper maintenance can help you ensure that such connections remain strong.

4. Routers

While a switch creates a tunnel, a router connects networks. Routers are similar to switches, but they can also forward packets of information between different networks and are not limited to node-to-node communication on the same network as a switch is.

With routers, as with any of these devices, the software they run and the firmware itself are both susceptible to damages without the right regular upkeep. As part of your network maintenance plan, there should be a component to check over hardware for warning signs, like clogged fans or overheating. And just as with other computers in your network, making sure they have the latest updates to their code can help you avoid unwanted situations.

What Are the Different Approaches for Maintaining a Network?

There are two main philosophies behind maintaining your organization’s network — with only one fitting a true preventative-plan definition:

  1. Interrupt-driven: In an interruption-driven model, network testing and troubleshooting occur after a problem is detected. This method calls for reduced daily IT oversight, yet courts higher risks of system downtimes, errors and costly fixes as well as an “all-hands-on-deck” mentality to fix whatever errors strike that may put other business functions on the back burner.
  2. Structured: In a structured network-maintenance environment, system updates and activities are done consistently, on a day-by-day basis. A structured network philosophy aims to minimize service disruptions by spotting potential issues or anomalies before they spread across system environments.

What Is a Network Maintenance Schedule?

A network maintenance plan institutionalizes a structured approach to managing your organization’s entire IT ecosystem. It promotes coordination and proactively oversees your servers, storage, software and hardware devices and programs, especially those from different OEMs or working across multiple interfaces.

When successfully implemented, a routine network maintenance plan keeps all major components of your network running in its safest, most updated conditions while simultaneously identifying errors or potential problems before they grow into business disruptions.

What’s Involved in Regular Preventative Maintenance for Your Network?

While there are many activities fitting the umbrella definition of network maintenance planning, overseeing the health and safety of your servers, routers, devices and software involves a few key domains.

Consider these preventative maintenance tenets below. Which does your organization currently spearhead directly, and which do you leave to your OEMs or a TPM?

24/7 Network Monitoring and Defense

Organizations today manage an increasingly complex array of devices, platforms and endpoints. With the exponential rise of mobile, cloud and related virtual environments as well as proliferating work from home or BYOD (bring your own device) policies, both traditional and wireless infrastructure must be helmed under a synthesized system able to register and control user access around the clock, then alert you when it detects strange activity.

Such robust network monitoring also includes defenses such as:

Device Maintenance

To properly maintain your physical devices, organizations must first have an accurate gauge of what and where those devices are, then track their health and activities.

Preventative maintenance plans create the most comprehensive overview of current devices. They also account for the traffic on those devices, plus offer packet delivery oversight to identify how data is being requested, transferred and stored across network devices.

Other device maintenance activities in a regular maintenance plan include:

  • A thorough network map, including a complete picture of routers, switchers, servers and other physical devices.
  • Interface monitoring and alerts.
  • Baseline network device threshold calculations.
  • Scheduled device updates, or configurations, plus a notification procedure ensuring users are aware of upcoming device updates as well as an approval system for the contents of those updates. 

Storage Maintenance

Properly maintaining your servers and storage files is one of the most overlooked aspects of IT ecosystem management. Practitioners struggle to make post-warranty or similar legacy equipment work for current storage needs, all while managing the pressure to purchase the latest glistening storage technology on the market at prices that may or may not be prudent.

As a core tenet in a revamped maintenance plan, storage systems can be reviewed for functionality, scale and feasibility, including strategizing:

  • Appropriate OEM hardware renewals.
  • Up-to-date, accurate storage data and information.
  • Next-generation on and off-premise file and server storage ideas.
  • Cost analysis of worthy investments in storage systems and total infrastructure.

Performance Management

Network performance management best practices include deploying systems to track the connections, speeds and usage habits of devices within your network, then mapping better interfaces and usage policies to bolster overall performance improvements.

Using performance data across server speeds, data latency, device performance and more, organizations can also wield its preventative maintenance plan for quality of service (QoS) updates to reconfigure interfaces for maximum productivity. The results are longer lifespans for your equipment, plus speedier pieces of software and bolstered internet connections for best-possible employee outputs. 

Why Do I Need Network Maintenance?

Network maintenance plans transform the bulk of IT domains into measured, methodical activities. It creates a scheduled template of daily undertakings that holistically improve the way your organization uses and manages core technology — technology that, when disrupted, has the potential to grind operations to a halt.

Risk-mitigation aside, implementing internal and outsourced network maintenance is essential when your enterprise finds itself experiencing any of the following situations:

1. You Have a Burgeoning Computer Infrastructure

There are many reasons organizations seek to expand its portfolios of software applications and physical IT hardware, including:

  • You’re experiencing an increased need for data, from storing customer information after sales transactions to tracking market analytics insights.
  • You’re migrating to the cloud or merging with another type of cloud-based enterprise system.
  • You’re launching a new mobile platform or mobile app.
  • You’re expanding or modernizing your servers and storage equipment to increase network performance.
  • You’re configuring disparate OEM applications under one umbrella management system.

Network maintenance plans simplify the installation and configurations by harmonizing any new pieces of equipment or software with legacy IT, as well as synchronizing multiple OEM platforms under managed contracts. 

2. You Lack a Robust Data Recovery or Retrieval Plan

According to one study, only 36 percent of companies have a formal cybersecurity policy. The average data-loss incident costs businesses over $5,000 per breach, yet only a third run annual cybersecurity audits and assessments.

From malware and ransomware attacks to accidental data deletion by a well-meaning employee, these incidents are costly, cumbersome to fix and potentially paralyzing to your business. Maintenance plans provide a detailed schedule of data back-ups and storage solutions. Plus, third-party consultants and maintenance partners provide expertise regarding how often to back-up enterprise data, which data is critical and which can be archived, plus the best on-premise and remote back-up locations.

3. You Want to Better Understand Your Network Usage and Performance

True visibility across your network’s actual performance can court significant cost-savings for your enterprise. A maintenance plan with performance reports displays traffic patterns and internet usage, as well as how much of your bandwidth you’re siphoning.

With this objective data in tow, you can tailor your IT ecosystem accordingly, setting up smarter usage and access controls, picking better-fitting bandwidth contracts and setting yourself for uninhabited scalability when the time comes without impeding operations in a saturated network.  

4. You Need More Robust Cybersecurity Practices

Data backups and retrievals are only one variable in the cybersecurity equation. As more and more devices enter the typical workplace, organizations have an increased number of targets for hacks, malware, ransomware, social engineering schemes, AI manipulations, OS security holes, out-of-date software and more modern workplace cybersecurity threats.

New workplace norms add additional security complexity to the fold. For example, the growing prevalence of telecommuting presses organizations to set up safe network entry portals and connections for remote employees. Those same employees need off-premise access to the same data files, applications and software they use in the office, at the same speeds and functionality, without threatening the safety of the whole.

benefits of a network maintenance plans

Benefits of Network Maintenance Plans

Compared to those that are interrupt-driven, organizations with a network maintenance plan leverage distinct advantages, including:

1. Reduced System Downtimes

Fully implemented maintenance plans ensure go-to protocols when unanticipated incidents strike across your devices or software. With an action plan in your back pocket, you can react quickly and acutely, identifying the source of the issue and providing precise, informed remedies.

Network downtimes are therefore minimized, as are the costs associated with escalated issues that went undetected until reaching an expensive breaking point. From employees to clients, everyone will appreciate the faster approach to solving network errors or glitches, as well as the reduced headaches during patching.

2. Increased Data Retrieval, Usage and Connectivity

Network maintenance plans with dedicated performance and data storage activities improve the speeds and safety of how your devices exchange data. This is pivotal in an age when enterprise data has never been more vital to operations — or more expensive to reinstate when lost or stolen.

Maintenance plans accomplish this by mapping and overseeing current network logs, files and folder permissions. They also review hardware space for performance lags or backlogs, improving the speeds at which data may be retrieved and updated. The result is an optimized network with more secure data access portals that don’t leave employees or customers waiting after requesting, inputting or sharing sensitive information.

3. Greater IT Infrastructure Visibility and Communication

Yet another advantage of implementing a network maintenance plan is the greater visibility and understanding of your complete network layout.

These layouts, or network topologies, are extensive. Topologies encompass the top-down anatomy of your network’s hardware and software devices, plus the connection types keeping them in sync. There are multiple layers to network topologies, each of which is objectively defined, mapped and improved via a TPM maintenance plan, namely:

  • Network inventory: The complete diagram of devices maintained by your organization able to connect to the interfaces of each other, as well as your software products and versions, software vendors, OEMs, licensing information and individualized tag assess numbers.
  • Physical topology layer: All the ways your hardware and devices are physically connected with one another.
  • Wireless topology layer: All the ways your hardware and devices wirelessly connect and sync with one another.
  • IP addresses: The complete list of IP addresses used on your network, as well as typical access and traffic amounts, plus which interface they are configured on.
  • Configuration history: Documenting the installation and update schedules of your software, hardware, operating systems and interfaces as well as archiving previous working versions.

4. More Digital Productivity

The methodical, scheduled philosophy behind network maintenance plans ensures employee applications don’t suddenly go dark during a reconfiguration. Teams are better kept in-the-loop on scheduled updates, understand the rationale behind those updates and experience shorter system downtimes and delays hindering their work.

Plus, since network plans fix performance bugs and streamline data access and storage systems, those same employees can perform digital tasks and activities quicker and easier. Their outputs increase, allowing them to work smarter without working harder.

5. Bolstered Security

Strongly maintained networks regularly examine their security features, make frequent updates to workplace software and applications, patch security holes and reconfigure antivirus software to remain in peak condition. You have peace of mind that, across all devices, programs and protocols, your data is safe and network fortified. When incidents do occur, safeguards are already in place to minimize damage and keep essential files and systems from being compromised.

Work with a network maintenance provider

Work With an Expert Maintenance Provider

Worldwide Services maintains top certifications in third-party managed network maintenance, including the advanced ISO 9001:2008 and TL 9000 certificates — a title fewer than 500 companies globally can claim.

Your network’s security and performance rests in the right hands with our leading maintenance plans and packages. Request a quote today to stop questioning if your network operates at its true potential. 

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2 Ways You Can Save Money with Third Party Maintenance | August 09th, 2018

2 Ways You Can Save Money With 3rd Party Maintenance
Can third-party maintenance services really save you money? Accenture, a leading worldwide business consulting firm, reported numerous saving opportunities, as a result of utilizing third party maintenance services for their network maintenance needs.

Companies can experience significant savings if they are willing to consider third-party maintenance options to optimize their IT cost structure, and the added benefit of possibly improving their global coverage.

Let’s highlight two ways your IT department can enjoy the same benefits from third-party maintenance (TPM) providers:

  • Extended coverage on products no longer supported by OEMs
  • Reduced IT maintenance and network costs without compromising quality

Continue reading to learn how you can start saving 50% to 80% simply by making the shift from your Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to TPM service providers.

Why shift from OEM services to TPM providers?

OEM’s are seen as the best option for IT maintenance services primarily because they are the manufacturers of these products and devices. OEM’s also have highly skilled and knowledgeable service engineers who are experts in troubleshooting hardware and network problems. So why are businesses making the shift from OEM’s to third-party maintenance services?

The demand for maximum value on hardware investment

It all began with the era called “end of support life (EOSL).” When these OEM’s ended their services and discontinued providing parts for certain product models as a strategy to compel their customers to upgrade, IT organizations looked for a more economical option. They sought a solution that could help them extend the life of their hardware investment — TPM providers.

TPM’s response to EOSL: The power to say “NO”

While OEM’s are putting an end to the service of outdated products, TPM providers breathed hope into these devices. They extended the coverage on products no longer supported by the OEM. Thus, rather than saying “YES” to the demand of OEM providers for them to purchase a new product model, businesses were able to say “NO.”

With this, third-party maintenance providers gave the power to decide, back to these companies. As a result, they are able to:

  • Keep their current hardware infrastructure
  • Maximize the value of their hardware investment
  • Save on IT maintenance costs

NetGuard Maintenance Plan, the third party maintenance service offered by Worldwide Supply, is the top alternative to OEM’s network maintenance today. Learn more about the difference between OEM and TPM.

TPM and the disenchantment with the OEM’s service (CISCO)

Another reason for the shift from OEM to TPM is the level of service provided by these OEM’s. For decades, many thought of OEM’s as the best maintenance provider for their piece of hardware. It’s the brand name they carry, so they must be the best. Highly unknown is that many of these OEM’s are actually outsourcing their service delivery to other service providers.

CISCO, the number one provider of network equipment and flexible networking solutions, outsources their CISCO network service, CISCO maintenance, and CISCO router troubleshooting services.

Yes! This may come as a surprise, but the Level 1 and Level 2 support are often performed by CISCO partners and not CISCO themselves. The only time it is handled by an OEM is when the service has been escalated to a Level 3 request.

Why is this?

OEM’s reward their partners for the minimal use of OEM engineering resources. Therefore, these partners do their best to handle your service request at their level without escalating it to CISCO, even when it is clearly needed. This escalation process serves as a barrier, and, as a result, you end up waiting for hours before your concern is properly dealt with.

That is, however, never the case with TPMs. There are no artificial access barriers and all of the service requests are treated as a priority and are handled without undue delay.

Now it makes sense, right?

OEM providers are seeking help from third-party maintenance service providers to lower their operational costs at your expense. So why continue to pay more when you can directly hire the services of a TPM provider?

Now is the perfect time to make the shift. Start your savings today, especially with the following numerous benefits Worldwide Supply has to offer:

  • Equipment substitutions with a 24-hour support line
  • Impressive response time with 4-hour onsite service
  • Single portal service for all your maintenance agreements and plans
  • Vast troubleshooting capabilities support with over 100 past and present product lines, including 400 global service and sparing centers in 79 countries

Deciding to outsource to a third party maintenance service provider for the first time can seem like a big endeavor. However, the savings can be substantial and possibly include other benefits such as flexible SLAs and inventory management services.

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