If you use Apple workstations, do you have the time and knowledge to keep them running at their best? When was the last time each workstation was updated and checked for issues?
If the answer is anything other than ‘last week’, that’s not good news!
To address this, we’re proud to offer a workstation checkup service as part of our role in the Apple Consultants Network, so you no longer need to worry about your fleet of computers being neglected. At an interval of your choosing, we either remotely connect to each of your Macs or visit site and perform a 16 point check of its vital signs, correcting issues and installing updates where possible. We will then send over a report to nominated people, either giving it the all-clear, or advising of what to do next.
Read on for detail on the checks we carry out and why:
OS X Updates
It is incredibly important for any internet-connected device to be regularly updated, to ensure that it has patches for large-scale security flaws, such as Heartbleed and Shellshock, which if exploited by hackers could lead to data loss or theft on your workstation. We check that your Mac is up to date and therefore not vulnerable to these known serious security flaws.
It’s not just Apple OS X that can be vulnerable to attack - it is very important to install updates for all the 3rd party applications on a Mac to guard against possible exploitation. Additionally, updates often fix bugs and improve the reliability and stability of applications, as well as adding new features in many cases.
If the worst happens and your workstation suffers a hardware failure, or your offices flood, burn down or are burgled, an off-site backup with a service such as CrashPlan can save you from unprecedented data loss. That is, if it is running without error… We have often found on unattended workstations that a backup is configured, but has an issue that is preventing backups from completing. We ensure that any off-site backup strategy you have in place is working as intended.
We always advise our clients to have a “belt and braces” attitude to backups, and we regularly deploy both onsite and offsite backups together. An onsite backup offers fast recovery from data loss, as it is locally accessible at high speed. We verify that the on-site backup is working as intended.
When software is installed on your workstation, it needs the correct permissions granted to it to run correctly and reliably. Often software has its permissions changed in error, and running a permissions repair ensures the permissions it needs are set.
Hard disks are one of the last remaining moving parts in modern computers, and some Apple Macs still use them. Verifying disk integrity ensures that the storage disks inside the workstation are operating correctly and without corruption. Solid state disks, also known as flash memory or SSDs benefit from disk integrity checks too, as corruption can still occur, albeit not as frequently. We run disk integrity checks to safeguard your data.
Processor, Memory & Storage Usage
It is not usually obvious how much of a system’s resources are being used at any given time, unless the system is running very slowly, in which case it is likely overburdened. We check current processor, memory and storage usage for your workstation, to see if it has enough resources to serve your needs without delay, if it could benefit from an upgrade, or in extreme cases being completely replaced with a newer, more powerful model.
A reliable network connection is business critical for the majority of organisations. Often special attention is given to the reliability and speed of the connection into the building, but we regularly see users suffering with a poor connection from their workstation to the router, which severely hampers their ability to work efficiently. We check that where possible, computers are cabled in, and if they must be wireless, that their wireless connection is operating error free and at the best possible speeds.
Apple computers run housekeeping tasks in the background on daily, weekly and monthly schedules. Often it is advisable to run them more regularly, so while we’re giving the computer attention, we run these tasks manually.
Checking Mail, Contacts, Calendar and File Sharing Accounts
We occasionally find customers who have misconfigured accounts that need attention. We look through all the accounts configured and ensure that they are working correctly and also that they have an appropriate and meaningful account description set. This ensures that you can reliably communicate without being inundated with error messages.
Clean and De-dust
Dust clogged in computers can cause them to heat up which at best makes them run slower due to thermal throttling for safety, or at worst can cause the workstation’s components to overheat and fail. We de-dust the Mac’s internals and give it a quick clean to ensure it is cosmetically as close to factory fresh as it can be. Note that this can only be carried out on-site - our support software does not yet allow for remote dusting!
All of these very comprehensive checks are designed to flag up potential issues with each of your workstations before they become critical and cause a failure in some respect, potentially causing work to grind to a halt in your business.
We strongly advise all of our clients who use Apple computers to enrol with at least monthly checks, as we have caught countless issues this way, before they became serious. If we ever find any issues, we will inform you on the problem, provide you with a cost effective estimate, and get working on it as soon as possible.
Give yourself the peace of mind, and let us check your computers. We offer this 16 point check-up and fix for £85.00 ex. VAT per workstation, at the interval of your choosing, as well as a wide range of professional Apple services for small businesses.