Why Use Us!
So, why should you select Hearthside Business Systems as your IT support partner? Our IT support philosophy is to utilize proactive preventative maintenance to eliminate or significantly reduce issues, downtime, lost productivity, and snowball-type problems. We are also a staunch proponent of client/end-user empowerment and self-service through SOPs and training. When maintenance is proactive and end-users comply with simple standard operating procedures, fewer problems arise, wasteful and costly downtime is reduced or eliminated, and support costs become predictable and quantifiable.

There are a lot of IT support companies lurking around for you to choose from, but many are priced out-of-reach, some are incompetent, and others are "geek-speak" specialists with zero customer service. Hearthside Business Systems' expertise, the services we provide, and the accolades we've received from our clients clearly demonstrate that we are much more than just a collection of eccentric geeks, computer gamer support wannabes, or high-priced arrogant specialists who intentionally talk over your head. We offer superior managed support services AND superior customer service in plain English so you can understand what you need, what we do, and what we charge—no surprises with Hearthside Business Systems!

Our Experience Shows!
So what do we do differently than other IT support companies? We immediately and continually deal with the "Triple threat" (Heat-related damage, power-related damage, and virus/malware-related issues) that accounts for 90% of all computer problems. We are excessive-compulsive about the annihilation of these three sources of damage. Initial eradication, followed by continuous monitoring and management going forward significantly reduces unexpected costly repairs and downtime.

Beyond the “Triple Threat,” below are some other things we do as a standard part of our contracted support. Some IT support companies may address one, two, or even a few of these issues, but never all of them; and never included in the monthly contracted support amount.

    • We install WatchGuard's Panda Adaptive Defense 360 and Panda System Management software on every server and workstation included in the support contract at the client's expense (a contract surcharge that is more than double the price of the software is applied to those who do not comply).

    • We do most non-critical updates manually only after they have been tested and verified safe (usually within a couple of hours to 2 weeks of release). This one simple process eliminates about 3% of downtime caused by incompatible automatic updates followed by the needed repairs.

    • We configure servers to run in RAID 1 (mirroring) mode so that if the primary drive ever dies, the server fails over to the mirrored drive automatically. Everything written to the server is backed up automatically in real-time. This configuration eliminates about 2% of downtime averaged over a 5-yr period.

    • We configure all workstation's "My Documents" data to be located on the server so that files are automatically saved to the server. Then we configure file versioning and replication.

    • We set up automatic server status monitoring to report the earliest signs of problems and configure alerts to be issued via e-mail automatically before problems become critical, preferably before they are even noticeable. This one step has saved countless hours of downtime and associated costs.

    • We use software tools to monitor server and workstation logs 24/7/365 and deal with any problems early, and off-hours, most of the time. Again, this simple proactive task ensures smooth operation and reduces the need for support to the cost-effective levels we allocate in our agreements.

    • Our Help Desk ticket system provides traceability for all support issues. Tickets are immediately recorded on our web server, sent by e-mail, and phone app to our support personnel.

    • We provide access by phone, e-mail, text, and ticket 24/7/365.

    • Clients have access to online equipment status reports 24/7/365.

    • Clients have access to an online calendar of support tickets 24/7/365.

    • Clients have access to their current contract, all invoices, and other support docs 24/7/365.

    • We know MS Windows. Linux, and Unix systems and we also know many business-related software suites. Certain of these programs have historically been very bad at releasing memory and other resources once opened, so we manually reboot all Windows servers once per month to release all allocated but unusable memory and other system resources. Remote Desktop Servers are often the worst offenders, so we typically reboot them on a bi-weekly schedule. This one simple action eliminates about 20% of the reports of server "Unresponsive" or "Slow."

    • We continuously monitor security logs for intrusion and all unused ports are closed. Competitors are looking for your client and price lists. Extortionists are locking files and demanding a ransom to unlock them for your own use. Others are simply malicious and derive some sick pleasure out of damaging your files. We are very proactive in preventing this type of harm and can proudly say that not one of our client’s systems has been compromised for over 25 years.

    • We require strong passwords for network access, but not those cryptic, hard-to-remember ones. We follow more recent Best Practices for simple, easy-to-remember passphrases. We will either issue them or rules will be established to force the adoption of strong passwords assuming our client approves (a contract surcharge is applied to those who do not approve).

    • We tightly control end-user access to USB ports assuming the client approves (a contract surcharge is applied to those who do not approve). This one configuration change has prevented hundreds of rootkits, botnets, and keystroke loggers from gaining a foothold in a client’s system and slowing everything to a crawl.