The pandemic changed how businesses interact with their customers, particularly regarding communication. As customers have grown used to and have come to expect to find solutions to their problems online, the question is, does your website help or hinder your customers? Here are some steps you can take to ensure your customers have a great user experience.
It can be too easy to overlook the importance of technology and its security, particularly in industries that are deeply steeped in tradition, regardless of how crucial that security may seem when actually considered. Just consider the modern law firm, where technology, data, and the security of such is paramount.
Cybersecurity is critically important to businesses of all sizes, which means that all businesses need to put forth a concerted effort to ensure their security is locked down. This, in turn, will require someone to take point on developing a cybersecurity-focused internal culture.
Who better to do this than the boss?
When we say “improve communications” you probably are expecting an article about telephone systems or which video conferencing platform works the best. Normally, you’d be right, but today we decided to briefly go over four ways that you can foster better communications between management and their employees inside of your business.
What makes a small to medium-sized business so different from a large, enterprise-sized one? The amount of people and moving parts, of course, but if you really consider it, there isn’t all that much. This is why when looking to control your small business’ IT support costs, choosing managed IT services is a good option. This month, we thought we’d take a look at some of the other benefits managed IT can bring your organization:
I hope I don’t have to tell you how important your business’ data is to its continued survival, just as I hope I don’t need to explain why this makes this data a priority to protect, regardless of your business’ size. What I do want to explain is the concept of the 3-2-1 Rule and how it pertains to your data backup, and why we would recommend that one for your business’ purposes.
It isn’t often that you’ll hear a managed service provider say something like, “There’s no school like the old school.” In many ways, however, the basic principles of a solid business IT strategy haven’t changed all that much… despite the momentous changes that we’ve witnessed in terms of the technology we use. Let’s consider some of these principles, and how they’ve changed over time (if at all).
If you are a frequent reader of our blog, you will notice that “best practices” is a term that is used generously. That is because there are certain ways to go about things when you are working with technology. Today, we wanted to go over what the term actually means and why they are important when managing your business.
It's no secret that small businesses are facing one of the toughest periods in decades. The COVID-19 pandemic and many other issues have made them change the way they approach operations, sales, and other aspects of their businesses. Today, they need to explore more strategies that can support customers who also have had to adapt. Today, we’ll talk about a couple of the trends we expect to see in IT in 2021.
Nowadays, social media companies have a lot of power and influence, which is part of the reason that so many of today’s largest businesses have adopted social media as a critical promotional tool. With the average person spending about two hours and 24 minutes on social media and messaging applications per day, this makes social media a clear opportunity for any sized business to embrace. Let’s consider a few ways this can be accomplished for these different businesses.
As technology has become smarter, artificial intelligence has evolved into a more and more applicable solution that businesses of all sizes can use. Let’s take a few minutes to consider the various ways in which AI can be used to support businesses.
As we continue to adapt to a post-coronavirus world, one of the biggest issues facing businesses is their ability to communicate with their customers and team. As social distancing has reduced face-to-face interactions, many businesses are turning to digital solutions like VoIP to communicate effectively.
Let’s be real. For most small businesses during this period, it’s been extremely difficult. If you were somehow able to sustain operations during this time, you most likely had to make some serious alterations to the way that you normally do things. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the technologies that you probably already have, and how you can change the way you use them to benefit your business as concerns spike over COVID-19.
Point of sale software and solutions have long offered massive benefits to businesses, with these benefits growing as the technology has advanced. Let’s look at how the POS system has developed over the years to offer the business utilities and benefits that it does today.
As businesses slowly open up, they’re finding that their customers and staff have begun to expect certain levels of interactions in response to the coronavirus. When it comes to keeping your business competitive, you need to embrace the clear delineation between how businesses operated pre- and post-coronavirus. What was once temporary has become the new normal. The question is, are you still running your business using the old business model?
The way people talk about cybersecurity, it’s as if it is something like a television or a new phone: something you can just buy. That’s not the truth. When you are seriously looking at how you can keep unwanted entities off your network, while having control over what you do with your technology, you need to look at it as three levels of security.
While all a business’ technology solutions are important, some are bound to take priority over the others, especially when certain ones become an industry-wide focus. A recent survey evaluated the top concerns of small-to-medium-sized businesses for the coming year. The results of the survey identified a few telling trends regarding the priorities that SMBs hold now, and for good reason.
Disasters, at least in the business sense, have long been underestimated. While you always, always, hear about disasters that are often seen, there are some (as we are witnessing now) that can go under the radar until they strike. Regardless of the nature of the disaster, however, you need to be prepared to continue both your operations and your communications to some degree.
As time passes and technology is developed, a lot of the processes that businesses rely on become more efficient and stand to deliver greater benefits to the organizations that use them. These benefits are accessible to businesses of all sizes, including small businesses. Let’s go over a few small business needs, and how technology can assist with them.
Businesses around the world now find themselves in a situation unlike what most have ever seen. With so many trying to keep their distance from one another, many workplaces have deemed it necessary to close down for the time being or to operate remotely in order to reduce the risk they present to their clients and customers… but it isn’t as though these clients and customers are going to expect radio silence from these businesses.
If you’re trying to minimize your operating costs to improve your budget, it is important to keep in mind that sacrifice isn’t your only option. Instead, you also have the option of streamlining and minimizing some of your larger expenses by enlisting a managed services provider and the more sustainable business model we adhere to.
When you move your business into a new workspace, it can be one of the most exciting times for both you and your staff. It isn’t easy, of course, but today we thought that we would give you a short list of considerations that you should take in order to make this process go smoothly.
On July 26, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security (or SHIELD) Act into law. With the passing of this law, businesses with operations in New York now must put certain safeguards in place to help protect the private information disclosed to them by New York residents.
All businesses demand a certain amount of technology in order to push their organizational profitability forward. Whether they invest in tried-and-true technologies or they use their capital a little more innovatively, really depends on how decision makers’ forecasts of those investments help the organization become more productive or efficient. Today, we will look at five of the most important technology trends for SMBs in 2020.
The word “procedure” can easily be perceived in a negative light nowadays. It just sounds so… rote… compared to the exciting and dynamic buzzwords that so many “thought-leading, influencing, social media innovators” today toss around. Now, we don’t mean to disparage these personalities - we just want to emphasize that these innovations rely on a foundation to support them, and these foundations are based on business procedures and processes.
You don’t need to be repeatedly told just how important risk management is. If you did, you probably wouldn’t have made it this far. One problem you see from business owners today is that while they understand just how many problems there are--and which ones they need to find solutions for first--they want to grow their company so fast that they overlook potential problems and end up hurting their business as a result. This month, we thought we would talk a little bit about contingency planning and how, if it is done right, it can have a marked effect on your business’ ability to carry-on after a problematic event.
Technology is trending, there’s no doubt about that, but if you are a decision maker at a small business, technology solutions aren’t typically developed for your business in mind. As a result, it can often be difficult for the SMB to get tools that are scalable enough to make sense for them, while also getting powerful options that will actually work to improve some part of the business. This month, we’ll take a look at three trending technologies that small businesses are starting to use regularly.
We spend a lot of time talking about managed IT services. That’s where you pay a monthly contract to have your technology taken care of for you. There are a lot of pros to this, especially for a business that values uptime and efficiency... but sometimes, you just need that certain computer working, and signing another contract isn’t in the cards. We get it. Here’s how we can still help.
Budgeting for your technology can be pretty difficult. You never really know when some problem is going to present itself and cost your business an arm and a leg. Since you can’t always see what’s coming, saving money when you can is important. Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can save money on your business’ IT.
Consider something for a moment: aside from their size and the resources at their disposal, what makes a small to medium-sized business so different from a large, enterprise-sized one? If you really consider it, there isn’t all that much. This is why many SMBs have turned to managed services… to receive IT support comparable to what the large businesses get.
As much as your employees are some of your greatest assets, they also have the potential to be some of the biggest security risks that your business can encounter. To help mitigate these risks, you need to make sure your employees are trained to recognize threats and respond appropriately.
As small businesses have to do more with less, they’ve been increasingly looking to technology to fill the gaps. The problem is that many small businesses feel like the big tech companies don’t understand their needs. If you feel like the technology options you have at your disposal don’t necessarily fit your business’ needs, consider that these robust solutions have all the functionality that you need to manage your own business processes. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the enterprise technology SMBs are using to move their businesses forward and some of the considerations you may need to make to leverage a software solution that doesn’t seem like it fits.
In today’s competitive business environment, you need all the help you can get. One of the biggest advantages you can achieve for your business is to take advantage of a trusted and reliable managed IT provider that can give your organization advice on how to navigate the murky waters of the technology world.
For any business to be successful, its inner workings need to be able to work together seamlessly, each with a defined role and purpose. While we usually stick to talking about how to make your IT more collaborative, we’re devoting this week’s tip to ensuring that your employees are also capable of effective collaboration while using these solutions.
For the small business, being more efficient with resources can make a massive difference. In fact, it can be the difference between organizational sustainability and organizational failure. The bottom line is that, no matter how big or small they are, today’s businesses need to be smarter to compete. As a result, some businesses have begun to utilize data management platforms (DMP) in order to put themselves in a better position to understand their business, their market, and their customers. Let’s take a look at the DMP, and how it works to help businesses like yours be more effective.
When we discuss our service offerings, we understand that it can all seem like a little much, especially to the small business that - up to this point - has never needed all these fancy solutions to operate effectively. However, there are a few considerations that the business this scenario applies to needs to account for. For instance, is it certain that these solutions are unnecessary?
If your business uses technology to be more productive and efficient, you know that as soon as you buy a piece of new technology, there is another one right behind it that has more power, or better features. This is true for consumers as well. This constant innovation is what has made technology a viable option for many small businesses. After all, if computers hadn’t been innovated on constantly, they’d still be the size of a room (or wouldn’t exist at all).
No matter how big a business is, it has to leverage at least some IT in order to be efficient. Unfortunately, some organizations are reluctant to implement new technology if they don’t seem to need it immediately. What these businesses don’t know is that the reason they typically don’t implement new solutions--saving money--is in direct conflict with what the solutions are designed to do in the first place.
How much value does your company get from its technological assets? This might seem like a simple question, but it doesn’t have a simple answer. You can implement the latest and greatest solutions, but you don’t necessarily gain value from them, or as much as similar organizations in your field. With businesses aiming to cut costs and secure a profitable future, how can you make sure that IT is providing value to your organization?
Miscommunication is something that plagues even the best, most organized organizations. Small businesses might be more tight-knit than your traditional enterprise, but humans are prone to miscommunication, and can be a major problem. We can help your business improve the way that it communicates and collaborates, and it all starts by considering how you can eliminate miscommunication in your office.
Small businesses often have to rely on different means to achieve the same level of project management as enterprises. This is due to the demands of project management being significantly different in scope, but also the way that your company implements new technology solutions. Instead of worrying about the specifics of project management, you can outsource these responsibilities to a managed service provider.
The modern small business will face several challenges in 2018. The world is changing, and with it, so is business. For many small businesses, this can either be looked on as the opportunity they’ve been waiting for, or, it can be viewed as the beginning of the end. No matter what situations you are faced with this year, understanding what problems your business faces, and how to solve them is imperative to your small business’ success.
December 14th is the last day that our government representatives can vote whether or not to continue the Internet’s protection under the net neutrality rules established in 2015. Without these rules in place, your data can be analyzed by your Internet service provider, and they are free to act on that knowledge and manipulate your Internet in support of their own interests.
While many different people open businesses, the primary reason that they all do so is to make money. A positive cash flow is essential if the business is to generate funds that support a cause or provide a decent living. However, to collect this cash flow, a business must have their invoices returned. As it happens, this doesn’t often occur in a timely manner.
In order for small businesses to remain competitive in this economy, there has to be the opportunity for them to participate as a viable competitor. This is the goal of a United States bill that has passed through the House of Representatives and is moving forward to be voted on by the Senate.
Without competition, there would not be businesses. However, this competition needs to be fair in order for small businesses to embrace new opportunities that arise. A U.S. bill that allows for both of these goals has passed in the House of Representatives and will be voted on in the Senate.
Vince Lombardi, one of the most successful head coaches in NFL history, once said “If you are five minutes early, you are already ten minutes late.” Although it wasn’t its intended use, this quotation can easily apply to technology. The tech industry is constantly changing, improving, and innovating. Adapting to changes is something all businesses must do to thrive, small and medium businesses included.
Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more accessible to businesses of all sizes. In fact, it is swiftly becoming apparent that businesses that aren’t actively considering how to leverage AI in their processes are doing themselves a disservice.
The concept of deferring to an expert is not new, especially in terms of running a business. If your business encounters a problem in its plumbing, you call in a plumber. When it comes to your business’ IT solutions, there are professionals who can help with issues there as well: IT consultants.
The small business is under siege. Many small business owners do what they can to compete, but it seems like there is no solution for their revenue woes, as larger organizations are able to attract a larger part of the market share. This has been the case for some time, but there are market forces at work today that make it even more difficult for businesses to contend with competitors that have more resources.
While news sources might lead the layman to believe that most issues facing the typical SMB come from cyber criminals lurking online, the reality is far less dramatic. However, this misconception makes these issues no less serious, and still things to prepare for. Let’s review some of the most common causes of technological issues in the office environment.
Does your SMB have an internal IT department? Chances are that it is a major pain point for your organization, and even if you do have one, it might be bogged down with so much work that mistakes can happen and threats can slip through the cracks. Sometimes the best way to protect your network is to know where and how threats manage to get there in the first place.
Most small and medium-sized businesses aren’t new to IT. For the past 15 years or so, SMBs have been attempting to keep up with their larger competitors through the implementation of technology systems. They’ve instituted computing systems from servers to workstations to mobile devices, peripheral technologies like fax machines and copiers, “state of the art” networking technology, and all other sorts of tech, just trying to keep a leg up on their competition.
As expected, mobile technology is a consistent part of daily business operations for many companies around the world. Employees love taking advantage of the mobility these devices offer, making their home office just as useful as their in-house workstation. However, a mobile device management solution needs to be strictly adhered to in order to optimize security and guarantee that a stray smartphone doesn’t expose your data to unexpected eyes.
It’s important for a business to be connected with their community. Even if you have a global market, it’s still important to invest in the city you’re headquartered in. It’s where you and your employees live, and if you can build relationships and connect with other organizations in your community, only good things can come from it.
Here are three easy ways your business can become more involved and respected within your community.
The CEO baton at Microsoft has been passed from Steve Ballmer to Satya Nadella, making Nadella the third CEO in Microsoft's well-publicized history. You may not think that this will have an impact on your business, but considering how intertwined Microsoft is with the the global economy, you may be surprised to learn that this move will affect your company.
Expenses from running a business can add up quickly. We want to help by sharing six easy things you can do that will save you money and improve your workplace. Even though these two goals may seem diametrically opposed, we have found that they can work together in a synchronized harmony!
You may have realized that marketing and advertising tactics are shifting toward reaching mobile leads. Even superstar companies like Google and Facebook are delegating more marketing dollars to their mobile marketing budgets after a discovery that nearly one-fifth of Google's revenue comes from mobile searching. Here are three ways your company can start up your mobile marketing initiative.
For most small business owners, your average week includes several moments where you look at your expense sheet and search for ways to cut costs and improve the profitability, and thus, the sustainability of your company. Around the holidays, when business picks up for everyone, some small businesses run into problems that stunt their net profitability. The inability to spend the money that larger companies can, will often result in handcuffing a business' ability to compete.
As a business owner, your business is your baby. Therefore, it's easy to take it personally when a customer says something negative about your company. It feels kind of like a stranger calling your newborn baby ugly. Don't overreact to negative opinions by overhauling your business model; you can actually use negative customer feedback to your advantage.
Upgrading your network and shopping for new technology can be a daunting task. Technology is expensive and it's an investment that will help your business grow, but that's only if you purchase what you need. A poor technology purchase can actually be a budget buster. To maximize your new technology purchases, it's worth it to partner with IT professionals.
In a recent economics survey of small to medium-sized businesses by Oxford University, it was discovered that two-thirds of companies believe that technology is the key to transforming their business in order to "achieve longevity and sustainable growth." This survey reveals a lot about how businesses worldwide feel about technology. Does your business identify with any these trends?
You don't need us to tell you that running a small business has its inherent difficulties. There are all types of factors that could literally destroy everything that the hardworking people in your organization have accomplished. The problem is that these situations aren't limited to just disasters such as flood or fire. Below are three factors that may wreak havoc with your small business in 2013.
Everything feels extra difficult for small businesses. Technology makes things easier; yet technology costs money, and the lack of money tends to be at the root of every problem for businesses of all sizes. Big businesses can afford the best technology, which is one reason they do so well. We level the playing field by making big business solutions affordable.
Many small businesses are switching their phone systems to Voice over Internet Protocol and seeing dramatic savings over traditional phone plans, especially when it comes to long distance charges. Once the switch to VoIP is made, small businesses are discovering there are more benefits to VoIP that make their business appear bigger and more professional!
Every generation improves the technology of the previous generation. Sometimes technology can improve at such a rapid rate that it can make other technologies obsolete. It takes a bit of know how to determine which technologies will last and which ones are just fads. We are here to help you make sense of all of these rapid changes.
Typically, the only way that spaghetti improves the office is by providing a low cost meal during a lunch break. As it turns out, spaghetti can be used as more than lunch; spaghetti charts are a great productivity tool that can improve your workflow, eliminate transport waste, and save you money.
We are not guaranteed a life without problems. Problems will happen and your plans will be ruined (okay, it's not ALWAYS that bad!). While you can't totally eliminate problems from life, you can greatly reduce them by being proactive. This proactive problem solving approach also works great with technology!
Computers have been designed to be easy and intuitive to use. Just about anybody can figure out how to open files and browse the Internet, but PCs are still complicated machines that require technical knowledge to fix and maintain. When it comes to the technical stuff, it's better to leave it to the pros.
Procrastinators of the world unite... tomorrow! Many people who feel the constant and crushing pressure of deadlines, and who have a habit of being late with deadlines, would identify themselves as procrastinators. Stanford professor John Perry has discovered a method to use procrastination as a tool to get more done, he calls this structured procrastination.
Every enterprise, whether it is a successful one or not, has to deal with its fair share of adversity. One of the most rampant difficulties a business is forced to deal with is the necessary ability to secure prompt payment for the goods and services it provides its customers. For small and medium-sized businesses, or even one-man bands, they likely do not have the deep pockets many larger organizations have. Not being able to timely collect income can make sustaining business operations all but impossible. With remote payment applications that are now available for mobile devices, collecting crucial revenue at a mobile point-of-sale is making collecting that is money easier.
Everybody has a weakness; Superman has Kryptonite, the Wicked Witch of the West had water, and the Death Star had a womprat-sized exhaust port. Character weaknesses make for solid storylines because they drive conflict. Your company has its own set of vulnerabilities that you may not know about, and unlike stories, conflict in business is not a good thing. Here are a few of the lesser known IT weaknesses, and what you can do to resolve them.
Despite having more paperless solutions at our disposal, it looks like offices will always have the need for a printer. Maybe you are not quite ready to take the great paperless leap, but you can reduce the amount of resources and power consumed from using your printers with the help of a print server solution.
Business growth is a double edged sword. It is great that you are increasing revenue, but you now have to deal with growing pains. These growing pains are often felt with your technology. Is your network cobbled together with random computers and your wires are one big tangle ball? Directive can help relieve these IT growing pains with network mapping.
It always feels a bit peculiar to come across a fax machine still being used in the modern office. With all of our digital advancements, the fax machine should have gone the way of the floppy disk. Contrary to common sense, it is estimated that there are 131 million fax machines still in operation around the world.
In business, you will gladly take every advantage that you can in regards to communications. This is because better communications will positively impact everything you do. Switching your phones system from a traditional carrier to a Voice over IP (VoIP) internet solution will not only give your business a communications edge, but also save you 50-70% on your phone bill.
You are confident that your employees are good at problem solving, this is why you hired them. Your staff may even thrive on finding solutions with limited resources and keeping operations within budget. It is wonderful that you have surrounded yourself with skillful people, but using your bright staff to fix an IT problem may hurt your business in the long run.
Does it sometimes feel that business is going well, yet your bottom line is taking a hit? If time is money, then downtime is anti-money, and downtime may be your biggest budget buster. To help you determine exactly how much your IT downtime is costing you, we have two mathematical formulas you can apply to your business.
If Back to the Future's Marty McFly time traveled to the modern office, he would probably feel a little disoriented. He would see employees squinting at little televisions, mobile devices right out of Star Trek, and no rows of file cabinets. Then Marty would notice a fax machine and feel right at home, because fax machines have been around forever.
Are you looking for a new computer service provider? Deciding on a company to handle your technology is a choice that carries a little more weight than let's say, switching your cable provider. You are essentially giving this new computer company access to all of your company's sensitive information. No pressure!
For small and medium businesses, attempting to fix your own computer issues can do more harm than good. It may seem like having to pay for IT services is an unnecessary expense, especially when you have a somewhat tech savvy employee who seems to know what they are doing. It may be an expense now, but it will save you thousands of dollars in time and money in the long run.
Success is what you make of it, and everybody has a different definition of what success is. Whether your goals are to revolutionize your industry or simply earn enough to provide for yourself and your family, building success is a step by step process.
Does it seem like every day your network is suffering from a different issue? How about the same old issues that keep coming back? Think about how much time is wasted every day while you and your employees have to cope with viruses, malware, and oddball technology issues. What if we told you there is an easy solution that will eliminate 99% of these problems?
Saving a little on your technology can go a long ways, but cutting too many corners can lead to additional problems and expensive downtime. Here are a few ways you can cut costs without creating long term issues.
Desktop virtualization is a method in which one machine can run more than one Operating System at the same time regardless of architecture requirements. There are two models of Desktop Virtualization that will be discussed here: Local Virtualization and the Client/Server Virtualization Model.
Technology is changing quickly and businesses are seeing a wide variety of options replacing traditional IT methodology that is driving change and productivity to businesses of all sizes. It's getting easier to take work with you with mobile devices and hosted services, but are these just expensive new toys or do they provide serious benefits to businesses?
Technology today makes it easy for businesses to let employees work from home. Offering secure remote access gives employees the flexibility to work on the road, at events, or from home as if they were at their desks in the office. Is this good for small businesses?
Server Virtualization has been around for a while but has quickly become more popular for small businesses due to the long-term costs saved when your servers are virtualized. What exactly is server virtualization and how can it benefit Upstate New York businesses?
Business owners, this one is definitely for you. You've probably experienced the fact that shaving expenses here and there can lead to more flexibility and long-term savings, but at what cost? Are you limiting your company by nixing those extra services and costs? Sometimes you can get more and still save money. Let's look at a few ways Upstate New York businesses can do just that.
If you've been using computers for a while, then there has probably been at least one point in your life that you've lost data. Maybe it was something you were working on when your computer crashed, or maybe a disk failure wiped out some data. Does this bring back memories of frustration and angst?
There has been a growing trend where businesses are allowing more employees to work from home or other remote locations. Technology makes this possibly by letting users remote into their work environment securely as if they were sitting at their desk at the office. VoIP phone solutions can even bring the worker's office phone to them, no matter where they are.
At Directive, we hate seeing our clients suffer from slow computers, bogged down networks, and other computer issues that prevent work from happening seamlessly. That's why we are so passionate about proactively safeguarding your network BEFORE issues happen, in order to prevent expensive downtime.
Is staying in business important to your company?
We don't want to be sensationalistic here, but there is a serious real-world link between data loss and staying in business. Let's look at some statistics.
Nobody wants to spend more than they have to, especially when it comes to those necessary evils like bills, utilities, insurance, and the general costs of keeping things running smoothly. At Directive, our goal is to provide outstanding enterprise-level solutions for small business prices. Let's talk about a few ways to cut long term IT costs.
When you mention the term 'disaster recovery,' most people think about the big ground-shattering events like earthquakes, fires, floods, tropical storms, etc. While these natural events are certainly disasters and devastating in their own right, smaller things can constitute as a disaster for your business, and they aren't seasonal.
Let's get theoretical here. Let's say your friend Hank suffers from chest pain. It could be nothing, but chest pain isn't something you want to mess around with, so you suggest that Hank goes to a doctor to get it checked out. There are certain things in life you don't just let happen without getting an assessment to make sure they don't turn into bigger issues, right? Your business's IT security is one of those things.
Controlling and managing a big network with multiple servers is no small endeavor, especially keeping them maintained. On top of that, software licenses, warranties, user permissions, and security all need to be managed and controlled. As your business expands, you may need more servers in order to perform certain tasks ranging from email, file distribution, specialized software, and security management of various levels. Pretty soon your server room is beginning to look like a cramped mini data center and you need to worry about controlling the heat and maintaining multiple high-priority, mission critical machines. There's got to be a better way, right?