Hardware, Software And Network Support
We provide 24/7 hardware, software and network support for the following platforms:
- Desktop and laptop installation and support.
- Server installation, configuration and maintenance including Exchange, MS SQL, ISA etc.
- Linux Servers including Debian, Ubuntu, Red Hat, SUSE etc.
- Software support such as Microsoft Office, Pastel, Quickbooks etc.
- Backup solutions for your desktop, servers or entire network.
- Virus and spyware removal.
- Printer services and hardware repairs.
- Fax services.
- Network installations and maintenance.
- ADSL support.
- ADSL and wireless packages.
- VOIP and PBX solutions.
- Sales of any computer related equipment, consumables and software.
These tech support services are provided as on-site support, remote support, over the phone support or per SLA as both in sourced or outsourced options.
On the support front, our support system is structured into 2 distinct levels (only applicable to the Western Cape) with specific technicians assigned to each level. Each level represents a specific technical requirement that coincides with the requisite experience levels as follows:
Level 1 is standard “Desktop” support that includes any and all workstation related requirements as well as basic networking – everything a very small business should need.Level 2 is “server” and “Linux” level support including intermediate networking and all Microsoft Server requirements – this is an advanced level tech for bigger small businesses and those clients that want higher experience levels.
Each job that is generated on our side is automatically but specifically assigned to one of the levels above. A lower tech is not allowed to work on a job that is on a level higher than his specification but a higher level tech may work on any job deemed lower than his specification based on one of the following scenarios:
- The client requests it.
- Time constraints require that the job be attended to when a lower level tech is not available.
- The tech wants to handle the specific job.
It is important to note that the time of each level will be billed at different rates which can be seen on our rates page.
Please note that our billing time segment still remain the same – 0.25 hour segments for remote or workshop work and 0.50 hour segments for on-site work.
These changes also mean that certain techs can no longer work on certain equipment or in specific scenarios, this might seem counterproductive but it is truly structured to provide top level support, better service and more focused expertise to all our customers.
How our support time is billed:
- On-site Support is billed in 0.50 hour segments.
- Remote and telephonic support is billed in 0.25 hour segments.
- There is no "call-out fee" but we do bill travel to the customer at our standard rates for the time spent on the round trip from our closest office.
- Travel discounts are provided for return customers on a case to case and SLA basis.
- Discounts are provided based on volume or SLA.
Time Segment Definitions:
Normal: Labour performed during normal business hours, Monday to Friday between 08:00 and 17:00 excluding public holidays.
Normal after hours: Labour performed outside of normal business hours, Monday to Friday from 06:00 to 08:00 and from 17:00 to 23:00 and from 06:00 to 23:00 on Saturdays and public holidays.
Special after hours: Labour performed outside of Normal and Normal After Hours times. That would mean Sundays (entire day) as well as Working days, Saturdays and public holidays from 23:00 to 06:00
Hardware And Software Supply, Sales, Procurement And Installation
We supply a large range of IT related hardware and software products. Since we strive to being a "one stop shop" for our customers and we understand the value that a value added service provider such as ourselves can add to any business by catering for any and all IT related need we are not bound to any specific software or hardware product. There is however some brands and items we prefer and specialize in. Our standardized handling fees ensure that our prices are often below the norm. We also offer extensive warranty options and all hardware is treated with proper quality control procedures throughout its handling and delivery process.
We are also able to procure any IT related item on request, even in some cases where it is not actively imported to South Africa per say. We are able to cater for large scale supply demands, complete network installations, "new business" installations and we are able to supply and install all aspects pertaining to the above.
We also pride ourselves in the fact that we commit to longer term relationships and actively provide even lower prices to our SLA and long term customers.
Some of the hardware and software types and brands we supply:
- Servers - Dell, HP, Super Micro etc.
- Desktops and laptops - Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Proline etc.
- Printers, copiers and scanners - Canon, HP, Samsung etc.
- Upgrade parts - all internationally available brands.
- Microsoft Software - Desktop, Server, Office etc.
- Open Source Software - Debian, Ubuntu, Zimbra etc.
- Adobe software - Creative Suite, PDF Professional etc.
- Antivirus software - ESET, Kaspersky, Trend Micro etc.
- Networking devices such as switches, routers etc. - Cisco, D-Link, Netgear, Ubiquiti etc.
- Backup and storage devices. - Seagate, Western Digital etc.
- Uninterruptible Power Supplies - various brands.
- LCD and LED TV's - LG, Proline, Samsung etc.
- Media centre solutions.
It is also important to note that we pride ourselves in the fact that we deal in no grey products (all items supplied will have a full warranty) and we have extensive knowledge surrounding everything we supply, so we are able to provide top quality consultation in this regard as required.
Managed IT And SLA Services
We offer a range of IT service management and server management services as well as specialized custom Service Level Agreements (SLA) built around each customers' needs with possible discounts dependant on the volume of time supplied.
Our managed IT services takes the IT responsibilities away from you so that you can focus on what you do best, we squarely accept those responsibilities as our own and sometimes we even end up managing it with more dedication and commitment than some users were able to. We offer both outsourced IT (we handle your IT as if we are your IT department and we work closely with you but we also consider the bigger picture and consult you as and when required as an IT manager would) and in-sourced IT solutions (we work with your IT department supplementing their capabilities whether it is on an expertise level or simply standing in after hours.
Some of the benefits our SLA customers receive as standard:
- The ability to build the SLA to suit your needs - from a couple of ad-hoc hours per month to guarantees covering your entire IT infrastructure.
- Information integrity by means of a privacy commitment via our SLA.
- Preventative server maintenance or server management.
- Complete ease of mind.
- Higher priority in our normal work queues.
- Guaranteed turnaround times.
- Optional 24/7 guaranteed availability.
- Access to our extensive knowledge pool.
- Various levels of support.
- A dedicated account manager that ensures you are happy with the service levels provided.
- The lowest possible prices for all IT related hardware and software.
- Managed backups and off site backup storage.
- Access to our large catalogue of value added services.
- Automatic escalation of jobs.
- Dedicated quality control documentation and processes.
- Free IT infrastructure gathering and safe storage.
- Dedicated consultation regarding IT and especially the future of your IT.
- Constant cost considerations.
- That long term relationship we strive for.
Each SLA is custom tailored to your IT service management needs and therefore each SLA has a custom price, as we do not believe in building options that suits us but in building options that suit you!
Backups And Data Redundancy
Backups or data redundancy are so often overlooked and it is truly one of those things you want to kick yourself for when it’s too late when in fact it needs not be a headache to start with.
Each backup solution is proprietary to its intended use as each client's requirement is different. Due to this, it is not easy to package a backup solution as a product or list it here as various options, we do however provide a standardised backup plan with standardised hardware and all the software required to fulfil a specific job.
To list but a few examples of backup solutions we provide and currently maintain or manage as standard:
- Simple user managed folder synchronization to an external "flash drive" via free software.
- Scheduled windows desktop backups to a USB hard drive.
- Real-time Macintosh backups via time machine to a time capsule.
- Windows server based scheduled, managed backups to a disk based NAS device via Symantec Backup Exec.
- Scheduled Microsoft Exchange, SQL server and System State backups via Symantec Backup Exec remote agents to various media's.
- Linux desktop and server backups via RSYNC.
- Secure remote storage of backup media, yearly backup sets etc.
As can be seen from the above, the solution that best suits your needs might not be listed but we can most certainly provide it.
Our normal process followed to provide a suitable backup solution to you will be:
- A complete analysis of your business process, critical data locations, applications containing your critical data (Pastel etc.) and its configuration (multi user server based etc.) is performed.
- Your requirements and expectations are discussed based on a set of questions to guide you through the process.
- An action plan is put together to consolidate your data, standardize the backup process and keep final monetary and time costs as low as possible.
- A quotation is prepared with detail based on all the above and presented to you for approval.
The most widely requested and therefore implemented solution usually adheres to these requirements:
- It is a scheduled automated solution based on work shifts.
- It is a managed service - we monitor the backups and ensure that it functions correctly 100% of the time.
- 3 data copies are kept of which at least 2 are kept off-site at our office in a secured location.
- Annual data are kept for 5 years.
- All critical data will be covered - mailboxes, Pastel etc.
- Those very important items usually overlooked by inexperienced IT consultants are especially covered - system states, active directory, service configuration files etc.
- Quarterly restore tests are performed
- The solution is covered by an encompassing SLA that guarantees its effectiveness - removing any fears you as an end user might have.
Please also remember that backups tie in very closely to a company's disaster recovery plan and that we also strongly suggest that this is put in place.
Disaster Planning And Recovery
Our extensive expertise in the field and experience with relatively large disaster situations in the past ensures that we have the proper skill and foresight to offer professional disaster recovery planning, implementation, maintenance and prevention solutions.
Should you not have a disaster recovery plan in place and are in the market for a professional solution or need to comply with any specific law or body, we recommend that you make use of our free "initial contact" analysis, as this will ensure that we at least gather all the required information to be able to put a disaster recovery plan in place.
We are able to guide any business to define its particular disaster recovery requirements via a standard set of questions we have put together from past experience. As a solution to those requirements we are then able to provide a complete, comprehensive and professional disaster prevention and recovery plan consisting of various elements and technologies of which but a few are:
- Risk, Data retention requirements, business continuity requirement and critical systems analysis.
- Implementing and defining the correct backup procedures for all critical systems.
- Off-site secured data storage.
- Server Clustering and Continuous Cluster Replication.
- Automatic fail over redundancy on critical systems and network items required by those systems.
- Data restore tests and schedules.
- Best practice principals surrounding specific server models.
- Step by step instruction manuals for various disaster situations.
- Cloud based collaboration solutions.
- Backup power solutions.
- Many more...
Please also remember that a very important part often overlooked when it comes to disaster planning and recovery is the cost of recovery. A disaster recovery plan is not supposed to be put in place as a "one time sale" but as a workable solution, a solution that needs to be cost effective especially when that disaster strikes. It is therefore imperative that you use a solution provider that actively consider the final recovery cost throughout the entire process.
Feel free to contact us for any further info, we are always happy to assist.
Network And Desktop Security Solutions
We supply, install, maintain and support an extensive range of enterprise, network, server and desktop IT systems security solutions. We also consult in this regard and our extensive experience in the IT sector enables us to intuitively consider core and critical aspects of the security of your network as a whole as well as provide an IT security service to you. These solutions are always considered as part of any bigger installation but we are also a value added reseller and we therefore offer these solutions and software packages at reduced cost to the end user.
Some of our Enterprise security solutions:
- "IT Handbook" and "IT Policy" generation.
- Compliance solutions to various industry bodies and standards.
- Security and risk analysis and reporting.
- Security consultation.
Some of our Network and Server security solutions:
- Enterprise class firewalls that protect your entire network based on the most secure operating systems in the world - Debian and Ubuntu.
- Enterprise class secure encrypted VPN's and remote access to your network.
- Server based centrally managed antivirus solutions based on ESET, Kaspersky, Trend Micro etc.
- Server based network policy generations and deployment.
- Centrally managed update and patch management.
- Internet bandwidth monitoring per user, device, site or service.
- Internet restrictions per user, device, site or service based on Linux solutions, browse control or other gateway devices.
- Server based mail antivirus and anti SPAM solutions based on Postini, Clam AV, SPAM Assassin etc.
- Data encryption solutions.
- All-encompassing complete IT systems security.
- IT Security as a service.
Some of our desktop security solutions:
- Operating System "reset" solutions for Internet cafes such as clean slate.
- Standalone antivirus solutions based on ESET, Kaspersky etc.
- Standalone mail antivirus and anti SPAM solutions.
- Data encryption solutions.
- Physical device control through USB settings, workstation settings etc.
- Virus and malware removal services.
Due to prices fluctuating almost constantly, it is best to contact us for the latest pricing on any of these services or software solutions.
Open Source And Linux Solutions
We believe in the freedom provided by the Open Source Software model and embrace the benefits it offers to our customers. Due to the fact that we provide both open source and proprietary (Microsoft etc.) solutions we are uniquely positioned to compare and measure these two distinctive sets against each other when making an implementation decision with or for our customers, enabling us to provide our customers with the best possible solutions available irrespective of the market segment.
Benefits / Advantages of using Open Source solutions:
- Flexibility and Freedom
- Support and Accountability
We understand the inherent strengths of each model and are able to deploy and support hybrid and pure solutions. We do however provide a certain set of dedicated solutions based solely on the open source model.
It is entirely possible to use open source and free software as a server platform providing all the features any paid for solution can provide. This in itself offers huge cost savings due to the fact that no licensing fees are required, which usually accounts for almost half of the total cost of a "closed" server solution.
We primarily use the Linux based Debain and Ubuntu server operating systems due to its logical structure, compatibility, stability and leading edge implementations. It is important that those urban myths be dispelled, it is absolutely true that:
- An end user can use a Linux driven network without noticing any difference compared to a "closed" solution.
- It is not difficult to use, manage or maintain.
- If you are at least slightly "connected", then you are already using Linux without knowing it.
- You can use your Apple Mac, Iphone etc. with a Linux server.
- You can use your Windows workstation/laptop with a Linux server.
- A Linux serer can do everything if not more than any other server based on a "closed" Operating System.
- Linux is compatible with most hardware and peripherals.
- Linux is more secure and stable than any other "closed" server solution.
- A Linux server solution costs much less than a "closed" solution with similar capabilities.
We also offer the following Open Source services:
- Open Source desktop solutions - computers with Open Source software pre-loaded.
- Open Source Office conversion projects - the conversion of complete networks to the Open Source model.
- Open source compatibility testing.
- Open Source Consulting - consultation based on available and alternative Open Source solutions.
- Standardised Open Source deployment - enterprise or server wide open source installations.
- Standardised domain hosting based on Open Source solutions.
- Total cost of ownership comparisons for Open Source models.
- Mail conversions to Zimbra, Standardised Zimbra deployments, Hosted Zimbra solutions.
- Ubuntu Server and desktop, Zimbra and open source support.
- Open Source cloud based solutions.
- Open and closed source integration, Open Source development.
- Open Source support, installations and maintenance - any and all IT support related to open source solutions just as we support Windows and Apple Mac based solutions.
ADSL still remains the most popular connectivity method for users and businesses that are looking for a good balance between price (per GB), performance and reliability. We provide these services as close to our cost as possible due to two reasons; we are a "value added service provider" and would like to genuinely add value to any business relationship and we do not agree with the high cost of bandwidth in our fair country. We consciously provide connectivity fed by various top tier service providers, as this ensures top speeds and "up-time" to our customers.
Please check our rates page for prices.
ADSL lines and bundles:
These lines are in essence still provided, installed and supported by Telkom, we simply provide this service to enable our customers to pay for both their bandwidth and ADSL line rental through a single point of contact.
For any of these offerings you require a compatible Telkom telephone line. Please contact us for more information on ADSL bundles as we have a large selection for both capped and uncapped packages.
- All bandwidth is "top quality" - remember, if another provider is cheaper then there is a reason for the price difference. The old saying "you get what you pay for" stands true when it comes to bandwidth and hosting in SA.
- Almost all Internet services in South Africa are dependent on services provided by the likes of Telkom, Neotel, Vodacom etc. ICT Empire can unfortunately not guarantee any such service further than the independent guarantees (or lack thereof in certain cases) provided by these service providers. We do however endeavour to assist customers with managing outages as best possible and completely guarantee those services we have control over.
- From our experience, ADSL still offer the best value versus reliability ratio locally. We have seen consumers fall into the trap of going with a cheaper option that end up costing considerably more than a comparative ADSL solution when you add the costs to maintain its reliability and "up-time" to meet the ADSL norm.
- There are various benefits and "negative" points associated with almost all of the services provided and it is almost always wise to call us to discuss these points before making a purchasing decision.
- We offer a full range of wired and wireless router options for any Internet connectivity need, we have a preference to certain brands due to its low maintenance costs and also offer installation and configuration services.
South Africa has a challenging telecommunication space of which wireless forms a key solution.
We are proud to announce our ability to provide wireless synchronous connectivity to the major metropolitan areas of South Africa including Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.
Our wireless solutions are built to provide top notch, fast and effective connectivity that is entirely non-reliant on the ADSL industry as a whole - it is therefore a perfect partner and alternative to ADSL from a fail-over perspective and our solutions can even replace dedicated infrastructure such as diginet etc.
Key features of our wireless service:
- 4th Generation Wireless Network.
- End-to-end VPN security on all customer connections.
- Fully redundant wireless backbone rings with robust OSPF routing.
- Provide Independent IP address space with redundant BGP routing.
- Backbone, High-site and Access Point systems with 3 day battery backup and remote management features.
- Custom developed Customer Premises Equipment(CPE) unit.
- Last Mile bandwidth guarantees.
- Automated routing, bandwidth profile management and reporting systems.
- Realm based authentication model (similar to Radius).
- Network provider is an ICASA license holder, both Individual ECS and ECNS.
- Connections is fully synchronous - equal upload and download speeds - another key benefit compared to ADSL.
Please contact us for a free site survey to check coverage and availability in your area!
We currently offer 2 separate fax to email and email to fax solutions, what we call prepaid and post-paid.
Our prepaid solution is what is generally marketed as FREE fax to email as it is an absolutely free service should you use it to only receive faxes. Sending faxes on the FREE service however requires that you purchase fax credits via our payment gateway which requires a credit card for processing.
These fax credits then allow you to send faxes form your email address at fixed rates and since you need to purchase these credits before using it, we call it a prepaid solution.
Alternatively, our post-paid offering allows you the convenience to use the service for an entire month and only get billed for what was used during that month - similar to a cell phone contract, hence the post-paid moniker.
How it works:
Fax to Email (Receive a fax on your email)
By linking a fax number to your email address you can now receive faxes through your email account. All faxes that are sent to this designated fax number will then be forwarded to your email address as a picture attachment.
Email to fax (Send a fax from your email)
This service enables you to compose an email which will be sent to someone's fax machine. This is accomplished by simply sending an email to an address in the following format:
- BMP Images (.bmp)
- GIF Images (.gif)
- HTML Documents (.htm /html)
- JPEG Images (.jpg / jpeg)
- Microsoft Excel spreadsheets (.xls)
- Microsoft Power Point Presentations (.ppt)
- Microsoft Word Documents (.doc)
- Note Pad (.txt) or any Text Editor
- PDF Documents (.pdf)
- Tiff 3 Images (.tif / .tiff)