BHC – Trusted IT, began in 1996 as Benjamin Hill Consulting, a one-man IT service shop that was primarily started to provide a means of covering the financial burden of college for the ‘one-man’, Benjamin Hill. In those days he worked with MS-DOS systems and Novell Netware servers networks on a regular basis and was involved with the transition of many companies from token-ring and/or coax networks to more modern Ethernet-based CAT5 systems. All those systems were cheesy by today’s standards, but the importance of their operational state to their respective businesses, was just as important then, as they are to businesses today. A 120 meg hard disk drive was considered the cutting edge. And the amount of RAM in a system rarely exceeded a few meg.
As we continued to look for small business-focused products, we developed relationships with Dell, HP, Microsoft, NetGear, Sonicwall and many others. We found reliable, lower-cost, alternatives to the “higher-end” products that most IT service providers claimed as the ‘best’ option. (Whether it was the margins that accompanied them or truly the benefits of those product lines, remains to be seen, even today.) We have installed countless systems and networks relying on these manufacturer’s technologies and have had positive experiences time and time again. Proof that these small-business targeted products are equally reliable when compared to their highest-cost enterprise-class counterparts.
One of the first small business-specific products we found and quickly became experts in was Microsoft Small Business Server. This was the NT 4 based predecessor to the Small Business Server 2000, 2003, 2008, and 2011 versions that were released later. The system was difficult to navigate and like most operating systems then, not very reliable, even as a server. But after a few installs we continually worked hard to maintain the best levels of reliability and found ourselves carving a niche in the IT industry. Few other IT service shops were interested in serving the ‘Small Business’ back then. We understood very early on that it was the Small Business market that held the greatest diversified opportunity for our business success. The old adage, ‘not all eggs in one basket’ seemed to apply here. A great side effect focusing on ‘smaller business’ was the ability to see very quickly how our work was playing an active role in helping business owners reach their goals and dreams by simply providing a service that makes them more efficient in the way they operate.
Microsoft later released Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. Their delivery model and support models continue to change, but the basic rule has held true through all these years. First, you have to move your technology forward eventually. And second, typically it is best to not be an early adopter. And thirdly, it is also equally bad to wait too long to move. There is a sweet spot in the timing that maximizes a business ROI and minimizes the disruption to operations within a business. As we brace ourselves for the official end of life of Windows 7 in 2020, we are guiding business through that process, right now.
For the server side of Microsoft, we found ourselves in a bit of complex situation around 2010. ‘The Cloud’ was beginning to revitalize itself as a mainstream solution to ‘fix all the problems’ in IT and many of our partner/vendors also stepped into a position of competition with us. Many cloud data centers popped up and offered various versions of the same services via the cloud, each with different pros and cons and many promised a lot, but often delivered very little. The internet as a network, wasn’t quite ready for the demands many businesses would have for their access to data if they put it ‘all in the cloud’. This forced our hand to decide if we would continue to maintain our on-premise skills or do like so many others choose to do and ‘go all-in’ to the cloud essentially forcing our clients to come along for ‘the ride’. We choose a hybrid approach. Again, focusing on our customers needs and situations and making the correct recommendation for them based on a diverse list of factors, often unique to each client.
Today, there have been many improvements to the internet and some amazing solutions are more affordable than ever. However, we still are finding in many cases, putting it all in ‘the cloud’ isn’t the right fit for a business. In same cases, it may not make sense or be wise for a business to put any of their data in ‘the cloud’. Currently we do our best to help clients evaluate what is best for them. We believe there is no ‘rubber stamp’ solution in IT. We have understand, that each business is unique and has subtle differences that make their needs and expectations different. If we don’t know a client’s business well enough to know what those unique attributes are, we are careful not to ‘rock the boat’ too much until we are confident we understand them and their business well enough to suggest any major change. We always strive to design our solutions around those unique aspects of each business that are in line with their mission and vision..
As we have been blessed to play an important role in many of our clients growth and success, our opportunity to work with more enterprise-level equipment and software has been increasing. Our independent advisers have even suggested that we remove the modifier ‘Small’ from preceding the word ‘Business’ in our ad campaigns. But we haven’t forgotten where we started and why. We still actively support many clients with only one or two computers and at the same time we support clients with over 150 users. We strive to offer everyone the same service level regardless of their size, always prioritizing based on severity of the problem at hand and the impact to their business the issue is creating.
As we continue the never-ending process of gearing up for what is next in the world of IT, We are often reminded of where we started. We have accomplished a lot over the years. We have helped many business overcome difficult situations and achieve great successes. We are blessed our business has been able to to be positive part in the lives of so many other business.
We’d love to begin to develop a business relationship with you. If you are interested, please do not hesitate to call and schedule a Technology Assessment to get the ball rolling. Or if you have a specific need that needs addressed, we will do our best to assist you quickly and effectively. Just call us, (502) 447-9294.
-Ben and the BHC – Trusted IT Team