What to know about purchasing iMac's and Mac mini's Now

The iMacs and Mac minis really do have an important role in businesses at the moment. The high end iMac provides a powerful all in one computer that works great for graphics designers or video editors and the base model iMac provides an elegantly designed machine that complements your office space will giving you adequate power for your day to day workflow. The Mac mini provides a low cost solution as well as a small footprint to for businesses that have little to know power users and/or a large organization such as a law office. 

The problem with these machines is that right out of the box these machines lack something that every other Apple computer in Apples current line has. A solid state hard drive. While spinning hard drives have their place in the business world Apple has taken the stance that Solid State Drives are the future of storage for computers. They provider faster speed, are less prone to failure, and have no moving parts making corruption due to drops far less likely. 

Apple is also making Operating systems that leverage Solid State Architecture meaning that computers with older spinning hard drives like the Mac mini and iMac will not be able to utilize a lot of the additional functionality in the newer operating systems and have officially put an end date to computers with spinning drives as the primary drive.

The Problem with Fusion Drives

Mac minis and some older iMacs came with what apple called a Fusion Drive. The Fusion Drive coupled the traditional spinning drive with the much faster and more stable SSD. At the time the Fusion Drive was announced It combined the speed of the SSD with the Hard Drive Capacity of the traditional Hard Drive.

There are some major problems with this system however. First it provides two points of failure for your data. Meaning if either one of the hard drives (solid state or traditional) fail data is lost for the computer. This makes backups extremely important when the computer is running a Fusion Drive. Additionally a fusion drive can not take advantage of the new APFS File System that apple is implementing in all of their newer operating systems. For more info on APFS Cult of Mac wrote a great article that can be found here.

What To Do If You Need More Storage

As of now Apple offers SSD configurations in most of their computers up to 2tbs. For some users thats not enough and there is a need for more. We typically suggest a Raid system for situations like this. Raid arrays can separate the data over multiple drives while replicating that data at the same time insuring that one or two drives can fail while still retaining all of your data. It is important to note that you should be running your Operating system on a Solid State Hard Drive and when purchasing new units you should insure that new machines are being purchased with an SSD inside.

24/7 Monitoring: What is it and how is it good for your business?

MAPL employs a number of tools to monitor your office while you work or while your away. But what do they do and why should you want it? We wanted to take some time to answer these questions for you. 

Proactive vs. Reactive

Traditional IT companies take a Reactive approach to issues that come up at the office. A typically scenario plays out something like this: You have an agreement with you IT company to resolve issues as they happen, That IT company sits around and waits for you to call them with an issue, they go out or remote in to resolve the issue and you then get a bill for the time they spent on that particular issue. 

The problem with that is two fold first by the time they are being called to fix the issue it has already affected your office and on top of that you have know way of knowing how much you will be spending on IT in any given month. 

We wanted to create a solution that answered these problems and we did. MAPL Monitoring is a combination of hardware and software tools installed in the business to help identify potential issues prior to them becoming a problem in your business. 

Software vs Hardware Monitoring Tools

Many cutting edge IT firms around the country are starting to employ software based monitoring tools in the business. It has been around in the windows world for years and about 5 years ago starting to really take off in the Apple world as well. With Software based monitoring tools we can determine when your hard drive is starting to fail well before it starts presenting noticeable issues. This allows us to reach out to you and work out a time that will impact the business less to replace the drive. We are also able to ensure that software is up to date, other hardware like ram is functioning correctly, your backups are being completed, as well as various other issues related to the individual computers.

This is all really important stuff that allow us to keep our clients up and running longer with limited downtime. We felt that that wasn't enough though. We wanted to be able to monitor our clients internet speeds and make sure that the internet was up. We didn't want our clients to call us first thing in the morning letting us know internet or power is out at the office so we employ a hardware based tool to do exactly that.

Now when our clients internet goes down in the middle of the night we are able to instantly respond and reach out to the service provider to ensure that someone will be at the office first thing in the morning to resolve the issue. We are able to call our clients and let them know whats going on so that they are not walking into their office in the morning and learning that their internet is out.

In addition to internet is also lets us monitor printers, network switches, and even external websites so that we have a greater understanding of whats going on with all the technology in our clients environment. 

We feel that only a solution like this gives us the tools to provide proactive IT support and proved our clients with the piece of mind knowing that things in their office are running something and will continue to run that way for the foreseeable future.

Level Billing

What we have found is that when all of these tools are setup in an office IT costs go down because issues are caught earlier productivity stays up and the solutions to the problems are less costly. For that reason we provide customers with the option for us to provider services at a monthly rate per computer instead of billing by the hour per issue. This allows us to scale with the customer and provide a fair and easily predictable bill for services rendered. 

We feel this is the correct way to provide IT services to our clients. If you have any questions or would like to know more reach out to 888-581-6275

Who Should update to High Sierra

With the introduction of High Sierra Apple has made some changes under the hood of the operating system to provide additional benefits to users with solid state drives (hard drives with no moving parts). It's almost like apple made an assumption that everyone who owns a Mac is also running on a solid state drive. Unfortunately for users of the Mac mini and the iMac Apple is still selling computers with spinning drives in them. 

So how do you know if you are a prime candidate for the new operating system. Well the general rule of thumb is if your machine was made within the last 5 years and has a Solid State Hard Drive you should seriously consider it. High Sierra has brought some amazing changes to the way security is handled under the hood and has also improved the photos app for individual with larger photo libraries.

We have put together a simple guide to wether or not you should update.

  • You have an Solid State Hard Drive and not a spinning or fusion drive
  • If you are running IOS 11 or later and you shoot photos and videos with the new file formats
  • If you spend a lot of time using the Photos app
  • If you use Family Sharing to manage photos or apps

SIP Phone Systems Explained

Internet based phone systems have become increasingly popular in businesses today. However most businesses don't understand all the benefits they get when implementing these types of systems. 

The Cost

Its important to note that all systems are not created equally but in general there are three types of models when it comes to billing for sip based phone systems. They are unmetered, metered, and hosted sip. We typically don't recommend hosted sip as it is not extremely scalable and we will cover that a little bit late on.

In addition to the Sip providers themselves you need a system to actually run your phone system itself. We prefer Kerio Operator for this. Kerio sales their system in a hardware appliance as well as a virtual appliance. The hardware appliance typically sales for around $900 dollars for 5 users and the virtual appliance will sell for $400. Both come with a 5 user license and additional packs of 5 users go for $135. We will go over the benefits to a system like this a little bit later as well.

Unmetered Plans

Internet phones work based on a sip trunk and within that trunk you have what providers call lines or channels. I tend to find channel to be a better word for describing it because it is different from a traditional telephone line. A sip channel is a way of transporting a single call you can have multiple channels in a trunk but only one call can be received per channel. Im hoping I haven't lost you yet lol. 

The unmetered model will bill you based on the maximum number of calls you want coming into your office at any given time. This pricing is relatively cheap and should be around 15-20 dollars. It is important to note that while most companies in this market place will not bill you for long distance some local providers will so make sure that you ask when you are signing up.

The Unlimited per channel model allows for a level bill each month as you are not billed for the actual time you are on a call. This is perfect for someone who gets a lot of long calls or needs a consistent bill. 

Metered Plans

For someone who gets a lot of calls at a specific time of day that tapers down is better going with a bill per use model. This model allows for as many channels that are needed throughout the day and instead bills you based on the time you spend on the phone. You typically will have a 15 dollar a month fee plus  $0.008/Minute or something around that number. 

This allows for a lunch restaurant who gets around 20 calls during lunch but hardly any calls the rest of the day to not have to pay for 20 channels. 

Hosted Plans

A hosted plan is good for a small office of less then 5 people. It provides the sip service as well as the system to run it but bills on a per user bases. Typically at $20 per user per month. While they typically offer unlimited channels and and unmetered setup the system doesn't scale appropriately.  For instance an office of 10 users would pay 200 dollars a month and may only get a few calls a day.

Kerio Operator

Kerio Operator is a feature packed phone system that allows for Auto Attendants, Call recordings, Voicemail to email, and much more. Systems like these also provide analytics on how many calls you are receiving and how many callers hang up before you answer the call. This type of information is not collected and distributed to you with traditional phone systems. 

In addition to this you can easily set time based auto attendants to play different messages and route calls differently based on when your business is open or closed. We typically set the system up as a virtual appliance in a data center in Atlanta called macstadium. Doing so allows us to reroute calls to your cell phone in the event of power or internet going down at the office and easily reroute it when it comes back up.


If you would like to know more about SIP phone systems or are interested in setting it up in your office feel free to reach out.