Blog

January 15th, 2014

Recently Robert VanderLaan joined our team and has been busy getting up to speed on our support tools and best practices. Rob joins us on a part-time basis while he attends Mohawk College, completing the Computer Systems Technology – Network Engineering and Security Analyst program. Having completed half of the 3 year program to date, he comes with a good understanding of technology and the latest Microsoft operating systems.

Rob joins PCM as a Junior Technical Consultant and will be focusing primarily on patch management, ensuring computers are kept up to date and running with the latest security patches. As he becomes familiar with the sites we will also have him help out with the help desk and other client support items. We look forward to having him on our team and expect that the extra capacity will help us to be more responsive to our client support needs.

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December 19th, 2013

As we approach the end of another year we wanted to take a moment and send season’s greetings from all of us. Wishing you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and all the best in the coming year.

Ed & Henrietta VanderLaan, Adrian VanderLaan and staff:

Pattie Atherton, Maurice Brink, Mark Kottelenberg, Alvar Vandenbeukel and David VanderMeulen.

In lieu of mailing out cards to clients and friends we have again decided to send donations to local charities this year. Donations will be made to Mission Services of Hamilton and Streetlight Ministries. During this season of joy and giving we encourage everyone to remember those in need.

Please note our holiday office schedule:
We will be closed from December 25 through December 27. We will also be closed on January 1st.

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November 26th, 2013


Maurice Brink joined our team at end of September and has been busy getting up to speed on our support tools and best practices. Maurice came to PCM with 15 years of industry experience and has spent the last 4 years in a similar role supporting small and medium businesses. We look forward to having his expertise on our team and expect that the extra capacity will help us to be more responsive to our client support needs. Maurice joins PCM as a Technical Consultant and has been designated as one of the primary engineers responsible for a selected group of client networks.

Did you know that PCM currently looks after over 830 computers across almost 50 locations? It’s something that we take seriously and by adding experienced resources to our team we hope to maintain the service level that our clients expect.

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July 8th, 2013

Earlier this year PCM was recognized in an industry list that annually ranks the top 501 managed service providers (MSPs) across the globe. As if that wasn’t exciting enough we were further honored by being ranked within the top 100 in the small business category! We’ve been working hard over the last couple of years refining our service offering and striving to give great support and expertise. Being recognized in a public list among your peers is certainly something we are proud of and a tribute to the dedication and hard work of our team.

2013 is the first year there is a Top 100 Small Business Edition list which is restricted to companies with 10 or fewer employees. This certainly levels the playing field a bit even though the participants are from various countries around the world. PCM ranked number 70 in the Top 100 list, not bad considering there were only 10 Canadian companies that made the list. Of the 10 Canadian companies, PCM was one of 4 Ontario firms highlighted even though 1,200 entries were submitted.

To get the ranking, companies are measured against various criteria including revenue, number of devices managed, employee count, growth year over year, among various other related items. By participating in these surveys we also receive detailed information on industry trends that we can use to further refine our services. Now that the bar has been set we are working hard to see if we can climb the list a bit next year. For more details on the survey, see our press release posted here: www.pcm.ca/resources/press-releases/

Of course none of this has any value if it weren’t for the continued trust and patronage of our many clients. While comparisons and industry reflection are great, finding ways to best help our clients get the most out of technology is what we really focus on. Have an idea on how we can improve our service? Feel free to drop by or send us a note with your ideas!

Topic Articles
February 24th, 2013

nullNow that Office 2013 is available for purchase, what if you have recently purchased Office 2010? Does this mean that you missed out and have to purchase the new release if you are looking for the latest features? The good news is that for a limited time Microsoft is allowing people to upgrade their Office software for free. All you have to do is go online and download the new software after validating your recent Office 2010 purchase.

To be eligible for this upgrade offer you need to have purchased your existing Microsoft Office 2010 software after October 19, 2012. For any licenses that were purchased after that date you will need a copy of the software product key which will need to be entered into the website offer page. Once that has been done you will be able to download the new software and install it on your computer. We would also recommend that you save this download file and the new product key in case you ever need to reinstall the software in the future. One thing to note is that this free upgrade must be redeemed no later than May 31, 2013.

For complete details see the following page on the Microsoft site http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/offer/ Feel free to contact us with any questions or assistance with this upgrade.

December 19th, 2012

nullAs we approach the end of another year we wanted to take a moment and send season’s greetings from all of us. Wishing you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and all the best in the coming year.

Ed & Henrietta VanderLaan, Adrian VanderLaan and staff:

Pattie Atherton, Hette Feenstra, Mark Kottelenberg, Alvar Vandenbeukel and David VanderMeulen.

In lieu of mailing out cards to clients and friends we have again decided to send donations to various local charities this year. Donations will be made to Mission Services of Hamilton, Streetlight Ministries and Anchor Association. During this season of joy and giving we encourage everyone to remember those in need.

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December 19th, 2012
nullFor the last number of years residents and businesses in Ontario have been charged an Environmental Handling Fee on electronic purchases. Starting January 1, 2013 we will be adjusting our billing system to reflect the new fee schedule.

What does this mean for our clients? Some of the most common changes are as follows:

  • Computer Monitors < 29” increase from $11.00 to $12.35
  • Desktop Computers decrease from $3.50 to $3.40
  • Portable Computers increase from $0.70 to $2.30
  • Desktop Printers increase from $5.40 to $11.45

For complete details of the new fee schedule, or to learn more about environmental handing fees or “eco fees”, please visit the Ontario Electronic Stewardship website.

Topic Articles
November 28th, 2012

Working with many different small businesses we often get asked this question. Frequently purchasing a new computer is left to the last minute and at first glance is seems easier to run out to the nearest retail store and pick up a shiny new system. In addition these same retail stores are often advertising systems at great discount prices, but is it really cheaper in the end? What’s really the different between the consumer models found in retail stores and the business models available through resellers or directly from the manufacturer?

When comparing different computer models the conversation quickly focusses on the technical specs. The speed and type of processor, how much RAM and storage the system includes, among other details. These technical details are definitely important items to consider, however the total cost of the system also has other considerations. Three other considerations often overlooked are: operating system, warranty and install time.

Consumer model systems come with the Windows Home operating system which is not designed for business environments. The Windows Pro operating system is required to connect to servers, it also has remote connection capabilities and built in management tools that are needed to properly maintain a business computer. While Windows Home can be upgraded to Windows Pro after the fact, this costs an extra $80 – $150 for the software upgrade license, in addition to the labour to have this installed.

Warranty is the next differentiator between consumer and business models. Brand name business computers sold by HP, Dell and Lenovo all offer full onsite warranty coverage. Retail systems most often are sold with depot warranty. In the event that the computer needs to be serviced, a retail system has to be brought back to the store, or a repair depot. Businesses typically prefer to have a technician come onsite and repair the system versus packing up the system to be shipped away for repair which can take days or even weeks.

Install time is another cost that is often not considered when purchasing a new computer. If you purchased a consumer model, now you have to upgrade the Home operating system to Pro, install all the latest patches, install Microsoft Office and then finally you are ready to start configuring all the other data and line of business applications. The business computers save time by having Windows Pro already preinstalled, plus many of them even include the latest Microsoft Office software preinstalled. This results in shorter install times which translates into lower install cost.

So if consumer models require an operating system upgrade, don’t include onsite warranty and take longer to install is it really cheaper in the end? Often these extra costs can add up to $500 or more, not taking into account the additional stress that this can cause. Looking for a new or replacement business computer? Give us a call and we’ll help you save money and have less stress!

Topic General
October 23rd, 2012

Part of keeping networks healthy and secure is having a good security software application on all the computers and servers. While there are many different solutions available on the market, we have always preferred the Symantec solution from a feature and manageability standpoint. This month Symantec announced a new version of their popular Endpoint Protection (SEP) software, called Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition 2013.

To date most of our managed clients have been running SEP v11 which in turn was communicating back to our dedicated Symantec server for management. This gave us a great centrally managed environment and also meant that our clients didn’t have to install and maintain any management software on their local server, reducing their resource load.

Recently we have been switching our clients to the new Symantec.cloud service which means all devices now communicate to a Symantec data center for updates and reporting rather than the PCM server. This new solution also offers a monthly license model that ties in nicely to our service structure and doesn’t require purchasing licenses in advance for annual agreements.

One of the main drivers for this change was that we have been extremely impressed with the new Symantec Endpoint Protection solution and also see a lot of advantages to using their new centralized cloud service. Since installing the new software on some test sites we have been seeing an increase in the malware caught and removed over the previous edition. Another advantage is that this new release also does a lot more processing in the background and doesn’t need the monthly full system scan on the desktop side. As a result we have decided to recommend that all clients move to this new cloud model as soon as their existing agreements expire.
This means we can now offer expanded protection for a similar cost as the previous software licenses. Interested in getting on board with the latest “best of breed” security software? Feel free to contact us for more information on how this new solution keeps networks clean and running more efficiently with less downtime.

October 23rd, 2012

The summer was a busy time for PCM and it quickly became apparent that more resources were needed to serve the growing client list. As we switch over to the fall season we are excited to announce that our team has expanded again with another experienced consultant.

Hette Feenstra joined our team at the beginning of October and has been busy getting up to speed on our support tools and best practices. Previously Hette worked for a school board and was responsible for a network that included 35 different locations with over 600 computers. We look forward to having his expertise on our team and expect that the extra capacity will help us to be more responsive to our client support needs. Our expectation is that Hette will be both on the road and working in house on client networks as the need arises.

Did you know that PCM currently looks after over 650 computers and 70 servers? It’s something that we take seriously and by adding experienced resources to our team we hope to maintain the service level that our clients expect.

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