Proactive Support Stories

Proactive Support Professionals have amazing stories of how taking a proactive approach to computer support has increased productivity, reduced downtime, and saved money. We have collected a few of these stories to share with you.

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Before the Proactive Support approach, Customers would call us because the computer would no longer boot. Many times their hard drive had failed to the point we could no longer retrieve their data, and many times backups had not completed in weeks or months.

Now, we are alerted to a hard drive with SMART errors. We are easily able to verify their backups are completing, and have the comfort in scheduling downtime to replace their failing hard drive.

Stress is virtually eliminated because we are able to resolve issues before they become major problems. It eliminated unscheduled downtime, and increases the quality of our service.

Jack-Daniyel Strong

President, Strong Solutions

iDunn Consulting is one of the fastest growing Apple Certified consulting firms in the south. So it only makes sense that they work with some pretty well known firms. One of their clients, Kevin Harris, is an architect who has been featured in over fifty different publications and this is how Watchman Monitoring made both of their days.

Through proactive support iDunn Consulting was able to identify an issue with three of four iMacs that Kevin Harris’ team used on a daily basis. The machines weren’t backing up properly, and there were some warning signs that a harddrive failure might be on the horizon. With a quick appointment iDunn was able to resolve the issues… But wait, that story isn’t nearly as cool as the others!? You’re right, it isn’t – at least not until you think about what could have happened.

iDunn Consulting and Kevin Harris were both able to save time and money thanks to Watchman Monitoring. If any of those iMacs had failed:

  • Kevin would have had to find a way to make up for the lost productivity caused by a machine being down.
  • iDunn would have been scrambling to find overnight parts and hoping they could restore any lost data.
  • This could have cost both companies hundreds of dollars.
Seth Hollier

CEO, iDunn Consulting

Remie Cremers is the founder of Super Remie, a company providing computer support and services based in the Netherlands. Our favorite part about his success story? It was written entirely in Dutch – thankfully google translate came to the rescue.

“A few months ago we started using Watchman Monitoring and it’s awesome. Helping our customers hasn’t ever been easier. This week a client had a Mac Mini server with a failing hard drive and at the same time, Time Machine backups were running late, so this was the recipe of a disaster. Thanks to Watchman Monitoring we were able to get this information immediately. I rescheduled my next day and went on site and fixed the problem. The customer understood I just saved them a ton of time and money and they were very relieved and happy I solved it before they even noticed anything.”

Remie Cremers

Super Remie

Charles Lindaur has been a mac consultant for over twenty years. His client base consists of everything from large corporate to individual consumers, but regardless of their size, Charles guarantees all of them amazing service – and that’s where Watchman Monitoring comes in. Check out Charles’ quote below.

“I just started with a new client, a busy photographer with a Mac Pro and a MacBook Pro. She was the first client I installed Watchman Monitoring for, and about 4 or 5 days afterward I saw a notification that her laptop was expanding I/O errors, which told me that the hard drive may be failing. It turns out that she had a job coming up – a thrilling week photographing a multi-day conference, and providing on the spot prints. If her MacBook Pro had failed, it could have cost her thousands of dollars for that job, and a great client could have been lost forever. I got her a new drive, transferred data and had it back to her the day before the shoot. Needless to say, this photographer loves me now, and sings my praises to other a Mac users.”

Charles Lindaur

Founder, Lindauer Mac Consulting

We started using Watchman Monitoring by the end of 2014. Since than we have monitored some 250 machines over 20 different clients. One of the clients is an NGO, with lots of machines in all parts of the world, like Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Watchman Monitoring noticed an alarming trend in failing hard drives in the Burkina Faso office. Four out of the five MacBook Pros in that office had bad sectors, and the numbers were growing. Since we are based in The Netherlands, and the machines were 3000 km away with no local supplier of Mac support, we had to be inventive. We prepared 4 new SSD drives with the latest OS, an admin user and FileVault2 turned on. The drives were hand carried to the Burkina Faso office, accompanied with a toolset and printed manual to guide them through the installation step by step. Restoring the user account from a current TimeMachine backup was a breeze. The machines are all up and running like a charm.

All without any unplanned downtime or data loss.

Jeroen Potters

Macpot

 A content provider to a local PBS station had an internal hard drive show SMART failures. It was their main editing suite’s 4TB boot drive. The drive was quickly replaced with a 6TB drive, and the repair only took 15 minutes.

About 2TB of live data which was on the boot volume that was not yet copied to the attached RAID was saved.

Ethan Hebert

iDunn Consulting

I began getting calls that a server was way too slow and some files and folders were not showing up in the Finder at all. I remoted in and examined the server desktop. It was responsive and so I checked things using Activity Monitor like CPU activity, Memory, and Disk Activity. All normal. I also used the Statistics in Server.app to see if there unusual network or disk activity. All normal. Knowing that if Promise RAIDs have a bad drive they behave badly I opened the Promise Utility, but its dashboard showed green check marks beside every drive. When i tried to get more detailed info, the Promise Utility just timed out. Now I knew something was wrong with the Promise RAID, but its own utility could not tell me what!

Just then I received an email from the Watchman Monitoring Client on that server telling me that the Promise plugin was reporting disk i/o errors with PD4. I pulled Physical Disk #4 out of the RAID and Voila! Performance back to normal, and users happy again.

Alex Narvey

Precursor

Polski | English
Naszym klientom często podpowiadamy, że dobrym sposobem na uniknięcie dłuższego przestoju w razie awarii dysku twardego, jest trzymanie aktualnego klona dysku systemowego. Gdy coś stanie się z dyskiem systemowym, wystarczy uruchomić komputer z klona, co zajmuje kilka minut, zamiast przez kilka godzin odtwarzać dane z typowej kopii zapasowej.
Sami stosujemy się do własnych rekomendacji, więc u jednego z naszych klientów usług zarządzanych taki klon wykonuje się automatycznie z Xserve’a (profesjonalnego serwera od Apple) na dysk zewnętrzny. Serwer ten restartuje się raz w tygodniu w nocy by przeprowadzić konserwację. Pewnego dnia nasz dzień rozpoczął się od powiadomienia otrzymanego od narzędzia monitorującego z informacją, że w tym urządzeniu zmienił się dysk startowy. Szybko zrozumieliśmy, że po nocnym restarcie serwer uruchomił się z klona zamiast z wewnętrznej macierzy dyskowej. Wszystko działało jak należy, tyle że 800GB poczty elektronicznej było teraz obsługiwane z pojedynczego dysku zewnętrznego zamiast profesjonalnej, bardzo szybkiej i odpornej na awarie macierzy dyskowej. Gdyby maszyna ta nie była objęta monitoringiem, minęłoby wiele dni zanim zorientowalibyśmy się co się stało. Gdyby w tym czasie dysk zewnętrzny uległ awarii, z powodu nagłego przeciążenia obsługą takiej ilości danych, nasz klient pozostałby bez dostępu do poczty przez kilka dni, zanim udałoby się odzyskać dane. Tego dnia na własnej skórze przekonaliśmy się, jak ważny jest monitoring.

Radosław Długosz

Cider House IT Sp. z o.o.

English | Polski
For a really fast recovery from a disk failure we often recommend our clients to keep a current clone of the boot drive. When something bad happens to the boot drive it takes only a few minutes to start the machine from the clone and continue working instead of spending a few hours restoring from a regular backup.
We practice what we preach and have a client where such a clone is automatically created from an Xserve (a professional server from Apple) to an external drive. That server reboots one night a week to perform maintenance. One day we started our morning with an alert from our monitoring tool that the boot volume has changed on that machine. We quickly realized that after the nightly reboot that machine started from the clone instead of internal array of drives. Everything was working except it was now serving over 800GB of email from a single external drive instead of the professional-grade really fast and fault tolerant built-in array of disks. If we haven’t had monitoring on that server, several days could have passed before we found out. If in the meantime that external drive died from the sudden overload our client would probably suffer a few days without email before we would recover the data. Thanks Watchman Monitoring for saving the day!

Radosław Długosz

Cider House IT Sp. z o.o.

I was at the end of an appointment with a customer, having already done various maintenance and checks on the client’s system when I offered to install my new Proactive Support tool, the MacSOS Lifeguard™ software, on the client’s iMac. I didn’t think there would be much if anything reporting once the client was operational. Well…I was wrong. I was surprised to see a positive notice for malware, even though I had just run two other tools, both reporting no issues. I found the guilty party, deleted it, ran another Report Status, and it came back with all green checks across the board. I, of course, let my client know I’d discovered an issue right out of the gate that I resolved.

Steve Sorbo

MacSOS

Just this morning a Business Support Plan client’s hard drive went out. Pro(active) Check-Up warned me yesterday of a pending failure, so we already ordered a new drive yesterday and it should be here today. The client is running Time Machine and Backblaze. The Time Machine drive didn’t pickup up the most recent change to an important file before the drive died, but Backblaze did. It saved my client about 1-2 hours of work. She is currently working off of another Mac until the replacement drive comes in and gets installed. All in, she was only down for about 10 minutes. Plus, the replacement drive is already on it’s way, saving an entire day of additional productivity loss due to the client working on a different system.

Before all of this started, when I first began to onboard this client, they didn’t have any type of backup in place. Pro(active) Check-Up’s report didn’t show a Time Machine backup, or any type of off-site backup. With this report I was able to put together recommendations for my client to protect their data and reduce downtime. The situation above illustrates perfectly why proactive support works, and why working with a professional really does make a difference. Additionally, because the backups are proactively monitored, both the client and I have even greater peace of mind.

Imagine if this system wasn’t proactively managed… It means, no report indicating there wasn’t a backup in place, which means potentially thousands of dollars to recover data, and potentially weeks of downtime. There could have been hours of troubleshooting a failed hard drive, potentially making recovery less likely. Frustration on the client’s side, frustration on the support professional’s side. What if there was a backup, but it wasn’t operating properly? More downtime. The list goes on… but all of these things were avoided, just by being proactive!

Daniel Monge

Mac IT Pros