Frequently asked questions
Allware was founded in 2001. The success of our business rests on building long term relationships with clients that stay with us and recommend us to others – many of our customers came to us when the business was founded and have been with us for twenty years now.
Allware is based in Newdigate, near Dorking in Surrey, but our clients are based all over the UK. Because much of our support is phone based or remote we can help clients all over the UK without any issues.
At Allware Systems, we transcribe the jargon, decipher the technological requirements that will be good for your business and present you with easy to understand solutions that will support you and your business strategically and practically. We pride ourselves in being able to communicate in plan English to put our clients at ease.
For the client who requires one-off technical support, we provide a ‘pay as you go’ option. Alternatively you can enter into a monthly or annual contract. You decide on the solution that is appropriate for your business and we work with you to find the right support level. You may also decide to have a fully outsourced IT department solution. Any of our services warrant the same levels of efficient and effective support.
Yes you can pay as you go for our IT support services. We regularly review the support desk submissions with our clients to make sure you are getting the very best value for money and are on the right contract with us. If you use the pay as you go model a lot you may find the retainer model is more cost effective and we will tell you this!
We are based near Dorking in Surrey so naturally we find a lot of our customers are local – but absolutely not all. We work with really small 2 person companies to large organisations with hundreds of employees. There is no “standard” Allware client. Because we tailor our IT support services to each client we have a whole range of options and can always find a solution to fit your organisations requirements.
We work with all sorts of organisations from local garages, small local consulting companies to large international airports and NHS organisations. Different customer types have different requirements from our IT support, security and hosting solutions and we can find the right fit for you.
You can read some customer testimonials direct from the horse’s mouth on our home page. We have customers we have kept in the Allware family for over 20 years so we are confident customers are happy with our service levels, support and value for money. If you would like to speak to a customer in order to take a direct testimonial then we can certainly arrange that – just get in touch to ask.
We offer all types of hosted service from full hosted servers if you want to keep your files and applications in the cloud rather than on a server in your office, hosted share point and hosted emails using Exchange through to hosted VOIP phone solutions with desk phones or soft phones. Anything and everything. The IT industry is moving to get rid of any in house physical servers and moving those servers to the cloud so that you don’t have an expensive server to maintain and to replace every 5 years.
We have been hosting since 2005. We were actually hosting before Microsoft were hosting. We saw a gap in the market and decided to start hosting Exchange services in the cloud a number of customers moved to hosted solutions straight away and are still with us.
Our main support desk is open 8.30am to 5.30pm for incoming queries. 24/7 is also available if required.
Yes we provide both. Remote support is through our Beyond Trust portal so we host our own remote support portal so that it is nice and secure. This means that no customer data goes via a 3rd party (eg Team Viewer or LogMeIn) We have some customers who are subject to data audit requirements and need to know that any remote support is not going via a 3rd party.
Remote support means that rather than just talking you through a problem and asking you to read out what you see, we can remotely access your systems and look at the issues and settings independently – and fix them for you!
Yes, absolutely, this works really well especially for larger customers. If you have an internal team who do first line response then Allware can work alongside them and offer the 2nd line support and server support and maintain all the backend systems. This means the business maintains a much lower profile for IT support.
We do provide hardware from any provider that a customer would like to look at or we can advise and supply if the customer wants us to take care of it all. We would recommend hardware from Dell because we have been using them for over 20 years. The reason we like using Dell is because their warranty support is absolutely first class and always has been. As long as your hardware is under warranty Dell will send out an engineer to fix it sometimes in a 4 hour response and fix, sometimes the next day. A lot of our customers’ essential hardware is protected under a 4 hour warranty. We have used it many times and it has always been successful. For business continuity and critical systems it’s second to none.
For older PCs and laptops not under a manufacturers warranty we can organise to bring hardware back to our office, strip them down and fix them with new parts where appropriate. We do a lot of work with older laptops replacing their mechanical hard drives for SSD drives which can give that hardware a new lease of life in terms of speed and reliability extending the life of the machines by 2-3 years.
We have five full time, highly qualified engineers. Often our engineers come through an apprenticeship scheme which we find works really well because we not only get a lot of support from the apprenticeship schemes but also we can train our engineers and guide them with the skill required to best support our customers and our approach to IT support.
Our standard SLA has 3 priority responses
- 3 – up to 3 works days
- 2- within the same working day
- 1 – 4 hour response
In practice we don’t get behind on support tickets so we respond and often fix problems well within the SLA. Our goal is to try and fix a problem with the user who is calling up then and there during that phone call. We find 90% of problems are fixed during that first phone call with one of our highly qualified engineers. The other 10% tend to be more complex thorny problems that require some research or a third party involvement.
Allware is Cyber Essentials certified and we work to the ISO 27001 certification requirements as some of our customers who have that as a supplier requirement.
Yes. Remote support can take various guises. We have a number of ways we can access customer systems so that in the event of an emergency we can remote and fix their problems.
Yes there are always problems which will crop up where we need to physically see a machine to fix it. It’s not fair to ask a user to remove and replace the motherboard of their PC so we would be very happy to visit for specific problems if required.
Backup and recovery services are a critical part of the IT solutions and support we offer. This is the #1 priority these days. We use a number of different back up solutions – particularly Arc Serve which allows us to back up entire images of PCs and servers and laptops which you can then recover the entire device if needed. There are replication services which are backing up and replicating into the data centre where it is held in an encrypted store. In the event of a critical event like a building fire we can bring up the customer’s servers in the data centre and provide remote access to them. So in theory (and we have had to put it into practice sometimes) we can get a customer’s business up and running within 2-3 hours even if they don’t have a building anymore.
We look after clients in the SME space which we find is the perfect size for the support services Allware offers to add real value and be a cost effective way to manage their IT infrastructure.
Before you sign up with Allware we spend time with you determining exactly what you need. We start with a telephone call about your requirements, then ideally we would come onsite and meet you in person. That gives us the opportunity to physically look at your PCs, laptops, servers, networking environment etc and really understand what you have in place currently. We are keen to make sure we know all about your set up, what challenges you face and how your business works so we can make sure the support services really meets your needs.
This depends on the type of support that you need. Either we will agree an SLA with you, which is a kind of monthly support fee, or it could be you would prefer to go down the ad hoc support route. Either way, we will introduce you to our engineers and make sure you have all the information you need to hand in order to contact us and ask questions. We will develop a project plan for any agreed upgrade or set up work together. Often clients move from the ad hoc model to the SLA model over time as they find that more cost effective in the long run. The ad hoc support model gives them an opportunity to try us out!
An SLA is a service level agreement contracted and agreed between the client and supplier for a fixed monthly payment.
Yes. We have bags of experience in helping develop and tailor IT security policies with clients. We do this all the time and not just for IT security policies, also for other policies around data and GDPR.
We are constantly in touch with our customers to make sure they are happy and everything is working OK. We know when clients are logging a lot more or a lot fewer tickets and we are proactively measuring this all of the time. We try to organise a monthly face to face (or Zoom) with each client to make sure everything is working as expected. In that discussion we review their tickets and any emerging issues. We also use that as an opportunity to review if they would be better moving from ad hoc support to an SLA or the other way should the volumes be very low. We provide ticketing reports and details along with details of the time spent on each issue / ticket / user on request. This enables all parties to assess the value for money of the agreement in place and make sure everyone is happy with it and paying the right price.
We are not a training company but we do have a network of third party suppliers that we regularly use for training. If there is anything in the IT / digital space you would like training on please get in touch and we can connect you with the right one of our partners.
We are bound by our SLA agreements along with our recommended backup and recovery systems. In the event of a critical IT failure we are able to get businesses back up and running in a matter of hours.
There are literally thousands of IT support companies out there, but we do think Allware is different. We have been around for 20 years, we have gone through various iterations of Microsoft. We have a huge amount of experience in most IT systems used businesses today – that experience is passed down to all of our staff and apprentices.
It is surprising how many customers we have who tell us horror stories about other IT support providers; their lack of expertise, the slowness of responses and fixes as well as fees which seem much higher than they should be. There seems to have been a trend in the IT support market for growth with large banks of junior engineers triaging tickets which only adds delay, stress and frustration for the client logging a problem.
This is not how Allware has grown. Our focus has been on recruiting the right staff and on training them properly to make sure they are answering the right questions correctly. We pride ourselves on our expert engineers. We like customer queries to come in via phone or email direct to a qualified engineer who can resolve 90% of your queries in the that first communication. There is a personal touch with the way Allware works. You can pick up the phone and usually within 3 rings of the phone be able to speak to real people who know your set up and can answer your query straight away without leaving you bamboozled or frustrated, so you are able to get on with your work quickly.
Our philosophy is not to get big and hire lots of people. We aren’t a greedy IT company. We don’t overcharge. We don’t oversell. We often reduce fees if use is low. We want customers to have the right IT, to be able to use IT properly, have the peace of mind that help is always easily on hand and to stay with us for the long term.