Remote Support and Monitoring

Tier 1 Monitoring

Iowa PC Services is proud to offer affordable and continuous health monitoring and protection of your computer:


  • Tier 1 Monitoring: $9 per month per computer
  • Includes 

This services includes:

  • Managed Antivirus
  • Malicious web site blocking
  • Regular updates of the non-windows software on your computer
  • Remote support availability (our labor hours charged separately)
  • Daily 24/7 monitoring of a host of important computer functions

Managed Antivirus

The antivirus that is available with this monitoring system is tightly integrated into this monitoring service in a way that allows us to monitor whether it has been updated properly with the latest virus definitions.  We are also able to see what viruses it may have encountered, and whether these were completely removed or not.  Any anomalies in this managed antivirus system will raise a red flag, which allows us to be pro-active when problems arise.

If you use a different antivirus program, it’s possible that we will be able to monitor that program in place of the managed antivirus provided by Tier 1 Monitoring.  Other antivirus programs are not as tightly integrated as the managed antivirus, and we will not be able to see what viruses these antivirus programs have encountered on your computer, however we are often able to monitor the state of the a-v definitions for this different antivirus.

Malicious Web Site Blocking

Most viruses come through the web, and our web blocking system is able to prevent stumbling on sites that can cause serious difficulty on your computer.  These blocking rules can be customized for your needs, and for some people, we have disabled this altogether.

Regular Updates

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we run scheduled checks to ensure that common software on your computer is up-to-date.  These updates are crucial to ensure that known vulnerabilities that have been fixed do not become your problem, by checking for updates from the software vendors.

Remote Support

We use a remote support tool that allows us to remote-control your computer when you need help.  We charge our regular hourly fee for this time – it’s not covered by the monthly fee for Tier 1 Monitoring.  But we have use this many times to remote into a computer and fix problems for our customers on a more timely basis.

These are the various services available under the umbrella we call “IPCS Tier 1 Monitoring”.  And all this for far less than the cost of a cappuccino!

Daily Monitoring

With our remote monitoring service, we don’t hang around waiting for you to call when something goes wrong. Instead, we’ll check your system around the clock, day and night, for any problems that might interfere with your ability to do business. And when we spot trouble, we’ll fix it right away – usually before you even know about it.

With the Conventional Process…

  • A problem occurs and you deal with it in growing frustration.
  • You eventually call us when you can’t make any progress.
  • You describe the problem to us so we can either assign the right person or fix it over the phone.
  • Once we have a clear picture of the problem, we act to fix it.

Using Round-the-Clock 24×7 Alerts

  • We receive an alert within 15 minutes on average.
  • We’re told the exact cause of the problem (e.g. Windows service has failed)
  • We fix it remotely or dispatch someone to the site.

The Benefits

A faster, more accurate, less frustrating IT support experience. For less than the price of a cup of coffee, we’ll conduct a thorough check each and every morning before you start work. We’ll check:
  • Your backup is complete to make sure your data is safe
  • Your antivirus pattern file to make sure your protection is always up-to-date
  • Your disk space to ensure your system won’t crash and your workers aren’t left unproductive while you recover
  • Your hard disk and memory health to ensure your system is always in peak operating condition
  • Your Critical Event Logs to spot other developing problems that could cause downtime during the day
This service is performed automatically – so it’s guaranteed to happen even if staff are sick or on holiday.  If we find problems, we’ll immediately alert an engineer so he can act fast to cut potential downtime.  We’ll even send you a short note to confirm the checks carried out and their results.


We schedule a weekly temp file deletion and hard drive defragmentation.  Other regular maintenance tasks are possible as needed.

Make Wireless Networks Reliable (DEPRECATED)

Wireless TowerI’ve heard it time after time:  “My wireless keeps dropping!  I’m so frustrated!”  If this sounds like you, then read on.  And you may be surprised by the answer: it’s probably not what you expected to hear.

Even with the latest and greatest wireless “N” routers, this is an ongoing problem.  This brief article will reveal a secret that I have learned from setting up thousands of wireless networks, with many different brands of routers.

The problem is so persistent that I have come up with a theory that the latest wireless-N technology may not be all it’s cracked up to be.  In fact, every time I’ve tried it, the problem has returned.  This solution is a simple and cost-free way to fix the problem, and you won’t want to miss it.

The disconnecting problem is due to the type of encryption type used in the router.

The solution has four parts:

  1. Change the wireless mode to G only.  Even if this change is not made, the next two settings in combination with each other are not compatible with wireless N mode, and will force the router to operate in wireless G mode.
  2. Change the encryption type from WPA2 to WPA.   Depending on the brand of router, this may also be displayed as “WPA-PSK”, or simpley “PSK”, which stands for pre-shared key.
  3. Use TKIP instead of AES – it’s in the wireless settings of the router you are connecting to if you poke around.
  4. Use a password length of 20 characters or longer.  This will ensure that the safety of your wireless data when encrypted with WPA.  For more information on this topic, see Steve Gipson’s excellent coverage of the vulnerabilities in WPA and WPA2.

As mentioned in the first step, using these settings will actually forces the connection type from N to G, and your router may even give you a warning about this, such as:

“We do not recommend using the TKIP encryption if the device operates in 802.11n mode due to the fact that TKIP is not supported by 802.11n specification.”

You might wonder about using an older technology like the wireless G standard, because it limits the connection speed of your wireless network, but you should test and see the difference. The difference is almost always not detrimental to your actual throughput, because the capabilities are still greater than most internet connection speeds.

If you are comfortable in making these changes in your router, then you will enjoy the benefits of a more reliable wireless connection.

BUT, if you are confused by this, or don’t want to tackle it yourself and you live in central Iowa, then we’ll be happy to help.  Contact us, and we’ll make your wireless network more reliable!

NOD32 Antivirus: Virus Signature Update Issue DEPRECATED

We recommend NOD32 Antivirus software to our customers. On May 22, 2008 an antivirus update caused NOD32 to incorrectly report some Adobe software as being infected. This is known as a “false positive”. This problem also has been known to cause the PC to freeze at various times. Following is a bulletin from ESET telling of this conflict, along with a link to the steps necessary to fix the problem [continue reading…]