Frequently Asked Questions

Please contact us if you have questions not listed below.

  1. What are “managed services”? What are their advantage?  » answer

  2. What is included in managed services?  » answer

  3. Do you offer managed services for telephones as well as computer networks?  » answer

  4. What types of support does The Washington Network provide?  » answer

  5. What are the most important elements of a computer network?  » answer

  6. What are the most important elements of a telephone system?  » answer

  7. What factors can make your phone system go down?  » answer

  8. What should companies do to protect their data and telephone systems?  » answer

  9. Does The Washington Network guarantee its work?  » answer

  1. What are “managed services”? What are their advantage?
    Managed services is a service model in which a client pays an IT services provider a flat monthly fee in return for a full range of services — generally including preventive maintenance, remote monitoring and maintenance, updates and patches and repair — as outlined in the service level agreement (SLA).

    Managed services replaces the old "break/fix" or "time and materials" model, in which services are paid for by the hour plus parts.

    Advantages: Under "break/fix", an IT service provider's best customers were those whose systems constantly demanded repair. Under managed services, the IT service provider's best customers are those whose system never needs repairs. It is in the provider's best interest to assure that the client's networks run optimally and are well maintained. The provider no longer benefits from breaks and failures. The provider benefits when the client enjoys the most uptime, the most efficiency and the best performance.

    In other words, for the first time, the interests of the client and the provider are for the first time fully aligned.

  2. What is included in managed services?
    SLAs (service level agreements) vary, but managed services generally include:
    • Preventive maintenance
    • Patches and updates
    • Remote 24/7 monitoring
    • Remote maintenance
    • On-site repair and maintenance
    • Network security
    • Anti-virus protection

    Plans may include many other services, such as:
    • Hardware as a service, in which all hardware is included in the monthly fee
    • Software as a service
    • Automatic back-up
    • Disaster recovery services
    • Internet access
    • Telephone system
    • Integration of telephone and computer network 

  3. Do you offer managed services for telephones as well as computer networks?
    The Washington Network Inc. was a pioneer in integrating telephone systems and computer networks. Today we offer 4th-generation phone systems that combine the reliability of traditional phone lines with the functionality and value of IP-based phone systems.

  4. What types of support does The Washington Network provide?
    The Washington Network Inc. can support computer networks and telephone systems for companies with up to 1,000 workstations. We support everything we sell, but we also support systems from other vendors. We specialize in managed services — that is, complete outsourced management of your IT systems, including all maintenance and support, for a fixed monthly fee. Our Gold Seal Managed Services clients are always our first priority.

    We also support new customers on an as-available, time-and-materials basis. Call us at 703.212.7100 for availability.

  5. What are the most important elements of a computer network?
    For small to mid-sized organizations, most computer networks today consist of PCs, separate servers for important applications (email, operating system, databases, security, etc.), peripherals such as copiers, printers and backup devices, and remote services such as remotely located redundant servers and data storage devices.

    The Washington Network specializes in integrating advanced phone systems into the network.

    All of this must be connected by a Local Area Network in the immediate physical area, and Virtual Private Networks for remote services. LANs generally include Ethernet cabling, IP as the network protocol, and one or more switches linked to each other — often with one connected to a router, cable modem, or ADSL modem for Internet access.

    Internet access continues to become increasingly important as more services are hosted remotely. Larger LANs contain a wide variety of network devices such as switches, firewalls, routers, load balancers and sensors.

    Modern networks continue to expand along the edge, incorporating video security systems, physical access systems such IP-controlled doors, and environmental sensors for systems that control environmental systems and lighting.

  6. What are the most important elements of a telephone system?
    Today's phone systems may include a wide variety of telephone sets, a PBX (an on-premise telephone system server), hosted PBX (located remotely), high-speed Internet connection, traditional telephone lines, and a SIP (session Internet protocol) device.

    Systems may also include a back-up PBX or remotely hosted failover PBX. (We wholeheartedly recommend this. It's an amazingly affordable form of business continuity assurance. See Telecom Disaster Recovery.)

    The auto-attendant has become increasingly important, and may reside in the PBX or remotely. Via integration with your computer network, the system should provide features such as a web-based management console, soft phone, voice mail delivered via email, "find me/follow me", call center management, call recording, integration with address books, and many other business enhancing features.

    Some IP-based phone systems feature plug-and-play functionality. The only equipment in your office is the phone itself; everything else is hosted remotely over the Internet.

  7. What factors can make your phone system go down?
    Many factors can make you lose phone service for periods of time short and not-so-short. In addition, you may lose access to your building, depriving you of access to your critical communications.

    Factors that could interrupt your ability to use your phones include:

    • Loss of power
    • Equipment failure
    • Loss of Internet access
    • Loss of telecom access
    • Local area network failure
    • Extreme weather
    • Other natural disasters
    • Man-made disasters
    • Human error 

  8. What should companies do to protect their data and telephone systems?
    Protecting data and telephone systems, from equipment failure, security breaches and natural disasters, is a key to assuring business continuity. We recommend that companies take the following steps immediately, in conjunction with preparing a comprehensive business continuity plan:

    • Develop and document a data back-up plan that spells out what's being backed up by priority, where it's being backed up, how often, who's in charge, and how often it gets tested.
    • Take advantage of remote as well as on-site backups.
    • Store a back-ups offsite, such as in a safe deposit box.
    • Use redundant servers, and co-located servers.
    • Test backups regularly and redundant servers regularly.

    For telecommunications, consider a backup system that automatically fails over if your primary system goes down, and can be activated remotely should your building become inaccessible.

  9. Does The Washington Network guarantee its work?
    Yes. Gold Seal Managed Services clients enjoy comprehensive guarantees. For other projects, ask your representative from The Washington Network to detail the extent of guarantees for your particular project.