Determine which solutions are a “must-have” when deciding on a managed IT package.
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Managing IT has become an overwhelming task for many organizations as innovations in technology become more advanced, and the risk of security threat seems more likely every day. If you’re similar to the majority of businesses who are considering hiring a third party to manage their IT, you’re probably feeling in over your head. And you may even be currently living out one of three common (and dangerous!) IT environments at your business:
- Your organization is small, or has expanded so rapidly that you have become the resident IT “expert” – simply because there is no one else to do it. You know that you don’t possess the skills or know-how to provide the level of maintenance that is necessary for running your business, and it’s frustrating how much of your valuable time is taken away solving IT issues for your staff. You just want to get back to doing what you do best – running your business.
- You have an IT person on premise who has been there for years, but you’re worried that he is not keeping up with the latest technology or trends to provide the level of cybersecurity that your organization crucially needs. He may be complacent with the technology that is in place, and when you inquire about change, he responds “Why fix something that isn’t broken”.
- You may have already hired a third party IT service to take the burden off of your plate, but you’re still finding that a lot of problems are cropping up day to day. You always have to call and report an issue, and you have to pay for the IT service to come out and fix it. Their strategy is inefficient and costly to your business.
If one of these frustrating and potentially catastrophic situations applies to you, you’re right in considering a 3rd party to handle your company’s IT. We’ve outlined common benefits and services that are available from the various managed IT packages out there. Choosing the right provider for your business will help you to finally get the IT burden off of your back, and in the hands of someone who can help you to leverage technology in order to grow your business.
What Services Are Available to my Business?
There are many different types of managed IT providers that you could choose to manage your company’s IT. They may specialize in certain verticals, business sizes, or technology types; and will certainly offer a different mix of solutions included with their IT package. It is important that you decide which services are “non-negotiables”, so that you can gain a better image of what type of company you should partner with. And not to worry, if you would prefer to have everything IT-related taken off of your plate, there are comprehensive IT service providers out there than can help you with everything from daily back-ups to strategic IT planning. Below, we have listed out a few of the common benefits and services your company may look for in a managed IT provider:
- Reduced Downtime – by proactively monitoring your systems around the clock, a successful managed IT services provider should prevent issues before they ever reach your desk.
- Complete Vendor Management – your IT service could manage your hardware, software, and data back-up relationships for you.
- Peace of Mind – you should be able to get back to your core mission, and leave the IT to your service provider. Common services include: performing daily back-ups and software updates, and helping you leverage the right technology to achieve your overarching business goals.
- Support Whenever You Need It – Just because the workday ends at 5, doesn’t mean that your organization stops working. Make sure before purchasing that your managed IT services provider is available should you ever need them.
- A Team of Experts at Your Disposal – Your Managed IT Services team would ideally consist of engineers that are not only technology experts, but who have the know-how and certifications that your industry requires.
- Strategic IT Planning – Monitoring your day-to-day is a huge task in itself, but if you’re truly looking for someone to take IT off your hands, you should look for an IT service that provides frequent, consistent strategic IT initiatives to help you to align your technology with your business goals now and in the future.
Do All of these Services Sound Like a Must-Have?
A comprehensive managed IT service provider is not right for every business. If IT is not mission-critical to your business, or you have an internal resource that meets your needs, a 3rd party may not be appropriate.
However, if you rely on your IT infrastructure to successfully perform day-to-day, and you wish to leverage technology to help you better reach your business goals, consider a comprehensive IT services provider. With a fully managed IT services provider, you can rest assured that your systems are taken care of. Your data is more secure from potential loss, breach, or theft. And help is at hand when needed. Anything that is related to IT would be handled by an expert – leaving you 100% free to focus on your core business.
Check out our video below that explains how Advance’s Managed IT Services could benefit your business.
A Fully Managed IT Services Provider Can Revolutionize Your Company’s IT
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Is your business’ back up and disaster recovery plan up to speed?
Your systems probably hold a few Terabytes’ worth of CRM and vendor data, billing and payroll history, legal and other documents. You generate vast amounts of new data daily. Yet, if you’re like 40% of small-to-medium sized companies, you don’t back up that gold at various points throughout the day. Or you assume it’s backing up…but you’re not sure.
If you’ve dodged a data disaster so far, consider yourself lucky. Roughly 40% of companies that cannot recover data within 24 hours of an outage shut their doors within 24 months (Gartner). What would happen to your business if essential data were wiped? How long could you continue operating? What would it cost to rebuild your systems and win back clients? How do you prevent a recurrence?
You may think your back up is doing its job, only to learn too late that your data wasn’t fully protected. Unless you can say with absolute certainty that your back up systems are right-sized and reliable, it’s time for a critical update. Here’s what you need to consider.
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Here’s everything you should know before moving your business to the cloud.
Ah, the cloud. You’ve heard it touted as the biggest IT innovation since the app, streaming and virtual reality goggles combined. Yes, it’s full of potential. Yes, it has plenty of pitfalls. No, you are not late to the party.
Cloud technology is, in many respects, in its infancy. Small-to-medium-sized businesses like yours are just discovering how the cloud can boost efficiency and security. They’re also learning that local hardware still has value.
The Cloud 101
The cloud is an internet-based way of computing, sharing, storing and protecting data. Everything is done online, so the work hub no longer revolves around hard drives and in-house servers. Even if your IT infrastructure is 99% local, using Microsoft 365, One Drive, Google Docs or Dropbox means you’ve already partially moved your business to the cloud.
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Everyone likes a good story, so let’s start with a dream scenario: Every morning your company’s sales team hits the road armed with a mobile arsenal of phones, tablets, and laptops. No longer tethered to the office, they’re free to focus on cultivating leads and delivering exceptional service to existing clients. They quickly become your company’s most effective CRM tool. Instead of logging hundreds of time-sucking miles a day between the office and appointments, they efficiently use public hotspots and Wi-Fi to upload orders, send RFPs and share sales reports. Your CFO is beaming. “More face time and remote work are sending productivity and orders through the roof!” he tells you. “The supply chain is humming. Revenues are way up. Clients are 100% satisfied. We are unstoppable.”
Sweet dream, right? Now let’s wake up to the ugly downside of unplugging. Sharing data over public networks leaves your company more vulnerable than ever to hacks, thefts, and breaches. Just one compromised email can leak proprietary information or reveal clients to competitors. One device enrolled in MS Exchange can experience a total wipe of all personal and business data.
If you’re not controlling what’s transmitted and to whom, you might as well send Evites to hackers. They know you’re vulnerable, and they will steal your data.
How can you fight back? With Mobile Device Management, programs that proactively control mobile devices and maintain data security outside the server room. It’s a dream solution that enables you to capitalize on mobile’s rewards while limiting the risk.
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In our digitally dependent world, a blackout of any duration can damage profits and client confidence. Yet 70% of companies, both with internal IT departments and those using hosted IT vendors, take a patchwork approach to managing their infrastructure. These businesses receive lackluster IT support at best, waiting for problems to occur and then scrambling to deal with the fallout.
Without constant monitoring, your servers – and your company – are vulnerable to everything from business interruptions to data breaches. It’s ineffective and costly. Your faulty IT support system distracts you from your goals for growth.
Technology should be used to facilitate business growth and productivity, not inhibit it. Here’s what it takes to safeguard your company’s IT infrastructure in order to maintain your current environment and set you up for future growth.
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In our younger days, we loved pretending to be firefighters.
Running a tech-dependent business can feel like the game never ended. We’re always rushing to put out the latest fire, only to see another one spring up somewhere else in the system. It’s exhausting, expensive, and inefficient.
A fully managed IT provider, like Advance, can take you out of firefighting mode so you can focus on growing your business.
Transitioning to our fully Managed IT Services frees you and your team from the time and responsibility required to run your company’s IT. We handle everything – from daily back-ups, to trouble-shooting and repairs, to strategic planning and upgrades. We continually monitor and capture utilization data, so you can make better-informed decisions earlier. We anticipate problems before they arise and address them before they threaten your business. And we can make sure that your infrastructure is right-sized now and poised to grow with you. Read more »
Cyber Monday is a wonderful thing – instead of fighting through the masses on Black Friday, those of us who value our sanity choose to purchase our holiday gifts at discounted prices from the privacy (and safety) of the Internet.
So, what is the issue, one may ask, with this apocryphal holiday? If you’re a business leader, the answer is right in the name: Cyber Monday. This is the one day a year that your employees choose to throw caution to the wind and purchase their kid some roller blades at half price- on your time and devices.
You know that this use of your company network is risky. But what exactly is it that you should be looking out for, and how can you protect yourself, your employees, and your business on this dangerous day?
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Over the past decade, we have seen mobile device usage continue to grow, both for personal and business use. In 2014 we rounded out the year with a massive 1.2 billion devices sold, up over 28% from 2013. With statistics like that, it has become clear that mobile is here to stay and the way of the future. Because of this, it’s time to start thinking about scalability and “mobile first” or “cloud first” before adopting new technology.
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You may be wondering if the recent OpenSSL “Heartbleed” security vulnerability affects you. The answer is yes, it affects everyone regardless if you are an Advance customer or not. Many of the websites you visit on a daily basis use OpenSSL to secure communications. This includes sites that require usernames and passwords to access those resources, such as email, IM and VPNs. Read more »
Earlier this month, Ricoh released an amped up version of Neusoft’s Smart Device Print app in the App Store and Google Play—Smart Device Print & Scan. The app comes with all the bells and whistles of its predecessor (the ability to print wirelessly from a mobile device) with the added feature of scanning from Ricoh’s latest multifunctional series direct to your smartphone or tablet. The best part—it’s still FREE! Read more »