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Author Archives: Admin

Your IT Guy vs. a Managed Service Provider

There is no question that reliable IT support is a necessity for all of us, including small businesses. The reason is that most transactions and business functions are completed online. Business owners need to decide on the type of IT support they need. Whether that be an internal IT department or a Managed Service Provider. Let’s take a look at some typical IT scenarios.

Internal IT Support

This protection means keeping an in-house IT person on your regular payroll. It’s straightforward, but this is a practice that is not frequently considered unless your business uses a lot of technology. For one thing, having someone on your payroll that you don’t need regularly is not the most economical approach. Also, you will be limited to the skills and expertise of the individuals in your team.

The Break-Fix Model

Small businesses favor the break-fix IT model because it is a simpler option. What this means is that you only hire an IT professional whenever your system fails or there is some tech-related problem. In other words, when something breaks, you hire someone to fix it. 

When working with the break-fix model, you don’t have a regular IT support team to keep things running. This setup sounds like a feasible and more economical plan if you are not expecting to encounter many system problems. But this approach is also idealistic because the truth is that things will break, and more often than you would like. That usually translates to unexpected costs and a runaway budget.

Managed Service Provider

Larger companies that have more complex online systems will hire a team of experts in the form of a Managed Service Provider, or MSP, that can offer complete and diverse IT solutions. Small businesses don’t follow this path because they focus on the monthly bill and not the benefits. The typical reasoning would go like this: What if nothing breaks this month? We would still have to pay the fee for nothing, and that would be a waste of money! 

But here’s the thing. When hiring an MSP, you get to choose the kind of services you pay for. It’s not a one size fits all offering. You can decide what kind of IT services or support your business needs, and the monthly flat-rate fee will be computed based on only the services you choose. 

And what if nothing breaks? Well, that’s the goal of a good MSP. Your Managed Service Provider will be proactive and keep your technology operating and not approach things reactively, like a break/fix service.

Advantages of MSPs over the Break-Fix Method and In-House Tech Support

If you are still on the fence about hiring an MSP for your business, take a look at some of the advantages MSPs have over other types of IT support.

Expertise

A Managed Service Provider consists of a team of highly skilled experts in practically all areas of business technology. If you hire an MSP, you will have access to this vast pool of professionals to help you with any tech issue you might encounter. This approach is in sharp contrast to having your own internal IT guy who may be very capable, but his skill set pales to a team of experts from different backgrounds. 

Convenience

With the break-fix method, you can hire top professionals for your issues, but the process of locating them and getting them on board takes time. With an MSP, all you have to do is call and tell them your problem, and they will immediately send someone over to fix whatever is wrong. 

Cost-Effectiveness

Most businesses that use the break-fix model do so with the assumption that this method will save them money, but as it happens, they usually end up spending a lot more than if they went for an MSP instead. MSPs will charge a monthly fee – that is true. But this is a flat rate. No matter how many services you ask them to perform or how arduous some of the tasks may be, you won’t have to pay a single cent more than the monthly rate. On the contrary, the break-fix model requires you to pay for each service separately, and the expenses can quickly pile up faster than you would have anticipated.

Many businesses perceive the monthly flat rate for IT support to be high. But when you take a close look at your total monthly expenses that go to IT-related services, you might be shocked at how much you are spending. 

Reduce Your Expenses by Switching to a Managed Service Provider 

Your flat-rate fee will vary depending on the extent of IT support you require. Contact us so we can calculate the monthly fee that fits your requirements. Chances are it’s lower than what you are spending now, which means that hiring an MSP could save you a considerable amount. Ready to find out?

The Top 5 Red Flags in the IT Industry

l businesses today rely heavily on IT support. Some have their own in-house IT experts, while many others choose to hire managed service providers, or MSPs, to perform specific IT functions for their company. These services are needed to oversee the office hardware and software and stay ahead of the competition. Like all industries, the IT industry has a few red flags that need to be addressed. 

With all the available services, you wouldn’t think that it would be that difficult to find reliable IT support for your business. We live in an almost entirely digital world, so tech services are available around every corner. The IT industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and so have the red flags in the industry. These issues make it harder to find reputable service providers that will give you the quality service you need. 

So what are these red flags, and as a business owner, what can you do about them? Read on to find out. 

Red Flag #1: Your business is getting nickel and dimed

Many business owners today do not have extensive knowledge or skill in IT. This technology gap is the primary reason they hire MSPs in the first place. Unfortunately, many providers are taking advantage of this. They will charge businesses for extra services that they do not need. In other words, they end up spending more on additional services even if they are not necessary for solving the problem at hand. 

The Solution

Make sure to do your research and find out exactly what IT services you require. Search for a provider that will deliver these services without trying to hoodwink you into paying for other services you don’t need.

Red Flag #2: Lack of communication

Clear and constant communication is essential in any business relationship. But for some reason, many IT service providers are failing in this department. Many of them will take your specs and get to work right away, probably because they are confident that they know what they are doing. More than likely, they are hoping to impress you with a fast turnaround. This approach can lead to more problems like wasted time and resources.

The Solution

Choose a provider that communicates well. The MSP should assign someone from their team to act as a point of contact to communicate and coordinate with you at any time.

Red Flag #3: No consistent business reviews

What previous clients say about a service provider is one of the best ways for you to gauge the quality of their performance. If the reviews are inconsistent, would you still want to risk hiring them for your business? The same is true for MSPs with very few business reviews because they are new. There might be a chance that they are good, but when it comes to your business, it is better to be safe, especially when hiring service providers for the fundamental processes of your business. 

The Solution

Look elsewhere. Finding a company with perfect feedback is quite impossible. The occasional irate client leaving a 1-star review is inevitable. But at least, you should search for a provider with a large number of consistently high ratings. 

Red Flag #4: Response time is too slow

Time is of the essence in any business, and quick results are highly preferable. There are a lot of service providers these days that provide excellent results but have a slow response time. These delays can be costly for your company and cause you to lose clients and eventually lag behind the competition. 

The Solution

Quality results are great, but not when they come too late. Choose an IT service provider that does not keep you waiting when you have concerns. And make sure they guarantee the fastest possible turnaround when you need them. 

Red Flag #5: They do not know how to help you with your cybersecurity insurance approval process

Cyber attacks are getting more rampant by the day. Because of this, every business with an online presence needs to have a reliable cybersecurity insurance policy to protect against the possible damages resulting from a data breach. And who should be in a better position to help you with the approval process than your MSP?

The Solution

Right from the start, you should ask the managed service provider if they have cyber insurance and can assist you in applying for your insurance policy. 

Steer Clear of Red Flags and Choose Your MSP Wisely 

Beware of these red flags and any possible implications for your business. If you know of anyone who has experience with an “iffy” managed service provider, have them contact us right away! We can show them the value of working with a reliable MSP.

Cybersecurity Insurance to Protect Your Data

Cybersecurity is one of the foremost concerns of many companies today. Especially for small and medium businesses that utilize online sales. To face these unforeseeable attacks, you can prepare ahead of time by taking out a dependable cybersecurity insurance plan. This coverage gives you a chance to recoup what you might potentially lose in the face of a cyber-attack.  

The risk of cyberattacks gets higher each year as online criminals continue to improve in their craft. They work around the clock, devising new and innovative methods to supersede whatever security software IT companies create. As a business owner, you must always be on your toes and ensure your network and data are secure. Ask yourself, is your business currently protected with the latest cybersecurity technology? If you’re like most business owners, you probably don’t have the time to worry about such things, but you should. 

Boost Your Protection with Cybersecurity Insurance 

It is wise to consider investing in a comprehensive cybersecurity insurance plan. Despite having seemingly ironclad protection, there is no 100% guarantee that hackers will not be able to penetrate your virtual walls. These crooks are extremely good at what they do. Just in case the unthinkable happens, and you fall victim to a nasty cyber incident, a cybersecurity insurance plan can at least help you recover some, if not all, of the losses and damages. 

MSP Standards for Cybersecurity Insurance 

As the need for cybersecurity insurance becomes more pressing, you must also become more discriminating in choosing a managed services provider to handle your cybersecurity insurance needs. However, as the business owner, you must fill out the form yourself instead of passing on this task to your MSP. However, your MSP can help you with much of the information you’ll need to fill out the form.  

If you are working with a Managed Service Provider, it makes sense to ask them if they have the resources to connect you with a reliable cybersecurity insurance agent. They will undoubtedly have plenty of contacts, and it would be in their best interest to recommend the best agent for you. Of course, you can also find an agent on your own if you wish, but you do have to be wary of unscrupulous entities such as fly-by-night companies who will suddenly be unreachable when you want to make a claim.  

Cyber insurance is recommended for all businesses these days. However, by no means will it make your business invincible against cybercrimes. Even after taking out a trustworthy policy, the MSP should continue providing first-class security solutions to your business. The more levels of top-quality protection you employ, the safer your business will be.  

Why Choosing the Right MSP Is Important 

Taking out an insurance policy for cybersecurity is not as simple as some business owners think. More than just adding such a plan, there is the matter of making sure you get paid back any losses. 

Cybersecurity insurance can protect your business against financial loss caused by cyber-attacks. The plan may include coverage for financial losses. Such as data breaches, data theft, ransomware extortion payments, system or network takeover, and company losses. This coverage is even more important if you store your sensitive data on a local server in your office. These systems can be easily breached by hackers looking for an easy target. If this is the case and you do not wish to look into cyber insurance, you should consider storing your data in the cloud for enhanced security. 

An experienced MSP can help you handle these procedures, and we recommend that you investigate them. Experts say that in 2022 the rate of cybercrime is expected to escalate even further. If you want to protect your assets, let us know! Let’s talk about how security, protection, and cyber insurance can help with the growth and success of your business in the coming year! 

Disaster Data Recovery: Are You Prepared?

Most businesses have now gone digital, taking their processes online and storing data in the cloud and whatnot. While speedier transactions and greater portability make this technique very convenient, it also poses some risks. One of these is the risk of digital disasters and possible security breaches from all directions. In other words, if you aren’t vigilant, all of your company’s data can be stolen or encrypted. Do you have a disaster data recovery plan in place that meets all of your requirements?

 

Unforeseen Disasters And Breaches In 2021

 

In recent years, there have been numerous disasters that have affected global companies in different industries. Most of the attacks in 2021 came in the form of ransomware that took advantage of human gullibility.

 

The electronics company Acer took a hard blow in cyber-attacks in 2021. Overall, they ended up dealing with a $50 million ransom demand that a notorious hacking entity called ReEvil supposedly asked for in exchange for the return of a massive amount of stolen digital data.

 

In April of this year, Facebook suffered a security breach that exposed the personal information of over 530 million users. Screen scraping is a technique used by hackers to get information from websites. It’s how they were able to access the data files of almost 92% of LinkedIn members and obtain personal details like emails or phone numbers!

 

Because of the lockdowns and work-from-home setups, previously protected information became exposed in the digital world. Luckily, most companies had reliable security policies that protected data coming in and out of their office networks. However, with most individuals working remotely and using devices, it is difficult for a corporation to keep control over their security network, necessitating an upgrade.

 

The Importance Of Proper Preparation And Safeguarding Your SMB

 

Business owners often make the mistake of believing that something like this will never happen to their company. They like to believe that because they are a tiny firm, no hacker would be interested in attempting to compromise them. As a result, many don’t even bother to take precautionary measures to protect their small or medium-sized businesses from potential threats.

 

Unfortunately, small and medium-sized businesses are easy to crack and are typical targets of these hackers. Many companies lack the appropriate infrastructure and security tools to protect themselves from cyberattacks. To keep from being a victim, you must partner with a managed services provider that can provide you with an ironclad disaster data recovery plan.

 

Creating A Good Disaster Recovery Plan

 

Disaster data recovery is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly. The process of developing this plan entails a great deal of deliberation and decision-making.

 

Begin by defining a sensible recovery time objective (RTO). This process is the amount of time you expect to be fully back on track after disaster strikes. The shorter the RTO, the more expensive the disaster data recovery will be, so you need to consider this.

 

Also, make sure to clearly outline the duties and responsibilities of each individual employee in your organization. In addition, establish a clear communication plan as well as security protocols.

 

Of course, the most crucial parts of disaster data recovery are having offsite data backup and installing dependable and updated anti-spyware tools on all the devices used for business procedures. You should also test your disaster recovery plan with your staff. That is the only way to find out if it works.

 

Hire A Professional MSP For Disaster Recovery

 

As you can imagine, disaster recovery is a complex matter. If you want to know that your plan can protect you, the best option is to have a fully managed disaster data recovery solution from a reliable MSP. 2021 slammed us with a plethora of serious security threats for SMBs, and it’s scary to think of what 2022 might bring.

 

Ensure the safety of your company now before it is too late! Contact us today, and we will show you how.

AI (Artificial Intelligence): Where It’s Going?

Artificial intelligence for most people today began with some very fantastical notions of computers taking over the world, largely due to the depiction of AI in motion pictures of decades past. Yet many of us have not realized that this innovative technology is already in use. Many are, in fact, already part of many aspects of our day-to-day lives. For small and medium business owners, there are now several AI SMB automated business processes that are used to expedite and ensure the growth and success of the business, which we will discuss further in this article.

A Brief History of AI

It’s not clear when or where the concept of artificial intelligence first began. Research started in 1956 in Dartmouth College, where millions of dollars funded what would turn out to be costly dead ends due to the unforeseen complexities of the project. AI research and development went on a rollercoaster ride after that, with investors alternately getting excited and then losing interest because of the lack of progress. 

It was after the turn of the century that AI began to see real-world usage. Not just in academics, but also in practical applications. New technology has enabled the integration of AI in research, education, as well as industry. Areas such as e-commerce, gaming, automobiles, healthcare, even agriculture.

AI as a Crucial Element in Businesses of Tomorrow

As of today, artificial intelligence has already permeated several of the crucial processes that are part of the regular management of any kind of business in the form of AI SMB automated business processes, procedures, and functions. It has made possible countless forms of advancement in the areas of online selling, inventory, and cybersecurity. All of these are vital to the successful operation of any business. 

Many AI SMB automated business processes are generic and apply to many businesses across different industries. Some examples of these are order processing, purchasing, quality assurance, and billing. Some are more industry-specific, like medical assessment or drug approval for the healthcare industry or trip booking and agent billing for the travel industry. 

Common Automation Processes for Small and Medium Businesses

Let’s look at some simple and useful automation processes that can increase productivity and improve revenue for your small or medium business.

Email Auto-Responder

When a customer reaches out to your business and receives no reply for months, it can be very frustrating and could give them an unpleasant impression of your business. An auto-responder feature with a personal touch prevents this. The automation process can also direct the email to your sales team, letting them take over as soon as possible. 

Marketing Automation

Many Customer Relationship Management or CRM systems include a marketing automation feature that allows you to execute an email campaign to all relevant contacts and turn them into actionable sales leads for your business. 

Scheduling Software 

This type of business automation eliminates a lot of wasted time when booking appointments. The system will automatically schedule your meetings and let everyone involved know by updating the calendar.

Chat Bots

A chatbot is a perfect tool for providing your clients with answers when customers have questions for you. Setting up a chatbot might require some time and effort. But once completed, AI will take over, and the process will be fully automated.

Keep up with the Latest AI Features with MSP Services

We are continuing to move towards a future where AI SM automated business processes are a part of daily life. Incorporate the latest Artificial Intelligence features that will help you grow your business. Contact us now and upgrade your system before the New Year begins!