You’re Never Too Small to Outsource

You’re Never Too Small to Outsource

​Small business owners are proud of getting everything done with few people. Every team member wears many hats. They are part of a family, devoted to the firm’s success. But that doesn’t make them qualified to handle IT. Really, you’re never too small to outsource your technology needs.

A small business may only have a few computers for its handful of employees. Having an in-house person dedicated to IT support would be overkill. But just because the technology is working fine today doesn’t mean your IT is performing at its best. That’s why it can be beneficial to outsource IT.

Having someone who knows technology working for your team can pay huge dividends. Your outsourcing partner will add value by:

  • helping you avoid bad tech purchases or buying software you don’t need;
  • identifying where you can be more efficient with tools you already have, which can save money;
  • providing knowledgeable support and IT help;
  • learning business needs and making recommendations about the best IT for your goals;
  • protecting your business technology and ensuring computers are up to date with security patches.

Small Business Breaches

Cybercriminals don’t care about business size. In fact, according to Accenture, 43% of cyberattacks were aimed at small businesses, and only 14% of the SMBs were prepared for defending their networks and sensitive data.

In fact, a small business can be a particularly appealing target. Hackers will exploit a small business as part of a campaign to attack a larger business. They know the SMB is less likely to have the same level of security as the bigger target in their sights.

Accenture’s 2019 study found that more than half of all small businesses had suffered a breach in the last year. These attacks can be crippling for SMBs. According to insurance carrier Hiscox, the average cyberattack costs a business $200,000. That figure can be a killer blow for a small business. Some 60% of SMBs hacked go out of business within six months of the attack. Even if they can survive the financial hit, damage to brand reputation and customer goodwill is devastating.

Advantages of Outsourcing

You may not have a clear picture of your cybersecurity status right now, but by working with a managed services provider (MSP) you’ll get one. Your partner will conduct an informal audit of your current technology and learn your short- and long-term goals.

Your small business, for instance, may not have a data protection procedure. You might be thinking you don’t have a lot to backup and store. But the quantity may not be the primary concern. Can you recover if your business loses an email chain it was keeping for legal or compliance reasons? What would happen if the computer holding your accounting database died? An MSP can identify where tech changes can better ensure business continuity.

When you outsource, your partner will also inventory all your tech assets. They’ll need to know everything about your infrastructure and your business’s technology capabilities. Your current team may recognize the importance of securing the business’s intellectual property, but are they also protecting customer data and employee records? Your business needs to be intentional about confidentiality, availability, and safety. An MSP can help.

The cost of outsourcing is often a stumbling block for the budget-conscious SMB. Managed IT services can often lower costs for clients by streamlining processes, managing vendor relationships, and ensuring that the business technology is best suited to current needs. And you’ll pay a fixed regular fee for a technology team member who will help you avoid big, costly tech surprises.

No business is too small to outsource IT. Having access to a full-time IT professional via a managed service provider can improve your operations, enhance productivity, and lower cybersecurity risk.

Find out more about what we can do for you! Call us at 323-7111

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Are You Sick of Ongoing IT Issues?

Are You Sick of Ongoing IT Issues?

Like a persistent cough or muscle strain that won’t go away, many IT issues prove ongoing. Every time they come back you think about getting an expert’s opinion. Then, the cough fades, you can walk freely again, or your computers are back up and running. You keep on going. Until the next time. If you’re sick of ongoing issues with your IT, look to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) for help.

There are many IT ailments that can negatively impact your ability to do work. Let’s consider some of the particularly common ones, and why an MSP is the right prescription.

#1 Network and Internet issues.

Business is done online these days. Not being able to connect to the network and slow connections are frustrating. Without the Internet, how can you do your job? You can’t even check and send emails! Let alone access team documents or enter data into cloud-based accounting software. A lagging network also slows down application and data loading time. It may only be a few moments of thumb twiddling. But add that up over several times a day and multiple by employees. You’re looking at a decrease in productivity that adds up.

An MSP has the know-how to survey the IT environment for what’s causing these frustrations. When there’s a problem, they’re at the ready to resolve it and help improve reliability.

#2 Repeated malware infections.

This can mean a couple of things. First, you don’t have effective system and application protections in place. These attacks shouldn’t be able to make it through the door in the first place. With the right firewalls, anti-spam, and protections, you should be able to keep your system on lock down. You don’t have to do this yourself. Your internal IT team has a lot to manage and monitor. Gain expert backup with an MSP reviewing your security protocols to keep the bad guys at bay.

Secondly, educate employees about the dangers of social engineering. Don’t let them keep falling for the pretexts and downloading malicious files. Also, ensure passwords are strong enough to avoid adding another point of entry. 

#3 Printing problems.

Many businesses are printing less today, but we’re not done with hard copies entirely. So, when a printer starts whirring, spinning endlessly, or can’t connect, efficiency halts. Know that printers sold at big box stores are consumer grade quality. Avoid printer frustrations with solid business-class printers (which your MSP can identify).

#4 Application overload.

Maybe some of your employees prefer Dropbox. Others rely on their free Gmail accounts. This hodgepodge of options can cause chaos. Staff have difficulty remembering the passwords to all of the accounts they need. So, they simplify, and that makes their accounts more hackable. 

Upgrading to business-grade versions of important applications is easier with an MSP. They’ll help identify the software that best addresses your business needs.

#5 Aging technology.

You’ve had your current computers for ages. They are slower than you’d like, but you don’t have the time to look for something else. Plus, you can’t imagine having to learn something new. You’re too busy. But aging tech is more likely to fail, which could prove catastrophic if you don’t have the right systems backup.

MSPs know IT. Based on your individual business needs, they can suggest a plan of attack to update the IT and keep it secure. They can also provide backup strategies to prepare for the worst and recover quickly.

Basically, a managed service provider has your back when it comes to IT. Work with experts who focus on technology day in and day out. You’ll typically save money and gain time to spend innovating in your field.

Gain a competitive advantage with the support of an MSP. Give us a call at 504-323-7111 today!

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Remote IT Will Create Tech That Works for You

Remote IT Will Create Tech That Works for You

There are few things as frustrating as IT issues getting in the way of your work. Even the simplest of problems can break your flow, ruin your productivity, and waste your time. IT should be working to boost your day instead of slowing you down.

Tripping up on a computer glitch can happen at any moment. Working to fix one can take hours. You might try a few steps that have worked before, ask a colleague for help, or try a web search to see what turns up. All of these take time from you or your colleagues, and often make the original problem worse.

When you outsource your help desk, your IT problems become our IT problems. We take charge of righting the ship to keep your tech on the right track.

Setting Up Your Business for Success

Many businesses try a break/fix model to deal with IT issues. This means waiting for problems to happen before contacting IT to resolve them. Break/fix adds costs and downtime to every IT issue as they happen. To us, this makes it an unacceptable long-term solution for business.

The process of scheduling a mutually suitable time to visit, diagnosing the issue, and resolving every issue on a case-by-case basis is massively time-consuming. Both IT technicians and in-house staff waste productive hours dealing with, often trivial, problems.

We think that time could be better spent building your business instead.

Your Personal Help Desk

When you outsource your IT help desk, you get a custom service dedicated to resolving your issues fast. Technicians with the knowledge and experience of years in IT can work without creating new problems or making the original issue worse. In modern IT, knowledge and experience is the key to successful solutions.

Many of the issues we resolve on a day-to-day basis are problems we have seen many times before on many different systems. IT is our business, and we know it very well.

How Outsourced IT Works For You

Outsourcing your IT means simply submitting a ticket to have issues taken care of. Having your own help desk to rely on means having help available exactly when you need it. Waiting on a local firm, or nearby technician to become available should be a thing of the past.

Queueing for an ‘advisor’, waiting on hold, and spelling out your problem over and over again is no fun for anyone. There should be better ways your time can be spent. There are certainly many ways firms can benefit more from ours.

Submitting an electronic ticket to resolve your issue is an easy, one step, process. Detail the problem once, email the ticket, and you can return to your work. We’ll call you back to work on a solution when the timing best works for you.

Managing Problems Remotely

To resolve system issues, diagnose, update, or maintain systems, we often log in remotely and take ownership of the problem personally. We’ve found there is little advantage to wasting time asking staff to find menus, click on links, and tell us what they see. We get straight to the heart of the problem and fix it there and then.

Problems that tie up one or more machines for a long time can be scheduled for out-of-hours, holiday, or weekend fixes. Large, system-wide updates or upgrades can be done remotely when they won’t get in the way.

For staff, updates appear to happen without anyone around to see them. You would be forgiven for thinking the IT is fixing itself.

Our golden rule is to make sure IT works for you, not the other way round. If you are wasting staff hours on hold, arranging meetings just for your tech, or structuring your day around simple problem solving, your firm could be upgraded in a flash.

Call us at 504-323-7111 or just submit a ticket and we’ll sort out the rest.

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Make IT Problems Last Year’s Problems

Make IT Problems Last Year’s Problems

Around the world, the new year is a time for celebration. It’s a time to reflect and a time we typically resolve to make the most of coming 12 months. We do this by leaving last year’s problems precisely where they belong, in the past year.

Many manage to adopt this approach in their personal lives, but it pays enormous dividends to apply it to our businesses too.

Cleaning up open issues from previous years gives you and your team free reign to make the next year a record-breaking success with nothing to hold you back. Intermittent IT problems, network slowdowns, printing issues, and unavailable resources can all be left in the past.

Starting the year off with a clean IT slate simply leaves you to handle the business areas which you do best.

Set Your Network Straight

If your only relationship with IT last year involved calls to fix broken systems then it is time to have your IT fixed up for good. Break-fix relationships can add stress to both your company and your IT provider.

While getting up and running fast and fixing breaks to get back on track is a clear priority, more can be done to ensure breaks don’t happen and downtime is avoided. Repeated break-fix call outs waste large amounts of time to troubleshoot, diagnose, and patch an unfamiliar system every time it has an issue.

Using IT to set you up right means using knowledge and experience gained over time to right the ship and keep the whole system working together.

The same experience configuring your network top to bottom can be called on again to update or change it as requirements and projects shift. With a complete system picture, less time can be spent on troubleshooting, and more can be allocated to just getting work done.

Sports Car IT

IT with long-standing issues and bugs, ones that staff have gotten accustomed to working around, can be like running an old vehicle. It’s often more expensive to maintain an old car than purchase something more modern requiring less maintenance. An old car requires more parts, becomes less efficient, uses more oil, and is more likely to suffer breakdowns too. The same is true of old IT.

The cost over time of a well-configured system can often be the same or even less than fixing broken issues on the old one. The difference is a dramatic difference in downtime and lost productivity. Better IT means getting where you need to be, faster.

Your Staff Deserve IT

Nothing distracts employees from a task more than unexpected downtime or systems failures. Whether getting crucial documents Friday afternoon, or attempting to settle into work Monday morning; bad IT is frustrating, disheartening, and time-consuming.

One of the hardest but most rewarding elements to cultivate in a company is good staff morale. When you have it, productivity goes up, turnover goes down, and the business environment is vastly improved for everyone. When you don’t have it, the workday is that much tougher for everyone.

Workflow issues are well known to be one of the top contributors to poor morale. Slow machines, unavailable printing, and interruptions cause more knock-on issues than just the IT department can fix. Good employees need and deserve the right tools for the job.

A Better Way to Operate

Use the new year as a golden opportunity for a fresh start on your IT. An assessment of your system by IT professionals will diagnose issues and give you a complete guide to get back on track. Whether caused by a configuration error, bad devices, or something else; we’ll track down the causes and leave them to be forgotten about.

There’s never a better time to establish a managed IT services relationship. Contracting professional services can put an end to system bottlenecks, configure your system right, and advise on the best course to take into the new year.

The most important decision you can take into the year ahead is to stop addressing IT issues as they happen. Take charge of your IT and fix the underlying causes holding you up.

Give us a call today at 504-323-7111 to start a service relationship that will see your business take off into a very happy new year.

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Save Money and Time with Managed IT Services

Save Money and Time with Managed IT Services

IT services can be one of the largest and most unpredictable expenses within a business. Unexpected failures, mandatory upgrades, and sudden staff changes can happen quickly and be very expensive.

These factors, a part of the IT world, make IT departments costly, hard to manage, and difficult to budget for.

Switching your business to managed IT services can lower costs and reduce unpredictable expenses. Making the switch can cut down management overheads and reduce budgets to a fixed period cost. Here’s how.

Reducing Infrastructure

It’s common in many firms for single tasks to be required to pass through multiple devices before they can be delivered or shipped. Invoices, payroll, and digital deliverables are particularly common culprits. When looking to improve efficiency and lower unnecessary costs, this is typically the first place to trim fat.

Instead of adding office clutter with more devices, cloud resources can streamline processes. Using cloud-based technology to do some of the same tasks as before typically adds more power and improves speed.

Cloud-based services are usually faster and available to more users at once. Files and services are easier to access and less likely to clog up the internal network.

Reducing the overheads associated with running internal servers is commonly a major bonus too. Eliminating associated costs such as maintenance, security, cooling and upgrades is the largest bonus many firms receive.

Cloud technology has the power to simplify and speed up your entire workflow while making large financial savings.

For most businesses, these savings can be put into critical areas of the firm where they can be better used.

Keeping IT costs predictable

In the world of IT, bad news is a fact of life. Systems failures and critical events will always happen eventually, it’s just a question of when. Virus attacks, malware, hackers, and hardware failures occur commonly and can take a systems out of operation for days.

Managed IT services focus on tackling these issues before they happen. Continuous monitoring of systems alerts us of hardware issues before their symptoms even begin.

Antivirus, firewall, and security systems are also kept up-to-date every night to prevent threats from being exploited and data being stolen.

Reducing Downtime

IT failures that take your systems offline typically costs far more than the total repair bill to fix it. Every minute your critical systems are unavailable is time spent not creating business income or value. The more staff you employ, the more the cost multiplies too.

It’s important to consider the value of the business’s reputation on top of just downtime. Not having services available when clients or customers need them most can sour relationships fast. Your services may be the difference between meeting and missing a crucial deadline. If your service isn’t reliable then clients may look for one that is.

No Internal IT Hires

As every business owner knows, the cost of staff is far more than just their salary. Holiday pay, retirement, sick leave, training, benefits, and downtime all must be factored into the total cost. Staff costs are the single biggest bill to pay, even in the smallest IT departments.

Managed IT reduces staff costs down to a single lower cost bill that includes all your IT needs.

We train and manage our own staff to service your firm. By doing so, you get all the advantages of an IT department to meet your business needs without the overheads and management of staff that are not central to customer demands.

Managed IT Services for your Firm

While IT and services are complex, expensive, and resource consuming; it doesn’t have to be for your business. Managed IT services present a simple, cost-effective solution to meet your requirements.

We can slash your downtime, secure your business, and keep on top of your infrastructure without adding unnecessary expenses.

Give us a call at 504-323-7111 today to see if managed IT services are the right fit for your firm.

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Beat the IT Burden

Beat the IT Burden

Technology today allows us to accomplish more tasks faster than ever before. Paperless documents, remote collaboration and video conferencing have all lowered the costs and increased the speed of everyday business at an extraordinary rate.

The benefits of modern IT does, however, come at a cost. Consistent maintenance has become a critical component of almost every business. The IT department is now as important to the functioning of a firm as sales, marketing, or management. The advantages that come with modern technology more than outweigh the drawbacks. It’s up to you as a business owner to balance both. In today’s highly competitive business environment the latest tips, tricks, and tools are essential to keeping ahead of the competition.

The Cost of Great IT

While well maintained IT is a powerful asset; poor, crumbling IT can quickly turn into a liability. Machines, servers and desktops need to be kept up to date with the latest operating system and security patches as a matter of priority. Data requires consistent back-up too.

Poor security and data backup measures put both your own and your customer data at risk from attack. Regular security updates close vulnerable gaps, while backups protect valuable data. Strong security protects your liability against losing your own and your customer data.

Determining what is and isn’t good IT practice for your firm takes the experience and knowledge of a professional. Good security involves more than one managed system to protect your assets. Good data backup is ideally done daily, involving more than a single copy in an off-site location. Without taking these steps at a minimum, a business is as little as one glitch away from a complete critical failure.

Managing Internal IT

The IT demands of every firm changes on a near-daily basis. Software is often added or removed, user accounts need to be added, removed, or changed and permissions require modification to suit ever-changing requirements. The time requirement of daily IT changes alone is more than many departments can handle.

Many small firms deal with accounts, permissions, and software at an individual level. Wherever this is the case, complications inevitably happen. Software and services get lost and forgotten in the system, often polluting other packages and causing IT issues throughout the firm. User accounts are often left on the system months or years after an employee has departed.

For reliable and secure IT management, managed group policies prevents bad systems. IT management allows staff to get on with their work without technology getting in the way. Data is managed at a department level, accounts are removed for staff that depart the business and software is installed by professionals. Using this approach the liability of the firm for IT failures is dramatically reduced.

Managing IT Without Added Burden

One of the major complaints about setting up well managed IT is the overhead that it adds to the firm. Staff costs, additional management, and the office space of an IT department is a daunting financial burden to add.

Staff costs alone can make building an equipped IT department prohibitively expensive. Qualified, dependable, knowledgeable IT staff demand a high salary and costly benefits. In addition, equipment costs and lead time to get up and running on your business systems drive the costs even higher. Some firms simply don’t have the space required to add an entirely new department to the business.

That’s why, for many businesses, outsourcing is the most effective way to update their IT without increasing business overhead. Outsourcing provides modern IT for a simple, fixed monthly cost. Removing the distractions of managing an entirely new department allows the business to focus on doing the job they do best.

What We Do

By trusting your IT to us, we ensure that your systems are up-to-date, secure, and fully backed up. We can keep you competitive by allowing you to accomplish more than ever before.

Along with day to day IT management, monitoring, and set up; we can assist your transition to paperless documents, setup remote working, and provide IT assistance to set up the latest technology that will enable you to succeed.

Allow us to help you do more than ever before. Bring your IT demands to us and we’ll provide you with the modern IT you need to let your business thrive. Call us at 504-323-7111

 

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