Stephanie Hurd

Stephanie Hurd
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What is a Managed Service Provider?

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Nov 13, 2019 9:15:00 AM

A managed service provider, or MSP, is a third-party that delivers an essential business function. Usually this refers specifically to IT functions. MSPs work under a subscription model, rather than a per-hour or per-call rate charged by on-demand or break/fix vendors. With on demand service providers, response to issues as they arise can cause unpredictable costs and outages. By contrast, an MSP is a business partner that proactively manages and assumes responsibility for an agreed upon set of services. 

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Topics: Technology Strategy, Business Strategy, Outsourced IT Support

The Cost of Managed IT Services: A Comprehensive Breakdown

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Nov 5, 2019 8:15:00 AM

 

You have a gut feeling that something isn’t right about the way you’ve been approaching IT in your business. You’re not sure exactly what to do, but you’re afraid of what might happen if you continue the current path. 

Maybe you have one or two internal IT employees. You’re worried about what would happen if your network crashes overnight or while they’re on vacation. Maybe you contract with a freelancer or company to come to your business and install or troubleshoot equipment as needed. They do the work you ask, but you’re not sure if there are better hardware and software options available. 

If these are the things keeping you up at night, outsourcing your IT department might be the right solution for you. Managed IT is just one of the four main ways businesses approach IT support, but it is the only comprehensive outsourced IT option that will address your concerns. 

With managed IT services, an IT company takes on complete oversight of your network and support of your devices and end users. Managed IT services include both strategic and tactical services. You get the benefits of an IT strategy with a team of professionals handling the monitoring and maintenance of your network along with the day-to-day end user support.  

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Topics: Technology Strategy, Business Strategy, Purchasing, Outsourced IT Support

Benefits of an IT Strategy

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Oct 29, 2019 7:15:00 AM

Your business plan informs your go-to-market strategy. It includes a thorough market analysis and assessment of your competition. It tells you how you’ll market yourself. It identifies the human and financial capital you’ll need to deliver your products and services.

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Topics: Technology Strategy, Business Strategy

Things to Consider Before Moving to the Cloud

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Oct 23, 2019 7:31:32 PM

The cloud is the hottest tech buzzword. Everyone is anxious to downsize their technology to a computer with an internet connection. Especially when faced with a major server or software upgrade.

That’s doable for a lot of businesses these days. But moving to the cloud without thinking about all the implications can have a major negative impact on your business.

Some things you’ll need to consider include:

  • What are you moving to the cloud?
  • Do you need to access the cloud when the internet goes down?
  • Is your data in the cloud backed up? 
  • Does your cloud solution meet security and compliance requirements?

First, to identify what you’re moving to the cloud. Let’s make sure you understand what the cloud is, and your options for using it.

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Topics: Technology Strategy, Business Strategy, Purchasing

Are Your Business Network Credentials for Sale on the Dark Web?

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Oct 6, 2019 9:08:11 AM

You use password-protected applications for everything from banking and financial management to planning vacations and socializing. In the workplace, sign-in credentials connect you and your employees to business applications and online services like payroll processing, appointment scheduling, invoicing, and every other confidential function of your business.

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Topics: Cybersecurity, Threat Prevention

Washington County Day of Caring 2019

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Sep 23, 2019 12:07:44 PM

Innovative has much more to offer than just our technology and business expertise. We proved that last Thursday when our team put their blood, sweat, and hopefully not too many tears into cleaning 103 historic gravestones for the Sharpsburg Historical Society during United Way of Washington County's Day of Caring

We learned a lot about cemetery preservation and were assisted and trained on proper stone cleaning techniques by Robert Mosko and his crew from Mosko Cemetery and Monument Services. Here, Robert gives us a demonstration of how to properly clean a gravestone with just water and a scrub brush.

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Topics: Life at Innovative

Two Common Problems with Your IT Support Company

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Sep 18, 2019 9:05:28 AM

You signed a contract with an IT support company and are relieved to have the weight of technology troubles lifted from your shoulders.

Not so fast.

You may be in for a bumpy ride.

We’ve heard all kinds of stories about why businesses are unhappy with their IT support vendor. Sometimes trouble creeps up over time as the service or the perception of service goes downhill. Other times the relationship is rocky from the start.

We’re not too proud to admit that we’ve had customers leave us in search of greener pastures. We’ve also acquired new customers leaving other providers with which they became unhappy.

Sometimes you need to leave your IT support provider (yes, even if it's us) when you outgrow one another or determine that your priorities and values are no longer aligned (or maybe they never were). Other times you can turn the relationship around with a little communication.

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Topics: Technology Strategy, Business Strategy, Outsourced IT Support

Ransomware Defense: Anti-Virus, Backups and Cyber Insurance

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Aug 29, 2019 8:53:43 AM

We recently used Presbyterian Health Services potential breach of protected health information (ePHI) as a case study in why employee behavior and training are key elements of security and compliance.

Not even a month later, and here we go again.

Last week, Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen, WA issued a formal notice of a potential electronic protected health information (ePHI) breach. Like Presbyterian Health Services, this potential breach was the result of a phishing email. In this case, the attackers initiated a ransomware attack holding the organization’s medical records hostage and demanding a $1 million ransom to release the key to de-encrypt their data.

Grays Harbor seemed to have done everything right to prepare for this type of incident. They have an IT department, anti-virus solution, data backups, and even took out a $1 million cyber insurance policy.

Even though they seem to have followed the playbook, there are some lessons to be learned from this incident.

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Topics: Technology Strategy, HIPAA, Threat Prevention

Cost of Business IT Support

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Aug 26, 2019 9:20:38 AM

There are four different ways most businesses acquire IT support.

You can:

  1. Hire an internal IT person
  2. Hire an on-demand IT vendor or freelancer when you need help
  3. Pre-purchase blocks of IT support hours
  4. Partner with a Managed Service Provider (MSP)

Each approach to IT support has its pros and cons, and within each approach are various pricing models.

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Topics: Technology Strategy, Business Strategy, Purchasing, Outsourced IT Support

Technology Lessons from The Office

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Aug 15, 2019 10:32:47 AM

I'm currently re-watching The Office (US) for what feels like the 100th time. This time, I realized that some parts have a whole new meaning now that I work for an IT company that provides tech support to businesses like the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. 

In this clip from Season 7, Episode 9, "WHUPF.com," Jim tries to reset the server after a power outage causes it to go down. 

He's stuck and The Office can't do any work since he doesn't know the password to sign into the server. This causes Michael to recall all of The Office's former IT guys to determine who originally set up the server.

As Michael thinks through the list of IT guys backward from the most current by the nicknames he gave them, "Glasses, Turban, Ear Hair, Fatty 3, Shorts, Fatty 2, Lozenge, and Fatso," Kevin remembers that 'Lozenge' set up the server eight years ago. Michael recalls that whatever the password was made him laugh when he heard it but, "Pam got really offended." Jim ultimately enters Kevin's suggestion of "big boobz," based on Michael's clues. The password is accepted, the server is reset, and Dunder Mifflin lives on to sell paper another day. 

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Topics: Employee Retention, Technology Strategy, Threat Prevention, Disaster Recovery, Devices

IT Starts with Strategy

Tips to get the most out of business technology

Expert advice and best practices allowing you to leverage technology for business growth. 

Topics include:

  • Fusing business and technology strategy
  • Business operations
  • Budgeting and lifecycle management
  • Network security and compliance
  • HIPAA
  • Data security and backup
  • Hardware and infrastructure 
  • Phone systems
  • Printers and copiers

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