You’ve been working with an IT support company, freelancer, or managed service provider for a while. You like them. They’re great people. Maybe you’ve known them for years and they’ve helped you out of more than one bind. But lately, you’ve been feeling that things could be better. Your IT systems should be more in sync with your business. Your employees shouldn’t be dealing with nagging, unresolved problems. And your own, fairly new computer has been getting more sluggish by the day. Even on a good day when everything is working fine, you have a nagging gut feeling that the IT in your business isn’t great. You don’t even want to think about what might happen on a bad day when your server crashes or you get hit with a ransomware attack.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are four different ways most businesses acquire IT support. You can: Hire an internal IT person Hire an on-demand IT vendor or freelancer when you need help Pre-purchase blocks of IT support hours 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.