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

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

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

Employee Behavior is the Key to HIPAA Compliance & Data Security

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Aug 12, 2019 8:27:36 AM

On June 6, 2019, Presbyterian Health Services, a health care system and health care provider in New Mexico, discovered a potential breach of protected health information (ePHI).

You might assume that a hacker breached their firewall or snuck into their network undetected. That was not the case. The breach occurred because well-intentioned employees fell victim to a phishing email.

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Topics: HIPAA, Business Strategy, Cybersecurity, Threat Prevention

Five Reasons Why every Business Needs a Custom Email Domain

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Jul 29, 2019 10:08:22 AM

Think of your business’ domain name as your own, branded corner of the internet. It is the space you own for business-related web and email traffic.

In today’s digital economy, most businesses own a custom domain for their website. However, it’s surprising how many aren’t using a custom domain for email and instead use generic email addresses like gmail.com, yahoo.com, aol.com, etc. Even if you have not yet registered a custom domain, the process is relatively simple and inexpensive, and the benefits to your business are significant.

Here are the top five reasons every business needs a custom email domain.

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Topics: Technology Strategy, Business Strategy

A Week in the Life of an Outsourced IT Vendor: Part III

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Jul 25, 2019 8:54:47 AM

Welcome to the third and final installment of our three-part series demonstrating the types of services you should expect from a quality outsourced IT vendor.

Part I outlined the support you should expect from a help desk and service team, and Part II showed how your IT vendor should advise on business strategy.

Now, we’re featuring the third element of service provided by an outsourced IT vendor, project management and implementation.

Part III: Project Team

Projects are pre-planned, scheduled activities, like new device installation, software migration, cabling, etc. This role might be filled by the same team that handles your day-to-day support. However, when you’re evaluating an IT partner, it is important for you to understand how they maintain the capacity to respond to daily requests while meeting their pre-scheduled project commitments.

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Topics: Technology Strategy, Business Strategy, Outsourced IT Support

A Week in the Life of an Outsourced IT Vendor: Part II

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Jul 25, 2019 8:51:41 AM

In Part I of this series we outlined the Service Team component of an outsourced IT vendor. The Service Team tends to see the most day-to-day activities from customers since they handle incoming help desk calls and emails. They resolve issues remotely or on-site at the customers’ locations. Plus, they proactively monitor and maintain customer networks to address as many potential issues as possible before end-users ever notice a problem.

As you evaluate the benefits of working with an outsourced IT vendor, you’ll want a good understanding of the process for requesting assistance and their guaranteed response and resolution times. Additionally, you’ll want to understand what proactive steps the team takes to resolve issues before they impact business processes and productivity.

But it doesn’t stop there - the Service Team is just one component of the relationship you’ll have with a quality IT vendor.

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Topics: Technology Strategy, Business Strategy, Outsourced IT Support

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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