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.
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.
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.
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.
Most businesses launch their operations on a shoestring budget and manage the business on readily available technology. If your business starts in your home, as many do, you probably already have a basic computer, internet connection, and phone service. All you need to do is register a domain name for your website and email, set up a basic website through a web hosting provider and platform, and select an email hosting provider. Eventually, you start to grow and bring on your first few employees. With employees comes more computers and the need to share information and applications. Great employees expect to have the tools and resources to do their jobs well, and you need to spend your time growing the business not dealing with day-to-day technology challenges. You may have a friend or colleague help you with your IT needs, but you’re starting to think you need a bit more support than one person can provide. This is usually around the time when a business starts to think about obtaining some sort of professional IT support. There are a few ways you can go at this point.
If you're planning to upgrade hardware or networking infrastructure in your business this year, you may see significant cost savings by purchasing that equipment soon (i.e. this month) thanks to increased tariffs on Chinese imports.
From basic desktop computers to complex network infrastructure, all businesses need some sort of technology to operate. With the amount of technology necessary to compete in today's economy, how do businesses maintain margins and absorb ever-growing IT costs? Leasing is an option that reduces your initial investment and allows for the flexibility to adopt new technology based on your business needs and not capital budgets.
Many organizations, especially those experiencing growth, find themselves at a crossroads where they must decide to expand their own internal IT department, or perhaps hire their first full-time IT staff member. Small and medium-sized businesses typically have a ‘technical’ employee or two who perform the daily duties of managing the organization’s equipment with varied results. These ‘involuntary IT managers’ often perform duties that go well beyond the scope of their actual job description. As a result, neither the job they were hired for nor those extra responsibilities are performed adequately due to time, budget, and/or knowledge setbacks of those individuals being pulled in multiple directions.
A server allows businesses to point all users toward a centralized location to access files and applications. There are some considerations when deciding if your business needs a server. In general, servers offer many benefits, and are a common approach for businesses that want consistency, centralization, and/or PCI, HIPAA or other industry-specific compliance. If you're not sure that a server environment is right for your business, there are other alternatives to consider, each with their own pros and cons.
This is a very common question among small businesses, so let’s start with a quick definition of what a server is. A server is typically an on-premise, high-performance piece of hardware that is combined with a high-end, server-based operating system that is used to store data and centralize resources (what a mouth full). When done properly, all computers point to this server to access files and application data while hardware/software redundancy keeps a high level of up-time for your staff. There are numerous benefits to this type of centralization, but it doesn’t come without a cost.