When Santa’s Workshop Has IT Troubles, They Know Who to Call

Profile side photo of santa claus sit table desk work computer before x-mas christmas night

We work with many businesses, but one, in particular, may surprise you. Let’s talk about how our co-managed IT services made one specific organization’s critical processes a lot easier to manage during their busiest time of year:

Jangle leaned back from his monitor and sighed, rubbing his eyes—half out of tiredness, half out of stress. As much as he loved this time of year (as an elf, it was only natural that he would), there were parts that he could admit he hated. The newly-transferred co-manager turned to the other North Pole’s IT department manager, Ginger.

“So, are you seeing this too, Ging?”

Ginger glanced over at his screen. He was amazed that she could see at all, with all the stream from her perpetually full cup of cocoa fogging up her glasses. Her brow furrowed, telling him she knew exactly what he was talking about.

“Yeah, that doesn’t make sense.” She frowned and glanced back at her monitor, stirring her mug with a candy cane as she examined the displayed data.

“I didn’t think so, either.”

Sighing again, Jangle leaned forward to examine the information once more for himself. Before him was a rundown of all the other departments at the North Pole—List Management, Toy Assembly, Coal Acquisition, Elven Resources, Packaging and Processing, and of course, the Garage—and all of the technologies that each department currently had in place, accompanied by the name of the elf signed in to use each workstation. Looking again, he confirmed that he had seen what he thought he saw.

During their time as co-managers of the North Pole’s newly-formed IT Department, Jangle and Ginger had not only trained a hand-picked team of elves to staff their department; they had made it a point to implement technology systems that would help to make their job much more manageable. One of these systems was a remote monitoring and management system, which allowed their team to keep track of all the Pole’s various tools and technology solutions and preemptively catch issues. This system was causing him so much confusion at the moment. According to his plan, there was an elf in two places at once.

It seemed that one of the elves assigned to the Coal Acquisition team was also working in Packaging and Processing… literally; his display was telling him that Jolly Cookiescarf was currently using his laptop in the mining office while also logged in on a tablet in ribbons and bows.

Sighing again, Jangle called over one of the elves in his department. Trinket Cracklecane locked her workstation and wheeled her chair over.

“Yeah, boss?”

Jangle looked at his enthusiastic team member. “Have you seen any sign of a virus in our systems? I have an elf that appears to be logged in on multiple devices simultaneously.”

Trinket’s face scrunched up in confusion. “No, I don’t think so. Let me check again, and I’ll call up 4Corner IT to ask if they can see anything.”

Since the year before, the Pole had been working with 4Corner IT, bringing on the managed service provider as an extra IT resource to work with their newly-formed internal IT team. The remote monitoring and management services that the MSP provided had prevented many issues from materializing caught early enough to be fixed preventatively.

Trinket clacked away at her keyboard for a moment, and after a quick scan of her display, turned back to her managers.

“No sign of a virus, but I’ll call up 4Corner IT and see if they have any insight into what’s going on.”

As Trinket picked up her phone—connected via the North Pole’s new VoIP (Voice over Icicle Protocol) setup—Jangle and Ginger looked at each other. Ginger spoke up first.

“So, assuming it isn’t a glitch, what do you think is going on?”

Jangle rubbed his temples. While this wasn’t a huge issue, per se, he had learned from experience that these kinds of things could (and usually did) escalate into much larger problems if they weren’t addressed quickly.

“Honestly, it could be a couple of things. I mean, there’s the obvious answer, that someone is sharing their login credentials with someone else… but that doesn’t make sense because we’ve made sure that each elf has access to the tools they need. I mean, something could be misconfigured on our end, too.”

Click. Trinket placed her handset back in its cradle.

“Well, I talked to 4 Corner IT. Based on what they can see, we have an active user logged in at two places at once. They’re going to kick both users out and push a password reset.”

“Okay,” Jangle replied. “So with that taken care of, it sounds like we need to track down Jolly and find out who he shared his credentials with, and then make sure he doesn’t do it again..”

Ginger nodded, and the two started. Descending into the mines, Jangle and Ginger expertly navigated the candy cane catwalks that led to the control center that ensured that the Pole had the coal needed for distribution each year. Walking in, they saw Jolly sitting at his workstation, updating the calculations of how much coal the Pole would need for the big day.

“Hi, Jolly, can we talk for a second?” Ginger asked politely.

Jolly started, clearly not expecting company, and pulled off his headphones. Loud carols could be heard emanating from the speakers. “Yeah, is something wrong? I just got a prompt to reset my password.”

“Well, Jolly, we noticed that you were logged in at more than one place, and we just wanted to check and see if you had shared your passwords with anybody.”

Jolly nodded. “Yeah, Biscotti had forgotten his, so I figured it would be easier if he and I just shared. My account also has access to everything he needs, so it just made sense to share it instead of bothering you guys.”

“Well, we appreciate that, Jolly,” Jangle said. “However, it’s important that you don’t share your access credentials. I mean, I know that Biscotti probably wouldn’t do anything bad with them, but you can never be too careful, you know? I mean, what if somebody called him up, pretending to be with the Tooth Fairy or someone, but they were trying to ruin Christmas? They could easily phish your credentials out of him, and you’d be on the hook too.”

“Oh! I never thought about it that way. It makes sense, I suppose. Sorry about that!”

Ginger nodded. “That’s okay, just as long as you don’t do it again. Maybe we should remind the team here about the importance of password security once things calm down a little bit.” She looked to Jangle to see if he agreed. He did.

“I’ll reach out to 4Corner IT to see if they have any suggestions. In the meantime, I don’t see the harm in sending out a quick email to everyone to reinforce proper password practices.”

Ginger nodded again in response, and the two co-managers returned to their team to strategize their internal security awareness improvements.

We can provide your business with the same services to our friends up north. Reach out at (954) 474-2204 to find out what we can do for you.

The Benefits of Managed IT Services in 2021

Hand holding tablet with cloud technology and dark concept

When it comes to your business technology, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than the best. Unfortunately, technology is one facet of running a company where many business owners feel they have the least amount of control, perhaps due to its many moving parts and overwhelming complexity. The question becomes one of how you want to approach managing your business’ technology and finding the right skill sets to do so. Enter the benefits of managed IT services.

You generally have two options for your IT needs: hire an in-house department or outsource the responsibilities to a third party. Which approach best suits your needs?

Hiring an in-house department of IT technicians can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. Just like with any other position at your company, you will have to put together the job description, duties and responsibilities, and preferred requirements. That’s not to mention the time it takes to advertise the position, collect resumes and applications, put together a search committee, and interview successful candidates. Add in the onboarding process and any training that they might need and you have a lengthy process that is not necessarily conducive to the “I need help right now” mode that many organizations find themselves in with their IT.

The alternative is to outsource your entire IT department to a dedicated third party. Believe it or not, this is a remarkably valuable asset for your organization to have. Plus, most IT maintenance and management can be done remotely without an on-site visit, meaning that you are not limited by the traditional barriers to finding top talent. You could work with a reputable company halfway across the country if you want to, and you can afford to be picky with who you hire for the job.

Note the key difference between your in-house IT talent and outsourcing. Hiring an in-house IT department is dependent on other peoples’ qualifications rather than what you want for your IT needs. When it comes to your business, you should do what you think is best for your specific needs, and if that is outsourcing to find the best fit for your company, then you should never be ashamed of that.

We always recommend that you start with an IT audit to ascertain where you currently are in terms of your IT infrastructure versus where you want to be. 4 Corner IT is happy to help with this process. After we gauge your current network infrastructure, we can work with you to identify your company’s major IT challenges and implement solutions that address them.

Or, if you would rather hire in-house technicians, we can supplement their duties and responsibilities by covering the more mundane parts of the job, like supporting your team and performing routine maintenance. This frees up valuable time and resources for your technicians to focus on what you hired them to do: innovate and implement. It does not matter where you currently are in your IT processes–we can jump right in and provide value for your company.

To learn more about our benefits of managed IT services, reach out to 4 Corner IT at (954) 474-2204.

Use These 5 Steps to Implement Your Business’ Technology

Implementing new technology into your IT infrastructure is not something that can be done without serious consideration. If you skip the planning process, the last thing you should expect is for things to work out in your favor. Start by weighing your organization’s specific needs, then consider all of the ways that those needs can be met. Today we are going to discuss how you can make all of this happen in the easiest way possible.

The process, as you might expect, is a multi-layered one. Start with a business needs analysis, then transition into identifying technology that addresses these pain points, how you will afford said technology, focusing on what your business does well, and calling upon the feedback of employees to strengthen the implementation.

Analyze Your Business’ Needs

Understanding your business’ needs should come first. Be sure to consider what challenges your business must tackle moving forward, as well as how you might overcome them. We want to emphasize one point: only implement new technology solutions that solve problems for your business. If you are too liberal with the employment of new technology, your infrastructure could grow in a negative way, making it more difficult to administer maintenance and keep things up-to-date or in proper working order.

Consider the Price Point

As a small business owner, you know all too well how large costs can set you back, especially with investments in new technology solutions. This makes it significantly harder to budget for. While you could implement new technology by paying for it up-front, there is value to using the “as a service” model for new solutions, as well, many of which provide services based on a monthly payment model. Since these products are scalable, they can be easily budgeted for.

Lean Into Your Strengths

On a micro level, you already do this by delegating duties to your employees based on their roles within your organization, but on a macro level, you can do something similar with your technology solutions by putting your efforts into investing in technology that augments these strengths. One example is the business that prides itself on customer service. This type of business can provide even better service by utilizing help desk solutions or instant messaging chats. Basically, you supplement what your business is already good at with technology that makes doing that even better.

Ask Your Employees

If you are stuck on where to implement technology, you can always get feedback from your employees. Consider asking them what challenges they face and how they can be addressed. You can use this information to implement technology that helps them perform their day-to-day duties in an easier and more efficient way. This approach also helps to give your employees a voice within your organization, which is a value that you cannot underestimate.

Work with a Managed Service Provider

If you are not sure how to address any of the above, we can help your business approach implementing new technology solutions by doing so with intention. To learn more about how you can reach your business goals, facilitated by technology, reach out to 4 Corner IT at (954) 474-2204.

Aspects of Managed Services Support

aspects of managed services support

Managed services and break-fix services play essential roles in supporting your business in IT-related matters. Small and medium entities face tough choices in deciding between the two aspects and complementing IT resources as well as personnel in place. 

Managed Services vs. The Break-Fix Mentality

Just as the name suggests, the Break-fix mentality interacts with your business only when you experience IT problems. 

The vendors of break-fix services send IT professionals to your location to provide remedies at your business location. 

After finding a solution to your IT problem, you are charged for the services rendered. The break-fix services have no ongoing fees and do not tie you to any contracts.

On the contrary, managed services entails outsourcing service providers that share the responsibility for your IT system. 

It creates an extensive and continuous relationship between your business and your service provider. 

Such services work off your business premise and use their systems to supervise and deal with identified IT problems. Mostly, the problems are identified before you experience any system outages. 

Why Break-fix is No Longer Good Enough for Your Business

Below are the main reasons why the break-fix mentality is not any good for your business. 

Subdues Productivity

When you use this model, you are forced to assign your IT needs to your employees. Since this might be a good idea in the short term, it reduces the level of productivity and leads to wastage of resources. 

Cost

In this IT model, you pay for labor, repairs, and consultation. It is impossible to budget for the issues, and there is no reasonable way of establishing whether you are paying a fair price. 

Besides, there are no preventive measures that you can put in place to avoid any problems in the future. This leaves you susceptible to surprise system breakdowns and costs. 

Extended Downtime

In this model, when you experience an IT problem, every minute costs you money. The sporadic nature of this model leads to extended repair time. The extended downtime and the additional repair time increases the cost making it undesirable.  

Do Managed Services Cost More Than Traditional Break-Fix Services?

Managed services cost more than break-fix services. Managed services involve the provision of a recurrent service, which translates to recurrent expenses. 

The services differ based on your business’s needs though it is vital to be proactive in using IT services to achieve business objectives. 

When you use this IT model, you accrue higher upfront fees, monthly subscription fees, and monitoring fees. 

Engaging a managed service provider increases the level of visibility and your capability to establish robust IT strategies. In as much as it is effective and creates accountability, the services cost more than the services rendered in the break-fix model. 

How Are Managed Services Priced?

All businesses want to minimize costs, but that is just one factor you need to think about. Therefore, you need to understand all the pricing aspects of IT services models before you make a decision. 

Managed IT services pricing is based on the following.

  • The number of users
  • Risks Involved
  • Your needs

The price of managed services depends on the monthly cost per user, the coverage, the number of specialists, and the extent of coverage. 

The level of support included and your levels of business that the support is designed for affects the pricing of managed services provided to you.  

The Real Benefits of Managed Services

The benefits of managed services are clear. The model provides IT services to every aspect of your business. As a result, your entity achieves higher standards of IT services. 

Implementing managed services in your business offers several benefits, including:

Enhanced Productivity

Outsourcing IT functions dedicate in-house IT experts to projects that promote innovation and enhance achievement of set objectives. 

Promotes Scalability

Most entities find it more useful to start small and expand according to the growing needs. Managed services make it easy for you to scale either up or down and increase capacity depending on the scope of changes in your business needs. 

Keeps Pace with Your IT Demands

When you outsource IT services or partner with skilled IT professionals, you alleviate the pressures associated with keeping pace with the dynamism of technology. 

Contact us for professional advice on the best IT model for your business.

IT Service Management: Greater ROI and Efficiency

it service management
IT Service Management

This is not fake news: IT Service Management(ITSM) can have a significant impact on your business’s return on investment(ROI) and improve your overall productivity and efficiency.

How can using IT service management in your business help you accomplish all the business goals you have set?

Return On Investment

So now that you know that your company’s ROI can be impacted by IT Service Management, you are probably also wondering how it can do this. The procedures and processes that are used by ITSM can help your company envision your daily workflow so you can eventually become more efficient and so that you can save money. Efficiency and cost savings do not just take place in your workplace’s IT department; these things will happen across every department in your workplace.

As a result of greater efficiency in all departments, the impact on your company’s bottom line will be tremendous. The data that can be recorded by IT Service Management can give your company relevant information about what type of problems you may run into, which will give your business the opportunity to take the right measures ahead of time. ITSM can help your company make tough decisions about which processes and strategies should be pursued.

Efficiency

Since IT will create multiple changes across the entire workplace, your company’s operational efficiency can be improved with greater IT service. When all of your employees are using the same resources and tools, it will make it easier to implement and integrate new procedures. When your workplace uses the right tools and the right technology, this can result in more opportunities to streamline and automate your processes.

Streamlining multiple processes can eventually result in greater productivity and higher efficiency. IT service management can be used to improve all of your departments, not just your IT department. When you can reduce human mistakes across the board, you will have the cost-saving and efficiency solution you have been searching for.

  • Are you looking to make an investment in your entire workplace?
  • Do you want to find out how ITSM can translate into greater workplace efficiency?
  • Do you want to find better ways to achieve your goals?

Contact us today for more information on IT service management.