3 Critical Services Your Current IT Support Is Missing

3 Critical Services Your Current IT Support Is Missing

It’s always fun for IT guys to see people in the financial industry marvel at Bitcoins and their fluctuations. Here in IT, fluctuation and change are the norm.  A significant service can be a lifesaver now but give it a few years, and it will be completely null.

Herein lies the problem. In IT, things change fast, and businesses that don’t adapt to these changes are flushed down the toilet. This is why choosing an IT Support is a daunting task. The service spectrum is broad, and needs are always changing, and it’s always difficult to tell if your IT service provider is providing you with the best services, or leaving some vital things out of their checklist.

Your IT service provider may be missing the following boxes on their service provision checklist:

Cloud Cost Optimization

The internet always seems free for everyone except for IT firms. Your internet provider may be intentionally or unintentionally, making you pay way more to the Cloud Service Providers than you should. Statistics show that most companies spend about 36% more than they should be paying to their Cloud Service Providers such as AWS.

Most IT businesses lose out on massive savings by outsourcing their Cloud Management to IT Service Providers who overlook cost optimization. To these providers, just getting you to the cloud is an accomplishment, even if your business has to spend fortunes to use it.

There are a plethora of actions your MSP should be undertaking to cut your cloud costs significantly. Your IT service provider should be:

  • Using or be heavily invested in Cloud analytics
  • Integration of Auto Scaling To reduce costs
  • Using AWS cost optimization tools
  • Power Utilization Practices such as Power schedules
  • Right-Sizing Of Computing Services
  • Use of Spot instances when necessary

Contingency Plans and Security

Once you have outsourced most of your IT service requirements to an IT firm, the security and safety of your data and the customer’s data becomes a priority. The two most essential things in security are contingency plans and constant improvement. Though most MSPs invest heavily in security, very few offer “Plan Bs” when the ceiling caves. Failure to plan, in IT more than any other industry, is planning to fail.

  • Your MSP should have:
  • Clearly laid out Disaster Recovery Plans
  • Insurance in case of a Cyber Attack
  • Extensive and Secure Backups for your data

In terms of constant improvement, your IT service Provider’s security plan should always be evolving. Security in IT is not a destination but a journey. Malware is continuously changing and improving, and so should your IT providers Security Plans. Your IT provider should be keeping up with the following cybersecurity and malware trends:

  • Increase in instances of Ransomware
  • Third-party Cryptomining
  • State-sponsored cyber attacks
  • Artificial intelligence in cyber terrorism

Regulatory Compliance

For years now, it was assumed that the web and IT were beyond regulation. Well, the amount of regulation in IT has significantly increased for two fundamental reasons. Governments and regulators have spent the past few years catching up. Also, the rise of IT and its growth has seen IT expand into uncharted territory and industries increasing its influence. This has called for more regulation.

Navigating the regulatory landscape is an essential service your MSP needs to offer. Some of the past, present and future regulations that have been lorded over the IT industry include:

  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union
  • Consumer Privacy Act in California (CCAP)
  • The Biometric Data Law in Illinois
  • Consumer Online Privacy Right Act(proposed Bill)
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
  • To show how a lack of regulatory compliance can cost a business and how fast the regulatory climate is changing, YouTube was recently fined $170 million for violating the COPPA regulations.

Regulation in itself is a noble idea, but it may lead to massive losses in money and time if neglected. Your IT provider has the responsibility of preparing you for future regulations and how they will affect your business. Your IT provider should be able to

  • Extrapolate your current investments and plans to see if they will be legally viable in the next ten years or so.
  • Align the services they offer to ensure that they comply with present and possibly future regulation.
  • Assure the privacy of your IT firm and the data of your customers and staff.

Though it’s true that the IT climate is always changing, we here at 4 Corner IT have always been changing with it. For any inquiries about IT and Custom solutions on your IT needs, contact us and let us be part of your story.

Can You Do Your Own Tech Support? Yes, and No

Can You Do Your Own Tech Support? Yes, and No

As a small business owner, you already know the value of technology. And you may try to do it all on your own. But, there are some areas that you are better off outsourcing to an expert. On the flip side, there are many things you can do without assistance to keep from dipping into your profits. Here are a few DIY IT dos and don’ts.

Do choose your own phones and computers

When it comes to selecting the right devices for your business, options abound. Your phone is a terrific example. In most situations, it is between Apple and Android, so look at each operating system’s top-of-the-line models.

The iPhone XS Max, for instance, is a lot in a small package. It offers a generous screen size, the fastest chip available in a phone, takes stellar pictures, and has a long-lasting battery life. Most new Apple phones also come preloaded with facial recognition and other privacy features.

For Android, you can’t go wrong with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, which is plenty fast and has a fairly large screen. What’s more, it includes lots of advanced security features, such as a designated file for sensitive information. It also functions through a platform designed to ward off cyber criminals – which Bentley University points out, these days cybercrime is of increasing importance, especially to small business owners.

Don’t try to handle data security unless you’re an expert

Data security is one of the most important aspects of your business. If you collect any personal information, you have to make this a priority. But, it is not as simple as just installing malware software to your computers, backing up your systems, and changing your passwords every so often.

Digital Guardian recently published more than 100 data protection tips; this clearly illustrates that protecting your data requires specialized knowledge and lots of it. Investing in a freelance consultant or company to help with your data security might not make you money directly, but it can help prevent a data disaster that could bankrupt your business.

Do fix common internet and equipment problems

Communications are cyberspace-centered these days, so you almost always need access to the web. But, before you panic and start shelling out money for a quick fix when your internet is down or a device fails, try troubleshooting things yourself.

Many common internet problems are solved by simply resetting your modem or wireless router. If things are suddenly slow, you might even check your internet provider’s terms of service to see if they lower speeds after X amount of usage. PC Mag also suggests changing the Wi-Fi channel if you are in a building with multiple wireless networks. Likewise, get familiar with how to fix paper jams on your office printer or copier. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that most issues can be fixed without expensive intervention.

Don’t design your website

A shoddy website is the equivalent of a brick-and-mortar building at the backside of an alley in the bad part of town. In other words, most people are going to steer clear of it. If your business is not web design, don’t try this at home. Look for someone to tackle it for you, such as a JavaScript developer with a solid grip on HTML, CSS, Grunt, Bower, and Gulp.

If you don’t know what any of those things are, that’s a sure sign that you need a pro. A great developer can create a compelling website that’s PC and mobile-friendly and will keep your users from clicking over to the competition. Remember, a top-notch, pleasing website is an investment that will bring a return, particularly if you have an e-commerce shop.

You don’t have to outsource everything, but you should put your money where it matters. Digital security and your online presence are not DIY tasks. Choosing your phone and office equipment, and tending them when needed, often are. Don’t be afraid to admit the things you can’t do, because the most successful business owners understand their specialties and are willing to pay for support where it’s required.

How Do Managed Service Providers Benefit Real Estate Companies?

How Do Managed Service Providers Benefit Real Estate Companies?

Real estate companies typically perform a variety of functions including both the buying and selling of residential and commercial properties, along with minor or perhaps even major involvement in the rental markets as well. While the real estate industry has been somewhat reluctant to wholeheartedly embrace technology as an integral partner to help them provide services to their clients, there are signs of that changing.

Streamlining Communication

Real estate agents typically spread their time between the office, visiting properties with clients, as well as working from home. One of the ways a managed service provider can help make the work lives of real estate employees easier is by offering them a VoIP communication system. With one phone number accessed over the internet, real estate agents are much more available to both clients and other real estate staff. An added bonus is that VoIP is significantly less expensive than traditional methods of voice communication.

Simplifying Tenant Oversight

Managed service providers can also help set up applications that help automate tasks involved in tenant oversight. With property management software, the more mundane tasks such as running credit checks on potential tenants along with analyzing past payment records is now automated. Digitizing lease agreements can help real estate companies reduce their previously enormous paper use, down to a fraction of its former level. Property management software can also automate some of the processes involved in the tracking and collection of rental payments as well.

Expanding Globally

Professional MSPs typically view keeping abreast of the latest technology trends as one of their primary responsibilities. This allows them to provide the necessary support behind the scenes for these newer types of technologies. For the real estate market, this means MSPs can make suggestions regarding the best apps, social media outlets, and websites for reaching the widest audience available. Real estate agents can reach a wider audience by providing recorded video walkthroughs, along with photo close ups of unique features of a home or property, then uploading that information for viewing by a global audience.

If you would like more information on how to expand your real estate company by using a managed service provider, please contact us.

The Cost of IT Support for Small Organizations

Practices for IT Service Management
Practices for IT Service Management

The familiar adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is”, often holds true for many different types of services and products. Especially for newer, rapidly growing industries like information technology, it is not uncommon for companies to be somewhat unfamiliar with what constitutes a fair cost, what level of service to expect, and so forth. Unfortunately, when searching for an IT vendor, some companies still allow themselves to be dazzled by extraordinarily low fees, coupled with a vague promise such as “we’ll always be there for you”. Later on they find out the quoted fees were merely a teaser rate, good only for a short period of time and the promise of “we’ll always be there for you”, well, that was only true if the client was willing to shell out quite a few extra $ to pay for steep overtime rates.

Fixed Costs – Buying Peace of Mind

More and more companies are realizing just how dependent their organization is upon technology. That dependence is likely to continue, and perhaps even increase, if an organization hopes to remain competitive. Just as with many other aspects of running a business such as a mortgage, utilities, salaries, etc., IT costs are now simply an integral part of running a successful organization.

It is probably safe to say that most businesses do recognize the incredible value added by IT, including both software and hardware — it’s just a matter of finding the right IT vendor that does an outstanding job on delivery of their peace of mind guarantees.

Delivering Exceptional Value and Service

An IT vendor that refuses to perform the proverbial bait-and-switch tactics is the ideal IT vendor to look for. This premiere type of vendor will instead provide a comprehensive contract clearly defining all the services they provide. The emphasis will be on 24/7/365 availability in order to keep their clients’ IT processes running seamlessly and dependably. The ideal IT vendor stays on top of the latest technology trends, current issues, and challenges specific to the field in order to provide proactive advice and support to their clients. For a clearly defined fixed fee, a top notch IT vendor will provide all the technical expertise required by today’s competitive organizations, so these organizations can do what they do best — that is supporting and growing their own business. 

If you would like to know more about negotiating a contract for reliable, comprehensive IT services, please contact us.

Early Preparation for the 2019 Hurricane

Early Preparation for the 2019 Hurricane
Early Preparation

It is a great idea that everyone has a good plan in place for the upcoming 2019 hurricane to protect their IT systems. We understand the massive damages that hurricanes can do when it gets us unprepared.

Below are some steps you can follow in preparation for a hurricane:

  • Property check – Ensure your property is well protected from water damages as it is the main thing that affects IT  systems during a storm.
  • Regarding your building protection, ensure any openings near the IT systems are well covered to keep water at bay. These openings include doors and windows.
  • Disable the restart feature of your electronic devices. This is because, once power is back after a blackout, the presence of water can cause a short electric circuit. This, in turn, can lead to unexpected damages.
  • You can also back up your data and files in case computers fail. Offsite backup is more advisable since you’ll still retrieve them in case of damages at your data center.
  • Most importantly, have hard copies of some relevant documents that may be needed when your IT system is still offline after the hurricane.
  • Good communication plan

Check out 7 Tips for Preparing Your Business for a Hurricane

When disaster strikes, you’ll probably need a reliable way of communication for emergency purposes. That is why you are advised to use cell-phones as they are quick ii matters of emergency and you need immediate help.

Landlines and VoIP phones need aren’t much convenient during this time as they use electricity which is likely to be absent during a hurricane.

Remember to charge your cell-phones earlier before the hurricane.

To conclude, a hurricane is something that needs appropriate preparedness to avoid damages which means extra costs to repair and even replace some valuable assets. It is therefore crucial that you keep the above measures in mind and the earlier, the better.

Contact us if in need of professional information regarding hurricane preparedness.