3 Signs Your Small Business Needs a Managed Service Provider

3 Signs Your Small Business Needs a Managed Service Provider

Are you currently researching about managed IT services for your small business? It is a common dilemma for many small business owners. You may wonder what exactly managed IT services is and if your business really needs it.

As this article states, an MSP is essentially your IT department. If something technology-related breaks, they help fix it. If you need an app devised or want to upgrade hardware and software, or take a look into virtualization, they can often help in these complex areas too.

Managed services is the outsourcing of daily IT administrative tasks in order to improve business operations. You can help determine if your business can benefit from managed services by comparing your current IT maintenance costs with an estimate from a reputable managed service provider.

Below are a few signs that may help you decide if managed services is right for your business.

There is No IT Professional On Staff

Many small businesses do not have an IT professional on staff. Often times, IT administrative duties fall into the lap of an employee who is tech-savvy enough to keep things working but not operating smoothly. Business owners then find themselves balancing technology issues while running their business. The employee who is managing IT tasks becomes unproductive in terms of their regular duties and does not have the knowledge or experience to prepare your IT infrastructure for future growth.

Your IT Person is Overwhelmed

Whether you do have an IT professional on staff or you have delegated the work to another employee, this person is probably overwhelmed with work. IT management requires various tasks on a regular basis such as software and security updates, hardware upgrades, and more. Not to mention the everyday management and monitoring tasks that need completion, even the most experienced IT professional can find this type of workload overwhelming. If your IT person is overrun with work, managed services can serve as a great resource for additional support.

You’re Being Reactive Rather Than Proactive

Many small business owners respond to IT issues from a reactive approach rather than a proactive approach. Meaning, when an issue arises, you call an IT company to send someone over to fix the broken issue. The problem with this approach is that these broken issues continually need fixing because they were not detected earlier nor fixed at the root level.

You can avoid these types of hassles by outsourcing your IT management to a managed services provider. They can continuously monitor and detect problems 24 hours a day. When issues occur, IT professionals receive notifications and they are able to troubleshoot and resolve issues before they become major problems.

Do you experience any of the above? If so, managed IT services is an ideal solution for your business. Contact us today to learn more about our pro-active IT support services.

A Brief History of Cloud Computing

Benefits of Using Cloud Servers
cloud servers.

When you think of cloud computing, you may think of 21st-century ideas and technology. This recent article answers the question, “What exactly is this nebulous concept?”

The short answer is that it’s somewhere at the other end of your internet connection – a place where you can access apps and services, and where your data can be stored securely.

However, the concept of cloud computing has a long history that began as early as the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Understanding the history of cloud computing helps see how those early concepts made it what it is today.

The 50s

Massive mainframe computers came into being in the 50’s and were used in schools, large corporations, and even government organizations. Due to the size and expense of owning one of these machines, companies needed a solution to allow more than one user access. Creating “dumb terminals” so multiple people could access the giant mainframe computer was the beginning of modern-day virtualization, thus the beginning of cloud computing.

The 70s

As technology improved in the 70’s and mainframes became a thing of the past, people were able to have their own distinct computers, but still be connected via a network. This sharing of some of the resources while still being able to have each machine contain its own memory and processor were introduced by IBM as an operating system called VM. This took the idea of accessing a mainframe to a new level and allowed more than one computing environment to reside in one physical environment.

The 90s

The next big leap in cloud computing came in the 1990’s. With the commercialization of the internet, the average user was able to manage and use services online. As computers became more affordable for the average user, more and more people began having computers in their homes, though it wasn’t until the mid 90’s that technology advanced enough and became affordable enough for the masses. With sufficient bandwidth finally available, companies were finally able to connect their employees.

Y2K

The year 1999 saw many milestones, one of which was the introduction of the concept of enterprise applications via the web. In 2002, Amazon began providing several cloud-based services and by 2006 offered the first widely accessible cloud computing infrastructure. Cloud computing evolved quickly from grid computing to utility computing, to SaaS and finally to cloud computing. By 2009, with the introduction of web 2.0, Google and other companies began to introduce browser-based cloud applications.

Today

Cloud computing as it is today offers environments for companies that allow them to effectively employ their own clouds, either private or hybrid. They no longer rely on public clouds and are able to increase overall performance. IT teams now have increased visibility to the back-end of their system. Cloud computing has seen huge changes throughout history and will continue to evolve.

The Cost Savings Benefits of Using a Managed Service Provider

The Cost Savings Benefits of Using a Managed Service Provider

Enlisting the help of a managed service provider lets you outsource IT tasks that would otherwise require you to hire an in-house IT specialist. Outsourcing IT support helps businesses to focus on business rather than technology support.

According to this article, a managed service provider (MSP) is a type of IT service company that provides server, network, and specialized applications to end users and organizations. These applications are hosted and managed by the service provider.

Deciding to use a managed service provider requires you to analyze the benefits and how they may help you reach your business goals. The benefits of managed IT services are many.

The following benefits impact daily operations as well as your bottom line.

Monthly Costs

Managing monthly costs is critical for any business. It is important to know how much you are spending, what you are spending it on, and what you may spend in the future. By outsourcing your IT support, you will pay the same amount no matter how much support you require each month. You will know how much to budget for IT support and you can allocate your remaining budget to other areas of your business.

Small Upfront Costs

When you outsource to a managed service provider, you automatically save on the upfront costs associated with buying necessary hardware and software. You can start with a monthly plan suited to your business needs rather than investing in costly equipment.

Scale Up or Scale Down

Managed IT services allow you to scale up as your business grows. If you need more users, it is simple to add them. If you realize your business does not need certain applications, request your provider remove them. Managed IT service is flexible in terms of adjusting to your business needs at any given time. This can save your business a significant amount of money during periods of growth.

Increased Productivity

A disruption in productivity due to IT issues can cost your business thousands of dollars. Rather than have you and your staff struggle with an IT issue, you can notify your managed IT service provider to fix the issue. They can often resolve your IT problem within minutes, saving you time and money.

Whether your business is small or large, it can benefit greatly from the use of a managed service provider. You will have consistent monthly costs, access to IT experts, and be able to scale up or down as necessary.

We have been providing Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties with word-class managed services for over a decade.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

What Managed Services Have to Say about Anti-Virus and Malware Protection

What Managed Services Have to Say about Anti-Virus and Malware Protection

Is it Worth it to Invest in Anti-Virus and Malware Protection?

4corner-security

You may be surprised to hear it, but many businesses still struggle with viruses and malware. A lot of focus has recently been shifted over to cyber crime, particularly because of the development of the cloud. But the reality is that many businesses still haven’t secured their equipment to protect against viruses that have been around for years.

Of course, you’d be hard-pressed to find a business that has absolutely no anti-virus or malware protection. The problem isn’t that they’re not aware of such issues, but rather that they’re not thorough in protecting against them.

An example of this is running an anti-virus scanner during work hours. This may sound like a good idea since employees will be there to take care of any detected viruses. But what really happens? Employees are disrupted by the scanner and just turn it off. A recent Tech Advisory article explains how this happens:

“These days, it is essential that you have anti-virus, malware, and spyware scanners installed on all machines and devices in your company and that you take the time to configure these properly. It could be that scans are scheduled during business hours, or they just aren’t updated. If you install these solutions onto your systems, and they start to scan during work time, most employees will just turn the scanner off thus leaving systems wide-open.”

So even if you have anti-virus software installed, you’ll want to make sure that it’s configured right. In addition, try to run the scanners at a time when employees aren’t at the computer. This way there’s no one there to cancel the scan.

This is an easy step that businesses can take to avoid a common problem. After all, they say that you’re supposed to work smarter, not harder.

If you’d like to talk more about managed services or anything else, contact us. Thanks.

How Do I Choose the Right MSP Managed Service Provider?

How Do I Choose the Right MSP Managed Service Provider?

You know that choosing the wrong managed service provider can result in a company not only not growing at its projected pace, but can actually take a firm backwards.

So, extensive research into the types of support and management available is essential, as is some way to make sure the decision results in obtaining everything necessary, but not a bit or a byte more.While your needs are unique in many ways, there are some things that all companies in need of a managed service provider have a lot in common.

Do Some of These Issues Sound Familiar?

You’re working within a complicated web of vendors, whose individual components may or may not “play nice” with each other.

You have your own proprietary products, designed to interface between various pieces of purchased software and/or equipment, as well as some created to do specialized things required for the production of your specific product or service.

Every day you seem to need faster ways to diagnose and resolve different types of challenges. Your company keeps growing, which creates a constant need for vigilant assessment of areas of strength to work with and areas of weakness to compensate for.

The levels of complexity in your specific industry and in the world of IT seems to be increasing exponentially. Budgets are constantly shrinking, requiring you to constantly ask more and more of your already overworked IT teams. So how do you as the CIO or head of IT make this essential decision?

According to Pat Patterson there are seven essential questions that need to be asked and answered by any potential partner:

  • Will the proposed service partner support your business strategy now and in the future?
  • Do you trust them to have the necessary expertise and bandwidth to provide maintenance, deliver support services or assume managed-services responsibilities?
  • Will they become trusted advisers that stay engaged and serve as an extension of your IT organization and business?
  • Do they provide a portfolio of offers that span the entire service continuum and have the necessary flexibility to ensure a smooth deployment of managed services?
  • What applications, diagnostics checks or analytic tools do they leverage to anticipate any problems or hidden issues?
  • Do they provide a single point of contact that can quickly swarm experts to resolve an issue in your network?
  • Do they really know you? Understand your solution?

Now that you know what types of questions to ask you can rest easy because we have all the answers.  We’re dedicated to helping you make the right decision for your individual company’s distinct needs both for today and tomorrow.

Contact 4 Corner IT and we’ll help you design and implement an infrastructure that works for you.