Do You Have the Tools to Track Your Fleet?

In a very real way, the Internet has spoiled us, to the point that we fully expect an order to be in our hand in 72 hours – oftentimes, far less than that. Shipping speeds like these are now possible thanks to the use of advanced logistics. If you’re starting to incorporate eCommerce into your business, or distribution has proved troublesome, you may want to consider a fleet management system.

Understanding Fleet Management

Whether you’re talking about a taxi company or driving service, service organization, product distributors, or any of a wide variety of others, the businesses who get the most value out of fleet management solutions are the ones heavily engaged in transportation. The idea is to better manage a fleet of vehicles to more efficiently deliver the applicable goods or service, thereby reducing overall organizational distribution costs.

Fleet management can help you reduce the cost of owning the vehicles that make up the fleet, better enforce policies and procedures geared toward safety, and generally decrease your risk. All vehicle deployments are tracked by a fleet management system via GPS, and if integrated with a CRM, ERP, or other form of management platform, vehicle maintenance can be more effectively monitored and scheduled.

Let’s dive into some of a fleet management platform’s benefits a little more closely:

Driver Safety

Let’s discuss one of the most important factors of having a workforce on the road: the safety of your drivers. Fleet management solutions can help by ensuring they are tracked, and the events of the road are fully transparent, with devices like dash cams installed. Using these devices, drivers are both protected and can boost their efficiency on the road by altering their routes in real-time. This data can also be used to more effectively train drivers.

Fleet Tracking

It only makes sense that you would want to know the locations of your company’s vehicles. In addition to this obvious benefit, fleet management also enables you to create better routes to make deliveries more efficient, trips less strenuous on the vehicles, and more fuel efficient as well.

Driver Retention

Many distributors are finding it to be a challenge to keep their drivers on, especially with a current shortage of drivers available. As with any industry, turnover rates are expensive to a business. Incorporating a fleet management system is effectively working to improve workplace conditions by improving the relationships between administrators, and the drivers behind the wheel.

Maintenance and Vehicle Acquisition

A fleet needs vehicles, so it makes sense that you would want a system in place to help you predict when your vehicles need a little TLC, and when it is time to bring in new rigs. A fleet management system compiles the data necessary to inform your various strategies, like when to buy new vehicles and when to maintain the ones you have.

South Florida businesses know WheelHouse IT as their best option for technology services and solutions. For more information on how your business can help boost its operations and profitability, give our professionals a call at (877) 771-2384.

Why Patch Management is Important in 2019 and Beyond

It might seem plausible for IT managers to believe 2019 was a particularly bad year for patch management issues, thinking perhaps they’ll finally be able to focus on other “more important” security issues in 2020 and beyond, but that is not at all realistic.

In fact, as both employers and employees alike find new ways to harness technologies that help to increase productivity and grow their business, the expansion of new hardware and software options will continue to explode. Of course, along with each new application and device there are invariably imperfections that must be patched. The sooner a business comes to terms with the fact that having a comprehensive patch management system is the price they’ll have to pay to take advantage of new technologies, the sooner their corporate data will become safer and more secure.

Is Patch Management Really That Important?

Many people think the majority of security issues arise from a cyber criminal stealthily creeping through their personal information looking for passwords or social security numbers. In reality, the majority of data breaches (57%) occur from vulnerabilities due to poor patch management practices. Considering the explosion in applications, smart devices, operating system versions, etc., it’s no wonder companies feel overwhelmed and unable to patch security holes fast enough to keep up with all the threats.

A recent survey of 3,000 cyber professionals across the globe, reported 48% experienced a security breach within the past 2 years, with poor patching processes as one of the main reasons for the attacks.  

Things to Look For in a Strategic PM Solution

With these sobering statistics, it becomes much easier to see that poor patch management is a serious issue within the business community. The fact that poor patching procedures often leads to cyber breaches should be a wake up call for those following little or no protocol. Companies who want to reduce their risk of encountering a costly and devastating security breach need to gain the upper hand on this often neglected area by developing a sound plan. Of course, larger companies can afford to hire a complete staff to develop and manage a PM solution, however smaller companies often need to look to an external vendor for help.

When researching vendors who have such solutions, it’s important to consider whether their plan incorporates the entire patch management lifecycle. The basic structure of the life cycle is as follows:

  1. Discovery – assess all technology use
  2. Categorize and prioritize – people, devices, processes, etc.
  3. Create a patch policy – (and keep it updated)
  4. Institute monitoring processes for new patches
  5. Patch test in non-production environment
  6. Manage associated configurations
  7. Patch rollout
  8. Audit results of patch rollouts
  9. Reporting and analysis of results
  10. Repeated review of life cycle for optimization 

Getting Started 

Companies who are beginning to realize they need to take a more serious approach to focusing on and organizing their patch rollouts, can also benefit by taking these additional steps that will help them get on the right track. Start by applying patches for those risks labeled as critical. Develop and implement a data backup and recovery plan. Decide to make a proactive patch management philosophy (and practice) a core component of your technology security strategy.

Centralize and automate the patch application process by employing automated patch software. Evaluate employee end-user rights and only give admin rights to those deemed absolutely necessary. Regularly patch and update the preconfigured computer template used when onboarding new employees. That way new employees will automatically have all the latest operating system patches, along with those for business applications, software, privileges, and other important settings.

If you would like more information on developing and implementing a solid patch management solution for your business, please contact us!

Best Practices for IT Service Management

Practices for IT Service Management
Practices for IT Service Management

Most businesses today rely heavily on IT service management to resolve IT issues that arise from time to time, which promotes sustainability within their business operations.

In that case, IT service management (ITSM) focuses on ensuring that your IT requirements are in line with what you aspire to achieve as a business operator. Additionally, ITSM shifts companies from addressing problems when they occur to the prevention of eventualities.

So, for your organization to overcome IT-related challenges, your ITSM strategy should include the design, delivery, monitoring, and management of the use of IT services within your enterprise. Here are some of the ITSM implementation best practices.

Do Not Wait for The “Perfect Time”

Most individuals will wait for the “perfect time” to make particular decisions, the “right time” to take action, or the “ideal time” to deploy a particular plan. However, it is important to note that there is never a “perfect time” to start something, neither is there a “perfect solution” for every problem affecting your organization at present or in the future.

For that reason, you need to appreciate the fact that the ITSM requirements of your firm will vary on different occasions, but you cannot fail to implement the service because of this fact. Additionally, deploying an ITSM strategy will bear a specific impact on your business operations, which is okay.

The reason, in this case, is that ignoring the need to implement ITSM may result in the loss of customers due to the absence of particular processes or poor deployment of the same. So, implementing ITSM is paramount whichever way you look at it as an entrepreneur.

Prioritize Your Clients

Some of the considerations for most business owners before making specific decisions include the risk factor and their financial obligations. The reason is that entrepreneurs will ultimately transfer both the risk and cost of any process to the consumer. Therefore, as you work towards implementing ITMS, you need to ensure that each of your products and services avails value to the end user.

As a result, you will strengthen your relationship with customers as they enjoy value for their money when you decide to implement the ITMS.

The 80/20 Rule

When referring to the 80/20 rule in ITSM the implication is that 80% of business processes are useful to entrepreneurs, while 20% are critical, 20% of infrastructure manager installations are responsible for 80% of service outages, and 20% of your users as a service delivery manager are the cause of 80% of recurring IT issues.

As such, the best practice, in this case, is maintaining essential details on resolving problems manually whenever they arise even as you automate processes.

If you need more information on IT service management best practices, contact us today!

IT Service Management: Freeing You to Focus on Business

IT Service Management: Freeing You to Focus on Business
Freeing You to Focus

Technology is likely an integral part of your business, but trying to manage a complex network of software and hardware solutions can be a nightmare without a dedicated team.

Today’s technology evolves at a rapid pace and making sure everything is up-to-date and running optimally is far from easy. Furthermore, many small to mid-sized businesses may not have the resources to have a top-notch team of IT professionals on the regular payroll. This is where IT managed services can help you.

How can IT managed services help my business?

How do you know what’s right for your business? With such a wide variety of hardware and software solutions, it’s difficult to determine what services are just right for your business needs. By consulting with IT professionals you can gain the insight and knowledge of experts to craft a system tailored to suit your needs.

There are a plethora of cloud and software services that may benefit your business. Having someone with knowledge and experience help you customize a package that’s right for you can improve your productivity and help keep you and your customers happy.

Unfortunately, these solutions will occasionally encounter problems, but you don’t have to face these challenges alone. Having a team of specialists available to tackle issues that arise as they occur can help get you back up and running with a minimum headache.

Round-the-clock support can make sure that no matter when you run into issues, your downtime is minimized and you aren’t losing valuable time and money. Even the most minor issues can seem insurmountable if you aren’t sure where to look or how to fix them. This is where having IT managed services can help provide an extra layer of security and peace of mind.

Whether deciding what services you need for your new business or maintaining and upgrading an existing network, it’s not always easy to know what you need and how to take care of it. Often having an IT team on site just isn’t feasible and hiring a technician for one-time consultations isn’t the same as having someone that knows your system, business, and needs. 

Contact us to find out how.

How to Simplify Your Inventory Management

How to Simplify Your Inventory Management
Simplify Your Inventory Management

It doesn’t matter how large your company is, or how much information technology that you have to maintain and collect, keeping it organized can be challenging. To this end, having a way to simplify your inventory can be helpful for keeping track of where your devices, and more importantly, your data is.

With any company with a lot of different and important operations, it’s crucial that you have processes put into place that documents where and how each of your moving parts is being used.

What Your Inventory Does

An inventory is typically used for businesses to track their assets and resources in a way that makes sure you have an accurate count of what your company owns.

Inventory is commonly used for countless types of organizations, from fast food to retail. Keeping track of what is on hand is critical to the success of any business, as it helps you manage your assets.

A detailed and easily updated inventory record helps you determine just how your resources are being used, allowing you to shift priorities when needed.

So, how can your organization take advantage of inventory management for your technology solutions? We’ll discuss some of the best ways that you can use this approach to keep close watch on your technological assets.

What Should Your Inventory Include?

When you’re building an inventory system for your organization’s technology, you should include a comprehensive record of what’s included under this term. Ask yourself the following questions:

What Technology Do You Have?

You’ll first need to identify which resources should be tracked. Since technology often has long and drawn-out names or titles, you should instead abbreviate them in a way that is easy to keep track of.

This technique, often called shorthand, is what will help you keep track of the technology components that you possess.

One example of different components performing different tasks is the hard drive. Chances are that you have all kinds of devices just sitting around, waiting for the moment where they see the light of day.

Instead of listing off exactly what each device is, create a system for tracking what they are to make inventory easier to look at.

Let’s say that your organization has seven spare hard drives. One of them is blue with 1 terabyte of capacity, three of them are red solid-state drives with 1 terabyte each, two of them are black with 1.5 terabytes each, and one of them is purple with a 2 terabyte capacity. Use a shorthand method to list them as such:

  • 1 HDD – BLUE – 1TB
  • 3 SSD – RED – 1TB
  • 2 HDD – BLACK – 1.5TB
  • 1 HDD – PURPLE – 2TB

Where is the Technology Stored?

Once you know what technology to track, you need to determine where you are keeping track of it; specifically, you need to know where it is being stored, as well as who might possibly be in possession of it (if it’s been checked out).

Be sure to mark which building, room, or closet it is stored in, as well as the shelf location.

  • 1 HDD – BLUE – 1TB (MAIN LOCATION/BASEMENT/SHELF A)
  • 3 SSD – RED – 1TB (MAIN LOCATION/BASEMENT/SHELF E)
  • 2 HDD – BLACK – 1.5TB (SAT-OFFICE1/ROOM4/SHELF B)
  • 1 HDD – PURPLE – 2TB (SAT-OFFICE2/ROOM2/SHELF D)

Additional Details

There are other details that you may want to include in your inventory processes. For example, you can monitor pricing for specific components in the event that insurance needs to come into play at any point. You also might include the date at which you purchased the technology.

  • 1 HDD – BLUE – 1TB (MAIN LOCATION/BASEMENT/SHELF A) – $95 (May 9, 2017)
  • 3 SSD – RED – 1TB (MAIN LOCATION/BASEMENT/SHELF E) – $250 (June 30, 2017)
  • 2 HDD – BLACK – 1.5TB (SAT-OFFICE1/ROOM4/SHELF B) – $160 (August 18, 2017)
  • 1 HDD – PURPLE – 2TB (SAT-OFFICE2/ROOM2/SHELF D) – $355 (February 2, 2018)

Other Considerations for Your Inventory

There are ways to make sure that you’re using the best technology inventory process out there, and one of them is using bar-code technology to scan a device or component into an inventory management system.

There are other ways to do this, such as using a spreadsheet system or clipboard, but these are typically more prone to human error than relying on a bar-code scanner.

Does this sound like something you would be interested in implementing? Don’t waste any more time, get started today by reaching out to us.