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.

Backup for Small Business: Four Important Things to Think About

Backup for Small Business: Four Important Things to Think About

Sometimes it takes a disastrous cyber attack to remind businesses how important it is to back up data. Backup for small business is always important.

Backup for Small Business

A recent article from Small Business Trends, for example, mentions how ransomware has opened up discussions on the need for backups.

Keep in mind that backups are helpful not only for cyber attacks; they’ll save you from other disasters or problems as well. If a major storm hits your area, causing a power surge or outage that wipes out some of your data, you’ll have backups to retrieve and work off of. If an employee accidentally deletes a critical file, you’ll be able to restore the original.

What should small businesses consider when coming up with a data backup plan?

There are a wide variety of data backup solutions available. Not all of them will work well for your business or your data. When coming up with a data backup plan, consider the following points:

  1. Your main risks. How are you most likely to lose data? What kinds of disasters are you most vulnerable to? Answering these questions helps you choose the best kinds of data backup solutions for your business – file-level vs. image-based, cloud vs. local vs. hybrid solutions.
  2. Your most important data. Consider the data and applications that are critical to your business’s functioning and success. For them, you want the quickest restoration possible to avoid costly downtime and permanent losses. You want to ensure that the backups are comprehensive, timely, and well-protected.
  3. Your most sensitive data. Whatever backup solutions you choose, ensure that you’re safeguarding copies of your data – particularly the most sensitive data – from theft and destruction.
  4. Your metrics for backup success. How will you determine if your backup plan is a success? For example, you can set goals for maximum allowable recovery time or maximum amount of data you can afford to lose; does your backup plan fall within these parameters, or would you experience unsustainable losses? Always make sure to test your data backup measures.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for advice and assistance. Choosing the right backup solutions is critical for your business. When implemented thoughtfully, data backups become your business’s lifesaver, protecting you from the severe effects of IT disasters.

IT Support for Miami Small Businesses: What Should You Choose?

IT Support for Miami Small Businesses: What Should You Choose?

it support for miami small businesses
IT Support for Miami Small Businesses

There are two types of Miami small businesses; well, actually there are three. However, business Type 3’s manager/owner already understands that she needs managed IT support. However, the other two types of small business managers/owners don’t feel they need anything other than on-call IT support at the most.

Business Type #1 – What’s Twitter Again?

You’re typically a staple in your community, like a dry cleaner, grocer or retailer, and you’ve been in business for many years. Maybe the only advertising you’ve ever used was a newspaper or local TV ad here or there. Your business does well because of its location and the fact that you know most of your customers.

You intentionally carry a flip phone and don’t have any desire for a smartphone. Your first and last email address might be an AOL one and you may use Facebook to communicate with family members. However, chances are, you don’t use your computer nearly as much as your children or grand children do.

Your IT Plan?

You just hire someone to fix whatever happens when it comes up, like the plumbing or the cable.

And like any business plan, your IT plan should be inherently strategic.

Business plans are inherently strategic.

Business Type #2 – I Even Know a Little Code

You typically own and understand things like smartphones, tablets and e-readers. You might have taken some web design or computer repair courses. In addition to a Facebook account, you’re on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and even Reddit; and you’re really getting into SnapChat.

You’ve been talking to a developer about building the mobile app for your business and you actively use SEO, local SEO and social media marketing to advertise your business.

Your IT Plan?

Because of your understanding of modern technology, you don’t think you need someone always watching over your business. You feel you already know what they would tell you, so you’d rather save money and just hire someone when something goes wrong.

Why You Both Might Want Managed IT Support for Miami Small Businesses:

Gain More Time – As a business owner, you’re busy. Even if you understand computers like the back of your hand, if you’re working as a travel agent, why waste valuable business time thinking about computer upgrades and maintenance?
Prevent Hacking – Information breaches come in many forms and most hackers are well aware that small business owners either worry they can’t afford adequate protection or don’t realize the risks that are out there. In addition, people also sometimes hack Facebook and other social media accounts as well. There are numerous security threats and unless you are in the IT or web security business, you absolutely are not up to date on the threats to your business or the advanced protection available to you.
Prevent Emergencies – Instead of suffering through an emergency, why not prevent one? If you have a managed IT provider that knows your server, your email system, your backup system etc., that person can spot small issues before they become larger issues. However, suffering through your company email system going offline, server crashes or hacking attacks is stressful and oftentimes unnecessary.
Have Expert Advice All the Time – Would you use professional cleaning equipment to clean your own teeth? Would you practice law without going to law school? Though computers and other devices become very personal items to us because of the many ways we use them, we must understand that unless we’re trained, IT and computer repair is nothing more than a hobby. In addition, you can consult with your managed IT team member about business improvements like:
– New software and hardware purchases
– VoIP phone systems
– Social media management & marketing
– Effective online marketing
– Cloud storage
– The server type and size you need,
– And so much more
Though 4 Corner IT offers hourly IT repair and maintenance services, we believe most small businesses should consider managed IT support. If you disagree, we recommend that you at least have us come out and evaluate your IT situation, so that if an issue arises, at least we already know a little about your business. Please contact us today to design the right IT solution for your small business.

3 Important Aspects of IT Support for Miami Small Businesses

3 Important Aspects of IT Support for Miami Small Businesses

it support for miami small businessesAlthough it’s not the most engaging aspect of running a business, IT support can have a big impact on your overall success. In this blog we’ll cover three important aspects of IT support for Miami small businesses.

According to this article, small businesses need knowledgeable, trusted technology partners who are proficient with current technologies and willing to help learn their industry’s operations requirements.

Personalized assistance

No reputable IT support agency thinks it offers a cookie-cutter service. Since each client has a different situation based on its technology, its resources, and its employees, IT support must be personalized. As a result, you’ll know that the recommended solutions are picked specifically for your business.

IT strategy planning

All businesses need an IT strategy, even if they don’t rely on technology much. If you’re not thinking ahead, then your IT will become outdated quickly.

A good example of this is migrating to cloud computing. According to a recent CIO article, businesses need to plan this out ahead of time:

“Chances are, security will be a shared responsibility between cloud provider and client company. Most companies approve of that, because it affirms that they do not lose control just because they move to the cloud. Figure out ahead of time who does what so that there are no unwelcome surprises (or breaches) down the road.”

This is where IT support comes into play. We’ll make sure your migration to the cloud, or any other transition you’re considering, goes smoothly.

Off-site and on-site service

Cost-effective IT support uses a combination of off-site and on-site service. Most common errors are solved off-site and the occasional severe problem is taken care of on-site.

Your business benefits from this the most. Since off-site support is efficient, your IT support doesn’t cost as much. The savings get passed down directly to our clients.

Outsourcing IT support is a great way for businesses to cut back on expenses and maintain a high quality of service. To talk more about IT support for Miami small businesses, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.

IT Support for Miami Small Businesses: Finding the Balance Between Security and Convenience

IT Support for Miami Small Businesses: Finding the Balance Between Security and Convenience

it support for miami small businessesIn our IT support for Miami small businesses, we try to find the right balance between security and convenience. In this blog we’ll explain why the two are inversely related to each other and how that relationship might put your network security in jeopardy. According to this article, Every business has different IT support requirements. That makes defining what you really need an important part of the selection process.

Network security isn’t something that just randomly falls into place. You have to invest in your infrastructure and come up with a plan to protect your network.

As you can probably tell, doing this isn’t convenient. At least not in terms of increasing your productivity or sales. Still, you need to accept the inconvenience to secure your network and protect your data.

There’s a trade-off between security and convenience, and both extremes aren’t desirable. If you kept investing in network security, then there would come a point where it would start disrupting your business operations.

According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, you need to tolerate a certain level of inconvenience to protect your information:

“Security and convenience are inversely related. The greater the security provided by a control, the less convenient it is for affected individuals. For example, just as adding locks requires extra keys, increasing password complexity results in additional memorization and typing. An organization’s willingness to tolerate inconvenience has a profound effect on the security of its information.”

Each business needs to find out how much convenience it’s willing to give up for the sake of security. No two situations are alike, so the balance will be specific to your business.

We help our clients find a balance that’s optimal for their situation. Our goal is to make sure that their network is secure and their data is protected, but they can still carry out their business operations without too many disruptions. We’ll monitor the balance of convenience and security as time goes on.

To talk more about IT support for Miami small businesses, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.