3 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing an MSP Partner

managed IT services NYC

Small to medium-sized businesses in every market are turning to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) for reliable technology services. From professional service organizations like accounting and law firms to hospitality and construction organizations, MSPs provide a broad range of business IT services. They help smaller enterprises regain control of their technology and finances by rolling services like security, data management and system monitoring into a flat-rate, monthly service plan.

The right MSP partner can improve your productivity and profitability—but selecting the best one for your organization can be a challenge, especially with the growing number of IT managed service providers. Here are three tips to keep in mind during your search for the perfect technology experts.

  1. A True MSP Partner Will Ask the Right Questions

Your business is their business, which means they need to get to know you, your business and your goals. They should ask questions like:

  • What specific resources do you need from your provider?
  • Are there certain characteristics and specifications you need to support your workflows?
  • What sort of data storage and migration challenges have you encountered?

The right technology partner will be more concerned with gaining an understanding of where your IT stands and where you want your technology to take you than listing their awards and technical expertise.

  1. A Reliable Technology Services Provider Will Offer 24/7/365 Support

This may seem negotiable, especially for professional service organizations that operate on an 8-to-5 schedule, but it should be a deal breaker regardless of your industry. Disasters and cyber threats have no regard for your schedule.

You need the option to speak to a service technician or business continuity expert at any time to correct an issue. When it comes to IT support, it’s better to have the option and not need it, than to find yourself in the middle of an emergency and have nowhere to turn.

  1. The Right IT Managed Service Provider Will Offer Detailed Asset Tracking

An MSP that values transparency is more likely to foster a partnership that’s a good fit for your business. Look for a provider that offers:

  • Asset inventory management
  • Hardware and software reporting metrics
  • Assistance with asset tracking and compliance reporting
  • Detailed work audits
  • Warranty tracking

These types of reports provide a basis for accountability and a reference point for you to ensure you’re getting the most out of your service contract.

Finding the right MSP partner may not happen overnight, but you’ll be happy you invested the time when your business begins to operate more efficiently and sustainably. Contact us and put our experts to the test.

The Advantages of Managed Services vs. Break-Fix

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Technology is the leading force that helps companies streamline their process, improve productivity and keep a competitive edge. But, what happens when you have hiccups or, even worse, a major outage? Your two main options are the break-fix approach and managed services. Understanding what happens when an issue occurs under each scenario will help you determine what is best for you, your team and your customers.
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The Why Behind Managed Services

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Organizations of all sizes rely on technology to operate efficiently and effectively, and as the reliance on IT grows, so does the need for extra support. But, your time and energy should be focused on growth and innovation, not worrying about whether your IT systems are working like they should. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the day-to-day responsibilities of managing your IT infrastructure, that’s why many businesses are choosing to work with a managed service provider.

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Disaster Recovery Doesn’t Have to be Scary

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According to a Nationwide Insurance survey, more than 75 percent of small businesses don’t have a disaster plan simply because it’s not a top priority. However, since January 2013, Nationwide has processed more than $417 million in catastrophe claims related to small businesses. Obviously, something needs to change so businesses don’t go unprotected.

 

It’s not so scary if you know what steps to take. If you want to backup your data and services and be able to recover them quickly, here are a few key things you need to know:

 

  • Where is your data stored and what services are involved?
  • Which data and services absolutely must be online first?
  • How long can you go without critical and noncritical data and services?
  • How much does downtime really cost you?

 

Once you have answers to all of these questions, you’ll be able to determine how to protect and restore all your data and services and do so in the most efficient, priority-first order.

 

One big bonus of going through this process is it gives you the opportunity to dust the cobwebs off idle or underutilized resources, such as servers, and put them to better use. Asking these questions and evaluating things from the perspective of backup and disaster recovery will help you consolidate servers, prioritize and organize data and applications, and ultimately streamline your process and procedures.

 

If you’re still a bit squeamish when it comes to improving your disaster recovery situation, you don’t have to go it alone. Now through October 31, 2016, get a free, no-obligation disaster recovery assessment. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you gain back complete confidence, boost efficiency and ensure business continuity.

Top 4 Ways to Keep Your IT Costs Down

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Cutting costs is the primary goal for most business owners. They’ll scour their books looking for areas that offer a little wiggle room and decide what’s important and what’s a luxury. The reality is, due to lack of time or expertise, nearly every business has hidden savings within their IT. Here are four major steps you can take to make better technology decisions that improve your bottom line.

 

#1 – Keep a Watchful Eye on Your Network

Proactively monitoring a network’s device data lets you identify abnormal activity in real time, giving you the ability to act before small hiccups snowball into large problems. Plus, it reduces downtime and investigation time, saving you time and money when problems do occur.

 

#2 – Look at Downtime Differently

You can spend thousands to protect your company, but no form of technology is completely fool-proof. All businesses experience some form of downtime. The reason companies pay so much for networks isn’t to ensure they’re up 99.9 percent of the time but to make sure the .1 percent they’re not available doesn’t bring your operation to a screeching halt. What does your businesses continuity plan look like? How long can you be down? How will you access your data if your servers crash? Will your business survive? Preventing downtime is important but having an action plan that kicks in when downtime takes place is imperative.

 

#3 – Prepare for Growth

The biggest costs that often get overlooked are in predicting the pace of business and change. Growth is the reason you’re in business, but it’s tough to anticipate costs when it happens fast. You need scalable, flexible technology solutions. Look to the cloud to meet your currents needs with the ability to scale up or down while also removing the costs of increasing physical hardware and software licensing.

 

#4 – Ask Questions First

Advice from a professional is the best way to ensure you don’t overspend on IT. Too many businesses jump into making hasty, uniformed decisions about technology investments and network infrastructures and end up paying too much. By talking with a managed service provider like us, you get all the facts and understand the cost associated with each potential decision.

 

Technology is essential for your success, but you have a lot of balls in the air, so it often takes a backseat or doesn’t get the right focus—leading to costly decisions. Now’s the perfect time to get some expert advice. Through September 30, get a free, no-obligation IT cost reduction assessment. We’ll take a look at your current situation, make recommendations on where you can save and offer affordable options for the future. If we can’t save you money, we’ll give you $100. We’re here to help.

Ransomware hits Office 365

Ransomware has now propagated to Office 365. Over the past couple of weeks, a virus known as Cerber effectively compromised an estimate 57% of Office 365 users. The virus encrypted files on the end user’s workstation using an unbreakable algorithm and then held the decryption key ransom for at least $500. This has been seen frequently recently, but this is the first known time that the infection has compromised such a large percentage of users on such a common platform such as Office 365.

If you want assistance assessing your security profile, contact us immediately.

Major Internet Explorer vulnerability announced

The Department of Homeland Security recommends using an alternative browser (such as Chrome or Firefox) until a patch is released to combat the recently announced Internet Explorer vulnerability – CVE-2014-1776. The exploit requires that Adobe Flash is installed, so systems without Adobe installed should be safe. The risk of an attack enables remote code execution such as the installation of malware just by visiting malicious websites. The vulnerability gives the exploit the same level of permissions as the currently logged in user. That means if your users are administrators on their machines, the sky is the limit for the impact.

If you want assistance assessing your security profile, contact us immediately.