Mode:         
Posts

Three Signs That Your Company Needs a Managed Service Provider

Many companies find themselves juggling IT problems along with their typical day-to-day responsibilities. Outsourcing IT work to a managed service provider (MSP) lets a company excel at what it does best. Here are some signs that your business should look into hiring an MSP.

1. You don't have dedicated IT staff

Small companies often rely on a computer-savvy staff member, rather than hiring an actual IT expert. Problems are solved as they occur, but little planning occurs to avoid future problems. A dedicated IT expert has the time and resources to anticipate hardware and software upgrades, as well as to protect a company from the latest security threats.

Another problem with this practice is that, even if a staff member is computer-savvy, they can only bring their own limited knowledge to the table. MSPs deal with recurring issues from multiple clients, and stay up-to-date on the latest IT developments. In turn, they generally possess a greater breadth and depth of IT-specific knowledge than you can source from within your office.

There's also an opportunity cost when a staff member is sidelined by IT responsibilities. Rather than completing the role they were hired to fill, they are sinking time into work for which they were not specifically trained.

2. Maintenance-related IT tasks are piling up

Dealing with IT maintenance can be a huge distraction from your core business service and can negatively impact productivity. Software updates and licensing are just a couple areas where an MSP can offer relief.

Software updates require constant attention. Failure to keep up with them can cause vulnerabilities and expose company data. MSPs can create maintenance plans to regularly attend to updates and fix any problems that may surface during the process.

Software licenses also need to be properly acquired and maintained. With the exception of software you've written for your own use, all software requires some sort of license. The penalties for using unlicensed software include huge fines and expensive litigation, not to mention a tarnished reputation. When you hire an MSP, they'll keep organized records of your software licenses and create a schedule for renewing them.

3. You want to save money

Many studies have shown that MSPs can reduce costs for small businesses.

Relying on yourself or another staff member for ad hoc IT support pulls resources away from your core competencies, which is inefficient and wasteful. A dedicated in-house IT staff isn't much better, requiring salaries, benefits, office real estate, equipment and training. They also need continuing education, such as courses and conferences, to stay current on the latest IT developments and trends. An MSP removes that overhead entirely.

With an MSP, small businesses only pay for the services and support they need. MSPs can monitor, protect, and support your infrastructure from a remote location using Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) software. They'll also work with other vendors to ensure that you get the best deals on hardware, software and technology services.

Are you ready for some help? Ease Technologies provides IT support services and cloud solutions for organizations in Baltimore, Washington or Fairfax. Contact us today and learn how we can provide you the support you need. 

Comments (0)

Grab Bag of Tech Tips

The Ease Help Desk answers thousands of questions every year, helping customers out with many types of issues.  Here are a few more recent or common questions and tips we like that might be helpful to everyone.  We actually experience many of the same issues our customers run into daily. 

Is Apple Pay safe?

cyber

Apple Pay is an easy payment method from your Apple device once you assign your existing debit cards and credit cards. The payment to a retailer is completed with a swipe from your Apple device. Card information is safely stored on your device. Your card details are never shared by Apple when you use Apple Pay, making payments with your iPhone and Apple Watch very secure.

My iPhone seems to be acting strangely.  Certain calls or apps have been giving me a problem. 

The answer is a very old and less technical answer, which is to simply restart your device. Apple has a done a great job sandboxing issues, but a clean startup of a device often cleans up dysfunctional caches within the device. After restarting, make sure your iOS and apps are up to date. 

I received an email from myself. Is that a problem?

The answer is maybe.  More than likely, it is a spammer trying to spoof your email address for the purpose to get your attention to buy something.  Look at the email and avoid clicking on anything in the email.  Some spam may actually contain dangerous malware. The best form of action is to simply delete the item.  I think of normal spam as being uninvited advertising.  More dangerous are emails that appear to be sent from banks, PayPal, FedEx type organizations, or contain time-sensitive messages with links and attachments.  These are dangerous and should never be clicked on.  If unsure, contact the Ease Tech Help Desk.  It may be a good idea to have the email checked out professionally or change your email password if it has been a while. 

What is a good technical online training option for some of my employees?

LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) is a great online resource for a wide range of business software for all levels.  Besides common business applications, there are courses for business and creative skills.  So, there are classes on marketing, programming, project management, accounting, video production and tons more. They offer a 30-day free trial and fees start at about $24/month.

Tip: Check your online Social Settings

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media programs are all online web applications.  They quietly roll out many new features every year, and many are background options.  More importantly, there are privacy settings assigned to much of these too.  We all have gotten and have clicked AGREE to those multi-page End User License Agreements (EULA’s).  Check the privacy and security settings of these online social media programs and decide for yourself how much you want to control who has access to your posts, threads, and personal information.

Need help with your own does your current provide responsiveness you need? Contact us today, and we'll help get the service you deserve.  Contact Ease Technologies today at (301)854-0010 and learn how our Managed Services and Ease Cloud Workspace can help keep your business more productive.


Comments (0)

Keeping Your Business Secure Online [Webinar]

If you think your business is too small to be an attractive target for cyber criminals or you don’t have anything worth stealing, think again. In a recent Verizon study, 71 percent of breaches examined showed that companies with fewer than 100 employees were the primary targets. 
A data breach can have a major effect on your business - loss of customers, reduced brand reputation, significant financial impact and more. If you think your business is too small to be an attractive target for cyber criminals or you don't have anything worth stealing, think again.

cyberThe last door left open for these cyber attackers is not the technology, but through your employees. Cyber criminals are aggressively targeting and taking advantage of social engineering as new primary means for vast array of compromises.

In this webinar we will discuss some of the most common cyber threats to businesses today and what can be done to mitigate these issues. 

Sign up today

Who should attend:
Business Owners
Employees
Technology Managers
Office Managers

What will be covered:
Common threats
Tactics used in social engineering
Steps in safeguarding client data
Ways to fight online fraud

Where: Online Webinar

When: Wednesday, February 15th from 12:00pm – 1:00 pm

Presenters:
Dave Kile, Senior Vice President, Ease Technologies, Inc.
Matt Schmidt, Vice President, Ease Technologies, Inc.

Sign up today


Comments (0)

Weathering Winter Storms: 5 Tips for Small Businesses

winter storm

The winter started off a little mild in the Baltimore-Washington Region, but last year, we got clobbered with the biggest storm in decades.  Many employees didn’t get back to their offices for days. Many organizations can successfully operate and be productive in any situation.  Is your office prepared?  Follow these steps to weather the winter storms.

1. Keep an Off-Site List of Contacts
You probably have thousands of customers and vendors. Keeping an off-site contact list will allow you to stay in touch with them and keep your business running during periods of downtime. This list should contain vendors you need to contact every week, and any customers with current, unresolved issues. A printed paper version can be important and don't forget to keep a list of employee phone numbers too.

2. Back Up Critical Data Off-site or in the Cloud
You have only a day or two after forecasters tell you a storm has a high chance of hitting your area. Power failures, melting floods, and even looting are all risks to your infrastructure and data that come with a severe storm.

A thorough disaster recovery plan will already accommodate the offsite storage of critical data. If you don't have such a plan, you'll want to back up critical data to an off-site location as soon as possible. This will give the data time to fully transfer before the storm hits.

One of the best options is to store your backups in the cloud. Data saved in the cloud is also readily available and redundantly stored.

3. Keeping the Team Productive

Most of our accounts already hold Office 365 subscriptions, and this is one of the easiest ways to keep the team productive in an emergency.   Rarely used, but Office 365 provides a browser-based version of Office for subscribers.  A great tip for subscribers is to test and use this if they must suddenly have to work from home for several days.   This version provides email, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive and other horizontal applications most organizations use every day.  Most importantly, this device is independent and secure.  So, an employee could log in from home and get to these applications from any computer.

4. Have a Communication Plan
Work with your employees to create primary and secondary methods of communication during the storm.  You might want to forward your phone numbers or extensions to cell phones.  Many newer VoiP phones systems provide a lot of options, including just carrying your office phone home and plugging it into your home Internet connect.  

Email and even texting should be part of the triage plan.  You not only want to have plans that include employees, but also, what is your message to your customers?  Some companies have used social media such as Facebook and Twitter as methods to stay in touch as well.  Consider changing your voicemail greeting to set expectations with your accounts if an emergency hits.

5. Practice Your Plan
Test restoring your data to your servers. Ensure your local and remote backups can be used to restore operations if you suffer extended downtime. Stepping through your recovery plan makes everyone familiar with what needs to be done to get your company back up and running in the least time possible.  Review and share the communication plan with your employees.  

Need help with your own disaster recovery plan? Automated backups are your best defense against massive data loss. These systems mean one less headache when worrying about your business during a winter storm. Contact us today, and we'll help you set up a complete data backup procedure to ensure you don't lose data if a catastrophic event occurs. Contact Ease Technologies today at (301)854-0010 and learn how our Ease Cloud Workspace can help keep your business prepared for any disaster. 

Comments (0)

End-of-Year Tech Tips

Many people are trying to wrap up their end-of-year business matters and are thinking about 2017. Personally, I like to make some time at the end of the year to do my annual tech tune-up. These are tasks that are often put on the back burner. Here are a few tips before you get started again for next year.

Cleanup

tech tips

Go through old documents and make sure they are properly filed on your computer or cloud storage. Clearing out the old pictures, videos and music from your mobile devices is part of the process. They’re certainly very tedious tasks, but very rewarding once accomplished. 

This is when I think I can regain control of my email. There is nothing more daunting than knowing I have 10,000 emails sitting in my inbox. Make time to manage your email folders, bulk file some of these emails, delete most, and try using rules to help you prioritize your incoming email for next year. 

Backup and disaster recovery

The end of the year is a good time to test your current backup strategies. For example, it may be necessary to adjust or come up with a process that meets new compliances. Backups are the cornerstone to all your disaster recovery plans.

The biggest questions around backups tend to focus on the time to recovery and archiving data policies. Do you have accounts that depend on you to work all the time? How long do you need to maintain these records? Updated backup plans will help your company to recover from a cyber compromise, major equipment failure, water damage or catastrophic mistake made by one of your staff members. 

I can’t emphasis enough the necessity of having plans that include keeping your data securely stored many miles outside your region. Consider cloud solutions that automatically safeguard your data in offsite secure locations.

Updates for software and devices

Your office and network have more devices than you may realize. Create an inventory of those devices and run all necessary updates. There are plenty of devices you don’t regularly update that should be part of this process. Routers, wireless access points, security cameras, printers, and copiers are often overlooked, but they should get updates along with all your regular computing devices. You should update your applications, operating systems, anti-virus software, iPhones and tablets on a regular basis, not only for new features, but more importantly, for timely security updates.

Password changes

This year shed even more light on the cyber security issues facing many organizations. Following good password management practices is critical. If it has been a while, now is the best time to change and update your passwords. The need to use passwords with long complex characters and that are unique to each site can’t be overstated. A good New Year's resolution would be to start using a password manager to help you keep up with the task, such as LastPass or 1Password. 

Review how you are safeguarding client and employee data

An annual review of all company and client data is important for obvious reasons, but may have compliance implications as well. Putting safeguards in place can help to prevent fraud and identity theft, as well as enhance customer confidence and trust. Safeguard reviews should start with an observance to HIPAA, IRS guidelines or other industry standards that may be necessary for your business. You will want to preserve the confidentiality and privacy of all data by restricting access and disclosure. This may not be a costly effort, but one that takes awareness and often simple procedures. The recently updated Safeguarding Taxpayer Data: A Guide For Your Business from the IRS, offers many ideas on how to approach the topic, even if you are not an accounting firm. Some of these steps are non-technical too. Where are the paper files kept? Who has access?

If you are looking for ways to meet these ever-increasing compliance requirements and keep your data secure, contact us today. Learn how the Ease Cloud Workspace can help solve these issues so you can securely work anywhere and on any device.


Comments (0)
Our Newsletter

Upcoming Events
Blog Archive

Archive by Years