How Businesses Can Save Time with IT

Every business can benefit from effectively utilizing their IT in the office. While not every technological advancement is necessarily practical or affordable, the right devices and programming can help you save time and money.

Small businesses need big ideas, and technology can bring increased productivity. Big businesses need scalability, and technology delivers that for them, too.

The barrier between plain ol’ technology and these benefits is understanding how to actually apply them to your needs.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone – hiring a managed IT service provider can help you get the most from these technological improvements automatically.

However, if you’re keen on saving time for yourself, follow these suggestions.

Software as a Service

SaaS applications allow your small business to easily acquire cloud-leased tools for a monthly subscription fee. Instead of purchasing and installing onsite software, your SaaS provider gives you access to the vast majority of the programs you need.

Plus, paying by monthly installments helps you better budget your expenses. You have constant access to the latest, most effective applications AND experts who can recommend the best programs for your business.

Related: 5 Common IT Support Questions, Answered

These applications can streamline your workflows and lower the time it takes to perform tasks.

Look at that – you’re already saving time with SaaS.

Artificial Intelligence

AI applications are not just for huge corporations. Businesses of all sizes can use them and their usage will only increase in the future. Your staff can benefit from AI assistants who can organize tasks (and even perform some of their own, such as calendar setting).

Currently, the medical industry benefits from apps that help doctors diagnose various conditions automatically. AI software can also perform human resource duties and monitor your office energy usage.

Related: 5 Reasons to Outsource Your IT

A majority of small businesses report plans to incorporate more AI in the near future to make their companies more efficient. After all, automating tasks gives you plenty of time for other more important tasks.

Mobile Computing

Small businesses especially benefit from mobile devices and collaborative software that allows for staff members to coordinate with clients, vendors, and other employees from anywhere in the world.

With the proper software, you can safely access business accounts no matter where you are. Additionally, you can efficiently complete tasks any time of the day or night. Laptops, tablets and even mobile phones can allow you to quickly deal with any business matter while you relax by the pool or spend time with your family.

In short, they allow you to work from anywhere – saving you the time and trouble of having to wait to get to the office to do work.

Cybersecurity

One of the biggest challenges to small businesses is cybersecurity. You are vulnerable to hackers who can steal sensitive information, including customer credit card information or critical company data.

Malware attacks can shut your entire system down, costing you time and eliminating productivity. The average small business loses over $8,000 for each hour of downtime.

You need advanced protection against hackers as well as training for your staff to remain competitive.

Related: 3 Simple Ways to Promote Cloud Security

Managed IT Services

Needless to say, time is everything in business. With it, you can get things done and complete more work. Without it, you’re stuck in disarray.

There’s a simpler way to save a lot of time automatically.

A managed IT service provider can provide tech services and manage them for you, freeing you from many time-consuming tasks. They can offer you cloud solutions to keep you connected, as well as security services to keep you protected.

They provide help in employee training and also create implement backup and recovery plans to ensure your business keeps running in case of a natural or man-made disaster.

In short, a managed IT team ensures that any difficulties are addressed immediately. You won’t suffer the delays you have when you hire contractors to fix specific issues. With the help of managed IT services, all of the tools you need to save time will work together to give you the power to grow your company.

Keeping Your Business Secure Online

If you think cyber thieves are only targeting the enterprise accounts, think again. Recent waves of ransomware and other attacks impacted organizations of all sizes. Recently, the FBI reported that the little-known CEO Fraud scam cost businesses more than $2.3 billion over the past 4 years alone.

The last door left open for these cyberattackers isn’t through technology. Rather, it’s through your employees. Cybercriminals are aggressively targeting and taking advantage of social engineering as new primary means for vast array of data compromises.

In this webinar, we’ll discuss some of the most common cyberthreats to organizations and what you can do to mitigate these issues.

What we’ll cover:

  • Common cyberthreats
  • Tactics used in social engineering
  • Steps in safeguarding client data
  • Ways to fight online fraud

 

4 Business Benefits of Outsourcing Your IT Support

When it comes to deciding on how to format a companies IT infrastructure appropriately, many business owners wonder about the most efficient way to handle all of their IT-related needs.

While some companies deploy in-house teams to manage their day-to-day support, others have found it advantageous to outsource most or all of their IT functionality.

The truth is, however, hiring managed services for company IT needs can be extremely beneficial to organizations of all shapes and sizes.

Here are 4 business benefits that outsourcing your IT support team can bring.

Better Controlled Costs

Typically, organizations that don’t outsource their IT needs work off of a “break-fix” method. This is a reactive approach that many internal teams use which simply adopts the attitude of “don’t fix what isn’t broken” when it comes to implementing new systems or upgrading hardware.

Related: How to Fix Your IT Budget

This approach may seem to be the most cost-effective way of handling your IT support. But, it’s also a recipe for disaster when something inevitably goes wrong with your systems.

Outsourcing your IT support allows you to benefit from variable cost services that proactively plan for all your organization’s software and equipment needs much more efficiently, while still only paying for the services you require at any given time.

You’ll also be able to save the considerable amount of investment capital normally put into recruitment services and sign on bonuses for experienced in-house staff members. Instead of limiting yourself to one or two talented individuals, you’ll get a team of experienced IT professionals for nearly the same annual budget.

Increased Core Business Focus

Hiring a managed IT service enables team members to focus on the strategic business goals of the company, while an experienced team of IT professionals ensures the business is operating at maximum efficiency.

Managed services can help automate many of the manual business processes that company’s use on a day-to-day basis and make it much easier for the scalability of your organization.

Did You Know? 42% of small businesses plan to increase IT spending in 2017.

Another important feature that outsourced IT services can provide is the development and execution of effective disaster recovery plans. These emergency measures are critical for companies to continue operating after catastrophic system outages and security breaches leading to data loss.

Trusting the pros to create one for you can end up saving your company.

Immediate Access To Newer Technologies

In-house teams typically take longer to budget necessary time and resources to execute new IT development projects. Meanwhile, outsourced teams are able to act immediately. That ensures your company’s IT efforts operate as efficiently as they can at all times.

The experience of managed IT service teams also provides a fresh perspective to organizations when comparing older technologies in use with newer ones readily available.

Along with the experience and flexibility that managed IT services provide comes potential savings for the latest software tools and resources. Since IT service companies develop relationships with vendors, they’ll have better-negotiated rates.

These discounted rates are then passed on to their clients during system integration.

Wider Pool of Talent

Managed IT providers are specialists in their industry, meaning they know what it takes to build a successful IT department. This specialization means that service companies tend to be more qualified. When it comes to sourcing and hiring the best IT professionals available, they can’t be beat.

Since many teams work remotely, service companies usually have a larger pool of talent to choose from than most companies looking to hire in-house IT personnel. This flexibility allows managed IT services to employ large teams, allowing quicker solutions and 24-hour IT support for your company.

Related: Want Young Professionals? Migrate to the Cloud First

This is a tremendous benefit, especially when it comes to reducing downtime and ensuring system integrity.

Many benefits can come from outsourcing your IT support needs. Managed IT companies help control operational costs in an organization while enabling businesses to benefit from the latest technology available with 24-hour support provided by IT industry professionals.

5 Common IT Support Questions, Answered

Common IT support questions are a plague for users and IT people alike. It’s typically small issues that annoy us the most, and these are no different.

Why not solve them yourself and save some time?

Here are a few of the most prevalent IT support questions, and how you can resolve them yourself.

Why is my computer so loud?

For the most part, the noise comes from wobbly fans. Whenever they’re not set properly on their axis of rotation, they spin at an angle and clip their surroundings. That’s most likely the noise you’re hearing all the time.

Dust can also cause them to rotate improperly, causing noise. The remedy to it all? Clean out your fans with compressed air (and be careful to not blast the sensitive electrical components). In a worst-case scenario, you can always replace the fans – the installation isn’t hard and they’re inexpensive.

Is this supposed to be there?

If you have to ask, the answer is usually no. Many people often inadvertently download toolbars and other random bloatware programs. Typically, these are bundled in with legitimate downloads (which makes them super annoying to spot and remove).

Related: They Stole You?

The big problem is that people can accidentally download viruses and other malware. To avoid this problem completely, you’ll need to combine proper permissions with robust antivirus/content filtering programs.

Why does my screen look… weird?

Resolution concerns are extremely common in the day-to-day. You might notice that images and applications look a little… off. Sometimes, the problem can be so apparent that you’ll actually have black bars around your display.

Luckily, this one is an easy fix.

  • For Windows: Right-click on your desktop and find the resolution or display settings. From there, you should be able to use a slider that changes the resolution. Your computer will even automatically recommend a size that fits your specific monitor.
  • For Mac: Click on the Finder and locate “System Preferences”. From there, you’ll need to find the option labeled “Displays”. You can then manually adjust your resolution or let the computer automatically detect the best settings for you.

Why can’t I log in?

There’s a fairly good chance you’ve been misspelling your password this whole time. It’s quite common. Be sure to look at which keys you’re pressing to ensure that your password is totally correct.

Another common culprit is caps lock. When you’re stuck in uppercase letters, all case-sensitive computer systems won’t grant you access.

I can’t print! Is the printer broken?

Probably not. Before you take a hammer to your printer, make sure that it’s on and eligible to receive print jobs. Most printers have panels that display error codes, so be sure to look out for those.

Related: The Top 5 Apps to Boost Your Productivity

If your printer is on and functioning, it may be a driver-related issue. A “driver” is the software in your computer that “speaks” to the hardware to make it work. Without it, there’s not a way for the two to communicate and work.

Many times, you’ll need to reinstall your drivers to get the printer working again. It’s not a hard procedure, but it’s known to cause madness in IT people (given enough occurrences).

…But if you’re fed up?

If you’re fed up with dealing with these issues, consider switching your business to a managed services approach. With managed services, you’ll never have to waste your time with trivial IT support matters again.

Related: 5 Reasons to Outsource Your IT

Managed IT support providers give your business proactive solutions that keep these problems from happening in the first place. Not every issue is avoidable, but managed service providers make sure you’re quickly taken care of when they do.

 

5 Reasons to Outsource Your IT

Outsourcing is nothing new to the tech industry and any enterprise who leverages technology or an IT team. For decades, it’s been a major source of reducing costs while improving business processes.

IT outsourcing is a great option if you want to easily manage your IT budget and scale according to the growth of the company. It’s an especially good choice if you lack a technical background, or your IT team doesn’t have the resources and expertise to solve tougher IT-related issues.

While you can outsource IT to individual consultants and “freelance” IT guys, a managed service provider (MSP) gives you a better overall experience.

Here are five reasons why you should consider IT outsourcing to an MSP.

1. Enhanced Cybersecurity

In this rapidly evolving digital era, cybersecurity is critical. If your computer security isn’t up-to-date, you run the risk of putting your clients sensitive information in the hands of hackers.

Security gaps can also leave your company liable for any financial damages that may result from data breaches.

Did you know? The average total cost of a data breach was estimated at $3.62 million.

However, outsourcing your IT to an experienced MSP allows you to quickly implement new security technology. A reliable MSP will already a team of qualified IT security professionals with data security expertise to handle your network security.

On the other hand, an in-house IT may lack the exact knowledge required to carry out a large-scale security infrastructure update. Moreover, it could take a lot of time and resources to hire someone who is equipped to handle the project.

Related: Webinar | Keeping Yourself Protected from Phishing Emails

2. Ongoing Support

When you practice IT outsourcing, you get to take advantage of ongoing support. While a consultant may offer flexibility as to what time they’re available, they may not be able to give you around-the-clock IT support.

Related: 3 Ways to Save Your SMB Money with Technology

Conversely, many MSPs can offer 24/7 support thanks to the size and availability of their teams. While they may not always be available to help on-site, they can always remotely connect to your systems and provide assistance from there.

3. Flat-Rate Costs

When running a company, one of the most important factors to keep it operational and growing is making sure the expenses are under control.

Thanks to the lack of local expertise and the high demand for skilled works in tech, salaries for tech workers often climb into six-figure salaries. Moreover, you’ll have to offer health insurance and other benefits to attract the right IT professionals. There’s also training costs and day-to-day costs to consider, too.

However, you can leverage a flat-rate cost when you outsource your IT to an MSP. This allows you to easily adjust your budget as your company evolves.

Related: Put Your IT Dollars to Work

4. Relationship-driven

Another great benefit of leveraging an MSP is the relationship you can build. MSPs can rely on a vast network of vendors and suppliers. This network can help MSPs to quickly implement IT tasks and take care of issues on-demand with leading third-party vendors.

5. Diminished Risk

With IT outsourcing to an MSP, you reduce the risk of liability. The MSP will leverage the expertise of its trained staff to get IT tasks done correctly from the get-go. That means you’ll have less to worry about when it comes to decision-making and more time to do the important tasks that help drive your bottom line.

Related: 3 Simple Ways to Promote Cloud Security

Final Thoughts

When you leverage managed services support from a professional MSP, you can save time and money for your business and reduce your liability risks while enhancing your customer’s experiences.

MSPs take the complex job of IT support off your plate so you can focus on your core business operations and not be concerned with processes the company is not built around.

3 Ways to Save Your SMB Money with Technology

For many businesses, technology is an enigma. Does it help things run smoother, or does it cause massive hiccups that disrupt the flow of business?

If you aren’t careful, it’s the latter.

The key to taming the wild beast that is technology is to generally understand how each part of it works for you. Once you fit the pieces of the IT puzzle together, you can use your technology to propel you forward rather than hold you back.

Here are three ways to save your SMB money and improve the way you work.

1. Consolidate Your Tech Tools

Many organizations overlook a simple fact – they have too many tools. That can be true for both hardware and software. For example, you may have multiple servers taking up space and running up costs.

Moving some of your applications to the cloud can consolidate the amount of hardware you need while lowering your costs in the process.

The same is true for software – you don’t need to pay for multiple software licenses if you can find a platform that can do it all for you.

Related: Transform Your Work Environment with the Cloud

Consolidating your technology also inherently decreases labor costs due to simplified management. In other words, you don’t have to spend a long time managing multiple things if they’re all in one centralized location.

2. Look for Potential Efficiencies

Paper costs add up. Printing costs vary, but remain expensive in large quantities. Even when getting rid of sensitive physical information, secure shredding and disposal costs can quickly rack up.

Utilize digital copies and methods whenever possible. Going digital instantly frees your organization of many unnecessary costs.

Technological efficiencies don’t just exist at the file/folder level, either. Turning your office space into a “smart” office connected by an internal network gives you better control over all your devices.

This concept of interconnecting devices is known as the internet-of-things (IoT). Organizations are using it as a way to efficiently manage costs related to lighting, heating, cooling, and much more.

Did you know? IoT endpoints will grow to 30 billion by 2020.

3. Get a Proper IT Partnership Going

IT support is a very broad term to say “we do IT stuff”. So what exactly does that stuff entail? Anything, really – from day-to-day helpdesk tickets helping Cheryl with her emails to migrating the server to the cloud.

Related: The Top 5 Apps to Boost Your Productivity

The question you must ask yourself is this: do I need an in-house IT team? Or, if you have one, ask yourself this: Can they really do it all by themselves?

For smaller organizations, outsourcing the IT makes sense. You get a team of experienced professionals at a flat rate without having to hire, train, and variably compensate additional employees.

For larger organizations that have mission-critical in-house IT departments, outsourced IT specialists are key. They can save you money by following through on projects for a set rate. You don’t have to hire a network specialist to configure a few servers here and there.

Proper IT partnerships can cut costs and put capital back in your company where you need it most.

 

Celebrating 25 Years of IT Service

We’ve hit a huge milestone: Our 25th year in business. We’re thrilled to have grown into the IT service business we are today. So many companies like ours never get that chance, and we couldn’t be happier that we’ve been able to build what we love. Check out some of the pictures from our 25th Anniversary Party below.

Lots of friends, family and long-time clients showed up to help us celebrate. County Executive Allan Kittleman dropped by to talk about our work in the community. Larry Twele, President & CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority, joined us to talk about our economic presence. Linda Ostovitz from Offit & Kurman Attorneys at Law was there too (read her blog about the party). We saw Greg Fitchitt, Senior VP at Howard Hughes Corp, Stacie Hunt, President & CEO of Leadership HC, plus more than 75 other friends and clients.

The Significance of the Milestone

It’s been an action-packed time at EaseTech in our first quarter of a century. We have been working hard to help bring technology dreams to our customers. From our initial experiences while at Apple in the early days, we have honed and crafted a workplace environment that values and nurtures teamwork, loyalty and the love of technology. That’s why we have so many employees and customers who have joined and stayed with us for so long.

What we’ve been doing the last 25 years

  • Wrote and produced the first training video bundled for Apple’s Newton and as other early handheld PDAs.
  • Integrated an award-winning enterprise integration project for the largest trading floor outside on NY.
  • Designed, wrote and launched one of the first industry standard digital trading platforms for Wall Street (TRIAD)
  • Honored as the 4th fastest growing company in Maryland (1996) and Fast 50 & Fast 500 nationwide winner (1996-98)

What we’re doing today

Today, we’re 51 people strong, one of the largest and long-lasting managed IT services providers in the country. We still thrive on helping local businesses migrate to the cloud and innovate through the right technology. Here’s to another 25 great years!

This year, watch for our milestone articles, where we’ll share some of the highlights of the last 25 years.

As always, contact us if you need anything.

 

The Top 5 Apps to Boost Your Productivity

You can find an app to do almost anything these days. Apps can monitor your health, maintain your schedule and improve your social life.

While many of these apps are enjoyable, only a handful are actually business-related. But when it comes to your company, you can still continue to use these applications to improve your productivity.

If you’re looking to get productive, the following five apps are well worth implementing.

SiteBlock

When you get to the office each day, you intend to sit down and get right to work. But first, you need to check the weather, local news and, of course, Facebook.

Before you know it, you’ve wasted 15 minutes or more surfing the web. SiteBlock is a Chrome extension that lets you temporarily block your favorite sites so that you are forced to concentrate (and hopefully get your work done).

You can easily unblock them when your work is finished or when you take your lunch break.

You can consider it a willpower enhancer.

Related: Transform Your Work Environment with the Cloud

Trello

Busy people need help staying organized. No one can remember every detail of their schedule when they are balancing work and their personal life.

Many people find Trello to be an easy-to-use app that alerts you to what you need to do today, tomorrow, and next week. After some initial configuration, the program will help you meet all your deadlines by never letting an important task slip by.

Trove

Keeping up with your email may seem impossible. Even when you’re diligent, spam creeps in. You overlook an important message. You forget to follow up when people don’t reply.

Trove offers a radar section that marks emails that need answers and reminds you when people haven’t responded to your messages. With this app, you can easily maintain control of your email inbox.

Stop, Breathe & Think

Sure, “mindfulness” is amongst current trends… but for good reason. This app helps you stay calm in all situations, which is a priceless business skill as well as life-enhancer.

Stop, Breathe & Think walks you through mediation sessions that make you feel less stressed and more in control. As a result, you will be less likely to make bad decisions based on emotion. Your health will probably benefit as a result, too.

Skype

If you haven’t fully embraced Skype at your office, you may not be maximizing your productivity. Many companies use Skype for video conferencing, saving travel time, and hosting more efficient meetings.

You can discuss business matters with your overseas branch or with the group across town. If you are on vacation, you can still hold an emergency meeting if necessary.

Related: Weather the Storm with Cloud Mobility

Not everyone uses all elements of Skype, such as the ability to instant message and upload documents. You can also screen share so that you can demonstrate processes and work on projects as a team, even when people are scattered around the globe.

Get Productive

You can choose from an impressive number of applications for productivity and mobility. You will experience workflow improvement, and you should also experience less stress, individually and as a team.

Not all applications are created equal, but you can find at least a few that will work for you and your employees. Many are inexpensive or even free, so you can certainly afford to try them out. You may be surprised at how much more you will get done each day.

5 cloud benefits to give your business an advantage

Everyone uses the cloud to some extent. Yet, the more that companies take advantage of this technology, the more of a competitive edge they can gain over their competitors. Some of the benefits of the cloud include ease of scalability, reduced need for IT resources, higher flexibility and increased innovation — which all leads to reduced costs and an advantage over competitors.

Ease of Scalability

One of the greatest benefits of cloud services is their ease of scalability. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine the IT needs of a business. The cloud allows companies to scale their needs up or down as necessary.

This can help to reduce waste and drive down the cost of services. Companies won’t end up paying for services they don’t use while using cloud services — as long as they adapt to their businesses’ changing needs and scale down when necessary.

In other words, there’s no need to change a business to fit its IT needs any longer. Instead, IT needs can change to fit any business.

Related: The Evolution of Cloud Computing

Higher Cost Savings

There’s no doubt about it: servers are extremely expensive. When companies no longer need to pay for expensive servers, they can use that money in their budgets for more important costs. The cloud removes the need for expensive onsite servers. It also cuts down on software and maintenance costs.

This technology can also help to extend the life of workstation investments.

Did you know: 85%of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy.

Higher Workstation Flexibility

Since the cloud is akin to an online server, employees can work from virtually anywhere. There’s no longer a need to travel to an office and access an on-site server — or even to log on to a server remotely.

This can help to cut down on office and workstation costs. Instead of investing money in an office building, businesses can invest that money in technology, innovation, and customer service.

Related: Weather the Storm with Cloud Mobility

Reduce IT Costs

The cloud can help to reduce IT costs across the board, from CAPEX to OPEX costs.

CAPEX costs (or capital expenditures) add very little value to the company but increase the operating costs. OPEX costs (or operating expenditures) can add value to a company only if they are necessary to the day-to-day operations and increase overall productivity.

Yet when a company can cut some of these costs altogether, the company will run more efficiently. Companies can save both time and money can by cutting these expenses from the budget.

Increased Innovation

Cloud innovations are increasing by a significant margin every year. Not only are startups taking advantage of cloud-based services, but large corporations are also swapping in their expensive servers for the cloud.

This technology has evolved from simply storing information and applications on an online server to offering important data analysis services.

When it comes to the cloud, companies that take advantage of these online services have an advantage over companies that still use exclusively on-site private servers.

Did you know: 78% of executives said their teams lack the cloud skills required to achieve their five-year plans.

Embracing Cloud Computing

The companies that embrace this new technology will have a competitive edge over the companies that resist these changes. One way that companies can maintain this type of edge is by recruiting young professionals with cloud-based work solutions.

Young professionals want the ability to work anywhere at anytime. They also understand the importance of integrating social media services into the corporate culture. Cloud computing can help companies embrace new technology as it develops, and it can help to attract the types of employees who are willing to embrace that technology.

Learn more about cloud computing with EaseTech.