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. 

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?


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,

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 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.

Does your current provide responsiveness you need? Contact us today, and we’ll help get the service you deserve.  

Ease Technologies today at (301)854-0010 and learn how our Managed Services and Ease Cloud Workspace can help keep your business more productive.


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.

The 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
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

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

Sign up today

Weathering Winter Storms: 5 Tips for Small Businesses


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. 

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.



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.

Ease Tech Talk – January Lunch and Learn [Webinar]

Do you ever feel a little overwhelmed with some of the technology updates and issues you encounter at work? Would you like to get ahead of the game? Join us for our January Lunch and Learn Webinar where we will get you
started on the right foot in 2017.

Don’t delay and sign-up now

Join members of the Ease Technologies Help Desk and Support Team where we’ll cover the top
tech issues  businesses run into every day. We will also be opening up the webinar to answer the burning tech questions that keep you up at night! In addition, we will share ideas and demonstrations of some of the latest features from the most
important technologies you use every day.

Demonstrations and Topic Areas:
Windows 10 – common issues and new features
Office 365 – common issues and new features
iPhone – common issues and new features
Cloud – common issues and new features
What are the technology trends for 2017?
Security tips
Your Question and Answers

Don’t delay and


Who should attend:
General Audience
Online Webinar
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
provided by: Ease Technologies

iOS 10.2 Update Released Today

As a major 10.x update, iOS 10.2 introduces new features and design tweaks to iOS 10. It includes a new “TV” app, which is designed to serve as an Apple-designed TV guide that aims to simplify the television-watching experience and help users
discover new TV shows and movies to watch.

Top Tech Holiday Gifts for 2016

Do you struggle with gifts for that tech-savvy friend or family member every year?  Here are a few of our picks from the Ease Tech Team this holiday season.

The Apple Watch Series 2


The Apple Watch Series 2 brings advanced fitness-tracking capabilities as one of its more attractive features. The GPS, bright screen, and waterproof features make it incredibly compelling for anyone who has considered
a smart watch. This device with the latest hardware and software is designed to work with the iPhone, offering the convenience of using a variety of apps like a calendar, texts, weather, notes, and reminders without needing to pull out a phone. It is
ideal for the health-conscious geek in the family. The prices start at $369, and it’s available at the

Apple Store

Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo is a voice-activated home assistant. It is closely tied to many of Amazon’s Prime online shopping services. Echo can provide music, news, sports, weather updates, product ordering, and even get you
a pizza delivered from Dominos, all from voice controls.  What’s more, it connects to many other home devices to control lights and thermostats for $179 at –  
Amazon Echo – Black


Netflix is the most popular online entertainment provider of movies, TV series, documentaries, and self-produced programming. A preferred media service of geeks and those wanting to cut the cable company cord, prices
start at about $9.99/month for the HDTV version. The easiest way to gift this is a gift card found at many local stores. However, you can also purchase gift cards online at


for up to $100.


Do you know someone who’s always losing their keys, wallet or purse around the house?  A Tile is an easy way of keeping track of your things while at home or traveling.  It’s a little device that
is attached to the item you want to manage and then paired to your iPhone. Tiles work with keys, wallets, bags or even bikes. They work best when monitoring things in close range and urban areas.  They are relatively inexpensive and very easy to
set up. There is a small clip-on version for bags and keys, and another that is a flatter style design for a wallet. The prices start at $25 for one Tile and set with a Tile Mate & Slim Combo Pack can be found online.

Battery Recharging Pack

All these mobile tech gear requires additional power while on the road.  There are a wide variety of small, powerful recharging battery packs that can keep those smartphones, iPads, and digital devices functioning
and extend their battery life by many hours. They are perfect for road warriors and families that are always taking trips. The

Anker Astro E1 5200mAh 
 found online is one of the best. 

Portable Bluetooth Speaker

The iPhone is one of the most advanced pieces of portable computing devices ever created. One way to turn that smartphone into a quality music player is by pairing it with a mobile Bluetooth speaker. The best speakers
are portable, rechargeable, and waterproof, but with good-quality sound. You can take them on vacations, to the beach, and at parties. The

UE ROLL Wireless Mobile Bluetooth Speaker

meets all of these needs for about $69, and there are plenty of choices if you want to spend less too.

Stocking Stuffers Ideas

You can never have enough power adapters and charging cables. Great stocking stuffers are extra 
USB car chargers

iPhone USB cables


wall outlet adapters
, as they are pretty inexpensive and always needed.  An adequate supply is great for travel, keeping in the car or office, or for use when a guest shows up.  Plenty of great choices at Amazon from between $5-$20.

Acronis and US Signal Expand Distribution Agreement to Bring Backup and Disaster Recovery Solutions to Managed Service Providers

BURLINGTON, Mass., Nov. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Acronis, a leader in hybrid cloud data protection, today announced an expanded distribution agreement with US Signal, an industry-leading network and cloud-hosting
provider in the Midwest. As a result of the agreement, Acronis becomes the exclusive provider of backup and disaster recovery solutions for US Signal’s managed service provider (MSP) customers. Acronis is a fast, easy to use and the most complete
solution for on-premises, cloud and mobile workloads.

Today’s businesses face new challenges when it comes to data protection, including massive increases in data volume, man-made and natural disasters, and cyber-threats, such as ransomware. According to Enterprise
Strategy Group (ESG), data backup and recovery consistently rank among the top IT priorities for organizations of all sizes, but especially for midsized organizations. US Signal is addressing the growing demand for business continuity solutions as
MSPs now have access to complete data protection solutions offered by US Signal. The addition of new backup and disaster recovery offerings give MSPs even better control of data and margins.

As US Signal looked to expand its offerings to the MSP market, having an easy to deploy and manage, safe and complete backup and disaster recovery solution as part of its portfolio was a vital missing component. US
Signal needed a partner that would enable this product offering while using the current US Signal cloud infrastructure that was in place. The infrastructure, which includes eight data centers and one of the largest, fully deployed networks in the
Midwest, consists of both physical and virtual servers. This meant the technology needed to be flexible, highly scalable and enable MSPs to have complete control of their offering.

“US Signal has made backup and recovery in the cloud a business success at Ease Technologies. Our ability to create additional revenue is greatly enhanced by leveraging the US Signal developed service with the Acronis
technology, allowing us to offer our customers a fully managed backup and recovery product,” said Jason Shirdon, VP of Operations at Ease Technologies, Inc., an MSP based in Maryland.  “The US Signal management platform is easy to use and allows
us to efficiently control and monitor our pricing and product offerings for end users as needed.”

Acronis Backup Cloud allows US Signal MSPs to offer backup targets in the cloud in order to provide a geographically diverse, scalable, and inherently highly available storage repository. MSPs can also perform backups
from their on-premises physical or virtual environment or a US Signal cloud infrastructure and have restores done to the source or a disparate location, all while managing and monitoring all backup activities for an entire environment via a single,
centralized management console with a modern user interface. This enables a MSP to meet the specific needs of its customers, creating stickiness with additional services to reduce churn.

“Acronis intimately understands the needs of MSPs, and offers a solution that not only provides the ability for service providers to easily sell managed services on top of the US Signal platform, but the company also
ensures our MSP partners can sell recovery services using the US Signal public cloud as a recovery target,” said Amanda Regnerus, vice president of marketing and product development at US Signal. “We had very stringent requirements for our backup and
disaster recovery partner and Acronis met every need. We are very pleased with the turnkey focus of the product and service that Acronis provides, as it’s very easy for our customers to get up and running quickly.”