Category: IT Systems

5 Signs You have a Great Managed IT Services Provider

5 Signs you have a Great IT Service Provider

What makes a great Managed IT Services provider so good? How do you know if the service you’re receiving is poor, other than the obvious signs like downtime or incompetence? Let us focus on the positive today, instead of the negative.

Many small businesses cannot afford in-house IT departments that big businesses tend to require. Not only can they not afford it, they don’t need it!

But what so many small business CEOs don’t understand is that just because they don’t have a need for large scale systems, equipment, and service contracts doesn’t mean that they have to settle for subpar services when it comes to managed IT providers.

Whether you have two employees, ten, or eighty-five, you should be able to count on your IT provider for support and help whenever you need it.

Today let’s talk about five signs that you have a GREAT Managed IT Services provider, regardless of where your services come from: in house, your resident “IT guy” or a company you outsource your technology services to.

5 Signs you have a Great IT Service Provider - Passwords are yours
PASSWORD INFO IS YOURS

You should never be beholden to anyone. Your data belongs to your company, and the passwords that protect that data also belong to you. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is sorely mistaken. You should never have to wait for access.

When it comes to passwords and protection, the role of your managed services provider is to guide you; help you develop strong passwords and best practices in data management. Full ownership and disclosure should be yours. If not, it’s time to reevaluate your provider.

5 Signs you have a Great IT Service Provider - Proactively Preventative
QUICK RESPONSE TIME

Does your IT provider beat the industry standard for response times when you submit a trouble ticket? The industry standard for a first response is more than 20 hours.

What if you could find someone who responded in less than two hours? It’s possible! The bottom line here is quite simple.  If you’ve got a high priority issue that is impacting your productivity, your IT services provider should be communicating with you in real time and giving you the priority service you deserve.

5 Signs you have a Great IT Service Provider - Proactively Preventative
BACKUP & RECOVERY PLAN IN PLACE

This is a basic checkpoint for any managed services provider. If you don’t have a recovery plan in place in the event that something goes wrong (power outage, freak tornado or fire, theft, hacking, etc.) then all the effort you’re putting into efficient technology is all for naught. Your backup and recovery plan is the backbone of your business.

Did you know that 60% of small businesses who suffer a cyber attack will close their doors within six months. Why? Because they don’t have a backup plan. Don’t let that be you.

5 Signs you have a Great IT Service Provider - XPERTEK IT
THEY ARE CALLED XPERTEK IT

All these things we’ve discussed today? XPERTEK IT provides them all. You’ll never wonder what your passwords are. You’ll experience arguably the fastest response times for small to medium sized businesses in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and perhaps the nation. More than 70% of our customers get a response in less than one hour.

We told you it was possible and it is — with XPERTEK.

Not sure about how secure your data, devices, or systems are? No problem. We can help you develop a scalable solution that fits your needs today and can grow with you.

Don’t settle for subpar service when it comes to your managed IT service provider. Call us at 972-591-6019 or contact us today for a consultation for your technology needs.

How to Manage Technology when Onboarding New Hires

Onboarding New Hires - Re-evaluate Small Business IT Needs

If you’re a growing small business, you know all about hiring and onboarding new employees. You also know that onboarding new employees requires a significant time investment. First, it takes hours to search, locate and vet the right candidates, conduct interviews, and finally to acclimate and then train your new employee. Throughout this onboarding process your focus is almost entirely on the new employee, and rightly so.  However, small business owners often forget to consider onboarding from a technology perspective, aside from the urgent or haphazardly setting up of a new email address.

Onboarding new employees during a time of growth is an excellent time to evaluate your technology, especially your business computers, network, and phone system.

There are opportunities to maximize the success of your new hires, even before they start. We understand your life as a business owner; you’re just trying to keep up with the day-to-day. But if you fail to take a look at how your business growth impacts your technology and vice versa now, as your customer base keeps growing, down the road, you’ll wish you had.

Before you start hiring:

Consider how fast your business is growing. How many employees do you think you’ll need to hire? One? Ten? If you know that you’ll be adding more employees over the next few months or year, now is the time to consider what changes will need to be made.

Moving & Growth are the TOP Two Reasons to evaluate your Small Business IT Services Provider.

As you consider how many employees you need to add over the next several months, look at each facet of your technology infrastructure. You can refer to our house diagram and check out each level.

Can your day-to-day communications platforms handle added traffic?

Can your current phone system handle an addition? Will your employee be working from home or at the office at an extension? Do they need the ability to forward phone calls to a personal device? Along with your business phone system, what about email? This is one of the most basic requirements for a new employee; they need an email address. But can your email system handle a new account? What kind of volume do you expect for this employee? Does your email solution offer built-in shared calendar functions, synchronization between email devices, or other modern communication needs?

Is your Network up to the job?

Information travels. Where are you keeping it? In the cloud? Local servers? What’s your plan to get your new employee(s) hooked up to the network?

Devices & Hardware

Is your employee going to be using a desktop or a laptop? Who is setting that up for them? Don’t forget that device use is a part of data protection and security. Have a plan in place to discuss what can or cannot be done on personal devices like cell phones and laptops and ensure that all devices employees use to access your data are properly protected against malware threats.

Mobility

Part of that device discussion is mobility. If you expect your employee to do work like check email and access company information outside of the office, you’ll need to make a way for them to accomplish that work, securely and conveniently.

Backup

Make sure you have a data backup system in place from the very beginning of an employee’s time with you. So many business owners fail to consider this, and employees don’t know where to store information unless they’re told. Unless you want everything housed in an email platform or on a desktop where it can easily be lost or worse, stolen, take the time now to decide what your data storage plan is and communicate it to your employees.

If you’ve got questions about onboarding new employees and technology, we have answers. We meet with business owners in Dallas all the time whose only regret is that they didn’t find us sooner. Don’t waste your valuable time dealing with technology issues that hamper your productivity and stunt your growth. Let us help you build out a plan that allows your growing business and its corresponding technology to scale as you do. Technology should be adapted to fit your needs, not the other way around.

What Does Rapid IT Service Look Like?

Rapid IT service response

Your small business cannot run without technology. Your Internet connection, phone service, computers and network infrastructure are all vital to your revenue. We’ve discussed in a previous blog about the costs associated with downtime and the importance of ensured productivity. One thing that makes XPERTEK IT stand out as an IT solutions company is our rapid response. As you can see in the image above, the IT industry as a whole maintains a response time of nearly 25 hours! At XPERTEK, in the last month we responded within one hour to 71% of all trouble tickets. Today we wanted to offer you a real life example of what rapid response in action looks like.

Rapid IT Service in Action: Email Under Attack

Yesterday at 4:02 p.m. we pro-actively detected an email hacking/phishing attack on a client. This means the client was repeatedly being barraged by spam email. By 4:07 p.m. (five minutes after we first detected a problem!) a member of our team was on the phone with the client, changing the password, and working to rectify any issues caused. By 4:20pm the issue was completely solved and the client secured.

As a result of this event, we launched an audit of the email and cloud services security situation with that client, and helped them this morning to implement a new password policy. We also advised them on best practices for setting, storing, and using passwords, including use of LASTPASS password manager, use of complex passwords, and optional 2-factor authentication.

The most common cause of “hacking” attacks is actually phishing, where you get an email (possibly from a “reliable” source) which directs you to a link to log into something to view a “secure” document. This is actually a false page collecting your information which will then allow the hacker to get into your accounts, risking loss of data, identity theft, and spreading of malware, viruses, and mayhem.

Always be careful on emails that direct you to open an attachment or link. Look at the address it came from (not just the name). Look for the signature, and ensure it meets the formatting used by that person in previous emails, and is not missing or stripped in some way. Double check any links before clicking them by hovering over them and looking at the address at the bottom of your screen –if it says it’s a google document and the URL at the bottom of the page does not say GOOGLE when you roll over, then DO NOT CLICK IT!

Always reach out to your IT experts when in doubt. Don’t have a dedicated IT expert for your small business? Try XPERTEK IT. Contact us today for a consultation.

Avoid Downtime in Small Business Operations

What would downtime cost me?

Taking time out of regular business operations to evaluate your technology may seem like a waste of time, but do you really know how much it would cost your business if you experienced a loss in connectivity, your phone system went down, or a computer crashed? Let us caution you: don’t wait for something horrible to happen. Know what the potential cost of downtime is, and take appropriate preventive measures before it’s too late.

Recently a client contacted XPERTEK because their business internet connection was down. Some quick triage determined this outage caused their phone service and computers/systems to be non-functional for the entire location. Thankfully the XPERTEK team was able to provide a “fast fix” which restored their service within 15 minutes. While we are glad this was the case, the situation could have been much worse when we consider the associated costs.

What is the real cost of downtime due to old equipment or system failures?

In this example our customer books nearly $400,000 in orders per day. Wow! Even more important, this customer is completely dependent upon two customer interfacing systems functioning to complete this order volume. Assuming this customer takes orders during an 8 hour span each workday, we can simply calculate that each hour of system uptime is worth an average of $50,000 to the business.

After completing the necessary work to salvage this customer situation XPERTEK launched into a comprehensive analysis and made several recommendations to the customer that would improve system redundancy.  Net cost: $18,000.

Based on the formula above, it takes only 0.36 hours of productivity loss prevention to justify the $18,000 investment. Obviously this was not a difficult decision to make. The customer immediately decided to build redundancy into the system, eliminating any future threats of downtime.

Consider the cost of downtime associated with outdated equipment. An unreliable phone system that goes down frequently could prevent you from receiving calls from customers or making outbound sales calls. How secure is your data and what would the impact be if you lost it? Would your business even be able to recover?

Don’t wait for a crisis to justify your actions! Calculate the cost of your downtime today and take action. In most cases the investment is quickly justified. “It is much smarter to know it on paper now and prevent downtime instead of “feeling the pain” of a crisis later,” Perry Brulotte, XPERTEK IT. 

Not sure where to start? Schedule your small business technology evaluation with XPERTEK today.

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