Five Things Every Small Business Should Know About IT

Technology changes every single day, and it can be a difficult to stay in the loop. More small businesses are starting to discover the advantages of utilizing the latest in technology. Making the right choices when it comes to IT will keep your business running smoothly. Let’s take a look at the Five Things Every Small Business Should Know about IT.

Five Things Every Small Business Should Know about IT.

Security: Security is a big issue these days. A firewall is a must have for any small business. The router from your internet provider is not enough protection. Knowing your network and data are safe from hackers and outside attacks will give you peace of mind.

Freedom: Whether your company has in-house or outsourced IT services they can free up that one person in your office that seems to be good with computers. IT professionals can take all of the worries off of their plate, so they can perform the job that you hired them to do.

Strategic Planning: When planning for your company’s growth you need to consider technology. It is important to choose the solutions that will grow with your company and help you maximize your technology investment.

Proactive: How much downtime does your company suffer from each year due to slow or failing computers and network outages. The right IT support can catch the issues before they even occur. Saving your company valuable time and money.

Budget for IT: Budgeting is essential to your business’s success. Knowing where your bottom line is important in planning for growth, but sometimes new technology is seen as a negative rather than a positive. A solid investment in cutting edge technology can make all the difference. 

If you and your business need help navigating your IT needs give us a call today and schedule an appointment for your free assessment. We would love to help you.

 

 

 

MSP’s Ensure Business Technology Aligns with Needs and Goals

Think of it like this – you’d rely on an accounting professional to handle your company’s finances or a marketing specialist to increase customer engagement. You should adopt the same approach when it comes to planning your technology infrastructure. MSP’s Ensure Business Technology Aligns with Needs and Goals

MSP's Ensure Business Technology Aligns with Needs and Goals

 

Here are the top four ways an MSP can offer in-depth experience and resources to help your business thrive.

 

1. Access Highly Specialized IT Experts

Let’s face it – technology can be extremely complicated. Especially in this digital age – with technology constantly changing – it’s an uphill battle just trying to keep up. New technological trends are always emerging and shaping various sectors of business. That’s why it’s best to leave your IT infrastructure in the hands of experts who know how to manage your assets efficiently and consistently. An IT consultant can answer any questions you have and simplify technology to make your work life easier.

2. Streamline Work Processes

A Managed Service Provider can pinpoint holes in your existing infrastructure and figure out which solutions can help you get back on track. By giving proactive recommendations such as virtualization and cloud computing, you can figure out the best way to streamline work processes and improve workflow. This ultimately helps you increase efficiency and employee productivity.

3. Smart Planning and Budgeting

How great does the thought of predictable IT spending sound to you? With the help of a Managed Service Provider, you can strategically plan and stabilize your budget. Outsourcing IT means you no longer have to dish out tons of money on an in-house IT team. In most cases, businesses will spend 25% to 50% less when they utilize managed services over the cost of even a single internal technology employee. You further save on expenses deducted from recruiting, training, turnover, and vacation days. With a dedicated MSP, costs are budgeted and controlled.

4. Return Focus Back to Core Mission

Employees perform best doing the things they are good at. With the help of an MSP  you can free up technical headaches and burdens that distract you from carrying out your essential day-to-day tasks. The time and energy spent wasted on figuring out technology can add up. By delegating your technology to a Managed Service Provider, you can free up time and resources – getting your focus back on revenue-generating projects and opportunities.

To learn how an MSP can help grow your business and plan for the future, contact Kinetic for a free consultation!

Business Benefits of Managed IT Service

Why is having a managed service provider smart for your business? By outsourcing your day-to-day computer network support and IT management to a team of technology experts, you’re allowing your business to maximize its potential. With managed IT services, you have complete support and the IT assets to help your business grow. Instead of settling for your current IT infrastructure and the limits that come with it, why not leverage technology around your organization’s needs and goals? Managed IT services allow just that. Let’s take a look at the business benefits of managed IT services.

Business Benefits of Managed IT Service

1. Managed IT Services Take a Proactive Approach

 

With managed IT services, you no longer have to worry if technology is running how it should. Instead, you can get back to focusing on your assignments and day-to-day tasks while a team of IT experts proactively monitor and maintain your IT. Highly trained IT professionals are constantly on the lookout to detect problems within your infrastructure before they arise and have the ability to provide top-notch IT support from virtually anywhere. Maybe you have a huge presentation to give out of the office and your files get corrupted? Don’t worry – with managed IT services, you’ll have the problem fixed in no time.

2. Managed IT Services Give You Access to Tech Experts

Your business runs with several departments with employees who are experts in their associated field. When outsourcing your IT, you delegate technology to expert technicians and engineers with a vast amount of experience in the IT industry. Managed IT services mean getting access to tech experts with in-depth tech knowledge that your in-house IT department may lack.

A team of IT professionals will regularly oversee your network to ensure that it’s running up-to-speed and fix any problem that gets in the way of your duties. You get 24/7 network monitoring to keep your systems secure and prevent unwanted downtime.

3. Managed IT Services Give You Peace of Mind

With the rise of data breaches and hacks, cyber-security is a hot topic these days for businesses. Managed IT services provide all-around protection with antivirus programs, firewall installations, and password protection. Keeping your intellectual property out of the hands of sneaky hackers and intruders means your business can keep running without interruptions.

With a comprehensive IT security plan in place, you and your employees gain a greater peace of mind.

4. Managed IT Services Are Cost-Effective

“Fix-it” IT services – when you have someone come in on the spot to fix broken or damaged hardware – equates to unpredictable hardware and maintenance fees. Nobody likes the sound of that! With managed IT services, you get a flat, monthly fee for constant IT support. You don’t have to pay out benefits or a salary commitment when you outsource your IT. You also don’t have to waste resources on training new IT staff or compensate for sick days/time off. Managed IT services take care of all your tech-related needs so you can have an easier worklife.

Business Disaster: What Threatens Small Businesses the Most?

There are many threats to the integrity of a small business, and not all of them are as dramatic as a cyberattack or a hurricane. Every small business needs to do a risk assessment to determine all the threats that exist that could bring harm. External threats are the ones that get the the most attention. These can be big snowstorms or hurricanes that bring down power lines and network connections. They can also be man-made. A power outage due to a grid failure, or an act of terror. Also in this category are phishing scams, cyber attacks and data theft from external sources. Business Disaster: What Threatens Small Businesses the Most?

Business Disaster: What Threatens Small Businesses the Most?

 

All of these are the ones that make the evening network news, and every business needs to plan how to handle them. However, there are some internal threats that can be just as serious, but are far less attention getting.

For example, human error. Stolen data can occur because someone forgot about changing their passcode, or they left a smartphone containing critical data on the bus. These aren’t nefarious acts, but they can still have serious consequences. Have you looked at how you might wipe clean a lost phone? What about the person who forgot to do a backup the day before a server failed?

Another area where human error can occur is a technical oversight. Perhaps an overworked tech who did not recognize the existence of a single point of failure in your IT infrastructure.To learn how outsourcing some tasks such as proactive management and security audits can solve these problems, see “Outsourcing Isn’t a Dirty Word: Meet Managed Services, Your IT Team’s New Best Friend – Managed Services”

Contact us at Kinetic Technology Group

The Future of Customer Service

Having been in the IT industry for more than 20 years you will come across plenty of customer service horror stories. Usually some of the best stories you will hear is from prospective clients talking about their former or current IT support they are wanting to replace. Everything from days and weeks to get a response to botched server installs, lost data, no backup plan and the list goes on.  Recently there was an article by Forbes on the future of customer service and what the average consumer can look forward to when it comes to getting support.

 

The Future of Customer Service

 

AI (artificial intelligence) will play a big role in the automation of simple tasks to allow real humans more time to focus on bigger tasks. This means you will be talking to automated prompts on the phone more than you do today and we all know how fun that is!

Social Media is playing a bigger role in customer relations but can be a double edged sword. Social media can allow you to connect more closely with your customer but it also allows the customer to make a poor experience more public.

As a future consumer you will be able to outsource your needs and complaints to a third party, think of this as your own personal outsourced customer service center or Concierge Services.  These third party Concierge Services will act on your behalf and interact with the company directly – or rather indirectly.

Is that what you really want when you are searching for your company’s IT support? At Kinetic Technology Group we believe very much in customer support, after all it is what our whole business is based on. As for the future of customer service, we are equally devoted to our customer experience and making sure you get the very best level of IT support and service. As an MSP it is our job to deliver IT support at the highest level, no matter the size of your company, we take a personal approach to your support. We have our own in-house Helpdesk that constantly monitors all tickets and handles them in a timely manner. Kinetic believes in making trips to each and every client on a regular basis, even if you are not having issues. We believe in face-time and building relationships with our clients. Give us a call today, we would love the opportunity to help you.

Data Protection and Bring Your Own Device to Work

BYOD refers to a firm’s policy of allowing employees to use their own personal phones, tablets and laptops for all their work applications.This is a pretty common policy, and it has many benefits, but it brings along risks. How are you addressing these risks? Data Protection and Bring Your Own Device to Work.


Here are some of the issues raised by BYOD

  1. A lost device – If you issue company phones, you have the ability to remotely wipe the unit clean if it is lost or stolen. With employee’s personal devices, do you still have that ability. If not, your data is at risk.
  2. Software updates – Is the employee responsible for updating all the software and virus protection programs on their own devices? If that responsibility transfers to them, you are at the mercy of their willingness to keep track of such tedious tasks. If you accept responsibility for it, do you have the in-house staff to handle all the extra work?
  3. Back ups – with data being entered on many different devices, something must be done to ensure back up procedures are routinely followed.

In short, BYOD is probably an unavoidable approach to device management. It is unrealistic to expect people to carry around 2 different phones or tablets 24/7. But BYOD means extra work for the in-house staff of a small business. To learn more about these risks and a more affordable, comprehensive approach to BYOD Management, see our e-guide “Now you see it, There IT…Stays”

Contact us at Kinetic Technology Group

Everyday Human Error Can Affect Data Protection

Are you under the impression that data loss is all about putting up firewalls to protect against evil cyberattacks? Some of the biggest sources of data loss include sloppiness, human error, and just plain forgetfulness. Everyday Human Error Can Affect Data Protection.

Everyday Human Error Can Affect Data Protection
What are some of the unglamorous things that we do everyday that leave us vulnerable?

Passwords
Old or easy passwords are a good first example. Employees set up simple passwords that are easy to crack. More importantly, employees may share passwords, and many often fail to create new ones on a frequent basis. Both of these represent critical breakdowns of good data protection practices.

Emails
Another significant problem caused by bad judgment is the tendency of people to open phishing scams. Almost everyone now knows about the Nigerian who wants to send money to your bank account, but many new scams come along every day and people fall for them. This is such a serious source of virus infection that some companies now deliberately send out their own phishing email to teach workers not to open anything from an unknown source. (The employee who opens one of these gets a pop up screen that tells them they’ve been tricked and then offers guidelines for identifying bad emails.)

Browsing the Web
Bad websites. Yes, everyone has policies about internet use at work, but that doesn’t mean people pay attention and don’t visit places they shouldn’t. Most significantly, a lot of those “sites they shouldn’t visit” are far more likely to be infected than CNN, Ebay or Amazon!

Losing Your Belongings
And finally there is just old-fashioned forgetfulness. Phones left on a bar stool.Or the bus. Sigh. There isn’t much more to be said about this one.

To learn more about the risks that your employees pose to your business’s data integrity, see our e-guide “Now you see it, There IT…Stays”.

Contact us at Kinetic Technology Group

Disaster Recovery Plans: Do You Have One?

Disaster recovery and business continuity plans are issues that almost all small businesses fail to think about. More frequently, they decide they haven’t the resources to address such “unthinkables.” Disaster Recovery Plans: Do You Have One?

Disaster Recovery Plans: Do You Have One?
What is the cost if your business is down for 1-2 days or more?

  1. Lost revenues and lost productivity – These are obvious. You won’t make the money that you would have if you remained open. This is especially true if you provide a service. Services are inherently tied to time, and time cannot be re-created. Sure, you can work extra hours next week, but it won’t be a service provided at the time it was expected. However, even if you provide a product that can be purchased next week instead of today, a customer didn’t get it when they most wanted or needed it.
  2. Helping the competition – You give your competition a real edge. Present clients and potential ones may go to a competitor while you are down. Not all will return. Your competitors now have ammunition against you to use in sales pitches.
  3. Employee frustration – Employees will carry the burden of the extra hours and stress of helping get things back together. Downtime can lead to a lot of frustration if things don’t get back to normal quickly and can damage long-term productivity. Most importantly, it can damage the respect they have for management. In general, they will recognize that you didn’t have the foresight and wisdom to anticipate the need to create disaster recovery and continuity plans. How can that not damage their trust and support for the company and you?
  4. Negative brand reputation –Your customers will also wonder how you couldn’t have cared enough to make plans to handle trouble. Think of the negative way a customer sees it. The event suggests a company that doesn’t think ahead. A client is not “off base” to feel angry that you didn’t care enough to make plans to support him if a disaster hit. Also, if you can’t handle disasters well, what else aren’t you handling properly?

These are just a few of the reasons everyone needs to consider disaster recovery. To learn more, see our e-guide “Staying Alive: The Definitive Guide to Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery for Small Businesses”.

Contact us at Kinetic Technology Group

Small Businesses Need Disaster Recovery Plans

Entrepreneurs and small businesses often don’t think about making plans to recover in case of a disaster.

The smallest business most likely has the fewest resources to fall back on in case of disaster. Small Businesses Need Disaster Recovery Plans.

Small Businesses Need Disaster Recovery Plans

Why does this happen?

  1. It isn’t on an entrepreneur’s radar. The challenge and hurdles of starting out are what drive small business owners, as a result the excitement that comes with getting a new client or releasing a new product are what motivates them. Therefore, things like disaster recovery plans are a little dull and aren’t part of the exciting day-to-day hustle of running a company.
  2. Planning tools can seem too complex. Ideas like “risk assessment” and “business impact analysis” can be intimidating. Many SMBs may just feel the whole area is overwhelming and leave it to another day.
  3. It is perceived to be unaffordable. Many owners may believe that putting disaster recovery plans into place involves a lot of additional spending on consultants, backup hardware and more software. That isn’t true. With cloud technology and the use of a managed service provider, disaster recovery doesn’t need to be an intimidating or expensive proposition.

How Outsourcing Saves Time and Money

Almost by definition, small business owners and entrepreneurs cringe at the concept of outsourcing. Those who start their own companies like the control and autonomy it provides them. Unfortunately, that preference for control and autonomy may have some bad side effects when it comes to IT. How Outsourcing Saves Time and Money

How Outsourcing Saves Time and Money
Small business don’t have the resources to fully support all of their IT infrastructure needs. The present in-house staff is most likely very busy putting out day-to-day fires. One statistic suggests 65% of IT budgets go to nothing more than keeping the lights on. In short, staff is busy making sure the printer works or reloading a PC infected by a virus after an employee fell for a phishing email. This means that small firm’s expenditures on IT are not improving operational, efficiency, or enhancing productivity or competitiveness.

There is an alternative. Managed Service Providers are outside consultants you can bring in to handle the day-to-day tasks, so your own IT resources can be used more productively.

How might an MSP supplement your IT efforts?

  1. 24/7 operations center – Small businesses can benefit from, but simply cannot afford 24/7 internal monitoring of their IT infrastructure. Many of the issues that become costly business disruptions, such as hardware, software, and applications failures are completely preventable if they’re detected and addressed early enough. It is a reality that your systems run 24/7, but you can’t support a 24/7 IT staff. A MSP, however, can use economies of scale to provide around the clock monitoring of your IT operations.
  2. Disaster recovery and business continuity plans – Small businesses have limited resources, so if there were to be a serious business interruption or data loss, they could be completely out of luck. However, risk assessments and continuity plans are likely outside of a small business owners field of expertise. A MSP can be brought in to design a complete solution.

These are just 2 ways that a small business owner can benefit from passing along IT support to an outside source. In both cases, small business owners don’t lose any control of the key parts of the business operation. Instead, the distractions of IT support are moved along to an expert, while the entrepreneur focuses on what she does best: running her business. We’ll talk in another blog about other benefits of outsourcing IT, but in the meantime, see our e-guide “Outsourcing Isn’t a Dirty Word: Meet Managed Services, Your IT Team’s New Best Friend – Managed Services”.

Contact us at Kinetic Technology Group