How Information Technology Works

At it’s core, information technology is any technology that powers the storage, processing, and information within a business. That sounds vague and overarching, because it is. IT is an all encompassing concept that covers all your devices and platforms such as computers, software, websites, servers, and more. As you can likely infer from this broad definition, IT is more crucial in the modern era than ever before. But what does it look like in practice?

Keeping It All Connected

The key to IT is developing a system that keeps everything interconnected and running seamlessly. You’re probably already using some forms of IT with your email or data management (especially if you’re running an ecommerce site). However, having systems that run completely independently from one another can become a headache over time. The ability to move data from one platform to another shouldn’t be a luxury, but something that you build as an essential component of your IT. The more interconnected your IT, the better producitivity for your and your customers.

Continual IT Maintenance

IT isn’t something you can set up once and let it run without supervision. Because it’s such a crucial component of your business, it demands your attention. There are internal glitches that will need to be addressed, as well as external security threats that you’ll want to guard yourself against. Having staff on site to make sure everything’s running smoothly and working with your non-IT staff to meet their needs is crucial.

Not just that, but being able to keep track of it all can be demanding on its own. The sheer amount of data that even small businesses collect can be overwhelming. Without someone to implement the structure and having the ability to wrangle it all in is invaluable. You’ll only ever accumulate more data, which means there will always be work to be done.

Adopting IT Advancements

Your business isn’t static and neither should your IT be. As the devices in your home continue to get more advanced, business-level technology moves even quicker. Being on top of the next trends and advancements is crucial to your success as a business and your business growth. While it can seem cheaper and save time to keep with the archaic systems your business has used for years, denying progress can actually be detrimental to your profitability. Upgrading can mean faster speeds and more seamless interaction between your systems, which means more time to dedicate on new business and other projects.

Not all upgrades are worth your time though, and it can be hard to tell what’s useful and what’s just another sales pitch trying to get you to buy something you don’t need. Having an IT specialist on your staff can help identify what actually will be worthwhile. Someone who is intimately familiar with your business and data can better address your needs than a salesperson.

Outsourcing Your IT Team

As you can tell, having IT specialists on staff can be a make or break for your business. They’re absolutely crucial. However, if you don’t have the resources available at the moment or are not quite ready to bring someone on full-time, you still have options. ISOutsource provides essential support for business looking to take advantage of everything IT has to offer. Reach out to us today and we’ll help you develop a plan that’s right for your business.

tech supportYour business needs your customers. Without them, you’d just be a team of people who hung out in an office space all day, working endlessly on something no one would ever see. Even if you already have a core base of people who use your products or services, you’ll need to focus on growth to ensure the longevity of your business. How do you do that in the technology industry? Investing in your tech support.

Better Service Means a Better Business

As a company, you should be aiming for excellence at all levels and with all of your departments. Just as it’s essential to invest in innovation and technology for growth, your tech support should as well. Think of it as another limb of your work. It isn’t something completely separate that you can think about later. By taking your tech support seriously and ensuring it’s up to the same standard that you hold your products, you’re taking the first step to a business poised for growth.

Retain Customers

The point of tech support is to help your current customers use your products better. It’s not something people often want to use, but if they have an issue then you’ll need to be prepared to help them handle it. Tech support is often the only part of your company that people will engage directly with. If they have a positive experience and feel like they can depend on you when they need it, you’ll earn a customer for life.

Build Your Reputation

Tech support gets a bad reputation for many people, often associating it with long waits, awful hold music, and representatives on the other end of the line who don’t seem eager to help. If you can subvert these tech support tropes, your customers will notice. Build a reputation for having great customer service and word-of-mouth will work in your favor. People love to share their good and bad experiences – it’s why platforms like Yelp exist. Keep this in mind with your tech support by training your staff to be courteous, efficient, and – most importantly – complete and total experts in your field.

Outsourcing Tech Support

Do you want to build up your tech support team, but don’t feel like you have the resources to deliver the level of service your customers deserve? That means you’ve already got the right mindset to do right by your customers. To alleviate that need, maybe it’s time to think about outsourcing your tech support.

ISOutsource provides flex sourcing services to help you accomplish just that. Our staff of experts can work with you develop a plan that does tech support right. We can also come alongside your team to help provide extra hands to handle whatever issues come up through your customers. Don’t let tech support fall to the wayside while you work on developing your products. A good business means happy customers and a good tech business means excellent tech support. Ready to turn your help desk into a valuable resource? Give us a call or shoot us an email today.

public cloud private cloud isoutsourceThe cloud has caused a lot of confusion for the general public. It’s the brunt of jokes in media that no one knows what the cloud even is. Now you’re looking into it for your own business only to find out that there’s a “public cloud” and a “private cloud”? How much more complex could it get?

Thankfully, it’s actually a much easier concept to explain than it may sound. Understanding the difference between the two versions of the cloud is the key to figuring out what’s best for you and your business.

What is the Public Cloud?

When you think about “the cloud”, chances are you’re probably thinking about the public cloud. This is the category for big names like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, etc. Basically, it’s using a third party company’s platform to store and share your data over the internet. While the name is “public”, you’re not necessarily making your data available for anyone to see. It just means users can access it anywhere with an internet connection. This is especially handy for companies that are always on the go and makes it easier to share materials with your clients.

Because you’re not hosting the cloud yourself, you’ll rely on the security measures of the provider. The very nature of the public cloud, sharing data with others over the internet, makes you more susceptible to breaches. What you make up for in convenience, you lose in potential privacy. However, cybersecurity for the cloud is continually advancing so you’ll likely not have to worry about an attack on your data.

What is the Private Cloud?

As the name might imply, the private cloud is for internal use only. It’s hosted on your company’s own intranet or on-premise server. With the private cloud, you can share documents, utilize apps and protect your data without worrying about intrusion from outside entities or a third party managing your system. The private cloud is especially great for maintaining sensitive information – particularly if you’re hosting client data.

By going the “I’ll take care of it myself route”, the drawback is… having to take care of it yourself. That means any maintenance or issues that arise, you’re solely responsible for and can’t call your host to take care of it for you. Taking this route can be a huge benefit for your company’s privacy, but make sure you have the proper staffing in place to handle it as you go.

Another Option: Hybrid Cloud

So, you want the best of both worlds? The security of the private cloud but the flexibility of the public cloud? Thankfully, there’s a middle ground – a hybrid cloud solution. We’ve championed hybrid cloud adoption previously as an emerging IT trend and it’s easy to see why companies are jumping on board. A hybrid cloud option merges together both public and private cloud systems. You’ll still need the on-premise hardware that’s needed for the private cloud, but you can use an encrypted connection to utilize it with your third-party public cloud services.

The security of the the hybrid cloud is still being heavily debated by IT professionals. You won’t have the same peace of mind that you would with a simple private cloud solution, just by the very fact that you’re opening it up to interact with the public cloud. However, for larger businesses trying to scale while protecting their data, the hybrid cloud has become a popular middle-ground solution as technology catches up with businesses’ needs.

Feeling more confident about what cloud option is right for you? Or maybe you have more questions about which model is right for your business? ISOutsource can assist you by auditing your business’ needs and give you a roadmap to implement the cloud in a way that will work best for you. We specialize in cloud services, so you’ll know you’re in the right hands. Give us a call today.  

How Do You Know When You Need Project Support?

How Do You Know When You Need Project Support?When you’re heads down on a project, it can be hard to come up for air and ask for help. You’re so focused on getting everything done that it seems like a waste of time to step away for a second and assess if you have everything you need. However, outsourcing talent to work with you on your projects can save you loads of time and stress. Here are some factors that might signal that you need project support.

Volume of Work

One of the easiest ways to tell if you’re in over your head is to just look at the numbers. If you have more work than you can realistically divide between your IT staff, that’s a problem. Typically, this is a sign that your business is booming, which is good, but if you can’t make the deliverables on time then you’re going to be in a predicament that you don’t want to be in. There’s the old phrase “many hands make light work”, and that still applies in the modern era with new technology. There’s a lot you can do with automation and the right skillset, but at some point you’ll reach max capacity to take on work and need to reach out for more help. (more…)

small business outsourceIt must be nice, being able to have a budget dedicated toward building out the core teams of your business. For many small businesses, this is a luxury they simply can’t afford. It’s a hard place to get stuck in. You want to make that next leap up in the food chain, but your funds just won’t allow it. That’s why outsourcing is often perceived as being a luxury for enterprise companies.

Let us indulge our inner Morpheus for a second: what if I told you that outsourcing actually is a viable and smart strategy for small businesses? This is especially true for your IT team and support. It may seem contrary to what you’ve previously heard, but outsourcing can be key to taking that next step in your business. Here’s how.

Outsourcing Reduces Costs

Let’s get the money out of the way first. Outsourcing goes well beyond that old adage of “you gotta spend money to make money.” In fact, it’s really about spending less money. When you’re working on a small budget and trying to build your business, you’re often looking for ways to cut back costs without sacrificing your long term goals. Along the way, you’ll also find that one of your biggest costs is hiring your staff – especially full-time employees with benefits. Outsourcing is an effective way to bring in the manpower you need to get work done without worrying about draining the payroll account.

This can either mean fully outsourcing your IT team or maybe you have a small team that needs some additional support. Especially with IT, you can find yourself needing all the help you can get to keep up with the increasing demands of ecommerce, maintaining apps and your website, etc. An outsourced employee or team can help keep these functions moving forward.

Scale for Your Needs

But you also might not always need that much support. Say you hit a busy season so you hired on another full-time employee. What happens when things slow back down again? Will you be able to afford keeping that person on? That gets messy really fast. With outsourcing, you have the luxury of living in the moment. While we’ll always advocate for utilizing outsourcing to strategize for the long term, we also know that there’s just times where you won’t need as much support and don’t want to pay for it. Outsourcing makes this easy, clean, and with a whole lot less awkwardness.

Expertise You Need

Trying to become an IT expert overnight isn’t going to happen. There’s a steep learning curve, even for the most savvy of business owners. And even if you have an IT department, there may be blind spots in their own training that they’re not equipped to handle. Rather than try to wing it and hope for the best, bringing in an expert will ensure you get exactly the support you need. An outsourced IT expert will be able to point you toward tech to grow your business, offer critical advice for maximizing your practices, and gear your efforts toward ROI and efficiency.

Small businesses think can’t have it all due to their size and scale, but with outsourcing you can. ISOutsource is happy to support you as your build your business and fill in those gaps that you need. You’ll save money in the long run and prime yourself for success. Give us a call today.

business growthAs a business owner, every move and decision you make comes with the subtext of how it’s going to grow your business. Whether that’s a new hire, a new office space, or new policies. Chief among these, especially today, is new technology. If you even glance at TechCrunch or Gizmodo, you’ll know that there’s new emerging software and apps popping up every day. Who has the time to go through it all and assess what’s worth investing in for your business?

Instead of trying to grasp the entire world of emerging technology, lets look at just a few different advancements that you should absolutely be using now. Some may sound more daunting than others, but they can all provide you with immense value and that coveted, allusive ROI. Here are some great tools and solutions to start with.

A Robust CRM Platform

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are essential to your sales team. That’s not an overstatement, either. In 2017, if you’re not using a CRM then you’re pushing a boulder up a hill during a snowstorm. Services like Salesforce and Oracle Netsuite give your sales reps immense insight into their own work with lead tracking, collecting data on prospects, and building funnels that will lead to closing deals. These platforms can be a bit overwhelming at first if you haven’t used one – massive dashboards with so many settings and functions that it’s hard to figure out where to start. However, it becomes much more intuitive as you go along. Plus, dealing with the learning curve is much better than staying behind the times and letting your competition swoop in on your prospective clients and customers.

Cloud Services

Your business is not tethered to tangible tools. In fact, it’s almost better the less physical tools and devices you have to deal with. As we’ve discussed before on this blog, cloud services like AWS and Microsoft Azure give you more fluidity in your business. Being able to work via the cloud allows your employees to work quickly and efficiently. There’s no more trying to track down files or even needing to keep everyone tethered to a physical server. The cloud is meant to scale, meaning you can continue to upgrade and build it out as you go without having to do a serious overhaul and pausing activity. It’s great for your clients too, using the public cloud to give them access to critical assets without any headaches.

Project Management Tools and Apps

Do you hate email? We all do. Cluttered inboxes are the death of productivity and the bane of business growth. How are you expected to take on more clients when you’re still struggling through piles of email threads? We’re not talking about spam either – it’s easy for vital emails to get lost in a barrage of communication. That’s why project management tools are becoming even more essential. Apps and services like Basecamp allow you to organize and prioritize your myriad projects. They allow you to zoom out far enough to see what all your colleagues are working on, but also zoom in on your personal to-dos. It streamlines communication and turns all those complicated threads into sleek, streamlined processes.

Sold on these ideas but not sure where to start? We can help. ISOutsource can come alongside your business and help install and implement these new technologies into your business and help you prime them to get the best ROI. Interested? Drop us a line today.

vCIO-Consulting-ISOutsourceThe role of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) is becoming increasingly essential to business operations. But finding a good one that fits your company’s specific needs – not to mention your budget – can be hard to find. So, what do you do? Do you opt to go without and deal with the repercussions? Do you make cuts to other departments to squeeze a CIO into the mix? Do you settle on someone cheap to keep the train moving?

None of these are ideal. Thankfully, you don’t have to put yourself in that uncomfortable and potentially detrimental situation. If you’re asking those questions to yourself, it may be time to bring in a vCIO. (more…)

ISOutsource-How to Decrease Inconvenience and Cost of Managing IT

At this point, we probably don’t have to convince you on the value emerging technology can bring to your business and office spaces. Even in your life outside of work, you’ve probably seen technology provide you with unprecedented levels of convenience with everything from organizing your schedule to providing you with virtually limitless entertainment. But managing the IT for your business is a totally different story – and a costly one as well.

Investing in new IT is a big leap. However, you might find yourself feeling like you’re getting stuck into a money sinkhole. Your employees and IT team keep telling you about new updates and upgrades they need to be more efficient. Sometimes this doesn’t quite lineup with your checkbooks. How do you stay current, get the most out of your current IT, and not break the bank? Here are a few key concepts to keep in mind. (more…)

Why Should I Do a Technology Assessment?

why should I do a technology assessment | ISOutsourceWe’ve talked previously about how to do a technology assessment and how to parse through the results. But there’s another key component that we haven’t looked at: why even do a technology assessment in the first place? As with anything in your business, nothing should be done arbitrarily and a tech assessment is far from just another thing to scoot to the bottom of your to-do list. It’s a crucial process in determining your the tech needs of your business. To put this into perspective, we’ll show you why a technology assessment can give you vast insights all across the timeline. (more…)

Cloud ServicesMuch like an actual cloud, the cloud is hard to grasp. For those who don’t work with it regularly, It feels amorphous and indefinable. You’ve probably heard enough buzz to know that it’s something worth investing in for your business, but it’s hard to pull the trigger if you’re having trouble understanding exactly what it’s going to do for you. The scope of the cloud is massive, so let’s look at just a few features and how they alone can have a dramatic impact on your day-to-day operations and bottom line.

Safe Data Storage

This is a feature that most understand about the cloud – being able to host all your data. But it’s more than just an expensive, confusing thumb drive. When you’re working with large amounts of data, especially with clients and customers, you need to make sure everything is safe and organized. Hosting your data on a private cloud server does this for you. You can adjust the settings so only those who need it can access the information. No trying to search for that external hard drive or sifting through someone else’s computer trying to find that document.

Apps, Apps, Apps!

Enterprise apps are quickly moving over to the public cloud via Amazon Web Services and Azure, such as the renowned SAP environment. Just like there’s an “app for everything” on your phone, the cloud takes it further to having an app for, as Janet Jackson once said, “any time, any place” (including thunder and rain!). These apps are crucial in helping with data migration, deploying applications for your customers, managing your CRMs, etc. There are quite literally limitless possibilities.

Containers

The cloud isn’t just about what other people have built for it – it’s what you can build as well. If you have developers on site, the recent addition of cloud containers can be a game changer for them. Containers allow them to manage software code for their cloud apps, allowing for seamless collaboration as they work to make your business even more efficient.

Costs

Not only are these solutions massively beneficial to your business, they’re surprisingly cost effective as well. Instead of investing in bulky, expensive hardware that will get outdated and need to be replaced every few years, you can invest in something scalable like the cloud. You’ll lose the maintenance costs as well and even have more room in your office. You only have to pay for the features and functions you actually use as well, customizing your cloud experience only to what your business needs – these can be adjusted later on as well as your business grows.

Still mystified by the cloud? That’s okay. ISOutsource is here to help. Our team of experts have a firm understanding of this still emerging technology and can help you get the most out of it. It may be tempting to stick with what you have and what you know works, but you’ll also be missing out on a wealth of opportunities that can help make your business better, faster, and stronger. Reach out to us today and we’ll help you get there.