Whenever a new factor is introduced to a scenario, there’s a high propensity for risk and confusion. It’s that concept that may keep a lot of businesses away from outsourcing their IT departments – the idea that bringing in an outside team can disrupt the way things are already done. Thankfully, there’s less to worry about than you might think, if done right. Here are some core ideas to implement as you look into outsourcing. (more…)
As you may have guessed from its name, a technology assessment is the process of auditing your current technology and how it affects your business and environment. It’s a simple enough concept to grasp, but one that’s seems surprisingly hard to execute due to its vagueness. Where do you even begin? And what does it all even mean after you make it through the process? To answer these questions, ironically you’ll be entering a process that involves asking even more questions. Here’s a quick rundown of what to consider as you do your own technology assessment.
What Do We Already Have?
Before anything else, start inventorying the assets your company has. This alone can be pretty enlightening – discovering tools you didn’t know your team was utilizing or tools you thought you had but don’t. You’ll want to use a loose definition of technology here as well to get a complete inventory. This means recording not just software and apps, but everything from digital cameras to printers as well.
How Do We Currently Use Our Tech?
Once you know what you have, it’s time to begin soul searching. Looking at each item, you’ll want to define how it’s used and what policies you have in place for each piece. If you don’t have a policy in place for some of your tech, why not? Interview the stakeholders in your business to find out exactly how they’re using certain tech in their jobs. How are you using something compare to the industry standards? This will answer some tough questions right away, especially for defining what software or services you no longer need.
Part of a good technology assessment is also looking at your website and all other outward facing digital materials. When you assess this, you’ll want to contemplate how these could be improved or better maintained. Knowing your gaps and weaknesses will give you guidance as you take your next steps into improving your technology.
What Do I Do Next?
This the big one. But by this point in the process, some of the answers may be more or less obvious. You’ve looked at what you have and what you don’t, so now it becomes a matter of prioritization. With that also comes assessing your budget. You may find that you have a lengthy wish list of new tech and upgrades you want but not the funds to make them happen. That’s okay – lots of business face the same hard choices. You’ll need to begin the process of taking this information and figuring out what needs to be immediately addressed, what fits into your pressing business goals, and what can wait.
These are tough calls to make and can be hard to make on your own. We can help. Outsourcing your technology assessment can give you a fresh perspective and our experts can give you definitive direction in deciding where you need to take your tech next. Give us a call today.
In a modern workspace, seamless communication is key. We’ve talked a bit about this previously in terms of mobile strategy, but mobile is best paired with tools that allow you to interact with your team quickly and on the fly. This goes beyond email toward something faster. Enter chat. These aren’t the AOL chat rooms from the Internet of yore – they’re a vital way for you and your employees to communicate within a closed network. Even when you’re in the same physical room, using a chat client can be great to keep a document of your conversations for future use and reference. These three different clients below are helping businesses across the country maximize their productivity. (more…)
The age of mobile is in full effect. If you thought 2016 saw people glued to their devices, just wait till you see what 2017 has in store. This isn’t just about people playing Candy Crush or posting pictures of their babies on Facebook — it’s about new tech having a major impact on your business. Coming up with a plan for incorporating mobile devices into your IT strategy is just as important as the adoption itself.
Securing Your Wireless Connection
Before you thrust your IT strategy fully toward mobile, you first need to consider the implications it will have on your wireless connection. More users latching onto your wifi means more risks for security breaches. Encrypting your network is crucial, and an outsourced IT team can help you ensure that you won’t be susceptible to any attacks or unwanted users.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
Before you invest in a mobile strategy, it makes sense that you’d like to have a “trial run” of sorts first. That’s why many businesses opt for a BYOD policy. This is a great way to find out how your employees will actually use mobile devices in the workplace by having them use their own instead of investing in brand new gear. That said – you’ll want to set some parameters and procedures before you have everyone walking around with their home tablet.
With personal devices come the dangers of personal data. Make it clear that you don’t want to know about your employee’s private life and also don’t want them using their devices for personal use when on the company network.
Protecting Your Data
Why limit your employees to not using their devices for personal web browsing and apps while in the office? It’s about protecting one of your most valuable assets: your data. But it goes beyond your employees. Moving toward a mobile friendly office means opening yourself up to new security threats.
Start by explicitly keeping track of what devices have access to your network. Only those who’ve been vetted should be allowed access to your business critical files. For those using personal equipment, verify that they have their devices security functions enabled. These can be as basic as having an unlock passcode setup or as thorough as encrypting the data on the device. It’s a conversation that requires a level of comfortability and respect between both parties.
Mobile adoption is becoming increasingly popular and essential, so you don’t want to get left behind. But you also want to make sure you do it properly. ISOutsource can help. Our essential support team can help get you up to speed – fast. Give us a call today.
If you are considering moving more of your infrastructure towards cloud services, the transition can be difficult. Businesses from all industries are making these same transitions and cloud service providers are creating more and more options for services. While having copious options to choose from is obviously a great thing, the decision making process can give you headaches. What services do we need? What do we use now but can do away with? What new services will we need as we grow? These are all valid concerns and important questions to ask as you make your transition towards the cloud. (more…)
Hiring your tech support can be a drag. Forget, for a moment, about all the wide-ranging resumes flooding your inbox and the whiteboard discussions to define your ideal candidate – it can also be a huge pain in your wallet. Thankfully, there’s another option readily available for you via outsourcing with an IT provider. While the sticker shock on a contractor may seem like a lot at first, in reality you might actually save money in the long and short run. (more…)
Once upon a time, cybersecurity was a concept we mostly experienced through political thrillers and sci-fi blockbusters. But now it’s a real threat that everyday businesses need to consider for protecting their data as well as sensitive client information. Thankfully, we also live in an era where you can readily prepare yourself for these worst case scenarios. Here are five different measures you can take to protect yourself from cyber threats.
No, we’re not talking about the 2006 Harrison Ford cyber-thriller Firewall. Firewall software is your first form of defense on security breaches. It works sort of like how it sounds; building a mighty barrier around your computer that filters out bad coding and hackers. Without a firewall, you’d be in big trouble. But having a lackluster firewall could be almost as bad. Investing in quality software like Comodo Internet Security Plus or Kaspersky Internet Security gives you an added advantage against incoming attacks.
We’ve brought up password managers a few times now on our blog, and with good reason. Using the same password for everything is a massive security risk. Having too many passwords to remember can make you want to pull your hair out. Browser-based password managers can leave your passwords unencrypted and ready for the taking. A password manager helps alleviate these risks by letting you swap between multiple, lengthy passwords without having to memorize a single character.
Don’t have a password on your Wi-Fi? If not, you’ll want to get on that right away. Not only does having an open Wi-Fi network allow anyone to use your internet for free (potentially slowing down your internet speed and making you liable for any illegal downloads they may do on your network), it offers a major security risk. If someone savvy enough has access to your Wi-Fi, they can access the files on your computer.
Written Cybersecurity Policy
Writing things down is so old fashioned, but it still has value. A written cybersecurity policy keeps your business accountable. It can also be an education tool for your employees; informing them on what type of practices can lead to major security breaches. Human error is always a factor, so having these guidelines define from the beginning is a huge asset.
Taking your cybersecurity policy a step further, device management helps you enact these regulations. Device management ensures your employees follow your set policies, even with mobile devices. While trust between yourself and your workers is crucial, some actions should not be accessible due to security repercussions.
Still feeling overwhelmed? We can help. Let ISOutsource get you up to speed so you can spend less time stressing about the safety of your data and more time getting back to work.
As we’ve covered again and again on this blog, an IT Provider can help quell your tech burdens. But even still, you’ll want to make sure you’re asking the right questions. It helps not just so you know the breadth of their work, but also to help them better understand your business’ priorities. These give questions will make sure you both get off to the right start and ensure that your needs are being met.
How Do You Bill My Company?
Money is always the awkward question that no one wants to bring up. However, it’s a necessary conversation to have. Get firm information on how billing works. You don’t want to get stuck footing a bill you didn’t expect or miss a payment. Do away with the expensive elephant in the room and talk about this right away. Your IT Provider will appreciate the forwardness and will be happy to outline all the costs involved.
What Do I Do In An Emergency?
Accidents happen. No matter how well you’ve guarded your system, there’s still a chance that you’ll find yourself in an emergency situation. You might not have an emergency preparedness plan, but your IT provider should. Make sure you discuss with them their plan in those disaster situations so you know what role you both will play when the unthinkable happens.
How Can You Help Me Upgrade My System?
If you’re bringing in a pro, you’ll want pro results. That’s why you’ll want to ensure that you’re getting upgrades that matter for your business. Talk through all the details on how they can get you up to speed on the cloud, process automation, and other business critical processes you use day-to-day.
How Do You Backup My Data?
As a business in 2016, your data is one of your most valuable assets. It’s the backbone of many companies. Not just that, you also have customer data to worry about. Physical backup drives were the industry standard for years, but they come with their own risks. They’re easy to misplace and are susceptible to physical damage. Chat with your IT Provider about cloud solutions that not only will ensure your data is safe, but also makes it so you can access vital information no matter where you are.
How Do You Make My Computer System More Secure?
Protecting your data isn’t just about backing up, it’s about keeping it out of the wrong hands. Your business needs proper cybersecurity in this modern age. Just like you’d put a lock on your front door, you need to put a lock on your network. This needs to be one of your top priorities when you talk with your IT Provider. It could be measures as small as implementing a password manager or maybe you need a custom cyber security solution. Find out what services they can offer you and how expansive their coverage is.
Now that you have the questions, it’s time to get some answers. ISOutsource is made up of IT professionals who understand the needs of modern businesses. Check out our full list of services and give us a call. We’d be happy to answer all the questions we’ve posed here and get your company secure and up-to-speed ASAP.
Before you invest in loads of expensive new tech, you’ll want to have a proper IT strategy. That sounds obvious, right? But what does that actually mean? By breaking down the individual facets of a comprehensive IT strategy, it becomes easier to plan for your company. Consider these factors before you make your next big tech move. (more…)
Talking about your small business’ tech needs can feel like opening a can of worms. You go in with the good intentions of getting up to speed on the best practices for your computer systems, but end up with an overwhelming and never ending to-do list. Plus, if you don’t have a background in IT, most of it might not even make sense. So how do you know where to start?
When it comes down to it, every small business needs certain basic things when it comes to a computer system. Most of the solutions and tools you’ll find suggested to you can fall under one of these three categories. (more…)