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Common Technology Problems Solved By an MSP

In today’s digital world, technology plays a big part in driving business growth. However, many companies are facing technology challenges that they aren’t always prepared to address on their own. That’s where a Managed Services Provider (MSP) can be a gateway to increased growth, revenue, and profitability.

What is a managed services provider?

A managed services provider remotely manages your IT and end-user systems. It is a term that encompasses many IT services that focus on providing the best IT support possible. At the same time, working with an MSP can solve many of the common technology problems facing businesses today.

Security lock

The Problem: A need for improved security

Cybersecurity is a high-priority issue for every company today due to the increase in the number and severity of recent cyberattacks. No company is exempt – and the impact can be devastating. In 2017, cyberattacks cost SMBs an average of $2,235,000.

Company leaders are looking for cost effective ways to protect themselves to increase their peace of mind, avoid downtime, and to comply with regulatory requirements.

Working with an MSP gives you:

  • Access to more sophisticated cloud security systems
  • Access to highly-trained security specialists
  • Complete cloud backup services
  • Proactive services designed to protect you from cyberthreats

Server

The Problem: Backup and disaster recovery

As companies depend more on technology to complete normal business processes, the thought of extended downtime or losing all of your data is frightening. Therefore, developing an effective disaster recovery plan is a high priority for many companies.

Your data is arguably your most critical asset. The results of losing access to that data can be devastating. According to the experts, approximately 25% of businesses won’t reopen after a significant disaster. The statistics get worse for companies that experience a disaster, but don’t have a recovery plan. Forty-three percent of those businesses won’t survive.

Working with an MSP, you’ll tap the expertise you need to:

  • Identify all the possible threats you face
  • Identify an emergency communication plan and a recovery team
  • Develop an evacuation strategy
  • Develop a business continuity plan

Once your disaster recovery plan is in place, an MSP can provide the capacity for backing up your data, the resources to implement your recovery plan, and help you stay in business if a disaster does strike.

Stopwatch

The Problem: Avoiding downtime

Downtime is always a threat. The result may be the postponement of an important client presentation, or a delay in filling orders.

Equipment failures happen to everyone. Networks go down, and a hard drive crashes every 15 seconds. Besides that, almost 40% of SMBs don’t back up their data. There is no option for switching over to a redundant system, and many SMBs don’t have the budget to put a redundant system in place to begin with.

Working with an MSP, you’ll have highly-trained technicians who make sure your systems are operating at peak efficiency. An MSP can offer the type of redundancy that will keep you working even if technical failures occur.

MSPs will also quote guaranteed uptimes. With the resources at their disposal, they have the horsepower they need to meet those guarantees.

Code programming network

The Problem: Need to get better at identifying root causes

It’s not always possible for SMBs to develop an IT department with the resources to take care of regular maintenance, support users, and spend the time to analyze a system problem and identify the root cause.

The result is that the unsolved root cause continues to cause problems repeatedly. Users get frustrated and the IT staff waste time correcting symptoms of the same problem.

An MSP has the resources and knowledge required to take the time to drill down into a symptom to find the root cause and fix it.

Team work

The Problem: IT staff doesn’t have time for strategic work

Since technology is so integral to a company’s growth, it’s critical that the IT staff focuses on driving innovation. Unfortunately, for many SMBs, that’s nothing more than a pipe dream. The day-to-day requirements that keep your systems running and your users happy don’t allow the staff to spend a great deal of time on value-added projects.

MSPs offer an easy way to resolve that problem. With an MSP managing your systems, your staff will have the time they need to continue innovating. In fact, industry experts have found that of those businesses that work with an MSP, only six percent eliminated its IT staff. Fifty-three percent of those businesses kept its IT department as it was originally.

Cost savings

The Problem: Finding ways to reduce IT costs

Every business wants to reduce costs, but it’s often more important for SMBs. A lean SMB doesn’t have many places where cost cutting is reasonable.

Working with an MSP is one way to reduce costs without reducing the benefits the business gets from using technology. An MSP can achieve economies of scale in terms of acquiring software, hardware, and experienced IT staffers.

The fees paid to an MSP are typically fixed, which provides you with predictable monthly costs. And, those fees are typically accounted for as operating expenses vs. capital expenditures.

In the end …

These are just some of the problems an MSP can solve for you. In the process, you’ll be able to redirect internal resources to continue the growth and profitability of your business.

If you would like to explore the specifics of how an MSP could contribute to the long-term health of your business, contact us today for more information.

The Critical Elements of an Effective Disaster Recovery Plan

As they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” — and when dealing with data, this saying could not be more accurate. Whether your company faces a hardware failure or falls victim to a computer virus, having an effective disaster recovery plan in place is imperative.

Although large companies and corporations tend to plan for a wide array of possible disasters, small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) do not often implement a disaster recovery plan until it’s too late. Unfortunately, such an event causes approximately 60% of SMBs to shut down within six months.

If you have not yet developed a disaster recovery plan, today is the day to do so. However, not just any recovery plan will do. In order to truly protect your data and in turn, your business, you must be mindful of key, critical elements. This will ensure the best possible outcome following a disaster.

The True Cost of Data Loss

Your data is one of the greatest assets you have (if not the greatest). Once you lose your data, your company will face serious consequences. As stated in one key report, when a company experiences an outage that lasts more than 10 days, they will never fully recover financially.

Furthermore, an estimated 25% of businesses will not reopen following a significant disaster and within five years, 50% will be out of business. Of the businesses that do experience a disaster and do NOT have an emergency disaster plan, 43% will not reopen their doors and within just two years, only 29% will still be in operation.

Going down chart

The following stats are rather shocking, showcasing some of the reasons why a recovery plan is so critical:

  • Approximately 40% of SMBs do not back up their data at all.
  • Approximately 44% of data loss is a direct result of unexpected mechanical failures.
  • A hard drive crashes every 15 seconds, and 1 in 5 companies will experience a fatal hard drive crash in their lifetime.

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Related: You Can’t Plan for a Disaster, but You Can Have a Disaster Plan

Implementing Key Elements In Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Although an incomplete disaster recovery plan is better than no plan at all, in order to truly protect the long-term growth and success of your business, your recovery plan needs to be airtight.

In short, to prevent a data loss disaster, you need to be mindful of the following elements and take preventive action today.

Element 1: An analysis of possible threats and disasters

In order to plan for a potential disaster, you need to understand what that disaster may be.

Overall, risks tend to be categorized into one of the following: external risks (i.e. natural or human risks), facility risks (i.e. fire, flooding, power outage, etc.), data system risks (i.e. viruses, bugs, failed data storage systems, etc.), departmental risks (i.e. missing door key), and desk-level risks (absence of key personnel at work).

Pointing right fingerBottom line: You must first assess all possible risks to better understand the potential threats. What risk factors are most likely to impact your business?

Element 2: A communication plan + a predetermined recovery team

Once a disaster occurs, clear, rapid communication is critical.

Have you created reliable communication channels? Also, those involved in the recovery plan should understand their role. For example, who will redirect phones? Who will assess the damage? Who will set up temporary workstations?

Pointing right fingerBottom line: When disaster strikes, everyone should step into their role with confidence. Everyone needs to be on the same page, working together to ensure a positive outcome. Also, be sure to record a complete inventory of all hardware and software on-site.

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Related: 3 Data Loss Horror Stories

Element 3: Have an evacuation strategy in case of an emergency

Hurricanes and other natural disasters, as well as fires, can cause a state of panic. Having a safe evacuation strategy is imperative during an emergency. These routes should be practiced during periodic drills. You can also run test drills to practice your current plan in relation to potential system failures, hackers, etc.

Pointing right fingerBottom line: Walk your employees through your disaster plan every six months or so and test on a regular basis, making adjustments as needed.

Element 4: Include a business continuity plan

If a major disruption occurs, what’s next for your business?

This component will include plans and arrangements to ensure that you can still operate. Be mindful of the necessary resources and data that will be required to support business continuity.

Pointing right fingerBottom line: You need to plan ahead in terms of key business operations, including an IT recovery strategy. This means that you will need to regularly back up your data BEFORE any issues arise. Start by identifying the data you need to back up so that your business can continue to thrive following a disaster. Then, follow the 3-2-1 backup rule.

Combining the Elements of Disaster Recovery

At the end of the day, the actions you take today could significantly impact the future of your business. Once you have written your first disaster recovery plan, allow it to evolve with your company and make sure it is always up-to-date. Your disaster recovery plan will be of no use if you made significant changes to internal systems but not your plan.

As new technologies arise and new processes are implemented, these will need to be considered in terms of your disaster recovery plan. Then, once changes are made, test your altered plan.

Still unsure how to effectively protect your critical data? Contact us today. We can help you craft a foolproof plan that works 100% of the time. You’ll never have to worry about problems – instead, you can relax knowing your data is safe and sound.

The Smart Way to Outsource IT and Strengthen Business

The Smart Way to Outsource IT and Strengthen Business

Smart way outsource ITSuccessful businesses rely on some form of technology to manage operations and solve common problems. However, as technology continues to advance, it can become more expensive and introduce new challenges to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). In these cases, businesses can consider outsourcing IT to reputable partners that can manage their IT solutions for them, at a fraction of the on-premises price.

As discussed in “Investing In An IT Support System: SMB Tips For Outsourcing,” posted by Mark Wensell on SMBNow.com, the need for efficient technology can quickly become a distraction for a growing SMB. In addition to the expense of modern business systems, companies often need skilled IT professionals to keep those systems working at peak capacity. Studies show that business technology spending already consumes over half of new project purchases and is set to increase by 10% or more per year. Here are a few reasons to consider outsourcing IT to strengthen your business and tips for doing it successfully.

Partner with a Software Provider You Can Trust

  1. Reduce the burden on staff: A growing business is a busy business that needs all of their people focused on strategic plans, goals and fulfilling customer needs. Outsourcing IT can reduce the distraction on your  IT team and allows them the time to focus on other strategic improvements.
  2. Save time and money: Cloud-based solutions offer a cost-effectiveness that’s hard to beat. There is no expensive hardware to install, servers to manage and updates are completed behind-the-scenes with little to no business disruption. You can also scale functionality and users according to immediate or anticipated needs.
  3. Increase security: Your software partner can provide cutting-edge security features that can, in most cases, be stronger than what a SMB is able to assemble. Intrusion detection, firewalls, spyware and virus protection, filtering and other threat management features can increase security, protecting customer and proprietary data, without over-taxing your IT team or budget.

When working with an outside partner to manage your IT needs, choose a provider that is experienced with modern business solutions, has experience within your industry sector, and takes the time to understand and respond to your unique business needs. This is a long-term partnership, so trust and understanding are keys to success. Contact AppSolute Consulting Group for more insight and guidance with outsourcing IT and strengthening your business in the process.
By AppSolute Consulting Group, LLC, Microsoft, Acumatica, and Sage Partner based in New York.