IT support is one of the most important parts of any modern business simply because it’s just not feasible to run a business without any form of technology at its core. For example, most businesses rely on email and other forms of communication, whereas stores might require access to a point-of-sale software to sell their wares. Either way, it’s critical to the success of most businesses, and where there’s technology, there is bound to be someone who needs to manage and maintain it.
Depending on the type of business you run, you might already have some sort of IT maintenance put in place for your organization. Some small businesses don’t have the budget to hire a comprehensive in-house IT department. In cases like this, your employees are given the responsibilities of taking care of their own technology solutions. While this might seem like a good way to approach technology, it’s actually the opposite–your employees likely aren’t trained in how to properly do this, so it could wind up being more expensive than you might think.
Imagine that an employee’s workstation needs to be updated in some way with the latest patches and security updates. They might try to do this, but they mess up the process and their PC is out of commission for the remainder of the day (or until someone gets around to fixing it). This means that not only do you have to waste time and effort on a second implementation process, but you also have to pay the employee for the time they spend waiting for the device to be fixed. This is called downtime, and it’s one of the biggest reasons why you don’t want to risk untrained technicians applying patches or administering IT maintenance.
Now imagine what happens when you do actually have an in-house IT department managing your technology maintenance. While they might be true professionals in their chosen craft, how do they spend their days? Do they throw away countless hours on IT support that could easily be accomplished by a dedicated help desk? Do they run in circles trying to keep up with their work? If you overload your in-house IT department, it can be like not having one at all.
These reasons and more are why a lot of companies have turned toward outsourcing for their IT needs. By working with a managed service provider like Kite Technology Group, you can leverage IT support as a service, meaning that you get all-you-can-eat IT maintenance based on your service level agreement. If you don’t have an in-house IT department (and even if you do), it’s a great way to supplement your business with accessible and affordable services. To learn more, reach out to Kite Technology Group at 855-290-KITE.
If you were considering increasing your investment into your information security in 2018, you certainly aren’t alone. Gartner released a report that indicated a considerable rise in plans to invest in key security considerations.
Closer analysis of these considerations shows that businesses around the world are paying attention to essential security requirements that have seen relatively smaller portions of budgetary spending in the past, as well as increasing their security investments as a whole. For example, while identity access management sees the smallest amount invested, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in spending of 9.7 percent between 2017 and 2018.
In addition, spending on network security, security services, and infrastructure protection is expected to rise by 6.7 percent, 11 percent, and 7.7 percent, respectively.
Why? Simply put, 2017 was a rough year, in terms of security breaches and other attacks. Worldwide events, like WannaCry and NotPetya, have shown the importance of comprehensive network security preparations. Another recent reinforcement of this lesson came when the Equifax breach came to light. As is usually the case when a certain something hits the metaphorical fan, businesses are taking notice.
However, if these projections prove accurate, it may still not be enough.
With technology becoming more and more critical to business operations with every week that goes by, cybersecurity is only going to become more important–important enough that an overall spending increase of 8% might not be enough of an investment. After all, technology is becoming a factor in more and more elements of life, which gives a botnet more ammunition–and that’s just one example.
Fortunately, many businesses are also planning on outsourcing their security needs to experienced and trusted professionals. Spending on that is expected to increase by 11%. Will some of this increase be due to your investment?
If it is, reach out to Kite Technology. Our IT professionals are adept in ways to keep your business secure, as well as ways to improve your business’ performance. Give us a call at 855-290-KITE for more information.
Identifying a qualified managed service provider can be challenging–especially if you don’t know what to look for. You should be able to gauge the worth of an IT provider based on a couple of key qualifications, just like you would if you were selecting an employee. What are some of the primary features that you want to look for in a managed service provider?
For any employee or organization that you deal with, you’ll want to hire only those who have some sort of industry experience that they can call upon. In this case, you’ll want your MSP to have some sort of information technology background so that they know how best to handle your business’s technology solutions. There will always be experience and knowledge that only comes from hands-on experience, so be sure that your prospective IT talent has some to spare.
Quicker Response Times
Have you ever dealt with an IT provider or a technician who doesn’t know the definition of acceptable response time? You always want your technicians to acknowledge when work needs to be done and to complete it within a reasonable timeframe. Time-wasting IT resources don’t provide much value for your organization, and the same can be said for your employees. It might sound cliche, but time is money, and you want the resources at your fingertips who can best manage it.
Scope of Service
You should consider how well-rounded your managed service provider is. What kind of services do they offer for your organization? You’ll find that a managed service provider that’s good for multiple solutions is much more efficient and useful than one who specializes in only one topic. You need to find your business an MSP that can handle a wide range of subjects ranging from network security to disaster recovery, and everything in between.
Network security is equally important for businesses of all sizes. Ensuring that your infrastructure remains firm is one of the most crucial tasks in managing a business. You don’t have to do it alone, though. There are enterprise-level tools available that can give small businesses the same security standards as larger organizations, and it all starts with a Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution.
A UTM takes four of the best enterprise-level tools and combines them into one great package. You’ll have a firewall, antivirus, spam blocker, and content filter in place to keep your business secure. You’ll quickly discover that this is the best way to handle network security.
Your firewall is the first line of defense for your network, tracking any incoming or outgoing data to keep threats at bay. If you keep threats from entering your network in the first place, you’ll decrease the likelihood of your business suffering a data breach or other similar attack. Granted, even the best firewall can’t keep out all threats, which is why the rest of the UTM is particularly important.
You might notice that most desktops come with a consumer-grade free antivirus, but this isn’t ideal for business purposes. It will only provide a minimal defense at best. Meanwhile, an enterprise-level antivirus solution can scan your system to check for any known threats on your network, including viruses, malware, spyware, and so much more. This type of tool is often the only way to find some of the more scrupulous threats on your network, so it’s a critical tool for any business that wants to take network security seriously.
Spam can be both a waste of time and a threat to your organization’s security. A single employee downloading the wrong attachment or visiting a malicious website could become a major problem for your business. Data could be compromised in the fallout, which could damage your organization’s reputation and subject it to compliance fines. The most effective way to protect yourself from spam is a proactive solution that keeps suspicious messages out of your inbox in the first place. You can’t click on messages that aren’t there, right?
The Internet contains practically endless threats, and if you’re not careful, they can find their way onto your infrastructure via your employees’ browsing practices. There is malicious content on the web that can install malware or infect your computer with viruses. Furthermore, some websites might try to farm credentials from your employees, including personal or sensitive information. A web content filter can block these websites from being accessed on your network, allowing you to keep employees from accessing unsafe or wasteful online content. Plus, it can be implemented on a per-user basis.
Is your organization’s network lacking proper security measures? If so, Kite Technology can help. To learn more, reach out to us at 410-356-3113.
Procuring equipment is a necessary part of managing any business, but this is often easier said than done. Your organization works with multiple vendors, which could be both confusing and time-consuming. How does your business manage its vendors, and is there a way to make this easier and more efficient?
Vendor Management Goes Both Ways
You might consider your vendors as assets, but the fact remains that they are also businesses just like yours. This means that, while you are trying to profit from your relationship with them, they are also trying to profit from their relationship with you. This doesn’t mean that this has to be the extent of your relationship with your vendors, but be sure to keep in mind that, ultimately, you are both for-profit institutions.
Vendor management isn’t about trying to earn discounts, cut costs, and outsmart the vendors into giving you a deal that’s heavy-handed in your favor. Rather, you want to form a trusting relationship with them so that both of your needs are served adequately. Approaching vendor management in this way can help you better understand the role that vendors play in the success of your organization. Forming this kind of relationship might seem challenging, but you’ll notice that you will receive higher quality of service, friendlier negotiations, and a closer working relationship.
How to Find the Right Vendor
Just like any relationship in the business world, there will be good fits that help your business flourish, while there will be bad fits that will cause more friction than progress. We’ll help you choose the right vendors for your business’s needs.
Know what you want from your vendor. Once you’ve decided what role the vendor fulfills for your organization, you can then rank potential vendors in regard to how well they suit your needs.
Create some documents that you can use to inform vendors of what your business requires:
- Request for Quote: This is helpful when pricing is the biggest pain point.
- Request for Information: Put together this document to see, at a glance, information regarding the market. If what you see is ideal, move on to the next document.
- Request for Proposals: This document allows the vendor to show how they can be beneficial to your organization. You present them with a problem that they then proceed to solve for you. If the document is too detailed or not detailed enough, you might get prospects that provide inaccurate quotes.
Negotiating with Vendors
Ultimately, you want a vendor who is willing to work with your organization to achieve mutual goals. Compromise is an important part of this process, as well as clear communications. After all, nobody wants to work with a vendor who is difficult to work with.
Ensure Ongoing Support As Needed
It’s usually the case that your relationship with a vendor won’t end after the purchase and implementation of a solution. You’ll generally form a service level agreement with your vendor of choice, which will determine how you receive service, how much is covered under your current contract, as well as what’s not covered. Unfortunately, in most cases, this means putting in a support ticket or holding for minutes on end while you’re waiting to get an issue resolved. You don’t have time to waste, so the ideal way to approach this dilemma is to have someone dedicated to dealing with vendors on your side. This way, you’ll always have access to someone who knows and understands your business’s SLAs and warranties, as well as someone who will make endless phone calls so that you don’t have to.
Kite Tech can be your go-to technology vendor management resource. To learn more about what we can do for your business, reach out to us at 410-356-3113.
The business world increasingly relies on IT services. Regardless of which industry you fall into, IT will undoubtedly play a major role in how your business functions on a daily basis.
Businesses also need their technology to remain in proper working order, but this is easier said than done–especially if you don’t have the luxury of an in-house IT department.
Thankfully, managed service providers make this much less difficult. Compared to the traditional break-fix model of IT management, a managed IT provider aims to take a different, more proactive approach. Instead of managing your technology yourself and paying for maintenance when a system has failed, a MSP will take measures to keep your IT in proper working order so that it doesn’t leave you high and dry.
Another imperative detail to include is that a managed IT provider takes care of your IT solutions so that you don’t have to, keeping you from spending time on business-disrupting IT troubles and preventing downtime as a whole.
For an example, consider the following scenarios and how MSPs can influence how you do business.
It goes without saying that managing a business might have you spread a bit thin. Some tasks will naturally be sidelined in favor of more important initiatives. For example, installing updates for your various technology solutions is a task that might be pushed to the side, even though they are needed, simply because it’s a time-consuming process. Therefore, you miss out on critical opportunities and benefits that you could gain from updating your technology regularly.
Perhaps you are running a version of your operating system or program that is vulnerable to a serious threat. Without a proper update or patch, this vulnerability could lead to your business suffering from downtime or data breaches. It might not seem like there’s time in the day to patch up this vulnerability, but your organization can suffer from a delayed reaction to this vulnerability. Yet, juggling all of your responsibilities makes a timely approach to this issue, which has yet to show any real signs of even being an issue, just about impossible.
Managed services allow your organization to receive technology assistance from an MSP, including real-time monitoring and management, as well as updates as they are needed. This means that your applications will always remain up-to-date without your organization taking time out of its already-full schedule to make sure they happen. Since most maintenance can be performed remotely during the company’s off-hours, you can avoid in-house distractions and downtime.
Of course, this is only a singular example of how managed IT services can help your organization. If you want to know more about managed IT, reach out to Kite Technology at 410-356-3113.