Managed IT Services

Windows 10 End of Life Is Approaching – Are Your Ready for Windows 11?

The Microsoft Windows operating system is a ubiquitous part of everyday life. Whether at work or at home, most people interact with some form of Microsoft’s operating system and software tools. In fact, Statista found that as of February 2024, 72% of desktop operating systems (OS) worldwide run Windows. Of those, most should be familiar with the Windows 10 operating system. 

When it launched in July 2015, Windows 10 brought with it a redesigned Start Menu, the Microsoft Edge Browser, biometric security for the first time in the form of Windows Hello, window snapping, and many other helpful features.  

But like they say, all good things must come to an end. Windows 10 will officially enter end of support on October 14th, 2025. What does this mean for you and how can you prepare? Let’s dive into the top 3 questions surrounding Windows 10 end of life so you can be prepared for the transition to Windows 11.  


What Does End of Support for Windows 10 Mean?

While Windows 10 machines will still function after the end of support date, they will no longer receive any security updates. This means they are vulnerable to compromise and should no longer be used in business or home environments. Any newly discovered vulnerabilities in the operating system will remain unpatched. Over time, attacks on these known open spots tend to become more common.  

Additionally, third party software vendors often stop releasing updates specifically for out-of-support operating systems. As a result, the programs may stop running so you may become quickly unable to run applications as intended.  

If you have systems that are running Windows 10, there are a few options to move to Windows 11 and be protected. 


What Do I Need to Run Windows 11?

For your computer to run Windows 11, there are some minimum system specifications required that are stricter than previous Windows OS versions.  

Minimum System Specifications for Windows 11:  

  • Dual Core Processor 1Ghz or faster with Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0  
  • Intel CPU – Must be 8th Generation or newer 
  • AMD – 2nd Generation Ryzen or newer 
  • 4GB RAM 
  • 64GB Storage 
  • DirectX 12 Graphics 

Microsoft has made an in-place upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 available at no cost through the Windows update channel. Your IT provider can also centrally deploy the Windows 11 upgrade. For compatible systems and computers that are less than 3-4 years old, this will be the most straightforward way to move into an updated operating system. 


What If My System Does Not Meet the Minimum Specifications for Windows 11?

If your computer does not meet the minimum Windows 11 specifications, a new PC will be necessary to remain secure and protected. Use the upgrade timeline strategically to evaluate what solution makes the most sense for the next few years.  

If you have an older desktop, an upgrade to a laptop with Windows 11 and a docking station would be a significant improvement in portability, especially with the rise in hybrid work. Newer laptops can also come with nifty features such as touchscreens, thinner construction, faster performance, and significantly longer battery life. 

Windows 11 features performance improvements, as well as an interface that should be visually familiar to most Windows 10 users. Updates to the task bar, Microsoft Store experience, Teams native integration, and other changes mean that this operating system should have a long life ahead of it in business and personal use.   

If you have not created a Windows 11 adoption plan, we encourage you to reach out to Kite Technology Group for help planning and executing this change for your business! 

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Ryan Emerick

Director of Client Experience
Kite Technology Group

What to Expect in a Managed IT Services Periodic Business Review (PBR)

In today’s tech-driven world, businesses rely heavily on their IT systems. But keeping these systems running smoothly isn’t a one-time job. It requires regular check-ins and evaluations. That’s where periodic business reviews with your managed IT provider come in. These reviews are like health check-ups for your technology. They help ensure everything is working as it should and aligned with your business goals.

At KiteTech, our Client Experience team strives to conduct Periodic Business Reviews (PBRs) with all of our Managed Services clients. These meetings are great opportunities to discuss our IT partnership as it relates to each client’s business goals. It can be easy to view this time as a simple service assessment of the last 3 to 6 months. But these meetings can be more valuable than you may think!

In this article, we will provide insights to help you get the most out of your PBRs. 

Reviewing Current/Historic Business Technology

One of the many reasons to plan for a business review is to reflect on your technology standpoint as a whole. Your dedicated KiteTech Client Experience Manager (CXM) provides metrics about help desk traffic, hardware health, employee/technician interaction, and security awareness. We’ll take a deep look at what issues seem to be causing the most downtime amongst your staff or at a particular employee whose computer may be underperforming and due for a replacement.

Our ticketing system offers feedback surveys when issues are resolved, allowing you to see how various interactions between staff and technicians have improved productivity. We also have tools available to show you how well your employees identify various phishing attacks to help protect your agency’s data.

Forecasting and Planning

A PBR is also a great time to look ahead and plan for what the coming months might hold for your business. Whether there are staffing changes, equipment upgrades, or a new piece of technology you want to implement, we are here to help!

At KiteTech, we pride ourselves on internal communication, so we can engage all branches of our organization to find a solution that fits your agency needs—or even create something new. If your business has a project with our dedicated Professional Services team that recently finished, is in progress, or is on the horizon, your CXM can review any questions or details during these meetings.

The Main Goal

It can be easy to review the items listed above to get through a PBR quicker and regain some time in a busy workweek. But if we stopped there, we would be doing a disservice to you. PBRs allow us the opportunity to not only discuss the performance of our services, but to discuss the performance of your company. A Business Review does not just mean our business. We are invested in helping you grow and achieve your company goals in whatever ways we can! We can talk with you about how an upcoming acquisition or office move will impact your current technology standpoint and give you the tools to maximize its success.

There are many moving parts when it comes to making business decisions. As your Trusted IT Advisor, KiteTech can help you make the best decisions with your technology.

What a PBR Is—and What It Is Not

  • It is an opportunity to improve your business. It is not a sales pitch. We want you to be successful in your business. We don’t want you to pay for things you don’t need. During a PBR, our CXMs strive to better understand your business so that we can provide you appropriate solutions to improve workflow and minimize cost.
  • It is a collaborative effort. It is not the time for us to tell you how to run your business. We strive for all our clients to maintain the highest possible security standards and technology best practices. But we don’t want you to surrender the keys to your organization’s data and technology to us. We want to work together to ensure that you not only have the right policies in place, but that you know what those policies are so that you can represent your agency’s cybersecurity stance well.

Schedule Your Next Periodic Business Review

Utilizing PBR time wisely is something we strive to do with all of our clients. Hopefully, the information and insights above have helped demonstrate the importance of these meetings and how they can positively impact your business. If you don’t have your next review scheduled with your CXM, reach out to us and set up a time to meet today! And if you’re not currently working with Kite Technology and would like to discuss your business objectives, we’d be happy to help! You can Contact Us today to get started. 

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Jordan Tier

Client Experience Manager
Kite Technology Group

Modern Intel CPU Power Settings: What’s Best?

Are you experiencing performance issues on your laptop? If so, this may be due to the newer Intel CPUs (12th Gen and newer) and how they behave regarding the different CPU Power Plans in Windows. We have noticed that some users may experience performance issues on their computers if they have these CPUs.  

In this blog post, we’ll dive into how to search your Power Plans and resolve this issue. But first, let’s start with some basics: what are CPUs and what’s their role?


CPUs: Central Processing Units  

Your computer’s central processing unit (CPU) is one of the most important pieces of your computer. The CPU is the computer’s control center or brain. It is responsible for executing the instructions that your programs and applications require to run properly. Several companies create CPUs—Intel being one of them. 


The CPU is a small chip attached to your computer’s motherboard—a circuit board that directly or indirectly connects all peripheral hardware together. This connection allows the pieces of hardware to both gather power from the power supply unit and communicate with each other. With these physical connections, the CPU controls not only the computer’s hardware, but also its software. 


And CPUs are not limited to computers. They also have homes in your smartphones, tablets, smart home devices, smart watches, video game consoles, and even cars.  


Ok, with a foundation for what the CPU’s role is, let’s return to your computer’s Power Plans. There are two areas where Power-related settings are adjusted: Control Panel and Windows Settings. 


Finding Windows Power Plans in the Control Panel

Click the Windows icon in your taskbar (usually at the very bottom left or towards the bottom center). Use the search function and type “Control Panel”. When the program appears in the results, click the title.  

Finding the Control Panel in Windows


When the Control Panel opens, you can find the Power Options one of two ways. You can click on “System and Security” and then click “Power Options”:  

Finding Power Options in the Control Panel's System and Security menu


Alternatively, from the main Control Panel, use the Search bar at the top right to find “Power”. Click on the result, “Power Options”. Many computers are deployed with the High Performance profile enabled.  

Power Options on Windows laptops

Finding the Power Options in Windows Settings

In Windows 11, there is a dropdown for power options. This can be found by going to the Windows icon in the taskbar, and clicking the Settings button, then selecting System on the left, the Power & Battery from the right.  

Windows 11 Power Options for Battery and Performance

In Windows 10, there is a slider in the tray for those power options. This can be found in the same way as it can be on Windows 11, or if you have a laptop, simply click the Battery icon in the bottom right corner of your screen, and it will appear. 

Windows 10 Power Options for Battery and Performance

However, when the High Performance plan is used, the slider does not appear. In my picture of the Windows 11 settings, you can see where the “Power Mode” area is disabled because of the High Performance plan.  


CPU Cores, Priorities, and Their Impact on Performance

Intel CPUs 12th generation and newer use a unique hardware structure where they use two types of CPU cores: P (performance) cores and E (efficiency) cores. Performance cores are multithreaded and clock higher frequencies, while efficiency cores are single-thread and operate at noticeably lower frequencies.  

Take, for example, the Intel i5 13600k: 

Intel i5 13600K CPU Specifications screenshot

The thought process on this is that it helps to improve performance by assigning all important tasks to the P cores, while leaving background processes and other small tasks to the E cores. This simultaneously boosts performance for what counts, while not having an insane power draw. 

However, this architecture heavily relies on Windows’ task scheduler to properly assign the correct tasks to the correct cores. If the wrong tasks are given to the wrong cores, the opposite effect happens, and performance completely tanks. 

For the 12th Gen and newer Intel Core CPUs, the High Performance plan is not assigning tasks to Intel’s P & E cores correctly. This is negatively impacting performance.  


What’s the Solution to Performance Issues Stemming from Power Options?

So, what’s the solution?

Step 1: Disable the High Performance power plan. This can be done by going to Control Panel > Power Options as previously mentioned.  

Step 2: Switch to the Balanced plan in the Control Panel. 

Step 3: Adjust Windows’ Power mode based on which Windows Operation System your laptop uses: 

  • For Windows 11 users, go to the Settings window previously mentioned, click in the highlighted dropdown and select “Best Performance”. “Balanced” or “Best battery” can also be used for extended battery life when away from a charger. 
  • For Windows 10 users, go to the Settings window previously mentioned or click the battery icon in the bottom right corner of your screen, and adjust the slider to the right for Best Performance. Like Windows 11, you can adjust it farther left for increased battery life.  

In our experience, following these steps almost immediately resolved performance issues on these CPUs. Not only that, it can also clear up some occasional issues with the integrated graphics.   

Want to further optimize your computer? Check out our Digital Hygiene Series blog, Tips for Optimizing Your Computer’s Performance

If you’re a KiteTech client and are experiencing computer performance issues, feel free to give our technicians a call or send in a ticket. Our experienced team is happy to help! 

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Joseph Louque

Tier 2 Support
Kite Technology Group

22 Must-Know Windows Keyboard Shortcuts 

By: Matt Saxton, Client Experience Manager


Microsoft Windows has lots of helpful keyboard shortcuts to make you more productive. By now, most of us are aware of things like copying and pasting text, but there are so many other shortcuts that you could be using to save time and stay ahead of the game! 

In this article, we will quickly summarize the most common keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10 and 11. Let’s start with the basics in case you missed any of the easy ones… 

Basic Shortcuts

CTRL+A to highlight all text/elements on the focused window 

CTRL+C to copy highlighted items to the clipboard 

CTRL+V to paste last copied items 

CTRL+X to “cut” highlighted items (cut deletes the highlighted items when you follow up with the paste command) 

WIN+V (must enable before using) to access the clipboard for previously copied items 

CTRL+Z to undo recent changes – this can be used repeatedly to undo many changes 

CTRL+Y to revert/redo previously undone changes 

CTRL+Backspace to quickly delete entire words 

WIN+L to lock your computer (security best practice says you should always be doing when walking away from your device!) 

WIN+D to minimize all windows to get to your desktop 

Intermediate Shortcuts

ALT+TAB and ALT+SHIFT+TAB to navigate active windows (hold tab to see window preview screen) 

ALT+F4 to close currently focused window 

CTRL+W to close current browser window 

CTRL+T to open new browser tab 

CTRL+N to open a new browser window 

CTRL+SHIFT+T to open recently closed tabs/windows 

CTRL+TAB, CTRL+SHIFT+TAB to quickly navigate tabs 

WIN+SHIFT+S to quickly access Microsoft’s snipping tool (particularly useful for quickly cropping a screenshot!) 

Expert Shortcuts

F5 to refresh your browser window. Helpful if a page is having trouble loading, just be careful if you have already typed/entered in form information as it can be lost! 

CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to open your Windows task manager – useful when apps are not responsive, or your computer is having trouble processing currently running applications. 

CTRL+ALT+DEL is a system interrupt that can be extremely useful when a program crashes or freezes and makes your computer unresponsive. It can override the failed program to allow you to restart the computer or access the task manager when input is otherwise not working. 

ALT+R to open the Windows Run dialog box. This allows you to quickly enter various types of commands for Windows and other installed applications. 

Bonus Tip

If you have a mouse with a mouse wheel, you can use CTRL+MouseWheel up/down to quickly zoom in/out on many different applications. This is helpful when you want to quickly change the zoom level for web pages, PDFs, and more! 


Mastering Windows shortcuts is just one of the many ways to boost your productivity and efficiency. Here at Kite Technology, we’re passionate about empowering individuals and businesses to make the most of their technology. If you’re ready to streamline your operations, our Managed IT Services are here to support you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule a conversation and discover how we can help!

Picture of Matt Saxton

Matt Saxton

Client Experience Manager
Kite Technology Group

6 Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting an IT Service Provider

When you hit the market to find a good IT Service Provider, you will immediately realize two things. One, there is no shortage of IT Providers. There are countless options worldwide, many of which are appealing for one reason or another. You will also realize that there are so many aspects to consider when making IT decisions for your business that it quickly becomes a very complex and involved decision. There is a lot that can go wrong in the evaluation process, so I have described 6 of the most common mistakes you should avoid making as you go through the process of selecting your next IT Service Provider.


Failing to Involve the Right People in the Decision 

IT affects every area of your operations, so choosing an IT Service Provider is a significant business decision. Naturally, you want your top decision-makers in your team to be involved in evaluating your options. But it is essential to look beyond just the top level of your organizational chart because your choice of IT Provider will impact all levels of the organization. Consider whether certain areas of the business will be affected more than others or whether there are mission-critical processes that depend on IT. I would encourage you to include employees from those departments in the evaluation process. 

Another option is to get the input of people in your organization who struggle most with technology because a provider who works well for them will work well for everyone else. You could even randomly select employees at all levels of the organization to give their input to ensure general appeal. It may be more time-consuming when more people are involved in the process. Still, a decision as significant as selecting an IT Provider deserves the extra time. 


Not Checking Referrals 

One of the simplest yet most overlooked aspects of due diligence in vetting IT Providers is checking out reviews and referrals. There is much value to be gained from hearing from an IT Provider’s other clients to learn about their experiences. Just like when you buy something online and read the customer reviews, you should seek out customer reviews of all the IT Providers you are considering. Some providers may provide referrals of their own. You should undoubtedly check these and go deeper and try to find contacts of your own (most companies will share referrals they know will be positive). Through LinkedIn, Google Reviews, or other online resources, you should be able to find other customers you can contact to ask about their experiences. Maybe you can even find a former customer and hear their story. Of course, just like when reading customer reviews while shopping online, take care not to be soured by one bad experience if the overall reviews are positive. The point is to gather enough information to become fully informed and make the best decision possible. 


Ignoring Core Values 

Many people think core values are only meaningful when hiring your own team members. However, your providers and vendors are an extension of your organization, so finding a provider that aligns with your company’s core values is vital. After all, your team members will undoubtedly be working closely with your IT provider’s employees, so shouldn’t you ensure they will be like-minded and able to work well together? A great way to get a feel for the kind of people you will encounter at any business is to hear about the company’s core values. Suppose one of your most important business core values is treating people well, but the provider you’re evaluating doesn’t have a core value that speaks to how you treat people. In this case, this provider is probably not a good fit. As someone who takes pride in your business, you want to make sure you surround yourself with other business professionals who care about the same things you value. 


Measuring Price Without Measuring Value 

One of the first questions that will come up in your search for an IT Provider is how much money you will spend. Like in any big purchase, price is an essential factor, and I would not deny that fact. However, it is vital to consider the value of the offerings from each IT Provider because you are not always comparing apples to apples. If one provider seems less expensive, they may have excluded certain services you need or price their offerings differently. Make sure the total price you are quoted includes everything you need. There may also be a difference in the service level expectation, so make sure that you understand exactly how and how quickly your people get help when they need it. A provider with prompt and excellent service may cost more, but perhaps that is worth the extra spend, especially if you know your business will experience higher productivity because your people will get the help they need when they need it. Do not just perform a cost analysis – perform a cost/value analysis and consider all important aspects of the offerings to ensure a fully informed decision. 


Not Performing a Comprehensive Network Assessment 

The single biggest mistake that leads to missed expectations is going “full steam ahead” without first performing a comprehensive audit and analysis of your existing IT environment. Earlier I wrote about making sure you fully understand the value of the offerings from the different IT Providers; this assessment is a vital part of doing that analysis because to understand the value of the offering fully, you first need to understand your gaps and your needs. In tangible terms, a comprehensive network assessment involves looking into all of your computer systems, network equipment, peripherals, software vendors, storage solutions, disaster recovery processes, cloud platforms, security measures, and any other area that is directly or indirectly relevant to the IT landscape. This assessment can either be conducted internally if you have a qualified IT resource or externally either with a third party or else by the IT Providers you are vetting. I will mention that this step should also be crucial to the provider as well because they need to know what they are getting into. Having a clear understanding of your company’s current IT infrastructure enables them to develop a service offering that best meets your business’ needs and objectives. I would be wary of any IT Provider that agrees to partner with you without first taking the time to evaluate your IT environment and ensure a good fit.


Only Considering Local Companies

In the early years of IT, most tasks were done in-person. With immense growth in technology over the past couple of decades,, IT Service Providers have been able to drastically enhance their speed of delivery by doing almost all their services remotely via the Internet. This opens up your search nationwide or even worldwide depending on your needs, so you are no longer limited to the providers based in your geographic region. Now you may be thinking, “If almost all services are done remotely, what about the rare times when I do need someone onsite?” Excellent IT Providers should have an answer for this challenge. For example, your remote provider may form relationships on your behalf with companies local to you who can serve as subcontractors and fill in those gaps when needed. It is also worth considering whether someone on staff at your company can fill these gaps; lots of companies with one or more IT staff of their own use co-managed IT services from a provider to supplement the services that their in-house team provides. 

While it is true that IT sometimes requires physical setup or other in-person tasks, you should not limit yourself to those providers local to you, because the right provider for you may be hundreds or even thousands of miles away. A provider with expertise in your industry (insurance agencies, nonprofits, etc) or that otherwise fits your company well is more likely to do an excellent job for you than one you choose just because they are in the same town.



Selecting the right IT Service Provider is no easy task. Before you start comparing providers, you should first understand the most critical aspects you need to consider in your decision. My biggest piece of advice for you is to make sure and take the time to do your homework. Rushing through the decision may get it over faster but can have brutal consequences for your operations. Selecting the wrong IT provider can cause your business loss of productivity, added stress, and wasted money and resources. Take the time to get the complete picture by considering the pitfalls I’ve discussed here. 

If you are interested in learning more about Kite Technology’s IT and Consulting Services, please get in touch with us to schedule a conversation. We would welcome the opportunity to learn more about your business and how we might be able to help. 

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Daniel Gilbert

Chief Operating Officer
Kite Technology Group

8 Benefits of Outsourcing your IT Support

Have you considered using outsourced IT support for your business?

There is no question that having high-quality IT support gives your business tremendous advantages. Technology touches almost every facet of your organization. As such, you should take every measure possible to ensure that your systems work smoothly, securely, and continually. The key to running superior IT systems is to employ a highly skilled team that is well-aligned with your company’s unique business objectives.  

But should you do this on your own, or should you rely on the help of an outside source? 

In any case, there are several advantages to partnering with an outside firm that specializes in IT strategy and support (commonly known as Managed Service Providers). If you don’t employ IT staff of your own, you can outsource it entirely. Still, if you do have your own IT, you can find a Managed Service Provider to partner with your in-house IT to give your team the best support possible. Whichever path you choose, you can reap the benefits of using outsourced IT 

In this article, we’ll cover 8 of the main benefits your business can gain by outsourcing your IT support to a Managed IT Service Provider.  

8 Benefits of Outsourced IT Support

1. Increased Expertise and Resources

Probably the most immediate and valuable benefit of using outsourced IT is the sheer concentration of talent your business can access. IT firms continually recruit highly talented engineers to build teamwho work well together to deliver excellence to their customersWhen working with an IT provider, your organization will benefit from the expertise of an entire team of technology professionals. Not having the responsibility of hiring additional IT staff also frees up resources that you can now use for filling other positions in your company. 

2. Round-the-Clock Monitoring

A good Managed IT Service Provider deploys systems to their customers to constantly monitor for problems and automatically remediate any issues found. This automation can prevent many issues that would otherwise disrupt your employees and hinder productivity. You can think of these monitoring systems as an employee who works 24/7 at no extra cost! 

3. Faster Response Time

Some problems just can’t be avoided. When something goes wrong, or if one of your employees has a question and simply wants to talk to a person, it is crucial to have an excellent Help Desk at the ready. With only one or two technicians in-house, you may find that the demand for help quickly overgrows the size of your team. With a larger help desk support team in an outsourced firm, you can have more immediate access to the help you need. 

4. A More Focused In-House Technology Team

Maybe you want your in-house IT team to focus more on another area of your business, such as customer service systems or strategic planning. By supplementing your internal team with a Managed Service Provider, you can free up your team to spend time in other areas where they are more productive or providing more value to your company.  

5. Scalable IT Services with Predictable Costs

As you grow your company, your need for IT support grows with it. With an in-house IT team, how do you know when it is time to hire? When you do hire, are you prepared to perhaps double your IT expenditure overnight? With an outsourced firm, your provider does the hiring, so you should never have to worry about your company outgrowing your IT team. Furthermore, you won’t bear the entire cost of an additional employee all at once, allowing you to spend on resources elsewhere. While your IT costs may increase over time as your business grows, the increase is gradual and more predictable.

6. More Easily Leverage New Technology

Managed Service Providers typically stay tuned to the latest knowledge of modern technologies. This can enable you to adopt new technology quickly and confidently. If you want your team to be cutting-edge, using the most effective productivity and customer service tools and techniques out there, you can benefit from the help of an outsourced IT firm. They can help deploy the systems and train your employees to get the most value from them. 

7. Increased Security and Compliance

In a world where cybercrime is rising and compliance regulations are getting stricter, it is vital to enlist expert help in securing your company’s dataWith the right IT partner, you can ensure that your team is well-equipped to keep your systems in compliance and as secure as possibleAdditionally, you can respond quickly to new dangers by working with an accredited IT provider who knows the current threat landscape. One of the most respected accreditationof security is the CompTIA Security Trustmark+.

8. Focus on Core Business

Finally, offloading some or all of your IT support to an outside firm allows you and your team to focus more on your core business. Spending less time worrying about technology issues means that you have more time to focus on doing what you love – providing your customers with excellent service and growing your business. 

Choosing the Right Technology Partner for Outsourcing your IT Support

If the idea of outsourcing all or part of your IT support intrigues you, your next step is to find the provider who is right for you. Look for an expert with proven success in your industry and whose values align with yours. At KiteTech, we strive to be the Premier Trusted Technology Partner for independent insurance agencies, nonprofits, legal and medical practices, and other professional organizations. If you’d like to learn more about our services, please reach out to us to schedule a conversation. We are here to help!

Picture of Daniel Gilbert

Daniel Gilbert

Chief Operating Officer
Kite Technology Group

7 Qualities of a Superior IT Help Desk

When selecting an IT service provider there’s a lot to consider.  You want to trust your business to an IT company that can keep your data secure.  You value a technology partner who stays current on technology trends and can advise you on tools and services that can help you succeed.  And you should expect a service provider that is proactive to minimize downtime and issues that prevent your employees from being productive. But time and again, one factor seems to rise to the top when we talk to business owners planning to switch IT providers.  They complain that their current provider drops the ball when they or their employees are in need of urgent assistance. This is usually the result of an ineffective IT Help Desk which is one of the most vital services that you receive when you outsource your IT

In this article, we are going to explore the seven qualities that differentiate companies with a superior IT help desk from all the rest.  Whether you are currently looking to switch providers or simply wish to evaluate your current provider, this article can serve as a valuable resource to help you make the right decision for your business and ensure that the help desk services you receive are top notch.

1. Superior Help Desks Have Technicians that Answer the Phone

It’s been said that the greatest ability is availability. This adage is certainly true when it comes to an IT Help Desk.  When you need help, you probably need it now. So your IT support needs to answer the phone when you call and respond to your emails promptly when you submit a ticket.

At KiteTech,  we make it a goal to answer the phone in less than one minute. And in the vast majority of cases we answer it with a technician ready and able to troubleshoot your problem.  We accomplish that goal on over 75% of client phone calls and are continuously tuning our process to improve our performance.

2. Technicians Care Personally for the Person they are Helping

There’s a bothersome stereotype that computer techs don’t have people skills.  Consequently, it’s not unusual for some people to dread calling the Help Desk. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You have the right to expect more than someone who is polite and respectful.  You should expect to interact with a technician who really cares about you and is eager to help solve your problem and get you back to work.

At KiteTech, our technicians refute the stereotype and lean into every client conversation to deliver an extraordinary client experience. They set the caller at ease by really listening to their concern and empathizing with the situation. Our core values or what we call Our Flight Plan defines exactly what we expect from not only our help desk technicians but every KiteTech employee.

3. They Have Expertise in Your Industry

Of course, a charming personality can only get a computer tech so far.  If they don’t know your technology and can’t fix your problem, you’re still out of luck.  It certainly helps if your IT Help Desk specializes in companies like yours. That way, they can understand the urgency of the problem, as well as, the nuances of the systems and applications that are most important to you.

Whether you run an insurance agency, a construction company, a non profit, or another professional services business, our techs at Kite Technology Group pride themselves in really understanding your technology so that they can address your issue promptly.

4. Service Level Agreements Drive Performance

High quality IT Help Desks hold themselves to exacting standards when it comes to quickly resolving problems. In any mature customer service business, there is the concept of service level agreements; SLA’s for short.  An SLA specifies the speed at which a problem must be responded to and ultimately resolved.  Mature companies hold themselves to high standards for responsiveness.

At KiteTech we rigorously review our Help Desk metrics as a part of our continual process of improvement. 

5. Rigorous Escalation Process Ensures a Timely Solution

In order to ensure experts are working on your problem and SLA’s are met, it is sometimes necessary to escalate the request   It’s a catch-22, because caring techs often want to finish what they start.  But quality techs need to have the discipline to recognize when time is running out and they need to escalate a ticket in the best interest of the client. 

At KiteTech, their caring attitude means that most techs don’t want to give up in finding a solution to a help desk problem.  But they do it, occasionally grudgingly, for the benefit of the client.

6. They Don't Pass the Buck

Does this scenario sound familiar? You have a problem with your phone system, your computer, or your copier.  You call the IT Help desk and they refer you to the hardware vendor, software provider, or your ISP.  When you call the vendor they say the problem is not theirs and recommend you call your IT Help Desk.  And ‘round, and ‘round, and ‘round you go! 

Superior Help Desks own the problem until it is resolved.  They intercede on your behalf so that you are not stuck in between multiple providers that are pointing their finger at one another.  At KiteTech, we “speak the language” of these other providers and perform vendor liaison on behalf of our clients so that you aren’t caught in the middle.

7. Constantly Improve by Soliciting Client Feedback

And, finally, superior help desks crave feedback.  By getting constructive comments from clients, they are able to continuously sharpen their processes and improve their performance.  Feedback through a controlled, consistent process allows IT service providers to see trends in their help desk execution and compare their results to other IT help desks to see how they stack up.

At KiteTech, we invite clients to tell us how we did after every completed help desk request.  The requester can simply click on a green smiley face, a yellow “neutral” face or a red sad face to review their service experience.  If they choose, they may also add a comment.  In the last four years, we have received over 20,000 reviews from clients.   And 98% of these reviews have rated us with the green smiley face!  We are also proud to have a 5-star Google Review rating.  Our techs are appreciative and encouraged by the positive feedback, but they also greatly value the constructive ratings that help us to improve. As leaders, we take pride in the fact that our client satisfaction rating (CSAT) consistently places us at the top of the leaderboard when compared to our peers. 

Put KiteTech's Help Desk to the Test

If you are considering a new IT service provider, wouldn’t it be nice if you could actually know firsthand what to expect? When it comes to the responsiveness and friendliness of KiteTech’s help desk, you can! Although our Help Desk Services are reserved for clients only, we’d like to offer you a complimentary one-hour appointment for one of our technicians to help you with a technology issue of your choice. This provides you the opportunity to not only get some help but also note how friendly and competent our technicians are.  And when you meet with them, ask them anything that helps you gauge their grasp of the 7 qualities of a superior help desk. After you are finished working with our technician, they will be happy to put you in contact with one of our sales consultants to further explore whether KiteTech is a good fit for you. 

To take advantage of this complimentary Help Desk support opportunity please use the Contact Us form to send us a message. A member of our team will reach out to you promptly to schedule your appointment.

Greg DiDio, CEO, Kite Technology Group

Greg DiDio is the CEO of Kite Technology Group.  KiteTech provides Managed IT Services and Consulting to professional organizations and independent insurance agencies across the country.  KiteTech is proud to have earned the CompTIA Security Trustmark +, certifying that KiteTech meets or exceeds security best practices. 

Maximize your IT Services Value with Microsoft 365

If you’ve been a business executive for any length of time, then you’ve probably traveled this familiar journey when it comes to technology and your IT services.  You heard the appeals to move to “the cloud”, so you started taking some steps.  Perhaps, you moved your email to hosted Exchange.  You may have also adopted a hosted line of business application.  For example, if you are an insurance agency, a new agency management system like Applied Epic or AMS 360.

The problem is that as you added new functionality and responded to new requirements, very little went away in your local environment.  You are still supporting and paying for a local network and servers. In fact, you were forced to invest further in the local environment to respond to rapid growth in security threats and the associated compliance requirements. Consequently, you are stuck in the middle. You have found yourself with feet firmly planted in both the old local environment and a new cloud environment. Your technology landscape got more complex, harder to secure, and more expensive to maintain. 

I am here to tell you that good news has arrived for those businesses who have the foresight to take the next natural step.  It is time to abandon your local IT infrastructure!  Thanks to rapid improvements in the Microsoft 365 suite, the tools have matured to the point that you can trust your entire operation to the cloud

The recent introduction of Microsoft 365 Business Premium (M365) brings together the Office Suite (Outlook, Word, Excel) with advanced security, collaboration tools (SharePoint, Teams, OneDrive) and PC management.   M365 seamlessly integrates security features including user access and mobile device access (phones, tablets, laptops).  It can even replace your phone system.  In short, Microsoft 365 paired with your cloud-based agency-specific applications means you can say goodbye to all your local infrastructure. Your employees just need a workstation or laptop and a connection to the Internet and they can be fully productive from anywhere.

Why Microsoft 365 Should be Integral to your IT Services Stack

The benefits of “cutting the cord” on local IT infrastructure and going “all in” on Microsoft 365 are substantial.  These benefits fall in three categories: security and compliance, collaboration/mobility, and cost.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium is built with a “security-first” mindset.  It starts with identity management.  M365 provides “state-of-the art” features that simplify the authentication of your users while taking extra precautions to ensure the user is who they say they are.  With features such as “multi-factor authentication”, Microsoft has made it very difficult for thieves to steal credentials that allow them to access private systems and data.  M365 also becomes the focal point of “single sign-on”, the place where your users sign in one time to access all their applications that they need to do their job.  The result of MFA and single sign-on is a secure and convenient user authentication process. 

But M365 security doesn’t end with identify management. M365 also manages the security of the end-user devices and the user activity once the user is logged in.  InTune is an included device management platform that manages workstations as well as various mobile devices such as tablets and phones. M365 also includes antivirus, spam filtering and advanced threat protection to safeguard your business from cyber-threats including phishing, and ransomware. Finally, M365 can help you maintain regulatory compliance with policies to enforce data loss prevention (DLP) and email archiving.

Perhaps the most profound security impact of a full scale M365 deployment is the “addition by subtraction” that results from eliminating your local infrastructure. Your threat landscape, that is the various ways that your business can be attacked by unscrupulous individuals, gets a lot smaller once your data and applications are no longer kept in your building.  There is no longer a need for sophisticated firewalls, network monitoring, physical security of servers, and local data backups once your technology is entirely maintained in the cloud.

Collaboration and Mobility

Microsoft 365 Business Premium is built with the modern business in mind. It has tools that facilitate the “work from anywhere” mentality that was thrust upon us all when the pandemic caused many of us to work from home.  In fact, M365 flourishes when it comes to overcoming the challenges agencies are faced with when their team members are in various locations.  It includes tools such as SharePoint and OneDrive that allow employees to share documents and collaborate on creating and editing written materials.  These tools also effectively manage permissions to ensure those who are authorized have access while restricting access from others. M365 also includes Microsoft Teams allowing groups of employees to chat one-to-one, hold video meetings, and communicate seamlessly with others that have similar roles and interests.

Since all of the attributes of the user and user devices are managed from the cloud (i.e. M365), the user experience follows the user to wherever they go – from the office, to their home, to the local coffee shop.  Once M365 is fully adopted, your users will quickly discover that they have access to all their technology applications and date from wherever they choose to work.

IT-Services Cost Effectiveness

Microsoft 365 Business Premium saves businesses money on their IT Services in three ways.  First, it bundles all the necessary tools (Microsoft applications, security, device management) into a single license.  Second, it provides a portal to allow technology professionals the ability to manage the deployment, maintenance, and troubleshooting of these tools from a single pane of glass.  And finally, it eliminates the need to maintain and support unnecessary local IT infrastructure.

With the benefits of a full scale M365 implementation clear, let’s move on to the question of how to deploy Microsoft 365.

How to Adopt Microsoft 365 Effectively in your Business

Microsoft 365 Business Premium is a sophisticated and comprehensive suite of tools designed to work together to provide an outstanding user experience while maintaining the security of your data. While anyone can buy the M365 license, it takes an IT professional to configure M365 to ensure you actually achieve the intended benefits. From the security perspective, the fact that features such as MFA, single sign on, and advanced threat protection are included, doesn’t necessarily mean they are configured correctly. Or even turned on. You are going to want to make sure you are working with an IT service provider who has experience with the Microsoft 365 toolset and understands the needs of your business.  That way, the compliance needs of your industry will be accounted for in the security configuration.

Similarly, an IT services provider familiar with your industry can ensure that the collaboration and mobility aspects of Microsoft 365 are designed to work in tandem with your other applications such as your line of business application or agency management system.

In summary, don’t get left behind.  If your IT services provider is not talking to you about a plan to move your technology entirely to the cloud, then talk to us.  We can get you there! Kite Technology provides Managed IT Services and Microsoft 365 Consulting to businesses in the Baltimore area and across the country.  We specialize in serving independent insurance agencies, nonprofits, and many other professional organizations.  Give us a call or schedule a complimentary consultation to get the conversation started.

Greg DiDio, CEO, Kite Technology Group

Greg DiDio is the CEO of Kite Technology Group.  KiteTech provides Managed IT Services and Consulting to professional organizations and independent insurance agencies across the country.  KiteTech is proud to be one of only two IT companies in MD to earn the CompTIA Security Trustmark, certifying that KiteTech meets or exceeds security best practices. 

A Message from our CEO: KiteTech Achieves The CompTIA Security Trustmark+™

CompTIA Trustmark CertificationAt KiteTech, we have always taken our responsibility for the security of our clients’ data seriously. But the stakes have continued to grow. As the challenges of data protection and compliance have multiplied and the impact of security threats have escalated, we felt we needed to take our security posture to a whole new level. We wanted to be sure that the services we were providing were unquestionably delivered with excellence. So, we decided to find a third-party expert who could vouch for the quality of our security systems and processes. That led us to CompTIA’s Security Trustmark+ Certification.

The Security Trustmark+ Certification checks all the boxes. First, the certification process is firmly based on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework which is the national standard for managing and responding to cybersecurity risks. Second, it provides tons of guidance and templates for us to standardize our security documentation and processes based on best practices. Finally, it includes a review by an independent third-party cybersecurity expert.

We kicked off a project last February to obtain our certification. No sooner than we got started, we had to put the whole project on hold as the pandemic rearranged our priorities. COVID restrictions resulted in urgent requests from our clients who needed us to help get their staff up and working productively from home. Once that emergency was addressed and we settled into “a new normal”, we were able to turn our attention back to obtaining the certification. A lot of the effort consisted of confirming practices that were already in line with the NIST standards. But in other cases, we found that we needed to improve or even rewrite processes to comply with Security Trustmark+ requirements. The effort left us in even better position to advise our clients on security best practices.

Like many of our clients, we have been evolving from local infrastructure to cloud infrastructure over the last several years. One of the most profound insights we had during the certification process was that the benefits of having local systems and data in our main office were outweighed by the risks of maintaining local systems and data. A thorough risk assessment revealed that we were better off “cutting the cord” and moving ALL our systems and data to cloud environments. And so we did. We no longer are saddled with managing the risk of safeguarding local systems and data. It’s kind of like moving the bank vault out of the bank. Robbers might still find their way in, but they will be disappointed to find that the money is elsewhere. The process of moving all our technology infrastructure to the cloud positions us perfectly to help our clients do the same.

Earlier this month, all our efforts paid off. We were notified by CompTIA that we had achieved the CompTIA Security Trustmark+. We are now one of only 2 IT providers in Maryland and 30 IT providers in the country that can boast of achieving this prestigious certification.

The end result is not just the piece of paper, it’s the confidence that we have industry-leading security practices. Consequently, firms who partner with us can be confident that their security needs are being addressed by a technology expert using best in class security practices.

Picture of Greg DiDio

Greg DiDio

Kite Technology Group

What Your Agency Should Expect from your IT Service Provider

Many insurance agencies across the country are still dealing with remote work challenges. Agencies are struggling to hold virtual meetings, collaborate effectively and share documents. Worse yet, agency leaders are realizing that these issues aren’t a temporary circumstance resulting from the pandemic. This is the new reality. To be successful going forward, agencies need to embrace tools and processes that accommodate a remote and mobile workforce. Unfortunately, many learned the hard way that their current IT provider was ill-prepared to advise and support them when the crisis began. Consequently, they’ve suffered considerable drops in productivity and customer service.

In candid conversations, agency principals we talk to have shared that they’re paying a premium on IT and getting mediocre results. They are frustrated by ineffective support and a lack of strategic oversight. It isn’t surprising. Often, their IT provider is using old solutions unsuited for the new problems. The provider has no idea of the industry-specific needs of independent insurance agencies. Best practices DO exist for technology solutions for agencies. But the typical local IT provider is unaware of them. They don’t understand that the technology and security needs of agencies differ from those of typical law firms, medical practices, or construction companies.

You Deserve a Strategic IT Partner Who Really Understands You

These chaotic times present the perfect opportunity to reassess your technology needs and reevaluate your current IT provider. Changing technology and security requirements are cause for raising your expectations of your IT provider. The good news is that forward-thinking agencies who choose their partner wisely can expect:

  • Greater ROI from their IT spend
  • More bandwidth to focus on their core strengths, such as sales and client service
  • A strategic direction that keeps them ahead of their competitor

What You Should Look for in a Technology Partner

Whether you are satisfied with your current provider, considering outsourcing IT for the first time, or looking to replace an IT provider, it helps to know how to evaluate their performance. We have prepared 8 questions that you can use to help answer how your current IT provider is doing and what you might expect from another provider. Below are these questions and some considerations for each that will help you distinguish the contenders from the pretenders.

1. Why do they do what they do?

How do they start the discussion? Are they focused on you or themselves? Ask the hard questions and find out what the provider’s passion is. Is it just the money, or do they really care about you and the people they serve? Ensure that your IT partner shares your agency’s values. What usually sets a provider apart is the type of people they use to deliver their services. At KiteTech, we understand that how we treat you is every bit as important as how quickly and effectively we solve your computer problems.

2. Are they implementing a cloud-first, mobile-first strategy?

Many agencies found out how integral cloud solutions were when they quickly had to transition to a remote work environment. Access to the cloud ultimately allowed agencies to remotely access their files and complete their projects as easily as they did from the office. Your IT partner should be able to map out your cloud journey and have a plan for sunsetting legacy technology. At KiteTech, we offer fully managed cloud services and collaboration software that is available 24×7. Our experts will work with you to develop a realistic plan for adopting and migrating to the cloud solutions you need to drive your agency forward.

3. Do they understand your business?

Does your IT provider understand the unique challenges related to operating an insurance agency? You will be able to more confidently make IT investment decisions if you have an IT partner who knows your industry and understands your systems and processes. At KiteTech, we pride ourselves on the fact that many of our consultants started their careers as licensed insurance agents and now advise insurance agencies on how to  take their performance to new levels. Our team regularly participates in and presents at local and national Applied Client Network and NetVU conferences. We also maintain strong relationships with the vendors most agencies work with, resulting in more effective collaboration and problem-solving when technology issues arise.

4. Are security and compliance top of mind?

Insurance agencies are a major target for cybercriminals because of the client information they possess. This year you’ve also had to deal with the uptick in cybersecurity attacks due to increased remote work environments. Was your IT provider adequately prepared? Agencies today can’t just depend on the basics like antivirus and spam filtering to stay secure. Many states’ cybersecurity compliance regulations like NYDFS’ 23 NYCRR 500 expect agencies to have much more robust security practices and policies in place. Thankfully, with KiteTech, you don’t have to manage compliance and security alone. We carefully monitor new regulations affecting your industry and update security protocols as regulations change. Our security offerings are designed specifically for insurance agencies, and we ensure your compliance requirements are the starting point for our conversation. 

5. Is their help desk support top-notch? 

Way back in the “old days”, like February, when their PC broke, your employees might head over to another cubicle or ask the unofficial office tech expert for help. When COVID-19 forced everyone to head home in March, things changed. We, like most IT providers, saw a tremendous uptick in support requests as employees needed help with their home setup. And, of course, when things break at home, there probably isn’t another cubicle with a spare PC or an office tech expert to get you back up and running. So, prompt and competent help desk support is more critical than ever.

Here are some questions to help you differentiate the quality of help desk service you can expect to receive from a current or potential IT Partner:

  • Do they hold themselves to clearly defined response time metrics?
  • Can their technicians help you with your agency management system or the company website?
  • Are they familiar with the other applications you use, or do they pass the buck when an issue is related to another vendor?

Our team takes an active role on your behalf as a vendor liaison for technologies we don’t directly support, but you require to reach your agency’s goals.  At KiteTech, we aim to consistently provide amazing help desk support and customer service and are proud of our best-In-class Client Satisfaction Scores. 

6. Do they have a proven process?

Do you find that your IT partner seems to operate by the seat of their pants? Were they prepared for the challenges brought on by the uncertainty of this past year? Immature IT Providers have their head down running so hard that they forget to look up and see the forest for the trees. While it is not always the case, maturity often correlates with size. Larger IT providers, like larger agencies, allow different people to play different roles. The smaller provider doesn’t often have the time to investigate better ways to do things because they are too busy wearing too many hats.

Ask your provider to provide their process for getting to know you and preparing to serve you as a client. Some providers will rush right in and sign you up without truly understanding your needs or your current technology. They have no process. At KiteTech, we have a documented  proven process that precisely outlines how we will work with you. The process includes key steps to ensure your success. It starts with really listening to your needs. It continues with deploying solutions that solve your most pressing problems. Finally, we provide ongoing support and recommendations to help your agency grow. It sounds simple. And it might even feel simple going through the process. But it is the result of a well-documented, proven process for delivering client success.

7. Do you see a commitment to strong client relationships?

Beyond help desk support, your partner should offer an ongoing conversation that helps your agency look forward. You never want to feel like you are just a number to your IT provider. At KiteTech, we assign each agency we work with a Client Experience Manager dedicated to serving your agency’s needs and helping you accomplish your goals. This takes place through scheduled conversations that focus on lingering issues and jointly plan for security and technology improvements. We strive to develop strong client relationships that build trust and make you feel like your KiteTech team is an extension of your agency. 

8. Did they create a strategic technology plan?

Does your IT partner understand everything about your technology? Do they have an in-depth understanding of the latest insurance trends? A strong IT provider will help your agency create a strategic plan by:

  • Listening first to understand your business strategy and goals
  • Assessing Your technology and its suitability to meet your goals
  • Together with you, building an affordable plan for incrementally keeping your technology aligned with your goals

To do this well, your IT provider must understand the insurance industry, the market forces, compliance regulations, and economic realities you are dealing with. KiteTech’s familiarity with agencies position us perfectly to do this.

We have spent the last 28 years helping agencies across the country succeed through insurance consulting. Just recently, at Applied Net, we heard from agency executives about the issues around collaborating remotely, the frustrating help desk queues, and downtime that has stalled agency productivity. That’s why it is our mission as a trusted technology partner to provide best-in-class IT services that help agencies operate more effectively and experience greater business success.

Want more information about choosing a provider?  Contact us for a free consultation. We will talk through your needs and what services are best for your agency. You can also visit  our website to learn more about our managed IT and consulting services.

adam atwell

Adam Atwell

Cloud solutions architect

Adam is passionate about consulting with organizations across the country to help them develop and execute a cloud adoption strategy that meets their business needs and future objectives. Adam oversees and manages our company strategy for Microsoft 365 adoption and is responsible for future growth and development inside Microsoft 365 and other cloud technologies.