Is Your Tech Partner a Team Player?

Business is about relationships. One important relationship today is with a technology partner. This partner will consult on hardware, software, security, and other IT concerns. You can focus on other business priorities, but is your tech partner actually a good team player?

There are a lot of businesses that call themselves technology partners. The term can be broadly defined.

Technology vendors who sell specific hardware or software solutions will promise a partnership, but they will focus on a relationship that benefits their business goals.

For instance, they will generally try to steer you toward buying the products that they themselves make. Vendors will also bill your business for support when you need it. Yet that creates a conflict of interest: they profit from your inconvenience. That’s not the type of partner you want on your team.

A True Partnership with your MSP

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are another type of technology partner. They …

5 Best Practices for Buying Technology for Employees

Buying technology for personal use can be exciting once you get past the price tag. Yet there are many factors to consider when investing in technology for employee use.

There are many digital tools available to improve the day-to-day way people do their jobs. Providing the right tech can increase productivity, streamline processes, and improve employee engagement. Yet determining which solutions are smartest for your team takes work.

Investing in a technology that doesn’t suit the needs of your staff can hurt your business:

Learning a new technology takes time away from other mission-critical tasks.
Employees resent the change when the tech further complicates their day.
Staff feel unheard and disrespected when asked to use digital tools that don’t help.
Disgruntled employees disengage, which hurts customer experience.
Employees look for an easier way to do their work and may change work environments as an answer.

Best practices for buying employee technology

Providing …

Are You Doing Your IT Due Diligence?

The words “due diligence” may make you think of a courtroom drama on television. Surely, that’s something only lawyers have to worry about? Not so fast. Due diligence is something your business can be doing, too. Are you covering the basics?

Due diligence is about taking care and being cautious in doing business. It extends to how you manage your technology, too. You may think you’re immune to a data breach or cyberattack, but cybercriminals can target you regardless of business size or industry sector.

Depending on your industry, you may even have compliance or regulatory laws to follow. Some insurance providers also expect a certain level of security standards from you. The costs associated with these cyber incidents are increasing, too. Don’t leave your business vulnerable.

What due diligence involves

Technological due diligence requires attention to several areas. Generally, you’ll need to show the following:

Each staff member has a unique login. …

Security Patches – The Better Way to Update

Updates often come at the worst moment. You go to shut down your laptop to rush to a meeting, and you get a “Windows is updating. Do not power off” message. Argh!

Or you leave your desktop to go to a meeting and come back to find your computer has restarted in your absence. Those unexpected bug fixes and performance improvements lost you all your unsaved work.

You know updates are important. They help patch security flaws. These are the vulnerabilities that hackers love to exploit. Updating helps you keep business documents and data safe. Software updates can also add new, useful features and remove outdated ones. Plus, keeping software and systems up to date is good cyber citizenship. Security patches protect from attacks that could also impact employees, customers, and partners.

Updating is a pain, but oh so important!

The WannaCry ransomware attacked hundreds of thousands of computers in more than …

Making Technology Another Target for Continuous Improvement

Your business likely talks a lot about continuous improvement. It’s everyone’s goal, right? Yet “set it and forget it” is a common approach to handling business technology. Here’s why IT needs your ongoing attention too.

Your competition is increasing, and it can feel as if it is doing so exponentially. Why? There are lower barriers to entry in many businesses. The marketplace has gone global. Transaction costs are declining. Technological advances, automation, and AI are making processes more efficient and increasing productivity.

Your business can’t stand still. Don’t leave your IT sitting unattended either. Sure, the very term “continuous improvement” may have you twitching with discomfort. Not that buzzword again! Yet taking an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach to IT could be hurting your business. Settling for “alright” or relying on “the way we’ve always done it” could leave you lagging behind competitors.

Your business may not have a …

To Backup or To Archive? ‘Tis The Question

Hamlet worried about whether to be or not. You may be more preoccupied with whether backup or archiving is better for your business. You know you need to secure your data, but how? This article examines the different benefits of both options.

Back in the day, businesses kept important information on paper. They stored important records and notes in nearby filing cabinets for easy access.

When there were too many files to close the cabinet drawers any longer, someone would do a big clean out. Older, important documents would get boxed for the basement or other storage area. They might still be needed for tax, or compliance, or other reasons. But you didn’t need those files readily accessible any longer.

A similar scenario is true of digital business data. You can back it up to recover from hardware failure, cyberattack, or disaster event. Or you might archive the data for space management …

Failure is Not an Option: Getting Rid of Single Points of Failure

You might think that your business is going to be OK even if a single device goes down. After all, there are other devices your employees can use. It’s not as if the entire system is going to fall like dominoes. Or is it? Get rid of single points of failure to make sure one vulnerability doesn’t take down your network.

A single point of failure (SPOF) can be a design, implementation, or configuration weakness. Without proper design considerations, unintentional SPOFs may be introduced into computing environments.

Yet, cybercriminals don’t need super powers to target IT fatal weaknesses. SPOFs for technology include:

Having only one server that runs an essential application. Without that server, your employees can’t use that particular business tool.

Solution: Plan for the worst with built-in server redundancy. Have multiples of any hardware that is business critical. Consider a standby backup server or migrate to the cloud so …

Are You Due? What to Do When You Get a Renewal Notice

Your business relies on any number of service providers. You’re likely contracting for domain names, website hosting, data backup, software licenses, to name just a few. And that’s only your online presence! So, when a renewal notice comes in, you might just forward it on or file it away for future reference. Here’s what you should be doing instead.

First, when you get a renewal notice, confirm that it’s legitimate. This is especially true of domain names. Your business’s domain name and expiration date are publicly available. Anyone could look them up and send you an invoice. Scammers do. They monitor expiring domain names and then send out emails or physical post cards telling you it’s time to renew. They are not doing this as a civic service!

Instead, they will be trying to get you to switch your domain services to a competitor or, worse, hoping you’ll pay your renewal …

6 Target Areas to Reduce IT Costs

Your business is always looking to reduce costs. Looking at the information technology budget line items is headache inducing. So much money spent in one area, and there’s so little you can do about it! But is that really true? IT expenses may not be as fixed as you think. Take a look at these target areas where you might reduce costs.

#1 Software

Your business likely pays to license software such as Microsoft Office 365 or Adobe Photoshop. Reviewing these software agreements, you can often find cost savings:

You may be able to renegotiate a subscription if the provider wants to move you onto to a new offering.
You may find that you are paying for software that your employees are no longer using. Maybe you can reduce or remove it.
Perhaps the pricing has changed, and there are now better plan options available.
There may be an open-source …

Locking Up Cybersecurity with a Managed Services Provider

Cybercrime is not the most costly of illegal activities. That dubious distinction goes to government corruption, followed by drug trafficking. Cybercrime comes in third. Yet cybercrime does take the top spot when it comes to numbers of victims. A managed services provider can help.

Cybercrime has hundreds of millions of victims. Two-thirds of people online have experienced personal information theft or compromise. A 2018 McAfee Security study suggested that represents more than 2 billion individuals!

If any of those people works at your business, it could mean trouble for your security, too. Why? People tend to think they have too many passwords to remember. So, they use the same login information again and again. That means a criminal could leverage employee data to access business systems, too.

Cybercrime is a global problem for both individuals and businesses. The bad actors, after all, can make big bucks from their crime with low risk …