Staff Augmentation: A New Take on Outsourcing

Staff Augmentation: A New Take on Outsourcing

Written by Scott Hall on . Posted in IT News

When thinking of a managed IT service provider, the small to medium business comes right to mind. MSPs offer an amazing value to SMBs, providing robust IT support for a significantly reduced cost compared to having their own IT staff. As your business grows, operations typically demand permanent in-house IT staff for support and maintenance. Even with new in-house IT staff, is it time to divest from an MSP?

 

Absolutely not.

 

Growing an enterprise is the epitome of success, but with transition comes change, and change can always be uncertain. New IT directors and management find themselves spending hours documenting, learning about infrastructure and equipment, and more on-boarding task, leaving the day to day IT support to newer, less experienced personnel going through the same on-boarding process. This is where staff augmentation can help your business thrive.

 

For example, Company A has decided to create its own IT department after years with an MSP because of tremendous growth in their market. But their budget doesn’t allow for the 10 person staff actually needed to manage and support their infrastructure this year, they can only hire 5, including management. The additional new hires will have to wait until the next fiscal year. But in the meantime, they still need the support, so what can they do?

 

The MSP can work alongside in-house IT staff, typically taking tiered responsibilities away from the client, for a fraction of the cost of full-time employees. The MSP will handle front line help desk on basic issues, the most time consuming and routine, so that Company A’s IT team can focus on working efficiently with the burden of being of understaffed removed. Working this way, managed services providers become a force multiplier for the client’s dedicated IT team, allowing them to work as they need knowing that the organization’s employees are still having their IT needs supported, while staying within budget and resource constraints. The MSP becomes a strategic partner for the customer, supporting them through whatever situations may arise.

 

Are your IT needs outgrowing your current team’s bandwidth? Don’t let IT employees burn themselves out with overwork. Consider staff augmentation with SOS Technology Group, and partner with us at every stage of your business.

Disaster Recovery: Is your Business Prepared?

Written by Scott Hall on . Posted in IT News, Technology

technology

Disasters take many forms. It’s not just catastrophic events such as hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes, also cyber-attacks & equipment failures that can be classified as disasters.

Companies and organizations can the impact of disasters with plans that detail actions to take and processes to follow to resume operations quickly with minimal loss.

 

In the IT space, disaster recovery focuses on the IT systems that help support business operations. The term “business continuity” is often associated with disaster recovery, but the two terms aren’t completely the same. Disaster recovery is a piece of business continuity, which focuses more on keeping all aspects of a business running in spite of a disaster. Because technology is so critical to the success of modern businesses, disaster recovery is critical for business continuity.

 

Economic and operational losses can overwhelm unprepared businesses. One hour of downtime can cost small companies as much as $8,000, midsize companies up to $74,000, and large enterprises up to $700,000, according to a 2015 report from the IT Disaster Recovery Preparedness (DRP) Council.

 

Even if your business has a disaster recovery plan of some sort, a thorough review of that plan is needed. If your company doesn’t have one, and if you’ve been handed the task of coming up with one, the first step is a risk assessment. It’s important to identify key vulnerabilities to your infrastructure and where things could go wrong, and when they do go wrong, how your operations are impacted.

 

This phase is where a managed service provider can help. We can assess your network & infrastructure, and provide a custom disaster recovery plan tailored to your specific operations, and you can rest assured your business is protected in a disaster situation. Talk with us today.

Common IT Pitfalls for SMBs

Written by Scott Hall on . Posted in IT News

Small business owners face a lot of pressure to keep overhead low and profits as high as possible to keep their businesses thriving. When it comes to IT, it’s hard to see where little mistakes can cost you more than you budget for, in both the long and short terms. Here’s just a few of the oversights we can help to correct.

 

Price Shopping for the Least Expensive Option

As a managed services provider, we work with many SMBs, and see the following situation very often. A small business owner needs to purchase new computers, multi-function devices, printers, etc. They also have a need for remote access, and want to streamline their IT solution to be as efficient as possible, and to give their employees as many resources as they need to get the job done. . So, the Small Business Owner does his due diligence and obtains multiple proposals. Company A promises to fix all his problems and charge him a nominal monthly fee for their ongoing support services. Company B suggests upgrading outdated hardware and installing new software to optimize his current investments. Company B’s initial overall investment is more expensive as is their monthly service plan. When only looking at short term budget requirements, Company A looks like a slam dunk.

However, when price is the only determining factor it’s really the small business owner who pays the ultimate price. Invest your IT budget in a reliable managed services provider, one who has the credentials to present all your options, and advise you on the best way moving forward.

 

Investing in Technology Only When it breaks

Waiting until hardware is completely broken is the worst time to replace it. An unknown quantity of down time and lost productivity means lost revenue and profits. While no one can predict the exact time hardware will fail, we can tell you that the more critical the device, the harder its loss will impact your business. We advise our clients not to wait to invest in equipment and software, and don’t wait for it to fail to consider your replacement options. Put a transition plan in place when reaching hardware end-of-life.

If you invest wisely now and optimize your systems correctly with a trusted partner, you’ll run into fewer problems later which ultimately means spending less in the long term.

 

Not Having a Comprehensive and Tested Backup and Recovery Solution

How will your business handle a lengthy power outage, due to a storm? How will it handle a ransomware attack? Or an organized breach and theft of data? Or even just accidental deletion? With the robust business continuity and backup solutions in the market today, there’s no excuse not to be covered. A small investment in these systems now can keep you not only protect, but actually operational, in the event of the worst-case scenario. No one beats the odds forever.

 

Cut-off from Your Business When You Are Out of the Office

Constant access is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for business of all sizes. Your employees, and clients need access to you and your data instantly regardless of location. Clients and prospective clients will no longer wait for you to get back into the office to address their questions or concerns; if you can’t supply what they need when they need it, they’ll move onto the next organization who can. In the current business climate, we’ve all come to expect instant attention to our own questions, and in turn we need to be able to give that expectation right back to our employees and customers.

 

Not Having a Second String QB

We find that SMBs try to manage their networks with limited staff. Pulled in too many directions already, it’s usually the business owner who bears the brunt and winds up managing IT along with everything else. Working with a trusted managed services provider, one who has the training,  experience, and manpower will free up your time to focus on more important issues, like running your business.

Unlock the Potential of your Business with Managed Service Provider

Written by Scott Hall on . Posted in IT News, Technology

Unlock the potential of your business with a Managed Services Provider

 

Why should you look to a managed service partner for your IT needs? The answer lies in your business’s bottom line.

 

Technology is the foundation of every modern business; without it, you could not service your customers, communicate internally & externally, or coordinate internal plans and strategies. Yet most small- to medium-sized businesses lack the time, payroll and expertise for in-house IT management, leaving their necessary networks vulnerable and limiting their future growth. Don’t let your company make the mistake of trying to take on too much too early! Outsourced IT management services provide a convenient, affordable business solution for SMBs that ensure your technology doesn’t fail as you expand and grow to new opportunities.

 

This also includes the project management that goes along with managed IT services. Without the proper foundation and guidance, your IT infrastructure starts to take on a cobbled-together, Frankenstein’s monster that becomes harder to maintain, manage and scale. If that’s your solution, you’re headed for disaster.

 

The problem is that piecing together solutions without vision is equal to throwing a bunch of ingredients together without looking at a recipe. You know what you want the end result to be, but because there is no precision and consistency, you can’t be certain that you’ll achieve what you set out to do. That’s where a managed IT services provider, along with quality project management, can mean all the difference.

 

In the business environment today, controlling costs and resources is critical for sustainability and growth. A managed IT services provider can create systems that function to your specific operations, inside your security concerns, within your budget and without compromising quality. As a result, you can focus your people and doing what you do best with less IT distractions.

 

Adopting new technologies can introduce new risks to your organization, as well. A knowledgeable, experienced and professional partner can help you stop unforeseen issues in new arenas before they start. And, unless you happen to be a tech whiz yourself, a managed services provider can manage your data and IT infrastructure with greater skill. Should you choose to keep some of your tech work in-house, outside technology management pros can provide off-hours backup and peak workload support beyond your internal team’s capabilities. You also eliminate the need to pay for training to keep your own team’s skills up to date, giving you greater control over training and personnel development budgets.

Thanks to leveraging diverse IT experience and numerous resources, managed services providers tend to be more proactive that internal ones. That shifts your company’s focus from problem solving to problem avoidance. More than 90 percent of technology problems can be spotted before they lead to costly downtime, data loss and security breaches. Managed services providers can also advise your company to employ more cutting-edge practices, from newly released software and hardware, improved data security and disaster recovery, to advanced use of cloud resources.

 

Talk with SOS today to learn more about how you can use a managed IT services partner to take your organization to the next level.

Do I need a Firewall?

Written by Scott Hall on . Posted in IT News, Security

If your computer is connected to the Internet, the answer is ‘yes’. You are a potential target to an array of cyber threats that attack through unpatched security holes. This means that if you, like most people, shop and bank online, you are vulnerable to identity theft and other malicious attacks.

According to a study by NCSA Cyber Security, only 4% of Americans say they understand firewalls “completely”, while more than 44% don’t understand firewalls at all – or know if they have one enabled on their PC.

A firewall works as a barrier, or a shield, between your PC and cyber space. When you are connected to the Internet, you are constantly sending and receiving information in small units called packets. The firewall filters these packets to see if they meet certain criteria set by a series of rules, and thereafter blocks or allows the data. This way, hackers cannot get inside and steal information such as bank account numbers and passwords from you.

Basic firewalls such as the one included in Windows, only monitor incoming traffic by default. This may give you a false sense of security, as outgoing traffic, with your credit card information, bank accounts, and social security number, is not protected. A good firewall will monitor traffic in both directions, both your incoming data and your outgoing data, keeping your private information safe. In addition to preventing unauthorized access to your PC, it also makes your PC invisible when online, helping prevent attempted intrusions before they start.

Most sophisticated firewalls also include a feature that continuously updates the list of known good and known malicious applications. This way, the amount of questions relating to Internet access is minimized and your computer protection is always up-to-date.

Although a firewall provides critical protection to keep your PC safe from unauthorized access, it cannot remove malware from a system that has already been infected. Therefore, a firewall should be used in conjunction with other proactive measures, such as anti-malware software, to strengthen your resistance to attacks.

If you own a business, this protection is even more critical, as you have a multitude of personally confidential information for many individuals at risk of exposure. Customers, employees, invoices – any data of theirs they share with you must be protected just as much as your own, as you may be liable for any breaches that occur through oversights in best practices in cybersecurity.

If you have any questions on firewalls, or are concerned you may not be secure enough, contact us today.

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