Monthly Archives: May 2016

How Can Your Managed Service Provider (MSP) Help You Prepare For the Future?


MSPs provide the necessary foresight to success.

Business 2 Community recently came out with an article discussing how a high-quality Managed Service Provider (MSP) can work like a superhero for your company.

The benefits of MSPs include an in-depth understanding of your network and IT infrastructure, and the intelligence and skill that they apply to your IT solutions. They can also fix many of your problems and keep things running without having to make regular on-site visits or take up your time.

The article describes an additional important benefit in the following way: “They can predict the future.”

How can your MSP help you prepare for the future?

Although MSPs aren’t fortune-tellers, they can still anticipate important changes that your company will need to prepare for and respond to. Their ability to predict future changes can save you money in the long run and give you an edge over competitors. As poorly prepared competitors scramble to react to changes last-minute, you’ll already have the necessary plans in place.

Let’s consider some examples of changes MSPs can help you anticipate:

  • Because they’re regularly following cyber security news, MSPs learn early on about emerging threats and potential vulnerabilities in various hardware and software solutions. They can help you calculate the risks posed by a given threat; these calculations will inform your decisions about the best cyber defenses for your company.
  • Networks are becoming considerably more complex, as an increasing number of devices develop Internet capabilities. These collections of smart devices that can share data with each other are called The Internet of Things. MSPs can anticipate how the Internet of Things will affect your industry. They’ll advise you on optimizing your devices and network, increasing your business productivity and keeping you ahead of competitors. They’ll also predict security vulnerabilities that arise when numerous Internet-enabled devices communicate with each other.
  • New IT solutions are emerging all the time. For example, businesses have a variety of options for backing up data. They can use local devices, cloud-based platforms, or frequently some combination of the two. What new solutions are becoming available and what are their strengths and drawbacks? How will you accommodate a growing volume of data that you need to protect and back up? MSPs help you plan for these changes. They will evaluate new IT solutions, predict the use of future technologies, and consider what will best benefit your company.
  • MSPs can predict what you’ll need based on your business objectives. If you want to shift direction in the next few years and dramatically boost your online presence, for example, MSPs can tell you what you’ll likely need now and in the future. The relevant solutions include responsive websites and secure e-commerce platforms.
  • An important part of IT maintenance is predicting when you’ll need to replace certain hardware and software. Even if you aren’t planning to make radical changes to your IT configuration, you’ll still need basic equipment replacement and software upgrades. Certain programs will expire, and you’ll need to renew software licenses or switch between providers. Your MSP can stay on top of all of these changes and work within your budget.

Without the foresight of high-quality MSPs, companies struggle to take full advantage of IT developments. They also leave themselves more vulnerable to cyber attacks and various IT failures, such as equipment outages and poorly performing software.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for the variety of manage services we offer. There are always new developments in IT, and many possibilities in the future for IT solutions that can transform your business operations and help you more easily achieve your objectives. MSPs can provide their services unobtrusively and round-the-clock, offering you guidance and support and ensuring that your IT decisions align with your company’s goals.

How to Backup Your System in Less Time


You know how important it is to back up your system’s data, but could you be doing it faster?

Everyone knows that backing up a company’s network is a requirement for any business. It’s not even an option anymore. If anything happens, and it will eventually, losing files can ruin an entire company, whether everything is lost, or only a few important files. But now that everyone keeps backups, a major problem or disaster only means a few days of frustration and annoyance before everything gets back on track. The main problem now is that backing up files seems to be more and more of a hassle. Sometimes it doesn’t even get done, simply because it’s too much work. With all of the technology we have now, this shouldn’t ever be a problem. Here are a few tips to help you backup your system more quickly and easily.

Stick with one system

Many people make the mistake of switching to a new backup system every time one comes out, or even whenever they decide that there’s a better way to do it. This month they store everything on the cloud, next month they try to back up files on other offices’ servers. Not only is this confusing for everyone, it wastes a lot of time. Someone has to create the new system, first of all, and then check it over to make sure it is safe. Then, the entire staff has to be trained on the system, or at least informed of the change. After that, all of the old backups have to be moved to the new system. Instead of going through all of this, spend a little extra time working out the best system for you and your company, and make sure it is implemented flawlessly. Then, maintain the system until it is truly outdated. Every 10 years or so, everything will change and you’ll need to perform major updates, but until then, just stick with what you have.

No removable media

For a while, the most common way to back up files was to store them on flash drives, or piles of CDs or DVDs. That time is long gone. For one thing, removable media is not a safe way to back up data, unless you move it offsite every time. In addition, storing files this way is a huge hassle. Disks take a particularly long time to burn, and get expensive pretty quickly. Really, most people don’t consider CDs or DVDs a viable form of data storage anymore anyway. Flash drives are great for easily transferring files, but should never be used as a backup medium, except as an absolute final option.

Backup software

Now let’s talk about what does work. If you haven’t already, consider finding software that will help you backup your data. Good software can make the process easier and faster, but it also makes your backups safer. The software is carefully designed to eliminate every risk of losing data, but if you try to do it without software, a few bad keystrokes made by an employee at the end of a long day can wipe out everything.

Automatic backups

If software still doesn’t make the process easy enough, consider setting up automatic backups. With this type of system, either software or a company will backup your entire system for you, whenever you want, and as often as you want. Many businesses have their backups done overnight, while the network isn’t being used. This option may be a little more expensive, but it’s worth it if you can afford it. The best part is that the company you choose to work with will usually be accountable if anything were to ever go wrong.

Looking for more information about data backup systems? Contact us! We’re here to answer all of your questions.

Four Reasons IT Monthly Management Reporting Benefits Your Company


Monthly IT management reporting can help your business maintain a proactive approach and better communicate IT needs.

A reliable way to assess progress and review the strength of your network and computing devices is to complete monthly reports. IT monthly management reporting gives you a clearer idea about the state of your IT health.

These monthly reports can show you what’s currently working well, along with issues that need to improve. They also offer an opportunity to review expenses, lay out specific goals, and discuss solutions.

The following are four major benefits that IT monthly management reporting can bring to your company.

1) It’s part of a proactive approach to IT support

A recent article from Info Security discusses a problem many companies face: reactive IT support. With a reactive approach, IT personnel will often hear about a problem from other employees first. They’ll wait until a situation is already problematic and possibly urgent before acting on it.

In contrast, a proactive approach involves continuously monitoring your company’s system to detect existing and potential problems. The emphasis is on prevention and on catching problems quickly before they intensify and become more serious.

A monthly management report can contribute to a proactive approach. Reports provide an overview of your IT health. You can use them to assess potential problems, such as outdated equipment and software, inadequate defenses against an emerging cyber security threat, and inefficiencies in your company’s IT help desk. The reports give you a clearer idea of what needs improvement and allows you to prioritize based on the level of urgency and on your budget. You can also use them to highlight successful past solutions to IT problems, giving you a better idea of what can work well for your company.

2) It contributes to transparency and communication

There’s a common assumption that because IT personnel work with tech, they’re operating in their own realm, and that people who haven’t undergone the same training or education shouldn’t get involved. However, it’s important that you understand what your IT personnel are doing and ensure that they’re serving your company’s needs.

A monthly management report gives your IT personnel an opportunity to communicate with you intelligibly, free of jargon and obscure explanations. Even if you don’t know all the technical details, the monthly report should still provide you with a clear idea of IT activities and progress on various projects. Your IT personnel should never work in secrecy.

3) It fosters collaboration

Ideally, your IT activities will align with your business needs and goals. A monthly report is an excellent way to ensure that your IT personnel and company leaders are all on the same page, working towards the same ends. The feedback you offer on these reports can help your IT personnel adjust their activities to respond to your needs. They can also make suggestions that will potentially improve your productivity, give you a competitive edge, save on costs, and improve your company’s defenses against cyber attacks.

4) It makes your IT activities concrete

The only way to measure progress is to quantify it or otherwise discuss it in terms of concrete objectives. For example, let’s say you need to update your network security defenses. Discussing this goal in general terms won’t help you achieve it. You need to lay out what new defenses you’re looking into, the costs, the level of urgency, the deadline you’re working towards, the risks you incur with a delay, any workable alternatives, and the progress towards meeting your goal.

IT monthly management reporting is a powerful tool for solutions tailored to your company. Using the data from the report, you can act on problems before they worsen, understand your company’s IT activities, better align your IT decisions with your company’s goals, and evaluate your progress and solutions in concrete terms. Please contact us to further discuss the tangible benefits of a monthly report.

Are You Updating Your Anti-Virus Software Regularly?


By regularly updating your anti-virus software, you can better protect your systems from security threats.

Whether you own a small or large business, one your top priorities should be to have anti-virus software installed. After all, you never know what dangerous programs are being developed on a regular basis, especially ones which may even go undetected. Of course, though, it’s not just enough that you have security, but that you also keep it updated on a regular basis. Many people don’t realize this significance until their information gets compromised. Not keeping your security up-to-date, can be the difference between a secure network, and one that becomes susceptible to hackers. Overall, here are a few reasons why you should regularly update your anti-virus software.

#1. New Viruses On The Rise

As was briefly mentioned before, one of the main reasons to keep your anti-virus software updated, is to combat new viruses which are constantly emerging. Even with the latest updates, hackers are always looking for ways around your protection, especially when the software becomes outdated. For example, let’s say that you recently downloaded Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2015. While there’s no doubt that it will protect you from even the more recent threats, why not use Kaspersky Internet Security 2016? After all, not only will your current protection eventually become outdated, but as new viruses start emerging as the year 2016 moves forward, hackers will be able to find vulnerabilities in older software, and you’ll be more susceptible to attacks.

#2. Securing Important Information

With new viruses on the rise, not only is it easier to become susceptible if you don’t keep your software updated, but more importantly, this can also lead to sensitive information being stolen. For example, let’s say that your computer had some important files which not only included your social security number, but your bank account information as well. If a hacker got their hands on this info, there could be serious consequences for you and your business. Keeping your security up to date doesn’t just protect you from vulnerabilities, but any valuable information you have, is kept secure as well.

#3. Viruses Impact Everyone In Your Business

While it’s true that security vulnerabilities affect you, they can also have an impact on everyone in your workplace. For example, let’s say that you received a suspicious looking email from what appears to be one of your coworkers. Upon opening it, though, you realize it’s a virus that’s meant to target everyone in your network. If you and your coworkers are all connected to the same network, the virus will end up spreading throughout. Aside from your coworkers becoming vulnerable, this could also cause significant financial losses. When keeping your anti-virus software up to date, don’t just consider the impact viruses will have on you, but those you work with as well.

#4. Viruses Affect Your Business Reputation

First of all, customers are what keep a business going, and it’s important you have a strong reputation to boot. However, if your company became susceptible to an attack, what if word got out to any potential customers about the issue? Not only would they see your company as one that can’t be trusted, but even more so, they may look for business elsewhere, one where they feel safe. This could lead to a huge loss of customers, since they certainly won’t risk becoming vulnerable to attacks and/or having their information stolen. Viruses don’t just have an impact on you or even your coworkers, but the customers and your business reputation as a whole.

Protecting your company is a top priority in the business world, and it’s not just enough that you have anti-virus software, either. By keeping it updated on a regular basis, not only will your company be protected against even the most recent threats, but hackers will have a difficult time finding vulnerabilities, and your business reputation will also be secured. For more information regarding your protection, as well as ways we can further assist you, contact us today at SystemsNet.