All posts by SystemsNet Administrator

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Managed IT Service, Not IT Repair Service

Executive Optimizing Well Performance Via Apps - Managed IT Service

Is it time to partner with a managed service provider and get out of the break fix environment?

Small businesses need all of the core infrastructure that larger businesses do. Your business needs a marketing team, salespeople, financial and legal analysts, and a help desk. But depending on how small your business is, all of those departments might be yours. Take one of those loads off your shoulders with a proactively managed IT service. Here’s why the plan is basically built for small businesses, especially compared to traditional IT help.

1. Your business is in the field, not in the office.

If your business offers a service that isn’t on-premises like a restaurant, then you and your coworkers will be spending a lot of time traveling. Instead of the traditional office setup of a desktop computer, printer, and modem, you might have a tablet and a VPN. That mobility means you can’t afford to be locked in one place as someone shows up to investigate the issue and make repairs.

Managed service providers, or MSPs, provide remote monitoring and preventative services instead. They monitor (without being invasive) potential network outages, malware and cyber threats, and signs of developing problems in your computers systems. When you’re operating off the cloud and through dozens of different apps and websites, that’s the service you need.

2. Every business is global, even when it’s local.

One of the best things about the Internet is that it opened up the international playing field for small businesses. Even if you run a business by yourself, you can do business everywhere from the United States to New Zealand. Your customers can be anywhere without the fees associated with international shipping and communication from even just a decade ago.

But that also means your business is open 24/7. A midnight website crash isn’t just a small problem anymore: it means your website was offline during some of your customers’ most active hours. A traditional IT repair service won’t send someone out until the next morning. They might even wait until the next business day. But a 24/7 software-based service is on top of the problem immediately.

3. Cyber threats consider small businesses to be low-hanging fruit.

Hackers usually aren’t aiming at a specific target. Instead, they’re looking for easy targets that get snagged in their nets and which require the least effort to break into. Small businesses, unfortunately, are prime targets because you have a lot of useful information but not a lot of resources to chase them down with. So make sure your company’s cybersecurity is too strong to make your company a tempting target.

4. Stay light with software protections instead of hardware fixes.

When you own a small business, you probably don’t want all of the heavy hardware investments that larger companies invest in. You don’t need an arsenal of backup computers, and you don’t need a dedicated floor full of internal servers. As more and more tools become virtual, that means your need for a physical IT service diminishes, too. Look for online solutions such as antimalware programs, cloud subscriptions, and VPNs instead of traditional measures.

5. Pay according to your company’s size, not according to man hours.

When you schedule a window for a traditional technician to come to troubleshoot a problem, you’re going to pay a transportation fee and by the hour. It’s going to be the same rate that every other company is paying; it might even be lower because larger companies can negotiate prices. But with an MSP, you pay based on the size of the network you want protected, and that means your monthly expenses are easier to manage.

Go to SystemsNet to learn more about managed IT services and why it’s the best move your company can make to protect itself.

10 Benefits to Digitizing Your Business Documents

Digitizing your business documents shown with filing cabinet drawers on a computer screen

Reduce physical storage needs and documents readily available are just a few reasons to go all digital

Running a business is a constant process of optimization. Everyone wants to provide better goods and services, improve efficiency behind the scenes, and ultimately generate greater profits each year by lowering overhead and increasing revenue. However, if you’re still working with paper documents then your business is missing out on a major optimization opportunity. Digital document storage has come a very long way in the last 10 years and with the addition of the cloud to the available network infrastructure, there’s never been a better time to digitize.

Not sure about whether it’s the right choice? A lot of businesses are hesitant to change a major aspect of their internal process like how paperwork is managed for fear of damaging office efficiency. However, let us assure that once you make the switch to a self-organizing digital document management system, your efficiency will not only recover quickly, it will blow the top off your charts as employees gain back hours every week that would normally be spent filing, searching for files, or even just collating and stapling paper documents. Here are ten of the best benefits of going digital.

1) Reclaiming Office Space

How much space do paper documents take up in your office? A storeroom? Two store rooms and a supply closet? Then there’s the possibility of rented storage space for archived folders not to mention all the filing cabinets and in/out boxes taking up space in the employee office space. Once you’ve digitized, you might be surprised how much open space is created both in storage rooms, and on employee desks.

2) Saving on Auditor Fees

When the auditor comes to call, you pay their hefty hourly fees but they also expect you to bring them all the documents to be audited. With a paperwork system, this means paying them for the half hour or more per visit that your staff spends searching and fetching specific paper documents. All this paid-for time is regained with a document management system as your auditor can quickly and easily access everything they need in seconds, not minutes or hours.

3) Instant Document Retrieval

Speaking of fast document retrieval, how much time do your employees spend each week essentially shuffling paper or seeking desperately for misplaced documents? A single mis-file into an adjacent folder can cost hours of lost employee time, especially if you simply must have a specific copy or filled form. With an online document management system (DMS), files can be found instantly. Even if they’re in the wrong digital folder, a simple keyword or category search will quickly locate any specific document that’s needed no matter when it was scanned or how it was filed. Even mistakes can be fixed with a few clicks or taps.

4) Access from Anywhere

Running back to the office for a document is no one’s idea of a good day, especially when a project or deal was almost complete except for one missing sheet of paper. When your documents are stored on the cloud through a handy online management platform, they can be reached from anywhere. Employees and clients alike can log in and access any document they are authorized to view or edit making those last minute trips to the office for paperwork a thing of the past.

5) Cutting Edge Security

How secure are your sensitive business and customer documents? Do you keep them under lock and key in a filing cabinet, or more likely, do they sit on an employee’s desk for days or weeks at a time? While there’s a certain amount of security in physical documents, the best way to protect important data is to lock it away under the highest-tech procedures possible. With cloud document management, that’s exactly what you get.

6) Share, Collaborate, and Sign

When dealing with paper documents, the process of collaboration can be tedious and you can forget about collecting signatures quickly. Waiting on paper documents to be snail-mailed, signed, and returned or even delivered to and from via couriers can add hours, days, and even weeks to a project schedule. With online documents, you can quickly and easily share anything with anyone, invite them to edit the document with you, or shoot over a copy for a digital signature which can return to you in minutes if the recipient is ready for the transaction.

7) Open to Analytics

One of the most powerful tools any business can employ today is high-end computer analytics. AIs and similar programs can scan thousands of data points to produce interesting statistics like the average amount of time customer are active, the demographics of your existing customer base or the most popular account type. Once your documents are digitized, you could much more easily feed any information you have into an analytics program to get back useful business data.

8) Regulation Compliance Maintenance

Every business has to comply with regulations, whether it’s about how you store customer data or how you store leftover food. There are always documents to help you stay compliant and there is always an audit every year or so. Having a live, easy to access and edit documents not only make staying compliant easier, it also makes updating compliance with new rules and providing information to auditors go more smoothly.

9) Disaster Recovery Guaranteed

If something happens to your building or storage facility, so too does this thing happen to all your paper documents. Fire and flood can destroy them completely and even an earthquake can make it very hard to retrieve your paperwork and start again. With cloud-stored documents, you could disaster recover with laptops in a tent if that’s what it took and every document would be perfectly preserved for the purpose.

10) Green Without the Recycle Bin

The final benefit of digitizing those heaps of paper documents is the environmentally friendly aspect. Here is your opportunity to recycle reams, stacks, and mountains of paperwork and then never need to use up that many trees worth of paper again. You can stop buying pallets of printer paper and you can even tone down the big green bin in the office because from here on out, your paperwork will be made of electrons, not actual paper.

Digital transformation is something that every business and department is taking on this decade. Even if you are in an industry that traditionally works with physical paperwork, it’s important to digitize to back up, edit, manage, and secure your documents. For more information about the digital transformation and how your team can streamline digitization, contact us today!

What Your Customers Get From an IT Help Desk

Smiling business woman working an IT help desk

No one likes using chat wizards when they have a problem, it’s frustrating

Providing great software is no longer enough to stay competitive in the modern online business culture. Between mobile apps and the full-funnel experience, any kind of technical problem can cause you to lose leads and frustrate customers who might otherwise glide smoothly through purchase after purchase. Incorporating an IT help desk is a great strategic decision for a growing company for the simple benefit of helping your customers use the website and mobile app as intended.

While this may sound small, to customers it can matter a great deal. Let’s take a closer look at the top four things that an IT Help Desk can bring to your customer experience.

A Human Answer to Frustrating Problems

When a website or mobile app doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, customers get frustrated quickly. It only takes one or two extra clicks, waiting for the site to respond or load, before the situation feels completely ridiculous. For most customers, the first place they go is the help center, or even the chatbot in the corner. With an IT Help Desk on the job, a real human will be ready and waiting to take their question.

Talking to a real person immediately relieves some of the tension, especially when followed up with compassionate help. Whether it’s a login issue or a payment card error, a real human on the other end of the chatbox means a lot to customers when they need assistance.

Assistance Completing Purchases

Purchase completion is one of the most frequent sources of customer technical issues. This is because so many different exchanges are required to complete a purchase. They may not be able to save their address, their card may not be accepted even though it works for them everywhere else. Frustration during the checkout phase leads to cart abandonment unless customers have somewhere fast and helpful to turn to.

An IT help desk integrated into your website is the best possible way to save sales that are stopped by technical difficulties. In fact, you can even create triggers to alert a help desk team member if someone has reloaded or attempted to edit a payment page several times in a row. Offering and providing help in this critical moment can significantly reduce your instances of abandoned carts and lost customers.

Mobile App Support

If your business has a customer mobile app, an IT Help Desk team is even more important. Many modern consumers do everything through their phones and prefer to interact with apps over websites in most cases. These users are also familiar with the ability to quickly chat with or call a help desk and will assume this is an option for your app even if you don’t yet have help desk support.

A help desk can make sure that users of your mobile app are always able to use the features they love and troubleshoot problems in real time. You can even find and fix any bugs in your mobile app quickly because users have a friendly place to send reports. Which takes us to the final point:

Having Problems Solved Immediately

Bugs in websites and mobile apps can’t always be fixed immediately, but an IT Help Desk is the key to helping customers outside the bounds of the software. Solutions can be manually implemented for customers, and then long-term fixes can be worked into future updates of the software. An IT Help Desk is essential for making sure customers get the service they need, even in cases where that doesn’t work exactly right with the website or mobile app.

So what can an IT Help Desk do for your customers? They can provide real-time solutions, human assistance in frustrating problems, save purchases from technical difficulties, and provide support to mobile users. This is something any growing brand needs to consider providing in order to remain competitive and keep customers happy. For more on how to implement a great IT Help Desk for your customers, contact us today!

5 Ways Preparing for a System Failure Should Be Part of Day-to-Day Operations

Preparing for a System Failure as a Part of Day-to-Day Operations

Being prepared for a disaster should beĀ  standard operating procedure

System failures can take everything. But if you plan ahead, you’ll have the infrastructure to set everything back in place. Instead of just relying on a disaster recovery plan and intermittent maintenance, build these five practices into your business’s usual operations.

1. Back up your actively changing data multiple times throughout the day.

System failures strike at the worst possible time. That includes in the middle of the day and right after your peak selling hour. If your systems don’t back up data frequently throughout the day, you may lose completed orders and sales without any way to notice the loss. This includes both online sales with customers anticipating deliveries or service and in-store transactions that won’t be totaled up into your third-party service until the end of the day.

Automate restore points that capture the frequently used programs or the systems that handle day-to-day operations. You’ll capture the vast majority of what you need without filling up your cloud in a week.

2. Save deeper system restore points regularly and don’t delete them.

But just capturing the active data entries every hour or every quarter of an hour isn’t everything you need to keep your business safe. Also schedule deeper data recovery downloads that capture everything. These larger restore points can be scheduled less frequently depending on the size or urgency of your business. Also be sure to set the schedule for low-activity points so your network isn’t overloaded.

These deeper packets of data are important because a system failure can wipe out everything. Having the day’s input won’t matter if the entire database is gone. So use these as insurance against complete wipeouts and then filter the transactional changes back in.

Deeper restore points also protect your company from slow-growing threats. Some network errors don’t immediately cause problems. Instead, they corrupt critical data or code behind the scenes. Save these points for as long as possible so you can reach weeks or months back to salvage uncorrupted data.

3. Run disaster recovery drills so everyone knows what to do.

Once you have your data saved and your system restores automated, the biggest problem in the event of a system failure is people. Train your employees so they know what to do once everyone goes down. Also, make sure you have hard copies of your data recovery and business continuity plans so people can find the procedure.

But there’s going to be panic if your company hasn’t gone through this before or if it’s been a long time. So hold drills every so often, and train new employees on what to do

4. Make your monitoring system notice the signs of an incoming system failure.

Usually, a system failure seems to strike out of nowhere. But they have lots of invisible warning signs that your employees just didn’t see. Network outages, old hardware, and more are all signifiers that increase your risk. A buildup of corrupted data or an increasingly unsteady code is noticeable as long as you know where to look.

So strengthen your system by adding monitoring software that can identify potential warning signs. Set threshold points where your IT staff or service knows to deal with the problem while it can still be prevented. Problem prevention can seem less urgent than dealing with customer tickets or a task requested by the executive team, but it can only be ignored for so long.

5. Train everyone to save in the cloud and not on the hardware.

Virtual computer systems have made system failures both better and worse. One of the best benefits of switching to the cloud and virtual machines is that a physically damaged server won’t ruin your business. But that’s only true if the employees actually make use of the virtual tools. Strap the company computers and devices to reduce local storage. If you have to leave local storage in place and your company has a server in the storage room as part of your legal requirements, automate that backup. Also, make sure employees are clear on where to save their documents and projects.

Go to SystemsNet here for more backup procedures and the tools you need to optimize your disaster recovery plan.