Category Archives: Manage Service

How to Run Your Business Without Hiring an IT Employee

Small business owner, woman in blazer, smiling, working in the IT industy with IT employees

Outsource your IT and get a staff of qualified techs for a fraction of hiring one internal employee

Today, IT professionals are in high demand, and the labor shortage makes it more than a little challenging to find one who can join the staff at small-business prices. Not when corporations are already hotly competing for every technician, admin, and developer on the market to fill their own in-house staff.

But that’s no need to worry. Fortunately for small business, the IT industry has you covered. There a wide variety of IT teams who work hard to provide outsourcing options in every manner of IT service you might need. This arrangement works for everyone, as the IT teams get to keep busy even when your entire network is running smoothly. Small businesses also get the IT support they need, when they need it, at small-business prices.

Today, we’re here to share a few trade secrets on how to get the IT support your small business needs without competing to employ your own on-staff IT employee. With a combination of the following services, you should have all or most of your IT bases covered.

Managed IT and Cybersecurity Subscriptions

Managed IT is the primary resource that every small business need to know about. Often abbreviated to MSP (managed service provider), what this means is an IT team that will curate your network, your software, and your cybersecurity for as long as your small business is subscribed to their service. Managed IT teams are there to be your outsourced IT department in many ways, but they also only deal with computers, software, and networks.

Rent Printers and Copiers with Tech Support Included

To cover that special equipment need, you can rent your printers and copiers along with other office equipment from a service that also provides complete tech support for their devices. Large-scale office printers and copiers often need a significant amount of IT support and maintenance, making supported rental far more practical for a small business team if you don’t have an IT printer expert on staff.  Just be sure that your rentals are with a company that offers full support of both the hardware and software required to keep your printers and copiers humming.

Full-Service Website Hosting

For your website IT, many small businesses benefit from working with a high-quality hosting provider. The company that provides your online server can also help you maintain and secure your website. The key is to look for a full-service package from a reputable hosting provider. Don’t be taken in by cut-rate hosting, as the services are often well below standard and the perks are non-existent. Realize that when you invest in a mainstream host like Azure, AWS or Digital Ocean that part of what you are paying for is the support of their on-staff IT to keep your website safe, secure, and even properly updated with the right supported hosting package.

Local Computer Repair and Refurbishing Services

Finally, for all your additional on-site needs, you can partner with a local computer repair service. These teams and workshops often specialize in riding to the rescue when you need them most. When a computer is physically malfunctioning rather than simply experiencing a software problem, local computer repair teams can make it right. Not only that but when your devices get old and it’s time to get new ones, these teams are often eager to buy the gently used computers and mobile devices from you and help you find a good price on new or like-new refurbished models.

Small businesses have a surprising amount of options outside of hiring on-staff IT to cover every one of your universal or unique IT needs. If you need managed IT services, security, or cloud communication solutions, then contact us today! We look forward to supporting your company with our shared technical expertise.

5 Reasons to Outsource Your Business’ IT Work

High angle shot of a group of outsourced IT agents working in an office

Outsourcing your IT department is cost effective, provides peace of mind that everything is getting done correctly, and allows you to concentrate on what you do best.

In the last twenty years, IT support has become absolutely mandatory for any business, no matter how small or niche. Your team uses computers, mobile devices, and a full stack of cloud-based software to streamline the work. Your website and server need to be secure and maintained. Your workplace internal network needs to be kept safe from hackers so that employee computers and client files are protected.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that every business under the sun needs an on-staff IT team, or even just one IT employee. In an environment where IT is required for every type of business, it only makes sense that IT outsourcing has become incredibly popular. From network security to website management, many companies are bringing in IT when and where they are needed without worrying about hiring in-house.

Let’s take a closer look at five of the leading reasons why businesses choose to outsource their IT.

1) You Don’t Have Enough IT Work for a Full-Time Staff Member

A large number of small businesses, simply don’t have enough ongoing IT work to keep a single full-time IT professional busy. Once your tech stack is set up and your network is secure, you only need to be checked in on a few times a year and have someone to call in case of emergency. The vast majority of outsourced IT comes from small businesses who partner with contractable IT teams. This partnership works well because you only purchase as much IT support as your business needs. At the same time, the IT professionals get to stay busy by helping dozens of companies with their setup and troubleshooting tasks.

2) You Are a Startup Without a Plan for On-Staff IT Yet

Many a startup also choose to outsource their initial IT and may continue to outsource for a long time. Even highly technical startups who may eventually staff their own team of IT will outsource at the beginning in order to get that launching momentum. An independent IT team can help a startup set up their initial computers, software, and security so that they can start selling and worry about hiring a larger team in-house later when the revenue is right.

3) IT Hiring Competition is Fierce

You may also have noticed that IT professionals are in incredibly high demand, pushing up the hiring price and employment packages that are standard for each job title. Larger companies that are big enough for their own IT teams are clamoring to hire the technicians and admins available, but there just aren’t enough to go around.

So why worry about competing to hire your own IT professional when you can outsource from the independents who have opted out of the dedicated corporate support lifestyle? In fact, by offering outsourced IT, these teams are making sure there is enough IT support to go around even with a limited pool of technicians and admins.

4) In-House IT is Covered, But You Need Website Management

Another interesting variation are businesses that do already have an in-house IT professional or an entire team, but with needs beyond in-house IT tasks. On-staff IT may have your network security, backups, and software stack maintenance down-pat but the most common outsourced task is related to the website. In fact, any IT professional will tell you that website security and maintenance is a somewhat separate skillset from server, network, and internal software maintenance. So it makes sense to outsource for specific website needs or projects that are outside the ken of your on-staff team.

5) You Temporarily Need IT Specialists to Rebuild Your Software Stack or a Big Project

Finally, there are instances when you need outside IT support temporarily for some big technical undertaking. Rebuilding your software tech-stack, for example, is a huge task that your company or even on-staff It may not be comfortable tackling on your own. Large projects that are extremely time-consuming like data transfer or a super-sized backup recovery project can also lead businesses to temporarily hire outsourced IT support. This allows your regular IT maintenance team to keep providing their everyday support while the outsourced team handles the huge load of technical work that is only needed for a short time.

Is your company considering IT outsourcing for the long-term, for a special purpose, or to tackle an oversized technical project? We can help! Contact us today to find out more about how outsourced IT teams can enhance your business functionality, security, and efficiency based on your unique company needs.

When Should Your Employees Contact the IT Help Desk ASAP?

Employee contacting the IT help desk for a computer emergency

Engaging your help desk immediately can save you time and loss of data

An intuitive modern employee who’s contacted the help desk a few times knows that most technicians are happy to help, but generally there are a few troubleshooting steps they’d prefer team members go through before clocking a ticket. When the solution is as simple as rebooting, there’s hardly a need to call IT.

However, sometimes there are situations that team members might not realize are reasons to contact IT without any delay. No troubleshooting, no delay, no need to wait. Sometimes, it’s important to get the attention of your technical staff ASAP before a problem has a chance to get any worse. Today, we’re here to highlight the most important of those situations that apply to every business in every industry.

Here’s when you should contact the IT help desk without a moment of delay:

When There are Signs or Suspicion of a Hacker Attack

Hackers are an epidemic in the modern business world, and they come from every possible angle. Like insects out of the woodwork in a horror movie, there’s nowhere a hacker won’t try to invade your company data and the faster you smash them, the better. If an employee sees warning signs that a hacker or malware might be at work, they need to contact the IT help desk right away.

This way, your most expert technical support team can scramble and engage the highest possible data defenses. Network monitoring tools can be used to seek and destroy a lurking hacker in the network or their hidden malware. Virus scanning can be turned up to eleven to detect and eradicate anything suspicious. They may even be able to catch and report the hacker red-handed.

So it’s vital that any signs or suspicion of hacking is reported immediately, before the hacker has a chance to grab their stolen data and run.

When Something’s Sparking or Overheating

Hardware problems are often far more urgent than misbehaving software. When a computer dies, keeps crashing, or starts making a suspicious clicking sound, that’s when IT needs to be called. But some hardware problems can wait until after lunch and some should absolutely not wait.

The most urgent hardware problems involve heat and electricity, which are of course linked inside any computer or device. If you see exposed sparking or wire exposed outside of a computer case, it’s time to call your IT help desk immediately. If a computer or device is so hot that it’s uncomfortable to touch or be near, call IT. And if you smell anything remotely like smoke, smoldering, or that special hot-copper smell you might recognize from certain cooking pans, call IT without a moment to spare.

Any time there is sparking, overheating, or smoldering, then IT needs to know ASAP. If possible, very carefully pull the plug or ask maintenance to pull the plug with one of their rubber cleaning gloves.

When Vital Files are Obviously Missing or Corrupted

Sometimes, it doesn’t take a hacker or a smoking computer to cause an immediate-solution catastrophe. Sometimes, all it takes is a human error or a failed automated software update to put your entire company’s file system at risk. Employees working up in the company software have the best chance to spot when vital company files are missing or somehow corrupted and therefore are in the best position to let IT know that backup recovery procedures are needed right away.

If you run across a file, database, or server that isn’t providing data the way it should, submit that ticket without delay. A good IT team who is already on the ball will have backups ready and can get that file, database, or server back online within the day if you give them fast enough notice.

When a Distressed Customer is On the Line

Finally, it is always OK to contact your IT help desk ASAP if you have a customer on the phone (or chat) who needs technical assistance fast. Distressed customers have always been an aspect of IT assistance, even if you’re calling the internal IT help desk to to solve a problem that is technical beyond your depth but still officially a customer service issue. Your IT help desk will be happy to get you out of the hot water by guiding you to the customer’s needed solution or sometimes even taking over the call to help the customer conquer the technical troubles on their end.

If you or anyone on your team run into one of these problems, don’t stop to troubleshoot. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Just call your IT help desk and let them know what’s up so the experts can be on the job as fast as humanly possible. For more IT help desk insights or to design the perfect IT support structure for your business, contact us today!

Stress Management

Business owner managing his own IT infrastructures while running a business

We are not exactly doctors, but we can relieve a lot of stress and worry when it comes to your network infrastructure

Those who own or manage businesses will have a stark advantage in using managed service providers over those who don’t. Generally, those who attempt to manage their own IT infrastructures while running businesses will have a much higher level of stress in their lives. The purpose of owning a business is generally for occupational freedom — that is, the freedom from depending on an employer to earn a living. Attempting to manage an IT infrastructure without the help of qualified and experienced professionals can and usually does usurp the joy and satisfaction that comes from owning a business.

Maintenance

Certain facets of computers and network technology can be maintained relatively easy by laymen, but this doesn’t come without risks implying that more problems can be introduced into the system than solved. Computer operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh are frequently updated which introduces complexity — the layman will have to spend time understanding the changes in order to ensure continuity within the computer network. Not only are operating systems updated, but software such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari are updated frequently. As said, attempting to make changes or do maintenance without understanding the technicalities of the updated software can cause problems. One might think that by attempting maintenance without the aid of experienced professionals can save money, but when computer calamities come as a result, the stress can be overwhelming and even cost more to repair than if a managed service provider had consistent control over it.

Data Preservation

For the most part, it’s common knowledge that computer data related to businesses and their customers is an asset and must be protected. Data preservation is not an exact science, but again, there are dangers in inherent in attempting to restore computer data after a catastrophic event — breakdowns, theft, fire, earthquakes, vandalism, and even damage inflicted by disgruntled employees are all examples. Data storage devices can break down — under ideal conditions, one would not expect something like this to happen, but imagine going to restore data and files after a catastrophic event only to find out the device storing backed up data is non-operational with data therein unrecoverable — a stress factor easily mitigated with the help of professionals.

Security

Most people who install software security suites onto their computers don’t give it much thought afterword. For some types of users that works fine, but for the business owner that’s not a recommended approach. While this type of software has advantages, attempting to understand and manage it can be daunting. Furthermore, there tend to be unrealistic expectations with security software — it’s not a magic bullet that will prevent hackers and viruses from infiltrating and compromising computer systems. Obtaining the counsel and support of professionals will mitigate the stress associated with managing and understanding security software. For example, depending on what circumstances the software is configured to push alerts, the alerts need to be properly interpreted and without procrastination — frankly, security software alerts can be cryptic and therefore time-consuming to understand without help.

Help Desk

Sometimes, even if one is capable of resolving a problem without professional consulting, spending time to find the solution can be counterproductive. Ask yourself whether taking hours or days away from business and personal life is worth a solution to the intermittent freeze or speed problems exhibiting themselves on a computer or smartphone. Let’s not forget about that good old express service where expert help is a click of a mouse or short phone call away.

SystemsNet specializes in a broad array of services and with years of experience. Please contact us for information on highly competitive service plans.