Tips For Choosing the Right Managed IT Services Provider

Small to medium sized businesses typically don’t have the resources needed for full time IT support, yet have the same requirements for IT security, monitoring and management as larger businesses. A Managed IT Services partner can help, with solutions designed to streamline business processes while providing around the clock monitoring and other vital IT services.

Choosing the right Managed IT Services provider is the key to a successful partnership, but how do you distinguish one from another? Here are some things to keep in mind during your search to help you select the perfect partner for your organization. 

Find a good listener. You want a partner that is genuinely interested in helping you succeed, and that will ask the right questions to understand your needs and goals. They will ask about data requirements, workload specifications, resource needs and more, to ensure your satisfaction and gain valuable insight. 

Check out their track record. Look for an established, experienced team of professionals, with a history of solid client retention. 

Insist on around the clock monitoring. Problems don’t just happen between the hours of 9 and 5: choose a Managed IT Services provider that offers 24/7/365 system monitoring to identify and prevent problems by monitoring every aspect of your business network including workstations, network devices, routers, firewalls and more.  

Maximize your level of support. Remote support is necessary for dealing with minor issues before they become major ones, but onsite monitoring is also required to ensure your equipment is functional, preventive maintenance is performed, and questions or concerns can be answered in person. 

Ask about detailed asset tracking. Compliance reporting and asset tracking are vital components of every IT network. Both are made easier with software and hardware reporting metrics offered by a Managed IT Services provider.

Industry knowledge is an asset. The […]

By |August 31st, 2018|blog|0 Comments

Stay Productive While on the Road!

Traveling for business can be tough on your productivity. Even though you’ll face long hours, uncomfortable hotel rooms and they guy in the seat next to you sleeping on your shoulder during the flight, you still need to get work done.Here are some tips to stay productive when traveling for business!

Be Prepared – Create a list of the essential items you’ll need to stay productive like your laptop, tablet, and smartphone plus any other accessories you’ll need. Remember to bring batteries, chargers, cables and any other items you’ll need to work.
Get Your Data In Order – Traveling with sensitive data on your devices can be a security risk if your tech is lost or stolen. Remove all sensitive data and store it securely on the cloud. It will remain safe and you’ll have 24/7 access. Digitize any documents you’ll need and scan them to the cloud as well. It will stay safe and secure and you’ll have 24/7 access anywhere there’s internet connectivity.
Power Up! – Charge everything before you leave for the airport. It’ll save time and keep you from searching for an outlet at the airport. Once you’ve reached your destination, charge whenever you can. Bring a portable device charger just in case – just make sure to charge it before you leave!
Use Travel Time Effectively – Most flights provide free in-flight WiFi, but even if you have the option, consider focusing on more productive offline tasks like reading email or checking in with the office.
Choose the Right Hotel – Make sure it offers the amenities you need like free in-home WiFi, plenty of workspace and a business center you can use. Try to stay with the same […]

By |June 5th, 2018|blog|0 Comments

How Do You Know if Your Print Environment is Inefficient? Look for These Signs…

You may be spending a lot more on your document management than you realize. What if you could get rid of the inefficiencies in your print environment? You’d enjoy significant savings and increased productivity. The key lies in spotting the signs in your print environment that keep you from running at peak efficiency.

Here are some signs to look for:

You have too many “cheap” printers. One big sign of inefficiency is the proliferation of cheap printers in your workplace. While the entry price is attractive, consumables costs for them can quickly add up.
Too many abandoned documents in printer trays. Unnecessary printing is another sign of inefficiency. Overprinting is a waste of toner and paper! Documents lying around output trays are a security risk.
Everyone is buying supplies. No one wants to run out of supplies in the middle of a job. Often, that means people buying toner when they think it’s low. While it looks harmless, decentralized purchasing is often unaccounted for and can be a significant drain on your bottom line!
Too much colour output. Colour print costs up to 4X as much as black and white. While some colour printing is important (marketing materials, presentations or proposals) most documents can be printed in black and white at a reduced cost. This problem arises when you do not have print protocols in place and no one is monitoring output.
You’re IT is drowning in print-related issues. – It’s estimated that between 40 and 60% of IT calls and time are spent on print related issues. Outsourcing calls can help, but eliminating the need altogether goes further. For example, retiring old technology can reduce calls significantly.

Why Managed Print Services Makes Sense

Managed Print Services (MPS) is a great […]

By |April 6th, 2018|blog|0 Comments

How to Protect Your Company from Low-Tech Security Threats

Data theft is a hot topic for businesses, and the discussion is most often focused on the use of modern technology in the workplace. We hear a lot about digital data breaches in the news, but the reality is that physical data breaches and low-tech cyberattacks have the potential to wreak havoc on your business as well. Examples include physical theft, eavesdropping, and cybersnooping.

An alarming statistic is that 26 percent of employees are accessing sensitive data from a device other than a dedicated work computer. When employees are using equipment such as unsecured tablets, smartphones, and flash drives to access confidential information, they’re putting your business at risk of data loss, whether they realize it or not.

Here are some common low-tech security threats and how you can defend against them:

1. Physical access. One of the easiest ways for malicious characters to gain access to sensitive data is by physically walking into your facility. Requiring login access to all workstations throughout your facility will help to prevent physical theft of data. 

2. Environmental factors. Environmental factors such as fire, water, heat, cold, and smoke can damage data. An effective solution to keep your data safe is to use climate-conditioned computer closets in addition to storing data off-site.

3. Digital theft. Digital data can easily be stolen by a hacker or by a criminal using a flash drive. You can protect your digital data from becoming compromised by using IT management tools to restrict USB port activity. Implementing a DLP (Data Leakage Prevention) system will further safeguard your digital data. 

4. Multifunction printers. Multifunction devices create vulnerabilities for unauthorized network access. Additionally, MFPs present the risk for confidential documents to be left on the printer output tray. Require authorized access for MFP devices and […]

By |February 6th, 2018|blog|0 Comments

Cyberattack Risks for SMBs

Businesses around the world are increasingly falling victim to cyberattacks, costing millions of dollars in lost data and time. Many small and medium sized businesses feel like they’re too small to be targeted, but nearly half of all attacks are aimed at these companies. Taking steps to protect your company is vital to your survival in this ever-changing digital landscape.
Common Types of Cyberattacks

Most cyberattacks fall into one of these categories:

Denial of service (DoS)
Password attack

In a DoS attack, hackers flood a network with information and requests, causing a “traffic jam” that doesn’t allow legitimate business to get through. If your system becomes too overloaded, it can crash and shut down. It can take hours or days to recover from a denial of service attack, during which your company and clients are at a stand-still.

Password attacks seek to gain access to your system by stealing login data. Sometimes this is done by trying various password combinations until one works, while other times thieves install cameras or software to log key strokes.

Malware attacks are perhaps the best known. This category encompasses viruses, worms, ransomware, and Trojan horse software. Malware can be installed on your system in a variety of ways, but the most common is through email attachments or malicious links in emails or advertisements.
Preventing Attacks

Though cyberattacks can be devastating to your business, simple precautions can dramatically reduce your risk of being victimized. Experts recommend taking these steps:

Install a robust anti-virus program to scan emails, files, and webpages. Be sure you update it regularly.
Install all security patches from your software and operating system manufacturers.
Use and update a firewall.
Tracking software can help detect and stop a DoS attack.
Passwords should be […]

By |December 20th, 2017|blog|0 Comments

The Importance of a Data Backup and Recovery Plan

If your business suddenly lost everything, digital records, data and paper documents, what would happen? It would most likely come to a standstill. Data management and the cloud have made business more secure and easier, but disasters can and do happen. Is your business ready?
Dealing With Technology Failure
You know how hard your day is when your smartphone or tablet isn’t working properly. Now imagine you’ve lost everything, data, email, your office phone system, paper documents, orders, billing, customer support….all GONE!

How much would your business suffer every hour? What would your losses be for every day you were down? How would this affect your business reputation? This is the key function of a disaster recovery plan. How do you get started? Prioritize:

Recovery Point Objective (RPO) – What information do you need to get up and running quickly? While it’s not good to lose archival data, it may not be necessary for daily operations.
Recovery Time Objective (RTO) – How fast do you need to be up and running? One day? One hour? Maybe faster?

Protecting Paper Records
Recently IDC conducted a study and found that 58% of businesses still rely heavily on paper documents. The best backup and recovery plan can’t restore paper documents. The problem with paper is that the processes that rely on it the heaviest are often most affected by it’s loss. In order to be truly effective, any recovery strategy must take this into account. Fortunately, today it’s easier than ever before to digitize paper documents.

Along with your IT strategy and paper strategy, you must consider non-digital backup and recovery:

Do you keep critical email addresses and phone numbers off site?
Do you have a method for notifying customers and staff when they […]

By |November 15th, 2017|blog|0 Comments

7 Tips for Working Smarter and Increasing Productivity in the Workplace

One of the biggest challenges in the workplace is finding the time to check off all of the items on your to-do list. If you can relate to the time management struggle, here are several productivity tips to help you work smarter and avoid working longer hours:
1. Give each task a deadline.
While you’ll be given a number of assignments that have defined deadlines, other projects may be more open-ended. If a deadline is not specified, create your own deadline. This will hold you accountable to completing the task in a timely manner. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish when you’re watching the clock.
2. Schedule brief breaks throughout the workday.
Even though breaks may sound counterintuitive, stepping away from an assignment for a few moments will help to improve your concentration and allow you to complete tasks at your peak performance.
3. Implement a two-minute rule.
Throughout the workday you’ll be faced with a number of small tasks that can be completed quickly. Implement the two-minute rule and commit to immediately taking care of tasks that can be completed within two minutes. This will prevent you from having to back-track later in the day to complete these tasks.
4. Limit the amount of meetings on your calendar.
Most employees would agree that meetings are the biggest productivity drainers in the workplace. Only attend meetings if it’s imperative that you be there. Before accepting an invitation to a meeting, determine if it’s something that can be accomplished via a conference call or web-based meeting.
5. Stop multitasking.
You won’t be able to do a quality job if you take on too many tasks at once. Instead, complete a single task well before moving on to the next one.
6. Make the […]

By |October 17th, 2017|blog|0 Comments

How to Protect Documents at Your Multifunction Printer

When you hear the term data breach, chances are thoughts turn to any one of the numerous examples over the last five years, of large scale breaches involving major corporations. In cases such as these, hackers obtained customer and client information, resulting in losses of upwards of one billion dollars collectively, and unmeasurable losses to the reputations of those affected.

If anything positive has come from these attacks, it’s been an increased awareness in security and vigilance among the public and private sectors, including areas that have been overlooked, such as multifunction printers (MFPs). The biggest risk factor used to be human error, where printed documents or originals were left behind after printing, but the MFPs of today have sophisticated network capabilities and components, making them vulnerable to attacks from outside, as well as inside, the confines of the firewall. Fortunately, there are a number of solutions to keep your MFP, and your data, safe.

Start at the Multifunction Printer

Effective policies and procedures can help significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized use or distribution of sensitive data. User authentication through the use of swipe cards, passwords, or other identifier ensures users are physically present at the MFP at the time of printing. Access can be further defined by levels, preventing guests or employees from utilizing certain features, or blocking them from sensitive materials.

Go Mobile

BYOD, and mobile printing are here to stay, but with convenience, comes risk. Deciding who can print, and on which devices is the biggest challenge, and user authentication techniques must be employed to ensure integrity.

Secure the Hard Drive

The internal storage device located inside your MFP is at risk during it’s useful lifetime, and long after. User authentication and disk encryption techniques can help prevent unauthorized access to […]

By |August 30th, 2017|blog|0 Comments

Considering Document Automation? Ask Yourself These Key Questions

Today, technology has evolved to where we can better organize the workplace and businesses processes than ever before. Document workflows are just one area that can benefit from automation. As you begin the automation process, here are some key questions to ask and answer to help define your business needs.

Automating Process

Process automation is defined as: “the digitization of any manual business process that centralizes and compiles information within a business enterprise.”

This can include everything from streamlining workflows to creating electronic filing systems. Process automation can:

Minimize human error and eliminate the related costs
Speed job completion, freeing employees to focus on core business tasks
Track, monitor and report on documents workflows and processes
Improve regulatory compliance, information reliability and corporate governance

There are many benefits of process automation that can be shared enterprise wide from marketing to the mailroom! The consulting group McKinsey found that process automation can reduce the costs of document management by up to 90 percent.

Identifying Document Automation Opportunities, What’s Next?

Once you’ve identified areas ripe for automation, it’s time to dig into the process to capture more data to then create your automation strategy. Ask and answer these questions:

What type of documents do you create? Invoice, proposals, time sheets, forms
How and where do your store these documents? Filing cabinets, storage boxes, digital file formats
What is the volume of documents you produce company-wide? Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly
What formats do you typically use? PDFs, word documents, emails, etc.
How many team members require access? At one time, in total
Do you currently have workflow systems in place? What methods, equipment and applications do you currently use
Is data manually input, or automatically […]

By |July 19th, 2017|blog|0 Comments

7 Steps for Choosing the Right Managed Print Services Provider

Making the decision to partner with a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider can not only offer significant cost savings, but can also increase productivity in the workplace and reduce the amount of downtime related to printing issues.

To get the most out of your investment in MPS, you’ll want to choose a partner that understands your business and proactively offers solutions to streamline document processes.

Here are several steps to take that will help you choose the best MPS partner for your business:

Begin with analysis. Considering that MPS is certainly not a one-size-fits-all solution, you’ll want to choose a provider that uses analytical tools to give you a fact-based report about what the actual costs of your existing printing environment are.

Consider the MPS provider’s track record. Is the MPS provider experienced in working with businesses such as yours to create an optimized print environment?

Find an MPS provider that offers solutions for both hardcopy and digital workflows. While many business processes still rely heavily on paper, the trend in the future is to move towards optimized digital workflows. The right MPS provider can help your business to transition to more efficient digital workflows.

Ask about integration. Will the MPS provider’s proposed solutions be able to integrate with your existing IT infrastructure? Will you be offered features such as the ability to connect seamlessly to cloud applications and/or the ability to print from mobile devices?

Choose an MPS partner that will grow with your business. When selecting an MPS partner, it’s important that you consider how the relationship will benefit you in the long run. Will the provider be able to meet your needs a year down the road?

Ask about security. Security breaches are on […]

By |May 4th, 2017|blog|0 Comments