Posts tagged "best practices"

Your Business Needs These 3 Types of IT Resources

April 10th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, collaboration, Devices, Hosted Services, Managed Service Provider, Services, Staff 0 thoughts on “Your Business Needs These 3 Types of IT Resources”

As technology becomes more essential, more versatile, and more complex, it also becomes increasingly difficult to manage. This can be especially true for SMBs as they balance the need to grow and stay competitive with limited budgets and less IT expertise. Luckily, there’s more than one way to look at IT, and how you approach it makes all the difference.

 

The Challenges

As the demands of your business reach the limit of your IT department’s ability to keep up, you may find yourself experiencing some of the following growing pains:

  • IT is spending most of their time putting out fires, which means recurring problems are becoming more common.
  • Deployment of software, apps, and initiatives is getting more complex, and you’re seeing more delays, failures, and down time.
  • Keeping up with break/fix work is keeping your IT staff from focusing on developing strategies and solutions that will benefit the business long term.
  • System down time is becoming more frequent, and it’s resulting in a loss of productivity and profit.

 

The Right Team with the Right Resources

As the role of IT expands, it’s important that you have the right team in place with the right expertise. It’s not just about having more staff; it’s about having access to expertise in cyber security, cloud migration, data mining, collaboration, etc. But, while you need access to these types of expertise and support, it doesn’t make sense for most SMBs to have these high-level experts on staff full time. Which is why many businesses are excited to discover the benefits of Managed Services.

To get the most out of your IT, both internal and through outsourced partnerships, make sure to have these three types of resources covered:

Generalists

These are your “go to” people. They’ve got the basic knowledge necessary to solve most of the day-to-day issues that your employees will encounter quickly and reliably, and they have the people-savvy necessary to provide high-quality service. This is a point of pride at Think. Our Support Desk staff is carefully selected, highly trained, and respond to most service tickets in an hour or less.

 

Specialists

With the rapid advancements in tech, IT departments are often expected to be experts in a variety of ever-changing specialties. To keep all the different aspects of your business tech running smoothly, you need access to a wide range of specialized skill sets. But, while these specialties are vital, they’re not necessarily something you’ll need forty hours a week. This is where the collective experience of a Managed Services team is key. With the right partner, you get the expertise and experience you need when you need it.

 

Advisors

IT has evolved from a convenience to a catalyst for innovation and future growth. But with each department working from their own perspective and towards their own goals, it can be difficult to see the broader picture and create a strategic place for IT in your business. An IT advisor with an outside perspective, a solid understanding of business and tech, and the ability to help you develop a plan to move your business forward is in an invaluable asset that can change the course of your entire organization for the better.

 

Bottom Line

Balancing the needs of your business with budget considerations is an ongoing challenge, and IT is no exception. But with the right combination of resources, you can ensure that your business receives all the benefits IT has to offer without sacrificing in other areas. For many organizations, this is where teaming up with a Managed Services partner gives them what they need, when they need it.

Help Your Business and Your Community this Earth Day

April 10th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, Community, Devices, E-Waste, Services 0 thoughts on “Help Your Business and Your Community this Earth Day”

At Think we value the beautiful area we live in, the growing community we support, and the businesses we serve. So, to celebrate this Earth Day (April 22), we want to share with you an easy way to help all three: eRecycling.

Put simply, eRecycling is the recycling of computers and other electronic equipment.

As our businesses become more reliant on technology, and as technology continues to evolve, we can easily end up with a collection of outdated printers, keyboards, monitors, phones, and other bits of tech. These usually occupy the corner of some office or closet, collecting dust and spiderwebs. While you don’t want your business hampered by outdated tech, it doesn’t have to waste space in your office either.

Various components in computers and other electronics can be recycled and used to build new machines. This reduces the need for new components, which helps us preserve and stretch our natural resources. It also means less material in our landfills and less stress on our local environment.

Recycling also helps support our local recycling center, which means supporting local jobs.

And your business benefits by clearing out the clutter and making room for equipment that supports your growth and success. (A tech replacement plan makes this process easy and simple.)

This Earth Day is a great chance for you to do something good for your community, the environment, and your business.

You can learn more about our Durango Recycling Center here.

Continuous Adaptation: The new role of IT in your business

April 10th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, Devices, Managed Service Provider, Services 0 thoughts on “Continuous Adaptation: The new role of IT in your business”

There was a time when critical business applications changed every few years at most. This gave you and your employees plenty of time to plan for major changes and adjust to them while your business continued to operate and grow. But, thanks to the power of cloud technologies, the pace of change has accelerated. While businesses are eager to take advantage of the benefits cloud computing has to offer, it’s important to ensure that your business and your employees are prepared to get the most out of the transition.

 

New pace, new approach

Growth and adaptation are essential to any business, and as a result the “set it and forget it” mode of thinking is out. This applies to both the software and hardware you’re using as well as the policies, procedures, and culture surrounding IT. It’s not enough to have the right applications and the newest hardware if your employees don’t have the motivation and support necessary to integrate these new resources into their daily routines and tasks.

 

Changing face of IT

Your company’s IT is no longer about fixing broken computers or installing software occasionally. It now plays an integral role, continuously engaging with everything from security to end user education and support. Adjusting the way you think about this vital asset to your business can improve your ability to adapt to change, respond to new opportunities, and cultivate your most valuable asset – your people.

 

The pace of change will only continue to increase, and it’s important that you have the support and expertise you need to help your business navigate and thrive. If you’re ready to see what IT can really do for your business, contact our engineers today.

Celebrating National Puppy Day

March 18th, 2019 Posted by Community, Staff 0 thoughts on “Celebrating National Puppy Day”

At Think our four-legged friends bring our staff unconditional love and lots of laughs. Every once in a while, you will catch one here at the office. Having them around keeps life interesting and gives everyone a chance to scratch an ear or throw a toy during the day, which studies show helps make for a happy office. Not that we need studies to tell us that. Since March 23rd is National Puppy Day, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share some of that happy with you. Here are some adorable (if we may say so ourselves) pictures of our furry friends as puppies.

Gracie: She’s a huge party girl. She’s super playful and loves to be chased.

 

Andy: She’s very friendly and loves to “bump” people with a hip to get their attention.

 

Sawyer: Who was tuckered out from enjoying a nice day outside.

 

Bayley (top) and Pic (bottom) – Playful pups who enjoy sharing a home.

 

Bandon: He’s a big fan of people food. Even when it’s on someone’s desk!

 

Squeety (top) and Blue (bottom) – Talk about some snuggly pups!

 

Porter (left) and Annie (right). Annie will do anything for a treat. Porter is pretty sure he should still be a lap dog, even though he’s 80 lbs now!

How a Technology Replacement Plan Will Save You Time and Money

March 18th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, Devices, Managed Service Provider 0 thoughts on “How a Technology Replacement Plan Will Save You Time and Money”

Would you like to help your employees be more productive? How about helping them collaborate more easily? And knowing in advance when and what you’ll be spending on IT?

If these sound good to you, then a Technology Replacement Plan is definitely worth looking into.

 

What is a Technology Replacement Plan?

Put simply, this is the plan for how you will replace technology in upcoming years. It can be as straightforward as a list of what equipment you currently have, when it was purchased, and when you want to replace it.

 

What are the benefits of a Replacement Plan?

For something so simple, a replacement plan can have a big positive impact for your business. It can be a useful tool to help:

  • Increase Productivity – Old equipment can slow down everything from opening emails to saving files. If each instance adds just 30 seconds to a task, and it happens 12 times a day, that adds up to over 13 hours of lost time over the course of a year. Thirteen hours of your employee’s time spent waiting on an outdated piece of equipment that could easily be upgraded. And that’s true for every employee who’s dealing with outdated equipment. It adds up fast.
  • Make the Most of New Options – Technology changes more quickly all the time, and these changes can bring new benefits to your business. Such as enhanced collaboration between employees or more secure storage options, just to name a couple.
  • Smooth Budgeting – No one likes out of the blue expenses. Especially when they come from all directions at once, which seems to happen just because it can. But, with a technology replacement plan, you can plan years in advance for the purchase of everything from monitors to printers.
  • Ensure Compatibility – It’s important that any new equipment works with your current system. Having a replacement plan ensures that you will be able to plan around any major changes and create a solution before you’re having problems with a pricey new setup.

 

No Time Like the Present

You don’t have to wait for the new year or the next budget meeting. You can start your Technology Replacement Plan today. If you’re unsure about where to start or how long to wait between upgrades, our Think engineers would be happy to help you create a replacement plan that suits your business, keeps your employees productive, and helps keep your budgeting as easy as possible. Just contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Pros and Cons: Cloud Computing

March 18th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, Cloud, Data, Devices, Internet, Managed Service Provider 0 thoughts on “Pros and Cons: Cloud Computing”

Should you be entrusting your data to the cloud or keeping it down to earth on your own servers? This is a decision facing every business. It’s one you’ll be forced to consider carefully, because it’ll impact your business practices and expenses for the foreseeable future. There’s plenty to be said for both cloud storage and dedicated servers, which makes the question which one is right for you. In this post we’ll be covering the pros and cons of the cloud.

Advantages of the Cloud

Cost Savings
One of the biggest benefits of cloud computing is the cost savings. With cloud computing, you can save substantial IT costs by eliminating the need to purchase, operate, and maintain server equipment. You pay for what you use, and you can stop whenever you like. This can make cloud computing ideal for some businesses all by itself. Though it is worth noting that in some instances an on-site server can actually be less expensive than using the cloud.

Reliability
With a managed service platform, your business can benefit from a large pool of IT resources that are dedicated to ensuring a reliable connection to your data at all times. These generally include redundancies that most businesses wouldn’t have built into their own personal servers.

Manageability
With a service level agreement (SLA) you get all the benefits of a high-end system without the hassle of performing updates and maintenance yourself.

Strategic Edge
The ease and accessibility of computer resources can give you a competitive edge, since the time you require for upgrading your IT resources to meet the needs of your business is basically nothing. This allows you to focus on moving your business forward.

Disadvantages of the Cloud

Downtime
If the internet is down, you have no access to your data and possibly the applications you use to run your business. Depending on the quality of internet service available in your area, this could be a significant disadvantage.

Security
Cloud service providers do everything they can to ensure the security of your data. But any time you’re storing data and important files with external service providers, it opens up some risk. It’s unlikely to be an issue, but you should consider the potential consequences any time you’re trusting someone else to safeguard your business’s information.

Vendor Lock-In
Moving to the cloud can be a quick, easy process. But moving between cloud services can get rather difficult. Not all services are cross-compatible, and you may end up staying with a less-than-ideal set up for a few features that you’re not sure how to do without.

Limited Control
Since the cloud infrastructure is entirely owned, monitored, and managed by the service provider, control over what you can change, update, or access is limited to the applications, data, and services you’re paying to use.

The advantages of cloud computing are many, and it’s well worth considering as an option for your business. But don’t forget about on-site servers just yet, because they have some pretty great advantages of their own. We’ll discuss both the advantages and disadvantages of on-site servers in our next blog post.

If you’re considering the future of your business IT and want input from the experts, our engineers here at Think would be happy to help. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

The Inevitable eMail Scam

February 25th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, Communication, Data, Desktop, Disaster, Hackers, Security, Services 0 thoughts on “The Inevitable eMail Scam”

Some things in life are guaranteed to happen, like death, taxes, and email scams. The email scams get more creative as time goes by.

One of the latest email scams going around has a particularly devious set up.

Targets of this scam receive an email from what looks like their own email address, as if you’d sent an email to yourself. This is strange enough to ring alarm bells, but it gets more alarming when you read the content of the email. The scammer claims to have installed programs on your computer that tracked all your information (including accounts, passwords, and contact lists) as well as recording you via your own webcam. Then the inevitable threat: pay $1,000 in bitcoin to the scammer within 48 hours, or everyone on your contact list will receive compromising personal information and video of you.

The language in the email is much coarser than that, but you get the idea. And it is a scam. This person didn’t send the email from your account, no matter what it looks like. And they don’t have access to your personal information or your webcam. There’s nothing to ransom; they’re just hoping to scare you badly enough to get you to pay them.

What You Can Do

Getting a good filter will help keep a lot of the junk from ever reaching your inbox.

Staying aware of the latest types of scams will help you be aware of what could come your way.

And always, always take a minute to think through and, if necessary, research anything that looks suspicious. A quick Google search can show you if others have encountered a similar situation.

If you want to do more to protect your email but aren’t sure where to start, our engineers would be happy to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about what you can do to protect yourself and your business.

Windows 7 & Windows Server 2008 r2 Are On Their Way Out

February 14th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, collaboration, Communication, Data, Desktop, Devices, Disaster, Hackers, Managed Service Provider, Security, Services, Windows 7 0 thoughts on “Windows 7 & Windows Server 2008 r2 Are On Their Way Out”

All good things come to an end, and that includes operating systems. This time around it’s Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 r2. As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer be providing security updates for these systems. This means that any devices running on these operating systems will become vulnerable to security threats after January 14, 2020.

What You Can Do

We encourage you to begin planning for the upgrade of these devices to a newer, more secure operating system. The sooner you start this process, the easier it will be to ensure that you can:

  1. Have time to determine the most beneficial IT solutions for your business.
  2. Work in the transition period during a more convenient time for you and your staff.
  3. Plan for the expense of the upgrade.

What You Don’t Want to Do

Put it off until the last minute. Something this vital to your business operations and security isn’t something you want to rush or push to the side.

We’re Happy to Help

Here at Think our engineers are ready to help you find the best IT solutions for your business. And with their extensive experience and knowledge, they can help make the transition as smooth and convenient as possible for your business and your staff. To schedule a consultation with a Think engineer, contact us today.

For more information from Microsoft, you can read their information page here.

blog header image engineer's week

Celebrating Engineer’s Week

February 12th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, byod, collaboration, Communication, Community, Managed Service Provider, Services 0 thoughts on “Celebrating Engineer’s Week”

Engineer’s Week is February 17th – 23rd, and here at Think we’re pretty excited. In part, because engineering is a huge part of what we do and who we are, but also because engineering is amazing. This is the perfect chance to shine the spotlight on some of the wonderful things engineering has helped us accomplish as well as recognize the dedicated engineers who’ve made them possible, throughout the world and here at Think.

When most people think of engineering, their minds go to fantastic bridges and skyscrapers, which makes sense. Structural engineering makes a splash, because we get to see and use bridges and buildings.

But we have some pretty amazing engineering feats happening right here at Think as well, and some pretty amazing engineers making them happen.

Dan Palmer, Network Engineer, recently received Cisco Certification CICD-Implementing Cisco Collaboration Devices.  By obtaining this certification he has demonstrated knowledge of administrator and end-user interfaces, telephony and mobility features, and Cisco UC solutions maintenance.  This means that he’s ready to help businesses take advantage of systems that facilitate unified communication in offices large and small, from VoIP voice services, visual voicemail, instant messaging, chat, and presence.  Dan sought out this certification because it’s important to him (and to all of us at Think) to provide the best possible support for our customers in all the services we offer. He’s currently working with a new client to set up the communication services that will support their business’s needs and help make communication easy and efficient. Dan is dedicated to doing what it takes to provide the experience our customers are looking for, and we’re happy to celebrate him and all he does.

Some of Dan’s favorite engineering marvels are The Hubble Telescope and NASA’s Voyager. Honestly, it doesn’t get much cooler than seeing galaxies that are billions of light years away and visiting distant parts of our solar system.

Darrell Brooks, Director of Network Infrastructure, recently earned his certification as an Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). This is one of the most highly regarded certifications in this area, and it allows Darrell to help businesses take care of their security from a business perspective as well as a technological perspective. This is a vital step in information security, because even the most advanced technological security solutions can be undermined by inefficient or incomplete policies and procedures. And all the best intentions in the world can’t compete with well-trained and educated employees.

Darrell chose to pursue this certification because it was important to him to have a more complete skill set that allows him to support our clients on multiple levels. Every business, no matter the size, needs information security. And every business has the opportunity to create policies and procedures that will keep the core of their business secure, stable, and successful regardless of the ways technology and technological threats evolve.

One of Darrell’s favorite engineering marvels is the Internet, because it allows us to access knowledge that wouldn’t have been available in the past. Want to see the pyramids? You can do it from your living room. Need to do a home repair project, but don’t know how? There are videos for that.

To Dan, Darrell, and all of the engineers of the world, we want to extend our thanks. You’ve made the world a better place for so many people and in so many different ways. It doesn’t get any more worthy of celebration than that.

relationship issues blog post header

Relationship Problems: 5 Ways Your Outdated Tech is Getting Between You and Your Staff

February 12th, 2019 Posted by Best Practices, byod, collaboration, Desktop, Internet, Managed Service Provider, Services 0 thoughts on “Relationship Problems: 5 Ways Your Outdated Tech is Getting Between You and Your Staff”

Technology exists to make our lives easier, our work more efficient, and our businesses more productive. It’s the perfect marriage of need and solution. At least it’s perfect until these 5 issues start causing downtime that interferes with your staff and their ability to do their jobs. Are any of these outdated tech issues getting between you and your staff?

1. Low Bandwidth: Nothing is quite as frustrating as waiting for a slow internet connection. Whether it’s downloading files or folders, accessing a database, or waiting on that important email, low bandwidth can make simple business functions torture for your staff. This can lead to everything from frustration to high turn-over, and both of those will impact your bottom line. Create an easy and enjoyable experience as well as an efficient work day for your staff by ensuring that your hardware and network are set up for optimum speeds.

2. Security Issues: Your staff is responsible for handling information that is vital to your business every single day. It’s important that this happens in a safe and productive way. In a digital age this means up to date firewalls, backups, security patches, and policies to ensure that your staff can do their jobs without worrying about an outside threat. Because losing data or getting hacked could cost you far more than just money; it could cost you your business.

3. Outdated Hardware: Old hardware can be the source of all kinds of issues, from overheating components that can fry entire systems to outdated software that leaves your system wide open to digital attacks. The good news is basic maintenance and regular upgrades are a lot easier and less costly than dealing with aging hardware and band-aid fixes. And your staff will be able to focus on their tasks instead of spending their time troubleshooting themselves or with technical support.

4. Inefficient Solutions: Sometimes the biggest problem a business has is not knowing what the best solution is for their IT needs. There are multiple options for every kind of hardware and software need, and choosing the wrong one will slow you down and ultimately cost you. Is cloud the right solution? How advanced is your antivirus? What is the best firewall? Do you have the IT policies and procedures in place that will ensure the security and success of your business? Knowing the right direction for your business will ensure that your staff is as productive as possible.

5. User Error: All the high-end technology in the world can’t save you from an employee who isn’t prepared to use it correctly. This can be devastating when there’s a security breach or a network outage because an employee misplaced a password or deleted the wrong setting. Taking the time to properly educate and train your staff on the digital aspects of your company will not only save you trouble, it will give your business an important edge. We always recommend a business have an IT policy and properly train employees on the BYOD culture. This will give your staff the peace of mind that comes with knowing they’re doing the right thing the right way.

Did a few of these sound a little too familiar? The good news is everything on this list is easy to address, which makes for a happier and more productive workplace. Who doesn’t want that?

Are you ready to get your relationship with technology back on track, but don’t know how? Think’s engineers are highly trained and certified to assist with all of your business technology needs. Contact us for a consultation.

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