When Is It a Good Idea to Hire a Managed Service Provider?

If you’re running a new business, you might not have put much thought into how you’re managing your IT yet. Maybe you want to outsource your work to a local IT guy when there are problems, or perhaps you want to do it by yourself in-house. Are these the right choices for your business, though?

It can be hard to tell when it’s time to hire a managed service provider (or an MSP), but they can be hugely beneficial to your business. 

If you’re not convinced, or you’re not totally sure that now is the right time, that’s okay; you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn all about MSPs, and when you might want to consider hiring one for your business.

What Is a Managed Service Provider? 

managed service provider (or MSP, for short) will remotely manage their customer’s IT infrastructure and needs. They offer, among other things, support, security, maintenance, and management, and they do this remotely. 

They don’t have to manage everything, so if you decide that there are some tasks better left in-house, you’re able to continue doing that. More and more companies are realizing that IT is a lot of work, and finding good talent is difficult. Outsourcing to an MSP gets rid of the trouble and worry of finding talented IT professionals. 

When Is It Time to Get One?

If you’re just starting out, you might not need a managed service provider. Much of the work can be done alone or quickly by an IT professional. That said, if your business is starting to grow, it might be time to start looking for someone to help your company out. Not only will an MSP be great for that first period of growth, but they’ll also be able to grow with you and scale their services.

As your company gets larger, you’ll find yourself more in danger of cyberattacks. Managing this kind of situation alone can be a headache, and can seriously set you back. MSPs want to protect your company, and they can provide security to defend against these attacks, but also a plan for what happens when an attack successfully goes through.

This reduces your downtime and helps you get back on track before you’re suffering further profit loss.

If you’re starting to sense that your technology is beginning to be out of the range of your abilities, you might be looking at hiring an in-house IT professional. Unfortunately, if you’re a small business just getting started, an IT professional able to do all of the things that you need them to do might be a bit outside of your price range.

An MSP has all of the benefits of an in-house IT guy without the salary.

Is It Time for You to Get an MSP?

If your business is going through technology growing pains, it might be time to consider a managed service provider of your own. 

They provide the benefits of infrastructure, security, and so much more. Having someone manage your technology will be a weight off your shoulders.

For more posts like this, check out the rest of our blog. Or visit our site to see if an MSP is for you.

Windows 10 Simplified: 5 Tips for Businesses Switching From Windows 7

Starting back in January 2020, Windows 7 will no longer receive security updates, software updates, or technical support.

Now you’re probably wondering what this means for your business and if Windows 7 is still safe to use. 

Windows 7 still works, but without security updates and access to technical support, your organization is more susceptible to security breaches so continued use is not advised.  

An unsupported network can be troublesome for the security and efficiency of your organization. So, the next logical step for your business is transitioning to a newer software—Windows 10. 

Keep reading for a snapshot of Windows 10 simplified with 5 tips your business can implement now.

Windows 10 Simplified 

Here are our 5 tips to make your transition to Windows 10 a little easier. 

1. Make a Transition Plan

Making a transition plan is the most important way to ensure new software updates actually happen within your business. 

The longer you wait to transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10, the longer you’re putting your business’s data and privacy at risk. 

Studies show that companies that do not regularly update their software are 80% more susceptible to data breaches. 

This may seem like a tedious job, but if your computers are relatively new, updating to Windows 10 won’t be too hard.

2. Train Your Employees 

Let’s face it—people don’t like change, and moving from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is no exception. 

This is why creating a training plan within the first few weeks of your Windows 10 update is so important. 

You may be thinking that taking time out of the workday to train staff is a waste, but the effort you put into training now will pay off with less frustration and complications in the future.   

Microsft knows the importance of training staff and has lots of helpful training tools on their website

3. Consider Updating Your Hardware

If your computer is over 3 years old or close to being replaced, buying new PCs for your office may be beneficial, as they already come with Windows 10 installed. 

Buying new PCs will let you bypass the installation and licensing fees that come with updating an older computer model. 

This is especially recommended if you have an older computer that is at the end of its life—you don’t want to purchase the installation file and license just to replace the entire computer.  

4. Consider an IT Audit 

IT audits asses all your devices and determine if they are well protected and properly managed.  

An IT audit can help you get the most out of your devices by improving their usability, making sure old-technology is updated, and new-technology is reviewed for risks. Now that it’s time to update your devices to Windows 10, consider conducting an IT audit to ensure that your business is running securely and efficiently.   

5. Focus on Cybersecurity 

The “Zero Trust” model is a popular model for ensuring the cybersecurity of your business. This is an operating system that works under the assumption that you can’t trust anyone when it comes to cybersecurity, even people within the office.

This type of security model works well to secure your business’s data by verifying every person or device before granting them access to your network. Implementing a new security system can help protect your business during the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10.  

We’re Here to Help 

We know that transitioning from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is a lot of work, but we’re here to help you through it. 

Contact us to find out more about what we do, and how we can help you and your business thrive.  

5 Cybersecurity Tips You Must Teach Your Employees

Today, more than 40 percent of all cyberattacks target small businesses. 

If you happen to run a small business, this might be cause for alarm if you aren’t taking the proper precautions. One of the most important precautions to take is to set up cybersecurity policies in your company, while also making sure that your employees are properly trained and educated. 

Below we’ll dive into the best cybersecurity tips to push in your business. 

The Top Cybersecurity Tips to Teach Your Employees

Without question, educating your employees on cybersecurity is one of the most important investments that you can make in your company.

So what exactly should you be teaching your employees about cybersecurity?

Below are some of the main points to keep in mind. 

1. Make Strong Passwords and Change Them Regularly

You need to be sure that your employees aren’t creating flimsy passwords that can be easily hacked. This not only puts their work portal at risk but it also put your entire company’s data on the line. 

Set up a policy for password strength to ensure that each employee is setting up passwords that are virtually impossible to crack. 

When you start with this step, many of your other cybersecurity concerns become a non-issue. 

2. Be Wary of Sites You Shouldn’t Trust

Make sure that you educate your employees about the danger of certain sites. First, check the protocol of every web address, ensuring that they have a secure “https://” extension. 

Even today, phishing is still one of the most common and dangerous forms of cyberattack. 

If they don’t personally know or do business with a sender, they shouldn’t open any files or fill out any forms. 

3. Get to Know the Data Protection and Emergency Plan

Each and every company should have a data protection and emergency plan. 

A cyber breach response plan will mitigate damage and help you quickly communicate with customers. This way, your company can get back on track. 

4. Use Two-Factor Authentication

In this age of cyber threats, two-factor authentication is an absolute necessity. With two-factor authentication, your employees will have to verify both a password check and a special code sent to their e-mail address or mobile device. 

Requiring these two steps adds a layer of protection from cyber threats. 

5. Upgrade Software Whenever Possible

Finally, take the time to make upgrades to your software so that you can work through bugs and short up any cyberattack weaknesses you have in previous versions. 

Make it so that your employees can’t log in and access regular activity without having the newest upgrade. This way, you’ll always know everyone that accesses your data is on one accord, so troubleshooting and safety precautions become simplified and strengthened. 

Handle Your Company’s Cybersecurity Needs

These are the cybersecurity tips you need to be imparting to your employees. 

When you are ready to take your company’s cybersecurity and information technology (IT) to the next level, we’ve got you covered. 

To learn more about our services, contact us via the web, or call us at (504) 603-9910 (New Orleans office), (985) 603-9910 (Northshore office), (225) 624-4900 (Baton Rouge office). 

7 Benefits of Managed IT Services

For many small businesses, IT services can seem like a luxury. But there are some business sectors where skimping on IT services can be dangerous for your business. 

There are many benefits of managed IT services that help you avoid common data management pitfalls. Here are 7 of the top advantages of managed IT.

7. Client Data is Safe

With managed IT services, your clients can rest assured their data is safe. High profile data hacks make clients more alert to potential security risks. 

The minute your company seems unreliable, customers might switch to competitors who can offer more security. Keep the promise of your privacy policy by hiring a trained IT support staff.

6. Ongoing Technical Support

Your company can’t do business without communication.  When phones and emails go down, you need a guaranteed system to manage the outage.  

One of the major benefits of managed IT services is having a dedicated team available to handle issues when they arise. Don’t miss another client call due to phone issues.

Hire an IT firm to make sure you remain accessible. 

5. Government Compliance

Some business sectors can’t afford to go without IT. IT governance is required of any companies who deal in securities or insurance.

This is in response to major financial scandals that left customers in the dark about the way companies handle transactions. Enron and WorldCom left many investors penniless.

The federal government stepped in to ensure that all companies have transparent accounting practices and a structured system for managing data. 

4. Efficient Tech

Stay abreast of the latest technology with an IT team that can help you choose the best system for your business. The goal is to have efficient hardware and software that won’t create an awkward transition. 

Switching back and forth to find the right software can be costly not to mention dangerous for your data. Consult with pros who, through experience with other clients, can point you in the direction of the best tech.

3. Increase Security

Computer hackers aren’t a myth. Real online threats exist for companies of all sizes. 

A managed IT service helps you put the proper firewall protections in place to avoid unwanted access to the backend of your website. Hackers can replace your business website with inappropriate content that can be damaging to your brand. 

2. Virus Protection

Everyone has received SPAM emails that have links enclosed. Even the accidental clicking of a link can release a virus on a device.

One of the many benefits of managed IT services is having safeguards that prevent or remove viruses from your system. If a virus does manage to break through, your IT team will have a range of solutions to fix the issue.

1. Network of Experience

Experienced IT teams can apply solutions from previous clients to your problems. Technology is constantly changing, but experienced pros have learned to think quickly to adapt to these changes.

They have a professional network to call for help giving you access to a wider range of experience and resources. 

The Many Benefits of Managed IT Services

One of the many benefits of managed IT services is the ability to grow your business with peace of mind. Know that your business operations won’t be indefinitely interrupted by technical setbacks.

Keep proprietary information secure and protected so you can profit year after year. For more information on the best IT solutions for your business, contact us

Essential Small Business Management Software for 2020

Efficiency and productivity are two things that every business strives for. The more productive the workforce is, the more profitable the business is.

There are a million ways to make your team more productive and efficient. Fortunately, there are software tools that can make it much easier.

Read on to discover the top small business management software tools you have to use to make your business run better.

Accounting Software

The health of your business isn’t measured by revenue, but by cash flow. About 82% of businesses close because of cash flow issues, making it the main reason why businesses shut down.

Having a great accounting program to help you manage your business is an absolute must so you can easily manage your cash flow.

QuickBooks has long been the industry leader in the field and you can find a plan to fit your business, no matter the size.

Customer Relationship Management

Small business owners have so much to keep track of it’s easy to let things fall through the cracks. A customer relationship management solution will help you keep track of leads and customers.

You’ll be able to see exactly where your leads are in the sales cycle and stay on top of your customers’ needs.

Some of the top CRM solutions are from SalesForce, Zoho, and HubSpot.

Marketing Automation

How would you like to have your customers come to you instead of constantly chasing your next customer?

Marketing automation is a simple way to allow you to do just that. A simple marketing automation tool will allow you to build an email sales funnel and have it sent out automatically as you get subscribers. MailChimp and SendPulse are two tools that are good starting points for marketing automation.

There are also solutions that are more complex and allow you to segment leads and trigger emails for certain events, like if someone abandons a shopping cart on your website.

Document Sharing in the Cloud

It seems like everything is moving to the cloud. The cloud is simply the internet.

One tool that you need is a cloud service that will allow you to store, access, and edit documents from anywhere.

This is particularly handy if you spend a lot of time on the road meeting with clients.

Managing Software

These are all great tools that can help you manage your business and be more efficient. However, you have to manage all of these tools. You want to make sure that your software is updated, and your employees are trained to use them.

Integrating new tools in the work environment is challenging because employees don’t like change. They need to understand why the change is necessary and how it will make their work better.

The Top Small Business Management Software Tools

Small business management software is necessary if you want to do things faster and more efficiently. There are countless tools to choose from and you want to find the solutions that best fit your needs.

Managing a business is tough. Managing technology to run your business presents even more challenges. You don’t have to figure it all out by yourself. Contact CORE Networks today to find out how we can help you in your business.

5 Reasons Why Employee Education is Important in Protecting Your Network

Insider-caused data breaches are happening more often and at higher costs to companies, according to the Ponemon Institute.

Institute experts recommend stepping up efforts to minimize risk. One of the top steps you can take is to hire experts to train your employees on policies and procedures.

Here are five reasons why employee education is vital in protecting your network.

1. Security Will Become a Clear Priority

You’d hate to see your company make data breach history, and your employees would too. It’s hard to feel proud of a company doesn’t seem to care about security and privacy.

By setting aside company time for training, you’re showing employees your company is serious about security. This increases the chances that they will take it seriously as well.

2. You Will Raise Awareness and Provide Specific Directions

Anyone can fall victim to common cyber security risks. Knowledge is the top way to fight that.

Do your employees even know you have a security policy? Do they know what to do if they see something that concerns them or if they think they may have slipped up? Are they aware of what kinds of threats are out there today?

They will be if you bring in professionals to educate them properly. After all, nobody wants to see the employer who puts food on their table lose cash because of security-related legal bills.

3. Employee Education Makes Security Personal

It’s unlikely every employee feels personally responsible for security issues, such as protecting business data. It can feel like a responsibility that rests on IT’s shoulders. Teaching employees to protect your company helps them realize that it’s part of their daily job description.

One way education does this is by making security a personal problem. When employees learn that data breaches can release their own HR and payroll records, that can raise a red flag and inspire action.

Adding this personal touch also helps employees feel like they’re getting a benefit. They can use the tips they learn for their own accounts and home network.

4. People Will Open up to IT

Once employees gain a sense of their role in security, they will understand how important it is to be honest if they have a concern. They will be much more likely to report issues to the IT department or the managed services provider.

Having a reporting plan in place will make it much easier for employees to know what to report and how. Thanks their training, everybody on staff will be ready to react quickly.

5. Your Policy Will Fit Your Company

When you include employees in training, the direct interaction can help ensure everyone is on the same page about your polices and procedures. Giving employees the chance to ask questions, share concerns, and provide feedback may help you build a better plan for the future.

You’ll end up with a policy that works for your company’s needs and culture. You’re more likely to see success.

Get Expert Help with Employee Education for Superior Network Security

With professional employee education, you can get your network security in gear. If you’re ready to educate your employees, contact us to get started.