The demand for managed network services is skyrocketing. As the world grows more sophisticated technologically, businesses are being forced to keep up.

A managed network service, also known as managed IT services, is the use of a third-party provider to take care of a company’s IT and network infrastructure. This includes servers, cloud solutions, networks, telephone lines, and more. Each of these systems needs to be kept up-to-date, running, and secure. However, such a task can overwhelm even the most committed of IT departments.


4 Reasons Businesses Need Managed IT Services

Managed network services, or managed IT services, step in to provide much-needed support. Here are four reasons managed IT services are critical to any business.

1. There Are More Web-Connected Devices Everywhere

Internet-connected devices, also known as IoT, are everywhere – including in the workplace. This includes both personal devices and company devices such as:

  • Camera systems
  • Handheld devices
  • Laptops
  • Printers
  • Smartphones
  • Smart devices and wearables, like watches or activity trackers
  • Tablets
  • Smart speakers
  • TVs

While your IT department will be aware of company-provided devices, keeping track of the personal devices connected to the network represents a much harder task. However, this is critical to keeping your network secure.

More devices mean more opportunities for a breach to occur because there are more ways for malware or malicious actors to enter a network. It is like having more doors in a house. While each door may be locked, the chances increase that one of those locks will wear out unnoticed, or a door will accidentally remain unlocked, or a key will end up in the wrong hands.

2. Compliance and Security Are More Important Than Ever

As the amount of data swells, there is more focus on keeping it all secure. More legislation is being introduced and passed which governs how companies may or may not use personal data. In 2019, the US federal government has introduced a bill to increase the protection of user data on the internet.

Businesses, no matter how large or small, are expected to stay up-to-date with these shifting compliance requirements. They are also expected to conform to the latest security best practices in order to keep consumer and company data safe. However, just keeping up with the latest trends in cybersecurity is a challenge – hackers are continually targeting small businesses with creative tactics. 

Keeping up with all of this is a full-time job. Fortunately, managed network service providers are dedicated to doing just that.

3. Managed Services Deliver Lower Cost Expertise 

Though startups and small businesses may struggle with network functions or security challenges, there are few things seasoned IT professionals have never seen. Managed IT services mean access to experts and professionals who can help guide a company to better processes, stronger networks, and more effective uses of IT resources.

Managed IT services can help businesses sidestep the acquisition cost of the robust IT infrastructure and professional staffing that they need. Recruiting, hiring, training, and running an internal IT department can quickly increase a budget. For small businesses, the cost might prevent hiring more than just one lone professional. However, a managed network service provider makes sure that a company has the IT support it needs without the risk of burnout or overwork.

4. Internal IT Staff Are Needed Elsewhere

Managing a network involves a lot of rote tasks. Software needs updating. Servers need patching. Antiviruses need to be run. Occasionally, hardware needs to be replaced. These tasks are low-impact, laborious and boring. However, not doing them quickly leads to outdated infrastructure which will cause much bigger problems down the road. Businesses need up-to-date IT infrastructure in order to remain competitive and responsive to market changes.

A managed network service provider takes care of all of the daily tasks which go into keeping a network monitored and maintained. This helps keep internal IT staff focused on higher-level initiatives and bigger projects which help the business grow.


Let RJ Young Provide Managed IT Services for Your Business

Managed IT services, or managed network services, are critical to modern businesses. The high degree of digitization which is sweeping through the business world means that companies are dealing with more sophisticated technology and infrastructure. As digital processes which handle tremendous amounts of data become the status quo, security and compliance are taking an ever more central position of importance in businesses.

A managed network service provider helps companies overcome the challenges presented by these features. A company can get started on the right foot the first time around with the tools and infrastructure it needs to succeed.

RJ Young is thrilled to provide managed IT services to businesses in the Birmingham, AL, Huntsville, AL, Chattanooga, TN, and Nashville, TN areas. Start a conversation with a specialist today.

Workplace automation. It is the next big trend in the modern office as more and more businesses recognize the value of strategically deploying this powerful tool. Automation will have a significant impact on document workflow solutions in the future workplace. Process automation means more time spent focusing on high-value business activities, a reduction of errors in a workflow, and an increased ability to nimbly handle the massive amounts of data and documents which are a reality for the modern business.

In other words, process automation amplifies office productivity. RJ Young is excited to help businesses leverage automation in document workflow solutions to drive efficiency and achievement. 

Drive Productivity in Critical Processes

Process automation is the use of technology to automate day-to-day business tasks. It amplifies office efficiency by taking over laborious, but nonetheless, critical tasks. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Highly repetitive and cyclical tasks, such as data entry or payroll. 
  • Precision tasks where volume prohibits the ability to look over each instance, such as print quality control.
  • Document delivery, such as mailing.
  • Low-skill labor, such as document capture and archival. 
  • Tasks which must occur in real-time beyond regular business hours.
  • Disaster recovery and business continuity activities. 

Process automation makes workflow processes faster, smoother, and more efficient. It makes sure critical but often invisible processes – such as backups or patches – do not get overlooked. Moreover, it drives productivity in daily office workflows. 

Process Automation Makes Document Workflow Solutions Effortless

Process automation is especially useful in areas where an office must handle large amounts of data without error, such as in the case of document workflows. Documents and digital files are the lifeblood of many businesses. The modern business is expected to handle reports and data rapidly, and to do it with professionalism and poise. 

Fortunately, process automation makes document workflows effortless through an array of different strategies. Increase productivity by leveraging automation at any point of the document life cycle, including:   

1. Document Capture and Processing

Automated document capture means that forms and communications are routed directly to relevant personnel. This means no more vital pieces of information or contracts disappearing in an inbox or on a cluttered desk. Instead, information gets delivered to the right people, at the right time.

2. Transmission and Distribution

Automated electronic data interchanges handle the transmission or distribution of invoices or other documents automatically. Likewise, process automation can integrate with other parts of an office workflow to automatically deliver documents to servers, specific individuals, or even the printer. 

3. Data Collation

Collation refers to the assembly of information into a standardized format. In other words, it is a way of organizing a body of documents into a uniform, searchable format. For example, offices may employ automated collation to standardize document file names prior to classification. By doing this it makes it easier to find in the future. This feature helps Accounts Payable departments to capture and validate data, categorize invoices, and match and validate invoices to specific accounts.

4. Archival and Storage   

Document archival and storage constitute one of the most common areas in which process automation is employed in the document workflow. A solid automated document workflow helps keep records in order so that employees do not need to spend time searching – or reprinting – a misplaced document. HR departments benefit immensely from this. They are able to easily store and archive employee benefits and information, track timesheets, and complete employee payroll with no issues.

5. Document Security 

Automated workflow solutions assist a business in maintaining a secure document environment. Consumers have a zero-tolerance for errors, especially when those errors result in consumer data being exposed in a breach. Errors such as misfiling, printing the wrong items, or sending a document to the wrong person are all but eliminated with process automation. Employees and clients can enjoy faster delivery, with fewer errors, and the assurance that their data remains secure.

Get Next-Generation Document Workflow Solutions with RJ Young

The future of the workplace as a whole does indeed lie in automation. Manual processes are increasingly outdated and will hamper an organization’s ability to respond swiftly and adequately to new information or shifting markets. Thoughtfully deployed process automation will inspire new levels of productivity and innovation.

Document workflow solutions represent one area where modern offices are keen to apply process automation because of the tremendous time and cost-savings benefits it confers. Say goodbye to lost documents, forgotten attachments, and a lack of standardization among file names which makes the archives impossible to search. Process automation is driving greater efficiency, organization, and security in document management. 

Interested in discovering how process automation can augment your office workflow? Contact RJ Young todayto explore the next generation of document management. 

Proper mainstream support for Windows 7 ended shortly before the release of Windows 10 in July of 2015. Although Microsoft has kept up extended support for the organizations which continued to use Windows 7 on their machines, they have now announced that this will end on January 14, 2020. This leaves just a little under eight months for companies running the operating system to update to Windows 10. Organizations currently using Windows 7 will have to make a choice: upgrade to the latest Microsoft operating system or pay to update Windows 7. It is strongly recommended that companies upgrade now. Technicians who maintain Microsoft Certified Professional certificates for Windows 7, 8, and 10 will help ensure a smooth upgrade.

What Does End of Life Mean?

End of life means that a vendor no longer markets, sells, or supports a product or service. In other words, the service or product is obsolete. Windows 7 will continue to work on machines it has been installed on. However, users who choose to continue with this product do so at their own risk. Technical support, security patches, or system updates no longer exist for this particular service.

End of Life Means No More Patches and Fixes—Unless the Company Pays

Windows 7 remains a popular operating system, with 35 percent of Windows users still refraining from upgrading to the latest Microsoft operating system. Companies — which cannot or will not upgrade — have the choice of paying for further extended support through 2023. However, Microsoft is making this option purposefully unattractive to encourage users to update to the latest – and most secure – version of Windows:

  • The price is per device, making it quite expensive for companies running more than one or two computers with Windows 7.
  • The price doubles each year until 2023. The highest tier is $200 per device.
  • Extended security update purchases in years two and three can only occur if the company has purchased these updates in years prior.

Critically, the paid extended security updates are not available to the general public. Personal users who resist upgrading will be left without support after January 2020.

Why Upgrade to Windows 10?

End of Life for Windows 7 will make machines vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Regular security patches and updates occur because hackers and malware programmers are persistent. Data is valuable. Even if firewalls and antiviruses are kept up to date, these measures are useless if malicious codes by hackers find a way through the operating system and the antivirus does not recognize it is there. This constitutes an unacceptable level of risk for businesses.

Windows 8 and 8.1 Will Also Reach End of Life

Microsoft has suggested that Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows. Microsoft will update and maintain Windows 10 from this point, and all other versions of the operating system will find their way into obsolescence as well.

Windows Server 2008 and Server 2008R2 Will Also Reach End of Life

Soon companies will be losing another popular Microsoft standby –Server 2008R2. January 14, 2020, Microsoft will be officially ending its support for Windows Server 2008 R2 (including all editions Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard, and Hyper-V role). If your company is running Hyper-V on a Windows Server 2008R2 platform you need to start strategizing now if you want to ensure your company is protected and your infrastructure is secure moving forward.

  • No Support Leaves Your Operating System at Risk

Once a product reaches its end-of-life no new features or fixes are releases leaving the operating system open and exposed to outside infiltration because future security gaps will no longer be plugged by software updates.

The year 2020 will be here before you know it, therefore, updating an IT infrastructure is a large task

How to Prepare for Windows 7 End of Life

Companies can still avoid costly security updates and office chaos by beginning the upgrade to Windows 10 now. Each machine may take several hours to upgrade as this may require reinstalling programs and reconfiguring each device. However, through a systematic and organized approach, even a single Microsoft Certified Professional technician can enhance a company’s computer fleet over the coming months.

1. Identify Machines Which Require the Update and Ones Which Can’t be Updated

Conduct a full audit of company computers and devices running Microsoft operating systems. Machines which cannot be updated due to software compatibilities will require special attention to maintain security beyond End of Life.

Take extra care to inventory embedded devices on a network. These are electronics with a purpose-specific computing system, and they are commonly referred to as the Internet of Things. They often run a special version of Windows called Windows IoT, which was released alongside each Windows version.

Devices at risk for running outdated Windows IoT versions usually have user interfaces, such as point of sales devices, kiosk computer systems, ATMs, and handheld barcode scanners. For instance, it is estimated that 1.5 million mobile healthcare devices are running this version of Windows 7.

2. Identify Software Which is not Compatible with Windows 10

Windows 7 had a compatibility feature to run software designed for Windows XP. This feature does not exist in Windows 10, and some older programs will not run properly. These should be replaced with modern software.

3. Optional: Research Alternative Operating Systems

Companies which are strongly opposed to Windows 10 may wish to look into alternative operating systems including those by Mac and Linux. However, consider whether this involves replacing entire machines rather than merely the operating system.

4. Develop a Timeline and Budget

Upgrading will be time-consuming, but it can be done piece by piece. Develop a timeline which minimizes disruption to employees and prepare a budget which adequately addresses this process.

5. Plan for Employee Training on the new System and Updated Software

Windows 10 uses an intuitive interface, but employee training will help foster confidence and reduce frustration, especially if new software is involved.

Upgrade with a Microsoft Certified Professional

It’s time to move forward and embrace the reality that Windows 10 will be the final, and only, version of Windows which Microsoft supports. However, continuing to procrastinate can lead to unnecessary stress and headaches. Get help from Microsoft Certified Professionals to streamline and simplify the upgrade to Windows 10.

RJ Young’s trained and certified technicians are standing by to assist with the transition to Microsoft 10. Contact us today to get connected with a Microsoft Certified Professional and learn more about upgrading your operating system.