The fast-paced, tech-savvy environment makes managed network services a smart move for startups and small businesses. Rather than scrambling to throw together digital infrastructure, fully managed IT services in Chattanooga, Tennessee provide professional-level expertise and security from day one. Below are three benefits of small business IT Services in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Why a Small Business Benefits from Using Fully Managed IT Services

Starting off on the right foot in the digital environment gives a leg up to any modern business and represents a critical requirement for survival in a startup-oriented economy. Here are three benefits for small business IT Services in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

1. A Managed IT Provider Increases Security and Reduces Risks

Hackers dedicate their careers to breaching security. Businesses should meet this dedication with equal vigor. Managed IT providers give businesses the same level of professional cybersecurity as the leading tech companies.

When it comes to technology, small businesses are at a disadvantage and hackers know it. Since 2011, cyber attacks have increasingly targeted small businesses because they bank on the assumption that startups and family-owned operations will not have the expertise to thwart infiltration. This approach has worked up until now.

Managed IT services provide one prominent solution to this problem. One of the largest benefits of these services involves the ability to leverage professional experience and infrastructure without needing to make the costly investment to develop them in-house.

The IT industry is rapidly evolving and that is not set to change any time soon. Hackers continue to find more creative ways to make off with valuable data. The challenge of staying on top of all their tricks may stress and bloat a company’s security budget.

This environment creates more ways for critical details to slip through the cracks and create exposure. Conversely, there exist few problems which professional cybersecurity experts have not seen before. When it comes to small business IT services there is no excuse to slack on partnering with a reliable provider.

2. A Managed IT Provider Simplifies Compliance

Finance, healthcare, and manufacturing comprise the three largest industries of Chattanooga. Regulatory compliance is far more than just a buzzword or even a best practice in these industries. Legal requirements make it a priority.

Compliance regulations cover the storage, use, and transmission of data. When correctly followed, they provide a framework which guarantees the safety of employee, patient or consumer data; depending on the industry, these may range from encryption recommendations like in NIST, to legally mandated procedures such as in HIPAA. Failure to comply often involves costly fines or even lawsuits resulting from a breach.

Managed network service providers know regulatory compliance and can help streamline an organization’s achievement of the requirements. In the case of managed IT services, the burden of compliance gets shifted to the professionals. Small businesses can stop worrying.

3. Stay Focused and Boost Competitiveness

Small business IT services keep employees focused on what matters: making the business successful.

IT problems can disrupt productivity and can cause businesses to lose money because most businesses heavily rely on digital infrastructure. The smaller the business, the greater the potential impact. Rather than focusing on profitable strategies, employees spend time detangling problems and searching for the right fix.

Adopting fully managed IT services in Chattanooga, Tennessee also gives small businesses a competitive edge, especially in the city’s startup tech sector. The city where Coca Cola bottled its first drink has a reputation for innovation. Citywide access to fiber internet and investment into startup infrastructure has attracted workers and investors looking for the next big thing which will disrupt an industry.

This means small businesses need to present a professional digital face from the start. They must convey the same stability as established companies, along with the promise of agility and creativity not found in a larger company.

A broken website, half-functioning server – or worse, a successful hack – simply does not send that message. With the right managed IT provider providing seamless support, even startups can send the message that they take security seriously.

Managed Network Services Give Startups a Boost

Managed IT providers constitute a logical choice for startups and small businesses for many reasons, and those benefits are amplified for newer businesses. Professional experience in digital infrastructure and cybersecurity ensure that a business gets off the right start.

Sixty percent of small businesses fail with six months of a cyber attack, making managed IT services a vital component of every organization. Interested in ensuring the longevity of a business? Contact us today to see how RJ Young’s managed IT services can support your business’s success.

Finding a Huntsville Managed IT Services provider can be challenging, especially in the growing technology market.

A 2018 survey indicated that two-thirds of small businesses reported experiencing a cyber-attack in the twelve months prior. Unfortunately, that mind-boggling number is not a fluke. Hackers bet on a lack of experience within small businesses to secure their customer data and trade secrets. As more regions develop startup infrastructure like the Huntsville technology economy, these attacks will only grow more common.

An increasing number of businesses leverage professional IT services and support to avoid becoming a part of that statistic. Partnering with a managed IT provider will have many immediate benefits including freeing up employees for other strategic applications. Agility constitutes a critical ability in the fast-paced world of tech startups. Managed IT services can help provide this skill.

Technology Guide: What to Look for When Choosing a Managed IT Services Provider in Huntsville, Alabama

There are more than a dozen managed IT providers that operate in the Huntsville, AL area. This area had been recently called the tech hub of the South. Look for these three qualities in a managed IT provider to ensure you are making the best choice.

1. Modern and Well-Planned Facilities

One of the main advantages of using managed IT services includes cost-effectiveness. Outsourcing IT lets a small business gain access to newer technology and improved cybersecurity without the upfront investment which such infrastructure demands. A full service managed IT provider must be able to deliver on these points with a modern, robust network operations center.

Up-to-date facilities indicate a proactive approach to data security. Sophisticated automation technologies or artificial intelligence deployed in deep analytics represent two emerging capabilities in cybersecurity which clients can expect to see. These technologies create the flexibility to rise to the challenge of addressing security in a perpetually evolving digital environment.

Physical investments in redundancy and disaster recovery indicate a commitment to protecting against data loss. This includes considering physical location. A business in Huntsville, Alabama must consider infrastructure prepared to deal with flooding. Many people believe that living on a 100-year floodplain means that they will never see the historic flooding often mentioned in the news.

This means that such a disaster will catch most people off guard when it happens, and a good managed IT provider will consider this when planning its physical and cloud infrastructure.

2. Strong Hard and Soft Skills

The thriving tech scene of Huntsville, Alabama is ideal for attracting startups, but qualifications do not equal experience. IT professionals need a strong set of technical skills, and the ability to know what solutions are appropriate in different environments. IT deployment looks very different in the case of large corporations and small businesses. Leveraging IT solutions to meet the needs of small and growing companies often require the type of creativity and ingenuity which only come with experience.

Additionally, soft skills matter because small businesses often exhibit more specialization than larger ones. They often benefit from service programs which specialize in specific industries. A managed IT provider experienced in working with retail businesses will understand the needs of a retail business much better than one which primarily works with industrial manufacturers.

However, soft skills go beyond simply understanding the unique composition of a small business. IBM identifies deep skills like managing change, professional communication, and cross-platform integration as hallmarks of competent, reliable service. A managed IT provider may implement adequate cybersecurity for a business which can deepen client and vendor relationships, making the provider ultimately sustainable.

3. The Ability to Grow with a Business

Small business can pose particularly challenging IT requirements. They may have unusual business structures which underscore the demand for bespoke solutions. Small businesses constitute dynamic systems which experience change rapidly. Look for a provider who can keep pace with an organization as it expands, changes direction, and encounters unexpected circumstances.

A good clue as to a managed IT provider’s ability to scale lies in its approach to solutions architecture. Effective scaling relies on features like modular infrastructure, and this often manifests as a services catalog. A provider adopts software or processes which fit together like building blocks in this approach. The result creates a high degree of customization possibilities without needing to rebuild an entire system each time.

Scalability has advantages which sustain both the client and the provider. Scalability ensures long relationships with clients, deepening the value and support which a managed IT provider can achieve in the long run.

Looking for a Managed IT Provider in Huntsville, Alabama?

Huntsville, Alabama has made a name for itself as one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the US. Acquiring the IT services and support which a startup or small business needs can be a challenge. Also, it can be especially challenging in an environment that embraces a self-reliant and entrepreneurial spirit.

Managed IT services help small businesses put their best foot forward in the digital field. They ensure their most valuable data remains secure from day one. Find out how managed IT services can benefit startups and small businesses while providing excellent customer service. Contact a managed IT services professional today!                      

While high importance is placed on business threats such as phishing scams and security breaches, one of the most significant threats to companies is often overlooked. Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, and flooding cause significant damage that most businesses are unable to recover from. Though natural disasters of significant size may be infrequent, when they hit, they can cause irreparable damage to unprepared businesses. FEMA recently reported that 40 percent of small businesses hit by natural disasters fail to recover from them. Some of these companies could have remained in business if their disaster recovery plans had included managed IT services. These management services for businesses include a pre-emptive set of strategies that help keep networks running and minimize recovery time.

Remote Data Centers

Natural disasters put buildings and their contents in jeopardy. Disasters such as the 2010 Nashville, Tennessee flood or the 2011 Huntsville, Alabama tornados, can devastate business facilities. Hurricanes and fires can devastate everything from equipment and documents to the very infrastructure of the building. An easy way to ensure documents in the building are safe is with remote data centers. These data centers are provided alongside managed IT services and allow documents to be remotely stored digitally. Not only do these services provide remote monitoring of data, they can digitally back up all documents from their remote data centers. If a company neglects to have digital copies of vital documents, they stand minimal chance of re-opening their business after a natural disaster. These remote data centers guarantee that documents are secure following such disasters.

Cloud Storage & Mobile Accessibility

Along with data being backed up remotely, another managed IT feature that helps protect data is cloud storage. When documents are digitized and placed in the cloud, they can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and from any mobile device. Though cloud storage may not have the capacity that the remote data centers possess, it is a great tool for storing files that are needed on a regular basis. Immediately following a disaster, managed IT’s cloud storage alleviates the stress of being unable to go into an office space to get documents and continue working. With managed IT’s mobile accessibility, employees can access their work remotely from their mobile devices, ensuring that the company does not fall behind due to uncontrollable circumstances.

Rapid Response Rate

When a company utilizes the services of a managed IT provider, they acquire an entire team of network experts. The disaster recovery services, offered by the provider, are put in place well before a disaster. When these systems are in place, the expert team is able to respond to any network threat rapidly. This minimizes network downtime and mitigates the chance of losing data. After a disaster occurs, the last thing a business needs to struggle with is fixing network problems. With managed IT services, businesses have a dedicated group of experts, whose sole task is to fix the network. This reduces network downtime and allows businesses to focus on repairing other problems such as infrastructure damage.

Learn More About Protecting Your Business

Discover how RJ Young’s Managed IT Services help prevent data loss and give you peace of mind during natural disasters. To discuss how RJ Young can create a disaster recovery strategy tailored to your business, fill out our contact form or give us a call at 800-347-1955.

 

Stacks of bills waiting to be paid no longer sit on your desk like they might have just a few years ago. Today there are emails letting you know when they have arrived as part of a document workflow. Now you can review each one, sign digitally, add electronic sticky notes when needed and approve to be paid. Once you’re finished, the images are gone and you’re off to your next project. All of this was done with digital images as part of a pre-defined workflow process that was paperless, yet started at the Multifunctional Printer (MFP).

 

The printing industry has changed over the last 10-15 years. More importantly, the role of the multifunctional printer (MFP) has changed, starting with its name from copier to MFP. In the early 2000s, the copier really was just that—a copier. It wasn’t until businesses started connecting them to their networks that they became MFPs with users relying on them for printing as well. It was then just a matter of time before people figured out that if you could push printing to the MFP, you could also send scanned documents from it back to the personal computer or network. Suddenly scanned PDF files were everywhere.

 

The evolution of the MFP is really what drove the business community towards document management. With scanning so readily available business owners saw that they could begin digitally filing their paper-based records without the added cost of a dedicated scanner. These early adopters typically tried to emulate their computer file systems by carefully structuring a file system and naming the scanned PDF files. This was great for getting rid of the paper, but as volumes increased, it became quickly apparent that finding these scanned records was not as easy as first thought.

 

A document management solution became the next logical step with many users simply looking for a way to scan, store and retrieve their documents. Nothing fancy, just helps to get rid of the paper while giving a way to put your hands on important information when the time comes. But like most things, technology changes and with it changed the expectations of the business market. More and more, the MFP became less about printing and more about the flow of business information.

 

Quickly document workflow became the driving force and the multifunctional printer not only became the place for documents to be captured, it became the catalyst for triggering a workflow process. In just a few years, paper documents were now being routed to their recipients with notifications of their arrival being sent and rules defining the paths they would take.

 

Most of us can admit that we still love our paper and there are many times we want to print images and flip through the pages as we digest the information. That’s OK—the cost of printing on a MFP is about 10% of what it used to be on a standard printer ten years ago. If the truth were told, we would probably print just as much as we always have since information is so readily available and printing is just plain cheap. The difference is that we just don’t file it any longer, we scan it.

 

It’s only been about 10-12 years since the MFP was just a copier. Today, MFPs are already designed to handle specialty media, like envelopes and labels, easily. Certain MFPs are taking it one step further by turning into a full-functioning mailing center, printing commercial discounted postage directly onto your project—saving you additional time and money. The landscape of a typical office has changed and has never been so smart, or so easy as it is today.

 

The possibilities surrounding a changing business world are exciting and it’s not clear to many exactly where they’ll lead us. What is sure is that where document information is being communicated, it will likely continue to flow through the MFP as an on-ramp to digital information management and productivity.

 

James Walker, Regional Director of Managed IT Services

James oversees the Chattanooga, Nashville and Huntsville markets of our managed IT Services department. In his role he manages service delivery and support of engineers in all regions, does security and compliance auditing, and works with businesses in network design, implementation and troubleshooting. He has been in the technology industry for over 24 years. James is originally from Boston, MA and works out of our Chattanooga office. He joined RJ Young in January 2013 through the acquisition of his previous company, Preferred Computers, Inc.

 

 

 

Disaster recovery did not take hold until the mid-to-late 1970s as it became obvious companies were more dependent on their IT infrastructure. The backbone was now the way they captured, stored and managed data and information from customers, clients, vendors, and strategic partners. For the most part, this data was stored on a locally residing storage device within the company’s data center. As a result, a disaster recovery plan was not as essential as it is today.

Disaster Recovery Plans Become Essential

As both natural and man-made disasters became newsworthy, companies were quick to realize the risks that were present if these occurrences were to affect their businesses. News of many of the natural disasters was almost appearing daily in newspapers as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes were highlighted. At the same time, there was an escalation of the man-made disasters, which included data breaches and cyber crimes being perpetrated by outside influences and—in some cases—even internal employees.

Disaster Recovery Costs Are Staggering

Statistics tell us of the businesses that suffer a major loss of business data, 43% will never recover and 29% will close within two years of the disaster. The statistics are staggering and suggested that an unplanned downtime can cost up to $17,244 per minute, with a low-end estimate of $926 per minute. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that only 28% of the businesses make it past the initial disaster and are still in business after two years.

Minimizing Disaster Impact

What can be done by companies when dealing with disaster recovery? Here are three approaches:

  1. Preventive

Controls aimed at preventing an event from occurring, which follows the thinking an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This measure consists of offsite storage, back up and cloud applications that are remote—and therefore, do not reside within the business.

  1. Detective

Measures that provide controls aimed at detecting or discovering unwanted events before they can happen.  This measure assures sound continuous monitoring of network and firewalls resistant to breaches.

  1. Corrective

Corrective measures include controls aimed at correcting or restoring the system after a disaster or an event.

With a well-written disaster recovery plan in place, the odds of a company making a complete recovery are greatly enhanced and provide peace of mind. A disaster recovery plan should include a set of policies and procedures to enable the recovery or the continuation of vital technology infrastructure and systems. It is best to partner with an IT provider to develop a sound plan that fits the type of business in which the company engages. Each plan should be customized to take into consideration the various types of disasters whether natural—or man-made.

Hunter McCarty, Chief Operating Officer

Hunter McCarty joined RJ Young in 1978. Hunter is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and has served as both a member and president of the Board of Sales and Marketing Executives. Hunter is also a board member of the Copier Dealer Association, on the Canon Dealer Advisory Council and on the Lexmark Advisory Board. In his free time, Hunter enjoys traveling, golf, and Tennessee Titans football. He and his wife, Carol Lynn, reside in Franklin, TN, and have three grown children.

To learn more about disaster recovery and our Managed IT Services, please contact RJ Young today.

 

Office 365 is a widely adopted suite of Microsoft software, with many features to help increase productivity—right at your fingertips. Read below to find ten little known features of Office 365, with links to online tutorials, that will help make progress toward your goals—faster.

 

  1. Document Co-Authoring

Quit emailing documents back and forth and always work from the latest version of a document. Co-authoring in Word, PowerPoint and Excel web apps allow multiple users to work on the same document at the same time. Learn more.

 

  1. Real-Time Document Collaboration

Message with co-workers and collaborate in real-time while viewing documents with the “Chat” feature in the Word, PowerPoint and Excel web apps. Learn more.

 

  1. Document Linking

Quit emailing documents and link to your documents via Office 365 cloud storage in the Outlook web app. The link will automatically allow recipients to edit the document. Learn more.

 

  1. Meeting To-Do Lists in Outlook

Using OneNote, write a to-do list in Outlook and easily convert the list into calendar items with deadlines, reminders and details regarding the meeting. Learn more.

 

  1. Automated Inbox De-Clutter in Outlook

Microsoft has introduced a “Clutter” folder in Outlook. You can teach Outlook to automatically move certain types of messages from certain senders to your “Clutter” folder. This allows you to focus on more pressing messages and get around to the rest at a later time. Learn more.

 

  1. Ignore Reply-All Emails in Outlook

Ignore the infamous (and annoying) reply-all conversations. In Outlook, just click the “Ignore” button in the “Home” tab and you will be removed from the reply-all email chain that’s been quickly taking over your email feed. Learn more.

 

  1. Data to Images in Excel

The latest version of Excel includes a feature called Power Map which helps convert rows of data in to images. If the data involved geography it can turn the data in to a 3D map.  Learn more.

 

  1. Quick Data Analysis in Excel

Excel has rolled out a new feature called “Quick Analysis” that takes the data you’ve selected and presents you with a variety of options as to how to present that data, quickly. Learn more.

 

  1. Auto-Reformat Data in Excel

Excel now has a feature called “Flash Fill” that sees the work you are performing in a new column and does the rest of it for you. For example, if you’re trying to combine data from two columns, you do this once and it will provide you with the option to fill the rest of the column using that example. Learn more.

 

  1. Edit PDFs in Word

You can convert PDFs in to an editable Word document and also save Word documents as PDFs. Open with Word and hit “Ok” when it asks if you would like to covert the PDF. Learn more.

 

These Office 365 productivity tools lets you create, edit and share with anyone in real time.  With the their online tutorials, Office 365 helps guide you in setting up each feature, step-by-step. Making you, well on your way to becoming more productive—and more efficient. If you office needs a information technology upgrade to be more productive, please, give us a call.

 

Brantley Pearce, Director of IT Services

Brantley leads a team of IT professionals whose primary goal is to help organizations use their IT resources in a way that helps them proactively maintain their network and allows them to be more productive.  He joined RJ Young in 2005 but has been in the IT industry for almost a decade.  Brantley is originally from Houston, Texas and works out of our Nashville, TN office. In his spare time he volunteers for multiple organizations. Brantley is married and has two daughters.

 

 

The end of the year is a time of reflection for many business owners, as they reflect on the year past and set new goals with excitement and vitality—all in the name of getting more accomplished in the year ahead to achieve greater success. However, frequently, technology hiccups are hurdles to getting more done, or improving productivity, in small businesses.

These are 6 technology tips to help small business owners improve productivity and achieve more considerable success in the New Year.

 

1. Plan for New Technology—Before You Need It

Often poor planning leads to outdated technology and lack of funds to invest in new hardware (laptops to copiers), software or services to make upgrades to keep pace with a growing small business. During annual planning, create a technology roadmap, outlining anticipated needs for the coming year (or longer) and accrue funds and secure partners accordingly.

2. Conduct Regular PC Check Ups—Run Updates in Timely Manner

Installing updates to central operating systems is key to ensuring your network and personal computing devices run smoothly and to minimizing downtime. Lack of updating these systems often requires a call to vendors or consultants for support. These calls lead to downtime and unplanned expenses that set you back on your goals.

3. Electronic Data is More Efficient—Shift Documents to Electronic Files

The cost of producing paper records and managing paper documents adds up. Consider that printing costs reportedly consume 1-3% of annual revenues for most organizations, and the popular four-drawer filing cabinet is estimated to cost $25,000 to fill and $2,100 annually to maintain. This output in manual form is not searchable, shareable or secure. As document scanning, capture and storage systems are increasingly adopted by businesses of all sizes, look to a system to assist in document information management. Most multi-functional copiers are compatible with basic document management systems.

4. Secure Your Data—Back Up Data Regularly

Electronic data capture is essential to businesses. Securing the electronic data with a reliable, multi-pronged, systematic backup system is critical to ensure business continuity. Nearly half (44%) of the companies that experience a disaster never recover business data and almost as many (47%) go out of business in two years.

5. Seek Expert Help—Inexperience Can Cost You

Experienced IT managers can ensure your network is set-up according to best practices. A network designed to specs outside the IT industry norm can be costly to repair when issues do arise. Should you be forced to switch to another provider, the cost could exponentially grow as that team learns your unique network set-up.

6. Get the Most from What You Have—Office 365 Tips

Leveraging the investments you have already made can help you with productivity. Explore the functionality of the software and technology in which you have already made investments. Microsoft Office 365 is a conventional software package, which packs a lot of functionality in its various programs. Watch tutorials, join online forums or search for blog postssuch as this oneon tips on using this software to help with productivity.

Follow these six tips to help your small business avoid IT hiccups in the coming year, allowing you to focus on jumping the significant hurdles to increased productivity and success. Should you need help ensuring your small business information technology network is set-up for your success, let me help.

Sources: NAPO, Gartner, Cooper & Lybrand, Ernest & Young, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Document Management Research

Read more about Managed IT Services.

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Mike Noffsinger, Director of Sales East

Mike is RJ Young’s Regional Director of Sales, East. Mike is responsible for sales in the Nashville, Chattanooga, Rome-Georgia and Huntsville markets and Managed IT Services, Software Solutions, High Volume/Production Print and Managed Print Services divisions throughout the Southeast. In his spare time, Mike enjoys Kentucky Wildcats basketball and is an avid mountain biker. Mike works out of our Nashville, TN office and is married with two children.

 

At some point unplanned and unavoidable expenses have hit us all. Car trouble on a busy freeway. Leaky roof in a spring rainstorm. Air-conditioning break in the heat of summer? It’s an awful feeling, especially when you discover that you could have invested in preventative measures that would have been less expensive and less stressful all along. These avoidable emergencies happen in business just as they happen in your household and stress cash flow just the same. Often these emergencies begin with the company’s information technology network.

Many small to mid-size organizations are not able to support the investment of a full-time information technology team. In a consistently evolving and increasingly technology dependent business environment, this means that their companies do not receive the strategic technology planning, monitoring, training and help-desk support to prevent issues that lead can lead to network disasters.

Like when your air conditioning quits on a 100-degree day, when your network goes down on a busy workday, it gets your attention. It’s urgent, and you will pay whatever it costs to get your business up and running smoothly again. However, there are programs, called managed network services or managed IT services, that are tailored to provide IT support to small and mid-size businesses  – to prevent such disasters.

Most managed IT services providers charge one flat monthly fee to provide typical IT services to businesses including: strategic IT planning, monitoring, anti-virus protection and help desk support. As with your seasonal heating and air conditioning maintenance plans, most providers charge a set monthly fee to avoid the disasters and take care of smaller matters as they arise.

The chief benefits of managed IT services are:

  • Predictable IT Spending
  • Reduced Downtime
  • Owners Focus on Business Strategy
  • Operations Focus on Daily Tasks
  • Strategic Technology Planning

Just like you know that a cool Fall and cold winter will turn into a hot summer day eventually, you know that the IT needs to support your business will change. You know that you will encounter challenges. The question is, will your IT planning get your attention now, or will you sweat it out when it becomes a crisis for your business?

 

 

Sometimes the easiest way to describe a well-designed network is to describe one that wasn’t. Poorly designed networks are like a house I saw on HGTV – built small by today’s standards, but typical for its era. As more room was needed, the owners built on more rooms; as electrical codes changed, the newer parts of the home received that wiring while the rest of the home was left with nylon-wrapped two-wire copper. The resulting home feels like a labyrinth of wasted space that you can’t plug anything new into.

Many small businesses have computer networks that are built like that home – a patchwork of reactivity to the need for increased capacity, new compliance standards or repairs to the existing infrastructure. These design choices result in inefficient and unreliable networks that are expensive to maintain due to complexity and lack of future planning. They are what I would label a purpose-evolved network.

An alternative to the purpose-evolved network is a well-designed one. A well-designed network incorporates a plan to address future needs for capacity and performance and is proactively maintained to avoid service interruptions that bring business to a halt. The network expenses are planned and budgeted. Assets – the components that make up your network – servers, switches, routers, wireless access points, PCs, laptops, smartphones and the software they run – are tracked and scheduled for refresh within a timeframe which is reasonable for performance and reliability that fits your IT budget.  Components are chosen which deliver the best performance and reliability for the services your company needs to run while delivering the best five-year return on investment.

Much like you would want to know the methods a candidate for management in your company would employ to achieve their goals – another important design factor to consider is the makeup of your current or potential IT provider’s company itself.  What tools do they have available to design and maintain your network – and what safeguards do they put in place to keep their own network running? This is important because whether you know it or not – an interruption in their network services will directly affect their ability to maintain yours.

You should talk with your existing IT firm or any IT firm you are considering about their design ideas. 

  • What factors do they consider in designing your network?
  • How have they designed their own?
  • What processes have they established in their business?
  • Do they have standards in place that will help you achieve your own goals for performance and reliability?

If you don’t exit the conversation feeling like they are employing a good design, then it’s time to start looking for a firm that does.

 

James oversees the Chattanooga, Nashville and Huntsville markets of our managed IT Services department. In his role he manages service delivery and support of engineers in all regions, does security and compliance auditing, and works with businesses in network design, implementation and troubleshooting. He has been in the technology industry for over 24 years. James is originally from Boston, MA and works out of our Chattanooga office. He joined RJ Young in January 2013 through the acquisition of his previous company, Preferred Computers, Inc. 

 

Managed Network Services – it’s a buzz-term in the information technology (IT) industry these days – many IT firms are adding a Managed Service Provider (MSP) shingle to the front of their shop.  So like many business owners, small business and large businesses alike, you might be asking, “what the heck is that?”

In short, Managed Network Services are systems built by IT Providers that enable you to have a network designed and maintained like an enterprise business.  For those of you in the manufacturing industry – ask yourself, if you were Ford Motor Company, a leading manufacturer, would you manage your IT infrastructure the way you do now?   What if your company was twice the size with twice the income?  For those of you running a medical practice, how would you manage your network if you were a larger clinic, or a hospital?   What would your network look like?   How would you support users and ensure compliance?

Many small-to-mid size business owners dismiss the idea of having a strategically structured and proactively managed network with “it costs too much.”  Before you dismiss this idea, ask yourself two more questions:

  1. Can your business operate effectively without your computer systems?
  2. Does downtime proportionately hurt your business any less than your larger counterparts?

If you answered those questions as most small-to-mid-size business owners, you said “no.” In fact, larger businesses are probably more capable of absorbing an interruption in network services.  Larger companies hire experts to design and proactively maintain their network in order to prevent and eliminate downtime, maintain a competitive edge, control IT related expenses and strategically plan for growth.

MSPs help small-to-midsize business owners achieve this same level of efficiency. MSPs design and maintain their networks with the same proven effective methods as their larger counterparts do at a budget scaled to their size, simply for many clients, most with no in-house IT department or small IT departments striving to control costs.

As you tackle business planning for 2015 for your small-to-midsize business, consider knocking on the door of a Managed Services Provider. It could be the answer to improving efficiency and productivity in running your business for the coming year.

 

James Walker – Regional Director of Managed IT Services

James oversees the Chattanooga, Nashville and Huntsville markets of our managed IT Services department. In his role he manages service delivery and support of engineers in all regions, does security and compliance auditing, and works with businesses in network design, implementation and troubleshooting. He has been in the technology industry for over 24 years. James is originally from Boston, MA and works out of our Chattanooga office. He joined RJ Young in January 2013 through the acquisition of his previous company, Preferred Computers, Inc.