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The Top 5 Service Questions You Should Ask Your IT Service Provider

If you’re paying someone to keep your network running, you should expect – at minimum – that your network is nearly always running as it should, with very few issues. And when you do have an issue, they should have the same sense of urgency that you have to resolve it.

Here are 5 quick questions to ask yourself about your IT service provider.

#1 Is your service provider committed to a quick response to service requests?
mPowered IT:
We respond to service requests in 15 minutes or less. This is part of our promise and commitment to delivering an exceptional IT service experience.

#2 Does your service provider consistently (and proactively) offer new ways to improve your network’s performance, or do they wait until you have a problem to make recommendations?
mPowered IT:
We work as your CIO, always making sure your technology is serving your business interests. We help our clients look for new ways to help improve their operations, lower costs, increase efficiencies and resolve any problems that may be arising. We help our clients be more profitable, efficient and competitive.

#3 Is your service provider’s help desk US-based or outsourced to an overseas company or third party?
mPowered IT:
We provide our own in-house help desk, staffed by American engineers, and we make sure the folks helping you are friendly and helpful. We consider this one of the most important aspects of customer service.

#4 Does your service provider take the time to explain what they are doing and answer your questions in terms that you can understand (not geek-speak)?
mPowered IT: We want every user to have a great experience, so we treat every customer with respect and help them to understand the issues. We welcome questions and are happy to answer them. That’s giving an “Extra Scoop”.

#5 Is your service provider familiar with (and can they support) your unique line-of-business applications?
mPowered IT:
We own the problems with all line-of-business applications for our clients. That doesn’t mean we can fix faulty software – but we WILL be the liaison between you and your vendor to resolve problems you are having and make sure these applications work smoothly for you. We will never point fingers, and that goes for your other vendors like the Internet Provider.

mPowered IT likely costs the same or less than what you’re currently paying, and you get the “Extra Scoop Experience”! We go out of our way to make sure every client loves our service. We are so committed, the owner of mPowered IT wrote a book about it!

For more, call us at 678-389-6200 or contact us online

The Top 5 Questions You Should Ask Any IT Service & Support Company

Most business don’t realize that there are no set standards or regulations for accountability in the IT industry. So, your current provider could be highly accountable, but you may not know that until a situation puts them to the test – unless you just ask a few good questions.

#1 When something goes wrong with your internet service, phone systems, printers or other IT services, does your service provider own the problem or do they say, “That’s not our problem to fix”?
mPowered IT:
We feel WE should own the problem for our clients so they don’t have to try and resolve any of these issues on their own – that’s just plain old good service and something many managed services providers don’t do. I call that adding an “Extra Scoop“!

#2 Does your service provider have other engineers on staff who are familiar with your network in case your regular engineer goes on vacation or gets sick?
mPowered IT: Our customers have an assisted team dedicated to your support and we keep detailed network documentation (basically a blueprint of your computer network) and updates on every client’s account, so any of our engineers are able to help you If necessary.

#3 Does your service provider complete projects on time and on budget?
mPowered IT: Generally speaking, all projects are fixed-priced and are completed on time. This is important because some service providers will only quote “time and materials,” which can become an incentive to take more time than is necessary to complete the project.

#4 Does your service provider issue detailed invoices that clearly explain what you are paying for?
mPowered IT: We provide detailed invoices that show what work was done, why and when, so you never have to guess what you are paying for. We also double-check our invoices for accuracy before they are sent to you.

#5 Does your service provider have adequate errors and omissions insurance as well as workers’ compensation insurance to protect YOU?
mPowered IT:: Here’s something to consider: if your provider caused a problem with your network that causes you to be down for hours or days, or to lose data, who’s responsible? Here’s another question to consider: if one of their technicians gets hurt at your office, who’s paying? In this litigious society we live in, you better make sure whomever you hire is adequately insured with both errors and omissions insurance AND workers’ compensation – and don’t be shy about asking to see their latest insurance policies!

At mPowered IT, we hold ourselves to the highest standards are always transparent and accountable for our work. You won’t even have to ask. We’ll prove it each day.

For more, call us at 678-389-6200 or head here for more information.

Is Your Organization Prepared For Top 2020 Cybersecurity Threats?

IT cybersecurity professionals have been challenged to the hilt through the first half of 2020. At the height of the pandemic, phishing attacks increased by upwards of 600% – all while executives made haste to move to the Cloud or increase their remote workforce infrastructure.

Industry leaders have been so busy dealing with emergencies at hand, they haven’t had a moment to prepare for emerging cybersecurity threats.

Cybersecurity Threats

As Gartner analyst Peter Firstbrook explains, the changes implemented to deal with the pandemic “accelerated digitalization of business processes.”  And putting operations on a wireless fast track may have left organizations increasingly vulnerable to wide-ranging threats. According to antivirus software giant Norton, these are the top cybersecurity threats organizations may not be prepared to handle:

  • Deepfakes: This trick uses artificial intelligence to combine words and create phony images and messaging.
  • Synthetic Identities: This new method to perpetrate fraud blends real and fabricated personal identity information to build a representation of a real person.
  • AI-Powered Digital Attacks: Cybercriminals can now create programs that even replicate human behaviors to fool people into providing sensitive financial information.
  • 5G Challenges: The rollout of 5G is expected to increase cybersecurity risks on the Internet of Things (IoT) logistics networks.
  • Auto Hacks: Increased reliance on technology in cars, SUVs, and other vehicles, has cracked the door for a new type of automobile hack.
  • Cloud Jacking: This type of cyber-attack leverages weaknesses in programs and systems to penetrate Cloud-based networks and use them to mine cryptocurrency.
  • Ransomware Attacks: According to Security Magazine, more than 151 million ransomware attacks were carried out during the first three-quarters of 2019 alone. They show no sign of slowing down.

Decision-makers who are finally getting their feet under them would like nothing better than to focus exclusively on profit-driving endeavors – but that can all be brought to a screeching halt by a debilitating data breach or costly ransomware attack.

The question industry leaders need to ask right now is: are we prepared to deal with critical threats? These are the strategies cybersecurity consultants believe are the solutions going forward:

Chief Security Officers

Given the emergence of non-traditional threats that evolved during 2019, organizations are looking for enterprise-level chief security officers (CSOs) to deliver on the promise of increased investment. Managed IT professionals rallied around the banner of “enterprise-level cybersecurity” for years. But perhaps the missing piece of the puzzle was decision-makers who understand the underlying infrastructure and salient details.

As ransomware attacks, GPS spoofing, and the next scheme rears its ugly head, having a security professional who can assess, secure, defend, and pivot with agility could make a significant difference. Either CSOs will need to catch up to the wave of next-generation threats or make way for a new breed of enterprise-level executives.

The Need For Privacy-Compliance Professionals

Complying with government data privacy and protection regulations appears to be growing into a discipline of its own. New York, California, and even the EU have pushed through regulations that have national and global implications. And although these laws are stringent, they don’t even scratch the surface of industry-specific data protection and privacy oversight.

Industry leaders find themselves at a crossroads in 2020, deciding whether to create a full-time management position to provide regulatory oversight or outsource. Many are opting to work with a high-level cybersecurity firm to harden their defenses and ensure best practices that always meet or exceed compliance regulations.

Growth in Zero-Trust Networks

In some cybersecurity circles, consultants advocate for an increase in zero-trust networks that shield applications and data from the view of prying eyes. Although virtual private networks (VPN) were considered high-level protection for remote workers, zero-trust appears to be proving even more beneficial. The underlying premise is that a VPN might be difficult to uncover, but a hacker can wreak havoc once breached. Zero-trust networks, by contrast, limit access by the user. Even if a digital scammer swipes someone’s login information, they gain only limited and managed access.

The advanced schemes trolled out by digital thieves gives industry leaders and cybersecurity specialists a headache every year. Although hackers in 2020 leverage cutting-edge technologies, these bad actors can still be contained.

If your organization, like many others, could be vulnerable to these or other next-generation cybersecurity threats, it’s time to harden your defenses. A third-party cybersecurity firm can conduct a full review of your network, evaluate best practices, compliance, and provide a report. With this objective information in hand, your organization can be prepared, come what may.

Need help? Reach out to us at 678-389-6200 or contact us online

What’s The Best Way To Switch IT Managed Service Providers?

The COVID-19 lockdowns have naturally changed how many organizations and companies operate. Educational institutions are embracing virtual classes, events that were previously held in person are now fully virtual, and a whopping 98% of employees worked from home to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus. Sadly, not all IT managed service providers were able to keep up with their customers’ needs during this challenging time, leading disaffected business owners to search for new IT managed services that can handle a company’s current and future IT challenges.

While finding a competent IT service is imperative, it’s also vital to know how to change companies without disrupting your current IT operations. The following are some expert tips that can help a company transition to a new IT service safely and smoothly.

Switch First

Don’t tear up your contract with your current IT managed service provider until you find another provider that can take their place. Furthermore, you’ll need your new provider to get to work on your IT set-up right away. Once your new IT service has everything under control, you can pull the plug on your former IT service.

What does this operation entail? Here are some steps you’ll need to take to make sure your business is ready to switch IT managed services:

  • Make sure you have all your login information and administrative access to all your accounts. Any decent IT managed service will provide you with this information even before you ask for it. Sadly, some subpar services try to hold onto your information to force you to continue to work with them.
  • Have your new company do a thorough cybersecurity assessment of your business to ensure there are no back doors that former IT technicians can use to gain access to your valuable company information.
  • Let your staff members know that you will be changing IT managed services by a specific date. Inform them of new protocols that will be put in place once you make the switch.
  • Schedule IT training sessions with your new managed IT service as soon as possible so your staff members can learn how to master new programs and cybersecurity rules quickly and easily.

What Does a Good Managed IT Service Look Like?

Selecting the right IT managed service provider to replace your current IT service is no easy task. Here are some tips that can help you make smart decisions.

  • Make sure the IT managed service is familiar with your industry.
  • Look up reviews online and ask prospective IT managed services to provide references from clients they have worked with in the past.
  • Ask about the pay structure. It should be a fixed monthly price, with allowance to scale services as the need arises.
  • Make sure the IT service can meet your future needs as well as your current ones.
  • Choose an IT service provider that puts a premium on cybersecurity services. Data breaches are becoming more commonplace than ever, with more than eight billion records exposed in the first quarter of 2020 alone.

Switching IT managed services can be challenging. It shouldn’t be done in a hurry; at the same time, you shouldn’t hesitate to find a new service provider if your current one is unable to meet your present and future needs. Do careful research to ensure your new provider is the best fit for your business, and start the transition process before notifying your current IT company that you will no longer use its services. Doing so will protect your business from disruptions while improving your IT efficiency and security.

Time to make a change? Interested in switching to an MSP? Reach out to us at 678-389-6200 or contact us online

Should I outsource IT to a Managed Service Provider?

Internal IT vs. Outsourcing IT: The Value of Outsourcing to a Managed Service Provider

The question of whether to outsource or rely on an internal IT team is common. Services that were once considered “nice to have” are now necessities – including machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing. While they add a lot of value to your business, they can be difficult to manage if you don’t have a reliable team of IT experts.

Outsourcing IT Services To An MSP

Why Outsourcing To An MSP Make Sense

While having an in-house team presents unique benefits, the value of outsourcing is unrivaled. Some of the reasons why it may be a better choice include the following:

1. Optimized Uptime and Consistency

Having an in-house team is a good idea, but how do you deal with issues after their working hours? Your in-house team has specific working hours. They may need to be away from work because of sickness or personal emergencies. Even the slightest problem could cost you days or hours of work. Outsourcing takes care of that problem. You can enjoy consistent and comprehensive IT support. Your MSP can handle issues as soon as they occur. They are available 24/7 and don’t need to take breaks. Your provider offers regular maintenance to promote peak efficiency.

With cybersecurity, consistency is critical. Most ransomware attacks happen outside regular working hours. If you rely on your internal team, you need to wait until the next business day to address them. MSPs, on the other hand, can keep your business safe while you are away.

2. Specialized IT Support

Your in-house IT experts may do their best, but they are unlikely to deliver the expertise you need to take advantage of modern technologies. As your business evolves, you may need to train them or hire a new team. However, the right MSP can cater to the needs of your business as it grows. With their help, your business can take advantage of the latest technologies.

3. A Variety of IT Skillsets for Your Company

Your MSP can provide you with a range of skillsets that are essential for successful network management. They can provide you with IT strategy and planning, cybersecurity, and cloud and mobile expertise. Finding members of an in-house team that have all of these skillsets is difficult, especially if you have a limited budget. The most realistic way to take advantage of all possible competencies is by working with an MSP.

4. Maximizing Productivity

Outsourcing is a smart way to free up some time for your team. They can focus on the core purpose of your business while your MSP focuses on IT matters. Your MSP handles issues that your in-house employees would otherwise waste a lot of time trying to resolve.

5. Safeguarding Your Institutional Knowledge

If you choose to work with an in-house team, you may need to spend a lot of time and money training them. When they leave your company, they take all your institutional knowledge with them. The IT industry is competitive, and your former employees are likely to share what they learned from you with their new organizations. With an MSP, you don’t need to go through the trouble of hiring, training, and rehiring staff members. They are a long-term partner that gets you through all the stages of growth.

6. Saving Money

Working with an MSP may be cheaper than hiring an in-house team. It cuts out the cost of training and hiring employees. With MSPs, your business can have less downtime and improved productivity.

The benefits of outsourcing IT services outweigh the advantages of working with an in-house team. The most outstanding ones include safeguarding your institutional knowledge, improving your productivity, 24/7 support, and specialized IT support.

Interested in switching to an MSP? Reach out to us at 678-389-6200 or contact us online

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