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Cloud computing grants businesses the flexibility, scalability, and security to be successful with remote work.

Why Cloud Flexibility & Remote Work are the Future

The Flexibility of The Cloud & Remote Work

How does cloud flexibility allow for a remote work environment? When you migrate to the cloud, your data is hosted in an off-site data center instead of on premise.

You can then work from any location as long as you have a device connected to the internet. By eliminating the restrictions of an on-site server, you can increase your mobility exponentially.

You can work from anywhere as long as you have the right credentials, a secure device and an internet connection.

Remote Work Promotes Business Continuity

Business doesn’t stop for anyone. Having the option to work off-site has many benefits. When you consider how chaotic things can be you start to appreciate the flexibility of the cloud.

Many businesses struggle and even fail after a natural disaster or an unforeseen event. The Pandemic of 2020 showed us that the world can come to a crashing halt at any given moment. Investing in your firm’s future is not about ignoring an uncomfortable reality, but adapting to it.

We learned in a matter of a few short months how quickly the standard model can fail when tried. And a pandemic isn’t the only natural disaster that brings these conflicts. If you live in the east coast, hurricanes, tropical storms and other weather events can limit access to your business. Storms cause outages and often floods. What happens to your business then?

For small businesses, the recovery from hurricanes and other natural disasters might take years — if they even recover at all.  After Katrina, Louisiana businesses suffered a lot of damage.

Those with data backup & remote capabilities can function in these types of circumstances since they are not limited by a physical office space.

Small Businesses Struggle After A Disaster

Many small businesses are not as lucky as the larger franchises, however. According to a government study, 40 percent of small businesses never reopen following a weather-related disaster. The reason for that is unfortunate but simple: a halt in productivity is a halt in revenue. Businesses that shut down during these disasters are still growing, don’t have adequate cash reserved to repair damage and pay bills once they stop operating.

Even without any physical destruction to property, businesses that shut down can lose money and fail to pay for their monthly overhead. We’ve seen this happen to shopping malls and retail stores. A retail store owner will pay a mall for space but when they shut down, there’s no money coming in. As a result, the store closes down.

How about if an employee gets sick or has to suddenly leave town? How about businesses that are impacted by earthquakes or reconstruction?

Companies whose workers can work remotely have a better chance at survival than those who rely on in house servers and technology.

What’s worse, none of these events are within the control of a business owner. Not having remote capabilities is like living in a house without insurance or an alarm system. You’re at the mercy of the elements.

Remote option Increases Productivity Even in Unforeseen Situations

Another example is when an employee gets sick, or has to care for a sick child, and can’t get to the office. Without the flexibility of the cloud and remote work, the will inevitably fall behind.
If they are able to work from home, however, business can continue without major interruption.

Working from Home Business Can Continue with The Cloud

The benefits of cloud computing and remote work are for more than managing disasters and illness. When workers have access to their files and data, they can make last minute changes to a project or document. They can collaborate and improve the quality of the work outside the office as well.

Conversely, an employee might want to make progress with the work they are doing to prepare for a busy week coming up. That way they can clear up their schedule and move on to other projects and tasks. Employees can access their important files through the cloud at a moment’s notice.

When given remote access, employees experience a boost in productivity. Having a quieter environment away from the distractions of the office makes a big difference.
Offices can be very distracting environments. Away from office banter and side-conversations in the break-room, employees are more focused on the tasks at hand. They also take shorter breaks and work to the end of the day.

Increase Productivity With The Cloud

Remote work opens up new opportunities for employees and business owners alike. There are Gallup polls showing a 37 percent increase in productivity when moving to a remote environment.
The only thing is, you have to make sure you have the right technology in place to succeed. Ensuring you have the data and cyber protections in order to keep your business information safe. Migrating to the cloud and adopting remote work methods is useless if it makes your business more vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Remote Work Is Green Work

As we alluded to, employees and employers work longer partly because they don’t have a long commute. But if you think about it, that also means no commute at all. Remote work decreasesw traffic congestion, greenhouse gasses and air pollution by working from home.

In fact, remote workers take 600,000 cars off the road each year. On a cloud-based platform, greenhouse emissions will plummet to an all time low. That doesn’t mean people won’t go out to their favorite restaurant or shopping center. It simply means vehicles will be used more sparingly.

Not to mention the added bonus in savings on gas and repairs from the natural wear-and-tare that comes with car use.

Do Your Research

Look for a Managed IT services partner that fits your specific business goals. Nerds Support, for example, focuses on financial services and logistics firms. Therefore, we focus on compliance, auditing processes and cyber security for financial firms.

Other cloud providers are made for marketing and creative projects. There are plenty of Managed IT services providers that offer IT consulting for hospitals or local businesses. Here are 10 examples of cloud computing if you want to learn more.

Cloud Flexibility Allows you To Adapt And Overcome

When companies are faced with any disaster or problem they have to rise to the occasion and pivot their business to adjust. Spotify, the massive music streaming service, is a good example. When the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 came, advertisers had to make budget cuts.

Knowing this would threaten Spotify’s business model, they chose to focus more on streaming podcasts rather than just music. Spotify recognized a massive uptick in the number of individuals streaming podcasts and decided to adapt by capitalizing on the unique opportunity.

In much the same way, companies must embrace remote work or be replaced by those willing to make the change.

 

A business owner thinking about choosing a Managed IT Service Provider

5 Mistakes When Choosing a Managed IT Service Provider

What is the Role of a Managed IT Service Provider?

One of the biggest misconceptions about working with a managed IT services company is the idea that you have to replace your IT department.

However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Managed Services companies are usually brought in to augment and assist existing IT personnel.

Small and medium sized businesses often hire a managed IT services company to provide the same support they would have with an advanced IT department at a lower cost.

Co-managed IT services are options as well. Co-management services are for businesses that already have an IT department but want to improve upon it while taking advantage of the cost savings and structure of an MSP.

The benefits of a managed services company are numerous. For one thing, they handle application and network security issues while lightning the workload for I.T. departments.

Every business wants to grow, but growing too fast comes with its burdens as well. Rapid, exponential growth could start putting a strain on your resources and time. IT is no exception.

But, should you make the decision of hiring a managed IT services company, you have to know what to look for.

Unfortunately, business owners fail to consider some very important factors when choosing an MSP that is right for them.

Here are 5 BIG mistakes businesses make when hiring an MSP and how to avoid them.

1) Letting Managed IT Services Handle ALL of your Problems

Outsourcing all of regular applications and security to an MSP doesn’t rid you of responsibility. It’s still very important that you develop a strategy alongside your IT department and review it with the Managed services provider.

Businesses have to stay in the know when it comes to IT solutions and requirements. An MSP might know your industry well, but only you know your company.

As a business owner you need to discuss compliance, security, infrastructure and strategy regularly and frequently. This ensures the MSP is doing their jobs according to your business goals and complimenting them.

2) Relinquishing Control

Some providers gain popularity simply because they are large. But that doesn’t make them right for your business. Especially since they are so large that establishing a point of contact is nearly impossible.

This is a big problem among large public cloud providers. Public cloud providers have so many clients that they don’t have the time to cater to a individual client’s needs. It devolves into a tenant/landlord relationship rather than a partnership.

You are sharing their services with other businesses and they don’t have time to review your concerns. There are even cases where support is sold separately from the cloud service.

At the end of the day an MSP is an extension of your business, not a business unto itself. They are there to consult and contribute but not control. Choose a provider that is transparent and easy to access.

Which leads me to mistake number three.

3) Choosing a provider that is indifferent about response time.

Downtime is a significant issue for all businesses. However, not all MSP’s act accordingly when it comes it comes to downtime.

Choosing a provider that fails to properly respond to down time is particularly horrible because it can be frustrating, agonizing and terrifying.

Imagine your business goes down and not only is the response time slow, but support is nearly unreachable. The average response time for a large MSP is 5.5 hours. They often market themselves in a way that de-emphasizes their response time in favor of their durable network and security. But, that’s just a trick.

A great MSP has multiple alert systems and responds to downtime in twelve minutes or less. Anything beyond that is negligence. It doesn’t matter how popular, “efficient” or “secure” an MSP is when during an outage or downtime they’re nowhere to be found.

54 percent of companies experienced a downtime event that lasted more than eight hours. That means over half of all companies, regardless of size, experience downtime of over a full work day. Furthermore, that could lead to massive hits in profit and revenue.

According to a Ponemon Institute Study, the average cost of an outage is $9,000 per minute. Let that sink in. Eight hours, sixty minutes an hour, $9,000 per minute. Let that sink in.

4) Thinking all MSP’s are Essentially the same

All MSP’s are different. Managed IT Services companies have resources and tools that suite different companies. Don’t assume that all MSP’s offer the same services or have the same expertise.

For example, Nerds Support works with many financial services companies and CPA’s. As a result, we put a heavy emphasis on cloud compliance and regulations. Financial firms are heavily regulated due to the sensitive information they work with on a regular basis. So whatever MSP a financial firm hires has to closely follow those same regulatory guidelines.

To achieve compliance we had to undergo SOC I and SOC II audits to ensure our clients felt secure relying on us with securing their data and systems.

You have to make sure you ask any potential MSP the right questions. If you want to know exactly what questions to ask a prospective MSP, check out our ongoing YouTube series Top Questions to ask Your IT Provider.

5) Misunderstanding Service Level Agreements

The contract between a company and a Managed IT services provider is called a Service Level Agreement, or SLA. Make sure that the contract and the agreement are clear that all relevant staff knows the ins and outs.

That includes where and when these services are available, where their servers are located, how to contact support and what is covered in the terms of billing.

The MSP should provide you with a non-disclose agreement that needs to be signed before the provider gains access to your company’s confidential data.

There should also be an understanding of how to report and analyze resources and services. If something isn’t working to your expectations, know how to report it and who to report to.

How Accounting CPA's will continue post the pandemic

Accounting in a Post Pandemic Era

Last year’s pandemic has impacted nearly every business in the country. Now, accountants might find themselves wondering how to create a secure work environment for themselves and their clients.

The needs of your clients are changing and so is the industry. Furthermore, new regulations created as a consequence of COVID-19 are affecting business practices.

With that in mind, here are a few changes that CPA’s will experience in the coming years.

Employees

All businesses including CPA firms are looking to get employees back to work.  These are some guidelines that might help your firm organize itself as the country begins to open up again.

  1.  EEOC sub regulatory guidance is a mouthful, but it is also important when considering how to navigate your firm’s re-opening process. According to EEOC guidance, employers are permitted to test for the presence of the COVID-19 virus before allowing employees to enter the place of work.
  2.  Employers must ensure the right infection controls regarding testing and be cautious of false positives and false negatives. Keep in mind that even the most accurate test only detects the virus if it’s currently present in the body. It does not guarantee the employee will not get the virus later.
  3.  Temperature checks are permissible under EEOC guidelines. However, who should administer the checks and how to administer them are not clear.
  4.  Employees testing positive for COVID-19 should be isolated from others and the workplace. Employers are encouraged to follow CDC and OSHA guidelines, which include closing off areas used by the sick employee, cleaning and disinfecting the environment, and informing other employees of any possible exposure to the virus in the office.
  5. Results from a COVID-19 test or temperature check fall under ADA confidentiality provisions. These tests are considered confidential information that should be kept in a secure location away from other employee information.

Industry

We covered employees, but what about changes in the industry itself? The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated certain trends and shifted others. Let’s review what some of those are.

A Shift in Duties For CPA’s

Small-business clients need help accessing relief programs in the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program specifically. This means firms need to quickly transition from consulting to advisors as they help businesses get through the lockdown.  Financing reviews, a lot of cash flow forecasting and evaluating relief packages will be more important through tax season and the next few months.

Working Remotely

Experts agree that remote work for CPA’s is going to become the new normal. With companies like Twitter, Facebook and more making remote work permanent.

Although remote work was projected by  to increase gradually, the lockdown sped up the process. Firms were forced to quickly adopt remote enabling technologies like Video conferencing apps and the cloud.

Cloud Accounting

Speaking of the cloud, the move to remote operations has been difficult for firms who complain that apps like Zoom are not working well with their Citrix environment. That’s mainly because these firms have only partially moved over to the cloud.

Cloud accounting is an inevitability now that we know a pandemic can force us to work beyond the office at any moment.

A firm that was not prepared likely did not have the time to migrate to the cloud all of their applications and infrastructure over. So as things begin to pick up speed they’ll do so.

Moving to the cloud is not as easy as choosing to do so. There are steps to cloud migration. Moreover, the quality of the cloud service depends on the quality of the provider. Firms must familiarize themselves with the different types of cloud services: public, private and hybrid clouds.

By choosing a large public cloud like Amazon Web Services, you could be sacrificing personalized care. Choose a cloud that lacks the proper regulatory standards and it might hurt your firm more than it helps.

The chief concern for all CPA’s should be to assist clients, help save businesses and keep jobs.  CPA’s are the financial experts both individuals and main street businesses need right now. Having the right tools in place is going to be essential.

Accountants may have the technology to work remotely but not all of them have everything they require to work efficiently. Although being in the office doesn’t compare with being at home, adjusting is a matter of making the right choices.

Clients

Additionally, accountants can’t meet face-to-face with clients so they’ll resort to remote advising as a way to adjust. However, just like remote work, remote advising is going to outlast the lockdown it seems.

Accountants and clients will adjust to working from the comfort of their homes without having to bare long commutes or wait in an office.

Remote advising will redefine what it means to be an accountant like tax application services are doing now. Firms will realize that remote advising is not just a way of working through a pandemic but perhaps a more efficient way of doing business for both them and their clients.

Firms

Although the long-term consequences of the lockdown are still unknown, accountants need to see themselves as advisors businesses need to survive. Firms of all sizes are going to called on by their clients to help them though the economic downturns created by the lockdown.

CPA’s, unlike other professions, are facing an opportunity for growth. Accounting firms should position themselves as the first responders during a financial crisis. Employers, businesses and average citizens are looking for help. They want to apply for loan programs, government assistance, and financial relief programs. All of these examples require knowledgeable of tax, accounting and payroll.

Cloud made of paperclips with computers, tablets, and phones surrounding it

Using the Cloud to Improve your Workforce

The New Standard of Managing a Remote Workforce

Team is what makes a business successful

The ability to collaborate in the cloud is becoming a key driver of competitive advantage - Forbes Media

Products may come and go. Services are another buzzword. Brands have a lifespan. Culture and leadership are the most important things a company  has. But technology can also serve as a tool to help guide that culture and leadership. So as your business grows and gets more complex– especially with work from home workers , you need an IT infrastructure to help.  

One thing is clear: “Out with the Old, and In with the New!”

→Email threads become a labyrinth.
→Document versions get lost in sync.
→Work from Home employees require flexibility.

Using the cloud means always being able to access your most important assets, whether they're Word docs, spreadsheets, or photos - PC Mag

Old-school IT systems – the kind you manage from your own servers – are no longer the norm and are not letting you progress!

These days, the advent of cloud computing and all the benefits that come with it have paved the way for collaborative cloud-based services that are reshaping how employees work together over the internet, whether it's a trio of founders at a startup or a mid-sized company with 500 staff - TechRadar

A New Normal for a New Workforce

The cloud is here to help you grow your business.

This guide shows some of the ways cloud-based applications and services can help your business:

→Speed up decisions
→Getting files faster and to the right team member
 →Making the most of company resources
→Increasing your security
→Minimizing your IT costs and overhead

Now it’s time to use them to modernize the way you work, and turbo-charge your team. And we’re here to help you every step of the way!

The best part of using an outsourced service is that upgrades and feature add-ons are automatic. Your company benefits from the latest and greatest and it's installed for you without any worry or work

We’re your local Miami-based IT Services provider! We specialize in helping companies simplify their IT systems, support work from home and improve collaboration by moving to the cloud – in easy, steps. We can help you transition to a simpler, more productive world while supporting you and your users with the best customer service.

Contact Nerds Support the premier IT Solutions Provider for a FREE IT Test!

Businessman sick at home but can still access his data through the cloud

Why the Cloud is the Future of Business Continuity

What Business Continuity And The Cloud

The world is unpredictable. At any given moment, something can happen that disrupts ordinary life. It could be a natural disaster, a power outage, or a virus pandemic like the current coronavirus.

The disruptions that affect our livelihoods are the most severe. In earlier years, businesses forced to shut down would have to just take the profit loss and move on. Even now, a year later when businesses had to abruptly adapt to the evolving remote work climate, some businesses have yet to take the proper steps to adjust.

However, cloud computing, along with mobile devices, allow businesses and their employees to work from home or any location that has internet access. Although some employers might hesitate to move towards remote work, many modern companies are adopting it as a means to offer employees flexible working hours and to maximize productivity.

Major companies like Apple, Microsoft, Salesforce and Twitter have encouraged remote work during crisis periods. Businesses have to adapt to changes and shifts in the real world, accounting for factors that are outside of their control to thrive.

The flexibility of the cloud helps do just that, while adding value and benefits like shared access to information and stronger security.

Flexibility on the Cloud

Cloud technology enables remote work from any location, providing access through virtual machines with access to the same information they’d have access to working in the office. Various tools on the cloud ensures businesses continue their work as if they were in full operation.

Accessing data and documents when needed can be useful not only during power outages and natural disasters. If your business has multiple offices and additional locations, the cloud can help you adapt as you grow. On the cloud, employees can access all relevant information via a centralized server.

Managed IT services providers now offer cloud services along with IT support that creates a collaborative, secure environment.

Scale Your Business on the Cloud

Let’s say you’re a smaller business with limited physical space. Accommodating employees can be difficult and time-consuming as it is. Now imagine you’re a growing business, adjusting to a larger work is even harder.

A cloud infrastructure eliminates the difficulties of managing a growing number of employees because remote workers aren’t limited by office space. They can access information through the cloud on the device they choose in a comfortable location.

Access to data is configured through the cloud as long as new employees provide accurate login details. So whether you need to scale up or down, the cloud is an invaluable tool that works to your business needs.

Cyber Security on The Cloud

There’s a common misconception about the cloud being unsafe or less secure than the standard model of in house IT. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not only is cloud computing safe, additional security tools like multi-factor authentication and file encryption could mean your data is safer on the cloud.

These security tools should not be overlooked. Implementing additional security via the cloud helps prevent data loss or theft if a mobile device, portable laptop or tablets are lost or stolen themselves. Cybersecurity on the cloud ensures unauthorized users are barred from getting hold of valuable information.

Multi-factor authentication is set up so that if someone wishes to access the cloud, they must provide valid account details on multiple devices such as their phone. For example, I as an employee, can’t get on the cloud unless I verify the login attempt on my mobile device. If I do not respond within a definite amount of time, the login attempt is nullified and ignored.

Using the cloud on a secure business laptop to continue working remotely.

The Future of Business relies on the cloud

Remote work is changing the workplace entirely. Companies already embracing remote work as a way of attracting new employees. In a study conducted by Buffer.com, 99 percent of those interviewed admitted they would like to work off-site at least once in their career.

But more importantly, remote work is a safety net for businesses should something unforeseen occur. We’ve seen how an events like viruses, hurricanes and power outages can devastate businesses. What if employees can’t access the office?

Continuity Means Security

Having a plan in place in case of such events is extremely important. Moreover, having the tools necessary to carry out that plan is just as important. A business continuity plan can ensure a business survives the spontaneous hazards of the real world. The cloud is vital in achieving this.

If working in the office becomes a risk for whatever reason, can that business continue normal operations?

If not, how long can that business go without endangering itself or taking a financial hit?

How much money is a business willing to lose until normal operations can continue?

How long clients be able to cope without that business delivering products or services?

How long will employees hold out before getting frustrated and leaving?

These are all questions that should factor into any business related decision before, during and after a crisis of any kind.

Make sure to visit our website for more on cybersecurity, cloud, and tech related news!

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