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A business owner thinking about choosing a Managed IT Service Provider

5 Questions to Consider When Choosing a Managed IT Service Provider

What is the Role of a Managed IT Service Provider (MSP)?

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 and what questions to ask.

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

Here are 5 questions businesses should consider when choosing to partner an MSP.

1) How should I Leverage my IT?

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) Does MSP size matter?

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) Are they responsive when I need their support?

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) How can I trust they really know my industry?

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 provides IT for 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) Is the Service Level Agreement clear and concise?

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 do I Move Forward?

Now that you know the right questions to ask, it’s a matter of finding the right MSP for your business to succeed. Remember to ask yourself:

  1. Will my IT be leveraged properly?
  2. Is their MSP the right size to handle my needs?
  3. Are they responsive and proactive in their communication?
  4. Are they a specialist in my industry?
  5. Is the SLA written out clearly so both parties understand what needs to be done?

Moving forward, you’re going to want to make sure all these questions can be answered YES by which MSP you choose to partner with. As a managed service provider with almost 2 decades of experience, we want you to first and foremost have your IT needs met, no matter who you choose. We’re always here to give you advice on how to best plan your IT, even if it’s not with us at the end of the day. If you have any questions, give us a call at (305) 551-2009 or email us at [email protected], and we’ll help point you in the right direction!

Business technology being held back due to rapid growth

How to Deal with Business IT Growing Pains

As many companies continue to expand and innovate their technology, there are also plenty others that have let their IT stay behind. They believe their IT assets never generated the kind of results they anticipated, and so are hesitant to adapt a true IT provider. When you look at the core reasons for technology investment failure as a business grows, there are a few areas you’ll notice where things go wrong.

Not Making IT a Priority

This is the top blunder SMB’s make. When concentrating on growing their company, the majority of SMB’s think marketing, sales and stock, however little of them take into consideration allocating resources in the direction of their technology.

IT is viewed as costly, and is hardly ever focused on, and any sort of expenditure on IT is often made reluctantly. However, as we have seen too often, sometimes companies wait until it’s too late to invest, either after their systems break down or they have a data breach.

Adopting the Most Modern Equipment…Even if it’s Not the Most Effective for You

This remains in comparison to the problem discussed earlier. Some SMB’s recognize the essential part IT plays in their organization’s excellence. However they tend to throw caution to the wind and purchase the most up to date IT fads without considering whether it fits their company’s needs, or even if they actually need it. In some cases it is simply a case of staying up to date with the times. Yet why invest so much on the fastest PC’s or most extensive hard disks when you get only small efficiency benefits?

Make Sure Your Team is on Your Side

When you bring in brand new modern technology and IT policies, it is your team that requires to deal with it every day. If your personnel does not share your technology views or ideas, your IT financial investment is expected to be unsuccessful. Therefore, before you initiate that transition coming from regional PC’s to the cloud, or turn out an innovative BYOD policy, ensure you have your staff in your corner.

How Do I Optimize my Infrastructure?

The appeal of brand-new technology is like a glossy, brand new plaything. Acquiring one thing well-liked and after that not using it to its own optimum is widespread. Make certain you make the most of your financial investment in IT through offering your personnel along with adequate instruction on just how to use it.

IT can appear difficult to grasp when you need to do it all on your own. It necessitates steep prices when taken care of in-house. Add to that the complicated task of deciding what IT expenditure you are going to gain the most benefit from, and then educating your staff to utilize it. A Managed IT Services Provider (MSP) possesses the expertise and know-how needed to become your reliable companion, as well as instruct you on these difficulties to maximize your IT investment.

Discovering the MSP that’s Right for You!

A lot of SMB’s opt for MSP’s who can easily handle their IT demands, and mostly, it functions effectively. Just about everybody understands the benefits of having a MSP handle your IT. Increased expense savings, capability to focus on your business without thinking about IT issues, expert IT support and knowledge, etc. Yet there are times when the managed IT solution design fails, leaving behind company managers to wonder what went wrong.

You Didn’t Check for References

Did you simply choose the initial MSP you discovered on a Google search? Did you simply decide based on the discussions you had with them, or the recognitions they share online? Always keep in mind to ask your MSP for endorsements. Consult with a person they collaborate with as well as obtain reviews.

Do They Have the Right Experience?

Prior to the decision of partnering with an MSP, see to it you focus on how long they have been in business. This is essential because the whole idea responsible for choosing an MSP is to effectively measure their knowledge and proficiency. Secondly, an IT provider that has resided in the industry for fairly some time is more probable to be capable to scale alongside you as you expand.

And lastly, solely having experience sometimes isn’t enough. You need an IT provider that truly knows the in’s and out’s of your industry, one that understands the data standards that your business needs to follow in order to avoid breaking compliance regulations.

Their Team Isn’t Big Enough

If your MSP is short on personnel, they won’t have the ability to provide you the care you require. Among the greatest conveniences of partnering with an MSP is having someone who proactively takes care of and also tracks your IT demands—something impossible to do without a complete IT division. Therefore, it is imperative that your MSP is well-staffed.

They Claim to be Responsive, But…

You desire your MSP support to be accessible 24/7, because you can never truly expect when a technology concern will inevitably occur. Not simply must your MSP be proactively checking your IT framework to make certain every little thing operates properly, they must likewise have the ability to settle IT problems as they turn up, to ensure that your service is back up-and-running immediately.

As Your Business Grows, So Do Your IT Needs

As your business grows, your IT infrastructure needs to be updated and improved. You might need to have far more support as well as new modern technologies that you failed to believe you will need to have earlier. In such instances, if your MSP is not able to expand and scale with you, then the partnership won’t function. When choosing an MSP, think of the whole method as an alliance, not just a single transaction. When you take a look at the connection as a long-lasting one, you are very likely to consider all the variables that make up your MSP’s relationship to allow it to operate in the future.

If you think your business needs help finding the right MSP that fits your industry or aren’t sure if you’re ready for the investment, contact us for IT consulting advice or call us and we’ll provide the best insight we can to guide your business towards technological success!

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a man using the cloud on his tablet

How To Help Your IT Department with Managed IT Services

If you’re looking to grow your business, you should consider managed IT services in Miami. Managed IT Service Providers help improve business’s operations by reducing costs and providing superior technology solutions. Here are a few ways an MSP can help you achieve your business goals.

You can take a look at 10 examples of cloud computing on our blog.

Hybrid Cloud Solutions Increase in Popularity

It’s no secret that Nerds Support’s Miami cloud solutions is increasing demand day-by-day. A lot of companies are turning to the hybrid cloud. Organizations need to learn about hybrid cloud to grow. But hiring an MSP can help them.

Experts expect  the hybrid cloud market to grow from $44.6 billion in 2018 to $97.6 billion by 2023.

The hybrid cloud market was valued by Markets and Markets at $45.70 billion in 2019. Furthermore, hybrid cloud is expected to reach $128.01 billion by 2025.

These numbers indicate that Hybrid cloud systems are growing in popularity and use. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that 94 percent of enterprises use cloud systems. This is according to Right Scale annual state of the cloud report.

More and More Businesses Embrace Multiple Cloud Applications

In addition to using the hybrid cloud, companies are using more cloud applications like Citrix & Vmware. So, it becomes important for organizations to integrate all of these different solutions. An MSP can provide integrated solutions so that companies have a smooth workflow.

Sticking to one type of cloud solution might resolve some issue but create others. Both public and private cloud solutions have benefits and drawbacks.

Pros of Public Cloud

  • Based on a pay-as-you-go model. Lower upfront costs.
  • Large enough to meet the needs of a majority of organizations
  • Massive network of servers which protects the system from failure.
  • Servers are physically housed in a secure, offsite data center
  • Large public Cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Comcast Business Cloud have enterprise level infrastructure and top grade security.
  • Scalable on-demand resources and applications

Cons of Public Cloud

  • Options are limited if a company requires more customized solutions.
  • The public nature of cloud puts your data at risk. A hacker targeting the public cloud vendor could expose your data even if the hacker was not targeting you specifically.
  • Public cloud may be a one-size-fits-most, and has limited flexibility in configuration and security.
  • Public cloud is not ideal for companies who use sensitive data or is subject to compliance regulations.
  • Data centers might be located overseas where specific regulations don’t apply or compliance standards differ.

The Pros of Private Cloud

  • Hosting and infrastructure are not shared by customers, providing a higher level of control, security and customization.
  • Server can be stored onsite or offsite
  • Capable of delivering different service models
  • Strong security features make it ideal for companies who operate using private data.
  • Can adhere to strict compliance standards
  • Has more flexibility and controls
  • Cost could decrease over time
  • Lower security risk. Private clouds are not as targeted as larger public cloud vendors.
  • Higher scalability than public cloud.

Cons of Private Cloud:

  • Remote access of a private cloud could create security risks
  • More expensive up-front costs than public.
  • Private clouds might require hardware that you will have to own and maintain.
  • Security, in many cases, is up to the user

The Pros and Cons of Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud harnesses the capabilities of both public and private clouds. Hybrid clouds offer more customized options than public cloud by giving companies the option to choose decide where to place your IT applications.

Pros of Hybrid Cloud:

  • Flexibility and scalability depending on individual application needs within the company.  For example: interacting with clients on the public cloud, but keeping their data secure on a private network.
  • Scalability and flexibility is determined by the needs of the company
  • Higher level of security than a public cloud alone
  • Can choose what aspects of IT will be private and which will be public.
  •  Integrates benefits of both private and public cloud solutions

Cons of Hybrid Cloud:

  • Keeping track of multiple different platforms and vendors
  • If you’re using multiple platforms and vendors it it could get overwhelming to track.
  • Using both public and private clouds may require more complex IT management that could equate to higher overall costs
  • Using a combination of public and private clouds could require advanced IT support and management that will raise costs

Fortunately, many of the drawbacks associated with hybrid clouds are resolved through managed it services. A managed IT services company like Nerds Support offers co-managed IT. That means we provide the business with supplementary IT department capable of handling the transition. Not only that, but we also provide the hardware necessary for a successful cloud migration.

Moving Enterprise Applications to the Public Cloud or Private Cloud

Cloud migration, for those of you who don’t know, is the act of moving business operations into the cloud. It is more a digital move than a physical one but it is at least partly physical. Cloud migration involves moving applications, data, IT processes, and data to the data center or centers.

Enterprise applications are located in the private cloud to maintain the security of an organization. But more and more organizations come to know that cloud is actually the more secure solution. So, companies are moving enterprise applications to the cloud. An MSP, like Nerds Support can help you move your enterprise applications to the public cloud safely.

Optimizing IT Cloud Strategies

As more and more companies are using the cloud, it becomes important to optimize and refine services and reduce expenses. As companies know the benefits of cloud solutions, they are looking to improve on the costs related to cloud. MSPs can assess the status of an organization’s cloud infrastructure. They can provide an all-in-one solution at an affordable cost.

Well, MSP service is not just about growing your business. It’s about achieving meaning growth. Let’s build a stronger foundation for the future with reliable managed services.

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Why Co-Managed Solutions Benefit Financial Services

What is Co-Management?

The Financial services industry might be adopting financial cloud technology, but seldom is a firm ready to abandon their IT department when adopting a service provider. The transition between an in-house infrastructure and the cloud requires careful planning. Moreover, adjusting to the cloud for any organization and its employees is also difficult and requires training and readjustments, especially with remote work environments becoming more common. Those are a few issues co-managed IT solves. Co-management means a cloud provider works with the firms’ existing in-house IT department.  If you’re a firm looking to build on top of your current IT department, co-managed IT augments your current team and fortifies it.

It’s preferable to adopt a flexible and adaptable solution that combines what is familiar with the benefits of a cloud-centered environment. This gives your firm a costumed solution specifically tailored to meet your needs and upgrade at a pragmatic pace. This means not only technical support for financial services, but a team that provides comprehensive solutions at scale for the firm.

How Co-Management Can Help Your Firm Grow

As a smaller firm grows, their IT departments are strained by increased demand. Co- managed solutions allow support and guidance when making strategic decisions about the firm’s network and systems. Conversely, if your firm has a skilled team of IT professionals but lack the resources, time or bandwidth for troubleshooting and smaller IT-related tasks, then co-managed solutions may be right for you.

Small financial services companies without sufficient resources will often task an overburdened member of the IT team to support users, handle contracts, maintain client relationships etc. This solution might be a quick fix but it is unsustainable in the long-term.

Because of this, internal IT departments often struggle. However, co-management provides firms with supplemental resources and outside expertise. Furthermore, there are key benefits to adopting a co-managed IT solution. For example, if your financial firm has reached a period of rapid growth and needs to adjust the scale of IT services to support internal growth. Or a company has a reliable, well-established IT staff in-house but need solutions for remote branches in other locations.

Benefits of Co-Managed IT Solutions

Increased productivity: A co-managed approach supplies IT support around the clock, even when your in-house staff is unavailable. This can lead to reduced downtime and as a result, increase productivity.
On-Demand expertise: When your in-house IT team runs into issues that they’re not prepared for, a co-managed service provider is there to provide assistance and back-up.
Increased Security: With a co-managed model, the service provider accesses and gives access to the latest technology. The partnering IT staff comes in with certifications and experience that are important in creating a security strategy.

In a co-managed IT model, your IT partner identifies and fills gaps in your team availability and skill set while increasing bandwidth. A co-managed service model is created to support financial services organizations that already have IT departments, but are looking to increase their efficiency and upscale their work capabilities. And for a financial services company, co-management entails your partner knows IT compliance. FINRA compliance among other, is essential to a successful co-managed IT model for a financial firm.

Hopefully, you understand what Co-management entails and what kind of problems it solves. If you’re still confused, let’s review.

Co-Management Means Protection & Security

The goal of any co-managed IT team is to increase the abilities of the current staff. At the same time, assisting with:
Hardware
• Data Protection
• Software
• Cloud computing
• Cloud Security
• Multi-factor functionality

With cybercriminals increasing their efforts to infiltrate financial institutions of all types, firms that adopt a proactive protection with a co-management service will be better off. Co-management for financial firms means security and compliance are at the forefront of cyber security.

Companies are can freely choose the types of solutions they prefer to keep in house and which ones to outsource to an outside IT team with co-management services. To read and learn more about Co-Managed financial cloud solutions, cybersecurity, compliance and more, visit our website.

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Nerds Support achieves SOC II certification

Nerds Support Achieves SOC 2 Certification

For the full press release you can click here.

The Importance SOC 2 Certification

When a Managed Providers Service Provider (MSP) looks at a SOC 2 review, the firm illustrates that they are actually interested in protecting customer data and guaranteeing information is safe and secure. MSP’s success depends upon their capacity to properly store very useful client assets.

MSP’s are actually 3rd party IT solutions companies that remotely take care of client IT framework, information, and cyber protection often under a subscription-based version.

SOC analysis are part of American Institute of CPA’s (AICPA) Service Organization Control reporting system. Its function is to see to it all the correct systems exists to guarantee safety, security, method integrity, discretion, privacy and availability of consumer information.

These analysis apply to modern technology- focused companies like Software-as-a-service businesses and those that utilize valuable customer data. Nonetheless, MSP’s are not required to go through a SOC 2 review or any type of security review to operate legally.

Nerds Support Distinguishes Itself

For this reason, Nerds Support has actually been a differentiator in the IT support industry. Our services along with our support technicians are constantly looking for accreditations and updating their skillset to stay on par with the latest innovations and IT support technology.

“I am extremely proud of our team for going through all of the required steps to achieve full SOC compliance,” said Scott Richman, CEO and founder of Nerds Support. “It really shows we wanted to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by going the extra mile for our clients and ensuring their data is secured with a certified company.”

MSP’s Are Better When SOC 2 Certified

An MSP with a SOC 2 certification offers peace of mind to any sort of firm seeking to team up with an IT service provider. Nerds Support’s SOC 2 license confirms that our experts have actually been audited by a private professional public accountant as well as it satisfies effective safety and security specifications. Business interested in using a handled providers ought to seek ones that have gone through these substantial SOC 2 audits for the safety of their firm records.

“We don’t want to be like any other MSP. We want to make it clear to business owners across South Florida that we care about their security not just their business,” Richman said.

It Matters To Us Because It Matters to You

As a managed services provider, Nerds Support works with CPA, financial firms, wealth management firms, and other businesses across South Florida to maintain their IT infrastructure, protect their networks, and optimize their systems. That’s why we were determined to be the company they can trust to manage important data.

As a managed IT company provider, Nerds Support collaborates with Certified Public Accountants, financial advisors, wealth management firms, and various other organizations around South Florida to keep their IT solutions infrastructure secure, guard their networks, as well as enhance their devices. That is why we were actually figured out to become the company they may trust to manage important information.

An MSP with a SOC 2 qualification offers a peace of mind to any kind of firm appearing to companion with IT service provider. Nerds Support’s SOC 2 license proves that our experts have actually been audited by an independent accredited Certified Public Accountant and meets the correct security criteria. Businesses curious in using a managed services provider ought to go for ones that have gone through these significant SOC 2 audits for the safety of their provider data.

You can read more about Nerds Support, cloud computing, cybersecurity and more by checking out our blog.