Presentation being given to an office by an IT Consultant

Three Things You Should Expect from an IT Consultant

It’s a title tossed around often in corporate America. “Consultant.” There are all kinds of consultants out there, but one that’s continued to consistently grow in popularity over the years with all types of businesses is the IT Consultant. When you choose to take advantage of an IT Consultant, you should have certain expectations for the experience. Here are just a few:

You Should Expect a Strategic Partner

Don’t get us wrong: some “IT Consultants” define their role differently than we do. You may well interview an IT Consultant and learn they intend only to make technical equipment purchase recommendations – nothing more. In that event, you’re receiving an IT consultant who is simply fulfilling the most basic aspect of their position. What you should expect is someone who will get to know you, your people, your company. Someone who develops a vested interest in seeing your company succeed and making it a mutual goal. Someone who will partner with you to ensure you achieve that goal

You Should Expect Your Workflow to Improve

Yes, an IUT Consultant is expected to improve your technological equipment, but you should also expect them to help improve your workflow processes. One of an IT Consultant’s many roles should be to make strategic changes to free up time, resources, and people in order to improve workflow and save you money.

You Should Expect an IT Consultant Who Cares

As mentioned before, the last thing you want is an IT Consultant who merely provides you with a monthly service. You need someone who wants a seat at your table – who will work with you through failures and celebrate with the team through successes. When your IT Consultant is part of the team, you have a powerful partner whose only job is to make your company grow.

Find Your IT Consultant at IT Direct

At IT Direct, we’ve offered caring IT consulting for many years, and we would love to partner with you and your organization. Let’s talk.

Godfather lookalike without IT consultant

Value Your IT Consultant as The Godfather Values His Consigliere

Everyone needs advice from an expert – from ship’s captains to family leaders to those in business management. While these people are expected to be the ultimate decision makers, many wisely opt to surround themselves with learned people with whom they may consult with on important decisions.

In The Godfather, Don Corleone’s consigliere was his adopted son, Tom Hagen. Tom diligently consulted the Don on almost all important “family” matters. With all the underworld seediness aside, your IT Direct IT consultant will give you the guidance and execution (no pun intended) you need to boost sales, increase profits, and help the family – the work family, that is.

Increase Acquisition Value

“This is business. Not personal.”

With stability comes strength, with strength comes power, and with power comes value. It’s nothing personal to grow your business bigger and better than your competitors. It’s just business. Your consigliere – er, IT consultant – will advise you every step of the way as to how to become the most stable, strong, powerful, valuable company possible.

Make Everyone’s Life Easier

“I’ve come to ask a service for a friend . . . ”

You want things done quick and easy? You want all your equipment to play nice-nice with each other? That’s what your IT consultant is for. They look over every aspect of your . . . operation . . . and implements fixes that takes away less time from your people, which translates to more dollars in your pocket. Badda-bing-badda-boom.

Keep the Phishers Sleeping with the Fishes

“It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.”

Protection. It’s big in the world of IT. And there are those out there who would find a way around this protection to do you harm. Phishers may be at this very moment sending your team members emails that look like they came from you, and asking for sensitive company information. Your IT consultant will train them in what to look for, what to avoid, and how to make the phishers . . . let’s just say, “no longer a problem,” Capisce?

IT Direct Has an Offer You Can’t Refuse

We’ve been in the business a long time . . . a long time. We know what to do to keep you in the best graces with your people, your clients, and your overall business. Let’s talk about how our family can help your family.

Improve Client Retention with VoIP Service

Why Outsourcing IT Is a Smart Business Decision for SMBs

When you first think of outsourcing IT, dropping cables, installing servers and network monitoring might come to mind. However, technology is penetrating the workplace at an increasing rate. Budgets across every industry are changing to accommodate more infrastructure investments.

To help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) remain competitive and profitable, the outsourced IT field is also having to change its model. Managed services providers (MSPs) are going above and beyond traditional IT work. They are beginning to aid companies as strategic business partners, helping them make smart decisions regarding technology purchases. Here’s how:

Mitigating Risks as Your Consultant

The IT marketplace is incredibly vast. The number of services and solutions that seemingly fit your business needs are most likely overwhelming – unless your industry is highly niche. While any successful company must take risks, mitigating as many as possible must also be a part of your strategy.

You should rarely – if ever – take risks with your network investments. The stakes are much higher than just throwing away money. Your technology directly impacts the products and services you provide.

Hiring an outsourced IT firm as a consultant will ensure your technology investments are profitable and fit your needs now and in the future.

Some of the core aspects of IT consulting involve:

  • Creating a strategic IT plan that is scalable
  • Providing proactive recommendations
  • Eliminating existing IT inefficiencies

Giving You Direction as Your CIO

Acquiring a consultant is perfect for ensuring all your technology investments are strategic. An MSP can also partner alongside your business as a Chief Information Officer (CIO).

Having access as an SMB to a CIO has many benefits. Although not every MSP treats this function the same, some of the core functions of a CIO can include:

  • Fiscal budgeting with periodic reviews
  • Technology vendor management
  • Continual refinement of strategies

Ultimately, the goal of an outsourced CIO is the same as someone you would hire internally: to give direction regarding your technology investment so that you continue to grow.

A Leader in Outsourcing IT

As an experienced and business-savvy MSP, IT Direct’s goal is to remain on the leading edge of the outsourced IT field. As a result, we don’t view consulting and CIO services as quick add-ons to what we provide for SMBs; they are central to everything we do because strategic planning is paramount to your success.

Give us a call when you’re ready to partner with a technology firm that understands the business side of things as well.

IT engineer working in a data center – outsourcing IT

Three Reasons It’s Time to Start Outsourcing IT

The point of having technology is to improve the way we work. It’s easy to forget this because computers are no longer a novelty and much of our work centers around our digital devices.  However, our reliance on technology also means it can present a stumbling block to the successes of our businesses. No matter how your company currently maintains its network, if you’ve never considered outsourcing IT through a managed services provider (MSP), here are three reasons why it’s time to start.

Greater Productivity

When components of your network go down, whether it’s one computer or your entire server room, several things happen. First, every affected employees’ work comes to a halt. Second, someone must supply a fix, whether it’s an employee or a break-fix IT person. All of this leads to loss of time and decreased output.

By outsourcing IT with an MSP, you receive a different approach to maintenance altogether, which ultimately leads to greater productivity by preventing/minimizing downtime. This is because MSPs don’t rely on a break-fix IT model. They proactively monitor your network 24/7 with powerful software technology that sends alerts to their team no matter the time of day and even resolves many issues automatically.

Reduced Costs

Beyond experiencing loss of productivity, downtime can also come with a bill that wreaks havoc on your budget.

Break-fix IT professionals charge by the hour, which adds up quickly. A few computer repairs at $300 each may not seem like much. However, a server failure that runs $10,000-plus will entirely diminish your projected annual cost-savings from relying on break-fix support.

By outsourcing IT, no matter how much extra attention an issue requires within your network, it doesn’t add on an additional bill because the MSP model comes at a flat, monthly rate.

Peace of Mind

Your network contains your greatest business assets: your processes and data. While it’s easy to quantify how much repairs costs, yours and your clients’ proprietary information are invaluable.

Even if your company’s technology budget seems infinite, no amount of money can restore your data once it’s gone. Security and business continuity planning will give your business peace of mind knowing that nothing can capture or destroy the countless years of work you store within your network.

Looking at the bigger picture, outsourcing IT with an MSP ensures your company is secure and able to recover from any disaster now and in the future.

Outsourcing IT With a Trusted Partner

The reasons for outsourcing IT go far beyond what we’ve covered in this post. At IT Direct, we want to partner with your business to provide custom IT solutions that fit your specific needs.

Give us a call when you’re ready to boost your productivity while reducing costs and ensuring the safety of your data.

co-location services

Co-Location Means You’re Backed with a Custom Network Infrastructure

Loss of business data is enough to cripple a company completely. The safety of your vital information depends entirely on your network infrastructure. If you care about your data, and your ongoing business success, you need to have the best network infrastructure in place, ready with a solid backup and disaster recovery plan.

Co-location services keep your data safe with a custom network infrastructure designed to maintain continuity no matter what.

How a Custom Network Infrastructure Keeps Data Secure

Whether you choose to keep all of your data off-site through co-location, or use co-location solely for backup, the network infrastructure in place can be built specifically for your needs to ensure you have your data safely stored and retrievable when you need it.

When you use co-location for your network infrastructure, you are keeping your critical information off-site, so anything that threatens your workplace environment does not threaten your data. While you retain control over your hardware, software, and data, it is physically located elsewhere.

Having a custom-built, off-site network infrastructure may seem like it would be costly. But in fact, co-location is a wise investment. When you consider the potential damaging costs of data loss and the cost of building and maintaining a custom network infrastructure at your location, it makes sense to secure your data while keeping it regularly maintained and updated through co-location.

Managed Co-location Adds More Security

If you choose to have your network infrastructure managed by your co-location provider, you are putting even more security measures in place for your data. You can rely on your provider’s expert staff to monitor your data, move quickly into crisis mode in the event of a disaster, and make your information available for you to access if need be. There will always be someone in place, watching your network infrastructure and ensuring your data is where you need it to be.

Choosing managed co-location for your network infrastructure is the best of both worlds — you can have input on how your system is designed and set up, while having expert guidance and a committed, qualified team in place to maintain, update, and manage the infrastructure at all times. You’ll take the burden off of your staff and benefit from the type of constant monitoring that your company may not be able to provide for your data.

When you have a solid custom network infrastructure in place to secure and manage your valuable business data, you can focus on your core business objectives knowing that all of your information is safe and easily accessible in the event of an emergency.

Do not let your company fall because of lax backup, storage, and recovery plans. Use co-location to create the best network infrastructure possible, and rest assured that your business info is in good hands.

co-location IT solutions

Can Your Facility Host a Variety of Critical and Complex IT Solutions?

To successfully handle the critical and complex IT solutions that keep your company running smoothly, you need to have the right people, the right technology, and the right space. The odds are that your facility is not ideally suited for these solutions. Even if it is, you may still be better off outsourcing to experts who focus solely on keeping your IT solutions working well.

Considering if Your Facility Meets Your Needs

Managed co-location services handle all of your IT solutions and IT support needs, keeping all of your critical data secure.

When considering if your facility can host your critical and complex IT solutions, you need to factor in several aspects.

Do your staff have the expertise and the time to handle all of your IT solutions?

With co-location, trained professionals will dedicate the entirety of their working hours to handling client data, including yours. Your provider will handle all aspects of data storage, backup, and recovery, including crisis management as soon as it is needed.

Can Your Facility Meet Your Technical Needs?

Co-location provides for improved technology, higher security standards, and a high level of connectivity. Your servers are kept in a private, secure location with high bandwidth speeds, numerous redundancy measures, and engineers at the ready to solve any problems that could occur.

Does Your Facility Offer Stability?

In the event of a crisis or disaster, it often makes more sense to have your data stored off-site so that something that threatens your business doesn’t take out your data, too. With co-location IT solutions you can access your data and keep business continuity no matter where you are or what you are facing.

The Cost Benefits of Co-Location IT Solutions

Even if you have identified the benefits to moving data out of your own facility, you may think that buying into co-location IT services is too costly. In fact, it offers many benefits to your budget.

Co-location IT solutions regulate your IT costs, ensuring that you are not having to replace aging infrastructure at your own facility, or upgrade your infrastructure as your company grows. You will save time and money by having expert engineers handle your data and infrastructure off-site, making this IT solution lucrative for your company.

Many companies are moving to the model of co-location IT solutions, for good reason. It makes sense to keep data located in the most secure, controlled environment possible, with qualified people ready to protect and optimize your infrastructure.

Instead of handling these critical and complex systems on your own, opening your company up to breaches, disasters, and other threats, you can make the most of your budget and your time by outsourcing to the providers who focus on this kind of IT solution, day in and day out.

Make the move to co-location IT solutions and realize the advantages of moving data out of your own facility.

Best Places to Work

IT Direct Named 2017 Best Places to Work in Connecticut

Hartford, CT – Exciting news! IT Direct has been named 2017’s Best Places to Work in Connecticut. This twelfth annual program was created by the Hartford Business Journal and Best Companies Group.

This survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize, and honor the best employers in Connecticut. These employers have been known for benefiting the state’s economy, workforce, and businesses. The list is made up of 40 companies split into two categories: 26 small/medium-sized companies (15-199 US employees) and 14 large-sized companies (200 or more US employees). IT Direct has been named one of this year’s Best Places to Work in Connecticut in the small/medium category.

“We are thrilled and honored to have been named one of the Best Workplaces in Connecticut.  The work we do and the value we deliver to our clients all starts with the amazing people that make up the IT Direct team, so continually striving to build a place that they are proud to be a part of is critically important.  We look forward to continuing to make our company a wonderful place to work and grow in the months and years ahead.” said founder and President of IT Direct, Ari Santiago.

Companies from across the state have entered the two-part survey process to determine the Best Places to Work in Connecticut. The first part consisted of evaluating each company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems, and demographics. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. The combined scores determined the top companies.

IT Direct will be recognized at a special awards ceremony in February, and the actual rankings will be published in the February issue of the Hartford Business Journal.

For more information on the Best Places to Work in Connecticut program, visit www.BestPlacestoWorkinCT.com.

 

About IT Direct

IT Direct, located in West Hartford, CT, is a premier technology management & IT solutions provider for midsize companies. IT Direct works with your company’s leadership team to improve efficiency, productivity and effectiveness through the leveraging of information technology. For more information, please visit www.gettingyouconnected.com

 

Contact:                    

IT Direct

Chelsea Marchetti

(860) 924-7857

cmarchetti@gettingyouconnected.com

superhero with it direct logo

How the Justice League Could Make Use of Office 365 Support

If comics and movies have taught us anything, it’s that even the mightiest heroes sometimes need an edge to defeat the most powerful villains. Often that edge comes from the most unexpected places. Even the Justice League, the most powerful superhero team ever assembled, could benefit heavily from putting Office 365’s simple but powerful remastering of Microsoft’s classic Office suite.

Office 365 isn’t the simple set of tools you first familiarized yourself within the middle school computer lab. Like the Justice League, the tools in your digital belt have grown and changed over the years, but the changes, if properly mastered, are more powerful than ever before.

Information: A Different Kind of Superpower

Every member of the Justice League is different, but all are exceptional. Superman harnesses the power of the sun and his extraterrestrial heritage to fight evil with the greatest of ease. Batman has spent years sharpening his mastery of technology, strategy, and martial arts so that he can go toe-to-toe with stronger and faster enemies. The Green Lantern must rely on imagination and willpower to overcome even the most unexpected obstacles.

Knowing how to use the tools at your disposal to quickly generate and manage information is a powerful asset both personally and professionally and can take teams to new heights. The Justice League relies heavily on planning and strategy, and Office 365’s word processing, data analysis, and databasing capabilities are just as important to taking down a big bad as they are to running an efficient workplace.

To the Moon – and the Cloud!

Nearly every new software innovation relies wholly or in part on cloud computing. Office 365 is no different, taking advantage of the cloud to allow users to access their files seamlessly on multiple devices and from any location. With Office 365, Batman can send out the latest battle plans to every member of the Justice League, whether they’re in the same room or the other side of the solar system. Outlook 365 allows users to edit and send back any received files that are compatible with Office 365, so there’s no need to download Word documents and Excel workbooks before making necessary edits, an especially useful feature for the hero on the go.

Should any technical difficulties arrive, combining the power of Office 365 with the know-how of a managed service provider like IT Direct can really save the day. Evil waits for nothing, and the same can be said about important deadlines.

Office 365 is one of the most potent technologies available to the modern workplace. If you’re interested in all the ways Office 365 and other solutions can superpower your environment, give IT Direct a call – we can’t wait to turn your office into your very own Watchtower.

person looking at Office 365 on a mobile device

3 Benefits of Having Office 365 Support

Remember the first time you used Microsoft Word to create a document? How about your first PowerPoint with a ton of clip art? Microsoft Office isn’t that simple anymore, but it also makes your life easier if you know how to use it. If you’re struggling your way through the powerful software, let a managed service provider (MSP) help. Here are three benefits of having Office 365 support:

24/7 Office 365 Support

How many times have you intended to complete your work during regular hours but time got away from you? When you start to crank the midnight oil, but something goes wrong, a quick call to a customer service line will end with you learning about their hours of operation.

You might have installed the latest version of PowerPoint before leaving work, but if it crashes every time you open it, you might not be prepared for your presentation the next day. Without the help of a professional, you could spend hours searching for solutions that don’t even work. With an MSP, hours can turn into minutes.

An MSP knows how valuable the Office Suite is to your success, and 24/7 software support is one of the many services they include.

Expedited Office 365 Support

The alternative to having an MSP available to provide Office 365 support include you or Microsoft’s help line. As mentioned above, if it’s after hours, then you’re all on your own. But even if something goes wrong during your working hours, it’s still cutting into your productivity.

A quick call to your MSP will get you in touch with a real person who can provide the fastest solutions possible.

Increased Efficiency

If you’re still using Office applications like you did in the ‘90s, you might not know any better. But if an MSP sells you an Office 365 subscription, it’s their job to inform you of all the software’s benefits. Office 365 is no longer a couple of applications. It’s a powerhouse suite of tools to streamline your company’s workflow. From serving as your business’ inbox and calendar to cloud-based storage, Office 365 is a world of possibilities to explore. Let your MSP be your guide.

At IT Direct, we’ve studied every inch of Office 365 and can help you leverage the software to increase your business’ productivity.

Take advantage of Office 365!

compliance risk assessment

Top 4 Reasons Your Business Needs a Compliance Risk Assessment

What is compliance risk, and why do you need to assess it on a regular basis?

Compliance risk is what a business faces if it violates laws, regulations, standards of practice, and other important codes. The threat is to the company’s reputation, finances, and ability to be successful, if it is non-compliant and penalized for not abiding by the rules.

A compliance risk assessment identifies the risks a business inherently faces, and then looks at the ways that same company controls and mitigates the risks. What is left is known as residual risk – the risk that remains uncontrolled and unmitigated. A business needs to determine if that residual risk is acceptable or if more work needs to be done.

A Better Reputation

A compliance risk assessment protects your company’s reputation, in a big way. We can all think of businesses that broke the rules, whether they failed to uphold environmental standards, treated employees in a way that broke the law, did not disclose something important, or worse. If non-compliance is bad enough, news of it will spread like fire, through word of mouth, media reports, and talk amongst competitors. A company can have its entire brand image tarnished by one compliance misstep.

By completing a compliance risk assessment, you are working to identify potential problems in a proactive way. You are reducing the chance that you’ll fail to comply with something and protecting your reputation in the process.

Show Clients and Staff You Care

Compliance is and should be important to your business as a whole. Your customers likely want to work with a company that does not take uncalculated risks, and your staff is likely to feel the same.

By looking at compliance as a serious issue, through compliance risk assessment, you are demonstrating that you take compliance seriously. You will be taking the necessary steps to avoid the fines, penalties, and damages of non-compliance. You won’t be exposing others to unwarranted risk, either.

Make Informed Decisions

You cannot know what risks you face unless you work to identify them. While you may understand that there are some basic laws you need to follow, and you may have the background knowledge of regulations that apply to your company, you have to have a full understanding of every risk. It’s crucial to make sure that your company has addressed each one so that you can make informed decisions for your business.

Save Time in the Long Run

By regularly checking in with a compliance risk assessment, you can save yourself a significant amount of time. While regularly addressing compliance risk assessment may well cut into your usual business dealings, it will allow you to avoid the headache of having to sort through a non-compliance issue if it occurs. Problems like these often take up significantly more time than preventing the problem in advance.
While you may not have a lot of time, it’s worth paying attention to compliance. Use this time wisely, by working to reduce your residual risk. If you need some help in doing this, give IT Direct a call and we’ll get to work.