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.

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.

Data Recovery Service

Come Out on Top with Data Recovery Services

Your business data is one of the most valuable aspects of your company, representing hugely important information relating to such things as contracts and orders, client details, and business operations files. Without this data, you would be floundering. Unfortunately, if you don’t take the right steps to protect it, you could lose it.

There are lots of different ways companies can lose their data, from natural disasters to technical issues and malicious events. A data recovery service can allay your fears of all these possibilities, keeping your data safe from every threat.

How Does Data Get Lost?

Whether accidental or purposeful, and on whatever scale, data loss presents issues for your company. Some potential eventualities are easier to handle than others.

Sometimes data is lost through employee error. Accidental deletions and overwrites happen all the time. If you have no way of getting that information back, you might need to find a way to recreate the data. Faced with the time and effort this would take, you might even consider it preferable to give up on ever having that information again.

Malicious individuals and organizations often try to take data hostage. They frequently try to get a ransom from a company that desperately needs its information back. Malicious computer programs, like viruses, can overwrite your system, locking you out.

Natural disasters pose a huge risk in geographical areas prone to problems like flooding, earthquakes, and wildfires. If your physical location is affected, your data may go down too, unless you have it stored off-site.

The Benefits of Data Recovery Services

Handling backups and data storage is a lot to ask from an in-house department. This vital data takes a lot of effort to store properly. It is best kept outside of your physical location. You are far better off to outsource to a data recovery service that specializes in protecting your data at all times.

In the event of a disaster, whether it’s a hacking attempt, a fried computer, or a natural event that takes out your system, having your information stored off-site through a data recovery service will allow you to get your system up and running again, without delay.

Especially if you are dealing with customer data, you have an obligation to keep your files safe, confidential, and protected. Using data recovery services keeps you safe from any liability issues stemming from lost information, as you will have done your due diligence.

Redundancy is the best way to protect your data, thereby protecting your company. Using a data recovery service is a small price to pay to ensure the long-term health of your business. Many companies underestimate the impact of losing their data and are unprepared when it happens. For whatever reason it occurs, they find themselves unable to get up and running in the same successful manner ever again.

IT Direct to the Rescue

Don’t take risks by partnering up with IT Direct. It’s possible that data loss might never affect your business, but if it does, you’ll be glad that you took precautions by using our data recovery services!

professional network services

Professional Network Services Save You Time and Money

Everyone has had “that day” at the office when it seems like technology is getting in the way and nothing seems to work. You sit down at your desk with a cup of hot coffee and a bagel, ready to have a productive morning, but the email server is down. The second it’s fixed, the cloud goes offline. Your morning seems like more and more of a waste with each passing second, and the hours you’ll need to put in to make up for lost time are starting to stack up.

All companies, from small local businesses to massive multinational corporations, rely heavily on networking services. Email servers, storage drives, messaging systems, and more are hallmarks of an efficient business. But without masterful maintenance, they can quickly turn into inconveniences that lead to wasted time, wasted money, and disgruntled employees who will have to make up for lost time. Stop falling prey to IT mishaps and learn how professional network services can make workplace technology a useful tool instead of a necessary evil.

Professional Network Services Cut Down on Wasted Time

Common-sense network solutions are one of the best ways to make life easier for employees and cut down on wasted time. Refining existing systems and establishing new ones is a great way to keep employees on task and eliminate the stress that comes with navigating unwieldy technology. In fact, neglecting the need for professional network services is like being confronted with an endless maze and refusing to use the map that’s in your pocket.

Poorly maintained network services can also drive avoidance and procrastination, both of which are cancerous to workplaces that rely on technology. Making use of professional network services will also allow any in-house IT personnel to focus on more immediate technical issues and free them from grappling with network services.

Professional Network Services Are Great for Your Wallet

Time is money, and wasted time can cause your business to hemorrhage money that you never even knew was being wasted. Professional network services go beyond just saving time, however; they can help balance the budget in other ways as well.

Allowing a third-party IT provider like IT Direct to manage your networks is cheaper than relying on in-house IT staff to tackle the same problems. Plus, you won’t have to deal with the cost and inconvenience of bringing on additional staff to manage tasks that can be accomplished easily and expertly by outside professionals.

Network services also include solutions to everyday office inefficiencies like printing. Setting up a centralized printing network can help your business control paper and ink costs while simplifying the process of connecting new devices to printers – seemingly the most failure-prone devices in the modern office.

Professional Network Services Are Innovative and Constantly Improving

Businesses are only just beginning to discover the potential of professional network services. Ten years ago, ideas like cloud computing were barely on the horizon. Today they’re an essential part of internal communication that most businesses rely heavily on. As technology advances, businesses that employ outside companies like IT Direct are at an advantage, since IT specialists are focused on the future and always ready with cutting-edge solutions.

Technology is now advancing exponentially and in-house IT staffs can sometimes struggle to keep up. Outside experts always keep tabs on the latest industry trends so that your networks can work as efficiently as possible and be as insulated as possible from inconsistencies and security threats.

If you’re ready to take your network to the next level, it’s time to talk to a specialist. Not all network architecture is created equal, and we want to build you a cathedral to replace your concrete bunker.

At IT Direct, we make your business’s unique needs our priority, and we understand the power of professional network services. After all, we use them every day. Give us a call so we can figure out what works for you.

December 2015 Tech Tips – Outlook Calendar Tricks

Here are your Tech Tips for the month of December to help you be more productive! As always, reach out anytime! We are here to help.

Your Microsoft Outlook Calendar; it stresses you out, yet you can’t live without it. Before entering a new year, take a look at these incredibly handy tips and shortcuts for your Outlook Calendar, and take one step closer to making 2016 your most productive year yet!

 

Opening the Calendar in a New Window
    Sometimes bouncing back and forth between the Mail and Calendar tabs can get                   repetitive and frustrating, especially when making an entry on the calendar. To open the     calendar in a separate window, hold down the Shift Key and right-click on the Calendar       tab.
    

     Dragging & Dropping
     You most likely already know that you can rearrange things on your Outlook Calendar          by dragging and dropping. What you may not know, is that while using multiple                    windows (using tip above) you have the ability to drag items from your Inbox to your            Calendar, which will then auto-schedule an appointment using the information in the           subject and body of the email.

Color Categorizing
Adding color categories to calendar appointments allows you to scan, search, and                  visually associate similar items with total ease – AND it makes your calendar easy on the      eyes! Once your categories are set up, simply click on the Categorize button when
     scheduling an appointment, and select which category you would like to use.
     

We hope you’ll welcome the New Year with your most tech-savvy foot forward, and that these tips for using your Outlook Calendar will aid you in making 2016 one of your most efficient years!

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

The Thin Line Between Bringing Your Own Device & Bringing About Your Own Demise

Mobile technology is reshaping how we work. As SMBs embrace the BYOD (Bring-Your-Own Device) movement, more employees are using personal devices for work. Workers are happier, the ability to work from anywhere at anytime has bolstered productivity, and SMBs are cutting costs.

So what’s the problem?

Most SMBs have no formal mobility policy and are unfamiliar with mobile device management (MDM) technology. If acceptable/unacceptable usage isn’t clearly defined, and employee-owned devices aren’t properly deployed, configured, monitored and managed, costly security breaches will happen.

Download our E-Guide, “Embracing the Age of Mobility & the BYOD Workplace and learn why safe BYOD begins with a comprehensive mobile policy and a cloud-based MDM solution.

 

IT Direct Makes The Inc. 5000 for 2015

Inc. magazine today ranked IT Direct No. 2,985 on its 34th annual Inc. 5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s independent entrepreneurs. Companies such as Yelp, Pandora, Timberland, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, LinkedIn, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained early exposure as members of the Inc. 5000.

“We are honored to be among the fastest growing private companies in America. Thank you to our growing list of clients who trust us with their I.T. networks and computer support needs. We look forward to continuing to grow with you and helping you use technology to reach your goals. I am also extremely proud of the talented team here at IT Direct. The lion’s share of this honor goes to them for their dedication to our clients and for their help in making IT Direct a fun and rewarding place to work.” said founder, and President of IT Direct, Ari Santiago.

The 2015 Inc. 5000, unveiled online at Inc.com and with the top 500 companies featured in the September issue of Inc. (available on newsstands August 18 to September 22) is the most competitive crop in the list’s history. The average company on the list achieved a mind-boggling three-year growth of 490%. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue is $205 billion, generating 647,000 jobs over the past three years. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

“The story of this year’s Inc. 5000 is the story of great leadership. In an incredibly competitive business landscape, it takes something extraordinary to take your company to the top,” says Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg. “You have to remember that the average company on the Inc. 5000 grew nearly six-fold since 2012. Business owners don’t achieve that kind of success by accident.”

The annual Inc. 5000 event honoring all the companies on the list will be held from October 21 through 23, 2015 in Orlando. Speakers include some of the greatest entrepreneurs of this and past generations, such as Marcus Lemonis, host of the CNBC show “The Profit,” Robert Herjavec, one of the main “sharks” on ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank,” KIND Founder and CEO Daniel Lubetzky, and Co-Founder of Goodshop.com JJ Ramberg.

 

May 2015 Tech Tips – HTTP Error 400 Codes

Here’s your quick Tech Tip for the month of May to help you be more productive. As always, reach out anytime! We are here to help.

The internet is composed of an infinite amount of webpages – leaving an infinite amount of room for mistakes. We have all either clicked on a link, or typed in a URL address, only to arrive at an “HTTP Error” page instead of our desired destination. But what do those error messages and codes really mean, and what causes them? We have highlighted the most common error codes, and their causes below:

HTTP Error 400 – Bad Request
When a request that is distorted, or incorrect, is sent to a website server, the HTTP Status Code 400 error message will appear. A request can be anything from clicking a page’s “Refresh” button, to clicking a link. The most common cause for one of these errors is an incorrectly typed URL.

HTTP Error 401 – Unauthorized
When credentials are required to view a webpage, which have yet to be entered or issued, the HTTP Status Code 401 error message will appear. If credentials have already been entered, and the error code continues to appear, the login information provided is invalid, or has been granted insufficient permissions.

HTTP Error 403 – Forbidden
When attempting to visit a webpage that has specifically been deemed as “off limits”, the HTTP Status Code 403 error message will appear. The most common occurrence of this error code is after attempting to visit a website that has been blocked by
employer or educational administration.

HTTP Error 404 – Page Not Found
When the website you are trying to visit cannot be found, the HTTP Status Code 404 error message will appear. In most instances, the cause of this error code is because a web address has been modified, moved, or removed. Similar to 400, this error message can also be the result of typing in an incorrect URL.

HTTP Error 408 – Request Timeout
When a request to load a webpage has timed out, the HTTP Status Code 408 error message will appear. This means that the submitted request has exceeded the amount of time that the server was prepared to wait while processing. The most common cause for this error message is a slow internet connection.

Another important fact to keep in mind, is that these error codes can begin with any number from 1-5. The above mentioned, and all other codes beginning with the number 4, are classified as “Client Error” Status Codes – meaning that the web surfer is presumably at fault, opposed to the webpage.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!