The First Line of Defense – your employees

Cybercrime is on the rise. Ransomware, phishing attacks, socially engineered emails, open wifi hacking, and so much more. They all target the most susceptible part of your security – your employees!   

How can you prepare your employees to be the first line of defense for your organization and themselves? Top-quality employee training! 

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Downtime got you down? Here are 5 steps to stay up and running!

IT downtime in your business can be caused by so many things – hardware failure, power surges, security breaches, storms, coffee spills, just to name a few. But no one cares WHY they’re down when they count on being up and running!

So, what’s the quickest way to get your business running again? At IT Direct, we use the axiom “proper preparation prevents poor performance,” in other words, plan ahead!

Yup, not the answer you were hoping for, I’m sure, but it’s the best way to ensure that downtime doesn’t ruin your day, your week, or even, possibly, your business.  Read more

When does 2+2=5?

When does adding two things together equal more than the sum of their parts? When you can take a few pieces of information, put it together, and come to a conclusion that saves you tons of time or resources! This is one of our very favorite things to do for our clients!

How do we do it?
Sometimes multiple helpdesk calls come in and they seem unrelated and may even be assigned to different techs to solve. They may even be quick issues, like difficulty updating a password, or a pop-up that keeps occurring from time to time for low disk space on a user’s computer. To an outside eye, these issues may seem coincidental or completely unrelated. But, our POD teams get to know our clients so well that they pick up on these seemingly unrelated events and can make changes that save everyone time and energy.

Putting it together

One client’s Read more

Life lessons

Life Lessons

Yesterday I went to a conference that was designed for women entrepreneurs to learn from other women entrepreneurs.  It was a terrific event, put on by the Greater Hartford SCORE organization, a volunteer-based national group in which retired executives use the knowledge and skills they gained throughout their careers to mentor small business owners on starting and developing their business.

The panel was filled with five incredible, successful women who enjoyed telling the stories of their businesses, their lives, and all the things they learned along the way. The themes that stood out are important, not only for entrepreneurs, but for all business leaders: Read more

Why Standardize your IT?

A state of (IT) confusion

The CEO has a Dell laptop with Windows 10, the finance guy has a Lenovo desktop with Windows 8, and your office co-worker has a Macbook. Some folks use Dropbox, others use Sharepoint, and still others use Google Drive. Linda has McAfee, Jane has Norton, and Bob has ESET. Alex VPNs into the network, while Sue uses remote desktop.

Does it matter?

These scenarios are all too familiar and you may think, ‘does it matter? All those folks can work, they can all share files, have access to the network, and they all have antivirus protection’. That may be true…but what happens when you need to update, replace, find, learn how to use, or support something. That’s when you’ll be pulling out your hair!

Higher level thinking

Handling your business IT with inconsistent standards is not only costly in terms of time and money but could be potentially damaging to your data and intellectual property in the case of lax cybersecurity standards. Read more

Efficacy of technology – can technology meet everyone’s needs?

Efficacy of technology – can technology meet everyone’s needs?

During a recent meeting with a prospective client, a CEO of a growing manufacturer in Connecticut, he described what he was looking for in technology in terms of efficacy.

Efficacy – the ability to produce a desired or intended result

I thought this was an interesting way to describe what he was looking for – efficacious technology. It leads to the question…what is your desired result? I think he chose this word, because this answer will be different for every single individual in an organization and is entirely dependent on their role. Yet, the request remains that technology be efficacious, or leading to results, for everyone.  Read more

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.