6 Benefits of Moving to a Cloud-Based Infrastructure

What is the cloud?  

The cloud refers to servers that run on the internet rather than a local physical server. This system allows you to access data remotely. A few examples of cloud services are Google Drive, Apple iCloud, and Microsoft OneDrive, to name a few.  

What is a Cloud Infrastructure? 

A cloud infrastructure is much like a physical/on-prem infrastructure. A Cloud infrastructure mimics things like servers, switches, storage, etc. Computing, networking, storage, and virtualization make up a cloud infrastructure.  

What are some of the benefits of a business moving to the cloud? 

  • Increased Security 
  • Cost Savings 
  • Disaster Recovery 
  • Reduced Risk 
  • Collaboration across teams 
  • Better Accessibility 

Increased Security 

One of the most beneficial aspects of the cloud is security. Unfortunately, no matter who you are, you are at risk from hackers, malware, phishing, and other cyber-attacks. Moving to the cloud can add an extra layer of support for your important data.  

  • When you store a file in the cloud, your files are encrypted, which means the files are difficult for cybercriminals to access.  
  • The cloud provides consistent and regular patches, reducing malware infection risk. 
  • When a business has critical data, it is far safer to keep that information off-site.  
  • With the cloud, it is easier to maintain compliance requirements. 

Cost Savings $$$ 

Cost is a significant factor when businesses decide to move to the cloud or not. Therefore, looking at the initial cost of making the migration and all the benefits of a cloud-based infrastructure is essential. For example, 98% of organizations say a single hour of downtime costs over $100,000 https://www.the20.com/blog/the-cost-of-it-downtime/#:~:text=According%20to%20Gartner%2C%20the%20average,hour%20at%20the%20higher%20end.  

Disaster Recovery  

Disasters happen; we all know that. Unfortunately, downtime for a business can be one of the most costly challenges a company faces because it leads to a loss of productivity, revenue, and reputation. With a cloud-based infrastructure, your business can recover far quicker than you can if a physical server fails. 

Reduced Risk 

When your data is stored in physical hardware like a computer or server, it is at a greater risk of loss. For example, if the server fails or the computer dies, you might not be able to get your data back. Things like viruses, age, and natural disasters can all cause hardware to malfunction. In addition, they can also be lost or stolen, posing a security risk.  

You can access your data from any computer anywhere when you store your data on a cloud-based server.  

Collaboration across teams 

The cloud allows employees within the same organization to share information and collaborate on documents or other important company data. For example, with SharePoint, four employees can be working on the same document simultaneously, and the most recent version will be saved and accessible to all employees who have access.  

Better Accessibility 

Since the start of the pandemic, many businesses have decided to allow their employees to work from home part-time, if not 100% of the time. The cloud enables employees to access their company’s network from anywhere. In addition, they can access critical files and data from anywhere, increasing productivity and efficiency.  

Five Reasons Why SMBs will invest in an MSP in 2022 

As times change, business owners need to adapt. Here are some reasons why an SMB may be considering an MSP

1. Modernizing IT 

As SMBs move to modernize their IT, they don’t have the expertise to keep up with the complexities of managing and maintaining their IT environment.

2. Employee Growth

Despite the pandemic, many organizations are growing rapidly. But unfortunately, some can’t keep up with the growth. For example, they can’t continuously upgrade and install the number of endpoints, onboard new employees, or educate them on the best security practices.  

3. Not enough IT support

Many SMBs do not have an internal IT employee, and one of their employees must take it on as an extra job responsibility which decreases productivity. If they do have an IT employee, they often are faced with more pressure than they can handle alone.

4. Outside threats

 Over half of businesses have faced some type of financial cyberattack in the last year; most SMBs don’t have the resources to combat these risks internally.

5. Compliance

Compliance is a tricky concept for most SMBs. Working with an MSP can help them adhere to the often changing regulations.

Since most businesses rely nearly entirely on the internet to perform their day-to-day operations, an important goal for SMBs is to strategize and prioritize digital transformation. Unfortunately, this is no small task and can be very overwhelming for SMBs. However, a Managed Service Provider can take on the entirety of IT management, allowing them to mitigate risk, get the best return on their technology investments, and educate their employees.

If you are interested in learning more about how Now Micro can help you manage your IT more effectively, or you’d be interested in receiving a free network assessment, reach out to Sydney Ellison at sydneye@nowmicro.com or check out our website.

The Consequences of a Cyberattack on SMBs

Nearly every company relies on the internet for its business operations, which means almost every company is at risk for a cyber-attack. In last week’s blog post, we discussed why Cybercriminals are targeting SMBs, but what are the consequences of falling victim to a cyberattack or data breach for SMBs?

Downtime

After a cyberattack, an SMB is likely to face significant downtime, which means their employees cannot do their jobs. While one can expect revenue to take a substantial hit from downtime, employee productivity usually is the most significant consequence. Employers are still required to pay their employees, they may be missing deadlines, and downtime may cause excess stress on their employees.

The cost of downtime = minutes of downtime x cost per minute.

Damage to hardware 

In the event of a cyberattack, malware, or data breach, not only is your data at risk, but it can also cause damage to your hardware such as PCs, Servers, and more. In addition, the repair or replacement of hardware can be very costly.

Fines and penalties

Legal and regulatory requirements seem to be constantly changing, which can be very overwhelming for a business owner. However, business owners must comply with these rules and regulations, and when they don’t, they are subject to fines and penalties costs.

Damage to reputation and loss of customers

When a company falls victim to a cyberattack, their customer data is often compromised, leading to a loss of customer trust, which leads to customers taking their business elsewhere. Data breaches also hurt attracting and obtaining new customers when the news is public.

High costs

In the event of a cyberattack, an SMB is likely to experience downtime, damage to hardware, fines and penalties, damage to reputation and loss of customers, and more. Each of these consequences has its own cost, and sometimes it is enough for a business to close its doors for good. Forbes states that the average cost of a single data breach on an SMB is $149,000. Additionally, 76% of SMBs have experienced a cyberattack in the last 12 months.

We’ve said it before, and we will say it again: It is no longer a question of if your business will be the target of a cyberattack, but when. Can you afford the consequences of a data breach?

Working with a Managed Service Provider can help you better secure your network and prevent cyberattacks from happening. To learn more about our managed services, visit our website or reach out to Sydney Ellison at sydneye@nowmicro.com.

New Year, New Managed Service Provider?

The beginning of the year is a great time to ask yourself, “Do my employees or I have any frustrations with our current IT support?” If the answer is “yes,” it may be time to change.   

Luckily, you have plenty of options to consider that improve your IT support and day-to-day business. 

Maybe you have an internal IT employee or team, or you are already outsourcing your IT, but your current provider isn’t cutting it. 

Let’s take a look at your options…. 

First, we want to understand what a Managed Service Provider is. 

An IT MSP is a technology provider that essentially takes on the responsibility and manages all or some aspects of your internal technology. 

Some of the services an MSP can offer: 

  • Network Monitoring 
  • Help Desk 
  • Cyber Security 
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery 
  • Cloud Migration & Management 
  • VCIO 
  • Email Solutions 
  • Etc. 

Inadequate IT support can negatively impact your business in many ways (employee satisfaction, productivity, revenue, etc.) 

Here are some tips for making the switch to a new MSP: 

A Smooth Transition 

Whether you are going from one MSP to another or are adding extra support to your existing internal IT team, it is crucial to focus on good communication. 

You will want to know everything your current team has been operating. Things like how many devices they manage, each service they provide you with, or any tickets created. This will allow your new MSP to understand the support you need and provide you with an accurate quote and plan. 

Another thing to figure out is who owns what hardware. Sometimes, an MSP will lease hardware out to their customers for a monthly fee. Other times, they sell them devices so that the customer owns them. Make sure you are returning devices if necessary. 

Finally, make sure you understand the contractual obligations between your business and your current IT provider. For example, an MSP will often require 30, 60, or 90-day notice. Also, make sure you know the SLA (service level agreement) you signed at the beginning of the partnership, so you aren’t slapped with cancellation fees. 

Choosing The Right MSP 

If you are looking to switch to a new MSP, it is important to understand what isn’t working with your current IT team. Where are they falling short? Bring these concerns to other potential partners to see how they compare or if they can meet your needs. 

Figure out the model that works best for you. An MSP can offer either an all-you-can-eat model or al a carte model. An all-you-can-eat model typically includes every service they offer, whereas the al a carte model is more customizable to the specific needs of your business. 

Questions to ask a potential MSP: 

  • What do their pricing models look like? 
  • Can they meet all of your requirements? 
  • What is the contractual agreement? 
  • What does implementation look like? 

Closing thoughts 

IT support can make or break a company, so it is vital to have a partner that understands your business and needs. Luckily for you, there are many options out there. It is just about finding the one that works best for you and your employees. 

If you are interested in receiving a free network assessment to better understand your network health, or you would like to learn more about how Now Micro can help you manage your IT, visit our Managed Services page. 

5 Reasons You Should Consider Outsourcing Your IT

There is already so much unpredictability when running a business, but IT issues don’t have to be a part of that. Managed service providers can remotely monitor your network 24/7, 365 days a year to ensure you experience as little downtime as possible.

Here are 5 reasons you should consider outsourcing your IT:

1. Cost

Many small to medium-sized businesses expect that outsourcing their IT is unnecessary and not worth the cost. However, most companies are surprised to learn that they usually save money by outsourcing their IT.

When switching to an MSP, your cost is a flat monthly rate. A good MSP will offer an a-la-carte solution rather than a one-size-fits-all model because each business is different and should be treated as such. This way, you can decide how much or how little support you will need.

When your IT is managed in-house, and something breaks, you likely will be faced with the “sticker shock” attached to the solution. If something breaks, that is worked into the monthly cost with an MSP, meaning no surprises.

2. 24/7/365 support

One of the most significant issues small to medium-sized businesses face is the lack of support when they need it most. If something goes wrong, it can take a lot of time and research to figure out how to troubleshoot the issue and get back up and running.

With a managed service provider, businesses have IT support at all hours of the day, including non-business hours.

3. Productivity & Time Saving

Many small to medium-sized businesses do not have a dedicated IT employee, and when they do, they are often faced with more challenges than they can handle on their own. Sometimes, an employee takes on IT work as a second job function, which takes away productivity.

If you have a single IT employee, and something goes wrong, maybe they can fix it, but what if more than one thing goes wrong at the same time? Or what if it takes hours or days to resolve the issue, and your company can’t perform its main objectives?

Working with an MSP is a sure-fire way to ensure your employees are focused on what is most important, their jobs. They can even prevent issues from occurring. Even when a problem does come up, your IT provider can get you back up and running in record time.

4. The Highest Level of Cybersecurity

There are many ways to improve your cybersecurity in-house. Some of the things you can do are educate your staff, require password changes, implement two-factor authentication, install a firewall, and ensure your anti-virus software is always on the latest update.

However, as cybersecurity practices get better, the threats get more robust by learning to work around these practices. An MSP can constantly monitor your network and systems for threats and vulnerability, sometimes preventing an attack before it even happens. Therefore, it is imperative to work with an MSP to ensure you have the highest level of security possible.

5. Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity 

One of the biggest headaches for business owners is system and hardware failures that lead to data loss and put their data at risk. It can take hours to days to get back up and running, and even worse, data is at risk of being lost forever!

Working with an MSP gives you the best chance at recovering data and reducing downtime.

Closing thoughts: 

Running a business comes with a lot of responsibility and risks. Utilizing an MSP can benefit your organization in many ways by relieving you from the many headaches associated with IT. This way, you can focus on what is most important, operating your business.

If you’re looking for a managed services provider you can trust, look no further than Now Micro. Our goal is to provide services and solutions for every aspect of your technology needs. From end-users to enterprise data centers and up to the cloud, we’ve got you covered. Visit our website to learn more.

New Vlog Series: What’s in the Lab?

Now Micro has recently launched a new vlog series called What’s in the Lab. This series features Bernard Carter, Chief Technology Officer, going over various players we have in our lab. Our innovative digital signage & IoT solutions and services help customers from a range of industries better procure, deploy, manage and secure their visual communication devices.

Our first video covers the Lenovo ThinkEdge SE30, a rugged media player built to face the most hostile environments. The SE30 also uses the latest 11th Generation Intel® processors that run Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning to deliver the insights you need. The unit is also fanless and can function in a thermal range of -20 – 60C.

Stay tuned to our YouTube channel every Thursday for the next 4 weeks to see how our solutions and services can take your IoT beyond the edge!

To learn more about Now Micro and our purpose-built digital signage and IoT solutions, visit https://www.nowmicro.com/.

Now Micro, Inc, Named CRN® Triple Crown Award Winner

Now Micro, Inc, Named CRN® Triple Crown Award Winner

Fourth Annual Award Program Recognizes Standout Solution Providers

St Paul, MN, October 2, 2017 – Now Micro, Inc, today announced that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has honored Now Micro, Inc with its esteemed 2017 Triple Crown Award. Forty North American solution providers had the necessary revenue, growth and technical expertise to be recognized on three of CRN’s pre-eminent solution provider lists, earning them the Triple Crown Award this year.
Continue reading “Now Micro, Inc, Named CRN® Triple Crown Award Winner”

Now Micro, Inc Named to CRN’s 2017 Solution Provider 500 List

St, Paul, MN, June 5, 2017 – Now Micro, Inc, announced today that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Now Micro, Inc to its 2017 Solution Provider 500 list. The Solution Provider 500 is CRN’s annual ranking of the largest technology integrators, solution providers and IT consultants in North America by revenue. Continue reading “Now Micro, Inc Named to CRN’s 2017 Solution Provider 500 List”