How to Choose the Right MSP

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How to Choose the Right MSP

In the digital age, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) have emerged as critical partners for businesses of all sizes. These tech-savvy experts help manage IT infrastructure, ensuring smooth operations and security. However, choosing the right MSP is no small task.

MSPs have become indispensable for businesses, offering expertise, proactive management, and IT optimization. They’ve transitioned from optional to strategic partners, making their selection crucial.

Selecting the right IT Managed Services can be daunting due to the proliferation of providers. Making the wrong choice can lead to inefficiencies and headaches. It’s a decision that requires careful consideration.

This blog will walk you through the process of choosing the ideal Managed IT Services company. From understanding your IT needs to evaluating MSP qualifications and pricing, we’ll equip you with the tools to make an informed decision. By the end, you’ll be ready to forge a successful partnership with an MSP that suits your business perfectly. Let’s begin by assessing your unique IT requirements.

 

The Qualities of a Good MSP

Selecting the right Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a crucial decision for businesses, as MSPs play a central role in maintaining IT infrastructure. To make an informed choice, it’s essential to assess the key qualities of an MSP.

  • When considering an MSP’s technical expertise, certifications, and ongoing training are indicators of their commitment to staying current with industry standards. Equally important is their industry-specific experience, ensuring they understand your sector’s unique challenges and opportunities.
  • In terms of service offerings, an MSP should provide a broad range of services, simplify IT management, and offer scalability to accommodate your evolving needs.
  • A vital aspect is their reliability and availability, with 24/7 support and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that guarantee uptime, reducing the risk of costly downtime.
  • Lastly, cybersecurity practices and regulatory compliance are paramount, as a trustworthy Managed IT Services provider should protect your data and ensure your IT environment aligns with relevant regulations.
  • These qualities collectively form the foundation of a successful partnership with an MSP, ensuring your business’s technological backbone is in capable hands.

 

1. Reputation and References

When evaluating Managed Service Providers (MSPs), their reputation and references can provide valuable insights into their reliability and competence. Here’s how to assess this critical aspect:

Research and Reviews- Research is your first step in understanding an MSP’s reputation. Explore online reviews, forums, and social media to gather feedback from their current and former clients. Pay attention to recurring themes and overall satisfaction levels.

Case Studies and Testimonials- Case studies and testimonials offer real-world examples of an MSP’s success stories. These provide a deeper understanding of how the MSP has addressed their clients’ specific challenges and needs—request case studies related to your industry or IT requirements to assess their capabilities.

Asking for Referrals- Don’t hesitate to request referrals from the MSP. Speaking directly to their current clients can offer an unfiltered perspective on the quality of service, communication, and partnership experience. It’s a valuable step in verifying the MSP’s reputation and performance.

 

2. Pricing and Contracts

Understanding the financial aspects of an MSP relationship is crucial to making an informed decision. Here’s what to consider in this regard:

Transparent Pricing– Ensure that the MSP provides transparent pricing. Pricing models should be precise, with no hidden fees or unexpected costs. A good MSP will offer straightforward pricing structures that align with your required services.

Contract Flexibility– MSP contracts should be flexible to accommodate your evolving needs. They should not lock you into long-term commitments that hinder your ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Seek contracts that can be adjusted as your business grows or shifts direction.

Hidden Costs to Watch Out For– Be vigilant about hidden costs that can disrupt your budget. Investigate the contract thoroughly to identify any potential hidden fees. These might include charges for additional services, out-of-scope work, or penalties for early termination. A transparent MSP will clarify all potential extra costs upfront.

 

3. Communication and Partnership

Effective communication and a strong partnership are essential for a successful MSP relationship. Here’s what to look for in this context:

Accessibility and Responsiveness– Assess the MSP’s accessibility and responsiveness. Quick, reliable communication is crucial when issues arise. A responsive MSP should be reachable 24/7 and provide timely updates on the status of your IT environment.

Alignment with Your Business– Choose an MSP that aligns with your business’s culture, values, and goals. A shared understanding of your company’s objectives will help the MSP better serve your needs and become an extension of your team.

Collaboration and Reporting– Look for an MSP emphasizing collaboration and transparent reporting. Regular updates on the performance of your IT systems, security status, and areas for improvement are crucial. A collaborative approach ensures that you and the MSP work together toward common objectives.

 

4. Technology Stack and Innovation

A forward-thinking Managed Service Provider (MSP) should be equipped to enhance your IT environment through technology and innovation. Consider the following aspects:

Evaluation of Tools and Technologies– An MSP should be well-versed in the latest tools and technologies. They should regularly assess the efficiency and relevance of your current technology stack and recommend improvements or updates where necessary to optimize your IT infrastructure.

Adoption of Modern Solutions-Choose an MSP that actively embraces modern solutions. Whether cloud computing, virtualization, or automation, an MSP should be eager to implement innovative technologies that enhance productivity and security.

Future-Proofing Your IT– Future-proofing is critical. The MSP should plan for your long-term success by anticipating technology and business needs changes. This may involve developing an IT roadmap that ensures your systems remain relevant and efficient as your business evolves.

 

5. Disaster Recovery and Contingency Plans

In an unpredictable world, solid disaster recovery and contingency plans are non-negotiable. Evaluate your MSP’s approach in these critical areas:

Backup and Recovery Strategies– An MSP should establish robust backup and recovery strategies to safeguard your data during system failures, cyberattacks, or other disasters. Regular testing of these strategies is essential to ensure their effectiveness.

Business Continuity Planning– Your MSP should help you create a business continuity plan that outlines procedures for maintaining operations in adversity. This plan should be tailored to your specific needs and potential risks.

Data Security Measures– Data security is paramount. Your MSP should employ stringent security measures, including data encryption, intrusion detection, and regular security assessments, to protect your sensitive information from threats.

 

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6. Scalability and Growth

A successful MSP partnership should support your business’s growth and adaptability. Consider these factors:

Accommodating Future Needs- Choose an MSP that can easily accommodate your growing IT needs. Whether expanding operations or undergoing changes in demand, your MSP should ensure your technology infrastructure can scale accordingly.

Handling Expansion and Downturns– An adaptable MSP should help you navigate expansion and downturns in your business cycle. They should provide solutions for resource allocation that align with your specific situation.

Adapting to Market Trends– Staying in sync with market trends is vital. Your MSP should be well-informed about industry shifts and technological advancements, helping your business remain competitive and responsive to changing market dynamics.

 

Finalizing Your Decision

As you reach the concluding stages of your journey to select the perfect Managed IT Services for Small Businesses, these final steps will help you make an informed and confident decision:

Comparison and Evaluation– Take the time to compare and evaluate the MSPs you’ve researched. Create a comprehensive list of their strengths and weaknesses, including their technical expertise, service offerings, reputation, and the other qualities we’ve explored in this guide.

RFPs and Negotiation– Requesting proposals (RFPs) from the shortlisted MSPs is a crucial step. RFPs should provide detailed insights into their services, pricing, and expectations. When evaluating the proposals, consider aligning with your goals and objectives.

Making the Ultimate Choice– With all the information gathered and negotiations complete, it’s time to make your ultimate choice. Select the MSP that aligns most closely with your needs, offers transparency, and demonstrates a commitment to your success.

 

Conclusion

In the vast ocean of Managed Service Providers, finding the right partner to steer your IT ship can be challenging. However, you can set a course for success with a systematic approach that includes evaluating technical expertise, service offerings, reputation, and many other aspects. It’s worth noting that Protected Harbor has a Five Star Google rating. Also, in 2022, Protected Harbor earned recognition as the Best MSP Company in the country, according to the Best of Small Business Awards. Their commitment to delivering top-notch service and innovative solutions is a testament to the qualities you should seek in an MSP. Now, it’s time for you to confidently embark on your journey. The success of your IT environment is within reach.

Ready to set sail with the perfect Managed Service Provider for your business? Contact us today for personalized guidance and assistance in finding the ideal MSP to navigate your IT needs. Your IT success story awaits!

 

Get the Best Digital Solutions for Your Nonprofit in 10 Steps

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10 Steps to Identify the Best Digital Solutions for Your Nonprofit

Digital transformation for nonprofits is not just a buzzword; it represents a fundamental shift in how organizations can leverage technology to further their missions, engage with donors and supporters, streamline operations, and drive advocacy efforts. As technology continues to shape how we live and interact, nonprofits must embrace digital transformation to remain relevant and practical in fulfilling their objectives.

This blog explores the significance of digital transformation in the nonprofit sector, its benefits, challenges, and best practices. Discover how nonprofits leverage technology to align with their missions, engage donors, improve efficiency, and drive advocacy efforts. Real-life case studies illustrate successful initiatives, empowering organizations to make a more significant social impact. Join us to navigate the digital transformation landscape and drive positive change in the digital age.

 

The Need for Digital Transformation in Nonprofits

In today’s ever-changing digital landscape, nonprofit organizations need help with their traditional approach to operations. To remain relevant and practical, nonprofits must embrace digital transformation—a strategic process that harnesses technology to enhance their capabilities and fulfill their social missions.

Donors and supporters now expect seamless and personalized engagement experiences, making it crucial for nonprofits to interact through digital channels, accept online donations, and provide real-time updates on their impact. Moreover, digital tools offer potent data analytics capabilities, enabling data-driven decision-making to optimize fundraising strategies and program effectiveness.

Nonprofits can leverage digital platforms like social media to amplify their messages, reach broader audiences, and mobilize supporters for advocacy initiatives. Internally, digital solutions streamline processes, allowing staff to focus on core mission activities and operate more efficiently.

Additionally, digital transformation promotes global collaboration, breaking geographical barriers for knowledge sharing and resource pooling among nonprofits, donors, and experts. Transparency and accountability are also enhanced through real-time access to financial and stakeholder impact data. Embracing digital transformation is key for nonprofits to stay competitive, offer innovative donor engagement approaches, and create positive social impact in the digital age.

 

10-Steps-to-Identify-the-Best-Digital-Solutions-for-Your-Nonprofit-MiddleIdentifying the Right Digital Solutions for Nonprofits

Selecting the right digital solutions that align with the organization’s unique needs and goals is essential for successful implementation. Here are 10 key steps to identify the most suitable digital solutions for nonprofits:

  1. Conduct a Digital Readiness Assessment: Evaluate the organization’s digital capabilities and infrastructure. Identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas that require improvement to establish a solid foundation for digital transformation.
  2. Understand Specific Needs and Objectives: Define the nonprofit’s specific needs and objectives for digital transformation. Understanding these goals will guide the selection process, whether it’s improving donor engagement, streamlining program management, or enhancing advocacy efforts.
  3. Engage Stakeholders: Involve key stakeholders in the decision-making process, including staff, volunteers, donors, and beneficiaries. Gather insights and feedback from those using the digital solutions to ensure buy-in and successful adoption.
  4. Explore Digital Tools and Platforms: Research various digital tools and platforms available for nonprofits. This may include fundraising software, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, project management tools, and social media platforms.
  5. Consider Scalability and Integration: Assess whether the chosen digital solutions can scale as the nonprofit grows. Additionally, ensure compatibility and integration between tools to create a seamless workflow.
  6. Evaluate Cost and Budget: Consider the costs of implementing and maintaining the chosen digital solutions. Compare pricing plans, subscription models, and hidden charges to make an informed decision aligning with the nonprofit’s budget.
  7. Prioritize Security and Privacy: Nonprofits deal with sensitive data, including donor information and beneficiary details. Ensure the selected digital solutions adhere to industry security standards and comply with data privacy regulations.
  8. Seek Recommendations and Reviews: Reach out to other nonprofits or industry experts with experience with the digital solutions under consideration. Read reviews and case studies to gain insights into the effectiveness and usability of the tools.
  9. Trial and Test: Whenever possible, opt for trial versions or free demos of the digital solutions to assess their functionality and user-friendliness. Hands-on testing will provide a better understanding of how the tools fit the nonprofit’s needs.
  10. Training and Support: Consider the availability of training resources and customer support provided by the digital solution providers. Adequate training and ongoing support are crucial for successful adoption and utilization.

Find the Right Partner

Ready to embark on your nonprofit’s digital transformation journey? Partner with Protected Harbor, a leader in digital solutions and IT services for nonprofits. Contact us today to unlock the full potential of technology and drive your mission forward in the digital age. Let us empower your nonprofit to make a greater impact with the right digital solutions and strategies.

5 Trends that Will Drive the MSP Market in 2023

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5 Trends that Will Drive the MSP Market in 2023

The managed services market is quickly becoming a significant player in the IT industry. It is estimated to reach $257 billion by 2023 and is projected to have a compound annual growth rate of 10.2%. With this growth comes the need for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to stay up to date with the latest trends in the industry. In this blog, we will discuss the five trends that will drive the MSP market in 2023.

 

Introduction to MSPs and the Managed Services Market

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) provide IT services and support to businesses. These services range from data backup and recovery to network security and monitoring. MSPs often act as an extension of a company’s IT department, taking on the responsibility of managing day-to-day IT operations.

The managed services market is rapidly growing as more businesses are looking to outsource their IT services to MSPs. Several factors drive this growth, including the increasing demand for IT services, the growing cloud computing market, and the increasing focus on cybersecurity.

 

What Are the Top Managed Services Market Trends?

The managed services market is constantly evolving, and several trends are driving its growth. Let’s take a look at the top trends for the year 2023.

 

The Rise of Automation in the Managed Services Market

The rise of automation in the managed services market is one of the most significant trends. Automation allows MSPs to automate repetitive tasks, freeing their staff to focus on more complex projects. Automation also reduces costs and improves efficiency, as companies no longer need additional personnel to manage these tasks.

Automation is also becoming increasingly popular in the managed services market because it provides more accurate results. By automating processes, MSPs can guarantee more consistent and reliable results. This increases customer satisfaction, as MSPs can provide services more quickly and efficiently.

Finally, many MSPs are turning to automation to provide better customer service. By automating specific tasks, MSPs can reduce the time it takes to provide customer support. This allows them to focus more on providing personalized customer service, which leads to increased customer satisfaction.

 

The Impact of Connected and Intelligent Technologies on the MSP Industry

Connected and intelligent technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are transforming the managed services market. MSPs use these technologies to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and provide better customer service.

MSPs are using AI to automate processes, allowing them to provide more accurate results in less time. AI can also analyze data, allowing MSPs to identify trends and optimize their services.

MSPs are also using the IoT to monitor their clients’ networks and identify potential issues before they become a problem. This allows MSPs to provide proactive support and reduce downtime, leading to increased customer satisfaction.

 

5-Trends-that-Will-Drive-the-MSP-Market-in-2023-Middle-Cloud-based Solutions are Becoming Increasingly Popular in the Managed Services Market

These solutions allow MSPs to store data securely and cost-effectively and provide access to services from any device at any time.

Cloud-based solutions also offer MSPs scalability, allowing them to expand their services as their clients’ needs change quickly. This is especially important for MSPs that serve small and medium-sized businesses, as it will enable them to adjust their services as their clients’ enterprises multiply.

Finally, cloud-based solutions allow MSPs to provide more efficient services. Using cloud-based solutions, MSPs can access their client’s data from any device at any time.

 

Data Recovery Will be in Demand

Data recovery services will be in high demand in 2023 as businesses collect large amounts of data. Data recovery services allow businesses to recover data that has been lost or corrupted. This is especially important in a cyber-attack, as it can help enterprises quickly recover their data and minimize downtime.

MSPs specializing in data recovery services will be in high demand as businesses increasingly rely on their data in the coming years.

 

Increasing Focus on Cybersecurity in the Managed Services Market

The managed services market is becoming increasingly focused on cybersecurity. As businesses become more reliant on technology, the need for secure networks and systems becomes more pressing. MSPs that specialize in cybersecurity services will be in high demand in 2023.

Cybersecurity services allow businesses to protect their data and systems from malicious attacks. These services include network security, application security, and data security. As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology, secure networks and systems will become more critical, and MSPs specializing in cybersecurity services will be in high demand.

 

Conclusion

For almost all industries, the upcoming year appears to be complicated. The MSP market’s successful players will recognize trends and modify their models to capitalize on them. They are the ones who will prosper in 2023 and beyond.

At Protected Harbor, we are committed to staying up to date with the latest trends in the managed services market. We are one of the top US MSPs, specializing in data recovery, cybersecurity, and cloud-based solutions. Goodfirms and Small Business Awards also awarded us for the leading IT and cloud services. If you’re looking for an MSP to help you stay ahead of the curve, contact us today to schedule a free IT Audit.

B2B IT Services: All You Need to Know

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B2B IT Services: All You Need to Know

In today’s highly competitive business environment, having access to reliable and efficient IT services is critical for the success of any business. Good B2B IT services offer a range of benefits to businesses, such as increased efficiency, cost-effectiveness, better security measures, scalability, and competitive advantage.

Following is a comprehensive overview of B2B IT services, including the types of services available, their benefits, key considerations and tips on selecting the right B2B IT services provider for your business.

 

B2B IT Services Explained

B2B IT services refer to technology solutions designed for businesses and organizations. These services may include many IT-related activities, such as cloud services, storage, and networking, security architecture, virtual machines, computing resources, etc.

B2B IT services also include cloud computing services consisting of public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud. Public cloud services are provided by third-party vendors and are accessible over the Internet. Private cloud services, on the other hand, are dedicated to a single organization and are usually deployed within the organization’s own data center. Hybrid cloud services combine public and private cloud services to provide a more comprehensive solution.

Regarding B2B IT services, certification exams and work experience are important factors to consider. In the case of cloud services, vendors often provide certification programs that allow IT professionals to become certified in specific technologies or platforms. These certifications can be valuable when selecting a B2B IT services provider. They demonstrate that the provider understands the technology and is committed to delivering high-quality services.

Another important aspect of B2B IT services is the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model, which allows organizations to rent computing resources, storage, and networking on a pay-as-you-go basis. This model can help organizations to reduce their IT costs and improve scalability. 

 

Types of B2B IT Services

There are several types of B2B IT services that businesses can choose from, depending on their needs and requirements. Some of the most common B2B IT services include:

  • Managed IT Services: This refers to outsourcing IT operations to a third-party provider responsible for managing and maintaining a company’s IT infrastructure. This may include hardware and software installation, network management, data backup and recovery, and help desk support.
  • Cloud Computing Services: This involves using remote servers and internet technologies to store, manage, and process data. Cloud computing services may include infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS).
  • Network and Infrastructure Services: This includes designing, implementing, and managing a company’s network infrastructure. This may involve setting up local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and virtual private networks (VPNs) to ensure that a company’s data and applications are accessible and secure.
  • Cybersecurity Services: These services protect a company’s digital assets from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. Cybersecurity services may include security assessments, risk management, security consulting, and security operations center (SOC) services.

Businesses can also combine these services to create a custom IT solution that meets their needs and requirements.

 

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Benefits of B2B IT Services

B2B IT services offer a wide range of benefits to businesses. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Increased Efficiency: B2B IT services can help streamline business processes, automate tasks, and eliminate manual processes, leading to increased productivity and efficiency.
  • Cost-Effective: Outsourcing IT services can be more cost-effective than hiring and maintaining an in-house IT team. By partnering with an appropriate B2B IT services provider, businesses can avoid the costs of recruitment, training, and benefits.
  • Better Security Measures: Reputable B2B IT services providers specialize in cybersecurity and can help businesses identify and mitigate security risks. They can also provide access to the latest security technologies, such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and antivirus software.
  • Scalability: B2B IT services can be configured to be scalable, which means they can grow or shrink with the needs of the business. This allows companies to add or remove services as their needs change.
  • Competitive Advantage: B2B IT services can give businesses a competitive advantage by providing access to the latest technologies, reducing downtime, and improving the quality and speed of company’s services.

 

How to Choose the Right B2B IT Services Provider

Choosing the right B2B IT services provider is critical to the success of a business. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when selecting a provider:

  • Research the Market: Look for companies that specialize in the services you need, experience in your industry, and have a good reputation.
  • Evaluate Vendor Offerings: Identify companies that can offer customized solutions and can scale as your business grows so you don’t have to continually switch providers.
  • Consider the Vendor’s Experience: Consider providers with a track record of delivering quality services and solutions. Check their references and testimonials to get an idea of their level of expertise.
  • Check for Certifications and Accreditation: For example, if you need cybersecurity services, look for providers with certifications, such as CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).
  • Ask for References and Testimonials: This will give you insight into their expertise, customer service, and ability to deliver results.
  • Security: Security is also critical when selecting a B2B IT services provider. A good provider should have a security manager responsible for overseeing the security of the provider’s systems and services.

It is essential to research the market, evaluate different vendors’ offerings, consider their experience, check for certifications and accreditation, and ask for references and testimonials. With this information, businesses can choose the right B2B IT services provider to meet their specific needs and requirements.

 

To Sum It All Up

B2B IT services provide many benefits, including increased efficiency, cost-effectiveness, better security measures, scalability, and competitive advantage. Several types of B2B IT services are available, such as managed IT services, cloud computing services, network and infrastructure services, and cybersecurity services.

Overall, choosing the best B2B IT services provider requires careful consideration of the business’s needs and a thorough evaluation of potential providers. It is important to select a provider that can offer reliable and secure services that can help optimize business operations and drive success.

Protected Harbor is a B2B IT services provider that offers a range of services, including managed IT services, cloud computing services, cybersecurity services, and more. We have experience working with businesses of various sizes and industries and have a reputation for delivering reliable and secure services and have won the Best IT Company in the US.

We offer customized solutions to each business’s unique needs and have a team of experienced professionals available to support and assist as needed. We also have the necessary certifications and accreditations to provide high-quality services in areas such as cybersecurity. With 99.99% Uptime and Google 5 Star Rating, the services we deliver are unparalleled. Get a free IT Audit today and learn how we make your business stay ahead of the curve.

IT Services for Non-profit Organizations

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IT Services for Non-profit Organizations

Running a non-profit can be challenging, especially when it comes to managing resources and staying competitive in a crowded field. One area that can make a significant impact on the success of a non-profit is information technology (IT).

IT services are becoming increasingly important for non-profit organizations as they work to achieve their missions and goals. These services can range from basic computer and network support to more advanced services such as data analysis and management, website development, and cloud computing.

Following are the various IT services that can help non-profit organizations achieve their goals and better serve their communities.

 

Data Management

Data management is the process of organizing, storing, and protecting data, including sensitive information such as social security numbers and personal data. One aspect of data management is selecting the appropriate infrastructure to support data storage and access.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a model that allows businesses to rent computing infrastructure from cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. IaaS allows businesses to scale up or down as needed and implement disaster recovery solutions to protect data in case of a system failure.

Another cloud infrastructure model is Software as a Service (SaaS), which allows businesses to access software applications through the Internet. Data management also includes protecting data from social engineering attacks, which may attempt to trick employees into revealing sensitive information.

Hybrid cloud solutions combine private and public cloud infrastructure, allowing businesses to maintain control over sensitive data while leveraging the scalability and flexibility of public cloud solutions. Effective data management requires a comprehensive approach to security, including the use of encryption, access controls, and regular backups to ensure the integrity of data.

It is a critical aspect of running a successful non-profit organization. Non-profits often collect a large amount of data on donors, volunteers, and clients that must be organized and kept secure. This data can include personal information, contact details, donation history, and more.

Proper data management enables non-profits to identify their most active supporters, understand their giving patterns, track volunteer engagement, and measure the impact of their programs and services. This can help all enterprises to maximize their efforts and resources and better serve their communities.

 

Cloud Services

Cloud computing delivers IT services, such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence, over the internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. Non-profit organizations can benefit from cloud computing in several ways.

One of the main benefits of cloud computing for non-profits is cost savings. Traditional IT infrastructure can be expensive to maintain and upgrade. With cloud computing, non-profits can reduce hardware and software purchases, management, and data center operations costs. Instead, they pay for only the services they need on an as-needed basis, saving money in the long run.

Another benefit of cloud computing is increased collaboration and communication. Cloud-based services, such as Remote Desktop, allow non-profits to share files, collaborate on documents and projects, and communicate in real time, regardless of location. This can increase productivity and efficiency among staff, volunteers, and partners.

Cloud computing also enables organizations to access and work on their data remotely. All that is needed is an internet connection. This can be particularly beneficial for organizations with staff and volunteers who work remotely or travel frequently.

 

IT-Services-for-Non-Profits-Middle-imageCybersecurity

Cybersecurity guards against attacks, damage, and unauthorized access to systems connected to the internet, including their hardware, software, and data. Non-profits, like any other organization, must be mindful of potential risks. They should take action to secure their sensitive information and systems.

One of the main risks for non-profits is the potential loss or theft of sensitive information such as donor or client data. Non-profits often collect and store personal information, such as names, addresses, and financial information, which can be valuable to cybercriminals. A data breach can result in the loss of this information, damage the organization’s reputation, and cause trust issues with its constituents.

Another risk for organizations is the potential disruption of their operations. Cyberattacks can take down websites, disrupt communication systems, or cause problems preventing non-profits from carrying out their mission. This can lead to a loss of revenue, wasted resources, and a decline in public trust.

Cybersecurity is also essential for non-profits because of regulatory compliance requirements which many non-profits must follow. Two are the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). These regulations have specific requirements for protecting sensitive information.

Non-profits need to have a robust cybersecurity strategy and take steps to protect their systems and data, such as regular software updates, employee education, and incident response planning. By taking cybersecurity seriously, non-profits can mitigate risks and better serve their communities.

 

IT Is Essential

IT services are essential for non-profit organizations to achieve their mission and goals. IT can range from basic computer and network support to more advanced services such as data analysis and management, cloud computing, and cybersecurity. These services can help non-profits store, organize, and analyze data, reach the target audience, and reduce costs.

Non-profits need to work with experienced IT professionals who can provide guidance and support.

Protected Harbor is the ideal choice for non-profit organizations. We provide a comprehensive compliance framework, which includes detailed documentation, processes, and procedures. This allows organizations to understand and comply with regulations. It also contains tools for data discovery, risk assessment, and incident response, which can help non-profits to identify and mitigate potential risks.

We also deliver a cost-effective solution, an easy-to-use interface, and ongoing support and guidance. These features can help companies to achieve compliance and protect sensitive information, so they can better serve their communities and complete their missions.

If you’re ready to improve your non-profit’s IT services, consider getting a free IT audit today. An IT audit can help you to understand your current IT infrastructure, identify areas for improvement, and develop a plan for implementing new technologies and best practices.

By taking advantage of our free IT audit, you’ll be able to:

  • Understand your current IT infrastructure
  • Identify areas for improvement
  • Develop a plan for implementing new technologies and best practices
  • Get a better understanding of your IT security posture

Be sure to improve your non-profit’s IT services immediately. Contact us today to schedule your free IT audit and maximize your organization’s potential.

How to Turn IT From a Cost Center to a Money Saver

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Turning IT From a Cost Center to a Money Saver

IT is usually a CEO’s least favorite word. The thought of anything tech related, regardless of what stage of business you’re in, typically causes some mild panic. Whether it’s confusion, uncertainty, security fears, and so on, the main reason for the alarm tends to surround the topic of money. Cyber security has become a significant necessity for businesses in today’s world, where cybercriminals are on the rise. Money, however, shouldn’t have to be your reason for not taking the next steps to a safer, secure environment.

When you find the right IT company, whether through your staff or a hired managed service provider like Protected Harbor, fears of how much you will spend will soon dissipate. Today, we will go over how you can turn your IT from a cost center to a money saver with a strategic approach.

Our Steps for Finding a Reputable IT Company:

In Sync with Your Business Goals: Your future IT partner should be aligned with your organization’s business goals to ensure that your technology investments support the overall mission of your organization. This can be easily figured out by having a thorough interview with your IT partner and discussing what you actually need versus what your company can do without.

Focusing on Value: Your IT partner should focus on delivering value to your organization rather than just providing technology solutions. This means understanding the needs of your business by figuring out what is currently lacking in your team’s IT processes. As a result, they will find ways to improve your processes, increase efficiency, and reduce costs.

How-to-Turn-IT-From-a-Cost-Center-to-a-Money-Saver middleFlexibility: There are many ways to solve IT issues, and we know that. However, your IT team should be deploying solutions that can solve multiple problems. For example, when upgrading to a new system, your IT partner may recommend or automatically add multi-factor authentication to your new system, increasing security. They should automatically find ways to solve future potential problems even if they don’t exist yet.

Implement Cost-Saving Technologies: Your IT partner can and should implement cost-saving technologies such as cloud computing, virtualization, and automation. This will reduce hardware and software costs, improve productivity, and reduce the need for manual labor either from your staff or your IT team.

Optimize IT Operations: IT can optimize its operations by using best practices such as ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) to streamline processes, reduce downtime, and improve efficiency.

Use Data Analytics: IT can use data analytics to gain insights into the organization’s operations and find ways to optimize processes, reduce costs, and improve performance. This way, your partner will only ever recommend to you what you need versus what you don’t.

Adopt a Continuous Improvement Approach: Your IT partner should adopt a continuous improvement approach to ensure they always look for ways to optimize your operations.

 

These are just a few steps that companies like yours should review and think about before panicking over the idea of cost in technology. These steps should help you when it comes to evaluating your next IT partner. IT is a necessity in today’s world and truly is a strategic asset for your company; it can only help drive your future success. The next time you’re afraid of your IT becoming a cost center, remember these steps above, and you will surely see how hiring the right IT partner will become your money saver.

3 Reasons Why IT Should Matter to Nonprofits

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3 Reasons Why IT Should Matter to Non-Profits

Nobody today is safe from a cyber-attack, not even the good-hearted non-profits like yours that want to make a difference. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are out there, and their tactics are only becoming more sophisticated as each second passes. Your organization’s data is like a gold mine to these hackers who will do anything to get their hands on it.

As an IT organization, we understand the fear that goes along with even mentioning the word IT. However, it’s something that needs to be discussed and something that needs to find its way into your budget plan.

Below are our three reasons why IT should matter to all non-profit organizations.

  • 3-Reasons-Why-IT-Should-Matter-to-Nonprofits-Middle-imageIncreased Efficiency

Non-profits can benefit significantly from technology that helps them to automate and streamline their operations. This, in turn, can help free up staff’s time, allowing them to focus on mission-critical activities, such as fundraising and community outreach. For example, implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System can help non-profits to manage donor relationships more effectively and even possibly help increase donations.

  • Improved Communication

Technology can help non-profits to communicate more effectively with their constituents, including donors, volunteers, and community members. Social media, email marketing, and other digital communication channels can help non-profits stay at the forefront of members’ minds and engage with their supporters.

  • Greater Impact

By leveraging their new technology to enhance their operations and communication, non-profits can ultimately increase their impact and achieve their mission more effectively. This can translate into greater social and environmental benefits for the communities they serve. For example, a non-profit that provides clean water to rural communities may use technology to monitor water quality and distribution more effectively, ultimately reaching more people and improving their health and well-being.

We understand change is difficult, but it’s also necessary. Technology has developed far beyond what it used to be for both the good and the bad. We feel all non-profits should be reaping the benefits of what IT can do for their organizations and communities. Cybersecurity aside, we have mentioned the many bonuses that come along with increased technology and believe that your non-profit should take the plunge.

Finding a trusted IT partner can be difficult; there’s no denying that. However, once you find the right one that fits your needs and your budget, you will breathe a sigh of relief at how easy it is to maintain your team’s mission and purpose.

12 Questions Nonprofits Should Ask When Looking for an IT Partner

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12 Questions Nonprofits Should Ask When Looking for an IT Partner

As a non-profit organization, aside from your budget, the technology your organization possesses should be at the forefront of your priorities.  From financial records to members and beyond, your non-profit is more at risk of falling victim to a cyber-attack than ever before. We know finding the perfect IT partner isn’t easy. However, we have compiled a list of twelve questions you should be asking to help simplify the search process.

 

Let’s dive into the questions:

1. Are the people responding to your support requests W-2 staff members or outsourced?

When it comes to needing IT to help your organization, it’s critical for security reasons and an ample response that the person helping you to solve your support requests knows your system. However, if your IT partner uses outsourced solution providers, this can make for a less secure fix, as these providers aren’t familiar with your system or its processes.

2. Is your support site and monitoring outsourced or running on directlyowned equipment?

An IT Partner must maintain direct ownership and control over their monitoring, backup, and troubleshooting data. Direct ownership allows for rapid response when problems occur and are more secure.  An IT partner that maintains direct control will be able to respond faster to requests and will be more secure.

3. What experience do you have working with nonprofits?

It is essential to work with an IT partner who has experience working with nonprofits, as their needs can be different from those of for-profit organizations. IT companies who have previous experience with non-profits understand the need to follow a budget plan and pride themselves on following your organization’s mission.

4. Can you provide references from other nonprofit clients?

Ask for references from other nonprofits that the IT partner has worked with in the past, and reach out to those organizations to learn more about their experience.

5. What IT services do you offer?

Ensure this potential IT partner can provide you with the specific services your nonprofit requires, whether it be network management, data backup and recovery, cybersecurity, or cloud computing.

12-Questions-Nonprofits-Should-Ask-When-Looking-for-an-IT-Partner middle

6. How do you ensure data security?

Ask the IT partner about their data security protocols, including data encryption, access controls, and backup and recovery processes.

7. How do you handle IT emergencies?

Discuss their protocols and processes regarding IT emergencies ranging from system failures to cybersecurity incidents.

8. What is your response time for IT support requests?

Ask about the IT partner’s response time for support requests and ensure that it aligns with your nonprofit’s needs.

9. How do you stay up to date on IT trends and best practices?

It is essential to work with an IT partner who is knowledgeable about the latest IT trends and best practices. In addition, you need to know they can apply this knowledge to your nonprofit’s needs.

10. What is your approach to IT budgeting?

Ask the IT partner about their approach to IT budgeting. Some follow-up questions to ask can be how do they estimate costs? Or how do they work with nonprofits to ensure that IT costs align with their budget?

11. Do you provide training and support to our non-profit staff?

Ensure that the IT partner provides training and support to your non-profit staff, as this can help improve your employee’s IT skills and reduce the need for IT support.

12. What is your philosophy on working with non-profits?

Finally, ask the IT partner about their philosophy on working with nonprofits, and ensure that it aligns with your nonprofit’s values and mission.

Don’t go into the research process blind when finding your next IT partner. Study these questions and use them exactly as they are or as a jump-off point into more profound questions you may not have thought of before. When it comes to picking your next IT partner, you need to know whom you’re signing on to work with and trust that all your questions and concerns will be dealt with. In today’s world, especially as a non-profit, you need an IT team to have your back that understands your organization’s purpose and mission. Don’t fall victim to the next cyber-criminal. Start your research now.

8 IT upgrades that every business owner should implement immediately

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8 IT Updates Every Business Owner Should Make Now

In today’s digital age, staying on top of the latest technology trends and IT updates is essential for business owners. Keeping up with the latest technology can help you to stay ahead in your industry, save time and money, plus improve the overall efficiency of your business.

IT leaders always need help introducing new technologies into their company’s workflow. Naturally, they’re focused on the future, trying to predict how the market will change and how this will impact their business.

Spending on IT worldwide is expected to reach $5.32 trillion in 2022. Asia is predicted to impact the worldwide IT market, contributing 31% significantly. ~Statista

Technological advances have been made at a breathtaking pace in the past few decades, with new trends emerging seemingly every day. To make it easier, we have put together a list of 8 IT updates every business owner should make now to ensure their business is up-to-date and running at peak performance.

 

Technological Change Drives Competitive Advantage

The effect of technological change can be seen in many ways, including:

Changing Customer Needs and Expectations – This means that customers expect products to be tailored to their individual needs, which is a challenge for businesses as they need to be able to meet each customer’s demands while still maintaining high levels of quality.

Improved Productivity – The ability to produce more with less effort can increase profits and lower costs.

New Business Models – New technologies can open up new markets or enable existing businesses to expand into new markets. This might include selling products or services in an entirely new way of using technology to streamline previously manual processes.

Reduced Costs and Risk – The use of technology can reduce the need for expensive physical assets and enable businesses to operate more effectively in areas where they may have previously been limited by geography or climate (e.g., working from home).

Increased Flexibility – Technology enables businesses to be more flexible in their operations, providing greater freedom over-allocating resources and responding to customer needs.

 

8-IT-Updates-Every-business-Owner-Should-Make-Now middleIT Updates for Tech Leaders

In addition to keeping up with the latest technology, IT leaders should also be aware of some top business trends and how they can apply them within their companies. Here are the 8 most important trends that all IT leaders should be aware of.

Increase Emphasis on Transparent Data Governance

Protecting your company’s data in today’s age is essential, where data is everything. While there are many ways you can go about doing this, one of the most effective ways is by making sure that your employees understand how they should transparently handle confidential information.

You can do this by ensuring that all your policies are clear and easy to understand. You can also ensure that these policies are well-enforced so that employees can be confident about their usage and lack thereof.

Adopt Web3 Technologies

The next generation of cloud applications will be built on Web3 technology and offer various benefits to IT departments, including improved security and reduced expenses. These new apps will also be easier to use than traditional applications, so they’ll help your employees work more efficiently.

Accelerate Cloud Adoption

Cloud computing offers businesses huge advantages over traditional data centers, such as reduced cost and complexity, more flexibility and scalability, and a more remarkable ability to innovate. And yet many companies still need to be more confident about moving their workloads into the cloud. To help speed up cloud adoption, inform your colleagues about how cloud computing can benefit them personally and professionally. Also, be sure to communicate what risks may arise from migrating workloads to the cloud, so they can make informed decisions about when it’s appropriate for them or their departments to move their applications into the public cloud.

Upgrade Your Network Router

You probably know that your router is the device that connects your computers to the Internet. But did you know that routers are becoming more than just a way to share an Internet connection? Many routers now offer enhanced security features, including mini-computers that can perform remote backup and virus protection tasks.

Routers also have built-in firewalls, so if you haven’t updated yours in a while, this may be a good time to do so — especially if you want better protection for your network against hackers.

Update Your Software Licenses

Make sure your software is fully licensed by running the free trial version of our software through our website. This ensures that all the features and tools work for you and your team. If it doesn’t, contact us, and we’ll help you get everything up and running smoothly. You can also check out our list of top 10 small business apps here!

Update Your Network Security

Security updates should be implemented as soon as they become available, so we recommend setting up automatic updates in Windows Update or macOS Software Update preferences. These updates usually fix security vulnerabilities or bugs in the system. Suppose you have other software installed on your computers, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader or Microsoft Office programs. In that case, they may also have built-in automatic update settings, ensuring that your devices are always protected against known threats.

Adapt AI

The future of AI is here, and it’s time to get ready. Adapt AI is a platform that helps companies build, train and deploy their custom AI-powered solutions. These solutions can be anything from an intelligent chatbot to an innovative mobile app. It’s an excellent tool for any company looking to take advantage of the latest advancements in artificial intelligence.

Give More Attention to FinOps

Financial operations have always been vital for any business. But as technology advances, financial operations are becoming more complex than ever before — which means they need more attention. FinOps is a new term that refers to the “financial operations” part of your business strategy, including payment processing and calculating taxes owed when customers purchase online. If you want your business to grow, devote more time and money toward this area of your organization — primarily if you sell products or services online.

 

Final Words

With technology advancing rapidly, it’s essential to consider whether your company utilizes the best technology available and how you can stay ahead of the competition. This list of IT updates is by no means exhaustive, but it should serve as a good starting point for business owners that want to keep up with the latest IT trends. Updating your business’s IT equipment will not only positively impact productivity and efficiency, but it could also help you achieve increased revenue and growth.

Protected Harbor is the perfect partner for business owners or CTOs who need professional guidance during times of technology change. Our experienced team of professionals can help you make sense of the overwhelming amount of information available, and our services are tailored to each customer’s needs.

With a free IT Audit, we can assess your current system and identify areas where improvements can be made. Let us help you get the most out of your investments and confidently make technology changes. Contact us today!

What is Access IT Support & Why is it Important?

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What is Access IT Support & Why is it Important?

Today’s successful businesses can only function with cutting-edge technological tools. To maximize the return on one of a company’s most significant investments, adequate management by reliable IT support is crucial. Access IT Support is a valuable service that provides businesses with the tools and resources they need to stay up and running in the digital age. Companies must keep up with their IT needs as technology evolves to remain competitive and secure.

The IT services industry is expected to generate $1,114.00bn in revenue by the end of 2022. ~Statista

Scaling a technology-based company requires a skilled team with many years of experience. It also requires the right tools, support, and platforms that encourage growth.

Let’s take a look at what access IT support is, why it’s essential for small business tech growth, and what to look for in an IT professional.

 

What is Access IT Support?

Access IT support is a service that ensures your company’s computer systems, hardware, software, wireless connections, and internet service are operating correctly. It also assists with troubleshooting, diagnostics, repairs, and maintaining your computer systems.

IT support services can be provided in-house or by an outside company. In-house IT support is usually cheaper than outsourcing your IT services but requires more time and effort on the part of your employees.

It includes things like:

Basic Troubleshooting – If something stops working or malfunctions, an IT professional will troubleshoot the problem and find out why it happened and how to fix it.

Software Installation – If you need new software installed on your computer or server, an IT professional can finish this quickly and efficiently without disrupting your business.

Network Setup – If you want to set up a new network or a wireless connection for your company or expand an existing one, an IT professional can do it right the first time.

 

Why is IT Support System Important?

A well-designed IT support system will protect your business and personal information against cybercriminals and help you solve any pesky IT problems. But what exactly does that mean?

Here are a few things you can expect from an effective IT support system:

Protection Against Cyber Crime

High-profile incidents involving corporations like Boots and Facebook, the most recent Government Security Breaches Survey indicated that 31% of businesses and 26% of nonprofits experienced cyber security breaches or assaults over the previous 12 months.

An effective IT support system will protect your network and private information from viruses and other malware that could steal your company data or cause problems within your software. However, if you have multiple devices on your network, it may be more complex than installing antivirus software or firewalls on all of them. You may need to install additional tools with features like intrusion detection and prevention systems that monitor traffic through your network in real-time to detect suspicious behavior by users or applications accessing resources on the web.

Effective Solutions to Tricky Problems

An effective IT support system can help you solve any problem that arises in your business. The support team can deal with it effectively, whether it may be a software glitch or a hardware failure. They know what steps to take and how they must be taken so they can resolve the issue quickly without causing any disruption to your business operations.

Improved Decision Making

An effective IT support system helps to improve decision-making at every level of an organization by providing relevant information and data on demand. This not only enables you to make better decisions but also improves efficiency as well as productivity within your organization.

Data Storage, Management, and Security

Data storage is one of the most critical aspects of information technology support. However, the wrong choice can lead to severe problems in your business. For example, choosing a storage system that is too small or too large for your needs will cost more money in the long run than necessary. It’s also important to consider whether it’s best to use cloud-based or on-site storage solutions when building your IT infrastructure.

Safety from Viruses and Other Compromising Software

While many think that viruses only infect computers, they can infect other devices, such as tablets and smartphones. When this happens, it can lead to data loss or financial loss if private information falls into the wrong hands. An IT support system will help keep your devices safe from viruses by installing antivirus software and regularly ensuring that updates are done.

Enhanced Online Marketing Strategies

An IT support system can help you improve your online marketing strategies in several ways. For example, it can help with website design, social media management, and email marketing campaigns. These tools can help increase traffic to your website and improve conversion rates, ultimately leading to increased revenue for your business!

 

 

What-is-Access-IT-Support-Why-is-it-Important MiddleWhat To Look for in a Great IT Support Team?

Your business is growing, and so are your IT needs. It’s time to look at the options for a new IT support team. But how do you know you’re choosing the best one?

Here are some tips:

Flexibility

The best IT support services will be flexible enough to meet your company’s ever-changing needs over time. They should offer multiple levels of support, including basic customer service, maintenance, troubleshooting, and more advanced technical help.

Knowledge & Expertise

You need an IT support team with knowledge and expertise in all technology areas. While some companies may specialize in particular types of technology (such as cloud computing), others may be more generalists and able to work with any software or hardware device.

Cost

When choosing an IT support team, the cost is always a factor. Though you want to choose the right service provider and not just base it solely on price, you want to ensure that their services fit your budget.

Responsiveness

Find out how long it takes for your IT company to respond to your needs by asking about their typical response times before hiring them. If you find they need to be more responsive, keep looking for another company until you find the one that offers you excellent customer service.

 

Final Words

Chances are, you have come across the term IT support before, as it has become an essential form of support for businesses nowadays. However, deciding on your next IT support move can be challenging and, truthfully, a little scary for a not-so-tech individual.

Protected Harbor makes it easier. We provide unparalleled IT support with guaranteed 99.99% uptime, a 24×7 live help desk, and an IT strategy that can be tailored to your business needs.

Our team of experts can help you identify areas of improvement and risks associated with your IT infrastructure. With our range of services, you can focus on the bigger picture of your business without worrying about any pesky IT issues getting in your way. Furthermore, with our secure and reliable IT solutions, you can rest assured that your business is always safe and running smoothly.

Get a free IT audit today to experience the full extent of our IT support capabilities.