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Managed Services vs. Break-Fix IT

Managed Services vs. Break-Fix IT

What happens when break-fix IT breaks?

As a business owner, you make daily decisions on how to serve your customers and how to improve your company. As part of this, you choose partners and solutions to create a support system that guarantees the quality of your work. A business process review is a popular step in the direction of improvement. For IT support services, small and medium-sized companies often fall into a costly “break-fix” cycle. Business owners can quickly end this break-fix madness by partnering with a managed services provider for affordable, reliable IT plans that are based on unique needs.

Managed Services IT Backup Cloud on Desktop

What is “break-fix” IT?

If a computer or a phone breaks or a server goes down, do you call around until you find someone who can fix the problem? This is break-fix IT. You go about your business, and when something breaks, you pay someone to fix it.

Large companies often have an in-house break-fix team that can manage everything from mobile phones to on-site servers, but these tasks need to be balanced with more complicated demands. No matter what your company size, break-fix IT is expensive and stressful. Managed IT services provide a way for you to break the break-fix cycle while lowering both risks and costs. You can even move to a more competitive managed cloud environment via new cutting-edge hosting solutions.

Signs you’re in a break-fix IT model:

  • Unpredictability across departments: Your technology fails, and all departments spin into chaos.
  • Downtime: Unexpected software and hardware failures reduce productivity and increase costs.
  • Lost revenue: Downtime is only one part of the problem, especially when a security breach is the cause of shutdown.
  • Outages: If the network is down, how can your employees support your customers?
  • Stress: The inherent stress of a break-fix IT strategy can result in high turnover and toxic work culture.

Managed IT Services that End Break-Fix IT Unpredictability

Managed Services Provide Unbreakable IT Solutions

While the break-fix model may work for a time, it ends up costing more than you plan for. This might lead you to consider hiring new in-house IT staff. However, a managed service provider can give you the same talent at lowers costs, and the services are 24/7/365 — and you don’t have to pay for benefits, vacation days, sick days, training, and everything else that supports an in-house IT department.

EstesGroup wants you to find the best IT services for your business. Learn more about our flexible IT solutions today.

Ready for a managed cloud solution that lets you completely focus on your business while EstesGroup IT & ERP specialists manage your infrastructure? Get a free demo of ECHO, our EstesCloud hosting solution. Learn more about SYSPRO hosting, Sage hosting, Epicor hosting, and Prophet 21 hosting today.

3 Signs It’s Time For a Server Upgrade

3 Signs It’s Time For a Server Upgrade

Is Your Server Seeing Stars?

Sometimes called a “super computer” or simply a “computer bigger than yours,” a server is a technological infrastructure that hosts a shared resource pool. Servers become more complicated as small businesses grow and require multiple pieces of hardware to support company software. A multi-site company might have multiple servers at each location to support various types of users, devices, and software interactions. Many of us never physically see the servers that support our personal devices, yet our data is available across phones, laptops, tablets, and desktops. Unfortunately, old servers put our data at risk. Is it time to take a good look at a server upgrade?

Server Upgrade IT Strategy Team

Sign #1: The Word “Outdated” Comes to Mind When You Think About Your Server

A timely server upgrade can increase profitability by giving you a competitive edge since a server upgrade is most often a “profit now, profit later” occasion. For example, Section 179 allows business owners to upgrade technology and write off purchases. Business growth is challenging, and investments can be risky, and there are programs in place that acknowledge and assist with this reality. Like you might replace an old furnace or broken window when the timing is right for tax deductions, you might replace old technology when your CFO or accountant sees an opportunity to take advantage of a tax break.

Sign #2: You Find Yourself Questioning the Security of Your Data

A handful of “S” words haunt the security issue, with servers as the first serve. When looking for signs of server insecurity, also inspect system assessment history, speed issues, storage requirements, and sensitivity of information handling.

Is your current server architecture safe from hackers? Ransomware is becoming an amateur hacker’s play now that Cybercrime as a Service is becoming a popular business exchange on the Dark Web. SaaS (Software as a Service) and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) cultures increase the risk as they both allow more complex interactions with your network.

How much of your data is sensitive, and can your servers keep up with compliance regulations? If your office handles medical information, you’ll need technology solutions that comply with HIPAA. The acronyms of compliance are often industry-specific notations that change yearly to adapt to new threats.

Backup management and documentation strategies need to be supported by a network that can process information swiftly and without risk of data loss. Storage needs increase as devices become more interactive, and physical servers don’t offer the same flexibility as virtualized servers, so this is also something to take into consideration as you question data security. No room in the server means no data saved for your future. Inadequate or improper data storage can become a costly mistake that can lead to significant strain on your budget.

Sign #3: You Worry About Stability & Know a Server Upgrade Could Help

If you have a physical server to maintain, you know the burdens of cooling costs, fire alarms, and on-site security systems. Your server room is vulnerable to both physical and virtual attacks. Business owners rarely have time to analyze every file created, and every company click needs to be protected from malware and other threats. Ask yourself a few questions to see how much you know about the stability and accessibility of your backups:

  • How do you archive company information?
  • What are the greatest risks to your servers?
  • If you need to upgrade your technology every 5 – 10 years, when will your servers need to be replaced so that you can stay competitive amid advancements?
  • How long would it take to migrate your data to another physical server? Would it be more efficient to migrate data to the cloud? Is your data already somewhere in the cloud?

Now Is the Time To Take a Closer Look at Your Server

Unfortunately, on-premise servers fail, and routine assessments are necessary. EstesGroup can help. Our IT specialists are here 24/7 to provide recommendations for IT infrastructure, maintenance, testing, & more.

Wish to know more about server management?

How to Create a Strategic BDR Plan

How to Create a Strategic BDR Plan

The Right Data For Backup & Disaster Recovery

For backup and disaster recovery (BDR) planning, you need more than a trusted solution. You need a data center that can’t fail. You need an IT team that won’t keep you up at night. Server room aside, you might want to back up everything, or you might want to delete outdated information. You might fear that your BDR plan will be too expensive if it becomes all-inclusive, or you might wonder if you’re cutting costs while risking a slow restore in the event of a disaster. Fortunately, many IT service plans for disaster recovery often rely on managed cloud services that allow you to scale up or down, adjusting your costs on a monthly, or even daily, basis (depending on your managed IT solution). However, BDR options abound, so let’s look at how to build the right BDR plan for your business needs.

BDR Solutions Across Devices

Choosing BDR

Things to consider when choosing a BDR plan revolve around your own personal preferences regarding on-premise backup vs. cloud backup. Where do you want your data stored? The varieties of BDR options are seemingly endless as we move toward a society that depends on cloud-based technology to enable nearly every aspect of business culture. Your BDR decisions are vital and unique to your company size, geography, climate, and more. Small business technology can help businesses struggling to grow stay competitive, even when business is slow. Larger businesses, especially manufacturers with complex ERP systems, choose cloud-based BDR for peace of mind against ever-evolving threats of cyberattacks and downtime. Across all industries and organizations, good BDR planning promotes the universally desired benefits of reduced risks and lower costs. So, information management similarities and differences in mind, where do you want to save, store and share your company data?

BDR Plan Quick Q&A

  • How much critical data do you need to fully protect?
  • How many users and devices will be affected by your backup and disaster recovery plan?
  • What are your greatest vulnerabilities (natural disasters, ransomware, malwaresocial engineering attacks)?
  • Do you know your RTO & RPO? Do you need DRaaS?
  • What is your BDR training and testing strategy?
  • Have you ever experienced data loss or data corruption? How did you respond? Did you achieve restoration?

Save Your Files & Save Them Again

Where is your data currently stored? In a web-based software? On a server in an office closet? In the basement storage area? In multiple places, including on personal devices (in light of BYOD trends)? You’re not alone if you’re struggling with data management. Likewise, you’re not alone if you’re struggling to choose a BDR solution that will be a perfect fit for your company’s future.

3 Basic BDR Roadmaps

If you want to back up everything, or if you want to back up one file, you have three basic options for saving your information.

  • Cloud services for BDR with true cloud environments and 100% virtual office infrastructure
  • Software solutions deployed on company-owned hardware that stores backups for disaster recovery
  • Hybrid cloud infrastructure that leverages cloud-based software solutions, off-site data centers and external technology specialists

Back up, Data Backup

A common concern is that a cloud-based BDR solution will cause excessive external data center usage, resulting in unforeseen ingress and egress expenses, among other unpredictable costs. The fear of creating luxury backups is real, and business owners have struggled in the past with surprise bills that read like fine-print privacy disclosures. This is why the planning stages of your business continuity strategy are critical in terms of IT budgeting. If you’re concerned about decisions regarding incremental backups, recovery point objectives, recovery time objectives, compliance, and all other backup and disaster recovery choices and expenses, then you’ll do well to first assess your core operations. If migrating to managed hosting, you might choose to waterfall excess data storage (such as old servers or unused servers) away from your cloud solutions. An IT specialist can assess your systems and make detailed server management recommendations.

Your BDR Plan Data Core

In a perfect business world, you can back up all of your data and also securely delete it at whim. Unfortunately, the burden of managing data often requires a highly skilled IT team to monitor and safeguard your BDR hardware and software. If you’re not at the point at which you can easily back up everything daily, then you’ll want to ensure you’re protecting critical information.

  • Financial data, including accounting software, invoices, payroll, transactions
  • Customer information and client data, including saved CRM information like prospect notes and lists
  • Critical data from project management activities
  • Employee information, including all HR files that enable operations
  • Paper-based communications, including image saves and scans
MSPAlliance Cyber Verify A Rating Badge Awarded to EstesGroup

A Perfect Plan For Your Business

If you need proactive or reactive backup and disaster recovery services, EstesCloud technology consultants are highly skilled at on-premise, hybrid and private cloud solutions. An IT expert can help you create a penny-wise BDR solution that keeps your data safe.

After The Disaster Plan, The Disaster

After The Disaster Plan, The Disaster

Disaster Plan: Dressed For Disaster

What Happens After You Choose A Disaster Plan?

If you’ve already settled on a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) strategy, you need to know that this is not a “set IT and forget IT” business solution. Yes, you now know that your backups are more reliable. Yes, you know that you have good hardware backing up your data. However, this brings about new focus to your data management activities: training employees, testing backups, and preparing for disasters through routine “fire drills.” Technology gets outdated quickly, so you’ll need to keep an eye on things like server care, cybersecurity, preventative maintenance, software updates, and data storage quality. Tech training is key: a good disaster plan means nothing if your team isn’t solidly prepared for a disaster, especially if it comes in the form of a malicious attack.

 

Training & Awareness

Because technology is always changing, and our world is becoming more digital, staff needs constant training. This is especially true in regard to cyberthreats. Advanced social engineering attacks often result in a data breach. Train your staff on everything from mobile device theft prevention to remote worker security. Your employees are the gatekeepers of your data. Cybercriminals often enter a network by phishing through methods like malvertising. One vulnerable staff member opens your portal to the dark web. Train and test your users. Disaster prevention begins with empowering your team.

 

 

Hardware Maintenance & Testing

A solid disaster recovery plan protects the backup of the backups. Test your hardware and also test the methodology, the infrastructure, and the people backing up your backups:

  • Do you have generators on-site?
  • Do you need backup batteries?
  • How reliable are your cooling systems?
  • Are your fire detection devices up to code?
  • Do you have flexible cloud storage for redundancy?

 

Timely Technology Testing

Your disaster plan should include a testing schedule. Testing should cover everything from user behavior to cloud storage quality. To be certain that your backups are ready and that the guardians of your data are worthy of the task, include the following points in your business continuity strategy:

  • 24/7/365 monitoring of all devices
  • Real-time alerts and incident response
  • Responsive maintenance, patches and updates
  • Continual monitoring of the cyberthreat landscape
  • Penetration testing
  • Disaster response training and cybersecurity training

 

Multi-Location Data Storage

Because natural disasters can quickly level your facilities, include an off-site backup as part of your data management strategy. A good disaster plan lists potential threats and appropriate responses. For example, if your threat is a tornado, an off-site backup is essential, and a tornado drill is also necessary. If your threat is ransomware, then your BDR strategy should include incident response procedures. Do you plan your IT budget with the possibility in mind that one day you might end up paying a ransom fee? Cloud-based backup allows you flexibility and resiliency here. If you know the ransomer doesn’t hold the only copy of your data, then you know you won’t need to pay a stranger to get it back.

What is your disaster plan?

Network Connectivity

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are complex and therefore need a robust disaster plan.

Our IT experts can take you through an ERP hosting demo to show you the power of private and hybrid cloud technology. We can tailor your hosting demo to be industry-specific. EstesGroup’s long history includes thousands of success stories in Epicor hosting, Prophet 21 cloud, and other ERPs (like Sage, QuickBooks and SYSPRO). If you’d like to see how ERP hosting can help your business, please fill out the form below, and our IT & ERP experts will prepare a custom demo.

Backup Disaster Recovery: Saving Your Solution

Backup Disaster Recovery: Saving Your Solution

Backup Disaster Recovery Server Room

The Aftermath of a Backup & Disaster Recovery Plan

Backup, disaster recovery, business continuity. Are you ready? 2020 proved that every business needs a recovery strategy. Data loss occurs when there’s an unexpected event (like a pandemic). A natural disaster, such as a tornado, can totally destroy your hardware. Innocent users can accidentally delete important files. Attacked by a hacker, operating systems can open your business to the dark web after a data breach. A cloud-based server backup could fail because of an unreliable provider. Fortunately, you can avoid these disasters and easily prevent data loss. Data recovery is easy with the right technology in place. This might be DRaaS, or it might mean a more basic BDR solution.

 

Sometimes you want to delete files permanently, and other times you want your data backups to include every moment, to never miss a bit. Ideally, you’ll never use your disaster recovery solutions. However, a good strategy should always be in place to prevent the decimation of your business. A good backup plan goes beyond just backing up your information. It includes the insider’s view of cybersecurity experts. Likewise, it includes the business acumen that can discern critical vs. nonessential data. Finally, it supports a secure BDR solution specific to your needs. As a result, you get a BDR strategy that’s easy on your resources and your budget.

 

Are you prepared for data loss?

First of all, a data disaster is common, so you’ll need to do more than back up your data on tapes or flash drives. A data saving appliance is a step forward from nothing, but all businesses can benefit from a robust backup plan that’s both tested and trustworthy.

  • 58% of SMBs are unprepared for data loss.
  • 60% of SMBs shut down within six months after critical data loss.
  • Accidents cause 29% of hard drive failures.

 

Here are some disasters that could demand data recovery:

  • malware, viruses, and ransomware
  • human errors, technology failures, and hardware damage
  • reformatting errors, software glitches, and software platform mismatches
  • deleted data, overwritten data and data breaches
  • physical theft and identity theft
  • hard drive corruption and server room corruption

 

 

On-site vs. Off-site BDRs

140,000 hard drives crash every week. To stay in business, you need to protect your company data, your employee information, and your client files. On-site backup and disaster recovery plans leave you vulnerable to natural disasters and internal social engineering attacks. So even if you feel your data isn’t worth the investment in an off-site BDR solution, you might need to consider things like your recovery time objective. How long will it take to bring your business back online after an attack? What if a tornado or hurricane levels your technology? What happens if you have a fire? Theft?

 

Recovery Time Objective (RTO): This is your limit on downtime.
Recovery Point Objective (RPO): This is your limit on data loss.

 

Cloud-based BDR prepares your business for a natural disaster or a malicious attack. Your data is not left in the ruins if you suffer a fire. It’s safely stored in the cloud, which replicates your on-premise data activity. Off-site cloud data storage keeps your on-site data safe, even in the event that your physical technology is destroyed.

 

BDR Training & Testing

Zero day attacks bring businesses down. Elusive, undetected computer viruses haunt corporate networks. Deceitful social engineering programs corrupt software. Once your system suffers a breach, it can be difficult to see the corruption. This is why a good backup and disaster recovery solution involves a robust BDR testing process. Moreover, it includes a training strategy. Your employees are the guardians of your data, and they need to be trained by IT experts.

 

Cloud-based backup and disaster recovery services protect the keepers of your most vulnerable information. If your data no longer exists, nobody can recover it. Backing up your business in the cloud creates an alternate reality for your business that can be summoned and restored in minutes. EstesCloud can restore a server in about 10 minutes. EstesCloud BDR gives you encryption, firewall protection, and other advanced endpoint security features that will continually keep your data safe.

 

An EstesCloud Backup Disaster Recovery Plan

Protect your business and keep it running 365x24x7 with managed application hosting or other cloud-based IT services. Small businesses, midsize companies, or large organizations all benefit from different types of backup and disaster recovery solutions. EstesGroup’s managed IT team is unique because our company began as a business consulting firm, and we evolved to offer technology consulting. Offering all-in-one IT and ERP solutions helps our clients focus on the work they love, rather than on the software or hardware supporting the business. For example, our Epicor consulting team services E10 or Prophet 21 ERP, while our EstesCloud experts take care of the technology that supports the system.

 

 

Learn more about EstesCloud managed hosting services for ERP systems. Begin building your backup and disaster recovery plan today.

EstesGroup’s ERP and IT experts know your industry, know your software, and know how to give you the solutions you need to make your business run better. We provide Epicor cloud hosting services, as well as Sage, SYSPRO, QuickBooks hosting and more. We take an industry-specific approach to consulting. If you’re a distributor, you’ll get both ERP and IT specialists in Prophet 21, or another distribution ERP of your choice. If you’re running Epicor software or would like to, you’ll get the best Epicor consultants for your ERP implementation team. We employ the best consultants in both technology and enterprise resource planning, so you can benefit from an all-in-one opportunity to improve your business by adding the support your company needs to succeed.

 

How to Move Your Business to the Cloud

How to Move Your Business to the Cloud

How to Choose a Cloud for Your Business

Companies are moving to the cloud in droves, swift to flock to new IT solutions. Fortunately, there are a lot of birds wise to the server sky. When you’re choosing to put your data on a remote server (“the cloud”), you’ll need to know that your internet activity is secure and protected against disasters. Leveraging the power of off-site servers allows you to securely scale your system up, down or around. However, just how to move your business to the cloud can become a bit cloudy with so many hybrid, private, public and multi-cloud options available.

How to Choose a Cloud For Your Business Data Spiral

Two-Step to the Cloud

First of all, moving your business to the cloud allows you to effortlessly adapt your technology to your changing needs. When you host software on a physical server that’s right in your own building, you have to invest a lot of time and energy dancing around in-house technology management.

  • Is your server the right fit for your current state?
  • Can your server support your future goals?
  • Does your server justify its costs?
  • Is your server ready for a disaster? Where do your backups go?

Egress Expense and Other IT Considerations

If your software (whether a basic app or a complex ERP solution) is in the cloud, you pay for your specific usage, rather than a blanket allowance.  Remote work enablement becomes easy sailing. Moreover, it opens the way for new ways of distributing your workforce. Furthermore, greater efficiency is a given. In the end, your secure, virtual office is everywhere you go, and you can also monitor and manage it from any location of your choice.

 

Unfortunately, data loss happens for every company. Sometimes through a breach. Sometimes through a disaster. Let’s look at a little data delirium:

  • More than 50% of us house our data in the same room as our core technology.
  • We tend to count on the data backup, meaning we miss the business continuity step of creating a disaster recovery policy.
  • Double trouble is a common business mistake. When your backup is stored on-premise with the core IT infrastructure, you take risks.
  • Moving to the cloud is often delayed by indecisiveness.

In summary, many businesses stand unprepared to for a company crisis, like a malware attack. Fortunately, our managed IT specialists can show you how to move your business to the secure cloud.

 

 

 

Move to the Cloud for Business Success

Here’s a basic walkabout of how to choose business cloud solutions:

  • Understand your cloud computing options. First, do a little research on different types of IT infrastructure. Then, look into your data history. See how technology helped your business become what it is today. Next, jot down ways you’re already using the cloud both personally and professionally. Finally, analyze your data and your communication needs. (In the end, awareness is key. For example, do you know if you use public cloud software and trust IT security to default infrastructure?) Do you need an entirely virtualized office? Do you need a hybrid cloud environment to host your data with lightning-fast sync and share capabilities?
  • To begin the cloud transition, separate your necessary data from the rest. Furthermore, question all of your software. Would you benefit from a more simple or a more advanced ERP system? What applications are necessary?
  • Decide public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud or multi-cloud deployment. Likewise, decide on a solid data backup plan for the transition.
  • Predict your costs and your roles. Responsibilities will change when your technology changes. Will your employees clearly know their responsibilities once your cloud solution is deployed? What’s your new IT budget, and who will be responsible for managing expenses? When you work with a managed service provider (MSP), you form a trust bond that operates at the highest level of corporate ethics. Do you trust the IT experts who will build, access, manage and monitor your new cloud?
  • Choose security, including business firewalls and automatic encryption. Who will manage vulnerable data? Do you need additional encryption services from your managed IT provider? Do you need all of your data encrypted or protected by advanced cybersecurity services? These are necessities for organizations that deal with sensitive data, and our IT experts specialize to keep up with compliance requirements for highly regulated industries (for example, managed IT for law firms or managed IT for hospitals).

 

See Through the Cloud

One of the great benefits of cloud technology is that you get to choose a solution that is exactly what you’re looking for. How to move your business to the cloud is dependent on so many factors that we recommend you get a software demo of your options and then work with cloud specialists to take it from there.

 

EstesCloud supports manufacturers and distributors, healthcare clinics and medical facilities, accountancies, law firms, government organizations, nonprofits, and more. Please fill in your information below, and our IT experts will arrange a personalized demo on how to move your business to the cloud.