7 Things Your Managed Service Provider Should Provide

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You’re busy running a business. You have employees to manage and when things are going well, it becomes easy to neglect your day to day IT maintenance. We get it, which is why we’ve put together this list of the top 7 things that your Managed Services Provider should be providing for you no matter what.

1. 24/7/365 Maintenance and Support

summitbiztech-24-70-tech-supportWhile a lot of what an MSP will do for you is done remotely, you’ll want to make sure you pick a local provider for the times when they’ll need to come on-site. You’ll be grateful that while you and your employees don’t work 24/7, your IT company does all year round. So no matter what happens, they’ve got you covered.

2. Vendor Relationships

Do you currently have multiple vendors being utilized? Is managing them difficult and time consuming? Your Managed Services Provider handles them all and should be your one go-to contact for everything. How easy is that?

vendor-tools-summit-business-technologies3. Experience with the Tools You Need Specific to Your Business

Not everyone needs the same tools in order to run their business efficiently. Your MSP should understand your business’ needs and customize the tools you need accordingly. There should never be a one package fits all.

 4. Cloud and Backup Services

One of the biggest benefits of having an MSP is not only letting them manage your IT services, but backing up your data to a remote server and manage updates automatically. Knowing all your important data is safe should be a huge priority for any business, no matter what industry you’re in.

5. Helping You Get Prepared for Disaster

No one ever expects a disaster to happen. Whether it’s because of a natural disaster or a hack, your Managed Service Provider should assist you with creating a disaster plan if you don’t already have one in place. 

6. A Plan for the Future

Think of your MSP as another invested team member of your company. They should provide you an analysis of current trends and what to expect in the IT world. Coming up with a plan for the future is crucial to saving time and money down the road.

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7. Support

Your MSP should provide support to you and all your employees no matter where they are. They should be able to help you remotely with a fast response time.

 

Summit Business Technologies is a Maryland-based full-service IT consulting firm that helps companies leverage a wide spectrum of technologies to improve business operations. To find out more, please visit http://www.SummitBizTech.com.

By Divya Ooi, Divya.Ooi@SummitBizTech.com

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5 Design Tips for the Best Video Conferencing Backdrops

Do you work from home and use video conferencing for work? Have you stopped and thought about what’s behind you in your home office? There’s a huge difference between Skyping with friends or family, and hopping on a conference call with colleagues or potential customers. Your home office is a representation of you as a professional and should be as least distracting as possible. Especially if you want them to focus on what you’re saying vs. that pile of clothes in the background.

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Tips to Design Your Home Office for the Best Video Conferencing Environment

1. Choose an area where you get the best natural light.

If you can help it, make sure you’re placed in the best direct sunlight. If you don’t have access to open windows or much natural light, then make sure you’re utilizing a high-quality task lighting.

2. Look behind you.

Your desk may be decorated really well, but what is it that your audience on the other side of that screen is looking at? Make sure there isn’t any weird art hanging on the walls behind you. The simpler the decor the better. Big, simple artwork makes for a great backdrop in video.

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3. Tidy up.

Seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people we’ve seen with a messy home office on a video conference call. The worst thing you could do is have a heap of dirty laundry peering out from the corner of your screen or stacks of papers laying around in the background. Act as if you were actually having those people in your office, and make sure your mess is put away.

4. Add greenery.

Having plants inside your office not only brightens up the space, but also adds the feeling of being outdoors. This is a great list of indoor plants that are low-maintenance and don’t require much attention.

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5. Get comfortable.

When you’re committed to spending 8 hours a day working from home, you want to make sure you’re comfortable when you take a video call. If you’re uncomfortable, it will show on screen and you want your audience to be paying attention to you – not you fidgeting around. A big, comfy chair is another great way to add style, while not be too distracting in the background.

Do you have any other design ideas for decorating your home office?

By Divya Ooi, Divya.Ooi@SummitBizTech.com

Top 5 Reasons to Use Video Conferencing

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Video conferencing is still up and coming and not quite everyone is using it. But why not? With the introduction of cloud subscription services the cost of video conferencing has gone down dramatically, making it a cost-effective solution for all businesses. There are a ton of great benefits that not everyone is fully aware of.

5. Cost Savings

Think about how much your company spends on travel costs each year. How many employees do you have that work on the go, traveling, making sales, connecting with your customers? Now imagine how much you could save if you could just have them connect via video.

4. Collaboration

You can still get that face-to-face interaction with your coworkers with video conferencing in meetings. It brings those facial expressions to life and makes it easier to collaborate with a team of people.

3. Time Savings

Instead of postponing meeting after meeting due to peoples’ schedules, travel delays, conference room mix ups, you could just have the meeting with a few quick clicks.

2. Convenience

Along with travel convenience, video conferencing lets you conference in other people just like a phone call. Need to get that other key team member on the line? No problem.

1. Productivity

A study published by the National Communication Association found, “Employees who telecommute the majority of the work week are more satisfied with their jobs compared to those working mostly in the office because working remotely alleviates more stress than it creates.” Less time spent on the road means more time spent doing work. When you have happy employees, you have productive employees.

Have you had success with video conferencing? What other benefits do you get from using it? Leave a comment below!

At Summit Business Technologies, we understand the issues small to mid-size companies face in trying to afford, monitor and maintain an IT infrastructure. We provide a range of cost-effective tech support and managed IT services that will help you save time, safeguard and manage your data effectively and help your staff be even more productive.

By Divya Ooi, Divya.Ooi@SummitBizTech.com

“I miss my filing cabinet,” said no one ever.

Document management isn’t always sexy. But it can be when you have the right system in place.

Do you know where all of your documents are? It’s 2014, but some of us are still comfortable in our old ways of storing important information.

Twenty years ago, the answer to that question was either “in my filing cabinet” or “on my desk”. But today, while we may be slightly more updated many people are still not as organized as they could be.

Do YOU use any (or all) of the following?

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  • Filing cabinets
  • Network drives
  • Email
  • Personal computer
  • The Cloud (Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive)
  • Offsite storage
  • Office desk

Having a significant number of storage locations using various document formats presents a number of risks and issues, including the costs associated with the physical storage of the documents and the time it takes to search for them.

Creating additional document repositories also typically results in the same documents being stored in multiple locations by different departments. Yikes! 

This introduces issues related to:

Version control:
“Who has the most recent version?”
Retention:
“Have I deleted all documents that have expired?”
Collaboration:
“Are two people changing the same document at the same time?”

 

 Well, what’s so sexy about that?

 

When you get this system implemented, you can expect to see:
  • Cost savings from elimination of excessive document repositories, physical storage space, and maintenance costs (typically costs about $20 to FILE a doc, and $120 to FIND a misfiled doc!).
  • Time savings when searching for documents.
  • Space savings by converting paper archives into electronic formats.
  • Helps achieve and maintain ISO compliance
  • Reduce exposure in legal discoveries by eliminating expired documents.
  • Disaster recovery protection in the event of a catastrophic event.
  • Improved access to documents via secure web-based interfaces.
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Now THAT’S sexy.

Summit Business Technologies has been delivering document management solutions for over 10 years by partnering with industry leaders that allow us to provide solutions that deliver compliance and productivity benefits. Our solutions are tailored to your specific requirements and include all the components necessary to define, implement and provide ongoing support for your Document Management System.

Check out all the ways Summit can help you here.

Prefer to talk? Call us: 410-987-5914 x.5142

By Divya Ooi, Divya.Ooi@SummitBizTech.com

Mobile Device Tips

Tips All Mobile Device Users Should Know
  1. Turn on Auto Lock Password Protection on phones or tablets – If company e-mails or documents are on the device, set a password and turn it on to prevent unwanted users accessing the data on your phone.
  2. Turn on Find My Phone – When do most people think about using a location tool? After they have lost their phone. Be prepared, set up location services, remote lock, remote wipe and know how to use these valuable tools.  Do this now!
  3. Encrypt Your Data – Especially on laptops! – Once implemented, it is automatic and secure. Protect your data from theft, invest in a data encryption software solution and deploy to your mobile workforce.
  4. Cloud – Keep important business documents stored in the cloud not locally on your device.  Now revisit item  #1 – Lock password.
  5. Anti-Virus – Protect your device from Malware and virus attacks. Install and keep your virus protection up to date.
  6. Free Wi-Fi can be dangerous – Some networks are not safe, choose your Wi-Fi carefully.  Be sure your device has its firewalls up!
  7. Back Up Often – Setup a back-up schedule to ensure you have a copy of your data, just in case you drop your mobile device in the resort pool, um, I mean your morning mug of coffee.
  8. Mobile Device AnalysisContact us today for a free mobility analysis.


Mobile Device Facts

  • 1.75 billion smart phones are used today
  • 4.55 billion mobile users worldwide in 2014
  • 72% expect mobile use to expand in their businesses

Mobile Management Tools We Love & You Will Too

We recommend Sophos Mobile Device Management tools for every business. Learn more about how to manage your mobile workforce with Sophos Mobile Device Management.

sc award Sophos Mobile Control 4.0 Wins 5-Star rating from SC magazine.

“Easy to deploy and manage” with a “Vast a set of features!”

By Jessica Tinordi,  Jessica.Tinordi@lightindustries.com

Resources: Sophos.com

Protect Your Accounts from Hackers – What You Should Know About the Russian Hacker Password Heist

IMG_6858You may have heard about the “Russian Hackers” who stole 1.2 billion “Internet Credentials” from over 420,000 web sites. Below are the facts about this evolving story, as well as, advice on protecting your website log-in information.

What You Should Know:

It has not yet been disclosed to the public which web sites were compromised.

No major e-mail providers were compromised.

The web sites compromised range of those from Fortune 500 companies to very small companies.

Many sites have been informed of their breach and are working a fix, but many sites remain vulnerable.

3 Things You Can Do Now to Protect Your Websites Accounts:

  1. Be proactive. Assume that the web sites where you have accounts have been compromised.  Change your password on those sites as soon as possible.  Best practices suggest that you change your passwords on a regular basis. Summit recommends changing passwords every month.
  2. Be cautious.  Expected an increase of scam attempts in your e-mail and social media. You will likely receive “Important and Urgent” or “Look at this!” messages from friends and family members whose social media and other accounts have been compromised. Be extra vigilant; do NOT click any links.
  3. Do Your Homework.  Do not open attachments from anyone, unless you have verified the legitimacy. (If you are not sure who sent you an email, a good old-fashioned phone call may be in order.)

Should the identified scope of this event grow and have potential impact on Summit customers, we will advise further. If you have questions, contact us. We would be happy to help.

By Jessica Tinordi,  Jessica.Tinordi@lightindustries.com

wifi image from SophosUsing Wi-Fi is convenient and often FREE, but it can put your data at risk.

Would you want someone else accessing your pictures, your documents, your emails, all of YOUR stuff? I didn’t think so.

Did you know that just checking your email in a FREE Wi-Fi environment, (coffee shop, doctor’s office, the bus) could open up your device to allow intruders to view data?

So how can you keep your stuff safe and free of hackers?

Sophos, the company dedicated to making Security Simple, came up with this list of 10 tips: sophos.com/tips.

By Jessica Tinordi,  Jessica.Tinordi@lightindustries.com

Resources: Sophos.com