Category: Technology

Big companies almost always have an information technology department. The IT team not only helps the organization with troubleshooting errors and issues but also provides long-term planning and overall business support and strategic planning.

If you’re a small business owner, though, chances are you do not have an IT department. So how do you manage your information technology to keep your business running smoothly? Do you need an IT department for your small business? And when do you hire someone to take on the IT functions? Before you hire an IT manager, it’s important to understand the role of an IT department, the financial investment in hiring, and when to scale up the IT team as your business grows.

Role of the IT Department

The IT department is typically known as the team that “fixes things.” When a computer crashes, the printer has an error, or someone forgets their password, they call the IT guys. In reality, though, an IT department does much more than troubleshooting (although they do that, too).

The IT department is a critical component in overall business success. The team has three areas of concern – governance of a company’s technological systems, maintenance of IT infrastructure, and monitoring and improving the functionality of all systems.

 

Governance of Technological Systems

IT governance is the ‘big picture’ of how IT integrates into the overall business. It examines all the ways IT can provide a return-on-investment for a business owner and its stakeholders. For example, if a business goal is to increase customer service response times, the choice of software to meet that goal would fall under IT governance. IT governance ensures businesses have appropriate decision-making processes and controls in place so that the interests of all stakeholders are balanced.

IT governance is essentially a set of policies and procedures designed to align IT functions with overall business strategy and success. Having a formal set of standards in place helps to maximize value, set IT strategy, reduce risk, and measure performance.

Maintenance of IT Infrastructure

Most businesses understand this function of an IT department – maintaining the IT infrastructure. This includes many of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ tasks such as:

  • Software and hardware maintenance for physical and virtual environments
  • Network administration
  • Data and storage upkeep including cloud systems
  • Management of virtual and remote assets
  • Implementation and maintenance of wireless and wired access
  • Email management
  • Cybersecurity programming

Monitoring and Improving System Functionality

IT departments just don’t “set it and forget it” when it comes to IT infrastructure. The IT department continually monitors and improves functionality to minimize loss and maximize return. Using tools, employee feedback, and documentation, the IT department refines and improves the current systems.

 

Financial Investment to Start an IT Department

 

Small businesses can hire an in-house IT professional if they have the financial stability and resources to grow their staff. The financial investment varies widely depending on the type of IT professional needed to support the business. According to Indeed.com, the average salaries of the most common IT professionals are:

  • Computer Support Technician: $33,000
  • Computer Support Specialist: $34,000
  • IT Support Specialist: $41,500
  • IT Technician: $74,400
  • Computer Systems Analyst: $76,000
  • Systems Administrator: $79,000
  • IT Manager: $85,000
  • Director of Information Technology: $120,000

The cost of hiring an IT professional extends beyond the salary. According to the Society of Human Resources Management, the average cost of hiring a new employee can exceed $4,000.

Scaling IT as Your Business Grows

For any business, having the right people in place can make all the difference in the success of the organization. How do you know when it’s the right time to add an IT team? What works for some businesses may not work for others, so it’s important to first assess your situation to determine when – and if – you should hire. If you own a small business, ask yourself:

  • Does someone at my organization take on IT tasks in addition to their regular workload?
  • Do I need to support a remote work environment?
  • Am I at risk for a cyber threat? Do I have sensitive information that could be hacked?
  • Do I have applications or computer programs that require support? Is this managed by a vendor?
  • Does my business model rely primarily on e-commerce?

If you answered yes to these questions, you should consider adding IT support to your small business. But what if you cannot afford to add a full-time team member to your staff? The good news is you can get the IT support you need through Managed IT Services.

Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

Many small business owners are operating on tight budgets and cannot financially support an in-house IT team. Managed IT Services is a way to get the IT support you need that works with your budget and goals.

Managed IT Services allows business owners to delegate their ongoing information technology processes to a third-party company like Everound that specializes in the IT industry. For a fraction of the cost of hiring an IT professional, Managed IT Services improves overall organizational efficiency and productivity while also reducing operating expenses.

As a Managed IT Services provider, Everound offers IT support including:

  • Help Desk
  • Network and Server Administration
  • Network Monitoring
  • Hardware and Software Installation and Configuration
  • Computer Patching and Software Updates
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery
  • Software Customization
  • After Hours Support

If you own a small business and are ready to add IT support in a cost-efficient way, reach out today to discuss how we can help. We can work with your budget to support you and your IT needs. Let us focus on your IT so you can focus on your business.

 

 

Technology helps improve productivity, collaboration and is arguably the driver of success for business goals and priorities. Sometimes, though, information technology creates a headache for its users. Issues with printer connections, login credentials, and even software and hardware configurations can cost companies money in downtime and can distract leadership from focusing on the business itself.

As a managed service provider (MSP), Everound provides IT help desk support for businesses to alleviate the stress and frustration caused by both day-to-day and long-term IT challenges. But what is help desk support? And what services are included in help desk support?

Help Desk Defined

At its core, an IT help desk team supports internal staff at an organization and solves problems ranging from minor issues such as a lost password to larger, more potentially risky issues such as a company-wide network outage. Essentially, a help desk is internal customer support led by a trained information technology support team that can handle technical problems.
A help desk team provides information and support on an ongoing basis to its customers (ie: the company’s employees). This is achieved by not only responding to specific issues and problems but also by proactively seeking and addressing potential IT pain points.

 

What Products and Services Are Provided by a Help Desk Team?

The main functions of a help desk address immediate day-to-day IT issues as well as prevent future IT headaches. At Everound, our monthly help desk services include:

  • Real-time IT assistance: through a help desk ticketing system, employees have immediate access to IT help for issues related to email, hardware and software.
  • Networking: proactively manage and maintain your operating systems, servers, and applications to ensure everything is running smoothly and there are no potential issues. Review and make recommendations for network infrastructure that is out of warranty or at end of life.
  • Microsoft or other software administration: installation, implementation, and administration of Microsoft solutions or other industry-specific software.
  • Ongoing technology recommendations: review current technology investments and identify areas of opportunity and improvement.
  • ISP support: continually monitor and support internet service provider (ISP) functions to address real-time issues including dropped Wi-Fi and other internet-related challenges.
  • Liaison between 3rd party software and or hardware vendors: manage the relationship between the business and its software and hardware vendors to ensure products meet the needs of the business.
  • Antivirus and malware assistance: routine scan and reporting of potential cybersecurity risks including viruses and malware.
  • Disaster recovery: regularly back up data in case of hard drive malfunction, cyberattacks, and natural disasters.
  • IT documentation: thorough IT documentation to provide a historical analysis of solutions as well as create a knowledge base for employees.
  • Monthly maintenance: provide monthly IT maintenance during a predetermined maintenance window that does not interfere with or interrupt employee workflow.

 

Why You Should Integrate a Help Desk at Your Business

 

Some organizations have an existing help desk team in place, while others rely on someone outside of the IT department to address technology issues. While the latter approach may appear to be a cost-savings measure, it will, in fact, cost a business money in the long term.

For example, if everyone in a company runs to the recently hired college grad for help with their computers, that college grad will be focusing on IT support, not the job function they were hired to do. Adding a help desk team to your company is an affordable and strategic business decision to help your business become more efficient and profitable.

At Everound, we support small and medium businesses with their IT help desk needs. Our full-time staff is dedicated to our client’s successes and works with each of our businesses to create a custom approach to let them focus on their business while we focus on their IT.

Interested in learning more? Reach out today for a free IT assessment of your current IT needs. We will help you understand if a help desk is right for your business. 

Choosing an IT provider and hiring the right information technology consulting company is paramount to ensure both short- and long-term business continuity. A strong proactive information technology strategy and approach can create efficiencies, improve communication, and ensure sensitive business data is secure.

As an IT consulting and managed IT services provider, we know there are many companies that provide similar services. With every IT company promising the same thing, how do you choose an IT provider? As a business owner, it’s critical to understand what to look for when choosing a partner to help you with your IT needs.

Here are 5 key qualifications when choosing an IT provider for your business:

 

choosing an IT provider

Availability

Nothing is worse than having to track down your IT support team when you are having a critical issue that needs quick attention. A reputable managed IT services provider should be available and on-call to respond to issues quickly. When choosing a provider, ask about guaranteed response times, direct access to the IT support team, and if they offer 24/7 support services. 

Onsite Support

Even though remote work is becoming standard for businesses, brick-and-mortar companies still need onsite support for IT challenges. IT consulting firms and managed service providers should offer onsite support included in their scope of services to help employees with their IT needs. From hardware and software installation to general troubleshooting, onsite support is critical in an ongoing IT support relationship.

Innovation & Outside the Box Thinking

Many IT support companies will use a cookie-cutter approach to IT services for their clients. For some functions like software installation, using the same approach is most likely appropriate and even efficient. But individual businesses have specific challenges that are best solved through innovation and custom solutions. Ask your managed IT services company if they understand your specific needs and how they will approach problem-solving as your IT partner.

Disaster Recovery and Response

Are you prepared for an emergency such as a cyberattack, network failure, power outage, or even a fire or other facility loss? When you choose an IT service provider, be sure they are properly helping you plan for an emergency or disaster with cloud services, cybersecurity planning, and proactive disaster recovery and response programming. 

Relationship-Focused

Above all, your managed IT service provider should be relationship-focused. Many companies push their client into an annual service level agreement and then once signed, forget about the relationship. Business owners should feel like their outsourced IT team is not outsourced at all, rather as an extension of their own staff and team.

The Everound Difference

We do things a little differently at Everound. We believe relationships and trust are the drivers of a successful partnership. We work diligently to build, maintain, and improve upon relationships in all that we do. How are we different?

  • Full-Time Certified Staff. Everound does not outsource our clients’ work. When our clients call with a question or send us an email, they are connecting with our full-time, certified staff, not someone off our payroll in an office across the country. We believe in building relationships with our clients, not pushing them to an outsourced contracted employee.
  • A Dedicated, Accessible Team. When our clients have an issue, they know who to call, always. Our clients call us directly and are not routed through an answering service. We share our cell phone numbers and emergency contact information with our clients so they can reach us at a moment’s notice. We know IT challenges can be frustrating, and a quick response is critical. Our goal is for each of our clients to think of us as an extension of their full-time workforce.
  • The IT Factor. Unlike other companies that require an annual service agreement, we work hard each and every day to earn our clients’ trust and business. If our clients are not satisfied with our services, we will help them find another provider that can meet their needs. The IT Factor is our promise to provide outstanding customer service that allows our clients to focus on their business while we focus on their IT.

If you are interested in improving your IT infrastructure and programs, reach out today to learn more about how we can help. Whether you are frustrated with your current provider or are considering choosing an IT provider for the first time, we are ready to listen to your needs and help you make an informed decision.

 

 

As a business owner, you are likely familiar with and utilize antivirus (AV) software to help protect your hardware devices from cyber threats.

While antivirus programs provide basic protection from threats, the technology has been relatively unchanged since its inception in the late 1980s and can easily be bypassed by today’s savvy cybercriminals.

Antivirus programs are not enough to protect you from advanced threats like ransomware. Ransomware works much differently than traditional viruses and can attack your data and hold them hostage with encryption. Ransomware attacks cost businesses nearly $20 billion in 2020 alone.

So how do you fully protect your business from cyber threats including ransomware and malware? While nothing is completely infallible, implementing an endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution can protect your company from advanced threats.

What is Endpoint Detection and Response?

Endpoint detection and response is a cloud-based continuous monitoring cyber software platform designed to find and mitigate cyber threats that have bypassed your existing cybersecurity measures.

Think of endpoint detection and response, also referred to as endpoint threat detection and response (ETDR), as a cyber threat “hunter” and antivirus, as a cyber threat “roadblock” or “obstacle.” Sophisticated malware like ransomware can overcome a roadblock or obstacle, so “threat hunting” with EDR adds an additional layer of cybersecurity. If a threat infiltrates your antivirus software, EDR takes over.

How Does Endpoint Detection and Response Work?

EDR software such as SentinelOne is installed on endpoints and records every file execution, registry change, network connection, and other activities in a central database. Every action taken on endpoints is monitored and recorded. Then, using machine learning, EDR provides real-time data and threat intelligence on and between the endpoints.

EDR investigates the entire lifespan of the threat. EDR will determine how the threat bypassed the initial cybersecurity system (usually the antivirus software), where it has been in the environment, what it’s doing now, and how to eliminate it.

Using this data, EDR contains the threat and prevents it from spreading throughout your entire network. EDR uses analytics to find patterns and anomalies in an environment including rare processes, strange connections, and related risky activities.

System administrators can access the data compiled by the EDR in a central dashboard, and users that have suspicious activity on their endpoint will be notified of the threat in real-time.

EDR Capabilities

While many EDR programs have varying security capabilities, they share key components and features. When searching for an EDR solution, here are key capabilities to look for:

Detection

Cyber threat and incident detection are critical to a successful endpoint detection and response program. EDR uses continual file analysis to determine if any malicious behavior is unfolding. When identified, an EDR solution will flag the file as suspicious so immediate action can be taken.

Containment

After detecting an issue, an EDR solution will immediately contain the threat. If left alone, the threat can spread quickly throughout a network, creating chaos, and potentially infecting and harming other endpoints. Quick containment can save companies thousands of dollars in lost revenue, ransom, and downtime.

Investigation

What sets EDR apart from traditional antivirus is its ability to investigate the cause of the threat, document its behavior, and then use that information to improve upon existing security protocols. For example, if the threat slipped through the front-line barriers, there is clearly a vulnerable point-of-entry in the network. The EDR will help you find that vulnerability and remediate it.

Elimination

An EDR solution will efficiently and effectively remove the identified threat and scan the network for similar suspicious files that may have infiltrated the system. Using compiled data and best practices in cybersecurity, the threat is eliminated, and preventative measures are put in place to prevent the threat from replicating.

Why EDR Is Important for Businesses in 2021

Cybercrime rose a staggering 300+% in 2020, most notably after the abrupt transition to a remote workforce in the spring. The increase occurred mostly at companies that were using antiquated antivirus software without an EDR solution in place.

With remote work extending into at least the first few quarters in 2021, it’s important to take proactive measures to reduce the risk of cyber threats and attacks. Even if your workforce isn’t remote, EDR can help keep your company endpoints safe from a cyber threat.

Originally adopted by large enterprise businesses, EDR is now recommended for businesses of all sizes to avoid and mitigate a cyber attack. An effective EDR can protect businesses from losing thousands of dollars in lost revenue and critical hours of downtime.

Everound and SentinelOne: Your EDR Security Team

Everound partners with SentinelOne, a national, leading EDR solution, to implement affordable endpoint detection and response programs for both small and enterprise-level businesses. Nearly all data breaches occur at endpoints, so having a proper EDR solution in place is critical to keeping your business operating at peak efficiency in a safe cyber environment.

As endpoint protection platform (EPP) experts, Everound can help your business implement a comprehensive EDR solution at a reasonable investment. Reach out today for a free consultation, and to learn more about how we can help keep your IT safe, so you can focus on your core business.

It happened again! Your network hit some kind of glitch and the whole office is staring at frozen screens. You tried “turning it off and turning it back on again.” That didn’t help.

Your whole network is down, the guy who installed it told you it might not come back up.

So you sit there, paying people to stare at screens and wondering how this is going to get fixed.

The answer is simple: You need help desk.

What is help desk?

Help desk is a group of techs you can call when there’s something wrong with your computers or your network. They help with everything from resetting a password to rebooting the network.

The people at the help desk are there 24 hours a day or however many hours your office is open. They answer questions about everything from your desktop programs to what’s happening with your servers.

In short, they’re there to make sure that your technology keeps functioning exactly as you need it to.

Do we need help desk?

Does a small or medium-sized business need a help desk? Yes.

Every time someone can’t get their computer to start or loses a password, you’re losing money. Even if you’re the only person in your company, do you really want to spend a lot of your time figuring what’s wrong with your computers?

Very often, help desks are paired with managed IT services. Managed IT makes sure that your network is up-to-date and running smoothly. They do all the maintenance on your systems, often even physical maintenance.

By pairing managed IT and your help desk, you’ll know that you have a team answering the phone that really understands all of your systems and programs. When you call them, no matter what the questions are, they’ll know how to help you get back to work fast.

Can I afford help desk?

Yes, definitely.

IT companies, like Everound, know that not everyone needs a help desk every day. They offer a variety of packages to choose from.

  • On-call – This is one that most people think of. The company pays to have a team on call 24 hours a day. This is ideal if you have a team that works 24 hours a day. This can help prevent the boss from getting calls at 2 am on a Sunday morning. This type of service is almost always part of the larger managed IT services programs.
  • Limited Hours – You can get IT help desks that are only available during your business hours. If your company works Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, you don’t need someone to answer program questions on Saturday afternoon. Talk to your help desk provider to see if they can offer this type of assistance. It’s less expensive.
  • On-Demand – You can arrange for a help desk provider to simply bill you for whatever time they’re on the phone or fixing issues. That might be an hour one month and 10 hours the next. While this might be unpredictable, you’ll know you’re spending money when you do it.

The easiest way to find out what’s best for your needs is to schedule a call with a help desk provider. Talk about the size of your company, how often you need help, what types of systems and computer programs you have, and your budget. Together, you can come up with something that works for your company.

IT Help Desk for Customers

An IT help desk is a great investment in your customer relations, as well.

  • Ecommerce – If you have an online store, you don’t want to lose a sale because the customer is having problems with your system. A 24-hour help desk can chat or speak with your customers to help them get their orders placed. Companies that don’t offer a help desk can lose thousands of dollars every month just because a customer is not clicking a button or is confused.
  • Mobile apps – Apps can give customers fits. If you have an ecommerce app or other complex app that your customers need to navigate, you need someone there to answer questions and fix problems.
  • Ticketing and scheduling – For important things, like concerts and doctors’ offices, scheduling is important. Being able to assure someone that their appointment or seat is reserved is the difference between staying in business and losing a lot of customers.
  • Personal accounts – Any business that allows customers to have a personal account, whether it has money on it or not, needs a help desk. If a customer has information that they will need access to, you need someone there to help if there’s a problem.

In short, customers like help desks. They’re used to them. Not having someone to help quickly can mean the difference between more sales and more brand loyalty and having a lot of very angry customers.

The ROI of SMB Help Desks

Do you get a return on your investment with small- and medium-sized business help desks?

Definitely. If you choose the right plan, that one that fits your company’s needs, it will help you take better care of your staff, keep your customers happy, and reduce downtime. You’re less likely to lose sales to broken technology. Your staff will spend a lot less time looking for answers or just staring at a blank screen.

Choosing a IT Help Desk Company

It’s easy to find one of those big help desk companies. They are everywhere with their advertising and you’ve even interacted with them. But they’re often not the right choice. One-size-fits-all programs and canned answers aren’t necessarily great customer service.

The reality is that a smaller company, like Everound, provide your customers, both internal and external, with better, more personal service. A room full of help desk people reading canned answers from a screen is not the personal touch that most small- and medium-size businesses want.

In other words, choose a help desk company that’s closer to your company’s size to ensure that every interaction is as personal and professional as the ones you have with everyone.

Everound has been successfully engaging and supporting businesses to adapt to this new era of remote workers. From every facet of a company’s IT, we can assist, from employee experience to data center to cybersecurity and much more. If you need assistance transitioning your company to a work from home environment, we can help. Contact us today using the contact form below or by calling us at +1 717.312.5890!