How to Speak With Your IT Provider Part 2: Communication Strategies

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

it servicesCommunicating what you need can be difficult, especially in a highly specialized field like IT. In many ways, it can feel like being in a foreign country without speaking the language: you communicate with gestures and vague generalizations.

Of course, over time you’ll start to develop a language of your own — or at least a methodology for communicating.

This two part series is designed to help you do exactly that, but for the language of IT professionals. In the first part, we discussed framing tools to help define your IT services needs. In this second part, we will look at active strategies to facilitate deeper communication.

Center Your Conversation Around You Business
We spent a whole post giving you the tools to frame the types of services you are looking for, now it is time to put those tools to the test.

When talking to an IT professional, it’s important that you tightly restrict your conversation to the needs of your business. Don’t get bogged down with trying to understand the mechanics of technology, at least not initially. If you are unsure of what a service is or how a piece of technology works, ask them to explain it to you in the context of how it will impact your business specifically, both in a procedural and financial sense.

Be Open-Minded
Once you have explained the needs of your business, you should make an effort to honestly listen to the advice that you are given. While IT services or computer support that your IT consultant is bringing up might seem out of left field, give them the opportunity to explain why those particular IT services would be beneficial

Especially when it comes to security, it is important to defer to their expertise. There have been several very notable cyber attacks lately, but the truth is that they are much more wide spread than you might think. The federal government alone has seen a nearly 680% increase in attacks in the last six years.

Maintain Your Authority
It is very easy when talking to IT consulting services to let your curiosity get the best of you. While the incredible strides made in technology can be incredibly fascinating, or alternative, overwhelming, it is important that you maintain your authority over the situation.

If you feel like a service is not necessary for the success of your business, you shouldn’t hesitate to say so. While it is always important to respect the opinion of experts, you shouldn’t let them convince you that they understand what your business needs better than you do.

The biggest challenge when trying to enlist the help of IT services is communicating clearly what you and your business need. Hopefully, this two part series has given you the tools you need to better communicate with your IT provider.

How to Speak With Your IT Provider Part 1: Build, Guide, or Run

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

it consultant

Whenever you’re outsourcing something as vital to your company’s success as IT is, communication becomes incredibly important. You need to be able to explain the needs of your business in clear enough terms that you receive the support and assistance you require. Failing that, you are basically just wasting time and money.

In order to better assist you with your communication needs, we’ve developed a two-part series in which we will be delving into some important concepts and terms you will need to be familiar with.

In this first part, we will define the three broad lenses through which you can view your IT needs, and explain how to use them to communicate your needs.

Lens 1: Build
Build is likely the easiest of these three concepts to understand. As the name implies, you are looking for an IT consultant or provider that has experience developing IT services and systems that best fit your company’s need. Build style services require a great attention to detail and cutting edge understanding of the IT field.

If you’re experiencing massive problems with your information software that you don’t believe can be solved with better training or small upgrades, or if you have no software at all, then you will likely be looking for a “build” type IT service.

Lens 2: Guide
The guide based lens incorporates a wide number of services, but on the most basic you can think of them as IT consulting services. Guide can help you optimize the way your business utilizes its technology, making you a more efficient and effective business. It can also help you train your staff about general IT best practices and concerns.

One of the main focuses on the guide side is IT compliance. There are a number of mandates, such as PCI, HIPAA, and FISMA, that require your business to handle their information in very particular ways. A “guide” style IT consultant will help you protect, track and control access to information in a way that is in line with any applicable regulations

Lens 3: Run
Run services are the extreme of outsourcing. They provide managed IT services for your business so that you can focus your resources where they are more vitally needed. These services are especially great for small businesses and startups, allowing them to have the best IT care without the expense of an in-house team

Run programs include any number of IT services, from managing your SQL database to installing cloud based servers. What really sets the a “run” lens apart is the fact that you’re having them handled entirely by another company.

You can use these three lenses as a way to help self-diagnose the sort of services that your business needs. From there, you’ll be more able to communicate your needs to an IT consultant or provider.

4 Ways to Protect Your Computer From Being Damaged

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

computer maintenanceA broken computer can cause extreme panic amongst business professionals. Whether you’re responsible for your entire company’s data storage or you’re just working on something important for your job, it’s essential that you do everything you can to protect your computer from being permanently damaged.

Here are a few ways to ensure that your computer is safe and all your valuable digital information will remain protected.

Stay on top of computer maintenance
If you just neglect your computer, over time, it’s going to be permanently damaged. Even if you are extremely careful with your computer each and every day, if you’re not providing regular computer maintenance checks, it’s going to break down eventually. If you’re unaware of how to perform minor computer repairs or computer maintenance, contact a professional to help you out.

Store all your information on the cloud
Although you should have as much important information as possible in multiple areas just in case something happens to it, you should absolutely have a backup cloud storage account. There are quality cloud providers that can assist you and your entire company with all your cloud services needs.

Work with IT professionals to keep software up to date
Your software should always be top of the line to avoid any complications. Digital hackers are always innovating and finding new ways to break into valuable databases, so it’s up to you to make sure that your software protection programs are highly advanced. Work with IT consulting services to ensure that you’re getting expert assistance and your software is strong enough.

Be careful surfing the web and opening emails
About nine out of every 1,000 computers in the U.S. are infected with spam. Simply by opening an email from someone you think you know can ruin your computer for good and lose all your information. Make sure you’re always double-checking emails before you open them so you’re not welcoming any spam to infect your network. Also, be cautious while surfing the web because a visit to the wrong website can harm your computer as well.

It’s up to you to protect your computer from being damaged. If you want to learn more about how to do so or to work with helpful IT professionals, contact Integrated Technology Services today.

3 Reasons Why Small Business Should Outsource Their IT Services

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

IT provider

Small business owners are not only the backbone of the American economy, but they are the embodiment of the American dream. These people are building their own legacy, leaving their mark on their town, state, and the nation.

In the past, small businesses were almost exclusively run by the people with the most at stake: the owners. Even today, employees are often very carefully chosen to reflect the values and beliefs of the small business owner who employs them.

But as information technology becomes increasingly important to businesses, many small businesses have started to struggle to keep up. The issue? For many business owners, the cost of hiring a full-time IT professional is incredibly prohibitive.

One workaround is to outsource your IT needs. But for many business owners, putting such an important part of their business in the hands of another firm can be scary. This guide will show you why small business owners stand to benefit from outsourcing their IT needs to an IT provider.

  1. Save Money
    The most obvious benefit of outsourcing your IT services rather than hiring an in-house IT professional is the money saved. That is because you will not need to create a full-time position, nor will you have to negotiate salary with a qualified professional. You can simply get a quote from an IT provider for the services needed, and then move on to running your business.
  2. Get Only the Services You Need
    Whether you need a comprehensive digital marketing strategy, help making your network align with IT compliance standards and regulations, or simply need a broken computer repaired, business owners have the ability to tailor their managed IT services to precisely what they need. That means much less waste.
  3. Better Cyber Security
    According to the 2013 Information Security Breaches Survey, a remarkable 87% of small businesses experienced a breach in cyber security during 2012. Working with an IT provider allows you to have the most up-to-date IT security available, meaning that you are significantly less likely to experience a cyber breach.

If you are a small business owner looking to expand your IT infrastructure, outsourcing with an IT provider is a much-needed compromise. While it might feel unnatural to trust someone not directly tied to your business and your mission, United States-based IT providers can be the key to unlocking new customers and more effective practices.

3 Questions to Ask a Internet Marketing Company Before Signing on the Dotted Line

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

online marketing

So you’re looking to expand your visibility online.

You call up an online marketing firm to help.

What do you do next?

Considering that Google owns an estimated 60-75% of the entire search engine market worldwide, it comes as no surprise that digital marketing fluctuates quite often. This is where specific marketing strategy can come in. That means it’s best to work with a professional marketing agency if you’re looking to get results.

While it is important to let the professionals handle your marketing techniques, it is always a great idea to get involved in the process of SEO and improving your brand’s visibility on the World Wide Web. To help you do just that, here are some of the top questions you should ask your online marketing company before signing on to work with them.

  1. Do you guarantee results?
    It is important to think about digital marketing like the stock market — you get out of it what you put into it! Algorithms change all the time, so it is crucial that you work with someone who has experience with keywords, PPC ads, and securing the best search engine results.
  2. How do you define your goals?
    Each agency does their work differently, meaning some may look at your rankings each month, some every 45 days, some only once every three months. No matter how they operate, a good agency should collaborate with you on your goals and have a written plan in place as to how they intend to reach them.
  3. What results should I expect?
    There are plenty of different factors that come into play when figuring out the best results for your digital marketing campaign. These include whether you already have an established online following/customer base, if you have to build your website from scratch, if you are active on social media, and if you are focusing only on SEO or PPC, not both. Think of digital marketing as an equation that is meant just for you; with the help of an established digital marketing agency you’ll be able to put in all the different details together to gain the right outcome for your brand as a whole.

These three questions will help you determine if an online marketing company is a right fit for your business and brand. Never go into an interview without them!

If you are looking to start your digital marketing venture, please contact our professionals today with any and all questions!