Important Things to Consider When Hiring an IT Consultant

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

computer repairDuring the last six years, the federal government has suffered a 680% increase in cybersecurity breaches, which proves that as technology advances, so do cyber criminals. However, the federal government isn’t their only target.

Whether you’re concerned about security breaches or computer repair, hiring an IT consultant is always a good idea. However, there are certain things you should consider before you go about hiring just anybody. Here are a few things to take into account when looking to hire IT services.

Employment Status
This is perhaps the most important thing to consider when hiring. If you’re hiring another employee who happens to specialize in IT consulting, that’s one thing, but creating a brand new IT services position for computer repairs is another matter entirely. Think carefully before you make any decisions.

Protect Your Intellectual Property
The worst thing you could possibly do is hire someone who will hold your social media accounts hostage until they get what they want. Protecting your business and your intellectual property is incredibly important, especially when entrusting your technology to a new employee.

Conduct a Thorough Interview
The interview process is incredibly important to any successful addition to your team. If computer maintenance is something you’re concerned about, be sure to ask questions pertaining to the issue during the interview. However, if you’re more concerned about digital marketing solutions, then your interview questions could take a different path.

Ensure Staff Training
Before you hire any form of IT services, you should consider whether or not you want your staff trained in computer repairs and other IT functions. If this an area of concern for you, then you should make a point to bring it up in the application and the interview process.

Hiring an IT consultant is a big step for any company, and if you don’t take the proper steps and concerns into consideration, then you may not make the most of your IT services. Make sure you’re considering these things before you hire IT services.

BYOD Policy

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

Lost Employee Smartphone?
Do This NOW!

“Hey boss, I lost my smartphone.”

phone
How well have you prepared for this moment? It will happen sooner or later. If your company has a plan in place, no big deal. If not, you may suddenly get that sinking feeling in your gut…
And well you might. You now have three big worries:

Compliance Issues – If your employee had access to information covered by any number of regulations, your company could be subject to stiff penalties. One employer we know of wound up with a $900,000 fine.

Data Security – Sensitive company data in the wrong hands could spell disaster. Access to your network, secure sites, proprietary files, work-related e-mails and corporate secrets may now be out of your control. You must move quickly to prevent serious financial harm.

Employee Privacy and Property Concerns – If a valued employee had family photos and movies on the device, and you remotely delete all data on the phone, you may now have a disgruntled, or even uncooperative, employee. Especially if company policy regarding BYOD (bring your own device) and data loss were not clearly stated and agreed to up-front.

So how do you prevent a relatively minor incident from blowing up into a big problem? Here are seven smart measures you can take right now to prepare for the day an employee smartphone is lost or stolen:

1) Install a mobile device management (MDM) system on any employee device to be used at work. This software can create a virtual wall separating work data from personal. It facilitates any security measures you wish to impose. And to protect employee privacy, it can limit company access to work data only.

2) Determine which devices will be allowed and which types of company data people may access from them.

3) Require that employees agree with an Acceptable Use Policy before they connect to your network. Make sure these include notice as to conditions in which company data may be “wiped” – i.e., destroyed. Also include specific policies regarding device inspection and removal of company records.

4) Put strong data protection practices in place. Require use of hard-to-crack passwords and auto-locking after periods of inactivity. Establish protocols for reporting lost or stolen devices. Mandate antivirus and other protective software as well as regular backups.

5) Designate someone at your company to authorize access to software and critical data. This person can also be your main point of contact for questions about BYOD policy and practices. It might also work well to distribute a resource page or FAQ document to your employees.

6) Establish a standard protocol for what to do when a device is lost or stolen. Both Android and iOS phones have features that allow device owners to locate, lock and/or “wipe” all data on their phones. Make sure your policy requires that these features are set up in advance. Then, when a device is lost or stolen, your employee can be instructed to take appropriate action according to your protocol in order to protect company data.

7) And finally, your best protection is to implement a well-crafted BYOD policy in advance. Develop it in partnership with risk management and operations personnel, as well as legal counsel and IT professionals, to come up with an effective and comprehensive plan.

Don’t risk waiting until an incident occurs!
Know where you stand right now with our FREE BYOD Policy Assessment.
We’ll review your BYOD policy with you to make sure it covers all bases. No BYOD policy yet? No problem. We’ll help you get started and work with you and your team to develop a “bulletproof” BYOD policy to keep your data safe.
This service could easily be worth thousands of dollars to you, not to mention untold headaches and time lost due to an employee phone getting into the wrong hands. Unless you are prepared and can move quickly when an employee device is lost, your company’s confidential data can be leaked and access to critical systems may be compromised.

Contact us today at Service@ITScares.com, or better yet call 843-419-6788 to schedule your initial consultation at absolutely no cost or obligation to you. We offer this complimentary service to give you a taste of our high degree of professionalism, and as a way of caring for our community.
Do not delay on this – it is a serious vulnerability that can and must be addressed in order to assure the safety of your company’s data
and systems.

3 Weird Digital Marketing Trends that Actually Work

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

digital marketingA lot of online marketing advice repeats the same old tried and true advice: Include a call to action! Engage with your readers! Use catchy headlines! It can all start to feel a little bit like when your mom sent you off on your first day of school and said, “Just be yourself!”

Sometimes, it’s good to be something a little bit more than yourself. Sometimes it’s good to think outside the box — especially when it comes to digital marketing. Consumers have become incredibly savvy to the ways brands have tried to market to them over the years. Today, between 70 and 80% of all web users completely ignore the paid or sponsored ads in search engine queries for this exact reason. People know when they’re being targeted, and more often than not, they don’t like it.

So what are marketing firms supposed to do in order to spice up their strategies? Here are a few trending ideas that might sound a little weird, but have produced amazing results for the brands who are willing to give them a try.

  1. Gamification: How can you make your website or app services more game-like? Think about the success of Pokemon Go, for example. It forced users to literally get on their feet and take action to engage with the brand, and it certainly got people talking. Find a way to turn even a simple computer services list into an interactive experience that rewards users just for playing along.
  2. Be Funny: Okay, so, easier said than done. People are more likely to re-Tweet something that makes them laugh. Topical humor is great, but only when it’s done tastefully. Many social media users love when brands are willing to poke a little bit of fun at themselves, too. So go ahead, release your inner comedian — but make sure it’s actually worth sharing!
  3. Do Something Nice: Showcasing your charitable contributions to the world can also encompass a fine line in digital marketing, since you don’t want to come off as a humblebrag. Casually sponsor a fundraiser and let the charity do the talking for you, or take up a cause that actually connects with your business in some way. A tug at the heartstrings can compel consumers to share your ideas in a way that bolsters your brand in a meaningful way.

The best part about project management in IT is that there’s always new ways to spread content and diversify digital marketing strategies. The possibilities are virtually endless, so long as you’re willing to take a few chances on something weird.

Smart Online Marketing Tips for Local Businesses

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

online marketingOnline marketing isn’t the next wave of the future. It’s what’s happening right now. If you think that people will find your business’ website from the high quality of your product or services alone, think again.

There are hundreds of millions of web pages out there fighting for readership, user engagement, and sales. So what’s a local company to do when the newspaper classifieds simply won’t cut it anymore? Here are some digital marketing tips that you can put to use to make your online presence known.

  • Create a Blog: Keeping the content on your website useful, informative, and up-to-date is one of the best ways to improve your digital visibility to potential customers. On average, websites with a blog have 434% more indexed pages than ones that don’t, which sends a positive ranking signal to search engines like Google. At the same time, a good blog can showcase your personality and promote your services without having to spend extra money on paid advertising.
  • Leverage Email Lists: One of the most important — but often overlooked — aspects of online marketing is not just reaching out to new customers, but retaining the ones you already have. A regular email update sent out to your “fans” can let the community know what’s new or improved, any relevant events coming up, or simply add a personal touch to your business relationship. You might also include email perks like special coupons or deals to people who opt in to your mailing list.
  • Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms are a great way to connect with your existing consumer base, but people also use these apps to discover new local businesses. It’s important to use a conversational tone instead of a hard sales pitch with whatever content you post. Encourage conversation and discussion for the most engagement, which in turn can help expand your brand. Focus on building relationships with other local companies, rather than trying to go it alone.

Online marketing requires a lot more maintenance and upkeep than some other, more traditional forms of advertising. However, it’s much cheaper than traditional print advertising or TV commercials.

If you’re interested in digital marketing but don’t know how to get started, you can always hire IT consulting services that specialize in maintaining your computer presence to the online world.

Learn more about what you can do to improve your web presence, get more hits on Google, and increase your business sales by contacting us today.

Social Media Marketing Tips for Beginners: Part 2

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

online marketingWe all know that Facebook is a great tool that keeps people connected around the globe. But who could have guessed that it would also turn into such a great digital marketing tool? So in continuation of our list, here are the remaining three Social Media Online Marketing Tips for Beginners: Part 2.

4. Invest in a blog

Creating relevant, engaging information is a great way to keep customers up to date with industry news, new product information, and your latest offers. It can be longform content on your webpage, or quick 100 word blurbs on your Facebook account, it doesn’t matter as long as it can be easily found by your customers.

Feeling skeptical?

Consider the fact that 95% of small businesses that blog view blogging as a valuable business tool, and that companies who blog have an average of 434% more indexed pages than those who don’t. Why does that matter, and why should you spend valuable time creating a blog? Just ask Google.

Not only will blogging give you a place to create content to share on social media, engage new customers, and share company news, but it also enhances your website’s SEO capital, per Google’s official ranking guidelines.

5. Keep a good balance between following and being followed

The idea behind this is simple:

As a customer, would you be more willing to patronize a company that has a dramatic 5,000 followers compared to a more modest 800? Followers are often seen as sign of legitimacy on social media, but don’t go chasing numbers just because. In fact, a Twitter profile that follows 5,000 people but only has a handful of followers is instantly recognizable as a fake account.

And if your company follows thousands of random, spammy accounts, that can have a negative impact on your brand. So as a good rule of thumb, keep an eye out for spam accounts and only follow profiles that look reputable. In general, you want more followers than followed accounts.

6. Be interesting

Okay, so easier said than done. But above anything else, use your digital marketing presence to keep your customers engaged and interested. Share fun and exciting content with your followers, whether it be motivational quotes related to your niche brand, research studies, images and videos, or relevant statistics. If every post is an overt advertisement, users will avoid your social media presence at all costs!

As we mentioned in part one, don’t be afraid to coordinate your online marketing efforts. You can also share special offers and advertisements through email, which is still one of the most popular Internet activities worldwide, so you can be assured that your customers will check their messages!

Without a doubt, social media as online marketing is an effective tool to build client loyalty, brand awareness, and to attract new clients. If you are a new business just starting out, consider contacting professional IT consultants at marketing firms to work on building your social platforms. IT consulting firms like ITSCares provide a full range of digital services, allowing you to outsource social media marketing and managed IT services to the same vendor.

To learn more, contact ITSCares today.