Five Myths About the Cloud – Debunked!

It’s human nature to be wary of something new, something different – something that seems too good to be true. Especially when it comes to your precious business dollars. After all, that business is your baby and you wouldn’t throw that baby on any old bandwagon.

The cloud is only a fad, right? Not even close. Cloud services are here to stay and are constantly evolving. Cloud computing – in the 10 short years since its inception – has gone from a clever idea and morphed into a business-critical core technology. A Forbes study launched at the end of 2017 projected that cloud computing would be a $162 billion industry by 2020. And at its current compound annual growth rate of 19%, Forbes is right on the money. They also reported that 74% of IT CFOs attribute most of their most measurable growth impact to cloud services.

So what is the cloud exactly? At its intrinsic level, the cloud is a collection of computers, servers, and databases that are connected together in a way that users can lease access to share their combined power. Cloud computing is scalable so that buyers can choose to increase or decrease the amount of computing power they need. It’s a set of very complex infrastructure technologies that keeps your data safe and secure.

Of course, not everyone buys into something just because the rest of the crowd has. The cloud and its services still has some mystery surrounding it. We’re going to put to bed some of those myths and show you how to get the most out of moving to the cloud, angst-free.

Myth #1:  Data isn’t secure in the cloud.

The Truth:  The cloud’s security architecture is multi-layered, and there are multiple safeguards against cyber attacks. Deterrent and preventative controls harden your network against threats and require strong end user authentication. Detective controls ensure that the system is monitored 24/7/365 and respond appropriately if a threat is suspected. Corrective controls manage the damage should a data breach occur. All of these things work in unison to protect your sensitive information and intellectual property, especially where federal compliance regulations are an issue.

Myth #2:  The cloud is just a passing trend.

The Truth:  According to research and analyst juggernaut Forrester, over 50% of enterprises across every industry worldwide will be using a public cloud platform by the end of 2018. Cloud computing’s impact is global, and has permeated companies of all sizes across all industries and geographies.

Myth #3:  Migrating to the cloud is expensive.

The Truth:  Given the breakneck speed of cloud growth and accessibility, it’s become easier, faster and less expensive for software developers to roll out applications in the cloud as compared to traditional onsite platform development. That cost savings gets passed on to users. You don’t have to buy hardware until you need it, and you don’t have to plan for peak usage, since most traditional servers are only used at 15% of their capacity.

Myth #4:  We don’t need the cloud. Our servers and network are just fine.

The Truth:  Until you outgrow them, and then they become legacy hardware. If you want to future-proof your business and ensure any kind of longevity in this economy, then you need to take advantage of cloud computing. The cloud gives you a flexible computing environment that greatly ramps up your productivity, streamlines efficiency and promotes real-time collaboration no matter where your staff is.

Myth #5:  Migration takes too long – we can’t afford the downtime.

The Truth:  To get the most out of your cloud services, you need to partner up with a managed IT services provider (MSP). With an MSP there is very little to no downtime for data migration. Not sure which cloud computing services are right for your company’s needs? An MSP team of experts will evaluate your servers and network and consult with you to come up with the perfect plan for cloud migration minus the worry. Seamless implementation without the hassle.

That’s where we come in. Give us a call and we’ll help you take that leap into the future. Come join us in the cloud – life is better is up here.

Office 365

What? You’re Not Using Office 365? If You’re In The Weeds, We Can Help

Chances are that your competition is already using the Microsoft Office 365 suite of tools to maximize their productivity and grow their business, so why aren’t you? This is a powerhouse of a platform that will change your business culture and deliver immediate results, and now it’s more affordable than ever.

Office 365 is more than just another software product filled with empty promises – it’s an integrated experience of applications and services with a familiar face. Microsoft has been providing solutions for some of the biggest companies in the world for decades. Now, with O365, they’ve raised the standard for business growth. Imagine bringing together all of your people, processes and technology and being able to manage all of that productivity seamlessly, all through cloud computing. Office 365 makes that a reality. And if you’re not onboard with it yet, we can help you get there.

O365 encompasses Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and OneDrive – available on ALL of your devices, no matter the operating system. That’s right – O365 is OS-agnostic and works on Windows-based PCs, Android devices, Mac OS and iOS. It also offers the options of these services: Exchange, SharePoint, Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. And, all updates and service packs are included in your monthly subscription. Daunting, isn’t it?

That’s where Your Tech Team comes in. You need a solid managed IT services provider to ease the transition over to O365. We will migrate, integrate and manage your Microsoft Office 365 subscription into your server and network without a hitch. Worried about your data’s safety when it comes to cloud computing? Don’t be. Microsoft Office 365 offers choice like Hybrid Cloud Computing, and incorporates exclusive, proprietary security features to protect your sensitive data. They have also added in a Compliance Manager to help you meet the standards necessary to keep you in business. Plus, we’re watching your data 24/7, and often solve a problem before you even realize you had one.

Benefits of having a Managed IT Services Provider:

  • Take Your Productivity to Heights Unknown

Whether you have a thin IT department – or none at all – with an MSP you’ll be giving your staff the tools to produce their very best work not only raises morale but positively affects your bottom line. The 2018 “Forrester Consulting Report on the ROI of O365” concluded that the group of applications and services that make up O365 cut support time by 50%, saved mobile/field employees at least one hour per day and afforded analysts, managers and sales people the opportunity to make better and faster decisions because they had information in real-time. More productivity means better revenue and happy clients.

  • Worry-free IT Performance

We can integrate O365 seamlessly with your existing system and network. With 24/7 support available, you don’t just add O365 to your productivity tool box, O365 becomes your tool box. To get every last drop out of all the services that make up Microsoft Office 365, you need a great partner to manage it. Bringing in an MSP as your IT partner is the smartest move you can make if you want to use O365 to grow your business.

  • Cost Reduction

Office 365 is more affordable than ever (subscriptions start at $12.50 per user per month) with all monthly updates and service packs included, and also 1 TB of cloud computing storage per user. Small to medium businesses will love the reliability and security, but even the largest of firms will benefit from this powerful suite of tools. Forrester also concluded in their report on O365 that the delivered 3-month ROI was a whopping 378% (source: 2018 Forrester Research “The Economic Impact of Microsoft Office 365”). We at Your Tech Team believe in transparency, so you’ll always know exactly what your cost is, with no surprises.

  • Increased Data Security

Microsoft Office 365 exclusive, proprietary security features to protect your sensitive data, especially in the cloud. They have also added in a Compliance Manager to help you meet the standards necessary to keep you in business. Plus, you have us, the eye in the sky, keeping careful watch over your precious data. No matter your industry, we help you maintain compliance and all those licenses, so you can get back to what you best, and stay worry-free.

  • Real-time Collaboration with Ease

Cloud computing is no longer just a pie-in-the-sky fantasy – it’s here and it has become standard business practice. But choosing which cloud option fits your future goals can be tricky. We can help you sort that out with expert consultation. Dream it, design it, create it – then edit and share it in an instant with anyone on any device to any device in real-time. With features like multi-party HD video conferencing, content sharing, team chat and shared calendars, your people can collaborate with the person in the next room, next regional office or across the world seamlessly. Think of all the time and resources wasted in the past trying to get everyone on the same page for a project, using the same processes and technology. With O365 implemented, those days are long gone.

We mentioned before that all of the tools, processes and services encompassed within Microsoft Office 365 can be overwhelming if you don’t where to start. And if you’re not properly managing it – or it’s beyond the scope of your IT department – you’re not getting the full benefits or tapping its complete potential. It then just becomes a wasted investment. You need a solid managed IT services provider, like us.

We’re here to help. We can offer you seamless integration with your existing servers and network, 24/7/365 assistance, transparent fixed monthly billing and show you and your staff how to get the maximum potential out of O365’s platform. You concentrate on running your business, we’ll handle your Office 365.

What are you waiting for? Give us a call today, and let’s discuss how O365 can grow your business!

Streamline Your Team’s Collaboration: 5 Ways Unified Communications Helps

Unified communications (UC) integrates instant messaging, presence information, voice, mobility, audio, web and more services to make the communication process between internal teams and customers easier. So, why haven’t you made the switch yet?

We get it, it’s a big decision, but did you know there are five benefits that make UC a must-have telecom solution? Let’s explore them:

 

Improve Productivity

UC enhances the way you communicate to boost production and performance. With real-time messaging, you get your questions answered quickly, reduce the amount of time waiting for peer-feedback and improve workplace efficiencies.

Connect Team Members

Whether your peers are located in a different office, state or country, UC solutions make your team feel like they’re communicating in the same room. With video conferencing, you gain the face-to-face interactions missing from traditional phone systems.

 Reduce Costs

By uniting your communication platforms, you’ll spend less on subscriptions and equipment fees. Between hardware, software, maintenance, environment and management, you’ll reduce operating costs while improving workflow.

Streamline Processes

By integrating your applications, you eliminate most of the risks associated with connecting different solutions. Never again will you be told that your email provider doesn’t sync with your phone solution; instead you’ll experience a seamless software experience.

Provide a Better Customer Experience

With a traditional phone system, you often send customers on a scavenger hunt to find the right department. But, with UC your customers reach the right person the first time around, and with call recording, you’ll know exactly why they’re calling before you say “hello.”

Are you ready to improve the lives of your peers and customers? Deploying a unified communication solution is easier with a partner. Contact us today to learn more about our UC services and how we can help you optimize your telecommunications.

remote workforce

Thinking About a Remote Workforce?

Learn How to Solve the 3 Toughest Challenges

 So, you’re thinking about implementing a remote workforce, huh? That’s smart… like, saving-thousands-of-dollars smart. With transportation and car-related expenses—on average—your employees are spending a thousand dollars a month in gas, insurance and vehicle maintenance. But, working remote comes with its own challenges. Does your business have what it takes to save your employees and your organization money while remaining productive and efficient? To get started, you’re going to need some help from managed services.

Communication

The Challenge | Whether you’re talking to your team or answering questions from your customers, communication makes up a significant portion of your day. It’s also the toughest challenge while working remotely. You need solutions that accommodate working from anywhere while providing the efficiency of working in the office.

The Solution | There are two main managed services that optimize your communications while working remotely. VoIP leverages IP telecom solutions that allow you to converse with colleagues and customers at the same time from virtually anywhere. While Office 365 provides Microsoft’s most powerful productivity tools including Skype for Business, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more, so you can collaborate with team members in real-time.

 Security

The Challenge | Mobile devices—especially off-site—increases risk of breaches, security gaps and downtime. If your personal devices have full access to confidential data, then you fear a data breach if your device is lost or stolen. Since most cyberattacks occur through email, keeping mobile and other devices that are connected to your email safe is critical to protecting your organization.

The Solution | With endpoint protection you keep your laptops, tablets and mobile devices safe from cybercriminals. You’ll gain training on how to protect your personal devices and gain extensive security procedures for keeping your hardware safe from phishing emails, ransomware, viruses and other cyberattacks.

 Access

The Challenge | Protecting your network from unauthorized users and malicious attacks start with restricting access. But, finding that IT sweet spot between giving your team the resources they need to succeed and limiting access from damaging intent is difficult to pinpoint. You need a solution designed to keep your business and customers protected.

The Solution | Keeping your business safe and your customer’s data confidential begins with network security services. Your systems are analyzed, and security procedures are implemented to close gaps in your defenses. Plus, we’ll give proper authorization to certified users and create a multi-layer approach to protecting your network, servers, hardware, and ultimately, your business.

Keeping your employees, customers and business safe while working remotely isn’t difficult, but it does require the expertise of an IT professional. We’re here to help make the transition from office to coffee shop easy and painless. So, you’ll save thousands and have the freedom to work wherever.

Contact us today to learn more about our remote services and how we can help you safely work from anywhere.

CES products

Come Out on Top This Year with These 5 CES Products

What’s the key to getting ahead of your competitors? Integrating new technology into your infrastructure. You want your business to be more competitive in 2018, and thankfully hundreds of new technologies were unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

 

But, when there are so many new technologies, how do you find which ones serve your needs best? Well, there’s no need to scroll through endless CES product reviews because we’ve already determined the top five that will keep you competitive in 2018:

 

  1. Lenovo Miix 630

Tablets are the key to working on the go, but it’s not every day that you find one with functionality as unwavering as your work ethic. The Lenovo Miix 630, weighing in at less than three pounds, is designed to be used as much as a smartphone with a built-in Snapdragon 835 chipset. The best part? The battery lasts for up to 20 hours. Your days of frantically searching for an outlet will be long gone when the tablet is released this spring!

 

  1. Acer Swift 7

Carrying your laptop from meeting to meeting can be a hassle, but when you have the world’s thinnest laptop, you can walk in confidently and effortlessly. The Swift 7 measures in at just 0.39 inches thick and weighs 2.48 pounds, all while avoiding compromised usability. Acer will release their revolutionary laptop this spring, with an HD touch display, an Intel Core i7 processor and 4G-LTE connectivity.

 

  1. Asus Lyra Voice

Modems, routers, speakers – we clutter our lives with devices that make important tasks easier. The Asus Lyra Voice brings multitasking to a whole new level, tripling as a tri-band AC2200 mesh Wi-Fi router, a speaker with rich and powerful sound and Amazon’s Alexa as a digital assistant. With Alexa on board, you can ask the Lyra Voice questions, play music and control your smart home devices. Declutter your office with the Lyra Voice and watch your productivity skyrocket!

 

  1. Aura

Say goodbye to your old cameras and infrared sensors and plug Aura – the most popular smart home security system this year – into your wall to monitor the WiFi radio waves that fill your office or home. When these patterns are interrupted, Aura knows that motion is occurring and can notify you on your smartphone or set off other alarms.

 

  1. Wi-Charge

It happens to the best of us. We forget to charge our smartphones the night before a busy day full of important meetings and don’t realize it until we get into the office the next day. Wi-Charge, this year’s winner of the Best of Innovation Award, allows you to charge your phone just by being in the room. Wi-Charge is a wireless power supply for smartphones, wireless webcams and wireless audios, so your smartphone will never die during an important call again.

 

All of these products sound great, but how do you determine which new technologies should be part of your infrastructure? Give [MSP] a call, and we’ll pinpoint the vulnerabilities in your system to help you better understand your strengths and weaknesses and leave your competitors behind this year, once and for all.

PCI compliance

How to Become PCI Compliant

Target, Sony, Home Depot—you’ve witnessed how impactful data security breaches can be to an organization and its customers. But did you know you could pay $100,000 or more a month for not being PCI compliant and that 69 percent of consumers are less inclined to do business with a breached organization?

 

What you might be unsure of is exactly how to become PCI compliant and better protect your customer’s private data (and your bottom line) from falling victim to a data breach. But, there’s no need to stress about meeting PCI compliance! Just follow these four steps and strengthen your payment security:

 

  1. Discover Your PCI Compliance Level

The first thing you need to do is figure out what level of compliance you fall under. To accomplish this, collect data on how many transactions are done through your business with every major credit card brand (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB).

 

  1. Take the PCI DSS Self-Assessment Questionnaire

Next, you’ll take the PCI DSS Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) where you’ll answer “yes” or “no” to a series of questions based on the requirements of PCI. After completing the SAQ, you’ll be aware of the missing pieces of your payment security.

 

  1. Fill Out a Formal Attestation of Compliance

After you’ve made the necessary changes to secure your payment security, you’ll need to fill out a formal attestation of compliance (AOC). The purpose of the AOC is to formally declare your business is PCI compliant. Once this step is completed, you can have a qualified security assessor review your findings and create a report on your compliance.

 

  1. File Your Documents

You’ve made it to the final step! Submit your filled SAQ and AOC to your bank and to the payment brands. Yes, this can be tedious but it’s the simplest part of the process.

 

Once you’ve completed these steps, an external Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) will perform a PCI compliance audit.

 

We know that becoming PCI compliant without the necessary expertise can be time-consuming, confusing and complicated. That’s why we offer our clients PCI compliance solutions that make protecting their reputation and client’s private data a breeze. Contact us today, and we’ll help you become part of the 20% of businesses that are fully compliant with standards.

3 Things to Assess Before 2018

With the New Year right around the corner, it’s tradition to take time to reflect on the past, present and future. Think about your technology… “Oh, the new floppy discs just arrived.” “Do they have free Wi-Fi on the plane?” “We’re going to have to push back our meeting. I have a 5:15 on Saturn and can’t make it to Mars on time.”

The New Year presents big opportunities to dream big and set goals that you work towards tirelessly. This year, we want to help you make a big resolution that you can keep – making your technology work for you, not against you. Here are three things you should assess to prepare for the New Year:

1. Infrastructure:
A lot can change in the year, and the same goes for technology. Your infrastructure must be reliable, secure and scalable to keep up with current trends and new innovations.
Are you getting the most from your IT infrastructure?
Do you have the right combination of technology solutions to meet your needs?
Are you confident you have room to scale as you grow?

If you’re shaking your head, it might be time to take a close look at where your infrastructure can improve.

2. Cloud:
Cloud is a big player in technology because of the added benefits of reliability, manageability, mobility and more security. But as far as assessing your current cloud solutions, here’s some things you should think about:
Are you out of storage space?
Do you need more bandwidth?
Is it time to renew any application subscriptions?

If you haven’t implemented some form of cloud into your business model, you’re already a few steps behind your competition. Maybe you should start your New Year’s resolution by adding a cloud strategy to your 2018 plan.

3. Security:
This past year was a big reminder that you need to be prepared for anything – cyberattacks, floods, hurricanes and fires. While you may not have been directly impacted, you don’t want to suffer the consequences if something happens in the upcoming year.
Do you have a business continuity plan?
If your servers went down right now, could you access your data?
Are you actively protecting your email, applications and networks from cyber criminals?

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to evaluating your security. If you’re looking to greet the new year with confidence, it might be best to get a complete security and vulnerability assessment.

By taking the time to assess your infrastructure, cloud and security, you’ll be able to ring out the old and ring in the new for good times ahead. If you’re not quite sure where to start, we’d love to extend a helpful hand by taking a look at your technology and talking strategy to make 2018 the best year yet. Contact us today.

Invest in Yourself with Section 179

When a brand new employee joins your business, chances are they are given a computer that has actually been used many times before. It’s not uncommon for organizations to try to stretch their computer system capabilities over the course of a decade, and as the dust settles in, it’s not a surprise when computers “unexpectedly” quit working.

We see technology as a way to make life simpler, but when your tech starts to fail, it steadily creates new troubles and ultimately costs you more money in downtime and lost performance than it would cost to buy new equipment.

Here’s the bright side: The federal government understands this desire to save money by updating your equipment less often–and they’re combating it with Section 179.

What’s the Section 179 Tax Deduction? Well, rather than waiting for your equipment to fail on you, Section 179 lets you subtract the full cost of any permitted equipment or software purchased or rented during the year. This includes:
Bought, financed or rented equipment
Desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phones
Servers, printers, routers, network switches, network security devices
Off-the-shelf software (productivity, administrative, operating systems, etc.)

Now, there’s no need to put off buying or leasing technology when you can write-off the full amount. Businesses that buy, finance or lease less than $2M in new or pre-owned businesses technology qualify. You just have to make certain the equipment and software are placed into use by December 31, 2017.

For most situations, applying the tax break will be as simple as subtracting the full amount of the purchase as a Section 179 expenditure; although, in some cases it can be a bit harder. To learn more about Section 179 or if you require help getting started, contact us to request your free, no-obligation Section 179 assessment.

managed services provider

Three Ways Your Managed Services Provider Minimizes IT Downtime

What do you think of when you hear that the server/network/system is down? Is it customer dissatisfaction, loss of productivity, your bottom line? It should be all three of these. Luckily, you can take proactive steps to minimize the cost of downtime. But it can be tricky if you don’t have the essential expertise and time needed to manage your IT.

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managed IT services NJ

Three Benefits of a Virtual CIO

A virtual CIO (vCIO) is essentially a bundle of services your managed service provider delivers to cover expertise gaps in your IT staff. These services are especially helpful for small businesses that can’t afford to hire an executive to make big picture IT decisions and leverage technology to drive revenue.

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