One Hidden Benefit of Managed IT Services

We hate to be the bad guy, but we’re certain that you cannot multitask nearly as well as you think you can. Multitasking is just not how the human brain works, and whether or not you believe in the psychology of it, we think you stand to benefit by outsourcing some of the tasks on your plate to a managed service provider.

 

Managed services are effective to help you spend less time on your IT and more time on your actual job duties and responsibilities.

The Proof is in the Proverbial Pudding

To put things in perspective, only about 2.5% of people can effectively multitask, so it’s highly unlikely that you are in the minority who can do so without compromising the quality of your work.

What you think is multitasking is really just your brain switching gears over and over, and the more complicated these tasks are, the less effective it is at switching between them. Your performance is sure to suffer if you can’t keep up.

How This Shows Up in the Workplace

It’s difficult at best to do multiple tasks at the same time, so let’s take a look at some of the tasks that might be pulling you away from your important work:

  • Managing employees to ensure they are reaching your organizational and operational goals.
  • Managing the public face of the company, including how you appear to the community, clients, and vendors.
  • Ensuring compliance with laws and regulations.
  • Managing the sales and marketing efforts of your organization.

 

Notice how we haven’t even mentioned IT on that list yet; it’s a whole other beast to tackle.

Managed IT Removes Some of the Burden on Your Business

Really, you shouldn’t be managing your technology anyway—you should be relying on a professional like Point North Networks. Give us a call today and we can discuss how it’s beneficial for you to work with us.

 

Tips to Help You Determine How Much Bandwidth You Need

For small businesses, having a fast, reliable Internet connection is needed to run all the digital tools that your staff has come to depend on. If you don’t have the bandwidth in place, you can deal with bottlenecks that can ruin communications, stall productivity, and cause operational issues of all types. Today, we’ll take a look at how to determine the amount of bandwidth you need to support your business’ computing infrastructure.

What Exactly Is Bandwidth?

There is a misconception that bandwidth is the speed of the Internet that you obtain through your chosen service provider. It does play a role, but it is not synonymous with connection speed. Bandwidth is actually the measurement of the amount of data that can be sent over your Internet connection and across your network in general in a designated time frame; typically measured in megabits per second (Mbps). The more bandwidth you have, the more data can be transmitted at one time. With a lot of businesses now leaning quite heavily on digital tools, knowing how much bandwidth your company needs is extremely important.

What You Need to Know to Get the Bandwidth Your Company Needs?

The first thing that you need to get the bandwidth your company needs is to find a reliable ISP (Internet Service Provider). Not all ISPs are created equal and for business purposes having an ISP that can easily scale your bandwidth to your needs is an important factor. You also don’t want to overpay, and waste your operational capital.

Let’s look at the variables you have to consider when choosing the right amount of bandwidth for your business:

The Number of Connected Devices

This is pretty simple. The more devices that need to be connected to the Internet, the more bandwidth you are going to need; especially if these devices are consistently being used to access Internet-fueled applications. You also need to take into account all the mobile devices that are connected to the network. In many cases they will outnumber workstations and other hardware.

The Type of Applications Used

Your business has a unique profile that is made up of all the tools you use and the processes that govern the use of them. For basic use, such as online browsing, email, and social media, a company would only need about one Mbps per user. Most businesses nowadays use their Internet connection for much more than this. Activities like VoIP calling, video conferencing, video streaming, and cloud computing can multiply this by up to five times.

This is why it is important to get a good read on all the potential uses your business has to build a connection that works to support your business’ computing requirements.

At Point North Networks, we know how important the Internet is for your business. Our consultants can help you estimate the level of bandwidth you need, and can actively help you acquire that bandwidth so that you can operate as efficiently as possible. Give us a call today at 651-234-0895 to talk to one of our IT professionals to set up an assessment of your Internet connection and applications to give your business the best chance of success.

3 Questions You Need to Ask Your IT Service Provider

More businesses than ever before are seeing the value of outsourcing their technology management to a managed service provider (MSP) and it’s easy to see why. With a more hands-off approach to technology management, businesses can focus on delivering quality goods and services instead of worrying about their technology. If you are considering jumping on the MSP wagon, consider asking the following questions to make sure you understand what you are getting from your provider.

What Services Do You Offer?

It helps to know what services an MSP is capable of offering to your organization, specifically because it helps to establish expectations and inform your ability to add or remove services according to your specific needs. For example, if you can foresee a situation where your business wants to move to a more cloud-based infrastructure environment, you want to ensure that your provider offers services like cloud hosting and cloud migration. Otherwise, why would you consider them?

How Experienced Are Your Technicians?

When it comes to your technology, you don’t want some greenhorn handling it. You want a seasoned and experienced technician who has had their fair share of time working with business technology solutions. This is especially the case in a world where security needs to be at the forefront of every business owner’s mind. You want technicians who both know what they are doing and are knowledgeable enough to distill complex ideas into easily-understood concepts.

What is the Service Level Agreement?

The service level agreement, or SLA, is an agreement between your business and the service provider which dictates the services rendered and the costs associated with them. It might include information such as how much you pay, which services are included with that payment, how often you pay for your services, and so on. Basically, asking this question helps to determine what kind of expectations you have from your MSP and the services they provide for you based on what you pay.

Get Started with Managed Services Today

If your business is considering working with a managed service provider to fill the technology skills gap that so many companies find themselves with, we encourage you to think local and work with Point North Networks for your needs. Our trusted and trained technicians can work with your team to ensure that technology is never a pain point for your business again.

 

Plus, depending on your specific needs, we can either fulfill the roles of a full-fledged IT department, act as a consultant, implement new technology solutions, operate as a help desk, and so much more. Our services are truly customizable to suit your company’s specific needs.

 

To learn more about how we can support your business goals, call us today at 651-234-0895.

 

You Gain Major Benefits from Our Extensive Experience

In business, experience is always useful. Nowhere is that more apparent than when managing your organization’s IT infrastructure. The problem is that acquiring the expertise to do just that can be quite confusing for most business owners. Today, we’ll talk about how technology management experience can produce better business from one end to the other.

Value of Modern IT

For any-sized business, the use of technology can present huge steps forward in terms of productivity and efficiency. For the business that actively tries to find the right technology to aid its operations, it can be maddening and frustrating. This is because there is seemingly an endless amount of options available, all of which promise to help build a better business. The thing is, not all technology that works for one business, works for another.

 

The technology consultants at Point North Networks work daily with Minnesota businesses to help them get the technology to drive their business initiatives forward. This isn’t just about getting computers set up, it’s about getting the tools into a business that can work to make productivity easier, automate menial tasks, and build an efficient workforce that doesn’t have to struggle to collaborate.

 

The value of modern IT can be immeasurable if it is implemented and supported correctly. That’s why having experienced technicians that understand both the fundamentals of supporting business technology and how it works to improve a business’ operational effectiveness is important.

Experience With Business Technology

As far as delivering the right technology, technicians with experience not only understand how a business can utilize certain solutions to solve operational problems, but they also understand the potential value it has to a business as a whole. The procurement of new technology can be difficult for people that don’t know exactly what is needed to accomplish organizational goals.

 

Since most businesses have to be diligent about choosing prudent technology investments, having experienced perspectives is a great benefit that can go beyond dollars and cents; it can create environments where workers can be the most productive and allow business leaders to build processes that can bring a level of consistency that isn’t found in businesses that don’t have expert perspective driving their IT investments.

 

In business today there are a lot of considerations to be made about IT. Does your business use remote workers? Does it have systems that need more security or more transparency? Most important of all, can it build the dynamic IT infrastructure you need to forge ahead confidently? With Point North Networks consultants working to help build your business’ technology, you can gain the peace of mind needed to know that you are getting the IT you need affordably. This makes for a more reliable technology environment.

Experience with Support

Getting the right technology is only half the battle. If it isn’t supported, managed, and maintained correctly, you might as well flush money down the toilet. The key to a reliable IT infrastructure is expert support. This means experienced IT technicians that know what they are looking for/at and that are able to reliably keep your technology up and running efficiently and securely.

 

Today, there are more threats than ever, and that is before you consider that technology breaks. To ensure that your business doesn’t grind to a halt with technology problems, having experienced IT experts actively working on keeping your IT running effectively is more important than ever. Of course, you can hire IT staff to accomplish this, but if your business can’t afford the thousands of dollars a month that a professional IT technician would command, considering a managed service provider like Point North Networks is your best option. Not only can you have experienced IT technicians at the ready if something happens, they work proactively to ensure that you don’t have to deal with productivity-sapping downtime.

 

Business IT can get complicated, but at Point North Networks we pride ourselves on being a solution to our clients’ IT problems, not another problem. Give us a call at 651-234-0895 today to talk to one of our consultants about how we can help you get the most out of your business.

Who’s Behind the Wheel of Your Business’ Technology?

There are countless issues that could arise when it comes to managing and maintaining your technology, but the people who are in charge of the process should not be one of them. If you don’t have a dedicated IT team to take care of your business technology, you might not be properly maintaining your technology. Thankfully, there are ways to get around limited resources, and it might not be what you think.

Who Manages Your Technology?

As is often the case with businesses with limited resources, more employees wind up doing more tasks than they should be. Sometimes businesses expect their employees to have a baseline understanding of technology, but it is not necessarily the case. In fact, assuming this can be dangerous, and untrained employees should absolutely not be maintaining your technology solutions. Under the wrong circumstances, an untrained employee could cause irreparable harm to your infrastructure.

 

Plus, consider the fact that poorly functioning technology can get in the way of employees doing their jobs properly, reducing productivity and impacting your bottom line. Employees who don’t know any better will simply let the dysfunctional technology be, which is why it’s better to have professionals handle the maintenance on a regular basis.

 

One of the biggest hold-ups for businesses without internal IT resources is that they don’t have the budget to hire full-time technicians to take care of all their technology challenges. They might choose to address problems as they occur rather than before they occur, and this could impact operations in a negative way.

 

The conundrum is that companies need regular IT maintenance, but they can’t afford or access it. So what’s the solution? It’s actually pretty simple: managed IT services.

The Good News

Whether you have an in-house IT team or not, all businesses can gain access to the IT support they need to be successful in the business world, and it’s all thanks to outsourcing. Most maintenance and management of technology systems can be performed without the need for an on-site visit, so it doesn’t matter what your geographical location is. Plus, considering how affordable it is compared to adding more salaries to your budget, you’ll find that it saves you time and money.

 

Point North Networks wants to be your go-to IT resource for all of your technology needs. To learn more about what we can do for your business, reach out to us at 651-234-0895.

Managed Services isn't just IT support

Managed Services Isn’t Just IT Support

Managed IT services are well known for being an incredibly useful service for a business as it helps offset the cost of keeping their technology up and running. What they aren’t as well known for are all the other services that they do to add value for their customers.

Your Business Technology

The first thing that people new to managed services should understand is that, yes, IT support is our number one function and most of our services are bundled because it is the best way for our clients to experience close-to-optimal operational continuity at a price point that works for them.

That doesn’t mean that we are fixing computers all day.

In fact, in the scope of things, fixing computers is just one of the myriad of things we need to accomplish every day to ensure that our clients’ IT infrastructures are working as intended. Today, we thought we would take a look at some of the services we provide, and how collectively, the service can absolutely pay for itself.

Remote Monitoring and Management

The first thing you’ll need to know is that we find that when our technicians are at your business, that productivity slows. Having IT technicians poking around onsite can be distracting. Besides, we aren’t trying to react to IT problems, we are trying to keep them from happening in the first place. How is that possible? With secure, remote technology.

 

We’ve invested in enterprise-grade, cutting-edge technology to constantly monitor your entire IT infrastructure and network to ensure that if any piece of equipment is not working as intended that it is fixed before it becomes a problem. This proactive nature to IT is the most valuable part of our offering. We fix issues with your IT before they can be profit-destroying problems. Think about how much downtime hurts your bottom line.

 

If you could curtail your exposure to situations where IT problems cause your downtime and do it at a fraction of the cost of hiring a team of IT experts, you’d consider that value, right? Most decision makers would, which is why MSPs today need to deliver more. Let’s take a look at some of the other services we provide that are meant to add to our value.

Regular Reviews

One of the issues with technology is that as soon as you get a piece of technology there is something better (or worse, more suited to your needs) coming right behind it. This means that if you are going to look outside your door for IT support and services, you need them to keep you in the loop.

At Point North Networks, Inc., we adhere to regular reviews because we want your business to be the best it can be. Around every quarter we will schedule a call or meeting to go over what your goals and priorities are for the upcoming months. Not only does that give us the ability to help you plan your technology investments, it allows us to follow up on any issues we may have had in the weeks leading up to the meeting.

Vendor Management

Vendor management is a relatively simple service, but it can make a big difference. Think about how much time you spend dealing with your technology vendors in a given month. They follow up all the time and try to upsell you. Sometimes those investments make sense, but often they are just trying to make sales.

 

Our vendor management service basically removes this responsibility from you and your staff. We will be the point of contact for all of your technology vendors. This not only puts a technology professional in place as a point of contact, it also allows you to separate yourself from those relationships that take away time and attention from your ultimate goals for your business.

Patch Management

Software is a major part of every business’ operational strategy, and if it isn’t updated regularly, it can actually expose your business to risk. Unpatched software often leaves your network vulnerable to outside attack. Today’s hackers only need one opportunity to get into your network and steal your data or infect your business’ IT with malware. With patch management, you never have to worry about that again.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

Another massive value we provide comes in the form of a backup and disaster recovery solution. We offer full and partial backup programs that meet industry best practices. You will get a network-attached BDR that you can use to quickly restore from if need be, but you also get incremental backups stored in the cloud should something more severe happen. With your data protected from loss, you can have the peace of mind that if something happens, your business’ continuity will be strong.

Fix Computers

While we try to maintain every piece of your IT infrastructure, sometimes machines fail. It goes without saying that should the need arise, our professional technicians will fix your hardware onsite.

 

If you would like to learn more about our professional managed IT services, or you would just like to have a conversation about your business’ technology goals, give us a call right now at 651-234-0895.