Managed IT Services: What you need to know


Are you finding that your internal IT teams are getting weighed down by day-to-day IT issues? Are you lacking time to deal with pressing issues such as strategic planning, transformation, and organisational growth? If you answered yes to either of the above then outsourcing your IT to a third-party managed IT services provider (MSP) might be a great way to free up your internal resource – without taking on additional overhead in-house.

Having a managed IT services partner on hand 24/7, could be just what you need. This article will outline how to identify the best managed IT services provider for your business. Let us start with explaining what Managed IT services is.


What is a managed IT service?

IT services that have been outsourced to a third-party organisation or a managed IT service provider are referred to as the managed IT services. Unlike traditional IT services, managed IT services give providers the privilege to take strategic business decisions in addition to providing IT support to the clients. Some providers act as technology consultants to their clients and operate on a continuous contract with allocated resourcing as opposed to on-demand providers of IT support.

A leading managed IT service provider (MSP) will have a team of skilled engineers and professionals that work in partnership with the IT department of the client to create a collaborative relationship on a basis of continuous communication. An MSP can also provide managed networks services to larger organisations.


Why do you need managed IT services?

Managed IT Services can transform the way you run and operate your business. Unlike the traditional in-house IT teams, moving to managed IT services can offer many benefits.


Focus on important IT tasks

Outsourcing IT services to a third-party organisation allows you to focus on other important tasks. It can provide you clarity and objectivity that may not be available for a team emersed in day-to-day operations. As a matter of fact, the company will have more time to plan and innovate rather than worrying about their everyday IT requirements or issues.

It also gives you immediate access to a breadth of specialist IT technicians, developers, project managers etc, who have experience across industries, in providing expertise to businesses of varying scales.

Often when you move to a managed IT services model, your IT support partner will handle all relationships with your IT technology providers, including billing, purchases and contracts. This means that you no longer have multiple suppliers to manage for your leased lines, phones systems, cloud services and IT equipment – but a single point of contact, with support available 24/7 should you opt for an outsourced service desk. This reduces your admin and allows you to focus on matters that really drive your performance.


Help Mitigate IT Risks

With your data security being totally reliant on the security of your IT infrastructure, it is vitally important that your network security is robust and secured.

Understanding the constantly evolving complexities of modern technology and the ever-changing cyber security threat is a full-time job. It is not realistic for most organisations to recruit a network security specialist in-house. By outsourcing this capability, you can ensure that you are equipped with the latest relevant advice as and when you need it.

You will have security in the knowledge that you will always have someone who is available and monitoring your company’s cyber security. The team will be utilising the latest tools and technology to protect you and your clients, for example, network security, anti-virus protection, filtering, and penetration testing. In the event of a major incident, your managed IT service provider will also have a full plan for Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR), this assures you and your clients that, should you face a crisis, you will be safe hands.

The MSPs take immense care about security standards like PCI and ISO compliance. They should also adhere to the standards and assure that the organisation abides by the regulations, making sure that all policies are adhered to.


Regular updates to your IT

As well as mitigating potential cyber security risks, managed IT service providers conduct regular updates to your IT equipment, and IT infrastructure. They assess and monitor the IT ecosystem making sure software is current and functioning optimally. This guarantees that your staff are always using IT equipment that enables maximum productivity and that any issues or upgrades are dealt with, with minimum impact to your staff.

Your managed service provider is well placed to select the best IT technology providers as they are experts in the field and stay informed on the latest innovations and what IT products are best value for your money.


Cost-effective IT departments

By integrating managed IT services within your business, you can uplift your efficiency and capability, whilst retaining a lower financial exposure. The wealth of knowledge and experience provisioned in a managed IT services partnership can lead to changes and improvements in process and technology that enhance your business and raise your outputs.

If you are an IT manager for your business, you will be able to concentrate on adding true value and relieve your responsibility for the day-to-day technical IT processes of your department.

Irrespective of whether you are a small-scale start-up or a well-established organisation, managed IT services offer effective solutions for all. Where an in-house team can provide a valuable conduit for internal discussions, outsourcing regulates your overall expense – making it a win-win for all.


Components of an ideal managed IT service model

Managed IT services experts help business enterprises with their IT day in and day out. But what should you be looking for from a top managed IT service provider? Here is what an ideal end-to-end IT service model should include:


A full spectrum of IT services

Make sure that the service provider you go ahead with – provides an extensive set of managed IT services outside those in your requirements. For example, an all-in-one managed IT services provider that offers end-to-end consultation on the existing network infrastructure but is also able to provide the equipment and the support to make the changes required.

Your Managed IT provider should work alongside your IT department, as an integrated part of that team, to understand the overall infrastructure and highlight the pain points to further improve the functionality of the business. By choosing a provider who has a full spectrum of IT capability you will ensure that you create a relationship with an IT partner who will continue to drive your business forward into the future.


24/7 Support Services

Your managed IT service provider should always be ready to provide support. Whether you seek to outsource your technical IT issues for resolution entirely externally or want to work in collaboration – round the clock IT technical support services will help you in making sure that your business operations never get affected because of the hired team.

Providers should offer a dedicated account representative, support service dashboards, online and telephone support, and onsite resource.


Digital transformation

Planning to migrate to the cloud or looking for cloud advisory services? Not sure whether to go for a hybrid cloud model or move all your data onto a hosted cloud?

Your managed IT services partner will be able to support you in your objectives to future proof your enterprise. They will have in-house IT experts for cloud-based solutions, helping you to modernize your IT infrastructure and migrate both data and applications to the cloud infrastructure. Preferably, they will have a separate team of professionals that work closely to identify gaps and assist you in making the move.

From consultation to Integration, implementation, management, and support, they should be able to provide all types of cloud-native solutions. By using a managed IT services partner who understands your business, you can strip out complexity and effort from an already challenging modernisation.


Network Security Review

Network security is crucial to every modern organisation, the best managed IT services providers will complete a cyber security review. By conducting an end-to-end assessment of the existing infrastructure, scanning all endpoints internally and externally testing software applications, and reporting on the robustness of the IT infrastructure – they should be able to handle everything.

Additionally, they should provide suggestions to close gaps and strengthen the IT infrastructure of your organisation – keeping you free from doubt with your data security.


Compressing your IT supply chain by providing a single point of contact

An ideal managed IT services partner must have services to fulfil all your requirements. They will be able to take on responsibility for your IT equipment suppliers or negotiate new contracts to reduce your overhead and improve your technology and productivity. They will be able to give you expert advice on the most effective partners and help design your IT services to include IT technology which works most effectively for your business. Whether it’s your telephony or VoIP solutions, leased lines or cloud software provider, your IT partner will help you build excellent business relationships and deliver outstanding customer experience through the provision of expert IT support services.


Consultation and development solutions

Whilst it is not mandatory, we think it is advantageous to choose a managed IT services provider who has this capability in-house. If you find a team that could deliver consultancy or custom development services, it will ensure that you get the most for from your partnership.

We always make sure that we are equipped with experienced leading industry engineers and software developers to help organisations develop technology and implement change smoothly and effectively. That way, we enable clients to run lean and agile IT departments in a cost-effective way.


Cost and business hours

Finally – you should make sure that the rate model followed by your chosen IT infrastructure solutions provider must match your budget and preference. If that’s not the case and you still want to go ahead with a particular team – ask if they could provide custom offers or if things are negotiable. We recommend you seek an inclusive service with a fixed budget per month to ensure that there are no hidden extras

We recommend going with a service provider with an all hours active policy. It will ensure that all your vital tasks are carried out without disrupting everyday operations. Such providers can give you an outsourced service desk and an option for 24/7 support.


The Final Word

Managed IT Service providers help businesses operate with ease by managing your IT services in their entirety. As our reliance on IT technology and software across all aspects of a business increases, the need for specialist, trustworthy support for IT services and related infrastructure is becoming imperative.

By taking care of all the aspects outlined above, a managed IT service provider can act as your technical IT support and guidance – leaving you to focus on driving your business forward. Whether it’s network design, 24/7 IT support, hardware & software management, Wi-Fi services, cloud services, communication enablement, or development – the right managed IT services partnership will improve your operations, revenue, and performance as an organisation and help your company soar.

To learn more about managed IT services and the value it can bring to your business…
Contact ITVET now and get your free IT audit.


How to resolve Connectivity Issues when you are working remotely


Over the past 7 months, there has been a shift in the way we work. A large proportion of the working population has adopted remote working, and that has led to us all having to create the right environment for work, within our homes.

One of the most common challenges with home working is ensuring Connectivity Issues does not let you down for important Zoom calls or Teams meetings with clients.

If you have been having Connectivity Issues, here are our top 5 tips to get you back online quickly:

  1. Establish what you are using to connect your laptop to enable you to work remotely: This could be a VPN (virtual private network). It’s easy to forget to connect when you are rushing to login. Double checking you have connected to a VPN should be your first step.

  2. Check your WiFi connection: Is your ethernet cable connected to your laptop or are you connected via your WiFi router? If you are connected via WiFi, and you have recently started working from home, check that you are in a position your WiFi signal can reach. Opening doors or moving to a position nearer the router can help in the short term. Otherwise, check your WiFi password or contact your network provider in case of local outage. The best way to work from home would be using a wired connection direct into the router with an ethernet cable.

  3. Reboot your router and laptop to give your systems a refresh: An IT Technicians go to advice – turn it off and on again. This is often the solution. Once your laptop is back up and running, reconnect to your WiFi hub, and see if the problem is resolved.

  4. Internet still not working? Find out if anyone is streaming movies, downloading content or playing online games. Internet speeds can drop if your local WiFi connection is congested. Disconnect any devices that are contributing to heavy usage (you can reconnect these later).

  5. Check your internet speed at http://www.speedtest.net/ – For the best working experience you are looking for a download speed of 10Mbps and an upload of 5Mbps.

    Still experiencing Connectivity Issues? It may be that you require a signal booster to enable you to work effectively in your area. Email us directly at [email protected], for more information.

UltraHR Infection Control Feature Release

Press Release: Returning to a ‘New Normal’ at Work: UltraHR Adds New Infection Control Feature to HR Software to help fight COVID-19

Businesses across the United Kingdom have been adversely affected by the outbreak of Coronavirus and the introduction of strict lockdown measures in March 2020. With non-essential business premises now being encouraged by the Government to open their doors and resume trading from 15th June, owners and HR Managers are facing growing concerns about how they can keep their workforce safe.

The good news is: UltraHR has got it covered. With a brand-new Infection Control and Alerting feature, you can use your UltraHR software to screen employees across the whole company.

So how does it work?

Gone are the days of calling up your boss to report sick. UltraHR is a mobile-enabled sickness app that records symptoms, absence and lateness and alerts management automatically.

The advanced tracking features of this HR software make it easy for Managing Directors to quickly identify symptoms of Coronavirus in the workplace and reduce the risk of spreading the disease further. If an employee displays symptoms of COVID-19, for example, they are told by their app to self-isolate and seek medical advice. Meanwhile, Management can instantly notify colleagues via text and email of any contamination at their place of work, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the wider team.

The alerting system uses prompts to assess an individual’s suitability to return to work. For instance, the software will trigger them to answer questions about their health and any symptoms they might have experienced during the last 48 hours. According to their responses, the app will either ask the person to stay at home or will notify them that a member of staff will be in contact to discuss their return. As well as ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ answers, the software also enables employees to provide more detailed information about the nature of their illness.

As we begin to return to this ‘new normal’, we must also find ways to effectively manage time and resources. At just the touch of a button, employees using the UltraHR software package can alert their managers that they are running late using their mobile device. Captured data can then be used to produce powerful insights into individuals’ attendance patterns as well as assess a team or department as a whole. Lateness frequency, common reasons for absence and the amount of work time lost are among some of the statistics that may be logged and used to identify ways to maximise staff efficiency.

“UltraHR is simple to use and provides us with an overview of personnel status at the touch of a button. We are able to oversee our staff from one dashboard and keep on top of everything we need to, streamlining our HR management.” – Leitz (UltraHR client)

For more information, visit uhr.org or get in touch with the lovely UltraHR team on 01279 464470.

UltraHR HR Software Sickness Infection Control


Windows 7 End of Life

 

Haven’t got time to read now? Download a copy to read later.

You may have heard or seen online about Windows 7 becoming “End of Life”. But what does that actually mean for your business? We have put together this article to give you a bit more information around what will happen on January 14th 2020, and what you can do to ensure your business is protected.


What Does “End of Life” Mean?

End of Life means that Microsoft are no longer providing support, updates, bug fixes or security patches for Windows 7. This allows Microsoft to focus on the newer software they have released, as Windows 7 is now over 10 years old.

Can I carry on using Windows 7?

You can. However, we strongly advise against it. Not only does this leave your business vulnerable to cyber-attacks, if you continue to use Windows 7 after January 14th 2020, you may no longer be GDPR compliant.

Can I just upgrade to Windows 10 without buying new hardware?

The short answer is yes. However, this depends on the age and spec of the machine you’re currently working on. Older systems generally can’t cope with Windows 10, therefore upgrading is sometimes the only option. Workstations usually have a life cycle of around 3-4 years, as after this point they start to become slow and unresponsive. If you’re running Windows 7, it’s more than likely that your machine is due for an upgrade.

What if my staff can’t work out the new system?

Our 24/7 UK Based Service Desk is on hand to answer any questions you or your staff may have about Windows 10. When our engineers are installing your new workstations, they will also be able to answer any questions or walk you through the basics.

Will this be a lot of hassle and downtime replacing the machines?

Not at all. Our engineers build your machines here at ITVET, ensuring all of your necessary software is installed. We then bring the machines to you and set them up in an empty office, room or clear space. Your staff can then remote into their new machine and check they are happy with how it has been set up. Our engineers then swap out the equipment, which takes about 10 minutes per person. Time for a cup of tea!

What about my files?

They will all still be there when you log back on. No disruption or data loss.

Will my 3rd party software still be compatible?

Upgrading your operating system may mean you have to update some of your 3rd party software too. There is the chance that if you stay on Windows 7, your software provider may withdraw support due to the insecurities of the operating system.

Will this cost a lot?

It depends on how many machines you have that are running Windows 7. Our prices are competitive, and we will never sell you something you don’t need. We have finance options available, so you can spread the cost evenly. If your team regularly struggle with slow or unresponsive machines, it may actually be more cost effective for your business to refresh your hardware.


If you are currently using Windows 7 and would like to discuss your options for upgrading, please get in touch. We will help you find the most suitable and budget friendly solution for your business. Give our team a call on 01279 464470 or fill out our contact form here.


Not what you were looking for? Head back to our homepage to see our full range of services.

 

Are you a business based in London? Head over to our dedicated page for IT Support London to find out we can provide exceptional services to your business, here.


Our Dedicated Leased Lines are now at their lowest ever price!

From just £299/month, you can bring your business up to speed.

Ensuring your internet connection is stable, fit for purpose and secure should be of the highest priority for your business, as down time can be extremely expensive and disruptive.

A Leased Line provides a secure, dedicated and private internet connection into your business and includes Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) to guarantee you the highest possible level of service.


Features

High Bandwidth

No matter what your bandwidth requirements, there is a Leased Line to meet your connectivity needs. With speeds up to 10GB, we can provide a tailored solution perfect for your business.

 

Resilient

A dedicated and secure Leased Line is one of the most resilient forms of connectivity. An uninterrupted internet connection to your business is necessary for you to operate at full capacity.

 

Mission Critical

A Leased Line is essential for companies who operate mission critical services for their organisation, that can’t afford to lose a connection to the internet, which is also perfect for remote working too.

 

Secure

With the ever-growing amount of online threats these days, a dedicated secure Leased Line and Firewall is imperative for keeping your company safe and secure.

 

Bring your business up to speed with a dedicated Leased Line from ITVET from just £299/month.

 

Call our team on 01279 464470, email us on [email protected] or visit itvet.co.uk/contact to discuss your requirements.


5 hardware upgrades for an efficient 2017

 

Purchasing new hardware may feel like an excessive cost to your business, especially if your machines seem to be working. However, by investing in your IT systems you will see the benefits dramatically outweigh initial purchase costs. A faster network and more efficient hardware will boost productivity allowing you to focus on growing your business. These are the top five pieces of hardware you should consider updating or upgrading in 2017.

PC icon

 

 

1. PCs and laptops

Have you been avoiding purchasing a new PC? Old machines are prone to faults and slow machines mean wasted time. For each PC or laptop older than 3 years your business is losing around £4,805 a year. See our recent blog post for the full breakdown.

Older machines are also less compatible with new software, making them even slower as they try to run the latest operating systems. It also means that once your hardware is unsupportable, your machines and network are vulnerable to viruses.

Server icon

2. Server

If your business doesn’t already have a server…
Are you using an old PC as a server? PCs are not designed to be running constantly and have the potential to stop working. This leaves you vulnerable to losing all your data and the costly downtime whilst your makeshift server is being replaced. A server is more reliable, it is designed to manage, store and process data 24/7, 365 days a year. By implementing a network in your company, you will benefit from:

  • Increased security and data recovery
  • Ability to update all machines from central point
  • Virtual working
  • Shared resources
  • Larger capacity on faster workstations

Why not consider moving to the cloud…
By moving your network to a virtual server you will no longer need physical hardware that needs to be maintained or updated. Instead, for a monthly subscription your network, files, and data will be hosted online. The benefits are:

  • Flexibility – easily scale your business up or down when needed
  • Higher level of security
  • Less risk of downtime
  • Efficient data recovery
  • Business continuity in case of disaster

SSD icon

3. SSD (Solid State Drive)

If you do not want to upgrade your hardware, installing an SSD is a good alternative. You can see a detailed list of the benefits in our previous post Supercharge your PC: 5 reasons why you need an SSD. Some of these include:

  • Breathe new life into an old machine
  • Energy efficiency – a longer battery life on your laptop and less energy needed to power your PC
  • Durability

Switch icon

4. Switches

Network switches are a critical part of the connectivity structure between your end-user devices (PCs, Laptops & Phones etc) and your servers and internet connection. Outdated switches could be reducing your potential network speed by 10%. 100Mb switches are a common cause of a slow network and internet access, disrupting your employees from loading files, running database software, viewing websites and downloading emails. Replacing outdated switches with standard 1Gb versions will deliver the best end-user experience and speed up your working potential.

UPS icon

5. UPS

A UPS (Uninterruptible power supply) is installed between the electrical mains and your IT equipment to protect your hardware from power surges and failures. This gives you enough time to save documents and to let systems shut down correctly, avoiding hardware damage from unexpected power surges and data loss.

At ITVET we design a perfect solution for your requirements. To discuss your hardware or your company’s IT efficiency contact us on 01279 464 470 or email [email protected]


Too many newsletters?

too many newsletters

Is your inbox a mess of promotions or company newsletters? Emails from legitimate companies are not technically spam but it is still annoying when your inbox is full of  company updates and discount offers from pizza chains. 

Instead of deleting these emails or marking them as junk it may be better for your inbox in the long term to unsubscribe from them. Legitimate emails will have an ‘unsubscribe link’, usually at the bottom of the email and often in very small text. (If you are having trouble finding the link you can press ctrl + F to use your browser’s search function – here you can type ‘unsubscribe’ to see the link quicker.)

unsubscribe-email-page

It may seem a chore but if you flag all spam emails in your inbox as they arrive you can unsubscribe from in batches rather than individually. In the long term you should hopefully see less of these memory taking nuisances! However, you should only click links in emails if you are certain they are from companies that you have used in the past or if you are certain they are genuine. For tips on how to spot a scam email, you read our previous blog post about phishing here.

For any enquiries email us at [email protected] or call us on 01279 464470.


Caution: Amazon Refund Scam Emails

amazon scam

We are seeing a huge increase in the number of phishing and malware loaded emails recently. The most common and very dangerous ones we have seen claim to be from Amazon confirming a refund.

There are many different types of scam emails so you really need to be on your guard, it is so easy to click on a link or open an attachment. The damage to your computer or network could be huge, and very costly to repair. If you receive any emails with attachments or links, even from a well-known source or colleague, stop, and take a moment to consider whether the email could be fake. Check the content of the email carefully, look for tell-tale signs, such as grammatical errors. Think whether you have recently done business with the supplier in question. If you are in any doubt do not open the attachment, or click any links.

Capture

Although there is no 100% way to stop all scam emails, it is still worth using a good quality hosted email filtering service, such as Trend Micro’s Hosted Email Security. As a rule this will stop around 90% of unwanted emails. Equally do invest in a leading brand Anti-Virus and malware removal tools. But even by deploying the best protection systems on the market, the best form of defence still remains as end user awareness.

If you would like a free no obligation consultation on how best to protect your company network, then call one of our security specialists today. For more information or any enquiries email [email protected] or call on our team at 01279 464470.