The recent COVID-19 pandemic hit many businesses financially and raised many questions about staffing, facilities and more than ever, IT Services. With many businesses moving to remote operations, employers found themselves trying to assess their new IT needs; be it IT infrastructure or IT services and support. Bellow we will explore the main questions businesses need to ask and transformations necessary in order to adjust to the new reality; as a means of keeping afloat not only in the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in any future disasters which may come in its way.
HOW DO COVID-19 AND OTHER DISASTERS IMPACT BUSINESSES?
In order to understand the effect of disasters on businesses we first need to understand how businesses operate their IT in “regular” times. Businesses rely more and more on IT services for their operations. Technology is everywhere and managing data, telecommunications, workflow procedures, data storage and backup, security systems, and IT infrastructure and equipment all require a lot of attention and support. With the transformation to remote operations or sudden absence periods of IT teams due to business changes, we’ve noticed that a backup plan is not always in place. Finding ad hock solutions to solve emergencies in times like these might feel like fighting over the last container of Clorox in the store – expensive and hard to put hands on. Last minute solutions cost significantly more and to make matters more challenging, not all IT service providers are able to analyze your system needs in a short time and with familiarity. Facing downtimes of systems, losing valuable data, not getting the proper security systems updates, and network connectivity problems have suddenly become part of the new reality. And unfortunately, businesses find themselves paying for IT staff that is not available at all times, while spending their limited budgets on services which don’t provide the proper and prompt support to secure their operations.
HOW CAN A BUSINESS PREPARE FOR DISASTERS IN A POST COVID-19 ENVIRONMENT?
- Managed IT Services – Outsourcing business IT services is gradually becoming the new norm for many businesses. Some choose managed IT services due to the lack of in-house IT teams, others due to the realization that having a professional IT services provider means building a support relationship while ensuring you get full service and support. In disaster times managed IT services get a boost as more and more businesses have to reduce labor costs and making the most of their budgets and resources. When using managed IT services a business can enjoy the benefits of a full IT coverage while paying only for the fulfillment of their core IT needs. The main benefit of upgrading to managed IT services is the range of services included with a single provider that does it all. Managing separate vendors and providers for different IT services can become a really messy task, especially during disaster times. With managed IT services you can enjoy full support, data backup and recovery, VoIP services, email encryption, web protection, security solutions and much more. Explore and learn about your options for managed IT services before problems or disasters occur and prepare your business for any scenario imaginable.
- IT Support Services – Getting great IT support can be hard during regular times, not speaking of disaster times when it is almost impossible if you don’t have the right professional provider in place to support you with all your IT needs and issues. Utilizing and creating a relationship with an IT support services provider will ensure your business has 24/7 support helpdesk and a ticket submission system for your emergencies. Using a provider allows you to choose which needs and requirements best fit your business and integrate remote monitoring and diagnostics tools to make sure your IT runs smoothly and in accordance with your agreed upon service plan. In disaster times, your provider will be able to adjust your IT configurations in accordance to your evolving plan of operations and work with you to integrate the proper solutions and services to support you when you most need it.
- Data Backup and Disaster Recovery – Many businesses use on premises servers for their data backup. While in some cases this method is acceptable, finding yourself away from the servers and your on premises systems means you might not have the full access to your data from remote locations. This means lower productivity or, in many cases, loss of backup abilities. Without proper backup, businesses face a threat of losing track of their activity and loss of valuable business data. Recent developments in technology allow you to implement cloud backup and disaster recovery solutions. Cloud backup, when done professionally, allow you to perform a full or incremental backup to your data, no matter where the activity is. Remote or off premises employees can load their data and the backup will take place in accordance to your preferences and the frequency your business requires. Note that cloud backups can be implemented fully or integrated in addition to your on-premises backup servers.
- Web Protection and Security – Businesses using the web for their activity must have the best web protection and security services at all times. During COVID-19 or other disaster times, many hackers and malware spreaders use the fragile state of the employees and businesses to infiltrate business systems and unprotected infrastructures. During these times all businesses should explore solutions with professional web protection service providers to assess their systems exposure and to strengthen the security barriers. On top of that, as many employees who are required to work remotely use their private home desktops and private laptops, businesses find themselves in a totally new and more dangerous environment. If in the past businesses had to think about their on premises systems, now they suddenly need to think about their employees operating systems and equipment – from anywhere – as part of their system which adds potential threats to the business’ systems structure. You should always consult a web protection and security services provider in order to make plans for your access conditions and system protection.
- Managed Wireless Services – Wireless technology is slowly becoming an integral solution for business operations. That being said, some businesses are still behind technologically and have yet managed to implement those solutions. In a disaster environment, many businesses find themselves without the proper IT team on premises, while business activity needs to keep moving. In such cases any small cabling or physical connection network system that fails leads to downtime. This stops your business activity and often requires on demand IT service calls which cost the business unnecessary spending. With the implementation of professional managed wireless services businesses can reduce their exposure to equipment, cabling or wiring infrastructure downtimes, while increasing productivity and enjoying the benefits of the wireless technology.
- Email Encryption and Spam Protection – Email is one of the most important tools businesses use for their communication with clients and employees. Hackers are aware of this and target emails in order to harm your business, send ransom threats or data theft. On top of that, spam emails contribute to the distraction of employees and add junk mail and data to your systems. In disaster times, remote employees are even more exposed to such threats and often use their personal emails as a shortcut to their connectivity problems in order to receive and send business related data and information. Businesses should always make sure their data is protected and with the right email encryption service provider, you can implement and integrate encryption solutions – both in your business’ emails and your employees email.
- VoIP Services – Telecommunication is one of the most common communication platforms in businesses. VoIP services, unlike regular landlines or other telecommunication means are at the head of the technology which allows you to improve your productivity and upgrade your customer support and communication standards. In the remote work environment and in lieu of staffing cuts, VoIP allows you to integrate flexible solutions for automated redirection, voice menus and verification, multiple conference lines and many more benefits and features. Consult a professional VoIP services provider in order to explore your VoIP solutions options, equipment assessment and support options for your business.
- Cabling and Wiring Services – Many businesses concentrate so much on their daily operations that they fail to pay enough attention to their systems infrastructures on a regular basis. This means that server rooms, data centers, cabling and wiring often deteriorates into a very bad condition. Resolving infrastructure and cabling issues often means a business needs to halt its operations or perform system evaluations. During disaster times, when cabling teams are overloaded, it becomes even harder to find the right time for upgrading or making sense of your wiring. Businesses should always prepare ahead of time and make sure their cabling and wiring is set and managed using a professional cabling and wiring provider. Don’t let emergencies slow you down, mange your cabling before problems occur.
- CCTV and Security Surveillance Systems – CCTV and security surveillance systems are a must-have service for any business. Knowing what goes on at your business when you are there, or when you are away from the premises during disaster times, should be top priority. Using a professional security and surveillance systems installation and integration provider will ensure your business is protected in accordance to best industry practice In hard times, there are enough things to worry about. Save your business the stress of security issues and concentrate on overcoming the disaster environment and recovery efforts.
HOW DO I FIND A MANAGED IT SERVICES AND SUPPORT PROVIDER?
There are many managed IT services and support providers in the market, but from our experience what makes the difference is the experience and the accessibility of your provider. Experienced providers will know best about how to translate your needs and prepare your business for disasters by providing the right security solutions for your systems.
TechnoLiving IT is a Managed IT Services and Support Solutions provider specializing in disaster IT issues prevention and managed IT services for businesses in West Palm Beach and South Florida. Trusted by clients to provide the best solutions for almost 20 years.
Have questions or interested in hearing about our Managed IT Services and Disaster Prevention Solutions for your business? Send us a message below.