Author: Rick Bolda

11 Feb 2017

Cloud Services!

What is the ‘Cloud’ that I’ve been hearing about?

The word ‘Cloud’ is used as a general term to represent a segment of IT services utilizing the many large data centers we send information to, store information in, and receive information from. These data centers provide the infrastructure for IT Cloud Services and are located in many different buildings, in many different locations throughout the world. The buildings are filled with networks of servers, miles of fiber-optic IT Network Cabling, and staffed with software engineers that provide IT Network Support Services including IT Network Security. Businesses access their data in the cloud via the internet.

services-04What types of services does the cloud provide?

The definition of the cloud is deliberately ambiguous and all-encompassing because there is a long list of constantly evolving cloud computing services. The three types of services most likely to be useful to consumers and businesses are related to Infrastructure, Platforms, and Software.

 Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

The foundation of cloud computing is the physical infrastructure of servers, storage disks, fiber optic cables and other facilities. Organizations benefit from pay-as-you-go, on-demand storage and web hosting, which can be easily scaled as business needs change.

 Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Building on the cloud infrastructure foundation, cloud computing provides the platforms and operating systems on which business applications run. A service operator provides programming and web servers allowing application developers to create, test and run their software solutions.

 Software as a Service (SaaS)

Consumers use the software solutions developed for use on the cloud. Examples of software that is cloud based include Salesforce, Google Apps, and Microsoft Office 365. Traditional software required a single, up-front cost to use and was installed on each desktop or laptop. Cloud based software requires an annual or monthly fee per user, and the software is accessed through the cloud. Files created can be saved and backed up to a desktop, laptop, or on the cloud, allowing for more available memory on each desktop or laptop. Files saved to the cloud are secure, and some cloud services software allows you to access your data from multiple devices including mobile phones.

Organizations can quickly change the number of users without having to change their associated platform and infrastructure. A just-in-time approach allows for a short response to any changes in staffing.

 Cloud storage services

Cloud storage services, which include secure file hosting, file sharing and remote data backup may be the most important SaaS offerings for the average computer user. Cloud storage services typically include 2-5 GB of storage for hosting your data, and you can easily increase your storage for an additional fee.

In the Chicago area, IT Risk Managers partners with Cloud Service providers to develop solutions for unique Small to Mid-size Business needs. If you have any questions about IT Cloud Services or any other IT Business Services, contact IT Risk Managers at info@itriskmgrs.com

24 Dec 2016

Don’t let your IT team sweep the floors!

 

business, people, cloud computing and technology concept - smiling business team with smartphones, tablet pc computers working in office
Are your IT people sweeping floors?

I want to explain how you can help your IT Department succeed and dispel the myths and fears about IT outsourcing services. Efficient allocation of resources is something that we contend with every day.

Where can we get the greatest return on our investment from our trucks, warehouse, office space and our people. Well IT is no different.

Your internal IT staff has value as a technical resource but more importantly as a business resource. Yet, we see IT staff performing tasks equivalent to sweeping the floors, that’s an expensive janitor.

And, this no knock on them, it’s how the resource is utilized. If your IT services person is busy cleaning up viruses, doing PC maintenance, fixing printers, and doing network cabling, they are being under-utilized.

This is where the right IT outsourcing services can come into play for your business. Your IT person’s efforts should be centered on tasks that make the business more money or drive efficiency. Utilize them for the IT business consulting needs or enterprise IT support needs. Have them work on IT business project services that better connect you to your clients, instead of maintenance of your servers and IT network support.

You may want to look towards IT for better ways to market your products and services instead of low ROI IT support network and IT help desk needs. Blogs, social media, and e-commerce are all IT project services and IT management services that require IT business consulting and expertise that your internal IT team can help with. Better that then having them replacing old hardware, fixing computers, or cleaning viruses.

Asking your IT services consultant to kill viruses is asking them to kill their time. A fear of IT outsourcing is a fear of losing control. However the opposite is true. A good IT outsourcing services company will give your business more information, better remote access and better IT network security.

An IT outsourcing services solution for your business, needs to have a proactive network services platform. Their network support and business IT support should include a help desk, network operating center, on site support, and a good IT cloud services solution.

For information on Chicago IT outsourcing services email info@itriskmgrs.com

20 Dec 2016

The benefits of an IT Health Assessment

Have you ever had your IT systems assessed?

IT serviIT Risk Managers - IT Consulting Firm in Chicago, ILces and delivery processes are not the first thing you think about each year as the business requires more and more with less budget. However a good check and balance to see where IT is at is through an Information Technology audit & health assessment. Think of it this way, your CFO probably has the financials audited all of the time.

Is it because he is unsure of himself? Probably not! For leadership it’s just good practice. What they are trying to avoid is a surprise. So why is IT any different? You can easily argue IT can be even more critical then day to day financials.

IT Services and delivery is the same thing, a surprise in IT can shut down the whole company and who will they look at IT Leadership. When was the last time you had a security or best practices assessment of the IT systems, services, consultants and processes.

Our most secure and efficient clients and the ones who have this performed annually. Once completed, the results can be a framework to improve your IT Services model and management will appreciate your  pro-active approach.

A network benchmark assessment from a 3rd party IT Consulting firm is the best way to get you the information you need to keep your department informed and eliminate surprises.

For further information on IT services and security audits email info@itriskmgrs.com

16 Dec 2016

Office 365 is the way to go for small & medium businesses!

Office 365 the right solution for small & medium businesses!
office365

Office 365 is Microsoft’s next generation of cloud based services. The Office 365 solution allows organizations to utilize the Microsoft products they all rely on, Exchange, Sharepoint, Lnyc, and Office Professional without the investment burden needed to implement and maintain them.

For example, an exchange deployment at the minimum requires a server, exchange licensing, a Microsoft active directory environment, email spam filtering, and virus protection.

Also you need the manpower to install the platform. There is also a stack of time required to maintain the system ie; the licensing, making sure the server is functioning and updated, dealing with network and communication issues, keeping the virus protection updated, and having the data backed up.

My point is; if you are a business or IT leader it does not make sense to have your IT staff tied up in providing a “cost of doing business” activity. Making sure your email is functioning is something that needs to be done, however it will not give your company competitive advantage, it’s just a “cost of doing business”.

Finally, when you look at the time your IT staff spends dealing with a maintenance activity imagine if your staff was doing a task that directly relates to producing  your company more revenue, like improving client communications, improving business processes or helping improve your business software implementation.

As a business owner who has recently installed Office 365 for our own environment, I can say we are genuinely happy with Office 365.

Below are some of our findings:

Office 365 was easy to use. With some proper pre-deployment planning we were able to migrate all of our important data, calendars, and folders fairly easily. We were also able to give our employees access to the platform applications via iPhones, iPads, desktops, laptops, and from any location, home, office, on the road.

We also have the same features and functions we had when we managed our own Microsoft applications.

Finally, the platform has been reliable, we had a few minor issues in the beginning, opened up a ticket, and Microsoft resolved the issues.

As far as the cost, Microsoft is offering a pay as you go model, at about $5.00 to $7.00 per user, per month. And when you take all things into consideration, reliability, scalability, ROI, it seems very fair.

Fortunately owning an IT company, I leveraged my IT experts who helped me with planning and deploying the Office 365 plan.

Hiring a Microsoft partner to help you plan and enable the Office 365 cutover makes sense, and the price is the same, with or without a partner. For more info email info@itriskmgrs.com

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