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Category: MANAGED IT SERVICE PROVIDER

Managed IT Service Provider IT Risk Managers provides network support, network security and IT services for your Chicago business. A top IT Managed Service Provider has the resources in place to make sure you can focus on your business. Use or MSP services to help support the IT needs of your business.

10 Feb 2019

OneNote an Awesome Office 365 Tool

Office 365 has great tools
Office 365 has many great tools like OneNote

Tips for using OneNote for Project Management

Hopefully by now your IT Support team, or the Managed IT Support company you are working with has introduced you to Microsoft OneNote. OneNote is a powerful project management and online notebook tool. The best part is that it is part of the Office 365 cloud suite. So if you have Office 365 you don’t have to pay extra. You now no longer have to spend a lot of money on expensive project management software because OneNote is not only available on all devices but it can also be used for a number of projects. OneNote can be configured according to your needs and the type of project that you are working on. Following are some of the tips that can prove to be very helpful if you decide to use OneNote for project management. Your IT consulting team can help get you started but its not overly complicated

Train your team to use OneNote:

The essence of project management is teamwork. Your team must be able to effectively collaborate to make any project successful. Another important factor is that your team should be skilled at and comfortable in using the tools being used for project management. One of the major advantages of using OneNote as your main project management tool is that it can be learned very easily with minimal training. If the people working in your team are familiar with Microsoft Word they would have no difficulty in getting used to OneNote. There are plenty of guides available online that can help you and your team in getting comfortable with the software. As one of Chicago top IT companies we can provide you training also. Our most popular cloud offering is Office 365!

 

Customize according to the project:

One of the unique and very useful abilities of OneNote is that it can be very easily customized according to your preferences or the project you are working on. If you force yourself to work on a software that doesn’t look or feel good you will find a lot of hindrance in your creative process. The simplest customizations can be done from the View tab. By using this tab, you can change the settings from the default view to full page view. You can also use this tab to dock the pages to the side of the screen while you take notes from different online sources. More fancy customizations can also be easily found in the Options area when you click on the Display option. Even if the project that you are working on is a simple one, some customizations like changing the color of the pages can really mean a huge difference in the end result. By learning to use customizations to your advantage you can have increased work efficiencies in any given project.

Using custom page templates:

Page templates can be a big lifesaver when it comes to project management. In any project of any size, there is a high possibility that some objects or tasks are repeated. This is where page templates can save a lot of time and effort that you and your team put into the project. One of the features of OneNote is that it not only allows you to use the preexisting page templates but it also gives you the option to create your own custom page templates from scratch. All you have to do is to go to the Insert option and then click on an insert page template to add any template. Using page templates can dramatically reduce time especially when you are duplicating any information. This information can be anything, recurring meetings, interviews with different clients, task processes, idea discussion meetings etc.

Follow an organization strategy:

OneNote is equipped with multiple options such as pages, categories, subcategories, notebooks, sections etc. But in order to use these features to their full potential, it is necessary that you use an organizational strategy to keep things in correct order. One of the best practices that can ensure a good organization strategy is to make sure that you add a table of content at the start of the project. This additional page should have clickable links to different content in the project so that you can navigate easily. Another important feature in this regard is the search feature in OneNote. This feature can be used to search for any file or page in the project. When the conventional methods of finding anything fails tags can be used to quickly search for the items. Tags in OneNote is another very useful feature that can be used to properly categorize different items in the project. They can help you in quickly getting to the required data.

Some other great Office 365 tools include yammer and teams. Yammer is a bulletin board type of tool and great for company wide communications, broadcasts, and announcements. Microsoft teams is another Office 365 tool that can be used for communication between project teams, have a central repository for project files, and other project related functions/

Hope this information helps. If want to work with one of Chicago’s top IT Companies, and a top Office 365 provider feel free to email info@itriskmgrs.com or call Rick Bolda at 630-918-7370

09 Dec 2018

3 Must Haves from Your Chicago IT Support Partner

IT Solutions for Chicago
IT Support for your Chicago Business

Managed IT Services Company should help with Software, Hardware, Telecom Renewals and Tracking

As more Chicago based companies move to a managed IT Service for small business platform it’s important to consider these needs when choosing a managed IT Service partner. A good managed service provider must provide leadership when it comes to Software Asset Management and Hardware Maintenance Renewal Management. They also must have a handle on your telecom, bandwidth, and Internet costs.

Software Asset Management with your IT Support partner

Software Asset Management is the business practice of managing and optimizing the purchase, deployment, maintenance, and utilization of software applications within an organization. You may not want to outsource 100% of software asset management to your managed it services company, but they definitely need to have input and help bring value to your IT support needs by contributing time to this responsibility. A comprehensive Software Asset Management solution is crucial to your organization. It helps you know what software licenses you have in place, what renewal costs you maybe facing in the budget year, and it keeps your business in compliance. Managing your software assets impacts your bottom line. Therefore your IT support company or managed IT services firm should help with this responsibility.

Today’s software license models can be very complex and ambiguous. It can require hours and hours of time to make sure you are paying the proper amounts and you have the most up to date licenses. Since your IT Managed service partner deals with many of your software products on a regular basis they should have a platform you can leverage to track your license needs. Prior to purchasing any software your business should verify the compliance terms and requirements. However be ready for change. The cloud adds complexity to your license compliance challenge. Your IT Support firm should have a good handle on all the services your company is using in the cloud and provide a good framework to be able to track usage costs, compliance costs and on-going services costs.

Managed Internet and Telecom Costs

Since your IT Support firm deals with your network support and IT support service needs on a regular basis they should have an idea on what your circuit, Internet, and telecom costs are also. A good managed IT service firm for small business will be able to evaluate costs and services related to all your Internet Services. IT Risk Managers LLC for instance has a separate team to manage telecom and Internet costs and services. We will make you aware if there are contract renewals due for site to site services like Windstream, Verizon, CenturyLink, Comcast and others. We would also let you know if changes or efficiencies are available in circuit and Internet prices. Sometimes increased capacity and bandwidth is needed for improved network performance. We would go to the carrier get pricing, and contract terms, and verify what’s the best solution or deal available. Your IT managed service partner should have the relationships and tools to make sure you are getting the most cost effective solution for your Internet and telecom business needs.

Hardware Maintenance Renewals from your IT Support Partner

Equipment and hardware maintenance renewals are also an area where your IT support firm needs to be able support your business. A Managed IT services company should have a platform that keeps track and inventory of all your systems and network equipment. Our IT support desk portal tracks serial numbers, versions, CPU’s, disk space, operating systems, software versions and much much more. This is all data necessary to keep you informed of what hardware is due for retirement, what systems need a maintenance contract renewed, or how systems are doing performance wise. Our Managed IT services and IT Support model provides an annual budget of maintenance and software renewals required to keep your systems up to date and in compliance.

If you have further questions or or would like an IT Health Assessment please call Rick Bolda at 630-918-7370 or email info@itriskmgrs.com

09 Dec 2018

“Likeability” and Attitude, The keys to a Great Chicago IT Support Team!

Chicago IT Solutions
Managed IT Services for Small Business

IT Support Technicians Need a Great Attitude

As a business leader from time to time you need to make a decision about getting IT Support for your business. Do not make attitude and likeability an afterthought when it comes to selecting your IT Support team. As a matter of fact, these attributes can make or break the success of your technology investment. Time after time I have seen some great technologies and IT solution projects fail because of the poor attitude of the IT support technicians and IT consultants delivering the solution. I am seeing this happen less frequently as more younger IT support technicians become advanced and trained. The old guard “know it all” IT support engineer has gone from being irreplaceable to quickly replaced with someone with a great attitude. A good Managed IT Services firm will have people in place with great attitudes!

What’s a great Attitude for IT Support?

In my mind a great attitude means the ability to explain things in a language people can understand. It also means being able to document processes and train other people to fill their role in the event of an emergency. And most importantly to smile while they do it. If you sense that your current IT support team holds the keys to your kingdom, and you are unsure of what they do sometimes you are not alone. Your IT support team needs to empower you, and not make you feel they speak a language you don’t understand. They have to bridge that gap and help you understand technology in a way that empowers you to run your business more effectively. They have to have a great attitude!

Selecting the right IT Support Team

Here are a few considerations to review when selecting an IT Support Firm. Again the most important thing when selecting an IT Support partner is the likeability factor. Information Technology experts are a different breed. Today’s IT Support technicians and IT Consultants need technical experience and business experience. They need to be able to solve business challenges with technology. Technology just for the sake of technology is not going to drive your business forward and meet your needs. On top of being able to understand the business pieces of technology your IT support team needs to have people you like to work with and trust. This may go without saying, but you can have the most brilliant technically savvy IT consultant, but if that person is not easy to work with, it’s going to cost you a lot of money and give you many headaches.

It’s about your Business not Technology

Remember it’s not about the technology it’s about your business. If you find your current IT Consultant or IT support person speaks in a technical language you can’t understand that is a red flag. Today’s IT Consultant has to be able to communicate in a business language you and your people can understand. Secondly they have to have patience. Today’s IT solutions move so fast, between the cloud, VOIP, Managed IT Services, and other IT technologies your tech support team needs to be able to slow it down, communicate and make sure your business is getting the most out of its technology spend. They also need to be able to explain the technology to your people and train them to use it. That takes teamwork, communications, patience, and compassion. I’ve often found IT Companies that have implemented some great technologies but the platforms have failed to deliver because of lack of training, communications, and follow through.

The roles of IT Consultants, IT Support Technicians

And of course another key consideration and factor when hiring is putting the IT support people in their correct roles. I’m sure we’ve all heard of the square peg in a round hole expression. This is an extremely important concept when it comes to IT Support. You wouldn’t have a plumber doing brain surgery would you? That’s why a help desk support person is different from a network engineer person. A help desk support person needs to have a great attitude, patience and communications skills. Why? Because these are the technicians that are responsible for customer support and satisfaction. Someone who works in a Network Operating Center will not make a good customer facing help desk support person, it’s two entirely different roles. Most Network Engineers don’t like to deal with end users, they want to be in the plumbing not handing out glasses of water. So don’t assume that because you’re hiring an IT Consultant they will be able to be all things to your organization. Hire a Network Engineer to do engineering not to do help desk. That’s why it’s also important to understand an IT consultant may not have the same skills as an IT Director. And expecting them to have the same skills will end up in disappointment. It’s about having round pegs in round holes!

If you would like information about IT Support Services please call Rick Bolda at 630-918-7370. Or if you need an IT Health Assessment give me a call.

23 Oct 2018

Chicago Cloud Backup, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Check out our video to learn more about Cloud Backup and Business Continuity Services 

Fully Managed Cloud Backup and Business Continuity Services

There is no way to predict the future. IT Risk Managers LLC Cloud Backup, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity solution can at least prepare you for the future. In today’s always on digital world, data plays a key role in any company’s success. It may be data related to your ERP system, or data tied into your accounting and production systems. No matter what the data is studies show that losing data can put a company out of business.  The costs associated with data loss or system downtime can be massive. The damage to your business’s reputation and brand may be irreparable. A enterprise cloud backup system is a necessity for any size business in today’s data intensive environment,. Hopefully your company will never experience a disaster, but with our Cloud Backup, Disaster Recovery, and Business Continuity solution you will be prepared to mitigate the damage, restore your data and continue business operations.

Enterprise Cloud Backup for Small and Medium Businesses

Fortunately you can implement a Data Backup solution that is similar to the backup systems that Fortune 500 companies use. What this means is that your data is encrypted put up in the cloud and available quickly in the event of a disaster. It also means that your backup is continuously monitored by a team, and the team that is managing your backup can prove that the your data is being backed up. An enterprise cloud backup solution will also give you several  points in time to recover from. You may need to recover your data from a point 2 hours ago or from a point two weeks ago. An enterprise cloud backup solution also will have backup features that you can easily enable or disable to customize the data backup to best fit your needs. An enterprise cloud backup system also includes multi cloud site replication. Meaning your data is backed up in multiple data centers in different geographic locations.

Managed Cloud Backup Helps your IT Team

In today’s highly complex IT environments your IT team is dealing with a myriad of issues and challenges. You can help your IT team by taking data backup off of their plate, by bringing in a managed data backup and cloud backup solution from IT Risk Managers LLC. Today’s cloud backup solutions and disaster recovery solutions require 24/7 monitoring, which puts additional work on your internal IT team which may be better used doing other tasks. IT Risk Managers LLC uses a NOC team to help monitor and manage your Data Backup Solution. The NOC receives telemetry and information to make sure your data backup solution is always on, always up to date, and available in the event of a disaster. Managing a cloud backup solution is so important to your business it needs to be done by a full-time team of NOC professionals. Also in the event you need to recover your data it will be done by a team of IT NOC professionals and not left to one person. Today’s cloud backup and Business Continuity services are best handled by an IT Managed Service firm, who deals with data backup full-time.

Business Continuity is important part of a Data Backup Solution

Having a cloud backup solution is important but you have to look at the next steps in the event you have a disaster. This is where business continuity comes in. Not only do you need your data backed up but you need a backup and data restoration plan for your key applications and data. IT Risk Managers’ cloud backup solutions also provide an avenue to quickly restore server services also. Our solution can temporarily provide a replicated server to handle production needs until another server can be deployed. This is the business continuity part. Having your data backed up in the cloud is important but being able to quickly put that data back in production is as important. Advancements in cloud technology offer today’s businesses a great opportunity to mitigate financial loss related to data loss. Our technology allows us to quickly spin up servers up in the cloud to get your business on line quickly, mitigating loss and saving productivity.

Test the Cloud Backup and BDR solution

Testing and making sure your cloud backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity solution is working is very important. Having a cloud backup solution in place, or BDR (Backup Disaster Recovery) solution in place is great but it must be tested regularly. You don’t want to test your BDR solution during a disaster. With our BDR solution, we’re able to simulate and test to ensure the technology is in place, that the people are prepared and the procedures are in place to make your data recovery and system recovery as fast and as pain free as possible. We can also help you with a business continuity and disaster recovery plan.

IT Risk Managers LLC Cloud Backup Solutions

For further information on Cloud Backup, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity please call Rick Bolda at 630-918-7370 or email info@itriskmgrs.com. IT Risk Managers LLC has a mature cloud backup solution that meets the needs of today’s data intensive businesses.

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