What is a Managed Network?

What is a Managed Network

Managed networks are a popular IT solution for small and medium sized businesses. The ins and outs of exactly how they function though are still confusing to many new business owners. How do they work, why are they so popular, and what purpose do they serve? What is a managed network exactly?

How a Managed Network Works

A managed network is a network set up and overseen by a third party provider. This provider is often called a “Managed Services Provider,” or MSP for short. The MSP handles the software, the technical support, and the IT infrastructure for the client. As a small company grows, usually by around ten employees, business owners realize that everyone on their separate devices and servers just won’t work any longer. That is where managed network providers come in.

A managed network is managed remotely, delivered through the cloud. This means your MSP will rarely, if ever, be on-site and there is virtually nothing for a business owner to oversee themselves. The server space, software updates, antivirus, almost everything you can think of is managed by the provider.

Advantages of Using a Managed Service Provider

The two main advantages of using a managed service provider are cost and convenience. The MSP model allows small and medium sized businesses to have little to no IT staff in house while still benefitting from the use of a dedicated server and private network. Employees can share files and email clients with the knowledge that all information exchanged is private and secure.

MSPs handles all technical issues and will on-board new staff as well, meaning less time spent by valuable staff solving computer problems or setting up new hires. Let the MSP handle it. With a fixed cost model, there is no reason not to take full advantage of the services offered. You can also rest easy each month knowing that your IT costs are fixed and predictable.

How Managed Networks Came to Be

The idea of MSPs came about in the 1960s with the first telephone company to allow customers to pay a monthly fee to use telephone equipment owned by the provider. This model was very appealing to companies that did not have the need or means for switchboards and other communication equipment, but of course still needed to be able to manage multiple phone lines. As computer technology later emerged, this model was transferred to IT equipment and network management. The model has thrived because of the abundance of businesses that need the benefits of a computer network without the cost in-house IT equipment and staff.

What is a Managed Network?

In a nutshell, a managed network is a network of computers that is managed by an outside service provider, most often through the cloud. Server space, software updates, and technical support all come from this provider, allowing businesses without in-house IT staff all of the benefits of a full IT department. Managed networks are convenient and very cost effective in a business landscape where skimping on technology is nearly impossible.

Why a DIY Backup Solution Just Doesn’t Cut it for Business

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DIY Backup Solution

When it comes to backing up the data of your business, cutting out any margin of error is vital. The information stored by businesses, like client databases, lead lists, and project files, is far too valuable to ever allow to be lost. The first step in securing your business’s data is of course is acknowledging you need a backup solution, but it is equally important to pick a solution that fit for your needs. Let’s explore what needs to be considered, and why in most cases, a DIY backup solution just won’t cut it.

Human Error

The core goal of keeping a backup is to protect your data from something like accidental deletion, computer failure, a natural disaster, and whatever else could cause you to lose valuable data. So why put the element of human error back into the equation by picking a DIY backup solution?

A few of the many reasons DIY data backups fail are accidental deletions, incomplete backups, forgetting to update the backup, losing an external hard drive, etc. So how to avoid these risks? Go with a backup solution that is automated. The backup will be run periodically and be done completely digitally. Remove humans from the process all-together.

Backups Needs to be Off-Site

The idea of just keeping an external hard drive or backup server in your office might be appealing for the ease of it. But what happens when your office is robbed, sabotaged by a disgruntled employee, or flooded? Now you’ve lost of your computers, AND your backup.

One of the essential pieces of a solid backup plan is keeping the backup data off-site. With a cloud backup provider, your files will be kept far away in a safe and secure place. There is no reason for your backup data to ever be in the same location as your primary storage.

Expert & Timely Data Restoration

Imagine the worst happens, and some sort of event causes you to lose all of your primary files. Do you now want to scramble to figure out how to restore an entire network of computers, and pray not only that it works, but takes less than a few weeks to get your data back? I am sure you are seeing dollars signs flying out the window with this thought – and this is exactly what would happen with most DIY backup solutions.

Now imagine losing your data, and dialing a number, speaking with someone at your cloud backup provider, and POOF! Within minutes, your computer network is once again populated with your files, exactly how you left it. Which version of this scenario would you rather go through?

Peace of Mind

As every worry-wart knows, peace of mind is priceless. Knowing your business’s files are safe no matter what happens to your or your employee’s computers is the best peace of mind there is. Considering how many small companies go out of business after a major data loss (spoiler alert: it’s a lot), knowing you have a team of experts running automated backups, stored on their secure off-site servers, will give you the best sense of security there is.

Learn More About Cloud Backup

Why Small Businesses Turn to Managed Service Providers

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Why Small Businesses Turn to Managed Service Providers

One of the largest costs associated with small businesses is the overhead. Even the most invested small business owners look to save money and cut costs wherever possible. With a huge portion of monthly costs being IT equipment and personnel, it’s no wonder that many small businesses turn to managed service providers. Managed service providers, or MSPs, are a great option for small businesses because they have low up-front costs and offer customizable plans. There is no need to buy all of that expensive IT equipment yourself and hire an IT staff when MSPs today make it so easy to get started.

Easy to Set Up

Sending tasks out-of-house when it saves both time and money is a no brainer. If you aren’t an IT wiz, and don’t want to invest thousands in IT equipment, an MSP will make your set up a dream. Most MSPs own the bulk of the IT equipment their clients need, and do all of the set up for them. You no longer need to do all of the research and leg work to find a cloud provider, set up an anti-virus, find a secure server, etc. Your new MSP will handle all of this for you.

Only Pay for Services You Need

Anyone who has worked with an in-house IT department knows that the work comes and goes in waves. For weeks on end your IT department will be slammed, but then a few days later there’s a lot of feet on the desks. With an MSP, you don’t have to worry about staffing IT personnel because your provider will handle your needs only as they come up. Have a new employee starting next week? There will be someone available to help with on-boarding, but they won’t be sitting around the next day waiting for more tasks. Also, should a problem arise, you now have an entire team at your disposal, and won’t have to pull an entire department of your company from their normal tasks to fix the issue. Small businesses have unpredictable needs – so it’s no wonder MSPs are so popular.

Predictable & Overall Lower Monthly Costs

With a manager service provider, you can enjoy a predictable monthly cost and lower overhead than with a traditional IT department. There will be a set bill amount that includes whatever services you’ve agreed on, which includes time spent on any tech support issues and on-boarding new employees. Your MSP is just as motivated as you are to keep everything running smoothly, so you will often even see less problems arise when using a provider. These low, predictable costs are understandably appealing to small business owners.

Small Businesses Turn to Managed Service Providers

Every year more small business pick MSPs to help them begin and grow their businesses. Choosing to send IT needs out-of-house proves to be an easy and more cost-effective option. When you succeed, they succeed.

Are you looking for a managed service provider? Check out what Cloud Colorado has to offer.

How to Set Up Employees to Work Remotely

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Set Up Employees to Work Remotely

With the help of technology and changing workplace culture, the flexibility to work from home has almost become expected in most modern office jobs. Research shows it that is beneficial for both employers and employees alike in terms of costs and productivity. For businesses that have not considered work from home before though, figuring out how to enable employees to do this can be a daunting task. How will employees take work calls? How can they access work files from home? Should I let them work from home whenever they want or on an established schedule? Let us outline below the answers to some of these questions to get you started setting up employees to work remotely.

Establish Communication Methods

At first thought, communication with remote workers might seem like a deal breaker. But when you really think out your main veins of communication, most of them wouldn’t be changed by an employee working from home. How often do you email, call, or send a message on something like Slack versus actually speaking with someone in person? In most companies, the only real face-to-face business communications happen in meetings.

By setting up a forward on office phones to either a home phone or cell phone, the regular methods of communication will go largely unchanged by remote work. Employees can still be in the office for meetings, but for day-to-day communications, they will easily be able to keep in touch from home over the internet.

Accessing Work Files Remotely

Gone are the days of bringing home a briefcase full of files to review over dinner. With modern working from home, your office computer’s files can easily be accessed from different locations and even different devices. With services like remote desktop and cloud computing, projects started in the office can be seamlessly picked back up from home.

Remote desktop services allow for your desktop to be accessed from any device through the internet. All settings, file locations, and data are stored in your cloud provider’s servers, not on your physical computer at work, so there is no difference in the experience of logging in at home. Getting set up with a cloud provider is an affordable and easy transition, so it is a popular choice for employers wanting to allow remote work.

Decide on a Schedule

If you are new to allowing employees to work remotely, it is a good idea to set expectations of what sort of schedule you expect workers to keep. Would you prefer those at home keep their same hours as in the office, or are you okay with them keeping any schedule as long as they get their work done? Avoid misunderstandings when you try to call an employee during a work day and get their voicemail. By agreeing on their work from home schedule at the get go, everyone is on the same page.

In addition to their daily schedule while at home, decide if you want to set a limit of how many days can be worked from home or if you’d like to have set days each week that certain employees will be at home. The most popular work from home schedule is to have an established 1-2 days a week that certain employees can work from home. Then, set at least 1-2 days a week that everyone will be in the office for meetings and touching base.

Set Up Employees to Work Remotely

Giving your staff the flexibility and technology to work remotely is a win-win for both employer and employee. Get started by establishing communication methods, setting up cloud computing, and agreeing on a schedule. Soon it will not feel odd at all to work on collaborative projects with each team member in a different location!

What’s New in Construction in 2018

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What’s New in Construction in 2018

Technology, urbanization, and convenience are the name of the game for construction in 2018. Read on to find out which business tech will become invaluable this year and where we will be seeing the most growth.

Public Transportation Is on the Rise

In 2018, you will find more and more projects coming up that are either to literally build public transportation infrastructure, or to create developments that are public transport centric. With most of the population now living in urban areas, the days of driving everywhere are gone. Housing, especially on the condo and apartment side of things, is in huge demand near transportation stops. Businesses seek out locations that their workforce can easily get to, and giants like Amazon even select what city their headquarters will be located in based on the quality of their public transportation. Expect to see the network of public transportation grow this year, along with everything around it.

Cloud Computing

Construction has always been an industry with a scattered workforce, and now technology makes it easier to communicate and cooperate with those in the office, at home, and on the job. Cloud technology and features such as remote desktop make it possible to access email, project management software, and more from any device. The construction industry has been one of the strongest sectors to embrace cloud computing, and that will only grow in 2018.

Use of Drones

Aside from just a popular toy, drones have a huge range of uses. The reason you see them on a lot of construction sites these days range from mapping job sites, to monitoring progress, to providing clients with project updates. Drones are really in their element at a job-site – where just a few years ago you had to send a photographer up a crane or cherry-picker just to get an aerial shot. Drones become cheaper and their features become more useful each year.

Labor Shortage Increases Calls for Automation

The labor shortage in construction has unfortunately continued into 2018. As we know too well, a desperate need is the fastest way to get new tech onto the market. Automation was a buzzword in 2017, and 2018 is when the talks get a little more serious. The lack of workforce in the construction industry is driving companies to look elsewhere for “man-power,” and it looks like automation just might be the answer.

Construction in 2018

The construction industry has to have the ability to both respond to today’s wants, and plan for the needs of the future. Keeping an eye on where the demand is headed, and what tech you need to be competitive, will put your company in a good place for years to come.