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What your IT Company Is Not Telling You (But Should Be!!!)

Outsourcing your IT support shouldn’t be a painful part of your business. If you made the decision to hire an external IT Team, they should provide you with consistent coverage, and help you make educated decisions --- not only to protect your business, but also to help you grow.

But what if that isn’t what’s going on? MSPs should add value, not loss. Many times, IT providers aren’t proactively communicating with their clients the current climate changes within IT nor are they effectively making their clients aware of all the nuances and current market trends which they need to be on top of.

If you find yourself questioning your current tech support team, try asking yourself the following questions to see if they are really looking out for your best interests:

Why am I still remoting into computers?

Remote work was on the rise far before Covid19, but now many more employees are working from home due to the pandemic. Oftentimes, these workers will “remote” into their work computers from home machines, whether that be a personal laptop or desktop, in order to have access to all of their work from their main office machine. Remoting into your machine seems simple by using a VPN or “virtual private network,” to provide an additional layer of very effective security between the user and your company’s servers. What your IT provider might not be telling you however, are some of the less obvious pains and disadvantages to utilizing a remote connection.

For starters, the cost of VPNs remains very high. Anyone with a server will tell you that maintaining, hosting, and supporting your own server is extremely expensive. Add on to that, the fact that each remote user will need a VPN license in order to remote into the network and connect to the server. If your company has their entire team working remotely, the cost of VPNs is high. Not to mention remoting into machines is troublesome because both machines need to be running and on in order to work. What happens if the internet goes out at the office or your computer breaks down? Then you’re no longer able to work from your machine. The risk of an outage is too high for remoting into machines to be used as a continued option for remote workers, especially if many offices are shutting down completely in favor of a fully virtual environment.

Switching to the cloud is the only solution to remove the risk of down-time, security breaches, and costly licensing. Not to mention convenience and ease of use. Cloud computing takes place through your provider with minimal hardware investment and many options for accessing large amounts of storage, not to mention a much bigger focus on the security of your data. The cloud offers all of your computing services --- servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence --- over the internet. You can connect anywhere at any time with no need to “remote” into your machines, removing any risk of outage.

What do I do with my physical office and equipment after going virtual?

If you’ve decided to leave the office and work virtually, whether it be just for the time being or permanently, what do you do with your office equipment? What about the internet and telecom bills you’re paying for and not using? These are questions which your IT Team should be addressing with you.

Many businesses don’t realize that disposing of electronic equipment by trash is illegal in New York. Not only is it an environmental concern, but it is also a privacy concern. Wiping data off of computers, servers, and all other networking equipment is essential when getting rid of equipment to protect your data. Using a trusted E-Waste service that abides by legal and security standards for proper data destruction on electronic equipment could save you from fines and security attacks. At RCS Professional, we use a company called 4TH Bin for disposing of equipment. 4th Bin is a trusted E-waste servicer in the tri-state area, and they help us provide all of our clients with reputable and assured data destruction, removal, and recycling for their unused computing equipment. Please feel free to reach out to us if you are needing us to facilitate an e-waste pickup.

Providers of phone and internet services are assisting in the financial pains businesses are facing during COVID19. Many internet providers are offering the ability to suspend your internet accounts temporarily while you are waiting on the return back to office. Telecommunications companies are doing the same in order to remove monthly bills racking up for services you simply aren’t using right now. Suspension allows you to keep your accounts active without paying for them so that you can open them right back up when you are ready instead of cancelling service and facing possible early termination fees and dealing with installing everything again when your physical office opens back up.

Not warning you of COVID-19 related risks and scams

Users working from home is a security risk in and of itself. Personal devices and unsecured wifi leaves users and company networks susceptible to cybersecurity attacks. Your IT company may be securely monitoring the laptops and machines that are managed by them (company owned machines that they allowed users to bring home) but who is managing users personal machines? Cyber attackers are increasingly targeting weak links in company networks (human errors) now that so many people are away from the protection of company security. Reducing risk needs to be proactive with setting up Multi-factor-Authentication for all users along with practicing “Cyber Hygiene” amongst all of your workforce.

Phishing scams and other email related attacks have also seen a rise during the pandemic. It’s scary to see how scammers are getting smarter and enacting scams that are more and more advanced. Proper training from your IT support team is necessary to warn you and your employees on what not to click on and watch out for. One of the free trainings we are currently offering is a Cyber-Security awareness webinar. Contact us to learn more.

Making sure you are leveraging collaboration tools to maintain a healthy remote culture

All of the equipment and software your IT support manages for you is great, but we all know that a great company is built on a lot more than machinery. Your people - your employees, are the most important part of any business. Company cultures have been hit the hardest during remote work, but there are tools out there like Microsoft teams to help you communicate more effectively with your team while you are working remotely.

If your IT support IS offering you these kinds of tools, they ought to be training you on how to use them too. RCS has Microsoft teams webinar training to help you learn more about teams and deploy it within your own company. If you would like to join these webinars, please register here.

Other tools that should be offered to you are ActvTrak, which allows managers to audit & optimize employee productivity while working from home. Also, there are many virtual workshop platforms for event booking like Signupgenius or Eventbrite. Most of these platforms are free to use and offer a wide range of tools to help your organization flourish, even while at home.

Your IT team should be looking out for you, now more than ever. Remote work puts the pressure on you to make sure your business continues even while everyone is not working under one roof. Let your IT be the support you need to walk you through everything you need to know proactively.


If you are interested in learning more about RCS Managed IT Services, please reach out to us as info@rcsprofessional.com

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Teaching Tech in Belize --- What it Taught me

Tech can take you in many different directions, but who knew it would give me the opportunity to take a business trip to Belize? I spend my days working at RCS Professional Services, a tech company located in New York City. I love my job for many reasons; among them, I get work with a terrific tight-knit group of co-workers. At RCS, my day-to-day activities consist of pursuing new client acquisitions, as well as performing various HR and business development functions. The staff makeup is all-male with the exception of one female co-worker, who handles purchasing. Thus, I gravitated towards joining a Women In Tech Facebook group for networking with other women. And this led me to Belize. It started when I commented on Kavya Krishna’s (@kavyakrishna) Facebook post asking for volunteers to run a summer coding camp in Belize run by the organization she co-founded: The Society of Woman Coders. The goal of this organization is “to encourage young girls in developing countries to opt for careers in STEM by conducting free coding camps globally.” My comment on Kavya’s post read, “Do you need to know how to code to apply?” to which she responded, “not necessarily. You need basic coding knowledge” followed by, “why don’t you PM me?” Well, one PM and a couple of interviews later, I was officially inducted into The Society of Woman Coders, and prepping for my first trip to the beautiful country of Belize. Together with my co-facilitator; both of us women working in the tech sector, we set out on a mission to offer a one-week free coding camp to high school girls in the city of Belmopan, Belize. The experience was completely new for me and going into it, I really had no idea of what to expect. I was so gratified to see that these girls far exceeded every goal I set for them and proved to be smarter and more dedicated than any high school students I’d ever seen. I quickly realized that though these girls came from an “underdeveloped country,” their commitment and determination --- and perhaps the absence of outside distractions --- enabled them to focus and advance both their skills and abilities. The program culminated in each of the girls developing their own product or service to sell, as well as a website to represent it; both created over the course of just one week. Each of the girls had something amazing to present, and it was evident from the quality of their work that the talent-game was strong in Belize. The girls were tasked with explaining why they picked their project, and the creativity we saw was astonishing. One girl created a website, which was a self-help guide for people afflicted with asthma. She explained that the reason she picked this particular project was because of her own experience. She suffers from asthma and had an attack once where she was challenged by not being able to get to medical help in time. Thus, she had to figure out how to solve the problem on her own. This site would be to help others in the same situation. Another girl created an online store for people to purchase feminine-hygiene products anonymously since she said that many of her friends felt uncomfortable getting what they needed otherwise. The creativity and resourcefulness of each of these young girls blew my mind, but what I loved most, was seeing women getting ahead in tech in a country that’s third world and also being able to interact with so many other smart women in tech. At the awards ceremony on the last day of the camp, a few of the girls shared their experiences from the week. One girl, Sole, told us how before this program, she always thought of IT as a field that was “so, so boring” but her experience “made her change her mind and realize how fascinating IT actually can be.” She expressed that she found herself looking forward to pursuing a career in tech. After Sole spoke, I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that for this one girl ---and hopefully many more --- this had been a successful experience. One parent remarked to us afterward that her daughter said that “this was the best week of her life.” It was empowering to witness young women looking for their own place at the tech table in Belize, and investing time and energy over their summer break to learn how to code. It was gratifying to see the support that the Belizian government lent to this effort, and the energy and passion they invested in the girls. The camp was 100% initiated, funded and run by government officials, and the Belizian Directorate General for Foreign Trade was present for both the opening and closing ceremonies. I watched how he posed for a picture with each girl at the awards ceremony, and the smiles of pride on each of their faces as their names were announced and he presented them with their awards. Even local business owners got involved. I learned that The Inn at Twin Palms where we stayed, offered us lodging there at a very discounted rate, and also, the local news station came down to the school multiple times throughout the week to give media coverage to the program. Now that I am back in New York, the work is far from over. The Society of Woman Coders has been in ongoing contact with the Belizian government to set up follow-up programs for the girls, as well as offer them additional resources, mentors and online support groups. The goal is to continue to foster their newfound knowledge and interest in tech. Word already has caught on, and since hearing about the work we did in Belize, many other developing countries have been reaching out to Kavya to inquire about bringing the program to their girls as well. But, for me, I know that these young girls from Belize will always have a place in my heart and I cannot help but feel grateful to RCS, The Society of Women Coders, and of course, all of Belize, for the opportunity to have been part of it.