Managing IT can be a daunting task, especially for businesses that lack dedicated IT personnel or the expertise to handle today’s complex technology. In recent years, more and more organizations have recognized the benefits of outsourcing their IT management to Managed Service Providers (MSPs).
What is an MSP?
A Managed Service Provider, or MSP, is a company that offers a range of IT services to businesses. These services can include network monitoring, infrastructure management, data backup, cybersecurity, and more. By partnering with an MSP, businesses can offload their IT responsibilities to professionals with deep expertise and industry-best practices.
The Challenges of Self-Managed IT
Self-managing your IT can be a significant challenge. Here are some of the common pain points that organizations face:
Lack of Expertise: IT is a complex and ever-evolving field. Keeping up with the latest technologies, security threats, and best practices can be overwhelming, especially for businesses without dedicated IT staff.
Resource Constraints: Managing IT requires time, manpower, and financial resources. Small and medium-sized businesses often struggle to allocate these resources effectively, leading to inefficiencies, downtime, and security vulnerabilities.
Limited Scalability: Growing businesses often find it difficult to scale their IT infrastructure to meet increased demand. Self-managing your IT environment may require significant investments in hardware, software, and additional staff, which can strain budgets and hinder growth.
Cybersecurity Risks: Data breaches and cyber-attacks are on the rise. Without proper security measures in place, businesses face significant financial and reputational risks. Implementing and maintaining robust cybersecurity protocols can be challenging for organizations without the necessary expertise.
The Benefits of MSP-Managed IT
Switching to an MSP-managed IT environment offers several benefits:
Expertise and Support: MSPs have a team of experienced professionals who specialize in different aspects of IT management. They stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices, providing businesses with access to a breadth of knowledge and expertise.
Proactive Monitoring and Maintenance: MSPs utilize advanced tools and technologies to monitor your IT infrastructure 24/7. They identify potential issues before they become critical, minimizing downtime and ensuring smooth operations.
Scalability and Flexibility: MSPs provide scalable solutions tailored to your business needs. Whether you’re experiencing rapid growth or need to downsize, an MSP can quickly adapt your IT infrastructure to meet changing requirements without additional investments or resources.
Enhanced Security: MSPs employ robust security measures to protect your systems, networks, and data from cyber threats. They implement industry-standard security practices, conduct regular security audits, and ensure compliance with data protection regulations.
Cost Savings: By outsourcing IT management to an MSP, businesses can reduce the overhead costs associated with maintaining an in-house IT department. MSPs work on a subscription-based model, allowing organizations to pay for the services they need, when they need them.
Strategic Planning: MSPs can act as your virtual chief information officer providing project planning services that keep IT spend spread across the years to make the IT budget easier to manage.
Consider making the switch to an MSP today and unlock the benefits of professional IT management, contact us to get started.
In the ever-evolving world of IT support, two strategic approaches have emerged to address the needs of businesses – vCIO (Virtual Chief Information Officer) services and break-fix services. Each of these approaches has its own merits and drawbacks, making it crucial for businesses to carefully consider which option best aligns with their goals and IT requirements. So, let’s dive into the comparison between vCIO services and break-fix services and find out which one takes the crown!
vCIO Services: Unleashing the Power of Proactive IT Management
The vCIO model offers businesses a cost-effective and strategic solution to IT management, delivering benefits far beyond simple problem-solving. Here’s a breakdown of what vCIO services bring to the table:
Strategic Technology Planning: A vCIO provides a long-term roadmap for your IT infrastructure, aligning it with your business objectives. They assess your current technology landscape, analyze potential risks, and develop a comprehensive IT strategy to ensure your technology infrastructure drives success.
Proactive IT Monitoring and Management: By constantly monitoring your systems, a vCIO can detect and address issues before they turn into full-blown disasters. They implement proactive measures, such as 24/7 system monitoring, patch management, and security audits to keep your IT environment optimized and secure.
IT Budgeting and Procurement: A vCIO helps you streamline your IT budget by aligning your investment with your business goals. They provide insights into cost-effective technology solutions, negotiate contracts with vendors, and manage IT procurement to help you make informed decisions while optimizing your spending.
Technology Vendor Management: Collaborating with multiple technology vendors can be time-consuming and complex. A vCIO acts as a single point of contact for all your technology vendors, managing relationships and ensuring smooth coordination between various stakeholders.
Break-Fix Services: The Traditional Firefighter Approach
Break-fix services have long been the go-to approach for businesses seeking IT support on an as-needed basis. Here’s a closer look at what break-fix services bring to the table:
Issue-Specific Support: Break-fix services are designed to address specific IT issues as and when they arise. This approach involves fixing problems after they occur, reacting to incidents rather than proactively managing your systems.
Limited Scope of Support: Break-fix services typically focus solely on resolving immediate technical issues. While they can provide quick fixes, they do not offer strategic planning or ongoing support to help prevent future issues or optimize your IT infrastructure.
Variable Costs: Break-fix service costs can be unpredictable, as you are billed per incident or hourly basis. This makes budgeting and financial planning more challenging, especially if you encounter frequent or recurring IT issues.
Less Focus on Prevention: With break-fix services, the emphasis is on remedying existing problems, leaving behind the potential for other underlying issues to remain undetected, ultimately leading to more costly and time-consuming problems down the line.
The Verdict: vCIO Takes the Throne!
While break-fix services may have their place in certain scenarios, vCIO services offer a more comprehensive approach to IT management, aligning your technology with your business goals and providing ongoing support. The proactive nature, strategic planning, and cost optimization provided by vCIO services make it the winning solution for businesses looking to stay ahead of the ever-changing technology landscape. So, without a doubt, the crown firmly sits on the head of vCIO services!
If your company is tired of just calling your IT service company when things are broken, then contact us for vCIO services.
“Companies that use MSPs for strategic advantage are 1.6 times and 2.4 times more likely to be faster to market as well as more innovative than those focused solely on cost savings, according to the report.”
“Organizations utilizing managed services at a mature level use them to respond more adroitly to changing conditions and potential threats.”
“Most business and IT leaders recognize the pace of innovation is occurring faster than their internal IT teams can absorb. There is always going to be some type of skills shortage. Those skill shortages are ones that MSPs are in the best position to fill.”
If your company is looking to outperform in the marketplace, then contact us to start a partnership.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face numerous challenges when it comes to managing their IT. Limited resources (both human and money), lack of expertise, and the need to focus on core business operations often make it difficult for SMBs to understand and manage technology needs. This is where Managed Service Providers (MSPs) come in. In this blog article, we will explore the reasons why SMBs should consider partnering with MSPs to enhance their IT capabilities and drive business growth.
Cost-Effective IT Solutions:
One of the primary reasons why SMBs need MSPs is the cost-effectiveness they offer. By outsourcing their IT needs to MSPs, SMBs can avoid the high costs associated with hiring and training an in-house IT team. MSPs provide a range of services, including network monitoring, data backup and recovery, cybersecurity, and software updates, all at a predictable monthly cost. This allows SMBs to allocate their resources more efficiently and focus on their core business.
Access to Expertise and Advanced Technology:
MSPs are experts in providing IT services and have a team of highly skilled professionals with expertise in variety of technology. By partnering with MSPs, SMBs gain access to the depth of knowledge and experience from IT experts who can handle complex tasks and provide strategic guidance. Additionally, MSPs stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends and can recommend and implement solutions that can help SMBs stay competitive in the market and safe from hackers.
Proactive IT Support and Maintenance:
MSPs offer proactive IT support and maintenance, which is crucial for SMBs. They monitor networks, identify potential issues, and take preventive measures to avoid downtime and disruptions. MSPs also provide regular software updates, security patches, and system maintenance, ensuring that SMBs’ IT remains secure and up-to-date. This proactive approach helps SMBs minimize the risk of costly IT failures and ensures smooth business operations.
Enhanced Data Security:
Data breaches and cyberattacks pose a significant threat to SMBs. MSPs play a vital role in safeguarding SMBs’ sensitive data and protecting them from potential security breaches. They implement robust cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software, and encryption, to ensure data confidentiality and integrity. MSPs can also conduct regular security audits and vulnerability assessments to identify and address any potential weaknesses in the IT infrastructure.
Scalability and Flexibility:
As SMBs grow, their IT needs evolve. MSPs offer scalable solutions that can adapt to changing business requirements. Whether it’s adding new users, expanding storage capacity, or integrating new software, MSPs can quickly and efficiently accommodate these changes. This scalability and flexibility allow SMBs to focus on their growth without worrying about the limitations of their IT infrastructure.
If your company could use the cost-effective solutions, access to expertise, proactive support, enhanced data security, and scalability that come from using a MSP, then contact us for assistance.
Had a client receive the message “There was a problem with your roaming profile…” after logging into another computer on the domain. Research and found that a simple registry fix was available, but most fixes wanted admins to export a key from another working profile then import it into the broken one. Here is the actual registry key that was used to fix the profile:
Registry Fix for roaming profile was not completely synchronized
Open Registry Editor as the broken user and NOT administrator
Navigate to HKCU > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows NT > CurrentVersion > Winlogon
Right click and choose New > String Value and give it the name ExcludeProfileDirs
Enter the following – AppData\Local;AppData\LocalLow;$Recycle.Bin;OneDrive;Work Folders
As we work on finishing our 5th year in business, Farmhouse Networking continues to enhance its offering to our clients and improve the way we do business. Each one of these changes is carefully researched and painstakingly implemented to make sure that impact on end-user experience is minimally invasive. Here is a list of the major changes taking place now:
New Customer Documentation: We have been using a new document management system to securely store information about our clients networks, create standard operating procedures on how we specifically care for individual clients, and keep track of passwords for all the things that need securing. This will keep our staff and backup techs apprised of all our customers equipment and standard operating procedures so that things get done right.
New Maintenance Software: After much market research to improve our current system of auto-magically maintaining customers computers, we found something better. It took some negotiations with them but we got the price down to close to the same, so there will be no increase in price. Just better software to serve our customers with. We can now monitor more of the network and in a deeper way so that there is even less possibility of downtime due to computer issues.
New Employee: You read that right. Farmhouse Networking has officially contracted with our first employee. The work load has finally reached the point where occasional help from my family is just not enough. Peter deGreyt will start work on Monday, November 11th, 2019. He has previously worked for another local managed service provider and graduated from Southern Oregon University with a degree in business analytics. His first contact with many of you will likely be to input customer information into our new document management system.
If your company is interested in working with a company that takes IT seriously, then contact us for assistance.
You read that right! As a Microsoft Partner, Farmhouse Networking is able to setup free training lead by Microsoft Community Development Specialists for any client that purchases new Microsoft Office licenses or renews a current license agreement. Here are the courses offered:
Empower your Business with Microsoft Teams
Get to Know Windows 10
LinkedIn: Build Your Business Pipeline with LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Office Fundamentals – Five Series Workshop
Fundamentals of Word
Fundamentals of Excel
Fundamentals of Outlook
Fundamentals of PowerPoint
Fundamentals of OneNote
And several more…
If your company is going to upgrade to Office 2019 or is looking to migrate your email to Office 365, then contact us to get in on the free training for your entire company.
I was chatting with my son who works for a large local company who
contracts with a local Managed Service Provider to help with their IT
needs. Due to a clause in their contract they are now locked into paying
over $15,000 per month for IT services for the next three years. This
includes $300 per server (they have 5 of them) and $70 per workstation
(they have over 100 of them) plus some other mysterious charges for the
network. Personally I think that this is outrageous.
Here at Farmhouse Networking we do not believing in locking our clients
into a contract. Our IT services are always month to month so that if
either of us are dissatisfied with the relationship then we can easily
end things with no obligations. Our services are also reasonably priced
due to keeping our overhead low – we charge $65 per server and $25 per
workstation plus a small per device charge for other network devices.
That is a mind boggling 280-460% savings over the local competition. For
that large company that would be a realized savings of somewhere
between $9,600 and $11,700 per month – enough to hire several new
employees or purchase new equipment to increase production.
If your company is looking to keep the costs of IT services down and keep more working capital for true business needs, then contact us for assistance.
With the recent addition of VoIP phone service and internet phone service for current phone system owners, we here at Farmhouse Networking have decided to “eat our own dog food” as the saying goes by changing our phone number over to use the new VoIP phone system ourselves. So here is what to expect:
Phone System Features:
Texting: Those of you who are used to texting in for quick responses will no longer be able to do so. I will still have a cellphone and be able to answer calls from the field via the phone systems Ring Group feature, but I will changing the phone number for my cell phone.
Desk Phone: When in the office, we will be answering our Polycom VVX310 desk phone which has HD Voice for clearer call quality.
Messages: Any time a message is left on our new system, the phone system Voice to Text feature will transcribe the message automatically then send an email into our ticketing system with a copy of the audio also attached. This then becomes a ticket – this feature will increase responsiveness and accuracy in handling your requests.
Holidays, Nights, & Weekends: The phone system has been setup to recognize specified national holidays, birthdays, and special occasions. It also has Time Frame setup with business hours between 9am and 5pm on all weekdays. When outside these business hours or on holidays the phone system will be answered by our Auto Attendant system. This will give the option to leave a voicemail to create a ticket or agree to after hours rates to start an emergency call. Please see our Terms & Conditions for more information.
Thanks for always looking to Farmhouse Networking to serve your company’s IT needs.
If your company is looking to upgrade your current phone system feature set or reduce overall costs of phone service, then contact us for assistance.
It is official – the month of September marks three years in business for Farmhouse Networking. We have been truly blessed by God to have been able to serve the Grants Pass and surrounding business communities by providing exceptional IT managed services. We look forward to many more years of giving you the highest level of support possible so that you can focus on getting business done. With this anniversary we plan on rolling out some enhancements to our monthly service offerings:
Enhanced Monthly Maintenance
Standard Maintenance: For those who are not current managed clients, these basics have always been a part of our service offering:
5-year Technology Plan & Budget
Full Network Inventory
Hard Disk Checkups (Bi-Monthly)
Hard Disk Defragmentation (Monthly)
Temporary File Cleaning (Weekly)
Anti-Virus Software (Constant Monitoring)
Operating System Updates (Weekly)
Error Log Monitoring (Constant Monitoring)
Power Settings Management (Constant Monitoring)
Windows Services (Constant Monitoring)
Continued Improvements: Over the past 3 years we have also added the following features to our service at no additional costs:
Ticketing System Portal
Email Support to Create Tickets
Security Incident Response Plan
Vendor Information Tracking
Third-Party Software Updates (Monthly on Firefox, Chrome, Acrobat Reader, ….)
Email Blacklist Checking (Daily)
Warranty Checking (Monthly on All Major Brands)
Operating System Intrusion Detection (Constant Monitoring)
Support for MacOS & Linux (Constant Monitoring)
Server Applications (Constant Monitoring)
Hardware Events (Constant Monitoring)
Enhancements to Come: In September, we will be adding these new exciting features to our service:
DNS filtering – this will further protect your network from external threats by stopping accidental surfing to malicious sites. It also can increase productivity and network speeds by limiting wasteful frivolous surfing during company time.
Dark Web Scan – Each monthly client will have the “Dark Web” scanned to see if any email addresses connected to the company have been involved in a previous password breach.
Weekly Security Newsletter – Farmhouse Networking is partnering with a national security non-profit to deliver up-to-date news and information about how to stay safe online. These weekly newsletters will be packed with valuable information and delivered to everyone in your organization.
As our service offering has expanded, we have deepened our ability to monitor our customers networks to proactively respond to alerts before they become problems. We have continued to add levels of protection to make sure that our clients systems are safe from the ever-expanding list of threats. All this has been done at no additional cost, despite inflation, up to this point. To continue offering this high level of service, Farmhouse Networking is making a couple small changes to its prices that will be effective September 1st, 2018.
Monthly Maintenance Clients – our services are based on a per device basis and the cost per workstation will be $25 per month for remote maintenance and $50 per month for full service maintenance. All other prices will remain the same for every other device on the network. This will only effect clients whose contracts are renewing after September 1st, 2018 – any renewed before that will keep their prices the same for the next 12-month term.
Small Business Clients – those who do not have a server and have less than 5 workstations, our hourly rate will be $80 per hour for on-site service and $40 per hour for remote service (billed in 15-minute increments). That is only $10 more for on-site support and $5 more for remote support.
Standard to Medium Clients – those with a server or more than 5 workstations, our hourly rate will be $120 per hour for on-site service and $60 per hour for remote service (billed in 15-minute increments). That is only $10 more for on-site support and $5 more for remote support.
Tier-3 Clients – those technology companies that utilize our advanced expertise to better serve their clients, our hourly rate will be $40 per hour for remote service (billed in 15-minute increments). That is only $5 more for remote support.
Charity Clients – those non-profits that pay for support, our hourly rate will remain at $70 per hour for on-site service and $35 per hour for remote service (billed in 15-minute increments).
For all our monthly maintenance clients, we will be calling to schedule our semi-annual meeting to check-in with you during the month of September. At that time we will be performing another network inventory to insure that all network assets are covered properly under your current contract. We cannot thank all our clients enough for your continued use of our IT services. We look forward to continuing to serve you.
Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds, for riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation. After the hay is harvested and the new crop appears and the mountain grasses are gathered in, your sheep will provide wool for clothing, and your goats will provide the price of a field. And you will have enough goats’ milk for yourself, your family, and your servant girls.
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. - 2 Corinthians 9:8-10