3 Ways to Protect Your Business From External Threats

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Protect Your Business|3 Ways to Protect Your Business From External ThreatsRunning a business requires you to pour your heart and soul into making it a success. When you commit so much time and energy to your business, the last thing you want is for its success to be jeopardized by an external threat. External threats to companies come in many forms, so being aware of them and what you can do to protect your company is essential.

Knowing that you are protecting your business will bring you peace of mind and allow you to focus attention on running your business. Here is how to keep your business protected:

1. Increase Business Premises Security

A break-in or theft at your building can be a distressing situation. No one wants the hassle and upset of needing to report the crime and clear up the damage caused, especially when this is likely to cost you both time and money that could be better spent elsewhere.

Increasing your physical security measures at your business can act as a helpful deterrent and prevent crimes from being committed. Increasing your number of CCTV cameras on the premises, installing shutters, and investing in an alarm system will help reduce the likelihood of crimes being committed and save you the time and hassle that this causes.

2. Take Care of Cybersecurity

While the physical security of your buildings is vital, protecting your business from cybersecurity threats is also crucial. Cybercrimes are continuing to rise, with increased numbers of hacks and phishing scams taking place. If your business is a victim of a cybercrime, the cost can be high. Data breaches and other cybercrime can cause your business unplanned downtime, damage to your reputation, and money if you receive a fine.

As cybercriminals become increasingly sophisticated in their techniques, it becomes even more essential to work on protecting your business from cyber threats. Using Managed IT Services is an excellent way to do this as it enables you to benefit from professional assistance and the latest cybersecurity knowledge to protect your company. Knowing that you have expert help just a phone call away is a fantastic way to keep your business protected from this genuine threat.

3. Legal Protection

No matter how efficiently and diligently you run your business, you cannot control issues caused by other organizations. There are many issues your company can fall victim to in its business dealings, so ensuring you have legal protection against these is crucial.

Finding an experienced lawyer with lots of experience in drawing up contracts and copyright law is vital for your business. Getting contracts drawn up between your company and your suppliers could help safeguard your business against the cost of delays caused by supplies being delivered late or being substandard. It is also helpful to ensure you have applied for the appropriate copyright and patents for your designs and ideas so that you can take action if a competitor copies these.

While external threats cannot be eliminated, taking action to minimize their risk is the best way to keep your company protected.

3 Cost-Effective Strategies for a Modern Online Business

StrategyDriven Strategic Planning Article |Online Business|3 Cost-Effective Strategies for a Modern Online BusinessImplementing a strategy-driven paradigm for any business has never been more important as more and more businesses come to rely on online interfaces with an up-to-date IT infrastructure. Embracing and utilizing new and emerging technologies is always a viable and trusted method of engaging with the public and taking your business into an optimal configuration that both clients and employees alike will expect.

For most companies, however, managing and maintaining the vast infrastructure of a modern IT-based business is a perplexing challenge, expensive and in most cases not even possible when such things as qualified technicians, complex integrations, and the cost of equipment are considered. For these reasons and more, it might be time to think about employing the services of such providers as:

  • Managed IT services
  • Live chat systems
  • Call center operators

Managed IT services can be a godsend when it comes to the installation, maintenance, and monitoring of your computer and network systems while live chat can bring your website firmly into the 21st century while call centers offer an inexpensive method of dealing with call volume.

Managed IT Services

Simply in response to the growing reliability of most businesses on computer and network systems, managed IT services have become an almost essential and integral part of a modern business. Companies such as BlackPoint IT Services are able to provide complex IT infrastructure and maintenance services that cover such things as network configuration, PC setup, license management, hardware as a service, and cybersecurity.

As useful as all managed IT services are, the last two mentioned, HaaS and cybersecurity are the most important in the modern business world. Hardware such as PCs that are required for any office as well as printers and specialized hardware are all very expensive and can be a major cost for a business. Cybersecurity is highly relevant right now with many smaller businesses being targeted by malicious hackers in order to steal company and personal data that is then sold on the dark web. In 2017 in the UK alone, 46% of small businesses reported a cyberattack of some kind.

Live Chat Systems

One of the most expected services on any modern website is now the option of a live chat interface between your company and a client. While around 50% of people still prefer to use the telephone system, the other half opt to choose a website interface using their PC or smartphone for communication through channels such as live chat, email, or ticketing.

Live chat comes in various forms that offer something for almost everyone so that they can have an issue resolved.

Proactive live chat provides audiovisual cues for a user to click and can be operated through either a human or AI interface and reactive chat waits for a user to engage manually. While they both offer advantages depending on the nature of your business, most users expect an AI to human proactive engagement and these can be easily integrated using third-party software.

Call Center Operators

Still a primary and effective public communications branch of any business, a call center offers customers a tried and tested method of raising queries with the correct department. While many people will choose to communicate via online channels, there are cases where calling is necessary and many of the older generations have been shown to prefer traditional telephone communications.

Employing your own full-time call center would be an enormous expense, not least for the installation and maintenance of a complex PSTN system that is soon to be outdated, but the wages for staff alone would be astronomical. There are however outsourcing companies that provide call center services for a relatively small fee, providing only the services you need such as the correct number of staffing, forwarding services, and even receptionists.

Choosing the Best Managed IT Services for Your Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | Choosing the Best Managed IT Services for Your BusinessNavigating information technology has become an inescapable part of every modern business, whether it is the size of an industry titan in Silicon Valley, an unassuming mom and pop shop, or anything in between. Some type of IT support is necessary, and if your business doesn’t have the luxury of on-site, tech-savvy support, you may have to outsource for managed IT services.

With a dense saturation of providers to choose from, here are the most important things to consider when seeking managed IT support for your business.

Do They Provide Sufficient Security?

Technologically oriented crime has increased at a staggering rate. Reports of industry giants suffering breaches show up frequently. To keep from being

impacted, you need to consider the standard of security your type of business requires both for your company’s safety and for your clients, vendors, and anyone else whose data you collect.

Can the provider be trusted with your company’s sensitive financial and personal information? Will they effectively encrypt your company’s network to ensure effective activity privacy and monitoring? Do they have a history of failing their customers in terms of data leaks, or are they vigilant in maintaining your protection?

Once you have found a provider that sufficiently meets these criteria, you’re one step closer to having quality managed IT support.

Are They Timely?

Tech emergencies can happen in an instant, and they can create havoc on your production and your systems quickly. In those moments, your company needs an IT service that can resolve the issue in a prompt and efficient manner.

When evaluating companies, ask yourself: Are they available at all hours of the day, every day of the year? If your services may be rendered at any given moment, so too should theirs. No company is immune from technological issues, hiccups, or potential digital attacks. Relying on the expertise of IT technicians whose services are available to you the moment you report an issue is of the utmost importance.

Although there is never a good time for a system glitch, technology often fails the people who use it at the most inopportune moments. Having an IT support team on standby who can resolve issues efficiently is key to maintaining a smooth business practice.

Are They Competent?

Pick the very best of the best that you can afford as a business proprietor. The experts on whom you depend should be exactly that: experts.

The distinction between an amateur who treats your network like a test lab and a storied professional with a distinguished background in providing service to multiple clients seems obvious. However, if you are in the market for an IT provider, take the extra time to weed out the average from the elite. Your business may have oddly specific needs or a wide range of general needs, and it is essential that whomever you outsource your technological dilemmas to is thoroughly equipped and licensed to address these problems.

Do They Meet Your Standards?

You wouldn’t risk providing subpar or thoughtless work to the clients who have employed your services. Therefore, you shouldn’t settle for anything provided by a managed IT support team that wouldn’t meet your highest expectations. Your company deserves tech support that upholds the same standards that you do.

Once you have answered these questions, evaluated the options, and taken the time to vet a reliable provider, your business can grow without your time and attention being divided. You have a secure, efficient, and competent network of experts, and you may now tend to the vital needs of your business without fear of a crash or breach.

Do You Need IT Skills to Become an Entrepreneur?

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |IT Skills|Do You Need IT Skills to Become an Entrepreneur?Becoming an entrepreneur may sound incredibly enticing these days, but there are likely a couple of things that are holding you back. Perhaps you don’t think that your idea is very good, or maybe you lack the confidence and experience to make it big. There are also a lot of skills that could increase your chances of success, with one of the biggest ones being technology skills.

A lot of people assume that you need to possess an excellent understanding of IT before you’re able to start a business. However, these days, you could start your own business and have your ideas flourish while having a minimal amount of IT knowledge. In this post, we’re going to show you exactly how you can join the entrepreneurial world with a basic understanding of computers.

There are managed IT services out there that can help you with anything tech-related

Whether it’s simple questions like “how to fix a printer” or more complicated issues like “how to protect my office network from cybercriminals”, there are IT services available that can help you set up your business technology and run it with ease. IT can be an incredibly complicated subject that needs years of experience and study in order to fully grasp. Thankfully, you don’t need such a deep understanding as an entrepreneur. Instead, there are countless services and experts that you can rely on instead.

Just like anything in business, you only need a very basic understanding of something in order to make use of it as a business owner. You don’t need to be a master of everything when entering the entrepreneurial world.

Starting up your own website and designing it has never been easier

Thanks to a lot of modern website design services and hosts, it’s become really simple to make and manage your own website with just a couple of clicks. We’re not talking basic templates and designs that everyone uses either, we’re talking about websites that can be fully customized, unique designs that no other website uses, all with a couple of clicks and adjustments.

Even if you don’t want to make your own website, there are plenty of freelancers and affordable design services that you can rely on instead. You don’t need to pay hundreds to get a website designed anymore and there are some extremely talented people out there who are willing to help you for a small fee.

There are other skills that are arguably more important as an entrepreneur

There are a surprising number of skills that can affect your success rate as an entrepreneur, and these don’t involve IT at all. For example, managing your time effectively can have a huge impact on your success rate and strategic thinking also helps you deconstruct problems so that you can deal with them efficiently.

There are many important skills to acquire as an entrepreneur and technology is very low on the priority list. Instead, focus on building up your value as an entrepreneur by harnessing your curiosity and working on your communication.

Everything You Need to Know About Outsourcing for Your Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |outsourcing|Everything You Need to Know About Outsourcing for Your BusinessOnly large corporations can actually afford to hire all their needs in-house and have that be the most cost effective solution. Everyone else needs to work together. Knowing who to work with, or even that you need to work with someone to start with, is what trips many new and established businesses up.

Outsourcing can and should be your friend, but if you find the wrong partner you could end up price-gouged at every turn. That is not the only option. Outsourcing is smart for small and medium-sized businesses so that they can enjoy top of the line services when and if they need it. So, if you are new or feel like you are drowning, follow this guide:

The Benefits of Outsourcing

It is impossible to hire everyone you need when you first start out. Many people today only have themselves, which means they’re not just the boss or the expert, they’re the marketer, the accountant, the salesperson, the receptionist and any other role that comes your way.

Frankly, you can’t do it all. Thankfully, you don’t have to.

By outsourcing jobs you can rely on experts at a fraction of the cost and only when you need it. Hire a web designer to set up your website and then learn how to use the CMS to update the blog or anything else. Hire an accountant during tax season and use a software for the rest of the year.

What to Look for When Outsourcing

When outsourcing you need to make sure that one, the person or team you are going to are actually qualified and two, that they are affordable. When you are just starting out it is a good idea to look for options that offer a flat-fee rate, so that you can budget in their services without worrying about hidden costs.

The New Business Guide: What to Outsource

1. IT Services

One outsourced service you will absolutely want to have on call are IT services. IT specialists are expensive – and for good reason. They know what they’re doing and can help provide support and logistics for the behind-the-scenes aspects of your company. Thankfully there are companies like IT Connect that offer managed IT services at a flat-fee rate.

You need these services to help keep your systems up and running, troubleshoot problems, help you and your team with daily questions, and even to help prevent a hacking attempt. Ransomware in particular is deadly to a business – and it doesn’t matter what the size is. Managed IT services can help you strengthen your defenses and provide the support that makes you a difficult target for hackers.

2. Tax and Accounting Services

There is business accounting software available that can help you keep your books in order, but tax laws are complex. Hiring an accountant to go through your books and get you the best tax rebates is smart and will ensure your business stays legal.

You will need to outsource more as you grow. HR services, marketing services, and so many more will need to be hired as you grow. Outsourcing when you cannot afford the full wage of a specialist in-house is the smartest move you can make, but be sure of who you hire before you commit.