10 Ways Law Firms Can Benefit From Managed IT Services

Managed IT Services for Law Firms
Managed IT Services for Law Firms

10 Ways Law Firms Can Benefit From Managed IT Services

Attorneys and law firms manage highly sensitive, personal data on a routine basis. As legal cases become more complex and increasingly reliant on functions such as digital case management, customer relationship management, and e-Discovery, it’s more important than ever that legal organizations do everything they can to ensure their data is protected, their network infrastructure is secure, and compliance requirements are met.

In addition to security concerns, the ability to work while on the move and immediate access to case data are key to keeping up in the fast-paced legal environment. Between paperwork, time tracking, filings, and deadlines, law offices don’t have time to waste on computer systems that crash unexpectedly or otherwise drag down productivity.

Many smaller law firms are facing a harsh reality: they simply don’t have the resources to invest at the scale necessary to keep pace with their increasing technology needs and to narrow the gap opened up by larger firms with deep pockets.

Most law firms spend roughly 70% of their annual IT budget on system maintenance. Only the 30% that remains ends up being invested in acquiring new technology. Ultimately, the bulk of their resources is spent “spinning their wheels,” instead of embracing new technologies that could help propel their business.

It doesn’t have to be this way! By partnering with a reputable managed services provider (MSP), law firms can entrust the day-to-day management of their IT infrastructure to a team of highly skilled IT professionals who specialize in working with legal organizations. This frees up attorneys and other staff to focus on the business of practicing law, without having to worry about their network failing them.

10 Benefits of Managed IT Services for Law Firms:

Managed IT Services for Law Firms

1) Lower Operating Costs

Smaller and larger firms alike have to keep a close eye on their budgets. The cost to employ in-house IT support can easily surpass $100,000 annually.

Unfortunately, this support staff is not available 24/7 and is unlikely to possess the depth of knowledge necessary to support different technologies.

MSPs give law offices round-the-clock access to an entire team of certified IT experts for a fraction of the cost of internal IT staff.

Managed IT Services for Law Firms

2) Maximized Productivity & Billable Hours

Whether it’s a forgotten password, server failure, or an app that’s not responding as it should, attorneys and their teams simply can’t afford to experience significant downtime.

System breakdowns can be particularly costly, in terms of lost productivity and business disruption. MSPs specialize in Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR), which is crucial for minimizing downtime and maintaining business continuity.

Updating and modernizing a practice’s IT infrastructure can help maximize billing hours by reducing the risk of underperforming applications.

Managed IT Services for Law Firms

3) Predictable Budgeting

With fixed-fee monthly payment options, law firms can know ahead of time exactly what an MSP is going to charge them.

This allows organizations to plan for IT expenses rather than being surprised by unexpected ones.

Managed IT Services for Law Firms

4) Compliance

The protocols and processes required for law firms to stay compliant can be quite complicated. Legal practices that handle credit cards must comply with PCI-DSS security standards.

Attorneys dealing with clients’ medical records are subject to stringent HIPAA regulations. Failure to comply can result in stiff fines and penalties for law firms, as well as an increased likelihood of data breaches.

Reputable MSPs work diligently to keep all hardware and software up-to-date and in compliance with ever-changing government regulations.

Managed IT Services for Law Firms

5) Client Confidentiality & Data Security

Since legal practices are routinely entrusted with highly sensitive information about their clients, they know better than anyone else that keeping this data secure is absolutely critical.

Undetected malware infiltrations and system hacks put the relationship between attorneys and clients at constant risk.

If a security breach should occur, confidential data may be held hostage or distributed in a manner that harms the reputation of law firms or their clients. In the legal community, where reputation is king, this is a worst-case scenario.

Managed services providers work around the clock to protect their law firm clients against viruses, alerting them to suspicious activity, and taking immediate action to contain breaches when they occur.

Managed IT Services for Law Firms

6) 24/7/365 Monitoring & Support

In larger firms, an in-house IT team may be tasked with monitoring environments for threats, handling day-to-day technical operations, and working on achieving the practice’s strategic IT goals. If any of these is overlooked, the firm could end up compromising on security, productivity, or growth.

Small-to-medium-sized law firms often cannot afford to employ round-the-clock IT staff, nor do they have the budget to invest in the sophisticated hardware and software necessary to combat dedicated cyberattacks.

In either case, it makes sense to enlist the services of a managed services provider. Their dedicated team of IT experts will take full responsibility of monitoring for and controlling any data breaches as soon as they occur.

Many trusted MSPs also offer 24/7/365 help desk support for their law firm clients, an added value for an industry in which extended downtime equals lost revenue.

Managed IT Services for Law Firms

7) Improved Accessibility & Mobility

Since legal professionals perform a large portion of their work outside of the office, they need to be able to access data easily and securely anytime and from anywhere.

Important paperwork, documents, and a variety of discovery materials are constantly being added to the existing files. The ability to obtain this information on the fly is crucial for attorneys and their staff.

By storing all of the firm’s data in a secure cloud environment, MSPs can give legal professionals fast and easy access to files anywhere they have an internet connection.

With a trusted MSP managing their staff’s mobile devices, law firms can also gain integrated efficiency and collaboration while keeping confidential data secure – even if devices are lost or stolen.

Managed IT Services for Law Firms

8) Level Playing Field

Most smaller law firms aren’t able to afford the in-house IT support services that many larger legal practices maintain.

In addition, small practices are unlikely to budget for major system updates or upgrades.

As a result, these smaller-scale firms end up lagging on the technology curve.

Partnering with a managed services provider gives smaller law firms a competitive advantage, with access to similar technology and often even greater expertise than the large firms enjoy.

Managed IT Services for Law Firms

9) Scalability

Law practices, like any business, are apt to grow and change.

With this expansion comes an increased need for upgraded software packages, servers, and desktops, as well as a support system to manage them effectively.

Working with a managed services provider gives law firms of all sizes access to the latest technologies and the security measures necessary to operate a growing practice.

Managed IT Services for Law Firms

10) Legal Application Expertise

Line-of-business (LOB) applications, such as document management systems and cost-recovery systems, are critical to the ongoing success of any legal practice. As the number of LOBs grows, so do the integration challenges tied to these tools.

A trusted MSP can engineer these applications to play nicely with standard horizontal applications such as Microsoft Office Suite and Adobe Creative Cloud, helping eliminate a significant amount of frustration and inefficiency.

A managed services provider that’s experienced in working with law firms is better able to anticipate potential issues specific to the profession, as well as understand each practice’s operational needs. Outsourcing IT to MSPs allows attorneys to focus on their clients and cases without interruptions or delays due to connectivity issues or backup concerns.

Outsourcing a legal practice’s IT infrastructure to a managed services provider allows attorneys and support staff to devote their time to what truly matters – giving their clients the attention that they deserve. A more focused IT organization can help emerging practices build their client base, assist lawyers with better engaging their clients, and empower firms of any size to compete in the marketplace.

A reputable MSP will take the time to understand a law firm’s business, personnel, systems, and processes and identify its short-term and long-term goals. The service provider will then develop and implement an IT strategy tailored to the practice’s specific needs.

In addition to protecting the firm’s network against cyberthreats, security breaches, and data loss, an MSP provides a variety of other valuable services that an in-house IT team simply can’t match.

Legal organizations that choose to work with a managed services provider will gain access to the most up-to-date hardware and software, along with the accessibility and mobility that come with a solid cloud infrastructure. Real-time IT monitoring and support for all network applications and devices, data backup, system upgrades, layered security solutions, and disaster recovery are all key components in an MSP’s repertoire.

 

Final Thoughts

DataGroup Technologies has been partnering with legal organizations to provide managed IT services for over 15 years. We understand the unique challenges attorneys and their teams face on a daily basis. Our certified network engineers work with law practices to streamline operations, improve workflow, maximize overall efficiency, and ensure consistent uptime. Our technicians are available to answer your calls for service or support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

If your legal organization has outgrown the capabilities of your in-house IT staff or you’re not 100% satisfied with your current service provider, give us a call today at 252.329.1382 to schedule your comprehensive IT assessment!

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How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?
How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

Manufacturing is central to a strong, vibrant economy. But in order for manufacturing companies to succeed and prosper, it’s essential that their technology be properly equipped, secured, and optimized.

In today’s world, manufacturing operations like yours rely on information technology for practically every aspect of the business. Manufacturers can communicate with anyone, anywhere in an instant. Advances in technology allow you to better formulate plans, fine-tune production processes, and adapt to market demands with remarkable agility and speed. Orders can be submitted more accurately to vendors, and with greater ease. In short, IT continues to provide better, more efficient ways to work.

Selecting the right technology that your manufacturing business needs in order to thrive is a challenge in and of itself. Maximizing the power of that tech on your own is a far-greater challenge.

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

Manufacturing is a Complicated Business

 Today’s manufacturing environment is progressing more quickly than it did during the Industrial Revolution. With information technology changing just as rapidly, it can feel like an uphill battle for manufacturing companies to fight.

Whether you’re managing production, supply chain, logistics, consumer safety, or regulatory compliance, manufacturing processes can be hard to execute when your operations and businesses aren’t properly aligned. Effectively constructing a network of technology and solutions, along with managing ongoing IT efforts, can put a significant strain on your resources.

Manufacturing IT departments often grapple with the task of supporting a global organization with multiple locations – one that requires data and applications to be shared from a centralized location, no less – while having a fixed budget and limited staff at their disposal. At the same time, the in-house IT team is expected to build competitive advantage and profitability for the business by creatively making use of both IT tools and their own technical prowess.

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

There’s Got to Be a Better Way (And There Is!)

 In the highly competitive manufacturing industry, companies want IT that makes their work easier, more productive, drives efficiency, increases profits, and frees them to focus on growing the business. While that may sound like a tall order, it’s easier than you might think.

With customized IT solutions, your manufacturing company can see significantly accelerated productivity, streamlined production, and the type of uptime and efficiency needed to propel the business to succeed for years to come.

A reliable managed services provider (MSP) with experience supporting manufacturing companies understands the unique IT challenges of your industry, and knows how to build systems that will effectively keep your operations up and running.

By leveraging the talent of a skilled MSP, manufacturers can take the burden of day-to-day network monitoring and incident remediation off the IT team’s plate, freeing them to focus on more important tasks.

Managed service providers are capable of integrating a variety of technologies across production, administrative departments, and management, in ways that are both secure and streamlined.

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

What Is Managed IT Services for Manufacturing?

 Managed IT services is a cost-effective alternative to retaining onsite IT support. For a fraction of the cost of a single in-house specialist, your company gains access to a specialized team of highly trained IT professionals. Backed by a clearly defined service level agreement, a skilled MSP provides proactive management, remote monitoring, and maintenance of your entire IT infrastructure.

The Benefits of Managed IT Services for Manufacturing Companies

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

1) Reduce Operational Costs

If you choose to go with a managed services provider instead of in-house IT techs, the money you save on salary, sick leave, health insurance, and social security can be used to fund other key aspects of the business.

A managed services provider already possesses all the tools needed to monitor, secure, and manage your IT infrastructure, so you don’t have to invest in these technologies yourself.

With a flat monthly fee, you can confidently budget for all your IT support costs and avoid unexpected expenses.

 

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

2) Save Time

The average IT staffer spends most of their time working on network issues, routine system maintenance, and troubleshooting everyday problems – often related to printers or operator errors.

By partnering with a reliable managed services provider, the manufacturer’s in-house IT team is able to redirect their efforts towards more strategic, business-building IT initiatives that will generate revenue for the company.

An MSP has a whole team of trained IT professionals available to help, enabling them to respond faster when problems arise and resolve the issues proactively.

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

3) Increase Productivity

Manufacturing is a very fast-paced industry. Downtime from a network crash can shatter productivity, costing your company time and money. When downtime starts to affect your clients as well, your reputation is at risk. While some instances of downtime – such as employee error and regular machine maintenance – are unavoidable, you can control the management of your IT infrastructure. With a managed services provider actively monitoring the state of your IT, you greatly reduce the risk of extended downtime, which can save your business money and prevent catastrophic production delays.

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

4) Streamline IT Processes

As a manufacturer, your primary focus is on streamlining operations and maintaining high levels of production. It may not have even occurred to you that your day-to-day IT processes could also be streamlined for greater efficiency.

Standardization allows for greater consistency in all manufacturing processes, particularly when it comes to rapid recovery when issues arise. Some manufacturers don’t deploy and utilize the same technology across multiple locations. Managing operations with a variety of CRM, ERP, and other software creates a needlessly complicated tangle of communications that hampers employees and the business in general.

A good technology partner will help identify and assess all your IT assets and ensure that these systems are working together well. A skilled MSP can help you design efficient networks that provide seamless collaboration among your staff, outside vendors, sister plants, and other business locations.

A managed services provider can help transition internal office productivity processes to cloud-based services, enabling your administrative employees to work more productively throughout the day.

Technology integration allows you to speed up production on the manufacturing floor, as well as gather and make use of analytics to aid in real-time decisions.

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

5) Proactively Manage Your Network

Far too many manufacturing companies depend on outdated technology with unreliable systems for both their front-office and production functions. When these assets are not carefully managed, the entire operation becomes subject to chronic inefficiency and productivity lapses caused by ERP system crashes, server issues, email outages, data loss, and even network malfunctions affecting CNC and robotics systems. As a result, your organization’s collaboration will suffer, accessibility will be compromised, and valuable time will be wasted. Instead of staying ahead of IT problems, you find yourself constantly reacting to them.

With a reputable MSP proactively managing, monitoring, and maintaining your network, you can devote your time to overseeing your production line, without having to be concerned with the IT involved in it. A team of dedicated IT technicians works to identify and address minor problems before they lead to critical failures; update software, hardware, and security capabilities consistently to extend the life of your equipment; apply necessary patches and upgrades; and periodically audit your IT systems to detect potential issues.

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

6) Around-the-Clock IT Support

If your network runs all day, every day, nonstop (and it likely does) – so must your network monitoring. Having a managed service provider remotely monitoring and managing your servers, desktops, and mobile devices 24/7 gives you peace of mind that the network won’t let you down and production can keep moving forward.

When an IT problem arises that you don’t understand, you need help right away. Most MSPs provide 24/7/365 help desk support, ensuring that a highly trained professional will be available to take your call, answer your questions, solve your problems, and get you back up and running quickly. Many issues can be resolved remotely, but IT technicians are also available to work on premises as needed.

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

7) Protect Against Cyberattacks

Operational procedures and network configurations unique to manufacturing networks make them more vulnerable to certain kinds of malware threats. Many manufacturing companies tend to rely on older software and machines on the production line, and these tools may lack the sophisticated security protections needed to prevent most cyberattacks. A data breach of any magnitude could have a disastrous effect on productivity and cost millions in lost revenue.

With that much liability and money on the line, it’s crucial that you protect your users, systems, network, data, and intellectual property from increasing security threats which could derail your business. Cybersecurity services help defend against harmful viruses, malware, and hackers by using firewalls, intrusion detection systems, virus and spam protection, and responsive incident management.

A reputable managed services provider can reconfigure older technology so that it works securely and safely with newer tools; help detect suspicious activity and respond quickly to minimize the impact of cybersecurity events; and conduct ongoing risk assessments to identify network susceptibility.

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

8) Scalability

When it comes to managing manufacturers’ IT needs, scalability is extremely important. Manufacturing companies often work on large projects requiring a small “burst” of employees and resources. Once the job is completed, the need for these resources decreases and the company can no longer afford to retain the additional employees.

Ramping up your technology with the help of an IT solutions provider is the ideal solution, as increased workloads can easily scale to the cloud with no upfront costs or time delays for you. When the project is complete, your company can easily scale back down to adjust to your current needs.

New service offerings often come with significant upgrades or new software. A trusted MSP can provide the flexibility you need to alter your products and services and add new ones as needed. Having a network that’s easily scalable makes your manufacturing company more agile when it comes to meeting constantly changing demands.

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

9) Data Backup & Disaster Recovery

In a manufacturing environment, any number of unexpected things can occur – whether it’s a large-scale disaster like a fire, flood, earthquake, storm, or widespread power outage, or a seemingly harmless disruption such as an overheated server room, leak, hardware and software failure, or employee error.

Extended downtime due to a disaster – natural or otherwise – is not only incredibly frustrating, but can significantly affect your bottom line as well. If you struggle to return to “business as usual,” the cost is even greater. Having solid preparedness plans in place for ensuring business continuity and disaster recovery can help you move past the pain of a disaster and get back to full operations more quickly.

When you work with a managed services provider, you have a dedicated team of IT professionals working to keep your systems up and running and your valuable data backed up and stored properly.

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

10) Cloud-Based Services

Cloud computing has been an extraordinary boost to the manufacturing companies that have embraced it. With a cloud-based system, you can build a connection among all your technologies, from the back office to the factory floor. This provides greater insight into problems and inefficiencies.

By decentralizing your IT functions and making them universally available in the cloud, all users can enjoy the same experience regardless of their location.

However, shifting your data and applications to the cloud can be tedious and complicated. A reputable MSP can ensure that your cloud migration is effective while minimizing the likelihood of downtime during the transition.

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

11) Mobile Device Management

Manufacturing, like most work these days, has increasingly gone mobile. But if your mobile devices aren’t being properly managed, they can be a major point of concern.

A managed services provider can set up all your employees to use your smartphones, tablets, and laptops safely and securely. This ensures that all your data – both that of the company and your customers – remains protected, even if a device is lost or stolen.

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

12) Access to the Latest Technologies

Many businesses, but especially manufacturers, have a difficult time keeping up with the latest technological advancements. By outsourcing your IT to a trusted MSP, you gain easy access to the most up-to-date technologies so you can better compete in a tech-driven world.

Moreover, with an outside service provider, these IT solutions are often less expensive than if you purchased them outright. Most IT companies have partnerships with vendors who provide them with new technologies at a reduced cost.

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

13) Maintain Regulatory Compliance

Depending on what your company manufactures, you may be expected to meet certain compliance and regulatory standards. Compliance issues can cost you profoundly in legal liabilities and regulatory penalties, not to mention your good reputation.

A trustworthy MSP will work with you to ensure that your systems meet these legal requirements and provide supporting documentation to help you avoid fines and penalties for noncompliance

Final Thoughts

Manufacturing companies have unique technology needs that are best served by working with a qualified managed services provider. With an optimized IT environment as well as cloud, web, and mobile solutions in place, you can greatly enhance the efficiency of your production line. Manufacturers can also benefit from the latest, most sophisticated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software which allows for top-to-bottom cooperation and collaboration.

When you partner with a reliable MSP, you can expect lower cost of ownership, business scalability, streamlined processes, greater continuity, improved security, and increased productivity for your manufacturing company. A team of IT professionals, with its broad range of technical expertise, is able to review your existing technology, help determine where improvements or restructuring are needed, and leverage the tools and processes needed to keep your systems secure, reliable, and protected.

At DataGroup Technologies, we make it our business to help you build yours. We understand the types of challenges that manufacturers face, and we have the proper expertise to design and implement a technology strategy that will improve your productivity as well as your bottom line. We can customize IT infrastructure that’s perfectly suited for every aspect of your operations, from the front office to the manufacturing floor.

With our depth of experience and extensive knowledge base, we are able to troubleshoot and quickly resolve routine network issues, develop processes to disaster-proof your business, identify areas where infrastructure could be improved, and execute these technology upgrades. We provide complete and continuous care of your onsite and cloud assets within an easily budgeted, predictable subscription payment.

When you partner with DataGroup Technologies, our technical services engineers will become an extension of your existing IT department, working side-by-side with your in-house professionals to handle a variety of tasks, from large-scale installations to providing support to staff, customers, and vendors. We can also operate as your entire IT department if you don’t already have one.

If your manufacturing company could benefit from the numerous advantages of managed IT services, give us a call today at 252.329.1382!

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Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT
Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

 

If you’re like most businesses today, you rely heavily on technology to support your daily operations. When your systems stop working properly, productivity grinds to a halt, employees and customers become frustrated, and your bottom line suffers.

A singular IT disaster can set your company back months, decimate your budget, leave staff struggling to pick up the pieces, and seriously risk damaging your reputation. From data loss to network malfunctions, downtime due to IT issues costs businesses in excess of $1.5 million each year in terms of lost productivity and sales.

There are two primary ways of addressing IT support for any business: the reactive approach and the proactive approach.

Some might argue that a reactive approach has its benefits. Common wisdom says that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” If your business is tight on cash, you may be seeking ways to cut expenses – and in general, you don’t see the point in paying for something you might not need.

With a reactive approach to IT support, when something goes wrong you try to get in touch with a technician to come and check your systems, then wait for them to resolve the issue.

The problem with this working model is that it can lead to significant downtime. The technician will first need to analyze the problem before they can get to work on it. If updates or replacement hardware are necessary, business operations could be disrupted even further until the upload or order is completed.

Reactive IT support staff often don’t have the right tools in place to keep tabs on the end user’s experience, instead relying on issues being reported as they crop up.

According to a recent study by Forrester Research, 35% of the time IT support first learns about issues when end users contact the service desk and open a ticket. This is because their support is reactive rather than proactive.

In order for your business to be able to foresee the challenges that may lie ahead, you need to take a more proactive approach to your IT needs. Proactive IT support allows you to better manage your IT budget, secure your data, and avoid some of the major technology risks that your business faces today. 

Through continuous monitoring and real-time analytics, proactive IT support provides excellent insight into your IT infrastructure and endpoints from the end user’s perspective. Potential problems are spotted early and resolved before they can jeopardize your business.

Businesses that opt to outsource their IT needs to a managed services provider (MSP) can expect to save time, money, and stress in the long run. MSPs continuously monitor a company’s infrastructure in search of would-be problems and work to remedy those issues before a major catastrophe occurs.

 

What Is Reactive IT Support?

Let’s dive into this one a little bit deeper.

Reactive IT support involves taking measures to correct problems only when they materialize. It’s often referred to as the “break-fix” model. Under this model, when something goes wrong the business contacts IT support – whether it’s an in-house team or an external company – and makes arrangements to have the problem repaired as quickly as possible. The business is then forced to wait for the IT team to address and resolve the issue, all too often resulting in a great deal of downtime.

The cost of a provider agreement for reactive IT support tends to be lower than a fully managed plan, primarily because this support is implemented on an as-needed basis. If your business already employs in-house staff to provide general IT maintenance, partnering with a reactive support team gives your company access to highly skilled, reliable resources at a budget-friendly price tag. 

Having a variable service agreement means you’ll only be billed for the time that’s spent fixing problems, and this can be a very attractive option for companies with limited financial resources. But there’s a catch.

The time that elapses between detecting a problem and getting it resolved can be hours or days, depending on the specific situation. In that time, significant damage could be done to your system. Since a typical IT project often surpasses its original budget by 45%, fixing an existing problem can be both cumbersome and costly for your business.

 

What Is Proactive IT Support?

Now, for the good news!

With proactive IT support, you can stay ahead of your technology problems. You don’t have to worry about losing productivity, damaging your company’s reputation, or tanking employee morale. Plus, it’s much more budget-friendly in the long run!

Proactive support is all about prevention – mending potential problems before they can snowball into much more severe issues. By proactively managing your IT support needs, you can empower your business to do more with its technology. You’ll get more out of your existing systems, establish new solutions in a strategic fashion, and develop long-term plans for business growth.

Key components of proactive IT support involve automating certain processes and monitoring technology assets to further streamline operations and make analyzing and identifying issues in advance considerably easier.

12 Advantages of Proactive IT Support Businesses

Proactive IT support offers several distinct advantages that can make a considerable difference for businesses. Here are 12 benefits of taking a more proactive approach to your IT needs:

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

Early Detection of Problems

Through continuous monitoring, your IT support partner is able to identify potential issues before they even occur. Resolving problems quickly prevents them from extending to other parts of your system. More often than not, a problem can be eliminated and maintenance carried out before it’s even detected by end users.

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

Increased Productivity

Employees and clients depend on your technology to help them achieve their goals. Software and hardware failures and other IT-related issues cause disruptions that can hamper productivity and foster frustration for all parties involved.

Solving issues proactively means less time sitting around waiting for repairs to be completed. Reducing the risk of downtime empowers your workforce to be as productive as possible.

Productivity and happiness go hand in hand. Giving your staff the right tools for the job creates a more harmonious, happier workplace.

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

Upgraded Cybersecurity

A proactive IT support team can manage every aspect of your cybersecurity, from software updates to employee training.

They’ll create security plans, protect your network against basic threats, and outline steps to take if systems are breached.

Managed antivirus and antimalware programs help keep viruses and malware at bay, while strategic backup procedures ensure that data loss doesn’t occur.

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

Predictable Costs

Most managed services providers offer their services for a fixed monthly fee which covers ongoing monitoring, maintenance, and updates, making it easier to budget your IT expenditures accurately and strategically.

You may pay more in a given month than your would in a variable fee arrangement, but you’ll also incur fewer costs as a result of downtime. When tech problems inevitably arise, you won’t have to worry about an unexpectedly high bill for repairs.

Having your systems continuously monitored keeps your infrastructure in good working order at all times. It’s always cheaper to prevent technology failure than it is to clean up the mess afterward.

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

Team of IT Professionals

When you partner with a managed services provider for proactive IT support, you have an entire team of certified IT experts at your service, instead of just one or two individuals whose daily grind consists of putting out fires or solving routine problems.

These IT specialists recognize how each device on your network plays an essential role in the operations of your company.

Having a team in place to keep an eye out for problems and handle them in a timely manner gives even smaller companies the IT support strength of much larger institutions.

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

Better Decision-Making

Before the onboarding process even begins, an MSP will perform a strategic analysis of your IT infrastructure to identify any areas of weakness that could impede optimal performance.

Based on automated tools provided by the MSP, you will be able to make informed decisions about your specific IT needs.

Having all the information presented clearly in front of you puts you in the driver’s seat, making it easier to see when you need to scale up.

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

Strategic Planning

From carrying out thorough risk assessments to inventorying your IT assets to updating your software and hardware to align with your business goals, MSPs are fully equipped to handle all strategic aspects of your IT.

A proactive strategy allows you to adapt to a changing business environment and meet future challenges head-on. MSPs will work to head off issues that can not only crop up again but worsen over time.

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

Regular Updates & Patches

Many successful cyberattacks rely on unpatched hardware and software. A proactive update schedule minimizes opportunities for hackers to intrude on your systems.

The most recent patch may also add new features that could improve overall performance.

Proactive upgrades are particularly beneficial for maintaining older technology that may be more vulnerable to attacks. MSPs can schedule these updates for ideal times, ensuring that servers won’t go offline at inappropriate times.

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

Regulatory Compliance

Understanding how your company performs with regard to regulatory compliance is a fundamental facet of proactively protecting your company and its data.

Regulatory compliance can safeguard your company from unwanted fees and preserve your customers and employees from impending data breaches.

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

24/7/365 Monitoring

Remote monitoring of your workstations, servers, routers, printers, and other network devices keeps your IT network in good shape at all times.

Knowing that a team of skilled computer experts is regularly testing your systems and thoroughly evaluating them for a wide range of potential problems gives you and your employees peace of mind.

When the team is alerted of an issue, they start working on a fix immediately, often without you even noticing it.

Software problems can generally be fixed remotely, while hardware issues typically require a technician who is physically present on the premises.

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity

Major events such as fires, floods, hurricanes, and cyberattacks are a hazard to all businesses.

A reliable MSP will set up a robust disaster recovery plan for your business and implement software solutions that will keep your business up and running.

All data is backed up regularly so that, in the event of an emergency, your most crucial information is completely safe and easily accessible.

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

Around-the-Clock Help Desk Support

Most managed services providers offer 24/7/365 help desk support as well.

Not only does this come in handy whenever there’s an after-hours incident, but it also allows your internal IT staff (if applicable) to focus on projects that add value to the business rather than running around troubleshooting everyday problems.

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

Final Thoughts

Managing the health of your IT systems in a merely reactive way is like managing your own physical health reactively. Like many health issues, most IT issues can be detected by early warning signs that could be picked up through proactive monitoring.

By analyzing your business and identifying the gaps, weak points, and strengths, a managed services provider can better determine how to protect your company from emergency expenditures, last-minute crises, unexpected downtime, cyberthreats, data loss, and compliance issues.

When partnering with an MSP, you can count on effective monitoring and maintained functionality of your network, enhanced overall performance of your IT infrastructure, reduced downtime and increased productivity, ongoing support whenever you need it, and more time to devote to your core business.

Taking a proactive approach to IT doesn’t make your problems go away. But it will make them easier to plan for and simpler to manage.

DataGroup Technologies is the premier managed IT services provider in the area, delivering ideal IT solutions to businesses of all sizes.

We strive to provide significant value and outstanding service to all of our clients by acting as an extension of your business’s IT team.

If your organization could benefit from the many advantages of managed services, including proactive IT support, call us today at 252.329.1382 or drop us a line here!

Why “Break-Fix” Works Entirely In The Consultant’s Favor, NOT Yours

Why “Break-Fix” Works Entirely In The Consultant’s Favor, NOT Yours

Why "Break-Fix" Works Entirely In the Consultant's Favor, NOT Yours

A question that IT companies often hear is, “Why do I need to be on a managed IT plan? Can’t I just pay you to come out and fix things when they’re broken?”

While that’s a legitimate question if you’re talking about your washing machine or your car, that’s definitely not the right approach to a critical and dynamic IT system that your company depends on. You definitely don’t want to wait until something “breaks” before you try to fix a problem.

One “little” virus, cyberattack, or employee slip-up can cause permanent data loss, extended downtime, a violation of data-breach laws, bad PR, loss of customers and sales, and a host of other expensive problems.

Doesn’t sound so good, huh?

Additionally, under a “break-fix” model, there’s a fundamental conflict of interest between you and your IT firm of choice. The IT services company has no incentive to stabilize your computer network or to resolve problems quickly because they are getting paid by the hour

Therefore, the risk of unforeseen circumstances, scope creep, learning-curve inefficiencies, and outright incompetence all are shifted to you, the customer.

Essentially, the more problems you have, the more they profit, which is precisely what you don’t want.

Under this model, the IT consultant can take the liberty of assigning a junior (probably lower-paid) technician to work on your problem who may end up taking two or three times longer to resolve an issue than a more senior (and more expensive) technician may have taken to resolve it.

There’s no incentive to properly manage the time of that technician or their inefficiency, and there is every reason for them to prolong the project in order to find more problems than solutions.

Of course, if they’re ethical and want to keep you as a client, they should be doing everything possible to resolve your problems quickly and efficiently. However, that’s akin to putting a German shepherd in charge of watching over the ham sandwiches. Not a good idea.

Second, it creates a management problem for you, the customer, as you now have to keep track of the hours the consultant has worked to make sure you aren’t getting overbilled. And since you often have no way of really knowing if they’ve worked the hours they say they have, it creates a situation where you really, truly need to be able to trust that they’re being 100% ethical and honest and tracking their hours properly (unfortunately, not all do).

Finally, it makes budgeting for IT projects and expenses a nightmare, since your IT bill may be zero one month and thousands the next.

Plus, IT systems need regular monitoring and maintenance to protect against the 80,000+ brand-new malware attacks that are released every day not to mention accidental hiccups in data backup, employee error, hardware failure, sabotage from disgruntled employees, etc. The list goes on.

So, if keeping your IT systems up and running is important to you as is keeping your network secure from data loss and cybercriminals then the only option you should choose is a managed services plan from a competent, trustworthy, and reliable IT services firm.

It just so happens that we are very familiar with such a firm!

If your business is overburdened with service interruptions, inconsistent system performance, slow responses to crucial issues, or an unproductive tech staff, managed IT services could be the answer. Outsourcing your IT needs to DataGroup Technologies can relieve the day-to-day stress of trying to do it all.

Managed IT services allows businesses like yours to entrust their IT operations to third-party experts, known as managed service providers (MSPs). The level of service is agreed upon in a Service Level Agreement. A reputable MSP like DataGroup Technologies is capable of handling your entire IT infrastructure or portions of it, depending on your business needs.

Give us a call today at 252.329.1382 to find out how we can help keep your business up and running!

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What Skills Should You Be Looking For In An IT Specialist?

What Skills Should You Be Looking For In An IT Specialist?
What Skills Should You Be Looking For In An IT Specialist?

What Skills Should Be Looking for in an IT Specialist?

Information technology (IT) is one of the fastest-growing career fields at the moment. These days, all modern organizations and enterprises are connected to the internet and have their own network infrastructure. As such, IT professionals who can help maintain this digital connection and provide tech support are in high demand. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 531,200 jobs in the field of computer and IT are expected to open up by the year 2029 ⁠– and this includes IT specialists, whose responsibilities are vital for every modern company.

Aside from being responsible for troubleshooting network infrastructure problems and maintaining the digital systems of a company, IT specialists also ensure that all employees have the tech tools they need to perform their jobs. If you’re looking to enlist the services of an IT specialist, here are some key skills you should keep an eye out for.

What Skills Should You Be Looking For In An IT Specialist?

Communication

Employees may find it hard to verbalize and comprehend various technical issues with the systems they use. This is mainly because not everyone is well-versed in computers and technology. For this reason, IT specialists need to have good communication skills in order to easily understand and explain to their colleagues and supervisors. Doing so can help them to quickly determine the root cause of any tech issue and come up with efficient solutions. What’s more, IT specialists often work in teams, so they need to be able to communicate their ideas clearly and concisely with each other as well.

What Skills Should You Be Looking For In An IT Specialist?

Analytical Abilities

For many organizations nowadays, data is key to being efficient – whether you’re in retail and need to study consumer behavior, or in healthcare and need to be able to detect medical patterns. Either way, certain software and tech tools are necessary to harness the needed data. For this, you’ll need to work with an IT specialist, so make sure they have an analytical background, too. Many data analytics careers are intertwined with several industries, like digital marketing, big data, and operations. It is an essential role in many organizations, as these particular professionals are able to use programming and scripting languages to process data. This information is then used to drive decision-making, boost profits, and improve operational models. All in all, analytical skills are a huge bonus for IT specialists as well as for your organization.

What Skills Should You Be Looking For In An IT Specialist?

Problem Solving

Pinpointing problems in IT and digital systems can be a puzzling task. IT specialists need to be able to piece together why exactly a technical issue exists and figure out the most efficient way to resolve it. What’s more, some hardware and software problems don’t have a textbook method of solving them. So, you should look to work with IT specialists who like tinkering and discovering solutions through various problem-solving methods – whether through trial and error or means-end analysis.

What Skills Should You Be Looking For In An IT Specialist?

Creativity

As you may have inferred from our previous points, an IT specialist’s job is not limited to merely solving hardware and software issues. IT specialists also need to possess a certain level of creativity in order to come up with insightful processes and solutions, even before a problem arises. As many of today’s organizations now rely on a variety of technologies to boost business practices, IT specialists are then tasked to come up with creative ways to leverage these technologies and create solutions to help their organization find success.

What Skills Should You Be Looking For In An IT Specialist?

Teamwork

Of course, IT specialists are not alone in the IT department. Accordingly, it’s important for them to understand the value of teamwork and cooperation. What’s more, IT specialists are tasked with handling tech issues across various departments and teams. So, they need to have the interpersonal skills to work alongside distant colleagues and even complete strangers. If your IT specialist fails to work seamlessly with their team and the other departments in your organization, you’re more likely to encounter technical issues that could endanger the operational efficiency of your business.

What Skills Should You Be Looking For In An IT Specialist?

Agility

IT specialists are expected to juggle multiple projects, responsibilities, and issues. Those who lack agility and good project management skills won’t last a day in the life of an IT specialist. So, when adding an IT specialist to your team, look for someone who knows how to create strategic plans, is willing to adjust their priorities to resolve issues, and understands the value of setting and reaching goals. A versatile IT specialist can consistently finish projects on time and under budget and help various departments work through technical glitches before they become more serious issues.

What Skills Should You Be Looking For In An IT Specialist?

Final Thoughts

IT specialists are a critical role in every business and organization – be it for startups or small-to-medium-sized enterprises. So, if you’re looking for an IT specialist, be sure to keep in mind the skills we’ve listed above in order to make the most of this specific role within your company.

Of course, you don’t have to “go it alone” when it comes to IT management. Many organizations choose to outsource part or all of their IT management to trusted professionals called managed service providers (MSPs).

DataGroup Technologies (DTI) – the preferred managed services IT firm in the area – will work in conjunction with your in-house IT specialists; or, if you prefer, we can remotely manage all of your IT assets, saving you time and money in the long run. At DTI, every Support Engineer or Network Administrator is required to have completed an IT degree and/or CompTIA certification in order to work for us – so you know you’re not hiring amateurs!

Whether you’re looking to supplement your existing IT team with additional resources or you simply want it all to be taken off your plate, give us a call at 252.329.1382 or visit dtinetworks.com to see how we can help you #SimplifyIT!

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Not Your Average Joe – Get to Know DataGroup’s CEO

Not Your Average Joe - Get to Know DataGroup CEO, Joe Thigpen

Not Your Average Joe – Get to Know DataGroup's CEO

Not Your Average Joe - Get to Know DataGroup CEO, Joe Thigpen

It has been nearly two decades since a passion for problem-solving inspired DataGroup Technologies, Inc. CEO Joe Thigpen to start his own business in IT.

From jumping out of airplanes to sailing the salty seas, the founder of Greenville’s leading IT company – is not your average Joe. Keep reading to get to know the founder of DTI.

Where did you grow up?
Lexington, North Carolina.

What did you do pre-DTI?
I was a soldier in the Army for 20 years. I was an airborne reconnaissance guy, so I jumped out of planes, ran through the woods, and did all that combat stuff you see in the movies.

What got you interested in IT?
When I was stationed in Germany, I didn’t have anything to do with IT, but I was given the responsibility to go down every day and stick this tape thing into a machine. That was my first exposure to IT, so I started taking some college courses to try to learn something else because there aren’t many jobs that translate. You can’t leave the army and get another job jumping out of airplanes, so I chose IT as something to start learning. I started going to college at night, retired from the Army, and finished up my degree. Then, I couldn’t find an IT job that I liked, so I made a job.

Not Your Average Joe - Get to Know DataGroup CEO, Joe Thigpen

" I couldn't find an IT job that I like, so I made a job..."

A lot of ex-military end up in IT. It’s a pretty common thing. Why do you think that is?
The military teaches you problem-solving. Everything is about accomplishing a mission and moving on to the next. IT works the same way.

Who are some of your mentors?
There are so many. When I joined the military, I met so many outstanding people, so I would say the guys who served with me were my biggest mentors.

Not Your Average Joe - Get to Know DataGroup CEO, Joe Thigpen

Your Moment of Realization...

Describe your aha! moment when you realized your business venture might be a success.
My aha moment was the first time that I hired someone other than myself. That’s when I knew that I could be successful. Up until then, it felt like a hobby, but once I hired my first person and opened the doors to my first office, I knew we could be successful.

What do you do for fun?
For fun is my sailboat. I sail. I don’t know why it gives me such enjoyment, but it does. When I go home at night I’m thinking about DataGroup. I go to bed I’m thinking about DataGroup. And when I wake up the next morning, I think about DataGroup. I can’t stop thinking about DataGroup! When I step on that sailboat and raise the sail, that’s the only time I have peace.

Not Your Average Joe - Get to Know DataGroup CEO, Joe Thigpen

Your Escape...

So it’s like your escape, in a way.
It’s the only thing that can take my mind off of this company. Don’t get me wrong – it makes me happy to work. Improving this company makes me happy, but sailing keeps me balanced.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
We’re in America, where every crazy idea turns into a success  – so, as long as you’re willing to work hard and long for the first five years of your career, you can do it.

Where do you see DTI five years from today?
I see us at about double our size with more than one location. Maybe in New Bern or Wilmington – somewhere closer to the coast! Preferably, the Caribbean!

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Is Your Cybersecurity Policy (Or Lack Of One) Leaving You Wide Open To Attacks?

Is Your Cybersecurity Policy (Or Lack Of One) Leaving You Wide Open To Attacks?
Is Your Cybersecurity Policy (Or Lack Of One) Leaving You Wide Open To Attacks?

Is Your Cybersecurity Policy (Or Lack Of One) Leaving You Wide Open To Attacks?

Every business, large or small, should have a cybersecurity policy in place for its employees. Employees need to know what is and isn’t acceptable with regard to all things IT. This policy should set expectations, outline the rules, and provide employees with the necessary resources to put the policy into effect.

Your employees serve as the front line of your business’s cybersecurity defense. You may have all the antivirus software, malware protection, and firewalls in the world, but if your employees haven’t been instructed about IT security or don’t understand even the fundamentals, you’re putting your business in serious jeopardy.

What can you do to rectify that? You can put a cybersecurity policy in place. If you already have one, it’s probably overdue for an update. Once your policy is ready to go, it’s time to put it into action!

Are You Protected Against Business Email Compromise Attacks?

What Does a Cybersecurity Policy Look Like?

The particulars can appear different from business to business, but a general policy should include all the basic elements, such as password policy and equipment usage.

For example, there should be rules for how employees utilize company equipment, such as PCs, printers, and other devices connected to your network. Employees should understand what is expected of them when they log into a company-owned device – from guidelines as to what software they can install to what sites they can (or cannot) access when browsing the web. They should know how to securely access the company network and understand what data should (or should not) be shared on that network.

Many cybersecurity policies also incorporate rules and expectations related to:

  • Email use
  • Social media access
  • General web access
  • Remotely accessing internal applications
  • File sharing
  • Passwords
Business Email Compromise Attacks – Managed IT Services vs. In-House IT Specialists

Break Down Every Rule Further

Passwords are a prime example of an area of policy that every business needs to have in place. Password policy often gets neglected or simply isn’t prioritized as highly as it should be. Like many cybersecurity policies, the stronger the password policy is, the more effective it is. Here are a few examples of what a password policy might include:

  • Passwords must be changed every 60 to 90 days on all applications.
  • Passwords must be different for each application.
  • Passwords must be 15 characters or longer when applicable.
  • Passwords must use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, at least one number, and at least one special character. 
  • Passwords must not be recycled.
  • The good news is that many apps and websites automatically enforce these rules. The bad news? Not ALL apps and websites enforce these rules. That means it’s up to you to stipulate how employees should set their passwords.

    Setting up a cybersecurity policy isn’t easy, but it’s vitally important – especially these days, with more people working remotely than ever before.

    At the same time, cyberthreats are more prevalent than ever. The more you do to safeguard your business and your employees from these cyberthreats, the better off you’ll be when these threats come knocking at your door.

8 Tips for Strengthening Your Cybersecurity

Final Thoughts

If you need help setting up or updating your cybersecurity policy, do not hesitate to call your MSP or IT services partner. They can help you devise a cybersecurity policy that provides everything you need to ensure a safer, more secure workplace.

If you don’t currently work with a managed services provider or your in-house IT team is in need of additional support from certified professional technicians, DataGroup Technologies is happy to help! Give us a call at 252.329.1382 today or contact us here to see how we can #SimplifyIT for you and your organization.

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How to Secure Your Business Website in 2022

How To Secure Your Business Website In 2022
How To Secure Your Business Website In 2022

How To Secure Your Business Website In 2022

If you have a booming business website that’s raking in profits and helping you establish your brand, that’s great! However, you still need to make sure your site is protected from hackers and trolls who might want to tarnish your image. To ensure continued success and prevent bad actors from appropriating your intellectual property, follow these tips to help better secure your business website.

Are You Protected Against Business Email Compromise Attacks?

What Is Business Email Compromise?

According to TechRepublic, business email compromise (BEC) is “a sophisticated scam that targets companies and individuals who perform legitimate transfer-of-funds requests.”

Through the use of social engineering or malware, cybercriminals will masquerade as one of the individuals involved in these money transfers to trick the victim into sending money to a bank account owned by the cybercriminal. Once the fraud is exposed, it’s often too late to recoup the money. Scammers are quick to relocate the money to other accounts and withdraw the cash or use it to buy cryptocurrencies.

However, the scam is not always associated with an unauthorized transfer of funds. One BEC variation involves compromising legitimate business email accounts and requesting personally identifiable information (PII), wage and tax settlement (W-2) forms, or even cryptocurrency wallets from recipients.

Business Email Compromise Attacks – Managed IT Services vs. In-House IT Specialists

How to Protect Your Business Against BEC Attacks

In the public service announcement, the FBI offers several suggestions for businesses to adopt to better protect against business email compromise attacks.

  • Use secondary channels (such as phone calls) or multi-factor authentication to validate requests for any changes in account information.
  • Ensure that URLs in emails are associated with the businesses or individuals from which they claim to be originating.
  • Keep an eye out for hyperlinks that contain misspellings of the actual domain name.
  • Steer clear of providing login credentials or PII of any sort via email. Bear in mind that many emails requesting your personal information may appear to be legitimate.
  • Verify the email address used to send emails – especially when using a mobile or handheld device – by making sure the address appears to match that of the purported sender.
  • Enable settings on employees’ computers to allow full email extensions to be viewed.
  • Monitor your personal financial accounts routinely for irregularities, such as missing deposits.
Are You Protected Against Business Email Compromise Attacks?

What to Do If You or Your Company Should Fall Victim to a BEC Attack

According to TechRepublic, business email compromise (BEC) is “a sophisticated scam that targets companies and individuals who perform legitimate transfer-of-funds requests.”

Through the use of social engineering or malware, cybercriminals will masquerade as one of the individuals involved in these money transfers to trick the victim into sending money to a bank account owned by the cybercriminal. Once the fraud is exposed, it’s often too late to recoup the money. Scammers are quick to relocate the money to other accounts and withdraw the cash or use it to buy cryptocurrencies.

However, the scam is not always associated with an unauthorized transfer of funds. One BEC variation involves compromising legitimate business email accounts and requesting personally identifiable information (PII), wage and tax settlement (W-2) forms, or even cryptocurrency wallets from recipients.

Are You Protected Against Business Email Compromise Attacks?

What to Do If You or Your Company Should Fall Victim to a BEC Attack

Cybersecurity has never been more important. We live in an increasingly connected world, which enables cyberattackers to constantly find new ways to carry out digital attacks. Even the most vigilant business owners and IT managers can become overwhelmed with the stress of maintaining network security and protecting their data.

These increasingly advanced cyberattacks create unprecedented situations of data breach and money extortion. The tools that hackers use are getting smarter and stronger every day. If you’re not proactive about protecting your network, your business will become a target of cybersecurity attacks.

DataGroup Technologies, Inc. (DTI) offers a wide variety of cybersecurity services to help protect your business from cyberthreats, including security risk assessments, email security solutions, web/DNS filtering, next-generation firewalls, network security monitoring, operating systems/application security patches, antivirus software, and security awareness training. If you’re not 100% certain that your business is protected from cybercriminals, contact us today at 252.329.1382 or message us here to find out more about how we can help #SimplifyIT for your business!

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