What are “Managed IT Services?”

We here at Syracuse Innovations Group are a Managed IT Services provider. However, a lot of people aren’t quite sure what that means. So allow me to take a moment to help clear it up. Managed Services are defined as:

Managed services are the practice of outsourcing day-to-day management responsibilities and functions as a strategic method for improving operations and cutting expenses. This can include outsourcing HR-activities, production support and lifecycle build/maintenance activities.

But what does this really mean in every day terms? It means that we can take on your company’s IT responsibilities. It means that you have the flexibility of having multiple techs on-site for a large project, or no one there when things are running well. You only pay for service as you need it.

But here at Syracuse Innovations Group, we take it a step further. There are other IT companies that just come when you call them, and fix what may have broken. But we take a more proactive approach to things. We have software that will run on your computers and servers and monitor everything (approximately 75 separate checks).

This allows us to monitor your systems 24/7. It helps us to know when a problem starts, oftentimes before you even notice it! And by catching problems before they grow too large, we can minimize downtime for your company. And keeping things running smoothly for your company is our Number 1 job!

A little something extra?

There are countless great software programs out there these days. And there are also countless bad programs out there, for one reason or another. Finding a good software program that does something you want or need is good, finding out that it’s free (legally, not pirated) is even better! The downside to this is that, generally, people aren’t making such software just to be nice.

Granted, that does happen. There are tools I use regularly that were developed by hobbyist programmers for their own benefit that they release to help others out. Often they will give the software away for free, but may ask for donations to help cover things like their time and web hosting expenses. When I find something useful, I make sure to donate to help them out.

However, there are others that look to recoup their expenses or even make money in a different way. They work with other companies, and bundle in extra software with their own. They get paid by these third parties to do this. The bundled software can range from harmless (installing Google Chrome as your default browser) to harmful (adware that infects your computer).

This isn’t just limited to random little apps either, software like Java bundles other software with its installer as well. While the bundled software may be harmless by itself, over time you can end up with so many extra programs running that your computer becomes noticeably slower. The practice is so rampant that there are even software programs now that will uncheck all checkboxes in installers for you!

How do you avoid these problems? Don’t just blow through the screens, but take a moment to look at each screen and what it’s really saying. See if it’s offering to install extra software. Pay special attention to screens with check boxes, as that’s where you can usually opt to deselect the item so it’s not installed if it’s not something you want. The key, as with many things that are computer related, is to slow down and take your time when installing software.

Backups, backups, backups!

Good backups are a crucial part to every system. Backups can help keep your data safe through everything from accidentally deleting a file to an earthquake toppling your building. They are also crucial when it comes to certain types of virus infections.

There is a virus that has been going around for a few years called Cryptolocker. As with most viruses, it is constantly being updated, and can get by anti-virus software at times. This virus attacks all of your files, as well as files on network drives attached to the infected computer. You can attempt to pay their ransom (which can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars), but there is no guarantee you’ll actually get your files back.

We recently dealt with a client with this problem. Not only did the user’s computer become useless, but the virus destroyed all of the files on the server as well. Fortunately, since we had regular backups running, and were able to get them up and running again quickly. Another person told us about how they had gotten the same virus on their personal machine, however they did not have regular backups running and ended up losing a lot of data.

There’s a rule of thumb regarding backups, called the 3-2-1 rule. It states that you should keep at least 3 copies of your data (since even backups can fail) on at least two types of media, and at least one in an off-site location. We offer various backup services, including cloud-base backup. Contact us today for an assessment and find out how we can help protect your data!