Is that Managed Service Provider deal really a good one?

When you are looking at Managed Service Providers (MSPs), cost is part of the decision, but by no means the most important one to consider.

Whilst saving money is always an attractive option for businesses, a bargain that undermines productivity and can hurt profitability is inadvisable. When comparing vendors, consider the return on investment as well as the quote’s bottom line. This is especially true when it comes to your managed service providers (MSP).

We wrote an article recently on the advantages to your business of an MSP which you can read here.

As external IT help for your business, an MSP can support your users and their IT needs. They can help IT infrastructure run better and support your evolving needs. They can provide server monitoring and IT maintenance. Additionally, an MSP can secure your systems, back up your data, and plan for disaster recovery. They may also cut business expenses by reducing hardware and software infrastructure costs.

That’s a long and impressive list of services, and that’s why comparing MSPs is not as simple as it looks. A provider with a lower price quote could be offering dramatically different services.

Consider how devastating a data breach can be. Choosing the cheapest tech support may not save you money. The downtime, legal and compliance fees, and reputation damage could finish your business.

A lower-cost MSP may offer lower levels of service. They may take longer to fix your problems, they may not watch your IT to identify and address issues before they happen, and they may look to make money back, charging you more for services another vendor included.

How to Select the Best MSP for You

Don’t let budget alone be your deciding factor. Selecting the best MSP requires careful consideration and evaluation. Take the following steps:

Determine your IT needs, challenges, and goals, and consider areas where you need help. This could include network management, cloud services, cybersecurity, or data backup and recovery.

Look for MSPs with expertise in your industry. Do they have experience in similar IT environments and solving industry challenges? Evaluate their certifications, partnerships, and customer references. You can read a whole host of our testimonials here.

Review the services offered by each MSP and ensure they align with your needs. Consider the breadth and depth of their offerings. Do you need 24/7 monitoring and support and infrastructure management? Will you add software updates, help desk services, and strategic IT consulting.

See if they have the capabilities to scale your IT infrastructure as needed.

Inquire about the MSP’s security protocols, monitoring tools, and incident-response procedures. Assess their ability to proactively identify and mitigate potential threats. At Ultra IT we use Huntress which is a 24/7 monitoring tool that you can read more about here. As part of Ultra ITs Managed Service Plan (MSP) you automatically receive this high level of consistent 24/7 monitoring and Cyber Security. 

Review the service-level agreements to understand service levels and performance guarantees. Pay attention to response times, uptime commitments, and problem-resolution metrics.

Choosing an MSP is not just about meeting your immediate needs for the least amount of money. Ensure they align with your goals and can provide reliable, secure, and scalable IT services.

Feel free to reach out to us for a friendly chat about your businesses requirements here.

How “Software as a Service” can help your business:

How SaaS Can Save Your Business Money

When you see the acronym SaaS you may not immediately think of dollar signs, though the S’s are pretty close. Yet Software as a Service, what SaaS stands for, can save business money.

What is SaaS?

For SaaS to save you money, you need to understand what this solution involves. Think back to a few years ago: installing software from discs was one of the first things you had to do with a new computer. Depending on how old you are, you might remember doing so from a CD or maybe even a floppy disc!

A business might have paid for several licenses and uploaded the software to many computers, but each copy was unique, whether uploaded to on-premises computers or laptops.

The SaaS solution offers greater flexibility. The business user gains online access to whatever software applications they need. There is no need to install each specific app on Jamal’s computer and then do the same for Janice. Instead, the software is available whenever users want and on the device they choose. It doesn’t matter, as long as they have internet connectivity.

This means workers no longer have to be on-site to use all business tools. Plus, since applications aren’t installed on business machines, you don’t need the same storage space or processing power.

How SaaS saves you money

Software as a Service reduces your upfront costs. Under the old model, you needed to pay for the physical disc or download the software from the internet. You also needed to ensure you had the appropriate hardware to run the applications. Plus, you would pay to maintain the license and support the software.

With SaaS, you pay only the monthly or annual subscription fee. The vendor providing the software has the servers and hardware. That means they cover the costs for its maintenance and upkeep. Meanwhile, you get the advantage of a set fee that covers licensing and support.

Cloud-based SaaS is also economically priced for the number of users you want to access that software. Since it is in the cloud, you can scale up or down as your business needs change. If you’re not using the software as much as you expected, drop that application. You’ve paid only a subscription fee rather than investing in a lifetime license, hardware, and maintenance.

Starting with SaaS

The one big concern businesses have about SaaS is data security. Having control of the software on-site can feel safer. But SaaS providers invest more in cybersecurity than your small business could. Their business depends on reliability and resilience. They build in redundancy, have backup tech, and keep the software upgraded and secure.

Making the move to SaaS doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you partner with another acronym, an MSP. A managed service provider can help you find software solutions for your needs. We’ll advise you on SaaS options and support your transition to the convenience and cost savings of SaaS.

To find out more please contact us here

How a Managed Service provider can help your business

In IT we love to use fancy jargon, and Managed Service provider or MSP is no exception.

In this article we will break down what an MSP is, how it can help your business, and use some real-life examples of businesses, like you, who have made the switch to an MSP.

Firstly, what is a Managed Service Provider???

In a nutshell an MSP is your ‘outsourced IT Dept’ that provides proactive IT support. An MSP provides preventative measures, detecting most issues long before they become a problem.

The mission of an MSP is to protect your business from costly downtime and ensure that business continues seamlessly.

What is the break-fix model of IT support?

In contrast the ‘break-fix’ model of IT support is when you call an IT company when something breaks, and they come and fix it, on an adhoc pay by hour model. There is no ongoing support or preventative security measures taken. This is a bit like the ambulance at the bottom of the hill.  

Top advantages of an MSP for your business:

We become an IT partner to your business: As an MSP we are interested in understanding your entire business. We see ourselves as a business partner who wants to help your business to succeed and grow. This is quite different from the ‘break-fix’ model. We anticipate a long-term working relationship with your business. 

Proactive IT Support: As an MSP, our mission is to keep your business technology safe and available, and to anticipate your needs and requirements. This means minimum costly down time, and maximum business continuity.

Knowledge of your needs: As we have a long-term relationship with your business, we become closely acquainted with your IT systems, and your personnel. Because of this we understand how the parts make up the whole, rather than just offering a quick short-term solution, which may be costly in the future.

Cost savings: By outsourcing your IT management to us, you get a well-informed IT department on your team, without the cost and responsibility of training, recruiting, and retaining staff.


“An IT Alliance member had a company who was reaching out to them on a ‘break-fix’ basis. During Covid the IT Alliance member reached out to them to discuss becoming their MSP. They sat down and discussed what this actually meant, the services that the MSP offers, and the priority that is given to MSP clients. The client has been using them as an MSP for over two years now, and happily sings their praises, saying that having an MSP has revolutionized their business. No more waiting for IT support, no more downtime and so much more alignment”

So, what does an MSP actually do?

Remote Monitoring: An MSP proactively monitors, patches, and updates your software on an ongoing basis with 24/7 monitoring. This is all done in the background on an ongoing basis and requires no input from you.

Security: As an MSP we constantly review your systems to identify and address vulnerabilities. We can keep up with system updates, software patching, antivirus and more. It would be difficult for any business to keep up to date with all the daily security alerts. With an MSP this is all taken care of and is one less thing to worry about, so you can focus on your business.

Optimising hardware: An MSP provides information on optimal hardware that synchronises across your business. This includes laptops, desktops, and mobile devices, plus your network and servers.  We can work with you to understand your growth requirements and work on the best timeline for your budget.

Strategic advice: As IT is our passion, we hear about a myriad of tools that may be of benefit for business goals. We share this advice with you, rather than you having to research or find out how you can optimise technology for your needs.

Regular reviews: As an MSP client, you are a priority which means that we schedule in regular proactive reviews. No more waiting on the phone to talk to someone to get IT support.

Business Continuity and disaster-recovery strategy: Nowadays it is crucial that you have a solid data-backup plan. We can help you with this process and ensure that everything can be efficiently restored should the need arise.

So what do I do now?

So now you have an overview of what an MSP is, and how they can help your business. The next step is talking to our team at Ultra IT about your specific needs. Many of our members tailor packages to suit your business requirements. Please feel free to reach out here for further advice. 

Is the cloud right for your business?

Cloud services have been shaking up the industry for years now, and its adoption by small and mid-sized businesses is driving cloud computing’s growth.

Yet while there are many benefits to migrating to the cloud, it isn’t the solution for every situation. This article will explore some reasons why your business may not suit the cloud.

Don’t get us wrong. There are many business benefits of working in the cloud. These include:

  • consistent access to the same applications as on-site colleagues for every user;
  • no need to install software on every individual’s device;
  • upgrades and security patching made easier for the IT team;
  • faster setup and easier scaling (up or down as needed);
  • enterprise-level security without having to reinvent the wheel at the individual system level;
  • built-in redundancy offering protection against a single point of failure.

Still, cloud computing isn’t a silver-bullet solution. There are areas of the business that you may want to think twice about before migrating to the cloud.

Proceed to the cloud with caution

Consider how a move to cloud computing could affect your business. Don’t blindly sign up to put everything online. For one thing, cloud migration makes your business reliant on internet connectivity. If your small business struggles with a dodgy internet service provider (ISP), solve that before moving to the cloud. ISPs that suffer frequent outages or slow speeds are not great hosts for cloud computing.

In situations involving large amounts of data transfer, such as video editing, it doesn’t make sense to work from a cloud server.

You’ll also want to think twice before putting sensitive data in the cloud. Switching to cloud servers can improve security for many small businesses, and the move also gives them access to encryption and redundancy, but if data security is a concern (or a compliance issue), do a deep dive into providers’ cybersecurity efforts.

If you use custom software and data transfer, you may also want to reconsider migrating to the cloud: it may have never been designed to work in the cloud. New cloud-based software may promise all the same features and cost savings, but make sure you understand what that software does and doesn’t do.

The cloud option may not be right for you if your needs are going to change as your business evolves. Cloud vendors are going to try to keep you dependent on their solutions, and they don’t always make it easy for you to move to new software when you need different or new features.

You also run the risk of becoming a multi-cloud organization. This is when different teams at your business each have their own cloud software. This can give users access to best-in-class applications, but it can also lead to unwieldy computing complexity.

Supporting your cloud decisions

Successful cloud migration also requires good customer support. If your IT team is overworked (or nonexistent), you need a vendor with accessible cloud support. Alternatively, you could work with a managed service provider to support your transition to the cloud.

Considering a move to the cloud? Consult with our cloud computing experts first. We can guide you to a well-established cloud provider with a wide range of services. We’re also here to help with the migration. We can help make sure the solution suits your needs and the transition goes smoothly. Contact us here.

Top IT Tips for 2022

Top IT Tips for 2022

A New Year is a definitely a chance to kick things off the way you mean to go on.

For Northland businesses, we have compiled some key IT tips that can help your business to thrive.

#1. The Remote mobile working office is here to stay:

If Covid has taught us all one thing, it is the need for flexibility around how we work. Agility is fast becoming one of the key differentiators of a business’s success. Creating easy ways for your team to communicate by enabling an all-in-one solution for communication, collaboration, will ensure that you stay connected and productive.

#2. Security, security, security!

We know we say it all the time, but Cyber threats aren’t going anywhere. Keep the focus on security in 2022, as every business, no matter the size is at risk. Don’t risk losing time and money to a data breach or ransomware, instead talk to your IT company about the following:

  • Getting a cybersecurity audit done.
  • Securing all email.
  • Have notifications for remote workers to know when they are connecting to unsafe networks.
  • Put a disaster recovery plan in place.
  • Ensure backups of all data are secure.
  • Implement a password management system.
  • Prohibit third-party apps on work devices.

#3. Make sure I.T is in the 2022 budget

In this era, I.T is an area where you don’t want to be taking shortcuts. Budgeting for your I.T is a wise move to ensure that you have continuously upgraded internet access, software and hardware upgrades as required. Unreliable internet service can cause downtime that has a run on effect with productivity, and can even lose your business valuable clients. Skimping on your I.T budget can lead to much bigger costs further down the road.

#4. Safe and Professional Email addresses

This might sound basic, but if you haven’t already shifted to a professional email, 2022 is the time to do this. Using a gmail account or similar doesn’t make a professional first impression, and more importantly is a security risk. We can easily help you to upgrade to reliable business-grade emails. Our team at Ultra IT can easily help you to navigate this.

#5. Audit your Equipment

Taking time to do an audit of your current technology, and how it is performing can identify any potential problems and streamline processes. There are still some supply issues with computer hardware, so make sure you are aware of what your business is likely to need in 2022, including any new employees, plus upgraded equipment, so you can plan ahead. If you can give us as much notice as possible, we can make sure that we do our best to source what you require.

#6. Partner up with a managed service provider

Now is also a good time to hire a managed service provider. Partnering with an IT professional helps you make good technology decisions that can ultimately save you a lot of money. Getting advice from industry experts who understand the increasingly complex world of technology, security, and optimizing IT resources is an investment that ends up being a lot more economical then having the ambulance at the bottom of the hill.

Don’t worry if all of this feels overwhelming, our team at Ultra IT can offer you many options to help you have a stress free year with IT in 2022. If you would like further information, please feel free to contact us here.

The Data Protection Solution

Data Protection Solution Northland

If you are a health practitioner, accountant, lawyer, marketer, or you deal with client’s sensitive information on a daily basis, its really important to have a very clear understanding of how, as a [location] business, you are going to keep your client’s information safe. With so many warnings that cybersecurity is on the rise, it’s really important for [location] business to have this part of their IT support sorted with confidence.

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