Weighing Software-as-a-Service and Managed Service Providers

There are many acronyms in the IT world. Two common ones are SaaS and MSP, which stand for software-as-a-service and managed service provider, respectively. The bigger question is what the differences are between these two and why you would need one or the other. Here’s help.

What’s SaaS?

Your business may already be relying on SaaS. Some of the more widely used platforms include:

·       Microsoft 365

·       Salesforce

·       HubSpot

·       MailChimp

·       Shopify

·       SurveyMonkey

·       Canva

·       Slack

SaaS companies are booming. Businesses are relying more and more on these technologies, and SaaS spending has grown 50% in two years. Why?

Software as a Service provides customers with convenience. The companies develop, manage, and update a product to support teams such as marketing, sales, or customer service. The SaaS platform will promise greater efficiency, improved productivity, increased transparency, and more. These tools automate and streamline processes to drive revenue.

Customers typically pay for a cloud-based subscription fee. In return, they get lower-cost services, reduced time to implementation, and scalability.

What’s an MSP?

Managed services supports software, as well as your

 networking and hardware infrastructure. The MSP has human experts to install software, upgrade hardware, patch systems, and track security. The MSP provides all-around support for the business’s technology. This third-party firm gets to know you to help keep your business competitive.

The MSP tackles all sorts of tasks behind the scenes for your business. When your business outsources its IT to an MSP, you gain efficiencies and expertise. You are not giving up control but adding a partner to focus on time-consuming, complicated, and repetitive tasks. Meanwhile, your people can concentrate on driving innovation and generating revenue.

Businesses reap many rewards from working with an MSP. These experts can often find cost savings. Most MSPs charge a predictable monthly fee that’s easy to budget around. The enhanced expertise can also help ensure security and compliance. The MSP will also have the know-how to recommend the tools your business can enjoy most.

It doesn’t have to be either-or

Understand that you don’t have to choose between SaaS and an MSP – the two work well together.

MSPs can help you deploy and get the most out of your SaaS. In fact, an MSP can make sure your SaaS solutions work well together. They can help identify features on one platform that you’re not using. This could lead to you dropping an underutilized subscription to another SaaS.

Going on your own with SaaS means relying on each company’s IT support or asking your own in-house IT people to get to know the ins and outs of many different platforms. When you have an MSP, you pay that single provider for help instead of having to spend on tech support for each SaaS. Also, if you have a security issue, the MSP will alert you and act to cut the damage and repair the problem. The SaaS manufacturer doesn’t have the same responsibility.

Before you even get SaaS, the MSP can help guide your purchase. Your business may think it needs Slack because everyone else seems to be using it. But if you already have Teams, that could be unnecessary. The MSP learns about your business and how you work to help determine what SaaS's are right for you.

The latest-and-greatest SaaS will come and go. Your MSP can remain the same as your business changes and evolves. Providing continuity of service, they will keep an eye out for the new SaaS you can adopt. The SaaS company wants to grow its customer base and evolve its platform, and the MSP’s job is to help your business succeed, with or without SaaS.

Contact us at 276-296-1155 or www.otsantechnicalservice.net today to enjoy the many benefits of working with an MSP.


What to do When Your Warranty Runs Out

Most technology you buy in stores comes with a warranty of some sort. It might be included or an add-on. Still, it is unlikely to last the lifetime of the device or software, and it seems inevitable that your desktop will die immediately after the warranty runs out. Don’t worry, you still have options.

Murphy’s Law of warranty says that you will have no problems with your computer or printer while it’s covered. Then, as if waiting for the most inconvenient time to go bust, the technology fails just after your warranty ends.

After the frustration of looking up that warranty plan to see the expiration date a few weeks ago, your first response might be to take that device back to the store. You’ve noticed they have a service desk, and that’s where you made the purchase. But the technicians on-site are likely to send your laptop to the manufacturer repair. That could be far away, which negates the convenience of taking it down to your local store. You could wait weeks for your item to get to the repair center. Then, it stills needs attention and returning to your store.

Also know that many manufacturers charge a premium for outside-of-warranty repairs. Now that you’re one or two years into a relationship with the products, they hope you’ll decide upgrading is easier. They actually have a planned lifecycle for computer hardware and plan the warranty end accordingly.

Of course, if you are within days of your warranty's end, ask if the manufacturer will continue to cover the technology. Sometimes it actually will. The manufacturer may also use this opportunity to sell you an extended warranty.

Some help with manufacturer warranty

Our first piece of advice? Be proactive about technology issues. Don’t put off getting something looked at. You may discover you could have saved money by having it checked out under warranty.

Check your eligibility by visiting the manufacturer’s website and typing in the product serial number to check the warranty. Quickly find the page by searching the manufacturer’s name and “check warranty status.”

It’s a good idea to keep track of when your warranty is set to expire. That way, you’ll be more likely to request service in a timely manner. Don’t believe us? Have you ever planned to take an item back to the store only to leave it until the return window has closed?

Small business computer repair shops specialize in repairing out-of-warranty devices. They can run diagnostic tests to determine the problem. Then, they'll help you decide whether it’s worth the cost of repairs. If so, they can fix it at a competitive rate.

Plus, you get personalized service. There’s also the peace of mind that comes from knowing where your computer is at all times. You're not worrying about it shipping around the country to a manufacturer’s repair shop. The timeline reduces, too, as the IT experts are on-site at a convenient computer repair outfit.

We can help keep your computers and other technological devices up and running. Contact us today at 276-296-1155!


Protect your business: Recognize the top three security threats, plus one you may not know about

Protect your business: Recognize the top three security threats, plus one you may not know about

This report gives detailed information on how to safeguard your customers’ data from viruses, phishing, and ransomware, plus a common security threat you may have overlooked.

The global average cost of a cyberattack is $3.6 million. But awareness is the first step in security and prevention. Check out this e-book and contact our team to learn more about how to defend your company against cyberattacks.

View: Protect your business: Recognize the top three security threats, plus one you may not know about

Is Your Instagram Account Secure?

Why would someone want to target your Instagram account? You share what you ate, maybe the books you read, the shoes you bought, or that really cool image of the sky above. How is that going to help a hacker? Read on to learn more.

OK. Your obvious love of chicken and waffles isn’t going to mean a lot to a cybercriminal, not unless your password is “chicknwaffles.” But there are people who make a living from Instagram. Influencers can make millions by posting a pic of their latest smoothie or the new pair of socks they love. Their IG accounts are their business. A hacker gaining access could destroy an influencer’s reputation, their livelihood.

Businesses, too, are moving to IG as a way to reach a targeted audience with vibrant visuals. They can’t afford to have their accounts taken over by an ill-intentioned hacker. That could lead to lost customers and brand damage.

Then, there’s you, the “average” IG user. Yes, the cybercriminal might still target your Instagram account. For one, they might use your IG handle to reach out to your friends and say, “I’m stuck overseas. I need some money.” Caring friends, not knowing it’s not you, could end up a victim of a scam.

 

How to Protect Your Instagram Account

#1 Go Private

Instagram lets individuals, influencers, and businesses show creativity. However, you want to control who sees what you post. You may not want everyone to see your photos. Limit your content visibility to friends and family in the Instagram profile window:

·       Click on the three dots in the right corner.

·       Scroll to the bottom of the options.

·       Turn on the Private account setting (the button should turn blue).

You can also block followers you don’t know. Click on your Followers list, and tap on the users you don’t recognize. Tap on the menu button and choose “Block User.”

#2 Disable cross-app sign-ins

Using your IG account to sign in to other applications is convenient, because you have to remember only your IG access credentials. Still, by streamlining your sign-in you are also making it easier for a hacker to compromise your accounts. Now, they can get access to one account and use that as a way into the other connected accounts.

Log in to your account and review all connected applications. You can do this by visiting the Authorized Applications tap under the Edit Profile tab.

#3 Don’t overshare

Sure, that’s the golden rule of social media. Still, we’re talking here about reviewing personal information you share on Instagram. Take a look at your profile information and review whether all those details really need to be there. A hacker could use anything specific you write in your Bio to verify your identity elsewhere. Reconsider posting your birth date, alma mater, anniversary, favorite sports team, etc.

#4 Turn off location services

Instagram’s location services can let you check in at a particular place. But by doing this, you’re giving thieves extra information they can use against you. Instead, go into your phone’s Privacy settings and turn off location services for IG.

You also don’t want to cue criminals that you’re away for a vacation with posts from the beach. You might want to share that sunny sand pic. Then, you regret it when you come home to a burgled home.

#5 Enable two-factor authentication

Of course, the starting point is to pick a strong, unique password for your Instagram account, but Instagram has added two-factor authentication for an added layer of security.

In Instagram’s mobile app you click on the Options icon at the top right to get to a menu offering this option. You will get a short link to click on. Do so, and turn on the two-factor authentication. You’ll set it up using your mobile phone. Then, in the future, you’ll have to log in with the added security of a unique code sent to your phone via text message.

#6 Review your login activity

Keep an eye out for illicit use of your account by reviewing Login Activity. This is under Settings on the desktop app and shows a list of locations from which you’ve logged in. So, if you’ve never been to Thailand, but your IG account has, that would be a red flag. If you do spot locations you don't recognize, log out from your device, and change your password.

Need help securing your Instagram account or other social media channels? Our helpful IT pros have the expertise you need. Contact us today at 276-296-1155 or https://otsantechnicalservice.net.


5 Tips to Protect Your Laptop from Physical Damage

A laptop can hold your life. If you’re working from home, it’s essential to your income. For students, it’s where you keep all your notes and essays. Plus, there are the personal photos and videos. And you sometimes use it to stream your TV shows, or to video chat with friends and family. You may even make music, create art, or be writing the next bestselling novel on your laptop. So, you want to keep it in great shape. Here are five tips to protect your laptop.

#1 Don’t drop it

Or throw it, or stand on it, or expect it to withstand any serious impact. OK, that’s pretty obvious. You also don’t want to use your laptop in the bathtub or at the pool. Even a simple water spill on a laptop can damage the circuitry. If you do get your laptop wet, immediately turn it off and unplug everything attached to it.

#2 Open carefully

Laptops are getting thinner in every iteration. Some now even have foldable screens. The thinner and more flexible screen may look sleek and cool, but it’s also less rigid, which makes it more prone to damage. Especially on lower-cost laptops, the screen can flex if you open the computer up from just one side.

Yet, many of us hold a laptop in one hand and open the lid with the other. This can cause the screen to twist. Use both hands to open the laptop. Or get into the habit of opening your laptop from the center to avoid flex.

#3 Don’t bedazzle your keyboard or screen

Alright, maybe you weren’t planning on putting faux rhinestones on the screen or keyboard. Still, reconsider any decorations you have thought of adding. Even a keyboard protector (to prevent dust or spills getting into the circuitry) or camera privacy sticker could damage some of the new super-thin laptops. It’s just that there is now so little clearance between the keyboard and the screen.

If you really must have your stickers, put them on the protective sleeve that you get for your laptop.

#4 Disconnect carefully

Your laptop needs a consistent power source. If you damage the power cord connection, you’re done. So, make sure you pull the power cord out straight. Yanking it out sideways could damage the port.

Also be aware of where your power cord is connecting to the wall outlet. If you leave the cord trailing along the floor, someone could trip over it, or it could get caught on a rolling chair. This could not only damage the charging port but even pull the entire laptop onto the floor. That brings us back to #1, don’t drop the laptop!

#5 Keep it cool

No, you don’t have to store it into a refrigerator (please don’t!), but heat isn’t good for your laptop. You’ll want to keep your computer away from external sources of heat.

Again, as the laptops get thinner, they are more vulnerable to internal overheating. Ensure that the laptop’s intake ports are unblocked so that air can flow through and cool the circuitry. You might also blow dust out of the vents using canned air.

Also, avoid placing your laptop on very soft surfaces. A soft, uneven surface is more likely to block the internal fans. This leaves your device unable to regulate its temperature. You could even buy a laptop cooling stand, which provides extra fans to improve air circulation.

Average laptop lifespan will vary between two to five years. Keep your laptop on the longer side of that by taking these tips to heart.

If something does happen to your laptop, give us a call at 276-296-1155 or visit https://otsantechnicalservice.net. Our IT experts are here to help you find the best laptop for you, upgrade and secure your laptop, or fix your laptop when you need it.


5 Tips to Protect Your Laptop from Physical Damage

A laptop can hold your life. If you’re working from home, it’s essential to your income. For students, it’s where you keep all your notes and essays. Plus, there are the personal photos and videos. And you sometimes use it to stream your TV shows, or to video chat with friends and family. You may even make music, create art, or be writing the next bestselling novel on your laptop. So, you want to keep it in great shape. Here are five tips to protect your laptop.

#1 Don’t drop it

Or throw it, or stand on it, or expect it to withstand any serious impact. OK, that’s pretty obvious. You also don’t want to use your laptop in the bathtub or at the pool. Even a simple water spill on a laptop can damage the circuitry. If you do get your laptop wet, immediately turn it off and unplug everything attached to it.

#2 Open carefully

Laptops are getting thinner in every iteration. Some now even have foldable screens. The thinner and more flexible screen may look sleek and cool, but it’s also less rigid, which makes it more prone to damage. Especially on lower-cost laptops, the screen can flex if you open the computer up from just one side.

Yet, many of us hold a laptop in one hand and open the lid with the other. This can cause the screen to twist. Use both hands to open the laptop. Or get into the habit of opening your laptop from the center to avoid flex.

#3 Don’t bedazzle your keyboard or screen

Alright, maybe you weren’t planning on putting faux rhinestones on the screen or keyboard. Still, reconsider any decorations you have thought of adding. Even a keyboard protector (to prevent dust or spills getting into the circuitry) or camera privacy sticker could damage some of the new super-thin laptops. It’s just that there is now so little clearance between the keyboard and the screen.

If you really must have your stickers, put them on the protective sleeve that you get for your laptop.

#4 Disconnect carefully

Your laptop needs a consistent power source. If you damage the power cord connection, you’re done. So, make sure you pull the power cord out straight. Yanking it out sideways could damage the port.

Also be aware of where your power cord is connecting to the wall outlet. If you leave the cord trailing along the floor, someone could trip over it, or it could get caught on a rolling chair. This could not only damage the charging port but even pull the entire laptop onto the floor. That brings us back to #1, don’t drop the laptop!

#5 Keep it cool

No, you don’t have to store it into a refrigerator (please don’t!), but heat isn’t good for your laptop. You’ll want to keep your computer away from external sources of heat.

Again, as the laptops get thinner, they are more vulnerable to internal overheating. Ensure that the laptop’s intake ports are unblocked so that air can flow through and cool the circuitry. You might also blow dust out of the vents using canned air.

Also, avoid placing your laptop on very soft surfaces. A soft, uneven surface is more likely to block the internal fans. This leaves your device unable to regulate its temperature. You could even buy a laptop cooling stand, which provides extra fans to improve air circulation.

Average laptop lifespan will vary between two to five years. Keep your laptop on the longer side of that by taking these tips to heart.

If something does happen to your laptop, give us a call at 276-296-1155. Our IT experts are here to help you find the best laptop for you, upgrade and secure your laptop, or fix your laptop when you need it.