The JMARK Comprehensive IT Services & IT Support Solution

JMARK provides IT outsourcing solutions that really work to reduce complexity of IT for your organization. By properly managing technology specifically to match your business goals our strategy improves your organization's efficiency and profitability.

You need business IT support that increases productivity. We believe that technology should help you generate profit instead of burdening you with cost. By streamlining your IT operations we help you enhance employee performance and heighten customer satisfaction.

We're the technology experts, so you don't have to be. Our IT support services allow you to stay focused on your business and improve your bottom line. We provide round-the-clock monitoring and support services to improve network performance. We keep your data safe and secure which prevents downtime, reduces your business risk, and affords you peace of mind.

Our philosophy and culture build a roadmap for success.

Business profitability, personal customer service, and absolute accountability for every action are at the heart of the JMARK culture. It shows in everything we do, and our clients frequently comment that we've helped them improve their organizations as a result of their partnership with JMARK.

JMARK is selective in both the people we hire and the companies with whom we partner. Most of our employees have over 5 years experience in the industry and have delivered solutions for multiple companies.

We believe in a complete solution to every problem every time, and making absolutely certain our clients' businesses are better as a result of their strategic partnership with JMARK. If you're ready to see a change in the way IT serves your business success, you've come to the right place.

 

The JMARK Managed IT Services and IT Support Blog

We pride ourselves on exploring IT and Technology topics that matter to you and your business success.

5 Technology Tasks to Start the Year Off With a Bang

New-Year-TechnologyA new year is afoot with new opportunities, new adventures, and new technology challenges… To make sure that your year starts out great, as far as technology is concerned; and that your technology is working for you, here are a few end of year clean-up tasks.

Change ALL Your Passwords

There have never been more security issues in the world, as there have been in 2014. Chances are that you did not change all your passwords when they should have been done, meaning right after the hack. There were at least 10 times this year when experts recommended changing passwords. This is a great week to do it right. Make your passwords as long as possible, use upper case and lower case, use symbols, and use numbers. Try using a password management program so you don’t have to remember so many passwords.

Purge Files

Empty the deleted items folder, and generally just purge documents you no longer need. Many times, there are revisions and revisions of the same file – no need to keep v1, v2, v3… v12. Simplifying your files and reducing them to only what you need will make it easier to find things. If you are worried about needing those files, archive them to an external disk or ask your system administrator where they could be stored.

Organize Your Desktop and File Structure

Throughout the year many people save files in random places, (I’m guilty) often it is the computer desktop. When files are in the wrong places, it makes it hard to find them. Putting them in the right place and saving them with proper and standard naming conventions will make it easier to find things.

Uninstall Applications

I often download and install an application for testing and then don’t get rid of it after I am done. If you have any programs you are not using, uninstall them.

Update & Upgrade Applications

Aside from Microsoft updates and other common programs, which should always be updated, the beginning of the year is a great time to catch smoking hot deals on upgrades to various programs you use, as well as online services. Take stock of what you use and search out the deals.

Summary

There are a lot more things that could be done to help spruce up your technology and make sure you are starting the year off on the right foot, but those five tasks will provide tremendous benefit, and well worth the time to implement. Contact us if you need any help or have any questions, and we will be happy to assist.

Improve Your Business Strategy Through the Use of Technology

Technology-strategy-it-servicesToday’s businesses must take into account technologically forward ways to achieve their strategic initiatives. It’s inevitable to hold an annual planning session without some discussion of technology. As competition and business in general gets tougher, businesses need to embrace innovative ways to use technology to help achieve the organization’s strategy and overall success.

Organizations are always looking for better productivity, increased profitability, more unified collaboration, improved communication, reduced costs, increased customer acquisition, fantastic customer service, and more systematic business processes, among many other initiatives. Technology can help achieve all that and much more, and is a strategic tool to help make those things a reality.

The Advantages of Planning  for Technology

Companies include technology in their business plans to achieve many things that help the business become more successful. Here are a few items that might be in your strategic plans:

Increased Output – Better output might mean better sales. Better sales will likely result in many great outcomes. Everything is connected together from the efforts of the employees to customer satisfaction. With managed services, both business owners as well as the employees can work efficiently knowing there is a lifeline to help them be productive at any time.

Increased Profitability – A company that achieves efficient work has a good chance at earning more profit. An increase in profitability can be directly connected to how employees work together for the common good. From top-level plans to the day-to-day execution, every step can slow down with poor technology, or poor technology services.

Improved Security – Security is a top-level concern for any business owner, and it very well should be. The lack of security can kill just about any strategic initiative in many ways. Making sure that a business’ systems are not just optimized but secure, will allow everyone to focus on what they do best.

Increased Teamwork – Internet-based communication and collaboration platforms are now one of the most preferred types of systems for working together. They let employees communicate and share information easily, wherever they are. While technology is not an end-all solution for poor teamwork, it can facilitate the communication, sharing of information, and accountability for team projects.

Less Surprises – JMARK’s budgeting and strategy services help our clients be prepared for technology refreshes, new advances in technology and more that help businesses become more successful. After discussing needed and desired changes we help plan out a 5 year budget, so that you never have to guess on an allocation for technology.

Investing on IT Services

The use of the right technology can catapult the success of your business throughout the next year. Investing in reliable IT support services and proper technology investments, will help your organization achieve many of the benefits discussed in this article. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you.

IT Stress – Felt In Many More Ways Than One

IT-Stress-Service-SupportIT Stress – probably not something on the top of most organizations’ annual planning agenda, but it’s a topic that can contribute to individual stress, political maneuvering, cultural dysfunction, and poor morale. If you think I might be melodramatic about the impact of inadequate IT, then consider the following that I have seen and experienced:

  • I’ve seen a company almost fold after a severe server failure, because they were unwilling to put in an adequate backup solution. Staff was stressed to the hilt for months as they re-entered data, and some left the organization. The cost of the solution paled in comparison to the cost of restoration, stress, morale, lost customers (revenue), and much frustration that ensued.
  • I’ve seen sales people struggling to produce proposals for deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Training, as well as better and more reliable infrastructure for the CRM system and database wasn’t important to the organization. The result was competitors got their proposals to their prospects first; sometimes they were not as professional, RFPs that were missed, etc… The real result was lost sales, a frustrated sales staff, poor morale, and more.
  • I’ve seen department heads in an organization participating in political maneuvering to get greater access to budgets in order to fix ailing technology. The real result was departments began using distributed, open-source or cheap non-approved technology in order to accomplish their job. Unfortunately, this opened up security issues. The culture and morale problems ended up being one of their biggest challenges.
  • I’ve seen employees at organizations have to spend 20 to 30 minutes on hold with their IT Support, in order to get help to fix a problem that was preventing them from producing. The result was stress, frustration, decreased sales and customer service, and poor morale.

A global 2013 study by intellitrends on the impact of technology performance sheds some further light on the impact of poor technology and poor IT support in an organization.

  • 45% of respondents experienced a loss in market share or brand equity as a result of technology performance issues
  • When considering any type of technology failure, the average short-term impact of an isolated technology performance issue was $10.8 million
  • The top areas in business that poor technology performance impacted, according to respondents: Customer Service, Staff Time/Resources, Sales, Customer Traffic, Production Time, Competitive Ability, Shipping Receiving, Security, Market Share and Brand Awareness. (*Note – That’s a lotta IT Stress)
  • 24% of respondents indicated a loss of market share following a technology failure, 21% indicated a loss of brand equity, 15% indicated a reorganization had to occur, and 9% reported legal issues and costs

No matter which way we slice this, IT stress costs: time, money, morale, sales, and much more. The cost of implementing a solution is almost always far less than the cost of recovering from a major technology failure.

Contact JMARK today for an analysis of your technology frustrations and let’s make 2015 the year of eliminating IT Stress for you and your employees.

Are You Taking Responsibility for Your Company’s Security?

Security-Passwords-Cyber-InternetIn Early August, it was reported that Russian hackers had stolen more than 1.5 billion username and password combinations. Yeah 1.5 billion, that’s not a typo. That event makes the Target breach look like small potatoes. You might think your company is safe, but are you sure about that?

This breach is a huge exposure for small and large businesses alike. If that were the only event this year, it alone would be huge news, yet there has been an average of about two major security breaches reported each month this year. These breaches together put many things at risk, even if you think your network is tied down.

The first reason for this is that employees usually do more than work. They check their personal email, check social networks, surf the Internet, perhaps pay some online bills, and much more. All of these things can potentially open up your network to a breach. All it takes is for one employee to click the wrong link or download the wrong attachment and your network can be opened up

Another reason is that hackers are continually changing their tactics. Very few systems have the ability to monitor for abnormalities in network traffic and other parameters. JMARK has a special service that allows for advanced monitoring of logs from network devices and systems to detect abnormalities that could be attacks. Contact us if you want to learn more about this special log monitoring service.

We live in a world that is changing dramatically, and security is at the forefront of the priorities that need to be in a company’s budget in order to protect its identity, reputation, and intellectual property.

JMARK has the systems and expertise to help business owners sleep better at night. Contact us to learn more about how we can help, and please change your online passwords, if you have not in the past couple months.

The BASH Bug… Insecticide Is Not Gonna Help

BASH-BUG-Computer-Cyber-Network-Security-RiskAnother week… another security risk. It seems security risks and companies that get hacked are about as common dirt these days. This week is no different.

You may have seen the news already about very serious vulnerability known as “shell shock.” The affected software, Bash (the Bourne Again SHell), is present on most Linux and Unix-like systems, and including some Mac OS operating systems. The risk appears to be most viable on Internet-facing devices that rely on the Bash environment, such as web and mail servers, but could affect many other devices running those operating systems such as storage devices, public wireless hotspots, and other systems on the network. Additionally there is a risk for any DHCP clients that might connect to an at-risk DHCP server, which means you should be careful when connecting an Apple device to a public hotspot. The DHCP server if infected could issue commands that could put client computers at risk. Indicating that exploit could affect routers or even cell phone towers.

Patches have been made available via the official vendor of the Bash application; however, it merits noting that there are currently reports that the available patches do not fully resolve the issue. Yesterday, JMARK’s own network was under attack, but our skilled network admins diminished that threat without any loss of service.

JMARK is monitoring this situation for further developments and risks and will notify clients if the risk continues to increase.

At this time, JMARK recommends that:

  • Systems are updated to the latest application versions as they become available
  • Host activity is monitored for anomalies
  • Updated signatures from IDS/IPS vendors are obtained to protect against known attacks
  • Contact us if you feel you might be experiencing issues related to this threat.

We are committed to notifying you and protecting you of any new security threats that may impact your organization. For more information and updates on the Bash Bug, visit https://www.pcicomplianceguide.org/shell-shock-bash-bug-what-we-know/.