Category Archives: Blog

Why are a Growing Number of Companies Partnering with IT Service Providers?

Three Reasons Why Working with an IT MSP is a Good Idea

Discover why a growing number of companies are outsourcing their IT department to IT managed service providers in order to boost efficiency and maximize profits.

Recent statistics show that three-quarters of all SMBs partner with an IT managed service provider at least occasionally and it’s not hard to see why. IT managed service providers offer numerous benefits that any wise business owner will want to leverage to boost business efficiency and profits. The following are three reasons why every business owner should seriously consider finding an IT service provider who can offer services such as cybersecurity, IT training, cloud storage, and IT monitoring and maintenance.

Preventing Downtime and Cyberattacks

Downtime can be caused by various factors, including employee error, outdated software, old IT equipment, and a slow network. It may also be caused by a cyberattack. In the latter instance, the cost of repairing the problem will likely be well over $100,000. However, even innocent mistakes resulting in short periods of downtime can be costly as you’ll have to pay to fix the IT problem and cover other expenses as well.

Working with an IT service provider reduces the odds of having to deal with downtime. IT service providers use up to date IT hardware and software that is regularly monitored and upgraded as needed. What’s more, IT service providers offer cybersecurity services that deter cybercriminals, keeping your valuable business data safe and secure at all times.

Improving Communications with Customers, Business Partners, and Staff Members

Do you or your employees need secure access to business data while out and about? Would business projects get done ahead of schedule if your employees had a cloud server for sharing data? Do you need a VoIP system to stay in touch with customers and/or suppliers but don’t know how to get one up and running?

Good IT managed services offer all the tools you need for easy, secure, fast communication. These include VoIP systems, secure cloud storage, mobile IT management, and more. What is more, an IT MSP won’t just install the tools but also teach you how to use them and then monitor your systems to ensure they work well at all times.

Staying in Step with Industry Regulations

Failure to stay in step with industry regulations may result in fines, loss of trust, and even legal action against your company. Thankfully, a number of IT managed service providers have IT experts on hand who have the training and experience needed to not only manage IT systems but also ensure compliance with industry regulations. These include HIPAA regulations for medical companies and NGC regulations for the casino industry.

Are you looking for a trustworthy IT service provider who can meet your needs at a reasonable cost? If so, look no further than Network Security Associates. The company is one of only three IT managed services in the state of Nevada to offer licensed IT services to the casino industry. We also specialize in offering HIPAA-compliant services, business phone services, managed IT services, cloud services and more. Get in touch with us to learn more or to make an appointment for a free, comprehensive network security assessment.

How Co-Managed IT Services Benefit Companies with In-House Support

How Are Co-Managed IT Services Beneficial to Companies with In-House Technology Departments?

If you want to maximize the value you’re getting out of your in-house technology resources, finding a managed services provider is the way to go.

Finding a good technology person is hard. Finding an entire team of good technology people is downright daunting. If you’ve managed to secure a great person or department of in-house technology resources, way to go! Many businesses struggle with this task so you’re certainly doing something right. But if you want to maximize the value you’re getting out of your in-house technology resources, finding a managed services provider is a great option. Nowadays, a state-of-the-art, well-managed infrastructure is absolutely critical to ensure all business operations function smoothly. While an in-house technology department is a great way to ensure stability, they might not always have the skill-sets, availability, and expertise you need.

That’s where co-managed IT services come in handy. You’re able to supplement your internal technology resources with outside help – giving you the ability to maximize the value of those resources. This is perfect for:

  • Those who want their in-house department to stay focused on strategic issues and/or planning without worrying about day-to-day tasks.
  • Those who want their in-house department to carry out the day-to-day tasks but need a bit of guidance for upcoming projects and/or overall strategy.
  • Those who are experiencing growth and require more assistance than they have available to them in-house.
  • Those who are struggling with availability issues due to staff going away on vacation, sick days, etc.

Sometimes it simply doesn’t make sense to expand your internal technology resources because the challenges you’re experiencing are directly related to hiring in-house. For instance, you may want to avoid the upfront and hidden costs associated with more staff – from salaries to benefits to computers and/or phones to accommodate them. You may also be looking for more specific expertise and want to avoid having to find and hire the right person, then keep them up-to-date on training.

Co-managed IT services not only enable you to augment your existing technology resources, but you’re also able to avoid having to find and maintain new resources as you grow or face new challenges. You pay a flat-rate monthly fee for exactly what you need – giving you peace of mind knowing the cost will be predictable and you’ll have access to an entire team with a range of skill-sets, expertise, and certifications.

How do co-managed IT services play into cybersecurity?

If you’re looking at co-managed IT services as a way to stay secure against cybercrime, you’re on the right track. Nowadays, threats are becoming much more advanced and sophisticated. Many internal technology departments struggle to keep up with the evolving types of attacks while maintaining their day-to-day workload. But protecting your intellectual property, customer data, and other important business assets is critical. Co-managed IT services play into cybersecurity for many reasons:

  • As you create more data, it becomes harder for one person or team to keep all of that data safe against hackers.
  • As you expand your infrastructure, it becomes harder for one person or team to secure all entry points into the network.
  • As you expand your workforce, it becomes harder for one person or team to keep everyone trained on best practices.

Cybersecurity isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it type of scenario and it’s incredibly easy for a person or small team to feel overwhelmed as they see attacks happening all over the world.

Let’s talk about how co-managed IT services can help you meet your strategic business goals. Call us at 702-547-9800 or email us at sales@nsa-nv.com.

Five Reasons Why Working with an IT Managed Service Company is one of the Best Things You can do for Your Business

Why Every Business Should Work with a Managed IT Service Provider

Discover some of the most compelling reasons to outsource your company’s IT department to a competent, experienced, cutting edge IT managed service provider. 

Working with an IT managed service company will enable a business to save time and money, boost efficiency, offer improved customer service, effectively reach new customers, prevent cyberattacks and more.

The following are five of the main reasons why hiring a good IT managed service company is one of the best things you can do for your business.

1. You’ll Have the Help You Need, When You Need It

Small business owners can’t rely on a single IT staffer. Technology is continually changing and your IT employee may not be familiar with cutting edge developments that can save you time and money or help you avoid a damaging data breach. Alternatively, your IT person may get sick or take a vacation right when you need him the most.

IT managed service companies, on the other hand, have a team of IT technicians on hand who stay abreast of technology to offer the best IT solutions to businesses. What is more, IT firms such as NSA offer 24/7 help and assistance.

2. No Worries About Downtime

Downtime can sap an enormous amount of money from your business as it not only results in additional IT expenses but also lost revenue, lost productivity, and loss of trust as business partners and clients take their business to a company that offers reliable customer service.

A good managed IT service will continually monitor your network to ensure that it runs smoothly and efficiently at all times. Downtime will become relatively rare; when it does occur, you’ll have experts on hand who can immediately fix the issue.

3. Cost-Effective Plan Options

Hiring even one IT expert is costly. You’ll not only have to pay his or her salary but also benefits. Furthermore, you’ll also need to set aside money to purchase and regularly upgrade IT hardware and software. Thankfully, you can drastically reduce these expenses by working with a managed IT service provider. Good managed IT companies offer service plans in various price points so you have access to the help you need without having to pay extra for services you don’t want. Furthermore, the IT company regularly upgrades its software and hardware so you don’t have to.

4. You’ll Have Time to Grow Your Business

A managed IT service frees you from having to manage, repair, upgrade, troubleshoot and analyze your IT system. Instead, you can focus on business-boosting activities such as networking, creating and testing new products, meeting with clients and business suppliers, taking industry-related classes and more.

5. Top-Tier Cybersecurity

Businesses that receive payments via credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, wire transfers and the like have a wealth of customer information that any hacker would love to get his or her hands on. Working with a managed IT service provider is a must to protect this valuable information from falling into the wrong hands.

National Security Associates has extensive experience offering custom IT assistance, training and solutions to Nevada-based businesses. Get in touch with us to learn more about our services or to schedule a free network security assessment.

The Battle Of Break-Fix IT vs. Managed Services: A Comparison

Break-Fix IT vs. Managed Services

This is one of the most common questions I’m asked and one that needs to be addressed objectively. Full disclosure here… I work for a Managed Service Provider and not a Break-Fix IT shop. However, I will never try and convince someone that they need a full Managed Service Plan if they don’t.

Let’s get right into The Battle of Break-Fix IT versus Managed Services.

What is Break-Fix IT?

Break-Fix IT is a term that applies to an IT service company that charges hourly for the support they provide. These shops make money on hardware sales, licensing, and of course, hourly support. A business will call them when they need a project completed or assistance with their network, computer, security, etc. They charge an hourly rate between $75 to $150. A Break-Fix tech will complete the task, bill the client, and they may not hear from them again for many weeks.

There are still many IT groups in each market that specialize in break-fix work. Most are quasi-break-fix businesses where they charge monthly for certain services, such as data backups, anti-virus, or Microsoft Office 365.

It’s important to keep in mind that computer networks have grown increasingly complex over time, so many of the mid-sized to larger IT companies have transitioned away from this model.

What Are Managed Services?

Managed Services is a broad term that describes a business that charges a per-user or per-device management fee. This fee typically covers support (remote and/or onsite), data backups, security, proactive services, etc. This is a more comprehensive relationship because the MSP (Managed Services Provider) has thorough documentation of the network, the techs are well versed in the client’s business and know their key users, and they are on a “retainer”, so the client is prioritized if something were to go wrong.

This model may seem like the ideal route, but it does come at a cost. To have all of your IT services included in a single agreement, and to have a team on call to assist requires an investment that ranges from $50-250 per-user or per-device per month. Some business owners get sticker shock because they may have spent as much on IT service in the past year as a Managed Service Provider would expect for a quarter.

The Benefits & Drawbacks Of Each

Break-Fix IT Benefits:

  1. Very little to no monthly cost (Invoices are only accrued when service is rendered.)
  2. They are typically from smaller tech shops, so you will develop relationships with everyone that works there, including the owner.
  3. Many have a “do-it-all” mentality which may include security cameras, application development, website maintenance, phone system support, etc. They can be considered a “jack of all trades” in some respects.

Break-Fix IT Drawbacks:

  1. They may not have the same level of reporting and documentation because a business owner might not want to pay the hourly rate for proactive services.
  2. They typically have a smaller staff so response times may take too long.
  3. “Doing it all” may lead to staff that are generalists and not specialists.
  4. They get paid to fix things that break. That incentive may not be in the best interest of the business owner.

Managed Services Benefits:

  1. It’s easy to budget for. The agreements are typically comprehensive, so your statement will almost always be constant, except for large projects and hardware upgrades.
  2. They are known for having specialists on staff to thoroughly understand each aspect of a computer network – data backup and business continuity, cybersecurity, Office 365, phones, etc.
  3. Managed Services almost always provide SLAs (Service Level Agreements) that detail expectations for response times, resolution times, customer satisfaction, etc. An MSP with a response time over 3-4 hours should be reconsidered.
  4. Payment is consistent, so the more efficient the MSP can make your business, the better it is for both parties.
  5. Managed IT Services typically include Remote Management & Monitoring (RMM) that can get to the root of problems to fix them for good. RMM also proactively catches issues and resolves them before they create downtime or interruptions in your IT operations.
  6. Servers, routers, computers, etc. actually last longer and perform better when they receive regular maintenance with Managed Services.
  7. Managed Services Providers usually offer various service packages that can be customized, so you get only what you need at a price that fits into your budget

Managed Services Drawbacks:

  1. You’ll be locked into a monthly contract that is typically more expensive than working with a Break-Fix shop. Most have a minimum of 30-day notices, while others require a year or longer contracts.
  2. They typically specialize in computer networks but will assist in vendor management for other technology services for your business. They will have “preferred providers” for phones, copiers, marketing services, etc.
  3. Depending on the structure and size of the business, you may never meet the owner or develop a relationship with techs like you will with a Break-Fix shop.
  4. This space is increasingly occupied by large corporations, meaning you may not be supporting your local economy working with some MSPs.

So, Which Is Better?

That’s a good question, and I wish there were an easy answer. I’m going to have to answer like an economist; it all depends.

Are you a small business with 5 employees? Honestly, a break-fix shop is probably your best bet. Being locked into a monthly agreement when your network is very simple may be hard to justify.

Are you a healthcare entity with 20+ users? If you’re using a break-fix shop, you’re in trouble. Each industry has unique requirements and regulations for its technology. A break-fix shop will most likely not have the competency it takes to adhere to everything that applies to your computer network.

Are you an enterprise business with 1,000 employees? If so, you most likely have a budget that can support an internal IT team that could manage every aspect of your network. You may still want to work with an MSP for infrastructure support or help desk overflow, but to solely rely on an MSP in this space would not be recommended.

It all depends on what you think is best for your business. If you’re okay with not having a dedicated IT team and would rather have your buddy help when you need him/her, then go for it. If you only have 4 employees but have a relatively complex network because of your industry or applications, it might be best to work with an MSP that specializes in your industry.

In Conclusion

There are pros and cons to both. It’s up to you to decide what you need. Reach out if you need any assistance, and I’ll be happy to provide objective advice on what route would be best for your business.

What Does a Security-Focused IT Services Company Look Like?

What You Can Expect from a Security-Focused IT Services Company

Discover how working with a security-minded IT managed service will provide you with the tools needed to keep your IT network secure and running smoothly.  

A lot of IT service providers are eager to tell potential clients about the exponential growth of cybercrime over the last few years. However, the good news is that while hackers do cause innumerable problems for many business owners, you don’t need to be afraid of them if you have the right tools to combat them. Generally speaking, cybercriminals look for easy targets and companies with good security standards don’t have to worry about breaches, ransomware attacks, phishing attacks and other forms of cybercrime. Good IT service providers know this and focus on security tools and training rather than fearmongering.

Network Security Must Be Your Top Priority

Following is an overview of what a security-focused IT service company looks like:

  • Ongoing employee training is made a priority because good IT service providers know that 90% of data breaches happen as a result of employee error.
  • A free, comprehensive security assessment is offered before a business signs up with the IT service provider. The security assessment not only looks for security vulnerabilities but also pinpoints problems that may be causing the IT system to run slower or less efficiently than it should. If your business needs to adhere to specific industry regulations such as HIPAA or NGC regulations, your security assessment will include a compliance assessment.
  • Weak log-in credentials account for 80% of all data breaches. A good IT service provider knows this and so sets up two-factor authentication for all employees. This form of authentication is not only surprisingly time-efficient but also extremely effective in deterring hackers.
  • Many good IT service providers also offer secure cloud storage solutions. Secure cloud storage not only protects valuable business data but also serves as a back-up of company information that can be relied on in the event of a ransomware attack.
  • Security-minded IT service providers use the best intrusion detection systems and anti-virus/anti-malware programs on the market. These programs are regularly updated to ensure constant security.
  • Security-minded IT service providers top-tier network security to ensure that all incoming and outgoing network traffic is authorized.

Security-Focus IT Support Company in Las Vegas

Network Security Associates has fifteen years of experience providing cutting-edge IT services to businesses throughout the state of Nevada. It is one of only three companies licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission to work with the casino industry and has the skill set, tools, and certified experts on hand to expertly manage the IT needs of any industry. NSA offers free initial security assessments, free ongoing employee training, secure cloud services, automatic software updates, secure wireless network set-up and maintenance and much more. Get in touch with us at your convenience to discover how we can help you create the perfectly secure, efficient IT set-up you need to boost your business now and in the future.

How to Find the Best Managed IT Service Provider in Nevada

What Does the Best IT Service Provider in Nevada Look Like?

What does a good IT managed service in Nevada look like? Discover what to look for when hiring an IT MSP to boost your IT network security and efficiency.  

The importance of having a top-tier managed IT service provider in Nevada cannot be overstated. The state is one of the top ten regions most vulnerable to a cyber-attack. What is more, the internet of things is creating additional opportunities for cybercriminals to hack business networks and steal valuable data. For instance, cybercriminals were recently able to access a casino’s sensitive data by hacking into the PC-connected sensors the casino was using to regulate temperature, food and cleanliness in a casino fish tank.

Network Security Associates: Top Managed IT Services In Nevada

Given the fact that so much is at stake, a company will want to find the best IT managed service in the local area. The following are some signs that an IT managed service provider has what it takes to keep your IT hardware and software running smoothly, efficiently and securely at all times.

  • Employee training is a must as most security breaches are caused by employee mistakes. It’s all too easy for someone who isn’t technically savvy to click the wrong link, reply to the wrong email or use a weak password.
  • The company should measure up to industry standards. Clinics, hospitals and other medical facilities need to find an IT service provider that is HIPAA-compliant. Casinos will need to find an IT company that meets NGC and GCB requirements and is licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission to work with the casino industry in Nevada.
  • A good company knows that breaches, breakdowns and other problems can occur at any time of the day and night and so will offer 24/7 help and assistance for clients.
  • The best IT service providers start with a customized network security assessment. This means that a company expert will closely analyze your IT hardware and software, make note of vulnerabilities and then provide recommendations for fixing weak areas. A custom analysis takes your industry, budget, target audience, way of operating and a host of other factors into account to ensure that securing your IT network does not have a negative impact on the way you serve your target audience. Ideally, this assessment should be free of charge so you can determine if the IT service provider has what it takes to meet your needs.

Award-Winning Managed IT Services In Nevada

Network Security Associates is an award-winning Nevada-based IT managed service provider that meets the criteria outlined above. It offers free, ongoing security training to company employees to ensure that your staff members know how to prevent and/or manage IT security issues. NSA is HIPAA-compliant and one of only three IT managed service providers that are authorized to work with casinos in Nevada. It offers 24/7 assistance, provides free network security assessments and offers a host of hardware and software options to help companies beef up IT security and boost IT efficiency. Get in touch with us at your convenience to learn more or to make an appointment with one of our certified, experienced IT experts.