Allison Dillow No Comments

Consider the Cloud, Consider Lower IT Costs

Why are so many small and medium-sized businesses flocking to the cloud?

Do you know why so many small and medium-sized business (SMBs) entities are flocking to the cloud? The impetus behind this move to the cloud is a simple one, relevant to all profit-making organizations – cost!

Costs Are Lower in the Cloud

Running an internal IT department is expensive. There are hardware costs, software costs, maintenance costs, and personnel costs.

Instead of amortizing hardware and software expensed, it is included in their monthly subscription price. This monthly cost is immediately expensed as a monthly operating expense. Moreover, subscription costs are mostly agreed to without a contract so either party can terminate the agreement. Also, by outsourcing IT, IT salaries are eliminated, or IT staff can be allocated to more productive IT work. Estimates are that cloud-based computer services are about 35% to 50% less than keeping IT as an in-house service.

Are There Advantages Other Than Cost?

When an SMB outsources its IT to a managed services provider (MSP), they gain more than lower costs. You also gain:

Data Analysis

Even if you are classified as a small or medium-sized business, you are like most other businesses and have more data than you know what to do with – your IT is not equipped to perform meaningful data analysis. Cloud providers of managed services can perform data analysis to your specifications for less than you can do in-house.

Collaboration

When you have your software and data in the cloud, anyone authorized can access it from any device at any time. This makes collaboration on documents and presentations easier.

Speed

When projects are developed in the cloud, they are completed more quickly than on location with meetings, minutes, and delays. Easier collaboration means that work is completed faster.

Measurable Cloud Benefits

Improved productivity, no infrastructure costs, are all measurable and support a business case for taking your IT to the cloud.

Better Customer Service

According to the Harvard Business Review, companies that use the cloud reported better customer service achievements than companies not on the cloud for all or part of their customer service.

However, jumping to the cloud without planning can result in a disaster. Here are some tips for making your SMB’s trip to the cloud go smoothly.

  1. Have clear objectives for what you want and expect from transitioning to the cloud. Let them serve as your basis for a Request for Proposal.
  2. Decide if you want to integrate existing data and legacy systems to the cloud. Many experts believe that it is best not to try and move legacy systems to the cloud and instead use it only for new IT projects and data storage.
  3. Take advantage of free trial offers from cloud providers. This lets you compare the features of various companies before moving to a single vendor.
  4. Make sure that when you make a comparison, you compare the same features among services – otherwise, you may be shocked as your reliance on the cloud increases.

Interested in the cloud and what it can do for you or your small business? BK Connected Solutions is the trusted choice when it comes to staying ahead of the latest information technology tips, tricks, and news. Contact us at 540.662.0084,  send us an email at bkconnectedsolutions@bkcs-inc.com or request a no strings attached/complimentary network evaluation! Visit our website for more details – https://www.bkconnectedsolutions.com/it/

 

 

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Allison Dillow No Comments

Apple Blossom – Important Office Updates Regarding Hours and Closing

With Apple Blossom officially upon us, we wanted to remind you of our office hours and closures over the next few days during the Apple Blossom Festival.

  • On Thursday May 4th, our office will be closing at 4pm.
  • Our office will be closed on Friday May 5th but will reopen for normal business hours on Monday May 8th.

In the event you need to schedule a service call or if you have an emergency, please call the office phone line at 540.662.0084 and listen for the prompts or you may leave a message for our service technicians who will be responding in a timely manner.

We are looking forward to celebrating another fabulous year of the Bloom.

Allison Dillow No Comments

BK Connected Solutions To Sponsor Mens’ & Ladies’ Commonwealth Luncheons

As the bloom gains more and more recognition, BK Connected Solutions couldn’t be any more proud and excited to partner with the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival to co-sponsor both the Mens’ and Ladies’ Commonwealth Luncheons!
Read on for more details regarding each event. If you’d like to purchase tickets or have questions we’d be happy to help. Give us a call or shoot us an email at allison@bkcs-inc.com.


Ladies’ Commonwealth Luncheon:

Join BK Connected Solutions on Apple Blossom Friday, May 5th from 11-1 at the George Washington Hotel for a brand new event! Enjoy networking along with delicious appetizers and our favorite libations at the Ladies’ Commonwealth Luncheon!
For more details, click here
United Capital Ladies Commonwealth
Friday, May 5 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

$50
George Washington Hotel Ballroom

For 2017, the Festival is offering the United Capital Ladies’ Commonwealth. The event will be Chaired by Festival Veterans, Glenne White and Kay Ross; and, will be held in the elegant ballroom at the George Washington Hotel. To get this event off on the right foot, retiring City of Winchester Mayor, Liz Minor, has been asked to be the Honorary Chair, and she has gleefully accepted. Attendance will be limited and will probably be capped at 150 ladies.

The George will be operating bars stocked with soft beverages and festive adult beverages; and, “stand-and-nibble” food stations serving cocktail party-style. Midday Friday is a very busy party time in Bloomtown; and, as is the case with the BB&T Men’s Commonwealth Luncheon, all ladies with a business-and-politically-oriented slant to their nature, who are looking for a quieter, more conversation-able atmosphere for their celebration, are asked to consider this event. Tickets for this impressive new Festival event are $50.00; and SABF Ticket Forms will be available starting Thursday, November 10th, at SABF Headquarters at 540-662-3863, and available for download. Stay tuned! The Festival will continue to supply event updates!

Mens’ Commonwealth Luncheon

Join BK Connected Solutions on Apple Blossom Friday, May 5th from 11-1 at the Piccadilly Brew Pub for the 10th annual Men’s Commonwealth Luncheon! Enjoy networking along with delicious appetizers and favorite libations prepared by the Piccadilly Brew Pub!
For more details, click here

BB&T Men’s Commonwealth Luncheon
Friday, May 5 @ 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

$35
Piccadilly’s Public House, 125 East Piccadilly Street (next to the George Washington Hotel).

This popular gathering of gentlemen will be reminiscent of the original and complementary to the current Stag Luncheon. The area’s business and community leaders know this is one party not to miss!

It is held in the heart of downtown Winchester in a restored grocery warehouse built in 1900, now known as Piccadilly’s Public House. Attendees enjoy a delectable lunch of custom-made Baltimore bratwurst with their favorite libations and special samples of world-famous distilled spirits while engaging in lively discussions and meeting Festival celebrities.

Proper attire includes a jacket or tie. Gentlemen, raise your glasses in a toast to Apple Blossom’s nostalgic event: the BB&T Men’s Commonwealth Luncheon is sponsored by BK Connected Solutions, Annandale Millwork, Anthem, Frogale Lumber Supply, Piccadilly’s Public House & Restaurant, and Yount, Hyde and Barbour.

Allison Dillow No Comments

Why Managed Services Are So Essential to the Future

An overview of why managed services are not just important, but why they’re an essential part of the future of nearly every business you can imagine.

Regardless of the industry that your business is operating in, technology acts as the foundation of every service that you offer, every function that you perform and every step that you take. As a result, having a competitive technological advantage is something so important it literally cannot be overstated enough. If you can’t outspend your larger competitors, you need to be able to do the next best thing: work smarter, not harder. To that end, managed services are essential to the future of nearly every organization for an incredible list of reasons.

What Are Managed Services?

At its core, managed services equate to a delivery model that allows systems like servers, networks, storage and more to all be monitored and managed via third party businesses over the Internet. Do you need to add additional storage to your network? Don’t worry about running out to the store, researching hard drives, making a huge purchase and finding someone to install it. Just call up your managed services provider, let them know that your needs have changed and they’ll take care of the rest instantly – all in exchange for one low and predictable monthly fee.

Superior Efficiency

Because certain essential services are all managed through a third party, the number one reason why managed services themselves are so important has everything to do with efficiency. Not only will businesses of all sizes enjoy a superior level of visibility over the resources that they have in place and how they’re being used, but this also brings with it advantages like efficient incident resolution, reduced downtime and risk and much, much more.

Cloud and remote infrastructure management allows for real-time, proactive monitoring – meaning that you’ll no longer be waiting for something to go wrong before you can act. Instead, an IT professional will be watching for signs that something may go wrong so that it can be avoided altogether. They will also comb through logs and reports to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

Greater Cost Effectiveness

What managed services bring to the table for small businesses is greater cost effectiveness across the board. Instead of dealing with the massive upfront investment of researching, building and maintaining your own infrastructure, nearly everything is handled by someone else. Someone who can see exactly how your resources are being used, allowing you to make smarter, more informed decisions when it comes time to upgrade.

Additionally, because managed services are a “pay-as-you-go” delivery model, you’re only paying for exactly what you’re using and not a penny more. In terms of your IT investment, you no longer need to plan for the future because managed services allow the future to essentially plan for itself based on the patterns identified today.

Make no mistake: managed services aren’t just important. They’re going to become mission critical as time goes on. If you’re in or near Winchester, the Shenandoah Valley, Eastern Panhandle or Northern Virginia / Metro DMV areas and would like to discuss managed services or any other related topic with someone in more detail, don’t delay – contact BK Connected Solutions via email at tech@bkcs-inc.com, via phone  at 540.662.0084 or on the web at bkconnectedsolutions.com.

 

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Allison Dillow No Comments

Saving Money With A Managed Services Provider

How Managed IT Service Providers Cut Costs With Advanced Technology

Each day, business is inundated with proposals for new technology. Some are great, and you would welcome those into your IT toolbox or company operations, but, some just don’t work as promised.

Businesses of all sizes face this problem, but small and medium-sized business (SMB) find that keeping up with technology is a time-consuming effort.

The Flood of Advanced Technology

No matter whether your IT is from an internal department or you count on an outside vendor – it is quite difficult to avail yourself of excellent IT staff all the time. However, when you partner with a well-qualified managed services provider (MSP) such as BK Connected Solutions, you gain several top-quality IT personnel, not just one.

This is important as the best MSPs stay current on new and advanced technologies and inform their clients about changes in technology that they might be interested in.

New technology cuts a broad bandwidth encompassing support for companies using technology (ex. Taking credit cards via a smartphone) to computer system protection (using the latest software and hardware to keep data safe).

There are compelling reasons to hire a managed services provider. Nevertheless, it is imperative for a company to perform due diligence before hiring an MSP. During the selection process, ask yourself the following questions to guide your decision making.

Questions to Consider and Ask Before Choosing a Managed Services Provider:

  1. What is the company’s experience in delivering managed services? Ask for, and check references.
  2. Is there a well-developed organizational structure that is capable off mitigating risk and making efficiency optimization a priority?
  3. Do they have experience in your industry? What size business in your industry do they have experience with?
  4. What kind of expertise are you looking for and does a potential MS provider have it?

So, once you have selected an IT MSP how they can bring improved operations to your firm?

Advanced Technology and Managed Services Providers

It seems clear that an experienced MSP can help cut costs for small and medium-sized businesses. Following are some examples of how they do this.

Data

What happens if your computer system fails and shuts down? Could you stay open and operating without access to vendor and client lists? What if you lost your financial data? If your MSP is providing you with Backup and Recovery Services, you don’t need to worry as your system can be restored from the backup data that your MSP can quickly deploy.

Protection

While the payoff for cyber criminals is potentially higher from large entities, criminals know that security is much tighter on their systems than those of an SMB. Because costs of anti-criminal intrusion hardware and software are spread out among subscribers to an MSP, deployment is far less expensive than installing these solutions independently. Also, an MSP is ideally positioned to offer backup and data recovery (BDR) services.

Contact Systems in the Cloud

Customer relationship management systems and contact systems are all about improving revenue. Moving them from an onsite server to the cloud gives your field staff better communications with long-standing customers as well as potential clients. By placing these systems in the cloud, your company has the edge over competitors as your system allows access from anywhere there is an internet connection and allow for multiple office integrations.

To find out more about how an MSP can help your company contact BK Connected Solutions on the web at bkconnectedsolutions.com, via phone at 540.662.0084 or email us at tech@bkcs-inc.com.

 

 

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