6 Things Skilled Nursing Facilities Can’t Overlook in Their IT Setup

How do you protect your data and meet regulatory compliance guidelines with a limited IT staff? This ebook discusses six measures skilled nursing facilities can take to follow best practices for security and business continuity.

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How IT Departments Can Automate to Increase Efficiency by 40%

Too many IT departments get bogged down in doing manual work that could be automated. The root cause? Given the workload, the IT team simply can’t get ahead of the game. The time is never there to put the required tools and processes in place, and to master the associated learning curve — which is often steep. So talented staff spends the majority of their time focusing on repetitive tasks and rote troubleshooting instead of driving the business forward.

See if any of these scenarios apply to your organization:

  • Has your company asked your IT department to do more with fewer resources?
  • Have you been forced to reduce IT headcount, but still need to perform the same work?
  • Would you like to do more with the same IT staff?

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then read on.

The Impact of Outsourcing IT Automation

At FIT Solutions, we have the tools, processes and resources — coupled with the experience to apply them — to automate, standardize and streamline the IT environment. The bottom line is this: IT departments can increase their efficiency by 40%.

That improvement comes from application of best-practices automation coupled with economies of scale. Consider this: FIT Solutions successfully supports approximately 7,500 client users with a staff of 25 engineers. That’s one IT person for 300 employees — a ratio that can’t be touched by even the largest organizations. This doesn’t negatively impact our level of service, however; over the last 90 days, our customer satisfaction after over 1,000 reviews averaged 98.6 out of 100!

Here are some of the tasks we take on for our clients:

  • Managing desktops, mobile devices, servers and network infrastructure using automated tools
  • Installing and maintaining automated systems for handling upgrades, managing patches and applying them
  • Implementing and configuring automated systems that alert on issues based on varying degrees of severity and criticality
  • Establishing systems for log analysis, visibility, reporting and remote access — all to speed performance analysis, fine-tuning and troubleshooting
  • Creating and standardizing documentation for addressing regulations and resolving issues

Not Just Tools — But Years of Experience Using Them

Our engineers have spent years working with a stack of best-in-class automation tools and have developed proven methods for applying them efficiently across a wide variety of IT environments. We’ve done that work so your IT staff can piggyback on that experience. Too often, IT organizations invest in similar tools, but don’t have the time to utilize them fully so the investment falls short of delivering what’s promised—or worse, becomes ‘shelfware’. We can create those efficiencies for you, and either train your staff to apply them or simply take the administrative burden off your IT department’s hands.

Does being 40% more efficient sound good to you? To learn more about how we can optimize your IT environment in a way that delivers measurable increases in efficiency, call us today at 888-339-5694 or contact us here.

Why “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” Doesn’t Work for IT

Let’s say you have network equipment that’s been in place for years and is working with minimal or no issues. Paying to maintain service and support on those items might seem like an unnecessary expense. Certainly that’s the way many businesses look at it when scrutinizing the IT budget and looking for items to cut. The logic to justify de-funding those contracts is pretty simple: “If it isn’t broke, why pay to fix it?” However, that is a risky position to take.

Late in 2019, a manufacturer of wireless access points announced that a number of security vulnerabilities — some with a “critical” rating — had been found in its products. They fixed the vulnerabilities in short order and distributed the fixes in the form of software upgrades to the affected products. Here’s the rub: businesses without active support contracts didn’t have access to the upgrades.

Why Service Contracts Are Vital for Critical Infrastructure

The access points in question are widely used in installations that call for reliable, widespread business-class wireless coverage. In other words, they’re an extremely critical element of the infrastructure for organizations that rely on Wi-Fi to run their business. With the prospect of a security vulnerability that would allow an intruder access and potentially bring the entire wireless network down, the seemingly minor risk of letting the service contracts lapse turned into a major risk overnight. All of a sudden, companies were faced with an unbudgeted expense. They either had to re-up the contracts for all of the controllers and access points, or else replace their entire wireless infrastructure.

The same scenario and risks apply to all manner of critical network infrastructure, including switches, routers, firewalls, VPNs and servers. Vulnerabilities are constantly being discovered and patched with updates. We often think of these devices as appliances or hardware, but the reality is, they have software inside that’s meant to be upgraded to improve performance, add features or address security problems. Those devices are at the heart of the network and hold the keys to keeping the business running.

Is the Gamble Worth It?

Many companies do take the risk of running without maintenance agreements on key pieces of network equipment. They have weighed the risks against the costs and reached the conclusion that the gamble is worth taking. While at FIT Solutions we don’t recommend this approach, we do respect that it is a business decision. We are more concerned with businesses that simply allow their service and support contracts to lapse as a cost-cutting measure, without fully understanding the risks and taking them into account.

At FIT Solutions, part of our service is knowing what the vendor policies are with regard to upgrades, support, and service agreements, and keeping track of whether your agreements are active. We use this information to help you understand the risks of running your critical network infrastructure without the benefit of a safety net. Want a true picture of these hidden risks? Give us a call at 888-339-5694 today.

Working Post-Pandemic: What’s Your New Business Normal?

We’re still in the throes of the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic, but it’s not too soon to start looking ahead to what your future business landscape will look like. How prepared are you to get back to business under the “new normal”?

Many, many businesses made major changes in response to the outbreak. Most prominent was the shift to work-from-home models. That often involved some combination of rolling out virtual desktop infrastructure, upgrading the capacity of VPNs, moving major pieces of IT infrastructure from on-premises into the cloud, and shoring up work-from-home security to protect the business. Even businesses in sectors such as on-site retail, healthcare and manufacturing that weren’t able to move front-line workers did their best to comply with stay-at-home mandates by shifting some of the support functions.

Here’s the question: Are you ready to go back? And what will you be going back to? Back to business as usual? Back to basics, with a downscaled operation that will require a lower cost structure? And as for going “back to the office,” are you even going to go back?

The Scale of the COVID-19/Coronavirus Change

Let’s face it: We’re in the middle of the largest “work from home” experiment in history. Use of video conferencing software such as Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout Meets and Zoom shot up during March as the pandemic took hold. Metrics including total users and total minutes for these services saw growth from five to 25 times their pre-pandemic levels as businesses, schools and other organizations took their work home with them.

While the outcome of the experiment is still unknown, a survey of CFOs at large enterprises indicated that three-quarters are going to shift some positions to permanent work-from-home arrangements after it all shakes out. A few (4%) said they will turn half of their workforce into remote workers.

What about smaller businesses? Sadly, some are not going to survive multiple months of lost business. They already have shuttered or will soon shutter their doors for good. Others will be restarting the business amid what will likely be a down economy, will need to get by with less income on the balance sheet, and will have to take a very hard look at their capital expenses and operating costs.

Out of Pandemic Chaos, Comes Opportunity

A sea change like this, as disruptive as it’s been, also forces us to take a fresh look at things and ask some new questions. So why not use it as an opportunity? Consider the following:

  • Should you extend your work-from-home arrangements after the pandemic and make them permanent? If workers were equally or more productive working from home and liked the arrangement, would you profit from higher satisfaction and retention, and could you cut your real estate costs?
  • Is it time to move more of your data and applications into the cloud? If you were sitting on the fence about the cloud before, the COVID-19/coronavirus experience should have erased most of your doubts. The cloud proved it could scale, and in many ways it’s easier to secure. Moving more workloads to the cloud could slash your costs for maintaining computing infrastructure.
  • Could you get a better deal on your communications? If you’re going to support more work-from-home arrangements or rely more on cloud infrastructure, you might need higher-capacity connections. You could very likely get higher bandwidth for the same money. Or, you could slash your costs for Internet connectivity and telephone service by taking a fresh look at your connections. There are companies that are in the business of brokering to get you the best performance for the price, and it’s well worth having them investigate for you.
  • Could you get the same functionality with fewer vendors? Items like multifunction printers and networking equipment, servers, software licenses and communication contracts all sourced from multiple vendors are time-consuming to deal with, from an IT management and financial perspective. When you ‘right-size’ for the new normal, can you consolidate to fewer vendors at the same time?

At FIT Solutions, we can work as an adjunct to your IT department, putting to use our extensive experience cutting costs and improving IT efficiencies for hundreds of companies. Would you appreciate some efficiency-improving, rightsizing, cost-cutting help with your post-pandemic planning? Give us a call at 888-339-5694 or email us today.

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