Recent advancements in information technology have dramatically impacted the way law firms manage their offices.  As a result of these innovations, attorneys are now able to handle larger caseloads, have enhanced communications with clients, and easily sift through massive hoards of information faster then ever thought possible. The role that technology plays in the legal profession has become critical…and the growing complexity of technology cannot be ignored. Given the speed, sophistication and unpredictability of the new world of technology, So how does the average law firm executive manage to keep pace with and juggle all of the intricacies of their IT environment?

It’s likely that you’ve already considered hiring, or have in fact, hired an internal IT staff person. And it’s likely that additional salary, particularly one that is not billable, was a difficult and painful decision. Maybe there was this one person in the office who “knows a lot about computers” and was willing to take on the role.  Now, despite the fact that their primary job responsibility has absolutely nothing to do with technology, everyone in the firm is now relying on this person for help. Even a qualified outside expert who is brought in – even from another competing Law firm – will still have to now become familiar with your firm’s nuances and idiosyncrasies – and will bring a host of preferences and limitations.

Here’s are 8 things your law firm should consider when outsourcing their IT operations:

  1. Improved Reliability & Performance – Most outside IT firms utilize higher-end tools and best practices as they are in the heart of the industry and as a rule must stay on top of new innovations and latest and greatest technologies.  Hence they are able to identify and resolve the root causes to network issues more quickly than someone who is inside the firm.  This reduces any resulting downtime issues as well as the duration of outages that may occur.
  2. Skill-Set Sophistication – Outside firms are comprised of teams – not individuals.  Hence, in hiring a firm, by default you have access to a wide variety of knowledge, experience, specialization and skill sets. This ensures that all aspects of your IT needs can be met with the best and most current solution.
  3. Scaled Resources & Expertise –When outsourcing your IT operations, you’re leveraging a staff that is dedicated solely to fixing your computers, servers, internet, software systems, etc. They in turn spend money, resources and training time to ensure that the best service is delivered. You benefit from their investments – and save unmanageable costs associated with certifications, training, software licenses and education. This frees up time for you to run your business.
  4. Business Continuity – A good outside IT firm will monitor your systems 24x7x365.  They will also have resources on deck in the event of an emergency. An internal IT person, will offer the “illusion” of availability – but people take vacations, quit without notice – and in some cases without handing over passwords, documentation, knowledge, etc.
  5. Predictable Management Costs – Disasters are not predictable- and they can be costly – particularly if there is no disaster plan and disaster resource. With an outside firm, you won’t be caught spending unplanned lumps of money in a desperate situation (e.g. server crash). In these cases a set monthly budget can be used specifically for issue avoidance, prevention, and service optimization.
  6. Client Access and Visibility: Attorneys need to be available and accessible – 24 hours a day. For most clients, their lawyer is a lifeline, and knowing that their firm’s technical infrastructure is always at arms length can sometimes be the difference between success or failure. This runs across ALL technical aspects of the firm: email, phone systems, internet content, messaging, financial data, files and data access; any and all areas of client or potential client touch points are critical.
  7. Rock Solid Reliability: Law is a demanding and stressful profession. In order to justify their hourly fees, Attorneys cannot afford to spend any time or energy dealing with technology snafus. They require systems that have been properly engineered and work as expected all of the time so they are able to bill their hours to clients & not have to worry about lost hours on non-client related activities.
  8. Comprehensive Service Offering: Law firms need to be laser focused, and are best served by outside firms that provide complete end-to-end service technical expertise. One single point of contact for all technical needs offers the most efficient and user-friendly scenario. Whether it is email support, networking, software management, cloud services, hosting, telephone systems, messaging support, mobile application support, the cost of having to manage multiple specialists creates too many communication layers and can distract from client-oriented tasks.

Overall, outsourcing your IT operations allows firms to keep focused on servicing their clients. Whether you have 5 people or 500, there are plans available to fit any firm size, location or business needs. Make sure that the firm you select has the tools, experience, and expertise to keep your firm running at peak performance.

GCInfotech is proud to provide IT services for law firms in CT, New York City and beyond.  Call us 203 327 5700, send us email and we will reach out to you, or schedule your free IT systems management assessment.

Your small to medium-sized business is just as dependent on IT as a large company is. You need the right technology, to have it work, to have it fixed quickly when a problem arises, and to know what that will cost. At some point, all small-to mid-size business owners face this dilemma: form their own in-house IT support group or hire an outside IT consulting firm.

IT has become the lifeblood of any business, large or small. That being said, it is essential for businesses to have their computer systems up and running 24 hours a day 7 days a week and 365 days a year – reliability, securely and efficiently. Whether you have 10 employees or 1000, any business owner has no time to deal with daily IT issues or unreliable IT support personnel. In the event of a disaster, you need to get your business back on track ‘now’.

Full-Time In-House IT

Having a dedicated, full-time staff person in-house seems like a sensible and secure option. The person knows your systems and technologies, understands the nuances of your business and staff preferences, and in many cases has been a part of the legacy of technical development within your organization so he “knows where the bodies are buried”.  Additionally, the in-house solution only has one client, you. This provides business owners with a great deal of comfort – knowing that “my guy” is always here, in-house, and at the ready to respond to the little annoyances and huge disasters that are commonplace.

While on the surface this solution seems to be a good choice, there are a number of negatives associated with in-house IT staffing solutions that make it a risky proposition:

  • Cost: In house requires a constant budget item for IT staff in salaries and benefits
  • Most IT departments in small-to medium size firms are 1-2 people, so when key IT person “leaves with the keys” – business can come to a halt.
  • Not scalable and costly when expanded – getting more IT staff becomes costly – and under-capacitated
  • In House IT need to be trained on newer technology -they don’t always do it on their own or want the company to pay for the certifications – which are costly.
  • Transitioning off and on is a very cumbersome process.

 

IT Consulting Firms

What if we told you that you could receive better IT support for a fraction of the cost that it would take to hire an onsite IT department?  Hiring an outside IT services firm is a wise decision for most small to medium sized businesses.

The two main benefits in hiring an outside firm are costs and expertise/knowledge.

We see too often smaller firms who come to us after having had one dedicated IT person on staff.  This person typically was responsible for selecting and setting up all of the basic IT functions and system choices.  Invariably we find that many of these choices were poorly vetted, require tweaking, fixing and/or replacing. This is mainly due to the fact that inside IT do what they know or are familiar with. “This is the solution that I use for all of my clients”. This comfort and fluency can easily be mistaken for expertise.  Outside firms are constantly upgrading their system offerings, training their tech staff on the most cutting edge solutions and have the resources to provide all of the proper certifications.  As a result, there is a greater likelihood that you will be getting the best possible range of solutions – that are built for the current state of technology. This is critical.  Swapping out old dead tech is a massive and costly disruption.

Second, and probably most important is cost.  With in-house staff, there are salaries and benefits. With an outside firm, you only pay either a fixed retained fee, or an hourly rate, so the costs are more manageable.  Plus, the outside firm is incentivized to do a better job in the hours allotted then someone who knows can rely on a salary and benefits.

Whether you’re looking for a preventative maintenance solution to keep IT costs predictable and avoid expensive computer problems, or a disaster recovery plan to get you back online quickly after an emergency, our technical support experts will meet with you to understand your business, and your IT needs, so that we can find the solution that’s right for you.

Proactive IT Services – Flat-rate, round-the-clock maintenance and monitoring to prevent problems before they turn into downtime

Remote Backup & Disaster Recovery – GCInfotech provides not only reliable automatic backups and archiving, but also a rock-solid plan of action for recovery in the event of a disaster.

Cloud Solutions – Anytime, anywhere access to your data and business applications including cloud online data backup.

Anti-Spam Solutions – Say goodbye to spam and hello to dramatically increased productivity

Help Desk Software – A turn-key, hosted service desk and ticketing system for assessing, assigning, and resolving service issues related to your small business

Outsourced IT Support – Focus on running your business instead of troubleshooting your network with GCInfotech custom IT services designed to fit your business and your needs. GCInfotech is proud to provide local businesses with professional IT Solutions in CT, New York City and beyond.

Contact us now to schedule your FREE Business Technology and Security Assessment

Data security is increasingly the primary IT issue among small businesses as it is the lifeline of any organization and critical for maintaining business continuity. While natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes may be rare, server failures and human error are unfortunately common occurrences. No business is immune to these problems, so having some kind of data backup is essential.
Backing up critical business data can be an intimidating prospect. The biggest challenge that most small businesses today face while entrusting their critical data for backup to an external source are:

  • Privacy: Violation of data privacy or exposure during transfer or storage
  • Failure: Cumbersome and error prone backup and restore procedures
  • Uncertainty: No guarantees of 100% recovery of lost data
  • Security: High level of risk due to data storage on local servers
  • Legal: Not meeting regulatory requirements or industry standards for data protection and retention

Many small to mid-size businesses become overwhelmed with the choices – or are intimidated by the costs – and choose DYI solutions like simple file copying to local hard drives and server systems.  We think that while in the short term a DYI approach may seem like an adequate solution, however, the risks and dangers that come with this decision are far too great.  We as a rule insist that our clients use professional backup products to ensure that this critical aspect of their business is as secure and fool proof as possible.

Once the decision to use a backup provider service is made, choosing the right backup service is a challenging proposition. With so many products in the marketplace all making substantial claims and promises and offering a suite of confusing features and payment choices, it’s hard to know what options are best for your business.

 

GCInfotech strongly recommends that our clients consider a network-based internet backup service called IBackup from Pro Softnet Corporation.  This solution provides off-site automated backup over the internet.  GCInfotech currently uses their services for quite a few of its other clients, as well as our own web server.  For more information about their services and to sign up for this service you can follow this link. After you sign up with online storage plan on their site, GCInfotech IT professionals will take over and manage your online backup remotely.

IBackup offers encrypted data storage to prevent tampering of financial records and electronic communication and it’s safe archival offers IT departments the surety of complying with legal and federal regulations. With the IBackup service, restoration of data can be performed remotely via the provided software or shipped overnight free of charge on an external storage unit in the event of an emergency. We are available to discuss any additional functionalities and features and assist with the set-up and future service of the software.

After years of experience working with and evaluating numerous data backup service offerings, in our view IBackup offers a quick, secure, cost effective, automated backup / restore solution with minimal human intervention – and its the backup solution we use and recommend to our clients.  Stringent privacy control measures help mitigate any type of data theft and protect the loss of data during a system crash.

Benefits

  • Compatibility for Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Intuitive, user-friendly interface
  • Allows for backup of external hard drives as well as mapped network drives
  • Offers Server backup modules
  • Mobile-friendly – apps and site interface

The Bottom Line

IBackup is a solid online backup service for businesses that need to backup servers that are easy to use, reliable, secure and mobile.  Here are a few things we like:

Features:

IBackup offers all of the requisite backup product features, including pre-scheduled backups, data compression, data encryption and incremental backups. In addition, IBackup also provides some nifty nonstandard features. One we like is the ability to e-mail file attachments directly into your online storage. Another is the ability to configure an online drive to appear as a local drive.  IBackup stores backup data in two separate data centers for extra reliability and can maintain up to 15 different versions of any individual file.

 

Intuitive, Ease of use:

IBackup provides features a fairly simple to use control panel. From this dashboard, you can choose the various files and data you want to back up, plus you can set a schedule of when you want the system to perform your backups, in increments if so desired.

The scheduled online data backup service will automatically send you email notifications when the backup functions are completed, and will alert you if there is an issue with a backup process, such as losing an internet connection. IBackup also features a powerful search function that allows users to easily manage multiple versions of a file, quickly view specific images and hunt down specific files and folders.

IBackup also allows selection and back up of files by specific file types – pdf, word, excel, etc., including internet data that has been stored on the users computer like as text chats, bookmarks and favorites from Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. This function makes it easy to determine which file types that need to be backed up or excluded from backup. Instead of requiring the user to know the names of certain obscure file extensions from software applications like Adobe or Corel for example, the user can simply select the type of application that is needed and IBackup will identify those file types associated with those applications for back up or exclusion.

 

Email

IBackup also saves and stores email files, from most common browsers like Microsoft Outlook. The service also offers a Mac version that can work with Mac file types like Safari bookmarks and so on.

 

Security

IBackup offers solid remote backup tools. Users can access their files from any computer with a simple username and password and sync their backup files to a different computer. IBackup also provides a file-sharing service separate from its core backup service that features collaboration tools for small or large groups.

 

Versioning feature

Have you ever deleted a file by mistake? Or have you ever inadvertently overwritten a document you are working on?

We all have been here before:  You are working on an important document, make a mistake and then accidentally save it, rendering the document totally useless; unless you are able to revert back to an older version.  It is common that we realize this issue only when it’s too late, after having saved the file and then later realizing that you need an older version in order to track back to the pre-error stage of the document. Fortunately, with IBackup, it is easy to preserve and retrieve older versions of files. IBackup allows you to retain and restore previous versions of all files backed up to your account. The platform allows you to restore as many as 30 previous file versions of a document to any location on your local computer.

 

Cost Effective

IBackup’s current limited-time promotion offers 25 times the standard storage capacity at the same price (this capacity level will also remain locked in for the life of your account).  The cost for 500GB of storage stands at $19.95/month, which can be reduced further by paying a one-lump yearly total of $199.50 (saving an additional $40/year). Regardless of the payment option, you have the option of expanding the storage at any time based on their posted pricing (and promotions) at time of upgrade.

Start your online backup today by signing up with iBackUp and GCInfotech will help ensure that your company’s move to the cloud  is a smooth and painless process.

 

 

“The Cloud” has become a confusing and misunderstood technological development for most small business owners. The term has become overused and spans a number of different services and applications.  What’s surprising is despite the ubiquity, availability, reliability and affordability of Cloud solutions, many small business owners are still not making the move. From what we hear, there is still a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding about how cloud computing can fit small business and be cost efficient.

Larger businesses use the Cloud everyday for common services. Software as a Service, or SaaS, is the most common form of software utilization.  With the Cloud model, there is not installation on the user end and the user never actually ‘owns’ any software: rather than buying a product, the company is renting a service. The number of cloud-based services in the marketplace is massive – and in many cases, small businesses are already using one of these services and may not even be aware that they fall into the cloud service category.

One of the issues related to cloud based services for small businesses is that the typical small business model for IT support does not best suit a drastic move to newer platforms. Most small businesses still rely on localized, or hard-drive/server-based storage and data programs coupled with a full or part time in-house IT person.  This set up does not provide them with sufficient knowledge or resources to make a move into a cloud-based IT environment. While cloud services have become common-place, making the initial switch can be a complex undertaking that requires the help of an outside expert.

So, what are the benefits to small businesses?  There are many:

1) Low Maintenance: With Cloud services, there is no internal technology to worry about. Much like renting a car, the maintenance, repairs and breakdown assistance are all taken care of by the rental company. The same dynamics apply to cloud services: when a customer signs up, he should be able to use the software without concerns related to maintenance, updates or security. Additionally, there is no need for storage or other investments that downloadable software programs typically require. All of these issues are taken care of by the service provider.

Also, with Cloud services, small business owners can offset the operational IT work to someone outside of the organization. This puts the onus on the cloud provider for service, upkeep, and costs – and away from the business, which is a where it should be. Cloud computing outsources the technology, reduces the risks and unexpected expenses associated with your in-house IT.

2) Financial Benefits: The financial benefits from The Cloud are by far the best. Returning to our earlier car rental analogy, purchasing your own vehicle requires a large upfront investment.  In this model, the amount of usage is not applicable to the cost.  If you only use your car two times a week, you pay the same price as someone who uses the car every single day.  Plus you don’t get your full investment back even if you sell the car to someone else. Vehicles depreciate as newer; better models come into the marketplace. So as time passes, you own an old car that is outdated, and has accumulated usage and damage that will require repair.  A rental car, however, is always a current model, and only incurs a charge when it        is needed and used.

This is the same with cloud services. In the vast majority of cases, there is no upfront fee. Most services charge a manageable, predictable, flat rate monthly fee per user for the software.  This allows users to scale up or down as their business requirements dictate. This also allows for easy scalability. As companies take on new staff, it’s simply a matter of switching on a new license to extend to a new user, and similarly turn off the switch when you scale down.

Like the car rental analogy, you will always be using to the latest, greatest version. And those upgrade are seamless. As new versions or upgrades to a service are released, they can be instantly made available to all subscribers, allowing access to the best in class tools – keeping your business competitive.

Other Benefits:

Work from anywhere:  Locally installed software that runs only on a computer hampers ones ability to work remotely.  In today’s digitally connected world, having access to your services from any location is a must-have option. Today’s small business owners work from hotels and airport lounges as well as the office. Cloud services offer 24-hour access from any internet-connected location.

Collaboration and Communication: Cloud services offer another unique benefit in the way of collaboration enablement and more effective communication.  Most if not all Cloud services allow real-time workflows that let multiple users view the same file, document, presentation or spreadsheet at the same time.  This aspect of the cloud is one of the most important developments in the last 5 years.  Now, companies, via cloud-based tools, can get things accomplished in hours instead of weeks.

Crisis and disaster recovery: Security measures are costly. One great benefit of the cloud is the economies of scale that the service provider can pass on its customers. Any good cloud provider will have invested heavily into security and crisis control – far greater than any small business can ever afford. The nature of their business demands that they store your valuable data securely – so they invest heavily into these aspects of the business.

Is cloud computing secure?

Security seems to be the biggest concern among the uninitiated. This is understandable for small businesses that are not accustomed to storing their data with a third-party service provider. Smaller companies who have traditionally kept their files on their own servers in their own offices often feel that the idea of securing their valuable information with another unknown party is dangerous. The security and crisis management aspects of cloud services are one of the key benefits and most of the service providers worth their salt invest very heavily in security measures. Putting your business-critical information in the hands of a third party requires trust. The same principals apply when vetting any service. Credentials and brand trust is key. There are many smaller software providers sometimes based in countries which may have lax legal requirements should things go wrong. They may charge a great deal less, but have a hard time providing the necessary credentials. So buyer beware. Stick to proven, established companies who may charge more – but warrant that premium.  You would rather rent a car from Hertz than Bob’s Truck Shack.

Time to Get Your Business into Cloud Computing Services? GCinfotech is your Cloud Computing Company Servicing NYC, CT and NJ. With our IT Support, it’s a simple, cost-effective and totally scalable IT infrastructure that also provides 24/7 support as part of a monthly program. Using the power of the Web, our cloud computing management services provide the IT hardware, software, and data backup you need to keep your your company running safely and efficiently. Contact GCInfotech cloud professionals today.