The term proactive gets thrown around so often in our industry that it’s become irrelevant. What is it to be proactive?

Common Answers:

We address things before they happen.”

We are fire prevention vs. firefighters.”

Our alerts will notify us before a problem arises.”

It all sounds good, and many support companies say this very same thing, but if it’s not producing the necessary results and impact in your business, it’s not very meaningful.

You ask most companies about their technical support, and they’ll tell you they’re fine. When you dig deeper into their definition of fine, you find out fine really means “tolerable” or “adequate.”

“When our system goes down, my support company usually gets things back up within a few hours “… “their technicians are nice and generally fix our issues “… “my vendor calls me back.”

What if there was a better way? What if the result you received were predictable?

Small and medium-sized businesses face considerable technical challenges, and increased complexity has made technology a critical aspect of their business. With this evolution, gone are the days of the break-and-fix method of doing business.

Successful businesses have one thing in common; they all have a repeatable process in place for their technology. That’s where a framework built around focused standards and strategies comes into play. They have a support company that understands the type of business they’re in and are there to solve their IT problems, as well as their business problems. They know that without a reliable IT infrastructure, their organization can’t thrive.

I want to talk to you about two important roles, Technology Alignment and vCIO.

The Technology Alignment Engineers’ role is to evaluate standards; in other words, measured against 350+ technical standards (ranging from computers and servers to security to compliance, etc.) they determine where your organization is aligned and where they’re not. This alignment process is performed regularly.

The vCIO, also known as a Virtual CIO (Chief Information Officer), provides strategic direction, sets an IT budget, implements new IT systems, and reviews and reports on the IT department’s state. IT providers offering vCIO services give clients an alternative to investing in a costly c-suite executive position.

Combined, these roles work together to develop standards and best practices to reduce noise, give you a predictable experience and make your employees more productive.

Standards prevent confusion, inefficiencies, and unnecessary delays by reducing variables.

A good example is a password policy. Does your organization have a secure password policy in place? A secure password policy ensures the security and integrity of company data. Elements that comprise a secure password would be length, complexity, aging, reuse, authority, and password security. The answer would be Yes or No, but not Maybe.

Technology Alignment Engineers are responsible for deciding if a standard complies. Standards and alignment are necessary for technology to run successfully in your organization.

It’s this constant aligning that ensures this. The first day your server was implemented, it ran great. However, after a few years, without being reviewed regularly, performance will degrade. Employees will complain of slowness, or worse; the server will go down periodically. Reviewing your environment regularly ensures your technology runs the same way it did when implemented.

Standardization lowers cost and reduces your risks. Downtime, loss of productivity, and opportunity cost are associated with misaligned standards. 75% of keeping you secure is hygiene.

It’s always a good idea to periodically assess where you are. Ask your vendor what kind of regular maintenance and checks they are doing on your network. Ask them to review the health of your system with you, you need to know.

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