BYOD: it’s the no longer a buzzword describing a fleeting trend but an enduring reality of most offices. Nearly 60 percent of all organizations have a Bring Your Own Device policy that requires its employees show up with a Mac, iPad, or phone of their choosing. If you’re expected to power up your own tech under the office’s harsh fluorescent lights, you have a big task ahead.Finding equipment that fits both your career and finances is hard. Here’s a list of simple dos and don’ts that will help ease your task, so you can find the tech you need without busting your budget.

Do be prepared to splurge intelligently

Everybody wants a deal when they’re shopping for expensive tech. While this is a smart way to protect your budget, it can lead you to buy the least effective model for your needs just because it fits an arbitrary number in your head.

Having a budget is one thing, but knowing when to bend the rules will help you find the equipment you need. A good rule of thumb is to splurge on the tech you know you’ll use everyday—both at work and when you take it home for the night. If you expect to be using your MacBook eight hours a day at the office and then another four when you get home, don’t opt for the cheapest model just because it’s affordable. It will break down sooner and then you’ll have to buy another laptop. Consider upgrading to the more expensive Pro Retina if it’s something that you’ll use.

At $6,699, the MacBook Pro with the highest spec configuration is a lot of money to drop all at once. A trick to figuring out its true value is to think of its cost per hour or per day for every year you expect to commute with your Mac. The average Mac lasts about five years. With this life expectancy, your Mac would cost roughly $5for each 8-hour workday. This kind of cost breakdown makes it easier to choose your equipment freely.

Don’t Overstress Specs

Next to price, the list of specs is your greatest focus. It’s easy to lose sight of what you actually need when you’re scrolling through endless lists of performance data, RAM capabilities, and chip information. Manufacturers like Apple make it even harder to see through the spec for the real gadget when they debut new Macs and iPhones during impressive keynotes, highlighting these details with buzzworthy language.

You need to come up for air once in awhile. While a brand new six-core Intel Core i9 CPU clocked at 2.9GHz sounds impressive, it may not be a make-or-break spec for your daily workday. Look for the bigger picture when shopping for equipment and try to anticipate whether a model will fit your daily needs.

Do Consider refurbished tech

When BYOD is foisted upon you by management and not because you want to bring your own Mac to work every day, the financial burden of this policy can be a challenge to bear. High-performing Macs, iPads, and other tech tend to be expensive regardless of what make or model you pick.

You can ease some of the financial pressure off your wallet by shopping from refurbished Macs. Though they’re priced much lower than new Macs straight from Apple HQ, their cost is almost the only way in which they differ. Apple puts all of its refurbished tech through rigorous testing to guarantee it meets their performance standards. They even offer one-year warranties to prove these refurbished items match factory specifications.

Though they may show some cosmetic damages (like a scuff from the previous owner), ultimately refurbished gadgets work just as good as new ones. The trick is to purchase them from trusted manufacturers that offer guarantees, like Apple, over strangers on Craigslist. This way you can ensure they’ve been properly wiped and serviced.

Don’t Skip a skin

Though there’s no shame in bringing in a refurbished MacBook Pro Retina to the office, you might not be proud to show off your “new-to-you” laptop if it sports a lot of scuffs and scrapes. A MacBook skin can hide these minor damages from prying eyes and make your laptop look sleek and sophisticated. A company like dbrand makes specific skins for each model of Mac to provide the best fit possible with no added bulk, so you’ll still be able to slip it into your briefcase with ease. MacBook skins also come with their own guarantee, including scratch-free and grime resistant skins that boost the natural grip of this slippery tech.

Far from a simple Band-Aid to cover the worst damage, MacBook skins come in a bunch of cool textures. If you don’t stand for uncustomized MacBooks, then the latest black matrix, dragon skin, or carbon fiber MacBook skins can help you stand out in an office of black and silver laptops.

Do Think about storage

When your Mac pulls double duty as an office mate and your go-to laptop at home, your hard drive will fill up quickly. This is especially true if you deal with design-heavy programs or you enjoy downloading a lot of games and movies in your off time. A hard drive that has reached its max slows down an otherwise lightning-fast computer — and will negate all the time and effort you put into finding a powerhouse Mac.

You can avoid this from happening by thinking seriously about a high-capacity external hard drive that works with your Mac. Depending on your budget and your storage needs, you can find convenient hard drives that offer up to three terabytes of space. Alternatively, you can invest in online cloud-based storage services like Google and DropBox. Both offer starter profiles for free with minimal storage capacity. For those byte-hoarders, you can opt into a yearly subscription for a larger storage space.

An external hard drive backs up your files in case something catastrophic goes with your on-board hard drive, too. After putting in all this effort to find a Mac that fits both your workload and your budget, the last thing you want to do is lose precious data over a black screen of death.

But the chances of that happening are slim, right? Don’t let the stress of BYOD responsibility get you down. You can survive it and any black screen of death as long as you keep these simple dos and don’ts in mind.

As outsourcing takes the center stage as a measure organizations use to cut cost, with it comes deadly risks and rewards if done well. Outsourcing has many benefits that have seen even tech giants such as IBM, Apple Inc., and Microsoft outsource some of their services. This article focuses particularly on IT mistakes that an organization should avoid in order to reap the most from outsourcing.

Outsourcing the Wrong Activities

As the struggle for profits and a place in the competitive business world affects many business the same applied for tech firms. Intense competition is out there and only the most innovative firms are the ones benefiting from contracts.

Outsourcing firms are going overboard to offer extra services beyond their areas of specialization. This may sometimes act as a trap to many business that would prefer to accept extra services which may end up being an essential service/job that would have been better kept in-house. Prior to accepting a service business should do an analysis of the pros and cons of outsourcing the job and a risk assessment.

Poor Transition

Transition is a process equally important to the rest of the outsourcing phases. According to Varma from CIO.com, poor transition might lead to loss of stakeholder confidence, delay in go live dates, and disruption of certain business processes. Transition process is one of the phases in outsourcing process that is underestimated but in essence requires effective planning and oversight.

There should be sign off of the transition phase. Business and the contractor should do evaluation of the transition stage to ensure that knowledge transfer has been impacted to the staff.  If possible the contractor should develop a portal where business can get learning materials such as videos for demonstration.

Overestimating Cost Savings

Business always find outsourcing to be a cost benefit in many ways. However, many business are caught in the trap of overestimating the cost benefits of outsourcing IT and neglect the nitty-gritty that come with outsourcing IT functions. Unlike other processes that are outsourced, IT outsourcing would mean collaborating with the contractor during different time zones, excessive training of in-house staff if it is a technical activity, involvement of teams during development. Considering these and other inconveniences that may be faced by business then the aspect of cost savings are least reaped and sometimes it would have been better doing the activity in-house rather than outsourcing.

Ignoring Exit Strategy

If outsourcing hasn’t worked there should be an exit strategy in place so that all parties to the contract have no legal disputes to settle. Often this is least remembered and not put in place in the contract. It is not once that business have fallen victim of a contractor failing to deliver all the milestones previously agreed. In such cases, an exit strategy come in handy. An exit strategy saves the company time and money that may arise from legal battles.

Wrong Pricing Model

The pricing model you use is important in determine the quality of job you will have. Different IT projects may require different pricing models. For short-term projects it would be preferable to use fixed milestones.

Managing a dedicated development team, you would better use a time tracker application to track hours worked and pay against the hours. Different projects have different approaches of working and to reap the maximum benefits of a project it would be rational to identify the best approach of compensation prior to starting the project.

Contracting for Innovation

Whereas contractors/vendors might bring in radical changes that might mean an overhaul of the current IT systems in place, it is not sufficient to rely on contractors for your entire IT innovation. Business should employ the right professionals that will steer the organization to the right places technology wise. Having even one manager in place who is knowledgeable on the best IT practices is better since with the manager you expect innovation of business process and possible re-engineering of the current IT systems in use.

Some business will fall short of innovation by having the wrong IT professionals and in turn covering their shortfall by outsourcing a contractor and expect the contractor to be innovative. This is a costly mistake that business should avoid by all means.

Focus on Solution Instead of the Problem

It is not weird to see organization spending a lot of money to purchase the latest IT gadgets or systems at the expense of addressing the existing problem. Business should try to address the root cause of the problem instead of rushing to fix solutions to the problem. If an organization is not affected by a new technical breakthrough there shouldn’t be any need to invest in the technology.

By focusing on problems organizations are able to solve a lot of hidden problems that may have been piggybacking on the existing problem. Sometimes procuring the least priced IT system/equipment sometimes can get organization out of their existing problems.

Outsourcing a firm that is famous for a certain skill at a premium cost doesn’t mean that existing common organization can fix problems. Therefore it is prudent for organization to draw a clear solution path to their problems at the same time they should clearly identify their problems to avoid scenarios of hopping from one solution to another instead of focusing on the problem.

Outsourcing Template

Different organization have different success paths and stories. While an organization might have an IT outsourcing blueprint for their journey to success, it is not advisable to adopt the same blueprint. Organizations have different challenges and face different problems. One organization reason for outsourcing will be different from another organization.

Therefore, businesses shouldn’t depend on a fixed solution path that might have been offered by a contractor. Organizations should define their risk profile, define their existing challenges and draw a solution path to their problem prior to outsourcing. If your competitors in the same industry are outsourcing, that’s not the reason for you to outsource.

If you don’t have a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your laptop yet, better hurry and get one. You may not realize it, but your laptop is extremely vulnerable to all kinds of cyber threats: data breaches, malware, identity thefts, activity tracking – you name it. This mainly happens due to their mobile nature – laptops are especially convenient for remote working and staying online anytime we want, anywhere we are. Especially now that you can find free and fast Wi-Fi almost at every airport, hotel, cafe, and even a train.

And this is where they get you: hackers love unsecured public Wi-Fi networks as much as careless users who connect to them without blinking. The truth is, the second you take your laptop to a public place you put your sensitive data at risk. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical theft – hackers can easily intercept your communications and steal your data. Therefore, getting a reliable VPN for your laptop is critically important so you can keep your data safe no matter where you go.

Here’s why you need a VPN on your laptop

Chances are, you are already familiar with the definition of a VPN as the demand for this security tool has been growing steadily over the past couple of years. But if you have just started taking care of your online security and privacy, here’s a short reminder of what a VPN does, and when you may need it the most.

A VPN connects you to the Internet through an alternative path to the one provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). All the data traveling between your laptop and a VPN server is securely encrypted, so no hacker or another snooper can see it. What’s more, your IP address is replaced with the IP of the VPN server, which allows you to mask your actual location.

Here’s why you should be using a VPN:

  • To stay safe on public Wi-Fi.

As you already know, connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots with your laptop is never a good idea. These networks are usually poorly secured, making them a perfect target for hackers. If you use an unsecured network, even an inexperienced hacker can intercept your communications to steal your passwords, banking details, and other sensitive information.

When you connect to the Internet using a VPN, your data is encrypted, so you can safely connect your laptop even to an unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot

  • Access content when traveling abroad.

Staying connected when traveling to countries that censor Internet can be difficult. Therefore, installing NordVPN on your laptop before getting on the plane may be a smart thing to do. If a website you want to access is blocked, all you need to do is simply connect to a VPN server. This will hide your IP address and allow you access any website you want.

  • To browse securely and privately.

Many people are worried that advertisers, ISPs, and even their governments are monitoring their online activities. The right VPN can help you protect your privacy from prying eyes by hiding your IP address and encrypting your online communications. The only information visible to snoopers will be the IP address of the remote VPN server, which can be hundreds of kilometers away from your actual location.

The best VPN for laptop

Of course, a VPN isn’t a cure for all known laptop security problems, but it can help to protect your device from many kinds of cyber threats. When you use a reliable VPN with strong encryption, no snoopers can see or steal the data you transfer.

Not only does NordVPN secure your data with military-grade encryption, it also offers a bunch of additional security features, which will help you stay secure and private when browsing the Internet. For example, NordVPN’s CyberSec protects you from accessing malware-hosting websites, while the Kill Switch feature will protect your private data in case the VPN connection drops out.

What’s more, NordVPN allows you connecting to more than 3500 servers in 61 countries, which means not only more choices but also better connection speeds. To start encrypting your Internet traffic, simply tap the “Quick Connect” button, and a special algorithm will connect you to the best server available at the moment. And, if you wish to access the content you are used to watching at home, choose your home country from the map or the servers’ list.

What’s also great about NordVPN is the fact it allows you connecting up to 6 devices under one account, so you can secure not only your laptop, but also your tablets and smartphones.

It has become impossible to run a modern business without having a semblance of an IT infrastructure in place, so every single small and medium business will have to take a decision. Whether they are willing to pay for their IT system in-house or are they willing to outsource the job to a company that specialises in managed IT services, such as IT Services Utah?

In this article, we will deal with four key benefits of going with managed IT services.

  1. Safety and security

With over 50 per cent of UK based businesses that are suffering attacks by hackers in just the past year, it is growing increasingly important to invest in your network and data security to protect your business website and computer systems from malicious people.

For small and medium businesses, a managed web hosting is the best way to go about, when it comes to high quality security and without having to spend a lot on a web security specialist in your team.

  1. Easy access to expertise

Small and medium businesses aren’t big enough to attract some of the top talent in the IT industry so, they lack IT expertise in complicated matters. There isn’t enough money available to hire an in house team to do it on your own. Managed IT services can augment your expertise and can be so valuable to your company.

You will be able to get the expertise of an outsourced team at a much lower cost.

  1. Cost-effectiveness

It is very obvious that having a managed IT services is a lot cheaper and cost-effective for any small or medium business, over a period of time. It offsets the expense of having proper in-house servers (and the cost of extra space that’s needed for housing them) or the capital intensive process of acquiring all those infrastructure in-house. Trying to do all by yourself is the right path to end up being a failure.

An outsourced IT services business will be able to provide you with a lot more than you need, including support on any technical issues, at a manageable and periodical cost.

  1. Growth and scale at the right pace

When you have managed web services, flexibility is inherent in it, as it can help you be more agile. Instead of having to commit to long-term infrastructure, you will be working with a business model that is entirely scalable. This is a very important as your business grows over time and you might want to be able to expand at the right pace in order to deal with the demands of your customers. It also helps when you are looking at cost cutting as well.

Conclusion:

I hope this article was useful for you to learn more about the importance of having a managed IT support team and how you can use it for the growth of your business. There are so many possibilities that are unlocked with the help of this. Make the most out of it. If you have any doubts with regards to this, let us know through the comments and we will be glad to help you out. If you have any suggestions regarding how we can improve the article, let us know them through the comments as well for us to improve.

Do you have any other reservations against getting your business a managed IT support team? Are you facing any problem with your existing IT support team? If you already have an IT support department, what is your experience with them? What do you think of their importance in business processes and workflows?  Let us know through the comments.