Gaps. Friction. Outdated methods. Things that slow you down. IT Automation helps you improve workflows and security.
Small business can also use automation to:
- improve IT security with AI tools
- improve workflows & remove bottlenecks
- improve team collaboration & communication
- pass compliance audits and partner or vendor screenings
As small business IT experts, we use these tools in our own business and with our clients. This post introduces basic concepts. To discuss advanced or specific needs, schedule a free consultation with us.
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Efficiency & IT automation for small business is a real competitive advantage.
Not only that, IT automation improves IT security, makes it easy to onboard and offboard employees, share data securely, monitor and prevent cyber threats - and much more. A Managed Services Provider (MSP) can help you automate some of your processes and improve business efficiency.
People, technology, and IT security systems are powerful assets which help drive your business. Managing your assets is time consuming and complicated. Small business IT automation helps you better manage your resources, grow, increase profit margins and keep company data secure while doing it.
The results? Less stress. Less waste. More security. More access to support. More productivity and growth. It’s a no brainer.
So how to do it? Well, the truth is, while business efficiency and IT automation are buzzwords, many business owners fail to put the concepts into practice. So the first and best step is to take action.
In this post, we'll talk about a few ways you can improve business efficiency with Microsoft 365 and IT Management Services, however there there are many ways to improve your business efficiency. Consider how you can improve efficiency in these other important areas:
- Hire capable people for well defined roles.
- Use RACI charts to define roles and responsibilities and clarify accountability.
- Establish good processes and ensure your people know them.
- Improve company culture which increases adherence to good processes, increases staff retention, lowers staff turnover and the associated cost, and so on.
- Practice good communication habits – face to face or by video, with a focused, actionable agenda for every meeting.
- Automate routine or frequent tasks.
- Automate cyber security tasks.
- Use reliable IT outsourcing partners.
- Educate employees about available resources and also IT security.
Research shows that online collaboration tools facilitate increased productivity by up to 30%.
Efficient online collaboration begins with good (secure) communication. Microsoft Teams is a communication tool which allows groups to work together online. It’s secure, encrypted, easy and even fun to use.
All your staff (and even outside clients) can collaborate using Microsoft Teams via chat, voice or video call. They can also send files, calendar invites, host meetings with a virtual whiteboard and take and save notes.
For unscheduled chat throughout the day, people are no longer walking into colleagues' offices and interrupting them to say, “you have a sec?” They simply post in a Teams chat, and the recipient replies when they are free. This reduces interruption and increases focus for everyone on your team.
Research shows that online collaboration tools facilitate increased productivity by up to 30%. Reap the rewards across your team.
Microsoft Teams allows people to collaborate, coordinate tasks, share files, and jump on a quick chat or video to sort out or finalize sticking points. All information is available in one place for your entire team.
Cloud communication tools like Teams also helps reduce the isolation remote team members may feel by making it easy to connect and collaborate via face to face video calls any time.
Giving all team members access to the same tools provides your team with a consistent experience, and this is important for morale.
How an MSP helps: Your MSP will setup your Microsoft 365 accounts, migrate all your email, documents and contacts from your current platform, and enable your Microsoft Teams software for you. They are also available to troubleshoot issues that arise and help your team use and integrate Teams in to their daily work flows.
Statistics show that up to 83% of employees rely on technology for collaboration.
Your team may need to co-create or co-edit documents. In the past, that meant shuffling about piles of paper documents from one person’s desk to the next to review, edit, comment etc. Then pass it on to the next person. And the next. Lots of bottlenecks in the process.
Later, we moved to email, and along came long, messy, difficult to navigate email chains, with missed comments, scrolling and squinting at the screen while trying to make sense of the chaos. Frustrating.
Today, online document creation and collaboration tools allow for handy features.
Document comments, notes, and revision history all live within the document where everything is easy to see.
Co-edit, co-create and automate workflows for reviews or approvals. Cloud based document management is better.
In addition, if 3 people are required to collaborate on a document, they can provide their contributions as their schedule allows- no bottlenecks. Sally doesn’t have to wait for Mary to complete her review before she can even begin her own.
If however you do require Sally to wait until after Mary performs her review, you can set up automated workflows in SharePoint to accommodate this. You simply enable automatic file sending through the levels of approval.
When one person finishes, SharePoint notifies the next person of the completed review.
The cloud based nature allows you to have version control. Plus, everyone can track what’s been happening with the document along the way.
SharePoint Document Library works hand in hand with Microsoft Teams within the Microsoft 365 eco system.
These tools increase efficiency and productivity. If your team is still using email for collaboration, switching to modern cloud based processes will be a joy and reduce stress and friction across your team.
How an MSP helps: Your MSP provider will help you use technology to improve your daily workflows. Speak with them about your needs. They can design efficient processes for you.
These days, with the volume of cyber threats and the costly risks involved, you really do need to be monitoring your computer services for health and security. But who has time?
Data driven businesses are not the future- they are the now. Even small business are using data analytics & automation in their marketing efforts and their IT security and management.
Data-driven businesses are growing at an average of more than 30% each year.
No way to automate yourself? You can outsource IT management and security, and your Managed Service Provider's tools and skills become your own.
Automate IT Security
IT automation + Zero Trust Security bring your cyber security to a whole new level. Keep your business safe with best practices.
Your MSP’s knowledge, skills and tool set include automation tools to:
- Monitor devices for strange, high risk behaviour
- Block high risk behaviour for further review
- Apply software updates as soon as they are released – closing security gaps right away
- Prevent problems by monitoring device health such as memory, RAM and CPU usage to notice problems before they impact your business with downtime
- Apply advanced threat detection tools on all devices - these advance AID based security tools are built by giants such as Microsoft, and are managed by your local IT company
- Automate backups (but also manually test them often)
- Review and plan device replacements and IT strategy changes with you in advance - no surprises
Forget tracking by notes or Excel spreadsheets. Modern businesses automate analytics and IT management.
This frees up time and focus to be applied to goals, clients and deliverables.
Since you and your team are the only people who are equipped to serve your clients and grow your business the best way you know how, it makes sense to increase your efficiency by outsourcing IT services to people who excel in that area.
How an MSP helps: They are IT specialists. With analytics and automation, your MSP helps keep everything running, avoids or limits downtime in your business, increases security, and helps your team focus on and achieve goals.
Your MSP can also help you automate and enforce secure password requirements across your entire company, including convenient self serve password resets should a team member get locked out. They can help you automate Identity Access Management to instantly authenticate and allow or deny any cloud account or device trying to log in to your company data. They can help you reduce internal data theft by using predictive insider threat detection tools. They can also help you securely onboard and offboard staff, and so much more.
Efficiency and security are priorities in business today, and a Managed Services Provider is your helpful partner in doing and achieving more.
One of the best ways to improve business operations and efficiency is to invest in technology.
Not only will IT automations improve your IT security and workflows, but having strong IT systems in place positions you to win more business from discerning clients.
These top tier clients require potential business associates to demonstrate IT security compliance in order to win a bid and enter into a Business Service Agreement.
These profitable clients can transform your business and you can reap huge rewards on your technology investment. An MSP can help you pass vendor screenings and win business from valuable, data security conscious clients.
Win More Business
Pass vendor screenings and win contracts from large, lucrative clients that can transform your business.
Get ahead with IT Security & Automation.
Gone are the days where paper documents were the norm and antivirus alone was enough for cyber protection. The way we work has changed. Your IT strategy has to change too.
IT security automation tools work instantly on complex algorithms created by the best minds in cyber security. Your local MSP is equipped to use and understand these tools. By working with a local MSP (or hiring your own internal IT staff) you give your business access to much needed knowledge, skills and resources to efficiently maintain technology and cyber security management.
Business efficiency start with taking action. Re-read this post, share it with your decision making team, and take action to advance your business.
TUCU Managed IT Services Inc is a trusted IT support Company in Toronto, serving Ontario since 2003. We are small business IT experts. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your IT needs.