Discover the game-changing benefits of a dedicated outsourced IT department.
BY JENNIFER SPERRY
Gone are the days of going it alone or having Uncle Frank handle your IT. The technology landscape is continually evolving, and businesses, even small ones, must keep up. Prioritizing IT has myriad benefits, from smoother workdays to cybersecurity to data protection.
Picture it: Your employee devices and printers serviced and upgraded on an ongoing basis. Tech support available 24-7. Regular backups to the cloud. IT professionals monitoring the health of your software and servers while preparing for worst-case scenarios such as viruses, phishing scams, ransomware, or even a natural disaster. It’s a business owner’s dream.
Recently, I sat down with Gregory Cincotta, founder of Coastline Technologies in Lakeville, Mass., and his wife, Elizabeth Cincotta, VP of marketing, to discuss the importance of IT. Here is what they had to say.
Q: Why are some companies hesitant to hire an outsourced IT company?
A: The largest challenge we face is that people don’t know what they don’t know. IT can be a confusing and intimidating topic, so whenever possible, we skip the complicated jargon and speak in plain terms. Ultimately, we want clients to feel comfortable calling our help desk, knowing that the experience will solve their problem without additional frustration.
Q: What types of businesses do you support?
A: Most of our clients are based in New England, particularly in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including the Cape and Islands. Sometimes we consult for large corporations or enterprise companies, but for the most part we act as the dedicated IT department for small- to medium-size businesses. For a very good price point, you can hire our team of experts versus relying on the skill set of one in-house individual. We work with country clubs, insurance agencies, construction firms, law offices, restaurants, nonprofits, and more.
Q: How do you structure your billing?
A: Our managed IT service plans include workstation support, help desk service, server and router/firewall management, virus and malware protection, and 24-7 monitoring. Once we assess your needs, including the number of active computers and servers, we create a straightforward support package for a flat monthly rate. That means no surprise bills.
Gregory and Elizabeth Cincotta
Q: What about security issues?
A: Our data backup and continuity solutions ensure that your business can continue uninterrupted in the event of a ransomware attack or server failure. We can restore files within seconds and entire servers within a few minutes. Right now, phishing schemes can be very problematic. Not only do we have the best anti-virus email security out there, but we also filter all company email to prevent employees from being baited and clicking on bad links. We can send simulated phishing emails that help companies identify employees who may benefit from additional training.
Q: How do you help with work-from-home scenarios?
A: We fully support any device, whether at the office or at home, if it is company-issued with our protections in place.
Q: What sets Coastline Technologies apart?
A: Our business model is different from the traditional “break-fix it” IT companies. They typically react to problems after they occur and invoice you. Instead, we take a more proactive approach and apply a software tool to every company device that tells us if something is going to fail or if a threat is present. We get these alerts 24-7-365.
Q: What type of feedback do you get from clients?
A: Customer reviews mention our professionalism, knowledge, responsiveness, reliability, and willingness to go above and beyond. Most of our clients are busy owners and managers—they appreciate the lack of downtime, enhanced security, and peace of mind.
Four important considerations when hiring an IT company:
What tools and professional partnerships do they utilize? Companies should be transparent about what monitoring tools they use, spam filtering and email protection, and anything else related to your network. Research them on your own!
Are they accessible? When you call their help desk, are you immediately connected to an engineer or does a call center bounce you around looking for the appropriate person? What are their support hours? Do they offer after-hours support for emergency situations?
Are they friendly to work with? Do their technicians and engineers use tech jargon when explaining things? Are their contracts and communications filled with similar industry language? Chances are it will be challenging to try and get help when you need it.
Do they provide staff with training and continuing education? Years of experience are great but are meaningless in IT, where new methods and technologies are developed daily.