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Tolar Systems Blog

Tolar Systems has been serving the Abilene area since 2000, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Break/Fix IT Support vs Managed IT Services

Break Fix IT Support vs Managed IT Services

Efficient and functional IT systems are essential in every aspect of business today. Whether you’re looking to protect client or company-confidential data, or simply ensure that your team members have functioning technology and the support they need to be productive, reliable and secure IT operations are at the heart of every successful modern business.

Some businesses opt for what is known as “Break/Fix” for their technology management. In this model of IT services, the experts only come into the picture when something breaks or you know you need an upgrade. You pay per project or service. 

On the other hand, in the Managed IT Services model, the Managed Services Provider (MSP), essentially becomes your outsourced IT department and is a team dedicated to managing and monitoring your technology 24/7/365, not just when you contact them for help. You typically pay according to a monthly service agreement. 

In this article, we present our case for Managed IT Services and why the Break/Fix IT Model might not be the best way forward for your business.

Does The Break/Fix IT Model Actually Fix Anything?

Some business owners view Break/Fix IT as having two benefits. Namely that by waiting until something goes wrong, you avoid the monthly costs associated with Managed IT services, and you also have control over when you ask for IT support.

While this is true, there are substantial drawbacks to this that Managed IT Services inherently solves. These drawbacks include:

  • There’s increased downtime: With Break/Fix, there is always an increased delay between an outage and it getting fixed. The process typically goes like this… Something breaks and your business operations grind to a halt. You then reach out to the IT support company and they get to you when they can. Once they do get to you, there’s no defined pricing, which means you’re haggling, and they may try to upsell you or charge you for something you don’t need. You may also decide to just put a “bandaid” on the problem because it’s the least expensive option with no real plan to address the core problem(s) for the outage in the first place. Which leads us to the second issue... 
  • It’s not a long-term solution: With Break/Fix, you get temporary solutions for long term problems. A Break/Fix IT company is not incentivized to create long-term solutions because their business model relies on technology consistently breaking. 
  • You never gain an upper hand on IT risks: The two issues above result in you never being able to gain control over your IT risks. You’ll always have the risk of business disruption and it may come at a time when your business simply can’t absorb the impact. 

Managed IT Services Are The Long-Term Solution

With the Managed IT Services model, you get a partner that is incentivized to keep your business running as efficiently as possible. Due to the nature of their model, the Managed Service Provider runs more efficiently and becomes more profitable when their clients’ IT systems are running as efficiently as possible while experiencing the least amount of downtime possible. 

To achieve this, Managed Services provides a host of benefits that Break/Fix does not offer, including:

  • Business Continuity: The MSP will implement Business Continuity strategies and methodologies to ensure your business operations maintain consistent uptime. System upgrades and security patches are proactively planned ahead of time to minimize business disruption and mitigate IT risks.  
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery: The MSP will implement a Backup and Disaster Recovery plan so your business and its valuable data can get back up and running in as little time as possible in the event of an emergency. Emergencies include things like hardware failure, ransomware attack, natural disaster, among other events.  
  • Cybersecurity: Today’s businesses are at risk for cyber breach more than any other time in history. Because cyber breaches can lead to downtime, an MSP will implement a security plan to mitigate the threat of data loss and theft due to cyber attack. More on this below...

Increasing Security Risks

The biggest risk to your business with the Break/Fix IT model is that it doesn’t put in place a robust System Security Plan (SSP) designed to protect your data from cyber theft. Not having a cybersecurity plan can lead to substantial security risks to your business and the inevitable loss of money when your system goes down. As a business owner, it is natural to have valuable data on your systems. Project files, sensitive customer information vital to your business operations, passwords, credit cards, and much more, all reside on your network. Would your business be able to survive if these records were lost or stolen?

With a Managed IT Service model, the safety of this data is constantly monitored and protected. However, with a Break/ Fix IT model, you’re just playing a waiting game of when your systems will go down or any number of confidential data accessed by hackers. The two biggest threats include hackers breaking into company software (which is then distributed to clients) and ransomware. Huge companies have been affected by this, from 20% of Facebook’s users telephone numbers, gender and country being leaked in 2019, to 100 million CapitalOne users being hacked

You might find your systems down for days, while your information is freely available to the opportunistic cyber criminal. The Break/Fix IT model relies on you realizing your system is down, you contacting the IT company, and then them trying to identify a problem that has already run rampant in your network. Although Break/Fix IT might seem cheaper, in the long run, downtime costs approximately $5,600 per minute, which is far more impactful on your business, and that’s not taking into account the cost risk associated with data breaches, as well as the impact to your company’s reputation.

Manage Your Security With A Managed IT Services Approach

Managed IT services take a proactive approach to potential problems, and identify issues before they pose a risk to your security or cause system downtime. 24/7/365 monitoring of systems means that Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can detect new threats before they are anywhere near a data breach.

While business owners may consider MSPs more costly in the short term, MSPs save you the infinite costs associated with downtime, security, and reputation. You’ll also increase team productivity as they can work on effective systems without frustrating downtime. If you did want to put a price on that, studies show that disengaged employees can cost a company around 34% of their salary per year, so in the battle of Break/Fix vs Managed Services, MSPs are still going to save you money - approximately $16,000 per employee. Combine that with the $5,600 per minute of downtime, and it does start to add up.

You’ll also have the added benefit of more efficient and streamlined business operations, benefitting your teams and your clients. You won’t have to employ that lone IT specialist, instead you receive a team of qualified professionals for the price of one. 

MSPs also give you the gift of control over your systems, making them winners when considering Break/Fix vs Managed Services. Expert MSPs like Tolar Systems can provide you with the following services:

  • Complete Security packages including user training and even dark web monitoring.
  • Full backup and disaster recovery proactive action plans and strategies.
  • Office 365 and integrated VOIP for technology upgrades and faster communications.

As an MSP, Tolar Systems takes the extra step in Managed IT services, and not only provides the above services and support, but also offers tailored user training as value-added professional development for your teams. 

Contact Tolar Systems today to find out how when considering Break/Fix vs managed IT services, Tolar Systems can help you save time and money for your business.

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5 Signs Your Current IT Provider Isn't Cutting It

5 Signs Your Current IT Provider Isn't Cutting It

Voted the start-up capital of the US, Texas is one of the best places to be an entrepreneur. It’s no wonder that thousands of businesses thrive each year in a state with the self-proclaimed Texan title of ‘Best Business Environment’. 

In our bustling business hub, though, competition has never been so fierce, and now more than ever, efficient and secure technology is key for your future business success. If your IT specialist isn’t providing you with the best support and IT strategy, you could see your business fall behind in the sprint to success.

Here are five ways for you to know whether your current IT provider is taking your business to the next level or simply holding you back.

1. Your “IT Guy” or Department is Overwhelmed

Your dedicated IT specialist or department may be overwhelmed with trying to manage all the infrastructure of a growing business. As a business and add more complexity, from security to storage, one person cannot possibly manage all of your day-to-day business needs while still preventing data breaches, security threats, and potential downtime-causing issues.

As a business owner, it can also be overwhelming for you to consider upgrading to a full IT team for your developing business, with all the associated costs that more people provide. That’s why many Texas businesses in this situation opt to outsource their IT to a Managed Service Provider, or MSP. With Managed IT services you can outsource your IT for as little as one employee salary, and gain a stack of trained IT experts to manage your systems, the team’s IT literacy, and also foresee any upcoming errors or security threats. You can stay in budget and move all your concerns onto a team of established IT professionals.

2. You Don’t Have a Cybersecurity Plan In Place

If you do only have one overworked IT specialist or small team, it is nearly impossible for them to manage daily operations and foresee future threats. Yet, this has never been so important in Texas, with as many as 23 Texan government agencies recently being forced to go offline in August 2019 due to a targeted cyber attack. 

The most common threat to today’s business owner is ransomware, where your systems are locked and a singular message asking for money will appear on your network system. Ransomware is on the rise, with as much as a 365% increase in business ransomware attacks seen between 2018 and 2019.

Turning to an MSP who provides cybersecurity for Texas business can reduce the risk associated with having one in-house specialist. By monitoring systems 24/7, they can see incoming threats or identify and fix unpatched systems before any data breaches take place.

3. Your Business Is Growing And Your IT Can’t Keep Up

Is your business growing, but your IT stagnating? It can be frustrating as a business owner to see your business expand, while your IT specialist is unable to keep up with increasing storage, systems and security needs. With an ever-increasing team, you will also need to ensure they have all the PCs, printers, phones, and IT support they need, without unplanned system downtime reducing productivity. 

Your IT specialist might not have time to fire-fight IT issues, expand your infrastructure, and train your team on technology. Managed IT Services by Tolar Systems have long-term plans that include training users on systems all while expanding your infrastructure. You can enjoy your business expansion without worrying about keeping up with technology.

4. You Spend Too Much Time Fixing Frequent IT Issues

As a business owner in Texas, you know that to perform even the most basic business operations, functioning technology is key. But technology problems are the burden of most burgeoning businesses, and if you have one (or no) IT specialists, you may have a problem. If you have to face the inevitable and hire an IT expert, it can wreak havoc with your budgets, whereas outsourcing Managed IT Services for the same price from the outset can reduce the time associated with those frequent IT issues.

5. Your IT Strategy Doesn’t Match Your Business Goals

Do you find that you have ambitions to grow your business, but there’s no coherent IT strategy in place to grow your infrastructure? Your Texas business deserves access to its own IT strategists to help you develop your own tailored infrastructure strategy, and lay the groundwork right at the initial stage of growth, so your company can keep up. If you’re far along, they can also help put a plan together so you can get on the right track.

Hiring an IT specialist won’t fix the problem either, as most in-house experts will be more preoccupied with the daily grind of PC, printer and phone problems than the strategy of your IT infrastructure.

At Tolar Systems, we can create an IT strategy that’s right for you and that will see your business through all stages of growth. If you spot any of these signs, contact us today for a free consultation to find out what we can do for you and your business.

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Top Five Tech Gifts for Christmas 2019

For the last few years we’ve published a list of best tech gifts for Christmas season giving. In time for Christmas 2019, we have a whole new list with the best gifts and gadgets for the tech lovers in your life. Get the list on today’s blog.

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November 30 is National Computer Security Day - Are You Prepared?

National Computer Security Day falls on November 30th each year. An observance that was first started in 1988, Computer Security Day serves as a reminder to organizations and users around the world that their devices contain no shortage of valuable information, and therefore need to be protected. As such, we’ll go over a few best practices that will help you to lock down your devices, preserving your business and personal data.

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Why Hackers Mess with Texas – And What You Can Do About It

Back in August, we shared on the blog about a ransomware attack that took out several local, state and federal agencies in Texas and resulted in the activation of the State Security Operations Center. This was the latest in a long and expensive history or cyberattacks that have targeted organizations in Texas. In today’s blog, we thought it might be worthwhile to talk about why Texas is such a popular target for cyber criminals.

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It Isn’t Too Late to Upgrade to Windows 10… But It Soon Will Be!

Moving away from Windows 7 is becoming more crucial every day. Learn why on our blog.

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Tolar Cloud: The Case for Private Cloud

If your organization is considering a move to the cloud but needs more security and control than the public cloud can offer, a private cloud for your organization may be the answer. In today's blog, we make the case for private cloud and introduce Tolar Cloud, our private cloud offering.

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Microsoft 365 and Office 365 – Are They the Same?

Those paying attention to how Microsoft brands its products may have noticed that in recent months, discussions centered around Microsoft’s office productivity apps have used two names to describe these applications: Microsoft Office 365, and Microsoft 365.

These might seem at first glance to be interchangeable terms, but are they really? We explore this terminology change on today’s blog.

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What is Disaster Recovery as a Service?

At Tolar Systems, we prioritize security. We offer solutions like Complete Security  and Complete Care with one singular focus: to protect your business and its assets. In most cases, the asset we are focused on is your business’ data. Failure to protect your data can have several devastating results for your business.

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) takes the guesswork out of disaster recovery and we offer it as part of our Complete Care managed IT services. DRaaS applies risk management best practices to come up with a workable strategy that will combine some of the best hardware, software, and technical proficiency in one completely managed service.

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Tolar Systems Selected as Finalist for SherWeb Highest Partner Engagement Award

Abilene-based IT Managed Services Provider Recognized for Cloud Business Growth

(Abilene, Texas) Tolar Systems, a managed IT services provider based in Abilene, Texas, has been selected as one of four finalists for the Highest Partner Engagement category in SherWeb’s first-ever Partner Awards.

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Cybersecurity Challenges Hit Texas State Government

Cybersecurity is a growing challenge for public sector organizations of all sizes, from small regional and local governments, to state agencies and the Federal government itself. Here in Texas we were recently reminded of this fact due to a ransomware attack that hit our state government on August 16. The attack impacted several state governmental agencies and at least one critical infrastructure Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, or SCADA, system.

Learn more about this attack and what it means for local and regional governments across Texas on today’s blog.

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Why Today's Mobile Security is Identity Driven

Mobile devices have changed the face of cybersecurity. Where once, businesses could protect their data simply by ensuring that their company networks were secure within the organization's four walls, now with the advent of cloud applications and mobile solutions, there are a whole host of other ways that security can be compromised. That’s why Identity Driven Security has become the name of the game when it comes to protecting your business data and networks.

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IT for Financial Services

Bringing reliable IT products and management to businesses in the financial sector. 

Finance is the epitome of a data-driven industry. As a result, information technology is an integral part of modern-day financial services. In order to keep up with the rapidly-shifting financial services industry, businesses that work in finance need reliable information systems and comprehensive IT support. 

Learn more on today's blog.

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Local Government Cyber Security Part II: Developing a Cyber Security Response for Local and Regional Governments

local government cyber security

In last week’s blog "Cyber Security Risk: a Growing Concern for Local and Regional Government," we discussed the challenges local and regional governments are facing when it comes to cyber security. It’s a challenge that public sector organizations are facing on a daily if not hourly basis.

But what can small cities and counties do to mitigate their risk? At Tolar Systems, we’ve developed a three-pronged approach that can help. Learn more on today’s blog.

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Cybersecurity Risk: A Growing Concern for Local and Regional Governments - Part I

What’s the biggest challenge local and regional governments and municipalities face when it comes to IT? Increasingly, it’s cybersecurity, which has become a daily challenge for small governments across the United States.

Learn more about the cybersecurity challenges that small local and regional governments are facing on today’s blog.

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What is Business Continuity and Why Should It Be Part of Your Business Strategy

Recently we posted about the importance of disaster recovery to your business. A closely related topic is also equally important to your business: Business Continuity.

Business continuity takes disaster recovery even further. It’s not just about restoring systems, it’s about restoring your organization’s business processes and operations so that you can get back to work with minimal disruption. Learn more on today’s blog.

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Public, Private and Hybrid Clouds – Which is Right for Your Business?

When businesses are considering a move to the cloud, one of the most important questions they need to consider is “which version of the cloud is right for our business?” The cloud is a blanket term encompassing multiple types of infrastructure, platform, hardware and software as a service applications. The three main categories, however, are public, private and hybrid clouds.

In today’s blog we’ll discuss these three types of clouds to help you determine which type of cloud might be the best fit for your business.

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How to Extend your Business’ IT Capabilities with Supplemental IT Services

At Tolar Systems, we recently revamped the way we offer some of our services. Our core offerings around Managed IT, cybersecurity and voice communications – Complete Care, Complete Security and Complete Voice – will remain the same.  But we’ve made some changes to our other offerings to support two other areas that we believe are important to the businesses we serve. These include Strategic and Supplemental IT services.

Here’s how Supplemental IT services can help midsize and larger firms that don’t need a fully managed IT service approach, to extend their IT capabilities.

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What is Disaster Recovery and Why It’s Key to Your Business Survival

When severe weather, cyber breaches and other disasters hit, the topic of disaster recovery often finds its way to the top of many business owners’ and executives’ minds. After all, the ability to recover quickly and continue operating is key to your business survival. But unfortunately, after disaster strikes it’s already too late to ensure a smooth recovery.  

Here are a few reasons why Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery planning is essential to your business survival and some tips for making sure you’re ready if disaster hits your business.

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Windows 7 End of Life: What You Need to Know

Microsoft has announced that as of January 2020, it will be ending support for its popular Windows 7 Operating System. This is the end of life (known in the industry as EOL) for Windows 7, which first entered service in October of 2009 and at its peak had more than 630 million licenses sold worldwide. But all good things must come to an end: find out what the end of life for Windows 7 means for those organizations still using this once-popular operating system.

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