Building with Your IT Needs in Mind

building with IT in mind_Now IT Connects_Minnesota

The COVID-19 pandemic will permanently change the way we all work. The health and safety of your employees is vitally important. But so is the ability to stay connected, especially when a portion of your workforce is working remotely. Here are a few ways you can design your workspace with your IT needs in mind.

Integrate, Don’t Retrofit

Your company’s IT needs should be integrated into the design of your workspace. Don’t wait until you finalize plans and put up walls to consider what your IT needs are. Include your IT team in the design process so you create a space that will meet your current and future technology needs. Your IT experts can advise you and your architect on what space you need to house your IT infrastructure and how to integrate ethernet and USB ports and WiFi networks into the structure of your space to make it easy to stay connected.

IT Needs for Individual Workspaces

What IT does each individual worker require in your workspace? At a bare minimum, they likely need plentiful electrical outlets, USB and ethernet ports, and a strong WiFi connection. Screen privacy should also be a priority, especially for employees who work with sensitive information. Consider the hardware you will need to support. Will you invest in desktop computers for everyone to encourage desk use, or provide laptops or tablets to empower people to work where they choose?

IT Needs for Conference Rooms

Due to COVID-19, it is likely that a portion of your workforce will be working remotely over the next few months and perhaps permanently. Meetings with clients and vendors may also occur virtually. It will be vitally important to include a space to facilitate collaboration between remote workers and in-office employees.

Conference rooms require IT infrastructure that makes collaboration easy and seamless. To do so requires forethought during the design stage to hide network and AV cables behind a wall to supply a projector or in a floor trench to serve the conference room table. To facilitate video conferencing, you’ll need a webcam as well as a projector, and a mic as well as speakers. If you plan to use an app-based room scheduler, having a tablet outside the door of the room can make it easy for workers to review the calendar and schedule their meetings.

IT Needs for Common Areas

As flexible workspaces become more popular, common areas of your workspace will need to be technology-friendly. Employees should be able to stay connected to email and other essential applications wherever they are.

When designing your common area spaces, carefully place WiFi routers so every square inch is covered. If you have a lobby, consider installing digital signage to direct visitors and share information in real time. Remember to add the IT infrastructure to support any access control system you require.

If you need help determining what IT infrastructure you’ll need to support your business in your new space, Now IT Connects is here to help. We can design, install, and maintain your network, hardware, software, and web applications to keep your team productive. To get started, contact us today.


Recovering after an IT Disaster

recovering after IT disaster_Now IT Connects_Clearwater MN

You spill coffee all over your laptop keyboard, and now it refuses to boot up. You log onto your computer to find your files are corrupted and unusable. Worse, you power up your computer only to get a black screen with a message that your computer has been taken ransom. All of your data is being held hostage until you pay the cyber criminals who’ve taken over your computer. How do you buy bitcoin, anyway?

IT disasters can strike anyone, anytime. That’s why many companies have disaster recovery and data backup plans in place. Recovering from an IT disaster is easier when your team understands their responsibilities and you have the policies and technologies in place to minimize the interruption a data loss causes to your business operations.

Know Who’s in Charge of What

A good disaster plan includes the team members at your business who will be involved in the recovery after an IT disaster. These people should be ready to jump into action in the event of a loss of data or other IT disruption. The rest of your staff should know who is on this team as well so they can approach them with any questions or concerns they have.

The people on your disaster recovery team may include a point person who is managing the entire recovery process, someone who’s in charge of assessing the damage, a team member who is responsible for repairing the damage (or coordinating with a professional IT team who can do so), someone who is in charge of recovering data from backup storage, and a team member who is responsible for communicating all of these actions to your team and any other affected stakeholders.

Tackle the First Few Hours

Spend the first few hours after an IT disaster addressing immediate concerns. Assess the damage that the disaster caused and run through your inventory of hardware and software to understand how extensive the damage is. You may need to source new devices so your team can continue to work as you recover from the incident, even if they are working with limited IT resources. Then, put your disaster recovery plan into action.

Get Everyone Back Up and Running

Once you have an idea of the extent of the damage the disaster caused, prioritize how you’ll roll out your recovery. What data and systems are mission critical to your business operations, and which ones can wait a day or two? Once you have your list of priorities, work with your disaster recovery team to execute them. These items may include:

  • Repairing damaged server hardware and software
  • Replacing failed hardware and software
  • Restoring email access to employees
  • Restoring website content and data after a cyber attack
  • Training employees on new tools and new data policies
  • Communicating a data loss event with stakeholders

Communicate with Your Team

Don’t forget to continue to communicate with your team throughout the disaster recovery process. Inform them that a data loss or technology failure has occurred and let them know that your recovery team is working hard to get them back up and running. Communicating with your team allows you to manage their expectations for when they’ll be back to normal.

Not sure what would happen to your data in the event of an IT disaster? The Now IT Connects team is here to help. To start protecting your company’s data, contact us today.


Give Your Business an IT Disaster Recovery Check-Up

IT disaster checkup_Now IT Connects_Clearwater MN

These last few months have been tough, and the last thing anyone needs is another crisis on their hands. It’s impossible to know when an IT disaster may strike, but you can minimize the stress and the damage with a disaster recovery plan and experienced IT pros on your side.

Disaster Recovery Basics

IT disasters may be instigated by an actual physical disaster, such as fire or flooding at your business or other physical damage to your hardware. But more often, disasters occur within your systems themselves. This could be a fatal failure of your hardware or software or a direct attack on your network by cyber criminals. Malware, ransomware, denial-of-service attacks, and phishing scams can all create wreak havoc on your network.

While it’s impossible to prevent all disasters, it is possible to protect yourself from many of them. You can also create a plan for what happens when disaster strikes so your network can get back up and running quickly and your staff can get back to work.

Review Your Current Disaster Recovery Plan

When is the last time you’ve looked at your IT disaster recovery plan? If it’s been awhile, it’s time to get to work. Older disaster recovery plans often include technologies that are obsolete or degraded beyond usability (think those old tape backup systems). Even cloud-based data backup solutions should be tested annually to ensure they are set up properly.

Disaster recovery plans include more than just your procedure for backing up data. Here’s a list of common items found in a disaster recovery plan:

  • Who is responsible for executing and managing the plan
  • Immediate steps following the disaster
  • Inventory of hardware and software that may be affected by a disaster
  • Post-disaster business continuity plan
  • Strategies for communicating with stakeholders
  • Policies for data, email, and social media use

Work with a DRaaS and DR Provider

Managing data is a complicated, high-stakes task. If left vulnerable to attack or disaster, data can be lost forever, crippling a business. As data security becomes a top priority for businesses, IT companies are increasingly offering DRaaS (Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service) and DR (Disaster Recovery) as services. Companies can outsource their disaster recovery plans and procedures to IT experts who can provide a multi-faceted solution that includes backup recovery, file syncing, and cloud-based data storage to prevent the loss of data.

Not sure what would happen to your data in the event of an IT disaster? The Now IT Connects team is here to help. To start protecting your company’s data, contact us today.


A Closer Look at Our IT Services

A Closer Look at IT Services_Now IT Connects_Clearwater Minnesota

Ever wonder with the Now IT Connects team is up to every day? Wonder no more! We have several main IT services that keep us busy throughout the day and week. From backup and cloud solutions to network security and comprehensive managed IT services, here’s a look at how we can help you.

Managed IT Services

Managed IT Services are the Now IT Connects team’s bread and butter. Why try to figure IT out on your own when you can partner with an IT company who provides you with cloud-based solutions, network maintenance, hardware updates, and email troubleshooting?

Through our managed IT offerings, you can rely on us to take care of IT through ongoing device management, monitoring, and alerting services. Our cloud-based managed IT platform allows us to monitor your systems remotely so we aren’t interrupting your day. We can schedule updates overnight so your team experiences minimal downtime, and our alerts system helps us resolve any issues before you even realize they exist. If you want to stay up and running in 2020, the Now IT Connects team has your back.

Network Security

Your network is your business’s heart, brain, and circulatory system all rolled into one. It keeps your business running, your team productive, and your operations moving forward with ease. When your network’s compromised, it can grind your entire business to a halt.

Unless you have IT expertise, we recommend working with an IT service provider like us with the know-how and technology resources to protect your hardware and software from malfunction, misuse, modification, and attacks.

Email and Spam Protection

It’s tough having your email down for an hour, let alone a day or two. Business email systems must constantly defend themselves against viruses, malware, direct attacks, and inadequate storage. That’s why Now IT Connects offers cloud-based email solutions. Cloud-based email and spam filtering systems offer limitless storage and real-time security updates so your inbox is always protected.

Backup and Cloud Solutions

Speaking of the cloud, it’s a powerful, secure place to store your data. One of the IT services we provide is cloud-based data storage and backup. We partner with trusted cloud service providers to offer our clients secure data storage that’s available anytime, anywhere with an internet connection. Cloud computing also helps our clients eliminate the need to manually back up their data to tapes or other local storage devices. Instead, we can automate daily backups to the cloud to ensure your data is always available and safe.

If you’d like to take your IT to the next level this year, we’d love to meet you! Give Now IT Connects a call today at 320-558-6300.


New IT Products for 2020

New IT Products_Now IT Connects_Clearwater Minnesota

Every year, hundreds of new tech products hit the market. It can be tough to know which ones will make a real, positive impact on your business. That’s why we’ve come up with our own best-of list of new IT products we’re looking forward to using in 2020.

Two-Factor Authentication Is Something You Can No Longer Ignore

Two-factor authentication has been around for years, but it is finally hitting the mainstream. Two-factor authentication, or TFA, requires two forms of identification to access an online account. You may have noticed that your bank now requires you to enter a password, then receive another code via email or text to enter before you can access your account. That’s an example of TFA.

For now, TFA is one of the safest ways to secure your online accounts. We highly recommend you use TFA whenever it is offered to you, whether it’s on your business bank account, on your cloud storage account, or your email.

WatchGuard offers a two-factor authentication product called AuthPoint that helps you secure all of your business systems from a single app, including your email, network, CRM, data storage, and accounting applications. Check it out.

Barracuda’s Content Shield Web Security Keeps Teams Productive

Barracuda MSP (formerly Intronis MSP) is our favorite managed IT service platform. Recently, Barracuda announced enhancements to its MSP (managed service provider) product that will help you encourage your teams to stay productive.

The product now includes Content Shield web security. Content Shield filters URLs so your managed IT provider can protect you and your employees from malicious web content. The product also improves malware protection and allows business owners to block web traffic to specific websites (like Facebook). All of these features help keep your team more productive at work.

Microsoft’s Surface Hub 2 Could Revolutionize the Way You Collaborate

Our two first new IT products for 2020 are functional but (unless you’re an IT nerd like us) not that exciting. Microsoft’s Surface Hub 2 product is both functional and extremely exciting.

The Surface Hub 2 is a piece of hardware that makes collaborating effortless, whether your team members are in the same room together or across the world from one another. The Surface Hub 2 is a smart whiteboard, teleconferencing, and collaborative computing device all rolled into one sleek product you can wheel anywhere in your office. We believe it will revolutionize the way you collaborate.

Those are the products Now IT Connects is looking forward to following in 2020. What are some of yours? Let us know on social media or contact us to keep your business running smartly and smoothly this year.


2020 IT Trends to Watch

2020 IT Trends_Now IT Connects_Clearwater Minnesota

The IT world seems like it moves at the speed of light. There’s always a new device or service that’s competing for your attention and your dollars. That’s why we wanted to showcase a few trends that are worth watching for Minnesota companies. Which ones make your list of 2020 IT trends to watch?

5G Launches across the Country

5G is the next generation in mobile networks. Most cellphones in Minnesota rely on the 4G network. But by the end of the year, it’s possible we’ll all be enjoying much faster, more reliable connections on our mobile devices.

Currently, Verizon and T-Mobile offer 5G in some areas of their network in Minnesota. Verizon’s service is limited to certain areas of St. Paul and Minneapolis, while T-Mobile has launched 5G across the state. As 5G technology becomes more widespread, expect tech companies to develop apps that take advantage of the network’s faster, more reliable speeds. Experts predict 5G will also revolutionize the IoT, or Internet of Things. Expect to see more smart workplace devices showing up in offices, manufacturing facilities, and retailers and restaurants in 2020.

Distributed Cloud Advances Cloud Computing

First, there were local servers. Then, cloud computing exploded our idea of what it meant to store a file, buy software, and collaborate as a team. Now, distributed cloud computing is going to take us to the next level.

Most cloud networks store data at one or two large data centers in a model IT nerds call the centralized cloud. The distributed cloud allows cloud service providers to store data across one or more micro locations in a decentralized model. A decentralized cloud runs on blockchain technology, dramatically increasing data security and privacy. It helps organizations stay nimble and take advantage of the seemingly limitless storage capacity of the cloud without sending all of their data to a single, central location.

Computer Vision

As augmented and virtual reality become more mainstream, computers are becoming smarter at identifying people, items, places, and objects from an image snapped by a camera or caught by a sensor. This ability is called computer vision, and it’s what’s behind the technologies of Apple’s FaceID and Google Image Search.

With computer vision, computers on manufacturing production lines can identify and remove faulty products or alert employees when a piece of equipment has broken down. Security cameras can use vision to track unusual behavior or even to recognize faces in a crowd.

Using IT and Data Management to Build Customer Relationships

Before this post gets any more Big Brother, let’s touch on a more human 2020 IT trend. Research organization Deloitte predicts that as data becomes more ubiquitous in business, companies will leverage their data security policies and practices to build trust with the customers.

Called “ethical technology,” corporations are using their IT and data policies to reflect their core values and mission while showing their customers that they are handling their data responsibly. Taking these actions without being prompted by litigation or a data breach scare can build trust with customers and other stakeholders. If you haven’t considered using your data practices to build relationships with your customers, we encourage you to give it a serious thought.

Those are the 2020 IT trends Now IT Connects is looking forward to following. What are some of yours? Let us know on social media or contact us to keep your business running smoothly this year.


How to Register Your New Domain

how to register your domain_Now IT Connects_Clearwater Minnesota

Whether you’re starting a new business in 2020 or finally creating a website for your current company, registering your domain is the crucial first step. It’s difficult to know where to go to register your domain, so Now IT Connects has made it simple. Visit our website and follow a few easy steps to get up and running in no time.

1. Come Up with a Great Name

“Keyword” is a big buzzword in the website development world. But in December 2019, keywords in your URL aren’t a huge factor in how Google ranks you in its search results. What you need to know is that the best name for your domain is one that is easy for both your audience and Google to understand. Err on the side of clarity and simplicity. Your best bet may be to simply use your company name.

2. Use Our Domain Registration Tool

Once you’ve settled on a name for your site, visit our domain registration site. There, you can search for and purchase your domain, web hosting, email, and other essential website tools.

3. Purchase Your Domain and Choose a Hosting Platform

To see if your first-choice domain is available, search for it with our tool. The tool will produce several options. If the .com extension is available, we recommend going with that (unless you’re a nonprofit, in which case .org is a good option for you). Notice that the cost of the domain changes depending on the extension. Once you’ve made your decision, add your selection to the cart.

Then, click on “Hosting” in the top navigation bar to select a hosting environment for your domain. This is where your domain will live on the internet. cPanel is a popular choice, as is WordPress. Or, you may choose to host your domain on a dedicated, private server.

4. Opt for SSL and Website Backup

If all you’re interested in is the domain, you could check out at this point. However, we encourage you to consider purchasing some essential security tools first. An SSL certificate lets users who visit your site know you keep their data safe. Google considers SSL certification in its search results. Sites without an SSL certificate are ranked lower than sites with the certificate in place.

Website backup is another service we highly recommend. Don’t put a lot of time, effort, and money into a new site you are not planning to back up and keep safe. Website backup is affordable, automated, and provides a lot of peace of mind.

5. Add Email and Online Storage

Don’t forget to add email and online storage to your domain purchase. These services will allow you to send emails from your website domain (john@nowitconnects.com, for example) and add and remove email users with ease. Online storage is a good option for backing up files to the cloud and making it easy for your team to collaborate.

6. Get Online!

You’ve purchased your domain, hosting, SSL, backup, email, and storage. It’s time to get online! The next step is to design a beautiful, optimized website. There are several good DIY options, but we recommend calling in the pros to maximize your investment in your new website. For a recommendation or for help registering your domain, contact our team!


Email Best Practices for New Employees

email best practices_Now IT Connects_Clearwater Minnesota

Whether you like it or not, your company’s email is a critical part of your business. Email is one of the primary ways you interact with your customers and keep projects rolling. You can’t afford to have your email down for a few hours, let alone a day or a week.

Since your email client is constantly transferring data (ie: messages and attachments) between your system and the sender’s, it is an especially vulnerable part of your network. That’s why email scams are so popular among hackers. If your email isn’t protected by a secure connection and strong spam filter, it could provide a front door for bad actors to access your network.

Training your employees on safe email behavior is crucial to the security of your network. Here are a few steps Now IT Connects recommends our clients take to make email best practices part of their everyday operations.

Use Strong Email Filters and Protection

If your email is set up through us, you are already taking advantage of some of the best email protection available. We use Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) Cloud technology to secure emails, encrypt data,  and protect them from phishing and spam attacks. Contact us to discover all your email spam filter options.

Written Email Policy

To hold yourself and your team accountable for safe email practices, it helps to have an email policy in writing as part of your employee handbook. Effective policies outline what employees can and cannot send through their company email. They elaborate on what makes a secure password and how employees should handle their email passwords. Great email policies also include information on malware, phishing, and spam so employees know when to delete an email rather than open it.

Provide Ongoing Training for All Staff

Once you have an email policy in place, provide training to new and veteran employees to help them understand why you created the policy and how they can abide by it.

We’ve found many companies include discussion of new email threats and email trends with their staff at their weekly or monthly staff meetings. This helps everyone remember to stay vigilant while using their emails and keep the team informed of any suspicious emails they may have received over the last few weeks.

Protecting your company email is an essential element of your overall network security. Now IT Connects can help you keep your email secure and train your staff on safe email habits. To learn more, contact our team today.


Why You Need Managed IT Services for Your Small Business

why I need managed IT services_Now IT Connects_Clearwater Minnesota

Does this hot weather have you wishing you were out on the pontoon rather than behind your desk? We get it! The Now IT Connects team loves getting outdoors almost as much as we love helping businesses with their IT needs.

Want to spend less time troubleshooting and more time casting this summer? Here are a few reasons to consider managed IT services for your business.

1. Continuously Monitor All Your Devices and Services

Monitoring, maintaining, and fixing your technology is a full-time job. So why are you handling these important tasks on top of all your other responsibilities?

The Now IT network engineers have the know-how and resources to continuously monitor your systems, devices, and services without cutting into your work time or cabin time. We use a leading RMM network management solution in the industry to manage your everyday IT needs. This powerful system allows us to automate routine maintenance and resolve any alerts and issues quickly so you experience minimal downtime.

2. Managed IT Keeps You Up and Running

Managed IT can help your business continue to stay up and running even when you are hours away. When you have a managed IT provider, you don’t have to end your vacation early because your network is down or your employee’s computer is on the fritz. We can take care of all of those worries for you so you stay up and running even when you’re out of the office.

3. All Your IT Details, All in One Place

One of the most useful things a managed IT provider does for you happens at the very beginning of your partnership. When Now IT Connects onboards a new client, we document everything we review during the process. This gives you an inventory of all of your devices, systems, and services so you have a clear picture of your IT infrastructure. It also helps us uncover opportunities to automate processes and improve your network security.

Through our relationship with our RMM solution and other partners, Now IT Connects can fast-track your managed IT services, from the onboarding process to reporting, so we can start monitoring your network right away. Take a load off, get up to the cabin, and let Now IT Connects take care of IT. Contact us today to get started.


Respond, Resume, Restore: Create a Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Business Data

create a disaster recovery plan_Now IT Connects_Clearwater_Minnesota

Minnesota’s storm season is fast-approaching. While you’re dusting off your weather radio, Now IT Connects hopes you consider preparing for another type of disaster, one that can strike any time of year.

Every business should have an IT disaster recovery plan. The plan covers how the business intends to bounce back from an event where their data, software, and hardware are compromised, stolen, or destroyed. Sounds like a disaster to us!

Your disaster recovery does not need to be complicated, but it should be thorough. IBM has a 13-point recovery plan template you can use to make sure all your bases are covered. We’ve distilled the basic elements down to three major action steps: respond, resume, restore.

Respond to the Disaster

The first section of your disaster recovery plan should cover how your organization will immediately respond to a disaster and who is responsible for each response. Often, businesses include an inventory of all of their hardware, software, applications, and other IT assets in their response plan. It helps to have the names and contact information of key staff members, too.

The respond step of your recovery plan should include all the actions you need to take immediately following the disaster. Examples include meeting with your recovery team, identifying compromised systems, and prioritizing essential systems and services.

Resume IT Operations

With your team in place and list of action steps, it’s time to implement your plan. What needs to happen so your organization can resume essential systems and services? Once you have recovered essential tools and data, notify staff members that they are able to resume work.

Restore IT Operations Completely

Once you have your essential systems and services back up and running, your disaster recovery team can start to restore the rest of your IT. Once everything has been restored completely, your recovery team should meet to review the plan and identify what worked well and what needs to be improved.

Prevent and Minimize Future Damage and Disruption

Once you have a disaster recovery plan in place, consider investing in tools that help you minimize damage and disruption from a disaster or prevent it altogether. If you currently back up your data on your premises, consider adding another layer of protection with cloud backup. Now IT Connects often recommends Microsoft Azure. Azure is off-site, cloud backup built for business. It is secure, compliant, and allows you to scale your business without sacrificing security or efficiency.

One of the most powerful disaster recovery tools on the market is Barracuda’s Intronis MSP platform. This allows us, your managed IT provider, to access and monitor your system remotely. We can often identify and address threats and issues before they become disasters.

We’d love the opportunity to help you create your IT disaster recovery plan and implement solutions to keep your data secure and your team productive. Contact Now IT Connects today to get started.


Now IT Connects’ New Favorite Things

Our Favorite Things_Now IT Connects_Clearwater_Minnesota

The Now IT Connects team is looking forward to learning more about three new IT products this year. From mesh network WiFi to multi-factor authentication for your entire network, here’s a look at the technologies we’re excited about in 2019.

1. Ubiquiti UniFi Mesh WiFi with Security Gateway and Cloud Key

UniFi Mesh WiFi technologies provide enterprise-level WiFi to locations across the globe from a single controller. This makes UniFi Mesh WiFi incredibly easy to scale. Opening a second or third location or expanding your current one? Simply install the hardware in your new space and sync it to the controller at your office.

If you think that controller is giant piece of software sitting in a closet, think again. The UniFi Cloud Key controller is about the size of a USB thumb drive and plugs into one of your ethernet ports. Once connected, you can control it and the rest of your mesh WiFi network through UniFi’s secure cloud network. And yes, there’s an app you can use to manage the WiFi of multiple sites wherever you are, whenever you need to.

2. HP Gen10 Server with Advanced iLO

HP’s new Gen10 servers use artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art hardware to deliver a high-performing, scalable, and incredibly secure business network solution. Gen10 servers use a hybrid cloud system to allow its AI-driven technology to keep your network secure and performing well. If you were curious how AI could transform your business, Gen10 servers will put an end to your wondering!

Gen10 servers use advanced encryption and ransomware blocking technology to keep your data and server infrastructure secure. The silicon within the hardware is fabricated to create a digital footprint for your server, which prevents bad actors from installing compromised firmware or breaching your own firmware.

3. WatchGuard Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication requires you to enter a password and then a code sent to your phone or email to log into an account. It’s becoming increasingly common for mobile banking and cloud computing services such as Dropbox. Now, multi-factor authentication is coming to one of our favorite security technology brands, WatchGuard.

WatchGuard’s AuthPoint technology empowers you to know who’s logging into your computer and mobile devices while asking those users to provide two or more pieces of identification. Users of your network simply download the AuthPoint app, which you then sync to your system through your WatchGuard dashboard. When they log into your network, cloud storage, or VPN, they are prompted to enter a password and then a one-time code the AuthPoint app generates for them. This type of authentication is highly secure yet simple to use, making network security effective and easy.

Those are our favorite new things for 2019! We look forward to sharing these state-of-the-art solutions with you and your team. If you have questions on these technologies or others, or if we can help implement these technologies into your IT plan, contact Now IT Connects today.


2019 IT Trends to Watch

2019 IT Trends to Watch_Now IT Connects_Clearwater_Minnesota

The IT world moves at the speed of light. It can be difficult to keep up with all the new tech, lingo, regulations, and cyber threats. That’s why Now IT Connects stays on top of these changes for you. We’re excited to share a few of the IT trends we’re watching this year.

ITaaS

The concept of ITaaS, or “IT as a service”, will continue to grow in 2019, and as an ITaaS provider, Now IT Connects couldn’t be happier! The ITaaS model empowers us to provide you with the hardware, software, cloud storage, and managed services you need, when you need it. This saves you money and makes managing your IT much more efficient, especially as your business grows. We look forward to expanding our ITaaS offerings in 2019.

“The Cloud” becomes “the Multicloud”

Cloud computing and cloud storage are IT trends that have been around for a few years now. But best practices on how to use the cloud are evolving. Companies used to have two options: build their own cloud network or data center, or purchase space on a cloud managed by another company, such as Microsoft or Amazon. Today, many companies are finding their computing, networking, and security needs are better met by a combination of private and public cloud solutions.

Enter the multicloud! The big providers of public cloud services are partnering with companies to create custom, hybrid cloud solutions. Expect public and private cloud providers to improve how their products integrate for a seamless user experience.

Blockchain Goes Mainstream

Blockchain is a technology used by the cryptocurrency industry (cryptocurrency is encrypted digital currency, such as bitcoin). Simply put, it’s a digital ledger that records and tracks data in units called blocks. The blocks are strung together chronologically and linearly. If someone wanted to change the data within a certain block, they would need to change not only that block, but every block that follows it. This is what makes blockchain a secure storage solution.

It’s confusing, we know, but we’re here to help! So to recap, blockchain is a tool to store and share digital information. It can store data about financial transactions (as it does for cryptocurrency), real estate transactions, or even supply chains. In 2019, we expect financial and health care institutions to incorporate this IT trend into their data storage solutions.

AI-Driven Tools

AI—artificial intelligence—is an exploding technology that has the potential to be a gamechanger in a wide range of industries. In 2019, AI will create new tools that automate the generation of code, applications and programs for developers. Does that mean developers are going to be replaced by robots? Probably not, but AI will make the job more efficient, which gives them more time to develop more tools and technologies.

More Debate on Digital Privacy

Cyber security and digital privacy will continue to be IT trends in 2019. We expect more debate and possibly regulation of who owns your personal information, who can use it, who can sell it, and who should be held responsible when your personal information is stolen.

We predict you’ll see more tech giant CEOs interviewed on the Hill and an increase in data breaches. If you don’t already have a cyber security plan or partner for your business, you can either cross your fingers that your data won’t be caught up in a possible breach or you can contact us to prepare yourself for a breach at your company.

That’s the Now IT Connects list of top IT trends to watch in 2019. Have questions? We’ve got answers. We can support all your IT needs this year. Contact us to learn more.