Star Wars weapons can help you find the best backup and restore plan for your business

You can create the best cybersecurity, cloud, and help desk solutions, but in the event that a disaster strikes your business, none of that will matter if you are not operational. Estimates of the cost of downtime range from $8,600 for small businesses to $100,000 for larger businesses. To avoid these astronomical costs, many businesses turn to an alternate site to backup and restore business operations.

Smooth operation of your business depends on a consistently reliable physical location for your employees and your equipment. To understand the three primary forms of backup sites – cold, hot, and warm – we’re going to examine three of the famous weapons from The Star Wars Saga.

Wondering what weapons have to do with a backup site? Allow me to explain.

Here’s the scenario:

You are a young Jedi Padawan during the Clone Wars. Your name is (First Name=take your real first name and add a hyphen somewhere at random, Last Name=the first syllable in your mom’s maiden name), and you have been on the trail of bounty hunter Cyb Rattack on the planet Datalos. Unfortunately, you have lost your lightsaber. What’s a Jedi to do?

The Blaster: the Cold Site Weapon

If you’re going to have any chance of stopping your enemy, you’re going to need a new weapon. If you’re limited on funds, you’ll probably want to opt for a good old-fashioned blaster.

A blaster is nothing like the graceful lightsaber, but at the very bare minimum it will get the job done. With a few extra credits and some elbow grease, it can easily be modified to meet your specific needs.

This is the same concept as a cold recovery site. If your office is hit with a disaster, you can choose a cold site to get back to business, but this is definitely the bare bones approach.

A cold site will most likely have only space, power, and utilities. You’re starting from scratch here. A cold site, like a blaster, is perfect for those who need something affordable that will do the trick – albeit sans all bells, whistles.

The Lightsaber: the Hot Site Weapon

When Anakin Skywalker loses a lightsaber, he doesn’t settle for a blaster pistol, he immediately finds or procures a brand new lightsaber. In fact, most young Jedi have to construct their own lightsabers as a ritualistic rite of passage.

The Lightsaber is not a cheap weapon. The construction of this beautiful laser sword requires a lot of effort, and even on the open market, it will cost quite a bit. If you have the credits and the time, it is the number-one best option for your next weapon. The same goes for a hot recovery site.

When you opt for a hot recovery site, you are getting all of the top-notch recovery services available. Your recovery site will be specifically designed to mirror the infrastructure of your original business, allowing for a seamless transition and eliminating expensive downtime.

The hot site will already have all of your data transferred, and will require no time delay in resuming network functions.

The hot recovery site, while the most costly of options, is the closest you will get to operating out of your original business location. This may not be a viable option for all businesses, but it is definitely the premium option, and best when seamless restoration is a necessity.

The Vibrosword: the Warm Site Weapon

If you’ve seen the newest Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, you’ve seen the red-clad Praetorian Guard fight a wicked battle using vibroswords. These weapons, which utilize an electrically charged blade, are the only swords that can stand up against a lightsaber.

If you happen to have a decent amount of credits, but not enough for the real thing, you could purchase a vibrosword. This weapon is capable of superior movement, though it will involve less grace than a lightsaber and more of the chaos of nature. It is a perfect hybrid of the minimalism of a blaster and the power of a lightsaber.

You were most comfortable with a lightsaber, and it will take some effort getting to know your new weapon.

A warm recovery site is very similar. With this option, you’ll find an internet connection and available servers for network transfer, but there will be a brief delay while you move over network functions. Where the cold site was basically an empty room, the warm site will often include workspaces for key staff who may be displaced.

The warm recovery site won’t break the bank and you’ll end up getting more functionality, response and productivity with your space.

Use the Force

Unfortunately, backup and data recovery is something 3 of 4 businesses aren’t planning for.

Becoming familiar with the available weapons in your backup recovery arsenal will help you choose the best option for your business when the time comes.

Please give us a call or send us a message and we’ll share some more information about how a backup site would work for your business.

You’re also invited to check out our recent whitepaper on the best business continuity plans. We’re happy to help, no strings attached.

The top 5 reasons to prepare your business continuity plan

The last thing you want is to go out of business in the event of an unforeseen circumstance. A business continuity plan is essential for modern businesses in any industry. Regardless of what kind of technology you use, think of this plan as a blueprint for keeping your business running in the event of a major disaster.

Disasters come in many forms, including natural disasters, human error, cyber attacks, and insider threats. The worst disasters always have the same effect: stopping your business dead in its tracks.

Sometimes, it’s hard to really conceptualize the importance of a continuity plan without looking at what happens if you don’t have one.

Take, for instance, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Urban legend has it that the conflagration started when Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern in the family barn. The fire’s origin is debatable. The aftermath, however, is well documented and devastating by any standards.

The Great Chicago fire completely destroyed 3.2 miles in the heart of Chicago, rapidly consuming homes and businesses. The inferno resulted in the death of 300 citizens, the destruction of 17,500 buildings, Of the 300,000 residents of Chicago, 100,000 were left homeless.

The 185 firefighters employed within Chicago were ill-equipped to handle the ferocious spread of the fire, which was attributed to a drought as well as the mostly wooden construction of the city’s buildings, roads, and sidewalks.The total cost of the fire was estimated at $222 million, or roughly $4.6 billion today.

When a disaster this large happens, the only way for a business to survive is to have an understanding of what needs to be protected, how you want to respond, and which practices to follow to continue operations. Here are the 5 most important things to focus on when putting together a continuity plan.

1. Minimizing Downtime

The primary reason for a business continuity plan is to eliminate downtime. 75% of businesses don’t have any sort of business continuity plan or disaster recovery plan. Skipping out on a continuity plan is not only reckless, but extremely expensive.

ITIC’s latest survey data finds that 98% of organizations say a single hour of downtime costs over $100,000.Those aren’t numbers to be ignored. Whether you suffer a natural disaster or a cyber attack, the only way to stay in business is to continue your work as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may very well go out of business.

2. Protecting What’s Important

A business continuity plan should detail the necessary components and data that will keep your business running. This involves inventory of backup devices and cloud services, as well as an outline of your data backup specifics (when and where) and an overview of how company assets will be handled when disaster strikes.

3. Communicating with Confidence

One of the primary benefits of creating a business continuity plan is to establish a state of order amid the chaos. Your plan should focus on a chain-of-command delegation of responsibility, and should include reliable communication channels prioritized for contacting employees, partners and customers to minimize breakdowns in collaboration and service.

4. Resuming Operations

The goal of any business continuity plan is to get you back in business as soon as possible. Many companies have taken the extra precaution of utilizing backup and recovery sites. These are off-campus facilities where your business can be relocated to continue operations regardless of any damage or limited access you may experience.

These sites run the gamut from “cold sites”, which are bare-boned facilities without any installed operations, to “hot sites”, which are exact duplicates of your current operations.

5. Ensuring Your Recovery

A recent report finds that 60% of small businesses close within 6 months of a significant cyber attack. But this doesn’t have to be you. Implementing a business continuity plan to your current backup and data recovery solutions will allow you the peace of mind that even if disaster strikes, you don’t have to become a statistic.

We Are Here to Help

CCS Technology Group would be happy to help your business create a specific business continuity plan. We have proven experience developing solutions that will keep you in business no matter what outside forces may arrive.

It’s important to plan ahead. It might just save your business.

Give us a call or send us a message to learn more.


The 7 irresistible qualities of cloud ERPs

ERP tools are an understandably critical component for many businesses. Particularly if you focus on manufacturing or distribution, the benefits of utilizing an ERP are undeniable. And the introduction of cloud computing has revolutionized ERPs.

In recent years, industry experts have debated every pro and con of the cloud ERP. Over time, these newer cloud solutions have proven to be a viable option, especially for small to medium-sized businesses.

Whether you’re updating your current ERP or are considering first-time implementation, here are seven reasons to consider going with a cloud solution.

1. Budget Friendly Launch

If you’re interested in saving money, here’s some good news. 82% of companies save money by moving to cloud solutions. While on-premise ERPs typically come with hefty startup costs, cloud-based ERPs are much more budget friendly up front. That savings allows SMBs to seize the advantages of improved efficiency without wiping out their annual budget on a single tool.

But be sure to shop around. Most vendors charge by the user, and those fees can add up. A few, like Acumatica, offer unlimited user spots, which allows for on-the-fly scalability without a price hike.

Source: Acumatica

2. Quicker, Easier Implementation

Rolling out a new on-premise ERP can be rough. The server has to be prepped, the software has to be installed, and then there’s the daunting task of making sure the new system plays nicely with the rest of your network. Even if everything goes smoothly, it’s rarely a speedy process.

By contrast, cloud-based implementation isn’t as painful. There’s not as much to configure and typically nothing to install. As a result, cloud ERPs deploy faster and with fewer headaches.

3. Tried and True Reliability

Cloud computing still feels like new technology, even though it’s been a steady part of the business world for nearly 20 years. Still, reliability is a top concern for business leaders. Can a cloud-based application deliver the same kind of consistent performance as an on-premise solution?

Yes. The cloud ERP isn’t an untested technology. Rather, there are quite a few vendors out there with solid track records for stability. You can opt for a cloud solution without sacrificing the assurance of reliable service.

4. Powerful Performance

In addition to stability, savvy business leaders also understand the importance of performance. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that cloud applications came with pretty significant drops in speed and functionality.

However, better connection speeds and other advancement have reshaped the landscape of cloud computing. Today, it’s possible to get the same kind of performance from an ERP you access via the cloud as one would expect from an on-premise solution.


5. Frustration-Free Maintenance

On-premise ERPs require a server and local maintenance. When you host the ERP yourself, there’s simply no way to avoid managing its health and performance. Given the dramatic impact of an ERP going offline, maintenance is a serious business.

If you’re not prepared to hire additional staff to maintain a new server, then a cloud-based ERP is a great way to go. The ERP provider will handle all the maintenance. You just log in and get to work, no maintenance required.

6. Baked-In Security

The very same folks who maintain your cloud ERP will also take care of the solution’s security. Keeping your data secure is one of the fundamental requirements for any cloud-based provider. Accurate, safe record-keeping is a top priority, and includes high standards for certification, compliance, and data backup and recovery.

Your ERP vendor’s security measures aren’t an adequate replacement for your own cyber security strategy. Still, it’s reassuring to know their focus includes keeping your data backed up and safe.

7. Access From Anywhere

Finally, cloud-based solutions give business leaders a level of accessibility that was unheard of even a few years ago. All you need is a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone, and you have a way to check in on your business, review processes, update critical workflows, and keep tabs on top customers.

That kind of flexibility sets business leaders free. Often, a few swipes can give you the information you need, allowing you to focus on the client sitting in front of you rather than micro-managing each individual process. That’s freedom that impacts your bottom line and your quality of life.

Make Your Move to the Cloud

If you’re ready to unleash the power of utilizing a cloud ERP, CCS Technology can help. We know what it takes to streamline process management for manufacturing and distribution, and we’ve helped dozens of small to medium-sized businesses improve their efficiency. What’s more, we can guide you to the cloud solution that meets your needs without breaking your budget.

Contact us today to find out more about how a cloud-based ERP can transform your business.


Star Wars is basically an ad for ERP systems

We’ve all seen the commercial where the entire concept is “Don’t do X or you’re totally doomed. Do Y instead.” Like, some guy picks up a can of generic beer and he’s lonely and depressed, but then he grabs a Bud Light and he’s surrounded by beautiful women and fancy cars. That kind of commercial.

Well, it turns out that the Star Wars saga is basically a cautionary tale for what happens if you don’t use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. Here’s why…

1.  It’s an ERP!

Every time any jedi in Star Wars wants to get anything done, they have to hop in a starfighter and zip from planet to planet. You would think with an entire galaxy to protect, they might create some sort of proprietary ERP system to save the jedis some precious time and fuel.

Example: Obi-Wan needs to jet off to planet Kamino to check up on some poisonous dart and then finds that the Republic invested tons of money in clones. RED FLAG!

With an ERP system, all resources in your business are live. If $50,000 is spent by your clone recruitment department, you’re going to be able to pull that information on the fly and save yourself a trip across the galaxy – not to mention saving those funds for lightsaber components and blue milk.

Tracking live resources is one of the most important parts of any fast-moving business, and so is communication.

When you utilize an ERP system optimized for your operations and priorities, your departments have a vehicle for interdepartmental coordination, communication and efficiency. The reduced payroll hours and added transparency ERP delivers creates an immediate reporting channel and enhances efficiency throughout your business.

This can mean big savings and profits. Businesses using an ERP saw an average increase in profitability of 10% over two years in a recent Aberdeen study. Additionally, 96% of the top-performing companies experiencing growth rely on ERP solutions.

2. Use the ERP, Luke…

Arguably, the greatest tragedy in the Star Wars saga is that the friendship and guidance of Obi-Wan is not enough to save Anakin from joining the dark side of the Force. Obi-Wan, clouded by his good intentions, is unable to see the dangerous path his friend has followed. This, of course, leads to the death of Padme, the birth of Vader, and years of chaos and destruction for our favorite galaxy far, far away.

If you are fortunate in your business, you are probably so busy that you don’t have time to crunch numbers and run manual reports, or to update forecasts based on these predictions. The good news is that unlike Obi-Wan, you can make good use of an ERP system to keep your forecasts regular and current.

ERP systems gather live data for your reporting requirements, and it can predict future patterns based on this data. From anticipating office expenses to scaling workforce resources to predicting network traffic patterns, capturing and analyzing this information in real time according to your operational KPIs is priceless when planning for your business growth.

3. The ERP is strong with this one…

When you utilize ERP systems, you also benefit from scalability. Both the Empire and the Republic suffered from gross inefficiencies.

The Republic had a bunch of clones sitting on a planet working out and training, not knowing how many they would need. They then needed to rush production on hundreds of thousands more to fight the Empire’s drone forces.

With a proper ERP system, the Republic could have used forecasting to know how many soldiers they would need for each battle, and then they could have scaled quickly and efficiently to deliver the right amount and type of soldiers. Why send 20,000 to each planet when 200 would do?

Just shoot us a message or give us a call, and we can chat about how to support and optimize your business operations with the right ERP capabilities.

May the Force be with you…

The advantages of working with IT pros

Some seemingly good ideas come with wildly inconvenient side effects. Like the time a corned beef sandwich almost ruined a NASA mission.

In the 1960’s, NASA was in an all-out race to put a man on the moon. The Gemini 3 mission was a significant step forward. It was the very first two-manned mission to achieve orbit. Astronaut John Young was one of those two men.

Not one to pay too much attention to pesky rules, Young smuggled a corned beef sandwich onto the spacecraft by hiding it in his suit. But when crew-mate Gus Grissom took a bite, crumbles scattered throughout the cabin.

Because of the lack of gravity, crumbles could easily get into the circuitry, potentially leading to disaster. As it turns out, NASA had good reasons for regulating the food available to astronauts during missions.

The lesson? Some projects legitimately warrant expert input.

Paving the Way for Growth

IT spending is an undeniable part of the cost of doing business. Not only that, but IT spending is on the rise. 42% of small businesses expect to increase their IT related expenses this year.

But while additional IT spending should result in improved efficiency and reduced costs, that’s not always the case. To illustrate the point, consider this alarming statistic: 55% of small business owners suspect their current technology solutions are actually holding them back.

Business owners clearly see the value of investing in IT solutions for everything from customer acquisition and retention to process automation. There’s obvious benefit to harnessing the power of available technology – if you choose the right solutions.

Choose the wrong solutions, and the technology might only get in your way.

Choosing Wisely

Making strong IT decisions for your organization is easier said than done. A quick Google search will reveal literally dozens of options, even for basic IT solutions like cloud-based storage.

When it comes time to tackle an in-house IT project, how can you be sure the solution you pick is the one that will work best for your company? After all, you don’t want your business to be yet another organization whose growth is limited by the very tools that should make you more efficient.

Thankfully, there’s a way to tap into expert knowledge without becoming an expert, yourself.

“Professional services” is the industry term that describes outsourced IT project management. Companies of all sizes routinely rely on professional services when analyzing and upgrading their technologies. Even organizations with robust internal IT departments find value in utilizing professional services firms.

The Case for Expertise

There are three compelling reasons to consider working with a professional services provider.

First, expert input helps businesses identify the best solution for their needs. Sure, you might be able to limp along with a solution that mostly works. But why put yourself through that? Why not instead find the solution that perfectly matches the demands of your specific business?

Second, working with experienced professionals expedites the upgrade process. IT changes are rarely fun. There’s an inevitable adjustment period, even if the change is small. The sooner you can push through the growing pains and reap the benefits, the better.

Finally, a professional services provider can help lower costs in the short and long terms. When it comes to project management, few phrases sound as pleasant as “under budget.” Short term savings come in the form of finding the most cost effective solution possible.

Long term savings come in less tangible forms, but the impact on ROI is just as real. Improved efficiency, employee satisfaction and customer experience each profoundly affect your bottom line.

Your Professional Services Provider

The professional services team at CCS Technology is serious about making your next IT project a raving success. Each team member has a minimum of five years of experience. Our clients always work with someone who knows the industry.

We’re certified in the most high-demand areas of specialization, like Acumatica, Microsoft, Cisco, Amazon, VMware, and EMC. We also pride ourselves on maintaining a student mentality. We’re always learning and growing in our expertise.

What’s more, we have a proven track record for IT implementation. We’ve even taken on existing projects that were behind schedule and over budget, bringing them to successful completion.

If you have IT projects on the horizon, we have the professional services know-how to help. Contact us today to find out how we can guide you through the process, saving you both time and money.

Office 365 migration made easy

Go into any mechanic’s garage and you’re going to find a common set of tools. There will always be a socket wrench, for example. No one who works on cars can function without one. It’s essential.

Office productivity tools are no different. You can’t do business without email and some form of a word processor. For an overwhelming number of folks – more than 1.2 billion users – the go-to productivity suite is Microsoft Office.

Cloud-Based Applications Are on the Rise

Most likely, you already have experience using Microsoft’s suite. Programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint are common fixtures in businesses both great and small. However, there’s a significant shift in how these applications are being implemented and utilized.

An increasing number of businesses are putting heavy emphasis on cloud technology. In fact, recent analysis indicates that 90% of organizations use the cloud in some way, with 50% using cloud services as their preferred solution.

Simply put, the cloud is changing how business is done at a fundamental level, and Office 365 is a major player in the move to cloud-based services. While there are other cloud tools out there – most notably, Google’s G Suite – Office 365 is currently the most used collaborative platform on the market.

Why Office 365?

It’s hardly surprising to learn Microsoft’s offering takes the top spot. The advantages of Office 365 are considerable.

First, there’s the convenience. With Office 365, you can work and collaborate with team members from any connected device – even your phone or tablet. For business leaders on the go, that alone is invaluable.

Second, documents, spreadsheets and email messages housed under the umbrella of Office 365 are backed up in the cloud. Users can access everything from their desktop computers, just like older versions of Microsoft Office, but redundancy is also baked in. If you’ve ever dealt with any kind of data loss, you know how important backups are.

Finally, the cost savings can be compelling. Many organizations are able to justify migrating to Office 365 based purely on the numbers. This is due in part to the scalability of the platform. Microsoft offers multiple subscription options for Office 365. You just have to pick the plan that works best for your organization, and isolate the products and services you need.

Additionally, adding new users to your subscription is a breeze. For companies in growth mode, Office 365 provides an easy, cost-effective way to make sure new employees have the tools they need from day one.

Migrating to Office 365

Perhaps the biggest hurdle to adopting a new software solution is the anticipated pain of making a change. Some organizations have a history of hiccups, even when just moving from one version of a program to a newer version of the same program. Moving to an entirely new solution is understandably off-putting.

Speaking frankly, who cares about improvements in efficiency in the long-term if an update puts you out of commission for weeks right now? The migration from your current solution to Office 365 has to be smooth to be worth it.

The good news is a hassle-free Office 365 migration is entirely possible. Whether you’re only migrating your email to Microsoft Exchange or planning to incorporate the full Office Suite, getting your organization online and up to full functionality doesn’t have to bring daily business to a grinding halt.

The key is working with an experienced, knowledgeable partner who can guide you through the process.

Migration Done Right

At CCS Technology, our guiding philosophy is simple. Every part of the technology experience should be convenient and efficient, including upgrades and migration.

Our goal is to take the headaches out of IT services by delivering fast, effective solutions. We’ve completed full migrations to Office 365 in as few as seven days. And when migration is done, we’ll still be here, ready and able to provide ongoing support.

You can’t achieve success without the right tools in your toolbox. Think of us as your tool provider. When it’s time to move your organization to the cloud and take advantage of everything Office 365 has to offer, we’ll be happy to guide you through the process.

Get in touch with us today to let us know how we can help.

Justice is servered: The ultimate professional services superhero team

As managed service providers (MSPs) develop more expertise to fit the specific needs of their clients, it’s often beneficial to offer advanced professional services to growing businesses. You can compare this to superheroes teaming up in the Justice League to save the world and take on nefarious criminals. Sure, Batman might be able to fight off a dozen assailants, but it’s a big bonus when Superman is there to round them up and fly them off to jail at the speed of sound.

Ideally, when choosing your managed service provider, you want to make sure they have experts on their team who can fill the following roles:

1. The Heart, Wonder Woman

One of the primary professional services you’ll encounter is physical installation. For this, you’ll want to look for an MSP with the physical resources and knowledge to properly set up your office network and system to fit the needs of your team and your customers.

Think of Wonder Woman. She’s a fierce warrior and easily capable of the physical work, but one of her greatest strengths is her compassion. She longs to understand and honor the human element. This is a quality that is super important when setting up a physical network. An MSP needs to know how the network will be used and how to apply the infrastructure to your specific business and organizational needs.

2. The Fortifier, Batman, Cyborg

Remember that time you snuck into the Batcave? Probably not. That’s because Bruce Wayne has built a veritable fortress with the best cybersecurity and physical security in the world to guard his secret identity and to protect his Bat-family.

Many MSPs will do the exact same for your business, by installing physical security components to work in collaboration with your cybersecurity solutions. Physical security options can include cameras, electronic access, and more – all designed to eliminate external and internal threats. Sometimes, this even requires educating employees and adjusting current behaviors. Especially when 55 percent of organizations have had a security incident or data breach due to a malicious or negligent employee. Even Robin needs a lesson or two about how not to blow things up in the armory.

3. The Mindreader, Martian Manhunter

The Martian Manhunter is the Justice League’s resident telepath. He knows the best path for people’s lives, because he excels at reading their hopes, dreams, and goals.

The best MSPs know what you need for your business, because they put in the time and effort to get to know your business and its operations. From a professional services standpoint, this means they are often able to create custom IT solutions for your business.

One of the hottest professional services right now is app development. Any leading MSP should be able to create a custom app for your business that will help streamline your particular workflow. In fact, app development is practically becoming mandatory for businesses who want to win customer loyalty. OuterBox reports that 40% of users will go to the competitor after a bad mobile experience.

4. The Speedster, Flash, Superman

When Lois Lane gets a craving for authentic Thai cuisine, Superman is off like a rocket to Bangkok. When some poor gal falls from a 45-story building, the Flash runs up the facade and catches her, depositing her safely on the rooftop garden.

Many MSPs provide the same level of on-call service. Make sure to always check your MSP’s hours of operation, service response standards and after-hours options. Some MSPs even offer a Batcave-like Network Operating Center (NOC), where your network can be monitored 24/7/365. This is the best way to make sure your network issues are solved in a flash.

5. The Backup, Green Arrow

In the world of IT solutions, it’s important to create redundancies. If the measures you have in place to keep your network running end up taking a beating, then you better make sure you have a backup plan.

In the Justice League, that means Batman might have to call in his pal Green Arrow, who happens to have a knack for hitting the bullseye when things go awry. In IT, that means that your MSP can help you target areas of data that need to be backed up more frequently, and create a disaster plan.

Please give us a call or send us an email when you are ready to chat about these super Professional Services and more.

The 3 things you should be getting from your CRM

Few business tools have the potential to drive sales like a well-configured Customer Relationship Management application. You probably call it a CRM, as does practically everyone. In fact, it looks odd to see the words actually spelled out. But we’ve included the full name here for a very specific reason.

It’s easy to forget the functionality CRM solutions are meant to provide. For salespeople, the CRM is where prospects, leads and closed deals live. For customer service, it’s where you can find a customer’s information and history. For management, it’s a rich source of data brimming over with all kinds of reporting potential.

In reality, a CRM is all those things and more.

In this whitepaper, we’ll explore the three biggest benefits of using a CRM. If your current CRM isn’t delivering these three things, it’s time to reconfigure or replace. And if you’re not using a CRM, it’s time to incorporate this valuable tool.

Improved Productivity

CRMs give companies a single, centralized location for the data marketing, sales and service teams rely on day in, day out. When all that data is housed in one place, your employees don’t have to waste time hunting down customer information, unsure of who knows what.

crm solution

Just check the CRM. Everything’s there.

That makes it easier to market, easier to close, and easier to provide top-of-the-line customer service. Improve your organization’s efficiency, and you’ll feel it in the bottom line.

If you want an even bigger productivity boost, add mobile access to your CRM solution. According to Nucleus Research, CRMs with mobile access and social networking capability increase productivity by another 26.4%.

Higher Close Ratios

It’s an age-old adage. Sales is a numbers game.

For example, you might have to work through 10 leads to get to one sale. But what if you could close one deal for every seven leads? Or every five? The difference starts to add up. Quickly.

According to The Sales Management Association, a formalized sales process, like the kind baked into a CRM, can increase profits by as much as 30%. Individual salespeople will perform better as lead conversion rates skyrocket.

It’s all due to a powerful snowball effect. CRMs boost efficiency through organization, automation, and process management. As a result, it’s possible for salespeople to do more in less time.

Better Client Relationships

The CRM advantage doesn’t stop with sales. Not only will more customers decide to buy, but more customers will stick, as well.

Research shows that CRMs improve customer retention rates by as much as 27%. Additionally, CRMs have been shown to increase customer satisfaction by a high margin, as well.  The same productivity perks that lead a customer to buy make it easier to keep current customers and ensure they remain happy.

Ironically, it’s not even really the CRM solution that creates this effect.

Rather, a CRM simply facilitates the kind of organization necessary for your employees to focus their time and energy on prospects and customers. What’s remarkable is the fact that every person involved – the customer, the sales rep, the service rep and even management – benefits from this one powerhouse tool.

Get On It

What about your company?

Does your current CRM make good on its potential? Or, if the idea of using a CRM solution is new to you, are you convinced of the benefits, both for customer satisfaction and profitability?

If you’re ready for a new CRM experience, the CCS Technology team can help. Not every CRM is a good fit for every company. It’s important that you deploy the right solution for your organization.

That’s why we take a consultative approach. We don’t make blind recommendations. We’d much rather get to know you first so we can pair you up with the solutions that will do the most to drive your business forward.

Said another way, when our customers win, we win.

If you need a new CRM solution, we can help you find it. Contact us today to find out more about how we can set you up for success.


Office 365: An overview

Microsoft changed the game dramatically a few of years back. The introduction of its cloud-hosted productivity suite was big. Office 365 is a subscription-based service designed to replace the older license-based business model.

With an Office 365 subscription, companies buy time-limited access to a host of Microsoft’s tools. The service comes with the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more. Also included are premium mobile applications and online, browser-based versions.

In tech terms, Office 365 is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) package. SaaS is fast becoming the most popular way to deploy enterprise software. However, the shift does prompt a key question.

Is the new model better than older, licensed versions of Microsoft Office?

Office 365 Advantages

The older, licensed-based model was simple. You bought copies of Microsoft Office and that was it. You had a productivity suite . . . and nothing more.

But with Office 365, you gain an array of perks and benefits not available within older versions.

Get the Services You Need

One of the main advantages for small and medium-sized business is the potential for cost savings. With Office 365 you’ll enjoy a predictable monthly cost. The budget-friendly nature of a fixed expense is particularly nice for SMBs.

Microsoft offers a variety of plans for businesses. Options include packages based on users count and included applications. Many small business leaders find this model appealing because they can pick and choose what they want. For example, what if you need Microsoft’s applications, but you don’t need an exchange email server? With Office 365, there’s a package for that.

Microsoft’s basic plan for businesses includes all the core components of its suite – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access and Publisher. It also includes cloud-based storage and costs less than $10 per month per user. You also have the option to add several of Microsoft’s web services. This plan includes Exchange, SharePoint, Skype and more. Alternately, you can choose a plan that only includes the web services without the applications.

You select the components you need.

Always Updated

Microsoft rolls out updates and upgrades for the Office suite on a regular basis. Office 365 means you’ll always have access to the latest new features and tools. Gone are the days when you’d have to buy a whole new copy to avoid being stuck with an antiquated version.

Remote Access

Remote access is another huge benefit. You can access your documents and files via any mobile device. That gives your staff the ability to be more flexible and more productive.

Cloud Storage

Office 365 subscribers also get access to OneDrive for cloud-based storage. Currently, every Office 365 plan comes with 1 TB of storage per user.

A Solid Solution

There’s a lot to like about Office 365, and very few downsides. It’s a product that provides tremendous bang for the buck. We strongly recommend it for SMBs.

If Office 365 sounds like it would be a good fit for your business, CCS Technology is here to help. We can guide you to the right package for your organization. What’s more, we can also assist with the migration to Office 365, making sure the move is painless.

Give us a call today.

Is your network safe from cyber attacks?

Before the landmark work of Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch, humanity had some . . . interesting explanations for causes of disease. A prominent theory held that “bad air” was to blame for ailments. Odd though that sounds, it makes sense.

With no knowledge of germs, people relied on basic observations about sickness and health. They saw that people living near foul odor (like primitive sewer systems) were more likely to fall ill. The most noticeable issue was the smell – hence the theory.

Eventually, Pasteur and Koch would develop what is now known as “germ theory.” This changed how we conceive of disease. But there’s a valuable lesson in humanity’s previous mistaken understanding.

You can’t adequately protect yourself from something if you don’t understand the true nature of the threat.

When your network gets sick.

There’s a modern, technical equivalent to germ theory: cyber crime. On some level, we all acknowledge the similarities. After all, we call malicious software “viruses.”

Unfortunately, a lot of business owners understand as much about ransomware as folks in the Middle Ages understood about bacteria. Too many of us talk about malicious software like it just appears out of the ether.

We know how horrible viruses are when they strike. But do you really understand where they come from? If you don’t, your network could be exposed.

The origins of malware.

Malware doesn’t spontaneously appear. Viruses and ransomware are the direct results of intentional effort. Said another way, cyber attacks start with cyber criminals.

Their motivations vary from financial gain to political statements. Their objectives are the same either way. Cyber criminals create malware to disrupt computer systems and take networks offline. Even if they don’t make money from the attack, the financial impact on affected businesses is still considerable.

The effects of cyber crime.

A recent Business Insider article starts with this ominous opening line.

“Warren Buffett sees cyber attacks as a bigger threat to humanity than nuclear weapons.”

That may sound like a dramatic overstatement, but the most recent cyber crime statistics lend Buffett’s assessment uncomfortable credibility. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that the total cost of cyber crime will hit $6 trillion dollars by 2021. (Yes, that’s “trillion” with a “t.”) What’s more, half of all small to medium-sized business experienced at least one cyber attack in the last year. Finally, according to the Denver Post, “60% of small companies that suffer a cyber attack are out of business within six months.”

The financial impact of a single cyber attack is significant enough to undo the foundation of your business. That’s no small thing.

Stopping cyber crime.

You can’t stop something if you don’t understand it. Our efforts to stop literal epidemics weren’t nearly as successful as they could have been before we understood germ theory. Similarly, stopping cyber crime comes down to understanding the very nature of it.

If you want to protect your company, you have to tap into some serious know-how.

Of course, most small business owners don’t have the time for that. It can take years of experience to really understand the nature of cybersecurity. On top of that, the landscape of cyber crime is always changing. It’s not easy to stay current.

Which is why so many small businesses turn to outside help. Not only does it save you time, but it could easily save the future of your business should you experience a cyber attack.

CCS Technology and cybersecurity.

Here at CCS Technology, we understand the complexity of keeping your network safe. We know what’s at stake, and we know the kinds of tactics cyber criminals rely on. We have a consistent track record of safeguarding our clients, and we can help you beef up your security, too.

If you’re interested in giving your organization the protection you need from cyber crime, get in touch with us today. Our friendly technicians are ready to walk you through every step of the process.

Related Post: Cybercrime: 5 Things You Need to Know