1 CMIT Marathon: How Proactive, Preventative Monitoring Can Enhance Your Business A White Paper by CMIT Solutions
2 Table of Contents Introduction... 3 The Economic Situation... 4 Small to Medium-Sized Business Market Problems... 5 A Breakthrough in IT Support Hidden Strengths of CMIT Marathon... 9 Service Levels and Schedules Conclusion... 13
3 Introduction CMIT Marathon, our remote monitoring and management solution, is the key to proactive IT infrastructure managed services for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB). Without CMIT Marathon, business owners have no opportunity to benefit from the significant operational advantages gained when their network, computing, and data resources are safe, reliable, and accessible. Managing these aspects of IT infrastructure allows business owners to focus on what s important: Acquiring and retaining customers. Avoiding technological downtime. Delivering differentiated products and services. Managing costs in today s competitive environment. Hiring quality employees. Arranging capital. Meeting government regulations. Staying abreast of industry trends. CMIT Marathon helps business owners and technology users to achieve these goals by protecting them from emerging mobile computing threats, adding the knowledge of a virtual CIO/CTO, and serving as an extension of your company s management team. Technology represents a key strategy for SMBs to streamline their processes, improve employee efficiency, and maintain competitiveness. But technology comes with its share of challenges, which is where we come in. For over 15 years, CMIT has provided specialized IT-related services and support delivered according to a clearly described service-level agreement over a fixed period of time for a low and predictable cost. We define that as managed services, or as proactive IT versus reactive IT. This white paper details the growing trend toward these kinds of services, along with specific solutions that we provide for many of the IT problems that you face.
4 The Economic Situation According to CompTIA, a non-profit association that advances the global interests of IT professional and companies, spending on the global IT market reached $3.6 trillion in 2012, with the United States accounting for 26%, or $950 billion. Meanwhile, Gartner, one of the world s leading IT research and advisory companies, estimates that 44% of that spending comes from small to medium-sized businesses. According to a recent survey by the National Small Business Association, 70% of small businesses say that keeping up with new technology is very important to business success and 50% believe their business has become more dependent on the use of technology. The US economy has been steadily growing across all industries since the second quarter of The following data, taken from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, clearly shows that Gross Domestic Product by industry is increasing quarter over quarter and year over year. For example, information industries show twelve consecutive quarters of sales growth, from $1276.8B to $1474.1B, for an average three-year growth rate of 15.4%. Other US industries show similar growth patterns across all sectors of the economy. Additionally, CompTIA also reports that IT staff is becoming more difficult to recruit, with wages increasing. So does it make more sense to try and solve IT problems through internal hiring, which can cost two or even three times as much as outsourcing IT support to a trusted business advisor?
5 Small to Medium-Sized Business Market Problems CMIT Marathon is uniquely positioned to serve the small to medium-sized business (SMB) market. Every CMIT Solutions office across North America is independently owned and operated, meaning every person in our system is a business owner that understands your immediate needs and your long-term goals. Yet the SMB marketplace is not immune from problems especially when it comes to IT. In small businesses with 5-99 employees, the simple truth is that business cannot afford the type of IT talent required to keep networks, systems, and data available and secure. Yet CompTIA s 3rd Annual Report on Managed Services Trends reveals that 92% of SMBs said that technology is strategically important to the company today compared with how it was two years ago. (Source: The same CompTIA study reported that those SMBs top business priorities include reducing costs/overhead, improving staff productivity and capabilities, reaching new customer segments, and improving data analytics for better decision-making. When we look at these business priorities, we find that expertise and economies of scale are at the heart of the improvements. CMIT Solutions excels at bringing enterprise-scale IT infrastructure to SMBs at desirable prices, with the total cost of engagement well below what it would cost you to staff the IT function internally. In addition, we bring more expertise and experience to enable staff productivity and expansion into new areas such as data analytics. In simpler terms, we understand computers, networks, and systems better than most business owners. We ve invested in the systems and the staff necessary for such expertise. We ve been doing it for years, and we ll continue to do it for years into the future. IT systems are fragile, and when systems go down, business grinds to a halt. Recovery processes are non-existent and costs cannot be predicted or managed. Yet most small businesses start with little thought to IT infrastructure or management, which makes sense: you re more concerned about building a sustainable base of business. Business success and growth, including more staff, more applications, more clients, and a need to operate without unplanned interruption are great that means you re doing well, right? The only problem is that unplanned and unmanaged systems that are growing rapidly can be your prime undoing.
6 Consider these questions: 1) What happens if your network crashes or is unavailable? 2) What happens if your computers crash or are unavailable? 3) What happens if you contract a virus that corrupts your data? 4) What happens if someone s mobile phone introduces a virus into your network? 5) What happens if someone s mobile phone is stolen and your most prized company data is on that phone?
7 A Breakthrough in IT Support CMIT Marathon provides a higher level of IT support than most clients have ever experienced because it focuses on keeping your business IT infrastructure, including servers, workstations, Internet connectivity, and more, performing optimally. And that, in turn, minimizes both the financial and logistical impact of unscheduled maintenance. CMIT Marathon can easily be tailored to the requirements of individual businesses. The major elements of CMIT Marathon are: o Monitoring Software. Installed on each device on the SMB s network, monitoring agents alert qualified domain engineers whenever an outof-tolerance condition is observed and needs to be handled. o Network Operations Center (NOC). Staffed by over 300 engineers looking to outsmart tech problems, the NOC is available 24/7 to remotely remediate issues and respond to alerts. NOC engineers also perform a comprehensive preventative maintenance schedule and apply all appropriate white-listed software updates. A detailed log is maintained so problems may be diagnosed and corrected in the context of a company s complete IT history. o Help Desk. A fully staffed US-based help desk responds to a wide range of end-user issues and questions. From helping to get a new printer set up to helping a novice spreadsheet user solve a problem, this phone resource is responsive and service-oriented. o On-Site Support. The above three elements of CMIT Marathon dramatically reduce the need for on-site support. But when the problem demands an on-site technician, a local tech is dispatched to save the day. Once on-site, the local tech is backed up by both the NOC and Help Desk staff.
8 CMIT Marathon is: 1. Proactive instead of reactive. Our monitoring software checks its crystal ball for problems before they affect the end-user s productivity. 2. Resolution before crisis. Problems are detected and resolved before they turn into white-hot emergencies. 3. Efficient delivery of the lowest-cost resource. The lowest-cost, most highly credentialed resources are applied to recognized issues first. In most cases, the remote technicians and engineers (Help Desk and NOC) are able to resolve issues in a timely manner without the additional labor and travel costs of an on-site technician. However, when an on-site technician is required, the diagnosis and expertise of the NOC and Help Desk are there to leverage the local technician s productivity and effectiveness. 4. Uniform application of the optimal resource. CMIT Marathon s service delivery strategy moves the problem to the skilled resource that is best equipped to quickly resolve the issue. Necessary escalations are performed in a fluid and seamless manner, with the complete diagnosis and repair history forwarded in the escalation. 5. Fast response regardless of priority. With multiple IT support personnel available in the form of a fully staffed NOC, Help Desk, and individual technicians, problems can be addressed simultaneously rather than in sequential order. The proactive approach also ensures the ultimate in responsiveness: resolving issues while they re still disguised and before they re detected by the end-user. 6. End-user productivity maximized. The soft costs of end-user productivity are weighted heavily in the design of CMIT Marathon. By giving end-users a responsive Help Desk to call, even the minutest questions are quickly and courteously answered. The immediate impact is improved productivity; the longer-term impact is a more technology-literate SMB staff that s better able to leverage the company s technology investment.
9 10 Hidden Strengths of CMIT Marathon 1. Stabilize IT Costs Outsourcing converts variable IT costs tied to the break-fix or reactive mode of support into the stable costs of proactive IT support. This allows business owners to budget effectively and pay what they can afford on a set schedule rather than being hit with unexpected bills when tech problems affect computers or servers. 2. Cut Labor Costs Of that 76% of business owners that handle their tech support in house, 40% reported that they performed the work themselves, while 32% had a staff member handle it. Why? Because hiring and training an IT staff can be very expensive. Outsourcing lets business owners focus their human resources where they are needed most. 3. Ensure Experienced and Certified Network Engineers and Support Staff On top of hiring and training an IT staff, the cost of ongoing education and certification can break a small business owner s bank. And if you re not well versed in the IT world, how can you ensure an IT employee is actually qualified? Don t let undertrained tech "experts" fool you into thinking they can solve all of your problems. Through CMIT Marathon s Network Operations Center, Special Projects Staff, and End-User Help Desk, we provide expert-level support available 24/7, 365 days a year to monitor, manage, and optimize your entire IT infrastructure. 4. Boost Efficiency and Competitiveness Organizations that try to handle all IT services in house can incur much higher research, development, and implementation costs, all of which cuts into a business owner s bottom line. And those increased costs are ultimately passed on to customers, who are prone to look elsewhere when prices go up. 5. Avoid IT Problems and Remain Focused on Your Core Business Small to medium-sized businesses often have limited resources to work outside the confines of their companies respective comfort zones. And every manager has limited time and attention at his or her disposal. Outsourcing IT work to an MSP provides assistance with complex technological decisions and allows you to stay focused on what matters most: running and growing your business. 6. Reduce Risk Since market trends, competitive advantages, government regulations, financial conditions, and technologies all change quickly, every business investment carries a certain amount of risk. Working with a trusted MSP that can assume and manage much of this risk for you is a major advantage that comes with specific
10 industry knowledge and years of experience. 7. Level the Playing Field Most small to medium-sized businesses can't afford to match the strong inhouse support services that larger companies enjoy. Working with an MSP, however, gives small companies enterprise-level solutions by providing the kind of access and expertise that large companies enjoy. Managed cost structures and economies of scale like that can give your company a fierce competitive advantage. 8. Augment Your Team with Senior Management at the CIO/CTO Level Whether our franchise partners hold an IT or technical background, or whether they come from a sales or business development background, nearly all have strong business management, project management, financial analysis, and staff management skills. These skills have typically been developed in both corporate and entrepreneurial environments, making our franchise partners, who are connected via a national network of peer-level CMIT owners, uniquely positioned to serve as your virtual CIO, CTO, and business advisor. 9. Take the Guesswork Out of Compliance Is your firewall capable of fending off attacks? Do you audit your workstations and servers regularly? Has your company implemented PCI security standards and worked to maintain those standards? Small to medium-sized businesses have more ways than ever to handle commerce via credit and debit cards, e- commerce, wire transfers, and more. But with this increased transaction sphere comes a stronger need for due diligence. Employing a managed services provider allows your business to minimize the risks associated with maintaining client data and other sensitive information, the misuse of which can cause serious harm to your business. 10. Deliver the CMIT Promise The CMIT Promise is simple: we will protect your data, defend your network, and empower your employees to be more productive. How? By remaining by your side until all IT problems are solved and the IT side of your business is performing at peak levels.
11 Service Levels and Schedules Our CMIT Marathon solution comes in three different levels: Performance, Performance Plus, and Ultra. The majority of our clients prefer the Ultra offering because it provides the greatest level of client service, including unlimited remote and on-site support, with the easiest flat rate available. Performance 24/7 monitoring and remediation Proactive maintenance Remote access licenses Business anti-virus and anti-malware Regular systems reporting and consultation Discounted service rates Performance Plus Includes all of the above, plus Priority on-site service Help desk phone, , and chat Ultra Includes all of the above, plus Flat rate, unlimited on-site support CMIT Marathon s service schedule varies depending on level and provider, but Ultra provides the best value based on the following schedule of activities: Monday Anti-virus updates every four hours, hardware/software asset collection, Microsoft patch assessment, spyware scan and removal, security patch deployment, S.M.A.R.T. monitoring check Tuesday Anti-virus updates every four hours, temporary file and Internet debris removal, spyware scan and removal
12 Wednesday Anti-virus updates every four hours, Microsoft patch assessment, spyware scan and removal Thursday Anti-virus updates every four hours, hardware/software asset collection, Microsoft patch assessment, spyware scan and removal, security patch deployment, S.M.A.R.T. monitoring check Friday Anti-virus updates every four hours, temporary file and Internet debris removal, Microsoft patch assessment, spyware scan and removal, security patch deployment Saturday Anti-virus updates every four hours, Microsoft patch assessment, spyware scan and removal, security patch deployment Sunday Anti-virus updates every four hours, Microsoft patch assessment, spyware scan and removal, security patch deployment
13 Conclusion None of the issues SMBs currently face competition, technological complexity, the never-ending need to do more with less are going to disappear anytime soon. So the value of a high-quality, low-cost solution to these issues will only grow. That s why CMIT Solutions has spent years tailoring our Marathon service offering to eliminate IT problems, boost efficiency and productivity, and add another dimension of high-level, trusted business expertise to your team. We provide enterprise-class infrastructure at affordable prices because our field of play is narrower. We concentrate on the small to medium-sized business market, and we work within your budget and your needs to deliver the right solution for you. CMIT Marathon takes the complexity out of your IT infrastructure by providing comprehensive support for one flat-rate price. No surprises. Technology is integral to the success of every small to medium-sized business. CMIT Solutions is here to make that technology work for you, not against you.