Making smart IT Investments 101

Putting your investments toward your IT can help make your business’s existing operation more efficient. From a recent study done in 2015, it stated that “53 % of small business owners do not consider themselves ready to invest into the latest and greatest technology.” That’s a pretty interesting fact considering how far technology has come and what it’s capable of doing for your company if used appropriately.


People don’t like change, and with technology growing exponentially, plenty of change comes from each new upgrade. When you’re considering about investing your money into technology, you need to factor in the price, the appropriate time to make the investment, and being aware of the impact it has to the already in place storage, networking, and servers. If you’re ever in the Midwest and happen

Still confused on when or what technology you should be investing your money in? Well, if you’re in the Midwest then you’re in luck! Because some of the best IT companies come from the state of Minnesota, but more notably Minneapolis Managed IT Solutions has been steadily increasing their presence year after year. Continue reading to learn more about being able to measure the ROI.

KPI: Productivity

It’s safe to say that productivity (personal) isn’t easy to quantify, it’s quite simple to notice an increase in performance throughout the company by implementing a monitoring system-your key to being able to measure the effectiveness of investing in new IT. Before deciding on what you’re going to invest in, make sure you find something that will help your employees be more efficient and ultimately create a better workflow.

To give you a better idea of what i’m talking about, here’s an example of an IT investment that could directly benefit your company and make it more efficient. Investing into a different server that has more power and quicker processing could allow your analytics or reporting software to kick out reports immediately, that itself would make for a smoother workflow in the workplace.

Another example would be to invest into better Wi-Fi so people don’t have to spend their days waiting for a page to load. Something as little as waiting for a page to load can make a huge difference throughout the work place and everyone will be more efficient with their time.

Consider the fact that you can equip your employees with BYOD, meaning that they can have access to the internet outside of the office. This can be extremely beneficial for people who are on the road or traveling a lot and it will allow them to be able to access their files remotely, INSTANTLY!

Keep Upgrades Scheduled In a Timely Manner

Constantly avoiding and procrastinating on making upgrades can result in your software or hardware not being able to support what would usually be considered an “easy workload.” When companies roll out new updates, it’s for a reason. They released the update because there was a problem within the old software and the new update now fixes it. What if the problem in the old software was a security breach where hackers across the world could access your computer due to them targeting people who haven’t taken action on updating their software! Just something to think about.

Technology itself isn’t going to make your company successful unless you know how to use it appropriately to further benefit your workflow and productivity as a whole.

2016: The Year of Ransomware

The amount of people on the internet has been steadily increasing over the years, which means there is more personal data and information on the internet than ever before. Since the start of 2014, ransomware has steadily been increasing and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

Huge events (like the election) seem to be a huge lure for cybercriminal activities. The only variable for these ransomware activities seems to still be in the beginning stage of the process and does not encrypt files, yet. Furthermore, this ransomware looks for very specific files that have a unique extension name, but they’re able to rename the file and prevent access to it from the original file owner.

Ransomware attacks never seem to get picked up by the media because they don’t want to spread fear throughout the public. Just last week, one of the biggest cloud computing companies in the U.S. was victim of cybercriminal activities. The hackers locked all files on the cloud and demanded a large sum of 30+ bitcoins in order to unlock the files. Nobody seemed to be talking about this even though there was a huge breach of privacy as these files could have been released to the public which contained social security numbers, credit card numbers, addresses, private emails, passwords, and more.

2016 is already turning out to be the year of ransomware, locking up computers, networks, or files until a ransom is paid by the victim of the cyber attack. Are you concerned about what to do if this happens? Are you curious about ways to prevent this from happening to you? Here are some tips to protect yourself from being a victim of a ransomware attack.

Manage backups appropriately

Getting rid of the ransomware is always the most difficult part. If you can’t get rid of the ransomware, then you will be forced to pay the ransom that the cybercriminals are asking for. The easiest way to get around this is by having a safe backup of your network and files. This way you can remove everything (including the ransomware) and then upload your backup and things will go back to running smoothly.

Make sure your software is all up to date

Cybercriminals look for loopholes in your software, usually when new updates roll out. New updates roll out with softwares when they see their could be a breach of security, so if you don’t update your software you could be prone to being a victim of a ransomware attack.

Remove remote desktop access

Some companies or employees like to use Window’s native “remote desktop access” feature to access their files and programs on the go or at home. When you enable this feature, you are at risk for a ransomware attack because you’re leaving your network and servers open to be accessed by cybercriminals.

If you’re looking for help for Minneapolis IT Services to prevent you from becoming the victim of the next ransomware attack, check back later to read more tips on protecting your network and files.

Workforce Transitioning To Working Remotely

Statistics show that within the next year there will be over 1.6 billion people working remotely worldwide, or 38% of the ENTIRE workforce. These people who are working remotely realize the importance of having a laptop that gives you everything you need when working on the go. Making sure your laptop is speedy, easy to carry around, decently priced, has a battery that lasts you all day, and great memory. Continue reading more to see why I believe these are some features your business laptop must have.


Making sure your business laptop has a fast processor and a nice graphics card is more important than you think. Nobody likes waiting for things to load. Nobody likes applications freezing and having to restart your computer. Nobody likes when your typing faster than your computer can keep up with. Nobody likes when your computer runs like it’s from 1990 when you have more than 2 programs open. This is why it’s important to make sure your business laptop is up to date and can process the work you’re doing in a timely manner. You don’t need the most expensive graphic card and processor for your laptop if you’re using it just to browse the internet and send emails, but it’s just something to keep in mind. If you’re a graphic designer or edit videos, then having a super fast processor to handle the large files and a good graphic card to really see the details in your pictures is a must have.


The newer laptops have done a phenomenal job of making their laptops easy to carry around. This is one of those things where you don’t really realize nice it is until you actually feel the difference yourself. I had a 2008 Microsoft laptop for a few years and absolutely loved it. It was big though and clunky and always hated carrying it around. In 2010 I bought a MacBook Pro and I was in shock at how much more “portable” this laptop was. It was so much lighter, so much thinner, I loved everything about it. It wasn’t a hassle to throw it in my backpack or my briefcase and carry it around like it was before with my old dinosaur laptop from Microsoft.


Pricing is always hard because you never know if you’re actually getting the best “bang for your buck.” You can lean more towards the cheaper side of things knowing that you’re probably not going to get a “great” quality laptop that will last you 10 years, or you can lean more towards the expensive side knowing you might be “paying for a logo” such as Apple.

Find something that you’re comfortable with, that falls within your budget. Do your research, talk to people at the stores and get unbiased opinions. Read reviews online, make a list of things you for sure want on your laptop and find a laptop that’s priced decent that can accommodate  all of your needs. You can always reach out to to help with your managed IT solutions or advice on which device is best for you and your company!

Using Technology For Education

Schools across the nation are starting to offer more and more degrees that you’re able to earn online. Online learning is continuing to grow at an exponential rate and expected to grow more than 35% each year for the next five years.

All of this wouldn’t be possible without technology and the internet itself providing people new ways to get an education. We are lucky enough to have wifi and internet readily available, making accessing content online much easier than it was in the past. Whether we are using our phones, laptops, tablets, computers, or any other device, we need to take advantage of these resources to make the most out of our online learning experience.

As a society we need to adapt to these new changes and continue to use them to our advantage. Something that’s crucial for these online programs is that the content needs to be engaging for the students so they don’t lose interest.


Here are some tips on how to keep your students engaged and creating an environment where the students will want to continue to learn.

  1. Change “hypothetical” situations into real life situations. Make the students apply real life-concepts and act as if these are real life decisions that need to be made. This is beneficial because it forces the students to take the lesson more seriously and think more critically.
  2. Include visuals in your content. Whether they are pictures or videos that are related to that specific lesson, changing the delivery method of what you’re teaching has been proven to yield higher scores.
  3. Create instructional videos for instructions instead of sending out the instructions on a document/in a text format. This forces the students to actually take some time to sit down and watch your video for the instructions and take notes as need be.
  4. Ask questions via video messages, and ask your students to respond through a video message as well. This also forces the students to actually sit down and take some time to respond to your question and have a more thought out answer instead of them just writing it and sending it in. It’s also good for other students to watch these videos and start creating relationships with each other and putting faces to names.

As you can see, technology is helping us learn in new and improved ways. Thankfully, technology has really made it easy for us to readily access information, whether it’s information about an assignment or a syllabus for a class, being able to access the internet from virtually anywhere makes this a lot easier.

As each year progresses, we need to continue to adapt to these new learning methods and continue to learn how to use them to our full advantage.

Windows 10 Review

Windows 10 is one of the most powerful upgrades Microsoft has ever made before. It’s crucial that you take advantage of this update so you can make the most out of all the new and improved features that Windows 10 has to offer.

If you’re scared about adjusting to the new operating system, don’t worry! You can always go back if you don’t like the update and it’s actually quite easy to do. There’s nothing to worry about when updating to Windows 10 because if there is anything you don’t like, just downgrade and go back to your usual operating system and act like nothing ever happened, just make sure you have backed up your information (just in case anything goes terrible wrong).

An operating system for desktops, laptops, phones, and tablets.

Windows 10 is flawless because it works on everything mentioned above and makes working from an office to working from your couch very easy.

Siri who?

Everybody knows about Apple’s “Siri” and that she was initially pretty cool, but eventually got kind of old because she really wasn’t capable of that much. Well, luckily Windows 10 offers user assistance for free by “Cortana” who is 100x better than Siri in every sort of way. She’s capable of letting users dictate elements of the system strictly by voice. She will call people, she will do web searches, she will schedule appointments, give you directions, and much much more. She doesn’t just give you back search results when you ask her a question like Siri does, instead Cortana will simply just answer the question directly with an answer that doesn’t require you to have to click anywhere else on your phone.

Windows 10 enterprise, for all you business people out there.

To quickly summarize, here are some awesome benefits you can enjoy from joining Windows 10 enterprise.

  • Much more simpler to upgrade than it was in the past.
  • Mobile devices now interlinked with desktop and tablets for easier access across the board.
  • Redesigned security making your work and personal information safer than ever
  • More control when it comes to updates, whether you want to change the frequency of how many times they tell you to update or you don’t want any reminders at all, Windows 10 makes it easy!
  • Signing on made easy. No more waiting for your computer to boot up and make loud noises while you’re waiting for your computer to turn on.

If you’re having a hard time making the decision to upgrade, stop in one of the nearest Microsoft stores and talk with one of their employees. Normally, I wouldn’t suggest doing something like this as the employees opinions are usually biased and they are just focusing on selling you whatever they can, but from my experiences with Windows they actually care about you and don’t force a hard sale on you. Talk with them, figure out the pros and the cons, and make the decision for yourself! For me, I don’t regret upgrading at all and love what Windows 10 has to offer.