26th Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey Published

by Buddy Gillespie, April 28th, 2015 in CTO, Healthcare IT
healthcare tech

HIMSS recently published the 26th Leadership Survey with a specific focus on the strategic role of IT in healthcare organizations.  An overwhelming amount of respondents stated that consumer/patient considerations would be top priority for them.  It’s also interesting to note that IT Staffing also ranks as a key initiative.

Since the passage of the HITECH Act in 2009, the need for IT professionals in Healthcare has continued to grow. It was predicted that approximately 50,000 additional staff would be required to implement and sustain the Electronic Medical Record across thousands of hospitals. The 2015 survey indicates that the void of IT professionals still exists and workforce development will continue to be a high priority.  It will definitely be interesting to see how this plays out.

The HIMSS Leadership Survey is a good read for anyone in Healthcare IT, and I highly recommend that you give it a look.

When you’re finished, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Help Your Business Avoid Data Breaches with These Tips

by Jack Gesualdi, April 22nd, 2015 in CTO

As a business owner, you have an endless number of concerns on your mind. Some of these include worst-case scenarios, ranging from break-ins at your physical location to being hacked online and your information compromised. The digital issues have become more prominent in the last few years, as more and more business is conducted online and high-profile hackings have made the news. It has become increasingly important that your data is both secure and available whenever you need it.

While there are some upfront costs to protecting your business from worst-case scenarios, the consequences of being caught unprepared could be far worse. Depending on the severity of the situation, it could even wipe your business out. Here are some ways to protect yourself and your business.

  1. Avoid Losing Your Data

Few businesses are operating exclusively offline nowadays, meaning that just about everyone has data on servers. But, too many businesses aren’t maintaining adequate backups of all their data.  When a server problem or natural disaster affects their systems, it can be catastrophic for the business. This kind of data loss can be easily avoided by having data center disaster recovery plans in place. Backing up your information at a secure data center is cost effective and will keep your information completely safe, even in the event of a natural disaster or fire in the office.

data security - shutterstock

  1. Decrease Employee Risks

It’s important to keep your employees both physically and mentally well. There’s no doubt that your employees are an asset, but there is also risk involved when you have people working for you.  As such, you’ll want to ensure that they have proper working conditions and the right equipment and training. Furthermore, you’ll want to make sure that they are satisfied in their jobs and don’t have unaddressed major complaints or issues. Assessing employees and their concerns will decrease the likelihood of sudden departures, drops in work efficiency or quality, and (worst-case scenario) the theft or misuse of sensitive data.

  1. Prevent Break-ins and Burglary

It makes sense these days to install cameras both inside and outside of your business. To put it bluntly, video security is basic and if you don’t have some form of it, you are not doing enough to protect your business. Your computers themselves can be worth a lot to a thief, but the information on them is even more valuable in the right hands. A security system might be able to prevent this type of theft from happening (many people are less willing to steal in plain view of a camera), and to help bring the perpetrators to justice if it does. There are numerous security options out there, so investigate those available and find a cost effective solution for your business.

 

Challenges Facing Mid-Sized Businesses

by Jack Gesualdi, April 16th, 2015 in CTO

DataSmall businesses that survive the first few critical years and are looking to expand face a number of challenges. Companies that are already mid-sized also face challenges too. The economy in the U.S. has been trending upwards, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start to slip backwards. When the economy hits a rough patch it’s the businesses which have made the most cost-effective decisions that usually survive. If you’re the owner of a mid-sized business or hold a high position in one, it’s worth taking a look and reevaluating everything happening that you’re responsible for in the business. It never hurts to ensure you’re getting the most out of every dollar your business spends, especially when it means you’re able to weather those rough times. Here are some challenges mid-sized business face and how to meet them.

Challenge #1: Managing Growing Data

You have probably witnessed first-hand that your company is dealing with more data each month as your customer base grows. This is a good sign because it means you are receiving more customers, but finding a cost effective solution to handle all that data is difficult. The capital investment for new servers, the software required keeping them up-to-date and the staff needed to manage them almost 24/7 is not cheap. By investing in managed hosting services, you can eliminate those high initial capital costs and know that you’ll have a dedicated and trained staff watching over your servers 24/7. The other bonus to managed hosting services is your monthly cost is fixed and predictable. When running your own hardware, if something fails on you the cost spike can come at a bad time and be very damaging.

Challenge #2: Going Mobile

Due to the recent advances in technologies, the need for hardware and how we train employees is changing regularly. Keeping up with this can be costly. It’s no longer necessary for everyone to always work from the office. Many jobs can be easily completed from home thanks to VPNs, Dropbox, and other utilities. Having employees using technology they’re already familiar with that allows them do their jobs efficiently helps save on hardware and training costs. Allowing employees to regularly work from home also reduces the amount of office space required, which can cut down on your costs too.

Challenge #3: Having an Online Presence

Customers are regularly searching online for everything they need now if they don’t already have a familiar service provider in mind. A business that lacks a website (or a website that is well built and customer friendly) is losing money. The value of a strong website that is optimized for SEO and pragmatically laid out is massive. The cost of maintaining a professional website is well worth the benefits. It is important too, that the website be optimized for mobile devices, as the number of searches each year on mobile devices is rapidly increasing. Customers expect websites to be regularly updated with news and other information about the company; think of your website as on-going advertising of your services and products. If your website seems “stale” and content is not updated or added, customers stop visiting…and that can directly impact whether they purchase from you or from a competitor with an up-to-date and more interesting site.

The Importance of Delegation in Business

by Jack Gesualdi, March 16th, 2015 in CTO

As your business grows from a small business to a small-medium one and so on you will discover how important it is to effectively delegate out work that needs to be accomplished.  At first you may think it is better for you to do certain tasks yourself because you know how to do them best and in the most efficient manner, and you may be worried about someone else doing this.  These are understandable concerns, but what you need to realize is that your time and energy needs to put towards the tasks that help increase business and develop the overall company.  These are the tasks which keep business coming in and allow a company to expand.

Let’s examine various tasks that you can delegate out in order to improve your company.

  • Create a VP if you don’t already have one, or someone who is second in command. Have them be familiar with everything and everyone in the company.  As your company grows you will find yourself having more meetings that take you away from the company or possibly business trips, which means you need someone you can trust to handle the overall leadership and day-to-day activities at the company.
  • Find quality business IT support services that have a plan which works for you. Too many companies make the mistake of spending lots of capital and space in investing in their own servers and all of the baggage that comes with them.  Finding a quality company to outsource your daily IT-support services to will not only cut off the initial capital investment, but also save you from unexpected price spikes during the month.
  • Find a good HR Manager. A good HR manager will have their ear to the ground and will have a strong network which they can look to for finding skilled workers.  It was one thing when your business was small and it was you and maybe a few other people, but now that you’re growing you need someone to handle this for you.  It’s still fine to have them report to you and even drop in for a short interview for potential applicants, but your focus now needs to be directed elsewhere.
  • Struggling to come up with a solution to a problem or trying to improve the business in some way. Don’t let it all fall on your shoulders.  Have others in your company brainstorm with you.  This relieves the pressure of you having to figure it out by yourself and gets workers more involved.

 

Why a Hybrid Cloud May Be the Best Data Center Service

by Jack Gesualdi, February 27th, 2015 in Data Center

 

hybrid cloud concept

Business today involves a challenging cycle: growth fuels not only profits but increased IT needs, and increased IT needs place a heavy demand on your technological infrastructure. Most businesses find that their information storage never quite seems big enough, and rely on a variety of data center services to try to keep the costs down.

One of the most lauded of those data center services is enterprise cloud computing. Put simply, this involves outsourcing all of your server/data storage needs to a cloud-based network so that you are not responsible for the costs of buying, running, and maintaining physical equipment. Cloud computing does live up to its reputation, reducing data storage costs and improving performance—however, in recent years, private cloud computing has become more popular among businesses with more specific needs.

A managed private cloud has extra security features that make it appealing to companies that store sensitive internal or client information. The service also allows for more exact and customized scaling when your business expands. This extra security comes at a somewhat steeper price, though, meaning that you’ll have to carefully consider your budget and the necessity of such service.

Besides, what about the equipment you’ve already bought and paid for? Is eliminating an on-site data center really a cost-effective option when you’ve already invested in it?

Enter hybrid cloud computing. A hybrid cloud strikes a balance between all three options: it utilizes your existing physical infrastructure, a dedicated private cloud, and a public cloud where needed. You can continue to use your current data center or colocation service that you’ve already invested in and know works, while moving some long-term, consistent workloads to a private cloud where you get optimum performance. When you have periodic increases in workload, you can shift these fluidly to a public cloud at low cost or assess booking more private cloud space for long-term scaling. In other words, you can use your existing resources to offset the cost of switching to a managed private cloud, while enjoying all of the flexibility of pure cloud computing. And you never have to buy another piece of equipment again.

Hybrid cloud computing isn’t the only enterprise data center service worth looking at but, for companies that are tired of the cost of scaling their IT needs, it’s an excellent option that blends affordability with performance.

Why You Should Ask Your Data Center Host about Server Virtualization

by Jack Gesualdi, February 4th, 2015 in Data Center, Hosting

Data center hosting plans run the gamut from simple third-party management of systems to an entirely outsourced offsite data center experience. Most companies use services that fall somewhere in between the two, maintaining their own in-house servers but contracting a data center service to host backups or enable cloud computing. Unfortunately, that means that many companies are failing to get everything they can out of their server hardware.

Every company has growing data storage needs, and the cost of adding new servers can be high. Success as a business inevitably means you need to scale your information storage capacity, but you shouldn’t have to pay through the nose to do so. And with a data center hosting company that provides server virtualization, you don’t have to.

Server virtualization allows you to optimize your company’s data storage hardware by creating multiple virtual machines to handle your storage needs. In other words, your information infrastructure doesn’t need to consist of one piece of hardware to one server. Virtual machines do the same job as a physical machine, but several can be hosted per server and a machine’s resources can be passed more fluidly between the different systems that need them.

Virtualizing your data storage has many benefits:

  • Optimal use of network resources – Physical servers are all too commonly set up in a way in which not all of their system resources are needed to manage the tasks they perform. Meanwhile, other servers may struggle with insufficient memory for all the tasks they have to run. The result is a network that wastes badly needed storage space and resources. Virtual machines can spread resources across several servers and assign the right storage capacity to each one, while improving performance at the same time.
  • Fewer new equipment costs – Do you really need to order another machine every time you run up against capacity limits? Not with virtual machines. When you need more capacity, all you have to do is set up a new VM and assign the resources to it that it needs. You can be up and running almost immediately.

image of data center

  • Redundancy – Server virtualization means that a single VM can be run on two physical servers so that one can take up the slack from the other in the event of an outage or resource shortage.

Has your business explored server virtualization as a way to save money and increase performance? Call or contact us at DSS Data Center and ask about virtualization today!