The Key to Retaining (and Attracting) Top IT Talent

The Key to Retaining (and Attracting) Top IT Talent

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The Key to Retaining (and Attracting) Top IT Talent

The Key to Retaining (and Attracting) Top IT Talent

Hiring managers who have struggled with employee attraction and retention as the Great Resignation drags on can tell you that turnover can be a nightmare to deal with. Not only does your company spend, on average, about 30% of the salary for a position to rehire for it1, but your workplace experiences a loss of skills, knowledge, and working relationships every time an employee leaves the team.

The pain of loss is severe when it comes to IT team members. These are the professionals who understand the technologies that make your business run, the ones who keep your systems healthy, safe, and operational. When you lose your top IT talent, you feel it. Compounding this situation, technology employees tend to turn over at higher rates compared with those in most other job categories. A study from 2018 found that technology workers had a turnover rate of 13.2%, which was the highest rate of turnover of all industries2.

Unfortunately, the turnover rate for IT employees has only continued to climb, with a recent study documenting a rate of 21.3%3. If you are like many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) competing for tech talent in the midst of a highly competitive job market, you have probably found yourself looking for new ways to better attract and retain top IT talent.

When you start with an understanding of why technology workers leave, and what attracts them to new employers, you can design attraction and retention strategies that work:

Provide Opportunities for Advancement

In a survey of IT professionals that asked about their reasons for turnover, the most common reason for leaving previous jobs—shared by 45% of respondents—was lack of opportunity for advancement4. This makes promoting from within the company an important retention strategy to consider.

Support Career Path Development

In addition to promoting IT employees to higher positions within your company, it is also important to provide access to developmental experiences that help to strengthen an IT employee’s skills and capacities in their chosen career path. This is so important that 59% of IT professionals reported that this is what attracted them to a new employer5.

Offer Competitive Pay

If you guessed that pay was the most influential attraction and retention factor, you’re in good company, but the truth is that pay ranked below advancement opportunities and career path support. Interestingly, a higher proportion of IT employees (54%) felt that pay was compelling when choosing a new employer, compared with only 34% who reported leaving a job because of dissatisfaction with pay6.

Provide Opportunities to Make an Impact

Another factor that was important to IT professionals was the degree to which they are able to make an impact on their company. Specifically, 42% of IT professionals reported that this possibility is what drew them to new employers7. This indicates that environments in which IT employees are able to stretch, make improvements, and exercise their creativity are more attractive than those in which the IT role is more repetitive and focused on maintaining the status quo.

Avoid Work Overload

Finally, stress and burnout are known predictors of turnover among IT talent. Research established that work overload can influence IT workers to feel less committed to their organizations, which then increases the likelihood of turnover8. Even IT positions that seem attractive at first glance will eventually lose their appeal if job demands are too heavy on a chronic basis.

The Key to Strengthen Your IT Talent Attraction & Retention Strategy

Attraction and retention strategies are often developed using solely in-house resources, but many SMBs have found that partnering with a managed services provider (MSP) strengthens their ability to attract and retain their own in-house IT talent. This is because the MSP often assumes responsibility for routine, repetitive, time-consuming IT tasks, allowing in-house IT professionals to:

  • Pursue new training and mentorships that build their career path capacities;
  • Take on more challenging, creative IT projects that make an impact on their companies;
  • Increase their skillsets in ways that lead to promotion;
  • Avoid burnout by maintaining a reasonable workload and pace.

Co-managing your IT in partnership with an MSP allows you to create working conditions that are more attractive to top IT talent—and that help to retain them once they sign on. Containing turnover costs relieves pressure on your budget, allowing you to offer more competitive pay for IT employees. In these ways, partnering with an MSP can be key to retaining your top IT talent.

Interested in exploring managed services as an attraction and retention strategy for IT talent?

References:

  1. Work Institute. (2020). 2020 retention report. https://info.workinstitute.com/hubfs/2020%20Retention%20Report/Work%20Institutes%202020%20Retention%20Report.pdf

  2. Booz, M. (2018, March 15). These 3 industries have the highest talent turnover rates. LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-strategy/industries-with-the-highest-turnover-rates

  3. Silverman, R. (2020). Retail sector wages are rising due to higher employee turnover and e-commerce demand. Aon. https://humancapital.aon.com/insights/articles/2020/retail-sector-wages-are-rising-due-to-higher-employee-turnover-and-e-commerce-demand

  4. 5. 6. 7. Thomson, L. (n.d.). How to attract and retain top technology talent. LinkedIn. https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/learning/en-us/pdfs/lil-guide-attract-retain-top-tech-talent.pdf
  1. Harden, G., Boakye, K. G., & Ryan, S. (2018). Turnover intention of technology professionals: A social exchange theory perspective.Journal of Computer Information Systems, 58(4), 291-300. https://doi.org/10.1080/08874417.2016.1236356

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Structuring Remote and Hybrid Work to Drive Innovation

Structuring Remote and Hybrid Work to Drive Innovation

READ TIME: 4 MIN

Structuring Remote and Hybrid Work to Drive Innovation

Structuring Remote and Hybrid Work to Drive Innovation

With the restrictions of the pandemic mostly behind us, businesses that were forced to adopt remote work are now free to decide whether to continue with remote work or return to in-person work. Recent Foundry research on the “future of work” reveals that, even with the newly regained freedom to restore pre-pandemic work conditions, remote work is here to stay: 68% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) intend to retain either hybrid or fully remote work options into the future1.

The decision to offer remote or hybrid work on an ongoing basis is certain to please employees, and many employers have found that offering remote or hybrid options has become central to staying competitive in a tough employment market. And this is for good reason: Remote employees reported higher levels of satisfaction on all eight dimensions of “employee experience” in a recent survey, from work-life balance to productivity2. But in spite of these bright points, many leaders still have their reservations when it comes to remote work.

Does Remote or Hybrid Work Degrade Innovation?

Offering remote or hybrid work means happier employees and better retention—what’s not to love about that? If you ask executive-level leaders, however, many will tell you that the trend toward remote work jeopardizes innovation—and hence their firm’s bottom line. In fact, 51% of C-level executives expressed concern about the adverse effects of remote work on innovation3. A similar proportion of SMB leaders expressed concern that remote work dynamics fail to stimulate the type of interactive processes that foster collaboration4.

Leaders’ concerns about impoverished interaction and dampened innovation are intertwined. For decades, physical proximity has been viewed as an essential factor in facilitating innovation, mainly because employees are more inclined to converse with one another if they are physically closer to each other. But, are impromptu chats truly the main driver of innovation? An examination of the research suggests a more complex dynamic.

Facilitators of Innovation for Remote and Hybrid Workers

To more directly answer the question posed above, the fact is that in-person interaction is not required for innovation, and in fact, virtual teams may be even more innovative than in-person teams. However, the switch from office-based to virtual work does undeniably change team communication patterns, and there is a risk of silo effects or even individual isolation with remote work, which could certainly dampen innovation.

The important lesson to take from the research is that leaders have to be more intentional in prompting innovation with remote or hybrid teams. The following practices are recommended:

  • Diversity: Whether in-office or remote, diversity is still an important factor in promoting innovation. One study found that businesses that were more diverse outperformed their less-diverse competition by 36%, an outcome that researchers attributed to higher levels of innovation in diverse firms5. Because remote work options allow employers to hire from a broader geographic region, companies may be able to boost their diversity by offering remote work.

  • Moderated hybrid meetings: Teams that innovate well are those that make sure all voices are heard. Hybrid meetings, where some team members are in-office and some participate via video conferencing, run the risk of excluding virtual members. To counter this risk, designating a moderator is recommended. Having an employee monitor the remote chat ensures that attempts to contribute by remote members are not overlooked by the in-person team members.

  • Regular videoconference meetings: Innovation thrives within an environment of trust, and regular contact with team members is important to build this trust. Remote and hybrid work lends itself well to asynchronous work, which helps some employees maintain work-life balance. But maintaining a certain degree of real-time communication is important for building the group relationships that give rise to innovation.

  • Asynchronous brainstorming: For many leaders, the notion of “team innovation” is synonymous with the group brainstorming process, which derives its synergies from in-person interaction. Because virtual meetings have a different “flow” and interactive dynamic, many fear that replacing in-person meetings with virtual meetings will stifle the brainstorming process. The surprising news is that asynchronous brainstorming using virtual communication tools actually outperforms in-person brainstorming in terms of numbers of ideas generated6.

    Asynchronous brainstorming begins by providing team members the topics to think about on their own. Each team member then submits their ideas anonymously (e.g., using applications like Forms). All ideas are then circulated among the whole team, with further rounds of iteration proceeding as desired. Finally, the team comes together in a video conference session to review the final set of ideas.
  • Planned spontaneity: Some employees feel that the loss of impromptu “water cooler moments” with remote work reduces their innovative output. To accommodate employees who thrive on spontaneous interactions, some businesses leverage the breakout session functionality of video conferencing platforms to create brief meetings for randomly-grouped employees. Although the meeting itself is planned, employees never know who will be in their breakout session, adding an element of serendipity to their encounters.

  • Virtual whiteboards: Collaboration platforms like Teams allow you to create chat channels that are dedicated to specific topics or types of conversation. To create a venue for innovation among remote or hybrid workers, some firms designate specific chat channels as “virtual whiteboards,” where employees are free to randomly suggest new ideas for solutions, contribute ideas for solving problems, or evaluate others’ contributions. One firm, Rite-Solutions, created a virtual whiteboard and allocated $10,000 in virtual currency that employees were encouraged to “invest” in ideas that had been suggested. At the end of its first year, the virtual whiteboard yielded ideas that accounted for 50% of the company’s new business growth7.

NexusTek offers the full spectrum of solutions your business needs to create a vibrant and innovative remote/hybrid team—from cloud infrastructure to Microsoft Modern Workplace applications, to managed services and cyber security to keep your systems running smoothly and securely.

Would you like to discuss IT solutions to facilitate innovation for your remote or hybrid team?

References:

  1.  Foundry. (2022). Future of work study. https://foundryco.com/tools-for-marketers/research-future-of-work/
  2. Molla, R. (2022, February 1). Remote work isn’t the problem. Work is. Vox. https://www.vox.com/recode/22904758/remote-work-innovation-workload
  3. Northeastern University. (2021). Employers’ post-COVID business strategy and the race for talent: A view from the C-suite. https://cps.northeastern.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/NUReport_CFHETS_EmployersPostCovid_12-22-2021.pdf
  4. Foundry. (2022). Future of work study. https://foundryco.com/tools-for-marketers/research-future-of-work/
  5. McKinsey. (2022, June 6). How virtual work is accelerating innovation. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/operations/our-insights/how-virtual-work-is-accelerating-innovation
  6. Tsipursky, G. (2021, October 14). Remote work can be better for innovation than in-person meetings. Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/remote-work-can-be-better-for-innovation-than-in-person-meetings/
  7. Sullivan, J., & Cox, M. (2020, June 1). Increasing innovation among your remote workers. DJS. https://drjohnsullivan.com/articles/increasing-innovation-among-your-remote-workers/

Succeeding in a VUCA World: Give Your Business an Edge

Succeeding in a VUCA World: Give Your Business an Edge

READ TIME: 4 MIN

Succeeding in a VUCA World: Give Your Business an Edge

Succeeding in a VUCA World: Give Your Business an Edge

In the modern world, companies of all sizes must contend with a business environment that changes by the minute and is full of surprises. “It’s a VUCA world,” some may say, in reference to the often confounding conditions that businesses now must manage to stay afloat. But what exactly is VUCA? In this article, we’ll answer this question, helping to clarify how you can equip your business to cope with the challenges of a VUCA world.

What Does VUCA Mean?

VUCA is an acronym that stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. The term was introduced by the U.S. Army War College to describe the global environment that resulted from the end of the Cold War1. As business leaders began to recognize that VUCA also characterized the modern external and internal business environments they face, the term came into use in the business world as well.

V = Volatility

Magnified by technological changes and globalization, volatility refers to the modern business world’s tendency toward constant change of ever-increasing rapidity. Although volatility does not make it difficult to understand changes, it does challenge business leaders to keep pace.

U = Uncertainty

Uncertainty refers to a tendency toward poor predictability in the external environment. In other words, it is becoming harder to predict when important events will happen using yesterday’s knowledge and paradigms.

C = Complexity

Complexity in the business world arises from the multiplicity of interacting factors that make cause-effect relationships difficult to determine. Complexity therefore creates challenges to decision-making because of the potential for unexpected reactions. Stated differently, where conditions are complex, an action can have consequences that are not foreseen. 

A = Ambiguity

Finally, ambiguity refers to conditions in which there is a lack of clarity about a specific problem. Such lack of clarity is not due to a lack of information, but instead arises when information is difficult to interpret. This may be due to contradictory information, multiple viewpoints, or lack of precedent2.

Technologies to Thrive in a VUCA World

As technological advancements have played a key role in the development of a VUCA world, it is perhaps a bit ironic that technologies can also help your business to cope and thrive in these turbulent times. Following are suggested solutions for managing volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

Cloud-Based Infrastructure:

  • Businesses that use solely on-premises IT must upgrade their hardware regularly to keep pace with relentless technological advancement. Moving to the cloud, or moving a portion of your infrastructure to the cloud (i.e., adopting a hybrid cloud model), reduces capital expenses associated with hardware upgrades while ensuring that your business has access to the latest technologies.
  • Cloud-based infrastructure scales easily as your computing needs increase or decrease, allowing your business to respond nimbly to rapidly changing markets.
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provides your business with on-demand access to cloud-hosted applications that are fully managed by the cloud provider. SaaS helps with managing volatility specifically related to technological advancements, as you always have the latest versions of applications and never miss an update.

Business Continuity Planning and Backup Services:

  • Disasters and cyber attacks are unpredictable by nature, and both can result in data loss. Whether you use a cloud-based or on-premises infrastructure, data backup services ensure that you always have a copy of your business data, no matter what happens.
  • Unpredictable events can also knock your critical business applications offline, costing most small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 per hour3. Business continuity planning helps your business to prepare, making sure that your critical business applications keep running regardless of unforeseen circumstances.

Cyber Security Monitoring and Business Intelligence Software:

  • Recent research reveals that 58% of businesses make decisions based on outdated information4, a risky practice in a fast-changing world. Business intelligence software (like Microsoft Power BI) provides your company with streaming data, allowing you to maintain real-time visibility into your company’s sales, production, and other operations. This helps you to keep your finger on the pulse of your business so that when changes happen, you find out fast. Real-time data analysis can also help to clarify key variables that may be driving desired or undesired outcomes, taking some of the complexity out of decision-making.
  • When making security decisions, relying on your “gut feeling” or strategies that have worked in the past can lead you down disastrous pathways in a VUCA world. Cyber security monitoring gives you real-time visibility of your network and endpoints to ensure they’re secure and provides alerts on immediate threats, while also collecting valuable data on cyber threats to help support your cyber strategy.

Modern Workplace Solutions:

  • Ambiguity can often be alleviated through group discussion, which video conferencing and collaboration solutions make quick and easy, regardless of where team members are located.
  • Questions of social and cultural significance can be highly complex as well as ambiguous. The sharing of multiple perspectives among team members increases awareness and empathy, reducing both ambiguity and complexity. This in turn helps you to make decisions that are socially and culturally appropriate, and that avoid unintended consequences.

Co-Managed or Fully Managed IT Services:

  • SMBs in particular tend to have minimal IT resources, with IT management tasks often falling on the shoulders of top leaders and managers. Shifting your IT management to a managed services provider allows you to redistribute work so that key thinkers can remain focused on your business’s strategic problems.

Are You Interested in Learning About IT Solutions to Cope and Thrive in a VUCA World?

References:

  1. Sinha, D., & Sinha, S. (2020). Managing in a VUCA world: Possibilities and pitfalls. Journal of Technology Management for Growing Economies, 11(1), 17-21. https://doi.org/10.15415/jtmge.2020.111003
  2. Wood, W. (2020, November 11). What is VUCA and why is it important? https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-vuca-why-important-andrew-wood/
  3. (2020, May 13). Infrascale survey highlights the heavy costs of business downtime. https://www.infrascale.com/press-release/infrascale-survey-highlights-the-heavy-costs-of-business-downtime/
  4. (2020, September 29). Exasol research finds 58% of organizations make decisions based on outdated data. https://www.exasol.com/news-exasol-research-finds-organizations-make-decisions-based-on-outdated-data/

NexusTek Ranked on Channel Futures 2022 MSP 501

NexusTek Ranked on Channel Futures 2022 MSP 501
NexusTek Ranked on Channel Futures 2022 MSP 501

NexusTek Ranked on Channel Futures 2022 MSP 501—Tech Industry’s Most Prestigious List of Managed Service Providers Worldwide

For the Fifth Consecutive Year, Annual MSP 501 Includes NexusTek Among Industry’s Best-in-Class Businesses Growing Via Recurring Revenue and Innovation

Denver, CO (June 29, 2022) – NexusTek has been named as one of the world’s premier managed service providers in the prestigious 2022 Channel Futures MSP 501 rankings.

NexusTek has been selected as one of the technology industry’s top-performing providers of managed services by the editors of Channel Futures. For the past 16 years, managed service providers (MSPs) from around the globe have submitted applications to be included on this prestigious and definitive listing. The Channel Futures MSP 501 survey examines organizational performance based on annual sales, recurring revenue, profit margins, revenue mix, growth opportunities, innovation, technology solutions supported, and company and customer demographics.

MSPs that qualify for the list must pass a rigorous review conducted by the research team and editors of Channel Futures. It ranks applicants using a unique methodology that weighs financial performance according to long-term health and viability, commitment to recurring revenue and operational efficiency.

Channel Futures is pleased to name NexusTek to the 2022 MSP 501.

“We are deeply honored to be recognized on the Channel Futures MSP 501 list again this year,” said Mike Hamuka, Chief Revenue Officer, NexusTek. “NexusTek continually strives to accelerate performance by aligning our innovation and service initiatives with customer experience. Our commitment to our customers is the foundation of our success, and it is gratifying to see the outcomes of a customer-driven approach earn NexusTek a spot on the MSP 501 for the fifth consecutive year.”

This year’s list once again attracted a record number of applicants, making it one of the most competitive in the survey’s history. Winners are being recognized on the Channel Futures website and will be honored at a special ceremony at the Channel Futures MSP Summit + Channel Partners Leadership Summit, Sept. 13-16, in Orlando, Florida.

Since its inception, the MSP 501 has evolved from a competitive ranking into a vibrant group of innovators focused on high levels of customer satisfaction at small, medium and large organizations in public and private sectors. Today, many of their services and technology offerings focus on growing customer needs in the areas of cloud, security, collaboration and support of hybrid work forces.

“The 2022 Channel Futures MSP 501 winners are the highest-performing and most innovative IT providers in the industry today,” said Allison Francis, senior news editor for Channel Futures. “The 501 has truly evolved with the MSP market, as showcased by this year’s crop of winners. This is also the fifth consecutive year of application pool growth, making this year’s list one of the best on record.”

“We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the 2022 winners, and gratitude to the thousands of MSPs that have contributed to the continuing growth and success of the managed services sector,” said Kelly Danziger, general manager of Informa Tech Channels. “These providers are most certainly driving a new wave of innovation in the industry and are demonstrating a commitment to moving the MSP and entire channel forward.”

The complete 2022 MSP 501 list will be available on Channel Futures’ website on Monday, June 20th.

Background

The 2022 MSP 501 list is based on confidential data collected and analyzed by the Channel Futures editorial and research teams. Data was collected online from Feb. 1-April 30, 2022. The MSP 501 list recognizes top managed service providers based on metrics including recurring revenue, profit margin and other factors.

About NexusTek

Trusted by thousands of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), NexusTek is a national managed IT services provider with a comprehensive portfolio comprised of end-user services, cloud, infrastructure, cyber security, and IT consulting. We design holistic solutions for customers that deliver a superior end-user experience, backed by a 24/7/365 domestically staffed support team. NexusTek Managed Service Plans offer end-to-end IT management with fixed-monthly, per-user pricing through which SMBs can leverage helpdesk, backup, disaster recovery, dedicated engineers, security, 24×7 remote support and network monitoring services while creating predictable IT budgets.

About Channel Futures

Channel Futures is a media and events platform serving companies in the information and communication technologies (ICT) channel industry with insights, industry analysis, peer engagement, business information and in-person events. We provide information, perspective, and connection for the entire channel ecosystem. This community includes technology and communications consultants, integrators, sellers, MSPs, agents, vendors and providers.

Our properties include the Channel Futures MSP 501, a list of the most influential and fastest-growing providers of managed services in the technology industry; Channel Partners events, which delivers unparalleled in-person events including Channel Partners Conference & Expo, the MSP 501 Summit and Channel Partners Europe; and Allies of the Channel Council (ACC) and DEI Community Group, our initiatives to educate, support and promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the ICT channel industry. Channel Futures is where the world meets the channel; we are leading Channel Partners forward. More information is available at channelfutures.com.

Channel Futures is part of Informa Tech, a market-leading B2B information provider with depth and specialization in ICT sector. Every year, we welcome 14,000+ subscribers to our research, more than 4 million unique monthly visitors to our digital communities, 18,200+ students to our training programs and 225,000 delegates to our events.

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Which IT Solutions Are a Perfect Fit for Growing Businesses?

Which IT Solutions Are a Perfect Fit for Growing Businesses?

READ TIME: 4 MIN

Which IT Solutions Are a Perfect Fit for Growing Businesses?

Which IT Solutions Are a Perfect Fit for Growing Businesses?

Growing businesses face a unique collection of challenges. There is never enough time in the day, your budget only goes so far, and opportunities for growth are often coupled with overwhelming demands on your company’s resources. IT systems can help small and medium-sized business (SMB) leaders to manage growing pains more effectively, but only 18% of SMB leaders feel confident in their ability to implement technologies in a strategic manner1.

If selected carefully, IT solutions truly can help to reduce strain on growing businesses. In particular, the cloud-based services referred to “as-a-service” solutions are perfectly tailored to the needs of growing businesses. Common solutions in this category include:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): IaaS refers to on-demand computing, storage, and networking resources that can be accessed via the internet.

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): SaaS refers to specific software applications that be accessed through the internet rather than by installing the programs directly onto your devices.

  • Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS): Also termed virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), DaaS is also accessed via the internet but includes a full suite of applications that together make up an employee’s desktop.

Not only are these services delivered in the cloud, but they are managed by an IT services provider that will handle maintenance and regular updates. To understand why these cloud-based, as-a-service solutions are such a great fit for growing businesses, it is helpful to evaluate them in relation to critical factors for such businesses: cost, IT expertise, time investment, flexibility, and scalability.

Make Efficient Use of Smaller Budgets

In an investigation of barriers to adoption of new technologies by SMBs, the most frequently cited barrier—reported by 68% of leaders—was budget constraints2. Solutions like SaaS and IaaS are more affordable for smaller businesses because their pay-as-you-go pricing means that you only pay for the amount of licensing or data your business needs. Because payment is proportioned according to usage, growing businesses can obtain top-grade software and cloud computing resources with less expense compared to the equivalent on-premises software and hardware.

No Need for IT Expertise

Growing businesses typically have limited IT capacities, and in many cases, they lack an IT department altogether. On average, SMB leaders fulfil the responsibilities of 3 to 4 organizational roles2, which often includes IT management roles. As-a-service solutions are a great fit when IT expertise is lacking or in short supply, because they do not require that you set up and maintain complicated networking and hardware. If you know how to connect your device to the internet, you have the requisite level of IT expertise to set up and maintain IaaS, SaaS, or DaaS environments.

Time-Saving Implementation & Maintenance

For leaders of SMBs, insufficient time is one of the top 3 constraints on business growth2. This makes the fast and convenient nature of as-a-service solutions attractive to time-strapped leaders. Because applications, storage, computing, and networking are accessible through the internet, the setup process is just a matter of logging in. In addition, the service provider takes care of patches and updates for you, taking another time-consuming task off your to-do list.

Access Business Data Anywhere, Any Time

SMB leaders put in heavy hours, which is easier to manage if you can work from anywhere. DaaS or VDI solutions make this possible, providing users with their full desktop experience on any device and from any location with an internet connection. VDI solutions also allow growing businesses to offer remote or hybrid work, which has become essential for staying competitive in a tough job market.

Scale Usage Level Easily

With a growing business, it is important to be prepared for increases in demand while also keeping your costs as low as possible. Reflecting the difficulty of striking this balance, 50% of SMB leaders cited scaling technology as a major challenge to growth for the next 2 years2.

With SaaS and VDI, you can quickly and easily increase the number of software licenses without buying and installing new software; you just contact your service provider and submit a request. Similarly, IaaS data usage can be expanded with short notice, allowing you to quickly jump on growth opportunities that require greater computing power.

On the other hand, seasonal downturns or unexpected drops in business require downward scaling, which is just as quick and easy to accomplish. Because as-a-service solutions are subscription-based, you have the freedom to decrease usage levels as needed to control costs. This helps growing business leaders to avoid paying for unused software licenses and hardware, which is always a risk with on-premises deployments.

Offering a variety of cloud-based solutions including SaaS, DaaS/VDI, and IaaS, NexusTek supports SMBs to implement IT infrastructure that is tailor-made for growth.

Are you interested in exploring IT solutions for your growing business?

References:

  1. (2019). Tech buying trends among small and medium-size businesses. https://www.comptia.org/content/research/smb-technology-buying-trends
  2. (2019). Small & medium business trends report. https://www.salesforce.com/content/dam/web/en_gb/www/pdf/smb/salesforce-research-smb-trends-report-3.pdf

Are BYOD Practices Putting Your Business at Risk?

Are BYOD Practices Putting Your Business at Risk?

READ TIME: 4 MIN

Are BYOD Practices Putting Your Business at Risk?

Are BYOD Practices Putting Your Business at Risk?

In our hyper-connected world, most of us have experienced some degree of blurring between “work” and “personal” spheres. An example of this phenomenon is bring-your-own-device (BYOD) work practices, which refers to the use of personal devices for work purposes. Although BYOD was initially somewhat controversial, it is now the norm rather than the exception. In fact, 83% of companies now allow at least some use of personal devices for work purposes1. As BYOD creates distinct cyber security risks, it is important to understand the nature of those risks and how to contain them.

Why Have So Many Employers Adopted BYOD?

Before discussing risks, it is worthwhile to consider the reasons that BYOD has become so prevalent. One of the main reasons that BYOD has taken off is because it enhances job satisfaction for employees who have strong device preferences—and this is a sizable portion of the workforce. Specifically, 50% of employees over the age of 30 expressed a strong preference for their own devices over those provided by their employer2.

Use of personal devices can also cut costs and create efficiencies for employers. Whether employees are working remotely or in the office, using familiar equipment is less stressful and reduces the time a company must invest in device-related training and troubleshooting. Researchers have also found that employees who were permitted to use their own devices were 34% more productive3.

Cost savings of BYOD are also attractive to employers, especially to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that have limited budgets. Studies have demonstrated that BYOD practices may save a company $350 to $1,300 per employee, per year4. Given these clear benefits, it’s easy to see why BYOD has caught on so widely; however, with these benefits come distinct cyber security risks.

How Does BYOD Create Cyber Security Risks?

In spite of the benefits, BYOD practices introduce a higher degree of cyber risk for businesses. This is because every device that connects to a company’s network (i.e., every endpoint) creates a new point of vulnerability for hackers to exploit. Illustrating this risk, 51% of data breaches have been attributed to employees’ personal devices5. Risk emerges from multiple points:

  • Unmanaged devices: The term “shadow IT” refers to employees’ use of devices, software, and applications for work purposes without the knowledge of the employer. Shadow IT creates risk because if a company isn’t aware that a device is being used for work, then it cannot implement normal precautions (e.g., anti-malware software). When polled, 17% of employees admitted to using their cell phones for work without telling their employer6. It only takes one point of vulnerability for a data breach to occur, making this a considerable threat.

  • Lax personal device security: Although your company might require strong passwords and multifactor authentication, employees may be less stringent with security practices for their own devices. Many employees may even store company passwords in unsecured notes apps on their mobile devices. If an employee’s personal device is hacked, this gives the hacker easy access to business networks and data.

  • Malware: Another point of vulnerability is downloads; when using personal devices, employees may unwittingly download files or programs that contain malware. Malicious code can then be spread to the company network the next time the employee logs in from their device.

  • Device loss: Another source of risk is device loss, as employees are more likely to carry personal devices around with them than company-issued devices. This makes personal devices more likely to be lost, increasing the chances of business data falling into the wrong hands.

Cyber Defense Strategies for BYOD-Related Risks

Whether your business formally sanctions BYOD practices or not, enacting protective strategies is the safest option. Here are important methods to consider:

  • Managed endpoint detection: To recognize threats to your company’s network, it is necessary to first identify all endpoints. Keeping track of all personal devices manually is time-consuming and prone to error. With managed endpoint detection, however, any new devices that access your network are automatically detected, whether the employee has informed you of their intent to use the device or not.

  • Managed endpoint monitoring: In addition to detecting endpoints that are logged into your business network, it is important to proactively monitor for suspicious behavior or indicators of malware. With managed endpoint monitoring, any malicious activity is detected immediately, triggering an appropriate response such as logging the user out and issuing alerts.

  • Patch management: When vulnerabilities are identified in operating systems, software, or applications, patches that resolve them are issued. Because cyber criminals can exploit these vulnerabilities to hack into business networks, it is essential that patches and updates be installed immediately. With the expanded attack surface BYOD creates, falling behind on updates is a recipe for disaster.

  • Vulnerability scanning: In addition to endpoint detection, it is also important to routinely scan all endpoints on the network edge for vulnerabilities. With an ever-changing collection of personal devices accessing your network, spotting areas of vulnerability and addressing them promptly is sound practice.

  • Employee security awareness training: Your employees are the #1 source of cyber risk to your business, making cyber security awareness training essential in a BYOD environment. When employees are equipped to make smart choices, the whole business benefits.

With a range of solutions to defend against cyber threats of all types, NexusTek supports SMBs to take advantage of the benefits of BYOD practices while maintaining a robust cyber security posture.

Would you like to learn about cyber defense strategies to protect against BYOD-related risks?

References:

  1. Kolmar, C. (2022, April 14). 26 surprising BYOD statistics [2022]: What to know for your business. Zippia. https://www.zippia.com/advice/byod-statistics/
  2. Bullock, L. (2019, January 21). The future of BYOD: Statistics, prevention and best practices to prep for the future. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/lilachbullock/2019/01/21/the-future-of-byod-statistics-predictions-and-best-practices-to-prep-for-the-future/?sh=3f62f1501f30
  3. Turek, M. (2016, August 3). Employees say smartphones boost productivity by 34 percent: Frost and Sullivan research. Samsung Insights. https://insights.samsung.com/2016/08/03/employees-say-smartphones-boost-productivity-by-34-percent-frost-sullivan-research/
  4. Barlette, Y., Jaouen, A., & Baillette, P. (2021). Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) as reversed IT adoption: Insights into managers’ coping strategies. International Journal of Information Management, 56, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.ijinfomgt.2020.102212
  5. AT&T. (2017). Mind the gap: Cybersecurity’s big disconnect–The CEO’s guide to cybersecurity. https://www.business.att.com/content/dam/attbusiness/reports/cybersecurity-report-v6.pdf
  6. Kolmar, C. (2022, April 14). 26 surprising BYOD statistics [2022]: What to know for your business. Zippia. https://www.zippia.com/advice/byod-statistics/

NexusTek Honored on CRN’s 2022 Solution Provider 500 List

NexusTek Honored on CRN’s 2022 Solution Provider 500 List
NexusTek Honored on CRN’s 2022 Solution Provider 500 List

NexusTek Honored on CRN’s 2022 Solution Provider 500 List

Recognized as a leading solution provider for the fourth consecutive year

Denver, CO, June 1, 2022 — NexusTek, a top national cloud, managed IT services, and cyber security provider, today announced that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named NexusTek to its 2022 Solution Provider 500 list.

CRN’s annual Solution Provider 500 ranks North America’s largest solution providers by revenue and serves as the gold standard for recognizing some of the channel’s most successful companies. With a combined revenue of more than $434 billion, this year’s list represents an impressive amount of influence and impact wielded by these companies on today’s IT industry and the technology suppliers they partner with.

“NexusTek is honored to be recognized on CRN’s 2022 Solution Provider List,” said Scott Ray, Chief Operating Officer of NexusTek. “At NexusTek, we place our customers’ success and satisfaction above all else, allowing their needs and priorities to drive our strategic solution offerings and customer service provision. We believe that our own success, evidenced by our inclusion on CRN’s SP500 for four years running, demonstrates the importance of making customer service the core of our values and actions. We plan to continue in this direction, evolving as a solution provider as our customers’ needs require.”

“The Solution Provider 500 list from CRN serves as the benchmark for the top technology integrators, strategic service providers, and IT consulting firms, making it an invaluable resource for technology vendors seeking to partner with today’s top-performing IT solution providers,” said Blaine Raddon, CEO of The Channel Company. “My congratulations go out to each of these companies for their extraordinary contributions to the continued growth and success of the IT channel.”

CRN’s 2022 Solution Provider 500 list is available online at www.CRN.com/SP500 and a sample from the list will be featured in the June issue of CRN Magazine.

With over 25 years of experience, NexusTek provides holistic solutions that combine best-in-class technology and an experienced workforce of highly skilled engineers and IT professionals to design, deliver, on-board, and maintain IT operations for thousands of businesses across the U.S. and Canada. 

About NexusTek

Trusted by thousands of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), NexusTek is a national managed IT services provider with a comprehensive portfolio comprised of end-user services, cloud, infrastructure, cyber security, and IT consulting. We design holistic solutions for customers that deliver a superior end-user experience, backed by a 24/7/365 domestically staffed support team. NexusTek Managed Service Plans offer end-to-end IT management with fixed-monthly, per-user pricing through which SMBs can leverage helpdesk, backup, disaster recovery, dedicated engineers, security, 24×7 remote support and network monitoring services while creating predictable IT budgets.

About The Channel Company

The Channel Company enables breakthrough IT channel performance with our dominant media, engaging events, expert consulting and education, and innovative marketing services and platforms. As the channel catalyst, we connect and empower technology suppliers, solution providers, and end users. Backed by more than 30 years of unequaled channel experience, we draw from our deep knowledge to envision innovative new solutions for ever-evolving challenges in the technology marketplace. www.thechannelcompany.com

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The Great Resignation and IT Employees: Where Do Things Stand Today?

The Great Resignation and IT Employees: Where Do Things Stand Today?

READ TIME: 5 MIN

The Great Resignation and IT Employees: Where Do Things Stand Today?

The Great Resignation and IT Employees: Where Do Things Stand Today?

April 2021 marked the onset of the Great Resignation when a record-setting 3.99 million U.S. workers voluntarily left their jobs1. Over a year later, many are wondering about the status of the Great Resignation. Is it over yet? Still continuing? We were interested in these questions as well—especially as they apply to IT employees—and the following is an overview of the situation we face today.

Status of the Great Resignation in 2022

Although many were shocked at the record-setting quit level of 3.99 million in April 2021, the ensuing monthly tallies of voluntary resignations reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggest that this was just the beginning. The number of monthly resignations has continued to climb, reaching a new record high of 4.51 million in November 20212.

Since the beginning of the Great Resignation, the average number of job quits has been 4.15 million per month, and in fact, the number of resignations per month has not fallen below 4 million since August of 2021. The most recent statistics from BLS show that 4.35 million workers left their jobs voluntarily in February 2022, indicating that the Great Resignation has not abated3.

Technology Employees and the Great Resignation

With a history of higher-than-average turnover that spans many years, the technology industry has been hit especially hard by the Great Resignation. To provide context, turnover rates for the technology industry in 2018 were the highest among all industries, at 13.2%4. More recently, in 2020, technology employee turnover rates were clocked at 21.3%5.

Data collected on turnover intentions during the Great Resignation suggest that turnover rates for technology professionals may only continue to climb in coming months. Survey data collected in September 2021 suggested that a full 72% of technology employees in the U.S. planned to quit their jobs in the next 12 months6.

The adverse effects of IT staff turnover are multifold. Losing members of your IT team can result in remaining team members feeling overworked and stressed, which can itself exacerbate turnover. Furthermore, losing IT knowledge and expertise can have a direct impact on the management and upkeep of your company’s IT systems. And of course, turnover in IT is expensive. A conservative estimate is that the cost of replacing an employee is about 30% of their salary7. This means that an IT employee who earns $90,000 per year costs approximately $27,000 to replace.

The Increasingly Important Role of Retention Strategies

The ongoing costs and challenges of high turnover have brought retention strategies into the spotlight. The high demand for talent in general—and IT employees specifically—translates to an employment market where job seekers are free to be choosy about which offers they accept. The abundance of demand places IT workers in a situation where, if they are unsatisfied with their current jobs, they have plenty of other options to consider.

For companies that wish to retain IT employees to the greatest extent possible, the questions then become: Why do IT workers quit, and what might entice them to stay? Research indicates that the most common causes of IT staff turnover are8:

  • Seeking better pay
  • Looking for better working conditions
  • Desire for more responsibility
  • Seeking opportunity to express creativity

Previous studies of turnover and retention in IT affirm these findings, demonstrating that factors like stress due to excessive workload and lack of professional development opportunities can send your best IT talent looking for greener pastures elsewhere9.

Managed IT Services as a Strategy for Curtailing High IT Turnover

Retooling your IT retention strategies is certainly a timely idea, and an option that you might not have considered is outsourcing a portion of your IT management to a managed services provider (MSP). By partnering with an MSP, you can:

  • Decrease stress and burnout in your in-house IT team: Co-managing your IT systems with an MSP allows you to outsource the time-consuming and urgent tech support requests that make for long, stressful days for your IT team. When your employees can call the MSP’s help desk for support whenever they need it, this relieves the pressure that often drives in-house IT talent out the door.
  • Give in-house IT staff opportunities for higher-value activities: Another benefit of co-managing your IT with an MSP is that, with the day-to-day tech support calls taken off your in-house IT team’s hands, they have more time for strategic IT activities. Not only does this provide your IT staff with more responsibility and opportunities for growth, but it also improves your company’s ability to achieve business goals by more effectively leveraging technologies.

Co-managing your IT in partnership with an MSP allows you to create working conditions that better meet the needs and expectations of top IT talent. In addition, containing turnover costs relieves pressure on your budget, allowing for salary increases for your IT team. In these ways, partnering with an MSP can help you to retain your key IT professionals.

Are you interested in exploring managed services as a retention strategy for your IT talent?

References:

  1. Kaplan, J., & Kiersz, A. (2021, September 8). Another 4 million workers quit for the 4th month in a row, and it shows how Americans are rethinking work in a way they haven’t in decades. Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/record-number-workers-quit-fourth-month-labor-shortage-delta-economy-2021-9
  2. (2022). Quits by industry and region: Levels, seasonally adjusted. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/release/tables?rid=192&eid=7022&od=2021-11-01
  3. (2022). Quits by industry and region: Levels, seasonally adjusted. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/release/tables?rid=192&eid=7022&od=2021-11-01
  4. Booz, M. (2018, March 15). These 3 industries have the highest talent turnover rates. LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-strategy/industries-with-the-highest-turnover-rates
  5. Silverman, R. (2020). Retail sector wages are rising due to higher employee turnover and e-commerce demand. Aon. https://humancapital.aon.com/insights/articles/2020/retail-sector-wages-are-rising-due-to-higher-employee-turnover-and-e-commerce-demand
  6. (2021). Survey: Retaining tech employees in the era of The Great Resignation. https://www.talentlms.com/tech-employees-great-resignation-statistics
  7. Work Institute. (2020). 2020 retention report. https://info.workinstitute.com/hubfs/2020%20Retention%20Report/Work%20Institutes%202020%20Retention%20Report.pdf
  8. Stowe, L. (2020, March 25). Employee attrition rate. DevSkiller. https://devskiller.com/attrition-rate-in-tech/
  9. Harden, G., Boakye, K. G., & Ryan, S. (2018). Turnover intention of technology professionals: A social exchange theory perspective.Journal of Computer Information Systems, 58(4), 291-300. https://doi.org/10.1080/08874417.2016.1236356

How Cloud Computing Furthers Your Sustainability Goals

READ TIME: 3 MIN

How-Cloud-Computing-Furthers-Your-Sustainability-Goals

How Cloud Computing Furthers Your Sustainability Goals

In contemporary society, consumers and businesses alike place increasing weight on the sustainability implications of a company’s practices. The pervasiveness of technologies to facilitate critical business functions has led to an explosion in demand for data processing, raising concerns about the cloud’s energy consumption and prompting the question: Is cloud computing better for the environment than on-premises IT infrastructure?

In short, the answer to this question is yes, and in this blog, we review current evidence related to cloud computing and sustainability.

Change in Energy Demand Over Time

Early forecasts from a decade ago suggested that the expansive data centers used by cloud providers would drive up energy consumption dramatically. However, the overall changes in energy demand across all types of data centers—on-premises deployments and cloud—illustrate the efficiencies of cloud computing and modern equipment. From 2010 to 2018, the computing output of data centers worldwide increased by 6 times, but the corresponding energy consumption rose by only 6%1. These efficiencies are attributed to widespread movement from on-premises servers to cloud computing, along with more efficient equipment.

More Efficient Equipment in Cloud Data Centers

Because cloud providers must cover the costs of running an enormous quantity of machines, they are incentivized to seek out efficiencies. For this reason, cloud providers are more likely than on-premises server rooms to use the most recent, energy-efficient hardware. This has significant implications for energy consumption; compared with servers from 10 years ago, modern servers use about 25% of the energy on a per-output basis2. Public cloud providers also take specific measures to reduce the total amount of energy their facilities consume, using tailored chips, high-density data storage, ultrafast networking, and airflow systems that are specially designed for the environment.

Location of Cloud Facilities

Another contributor to energy efficiency of cloud data centers is location. Public cloud facilities are often deliberately located closer to energy sources, such as hydroelectric dams in the Pacific Northwest. This proximity to sources of energy reduces the amount of energy loss during transmission. Some cloud providers may also locate cloud facilities in colder areas to reduce the need for cooling. Companies that choose to maintain their own private, on-premises servers are less likely to have the same level of control over location, resulting in a net higher usage of energy on a per-output basis.

Efficiencies Created by Higher Usage Levels

Cloud providers are also able to attain greater efficiencies due to their higher levels of server usage. This is because running a single server at a higher level is more efficient than running multiple servers at the lower levels that are typical for smaller businesses. Increasing the computing output of a single server by a factor of 4 only increases its energy consumption by a factor of 1.7, illustrating the comparative efficiency of using a single server at higher levels3. Through use of demand forecasting and multitenancy, cloud providers can serve a mix of customers whose use patterns balance each other out. This avoids spikes in usage that are followed by periods of wasteful idle time, as often occurs in on-premises server rooms.

As a provider of cloud services that utilizes cloud data centers, including a Sustainability Certified data center in Las Vegas, NexusTek can help you achieve your sustainability goals.

References:

  1. Lohr, S. (2020, February 27). Cloud computing is not the energy hog that had been feared. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/technology/cloud-computing-energy-usage.html#:~:text=Its%20data%20centers%20on%20average,of%20the%20world’s%20electricity%20output.
  2. Knight, W. (2020, February 27). Data centers aren’t devouring the planet’s electricity—yet. Wired. https://www.wired.com/story/data-centers-not-devouring-planet-electricity-yet/
  3. (2020). The carbon benefits of cloud computing: A study on the Microsoft Cloud in partnership with WSP. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=56950

Are You on the Edge? Edge Computing, That Is…

Are-you-on-the-edge

READ TIME: 4 MIN

Are-you-on-the-edge

Are You on the Edge? Edge Computing, That Is…

As the next “big thing” in technology, edge computing has created a buzz that is exciting but not always easy to decipher. Is edge computing just a fancy name for the Internet of Things (IoT)? Will edge computing replace the cloud? How do I prepare my business for edge computing? These are all relevant questions for business leaders to consider, so let’s start with a straightforward description of how edge computing works.

What Is Edge Computing?

Although IoT devices are currently the most common application of edge computing, the two are not synonymous. Edge computing is similar to cloud computing, with a major difference being the distance between (a) where the data is created, and (b) where the data is processed. Usually, “where the data is created” equates to an endpoint, like a laptop or IoT device.

With cloud computing, the data you or your device creates might be processed in a cloud center two states away. With edge computing, however, that data will be processed in a location that is much closer to you or your device. Edge computing relies upon micro data centers that are more widely dispersed than cloud centers, as proximity to endpoints is central to its functionality.

Why Is Everyone So Excited About Edge Computing?

Although it is still in its nascent stages, edge computing is already used in some form by 38% of small and medium-sized businesses—and this proportion is expected to rise sharply over coming years1. The excitement swirling around edge computing is largely about its speed, and what its speed makes possible.

Because data travels a shorter distance with edge computing compared to cloud, the processed data is returned to the end user or device much more quickly. Although you might not notice this speed difference if you’re, say, creating a report in Excel using existing data, you might observe lags or delays (i.e., latency) for tasks that involve processing a higher volume of data, such as reviewing a dashboard that is fed by real-time data, or streaming video content.

Strategic IT Planning and Edge Computing

For purposes of strategic IT planning for your business, it is important to understand that edge computing is not expected to replace cloud computing. However, Gartner predicts that 75% of business data will be processed at the edge by 2025, a steep increase from 10% in 20182. Edge computing is expected to augment the cloud in an increasingly prominent way, with each type of computing occupying its own specific role.

Integrating edge computing into your IT strategy will require that you determine where it is needed to drive business outcomes and where it is not:

  • Real-time data processing: When real-time data processing is required for staying on top of sensitive processes or outcomes (e.g., medical or factory sensor monitoring), edge computing is the optimal choice.

  • Enhancing customer experience: When being faster makes a difference in customer experience, edge computing can give you the advantage. Keep in mind that even milliseconds matter in the customer experience. To illustrate, a 2020 study of mobile website performance across 37 brands found that an increase in speed of just 100 milliseconds was associated with an 8.4% increase in retail conversion rates3.

Edge Computing and Cyber Security

With the introduction of any new technology that is accessible via the internet, cyber security concerns should be front and center. Edge computing as a process is tightly intertwined with the devices that supply the data, such as factory sensors, actuators, mobile phones, and autonomous vehicles. Incorporating edge computing into your IT landscape will likely bring an explosion in the number of endpoints.

This has implications for cyber security because each endpoint creates an additional point of entry for hackers. The proliferation of IoT devices has not gone unnoticed by cyber criminals, who increasingly target these devices. At the same time, 48% of businesses that use IoT devices have no processes in place for detecting whether such devices have been hacked4. Having a solid cyber security plan, both preventive and responsive, is essential for businesses as they move into edge computing.

Integration of edge computing into your IT strategy requires careful planning and preparation. NexusTek can assist with strategic IT assessments, cyber security solutions, and ongoing managed IT to maintain optimal functionality of your edge computing infrastructure.

Would you like to learn more about optimizing your IT strategy?

References:

  1. Research and Markets. (2021, November 30). Global edge computing markets 2021-2026: Rising use of BYOD in modern business and technological evolution to drive the market growth. GlobalNewswire. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/11/30/2342704/28124/en/Global-Edge-Computing-Markets-2021-2026-Rising-Use-of-BYOD-in-Modern-Business-and-Technological-Evolution-to-Drive-the-Market-Growth.html
  2. (2018, October 3). What edge computing means for infrastructure and operations leaders. https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/what-edge-computing-means-for-infrastructure-and-operations-leaders
  3. (2020). Milliseconds make millions. https://www2.deloitte.com/ie/en/pages/consulting/articles/milliseconds-make-millions.html
  4. Schwab, K. (2019, January 16). IoT security is so bad, many companies can’t tell when they’re hacked. Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com/90292568/iot-security-is-so-bad-many-companies-cant-tell-when-theyre-hacked