1. TANSTAAFL = There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!

We’ve all heard the old saying “you get what you pay for,” but our experience on the Internet and with Mobile phones seems to suggest differently.  It doesn’t.  Anytime someone offers you an application or service for free, there is always something you are paying … it just may not be obvious.

And it’s not pop-ups or virus proliferation we need to worry about.  It’s the more subtle, outright theft of your personal information and your intellectual property.

Did you know that when you get a free “Outlook.com” email account from Microsoft, you have just granted them full rights to all your content?  So if you email some art work or music you created – Microsoft owns it now.  If you send out information relating to a new application or patent – Microsoft has rights to that invention.  Publishing a book and sending drafts to your editor? They also hold the copyright.

“To the extent necessary to provide the Services to you and others, to protect you and the Services, and to improve Microsoft products and services, you grant to Microsoft a worldwide and royalty-free intellectual property license to use Your Content, for example, to make copies of, retain, transmit, reformat, display, and distribute via communication tools Your Content on the Services.” https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/servicesagreement/default.aspx

2. There’s no such thing as Bullet Proof

Companies and individuals believe that a firewall and strong passwords can defend against breaches.  Yet over 50% of all businesses are breached each year.

We hear that anti-virus and endpoint protection can stop Ransomware, yet 60% of small to medium-sized businesses have suffered an attack.

At MSP IT Partners, we see cases where exactly the same AV/Malware software – same version, policies, same PC! – one will stop the Cryptovirus, the other will not.

While it might seem depressing to hear there is no “magic bullet,” it also now lets us know that yes there are concrete risks that come with computers and engaging in digital activities online.  If we know what the risks are, we can at least manage them!

In 2015, the OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development], reversed its recommendations for the past 13+ years to say – security isn’t a technical problem, it’s simply yet another personal or business risk that we need to manage.

  • the global, interconnected, open and dynamic nature of the digital environment is essential to drive economic and social prosperity; and
  • it is impossible to create a “safe and secure” digital environment where risk is entirely avoided other than by eliminating digital openness, interconnectedness and dynamism, and giving up the economic and social benefits these properties can unleash [i.e. Unplug the Internet].

3. New isn’t Automatically Better

When it comes to managing computers and networks for small, medium-sized organizations, MSP IT Partners likes to be a follower and not a leader, especially for core infrastructure components like operating systems, network devices, servers, systems…

Why?  Well after almost 20 years as a Microsoft Partner, we learned the hard way that each new version takes about a year to shake out and it’s only after Service Pack 1, or even better Service Pack 2 comes out that the system is stable enough to deploy, run and manage!

This doesn’t mean we’re opposed to change.  Just Both …  And … again!

Try new things for new needs and cutting edge advantages — just know the risks.  Stay with the old, tried and true for things that have become a utility for you or your business — the one’s you know for sure actually work!

4. Show Me

Although MSP IT Partners is founded in Georgia and we grew from there, it would be fair to say our state motto comes from Missouri — the “show me” state.

Talk is cheap.  We like to do a lot of it, but we know at the end of the day talk is just air.  Whether it’s a new cloud service you’re signing up for, trial software, a new service provider or plan …  we know that everyone can save an amazing amount of time, money and heartache by making the seller demonstrate their product or service can do what it says it can.

We know it’s challenging to do.  And we know from experience that things don’t always work as expected or mistakes happen.  But see the thing or service work the way you need it to before you commit to any long-term obligation.  And check in on it or them now and again to make sure your still happy.

5. There is no One right way … for anything!

At MSP IT Partners we joke, put two IT professionals in a room and wait 5 minutes.  The my way or my technology is better than yours fight is bound to break out!

As IT professionals we are passionate about our field.  We spend huge amounts of time learning different tools, languages, systems, techniques and struggle every day to keep current in our particular specialties.  This does, of course, have its downside.  It means we get so invested in Hyper-V vs. VMware or Microsoft vs. Linux or Java vs. .Net (and on and on and on…) that our opinions can get rigid and we don’t stay as open or flexible as we should to new ideas or alternate viewpoints.

A driving reason behind creating MSP IT Partners as a professional practice with multiple stakeholders, owners, was to ensure we foster diversity.  The sum is much greater than each of our individual parts.  We challenge each other – daily – over perceptions, beliefs, approaches and we have learned to respect each others contributions.

So in one organization we may recommend VMWare, another Windows Hyper-V, we may say this application needs to be coded using JavaScript and MySQL, but this one’s perfect for .NET

Context is key!

What are you trying to accomplish with technology?  How are you going to use it?  Where? How often? and all the other questions…

MSP IT Partners is diligent about creating and maintaining clear standards and best practices in each of our service areas.  But we update them and we understand when they need to NOT be followed.

At MSP IT Partners there are many “right” answers.  We understand Both … And!