Is your Managed Services Helpdesk Ready for the Holidays?

Is your Managed Services Helpdesk Ready for the Holidays?

With the holidays right around the corner, have you finalized your action plan to account for a potential increase in tickets while simultaneously dealing with key employees taking extra time off?

While many people assume that an IT help desk slows down over the holidays, many times the ticketing level and number of projects stay steady, or increase, while staffing levels decline. There are many reasons for this increase, businesses need to spend money toward the end of the year for tax purposes, budget is still left, or non-critical updates have been pushed off to the end of the year. Some companies traditionally slow down, an equal amount, hit their busy season and the success of the year hinges on this critical 45-day time period. For these companies, their IT team needs to enable their success and not be a hinderance to achieving their annual goals.

To successfully navigating the holidays the correct action plan needs to be in place.

The first aspect of creating this strategy is to analyze the prior years holiday season. How many tickets were created, priority level of these tickets, volume of last-minute projects and onboardings took place. How does this number compare to the rest of your year? If your customer base has grown over the past year, what type of businesses have been brought on to your service?

Staffing levels need to be set and scheduled to appropriately match the projections that are created based on this historical analysis of past holiday seasons. Address your full-time permanent staff’s vacation requests as early as possible. Vacation and time off requests can peak during November and December. These time off requests should be handled as early as possible in the year, to ensure that staffing is at the proper level. Allow flexibility if possible, in your scheduling, if not all employee requests can be met, consider offering half days or permitting some staff to work from home.

Set customer expectations early, especially with your larger clients. Make sure that they are aware that staffing will fluctuate as the holidays come closer. Look into using customer set prioritization levels on tickets. A traditionally lower priority ticket may become a larger issue if your customer is trying to leave for their own vacation. Don’t assume what the priority is to your customer. If any of your customers have repetitive issues, be proactive prior to the holidays and eliminate potential problems early. This can be handled by creating a knowledge base of frequent problems that can be fixed, be it a best practice guide or a quick tutorial. Verify that your internal automation is in place and working correctly. Be it auto bots to correctly route your customers or making sure that your internal applications, CRM, order management and invoicing tools are integrating correctly to reduce extra busy and non-productive work.

The holiday season can be a very stressful time for your employees and customers alike. Make sure that your staff is properly prepared for overstressed customers. This can be accomplished through awareness campaigns, training and understanding appropriate de-escalation tactics. Do the little things for your employees; allow longer lunch breaks so they can sneak in some holiday shopping of their own, bring in meals, snacks or coffee and most importantly make sure they are aware that their hard work is appreciated.

Handling the holiday seasons can either create loyal customers or drive them to your competitors. If your IT is not enabling your success during the holiday season, let HubWise Technology show you how we do better. Call us at 402-339-7441 or email at

Back to School Sales Doldrums

Back to School Sales Doldrums

August is the start of the end of summer.  Many families are trying to sneak in that last trip to the beach, cabin, or mountains to enjoy time together before school starts back up.  College and NFL football is back as training camps begin across the country and Major League Baseball’s division races are warming up.  The heat is still here, but some days you can start to feel just a little crispness in the air. It is the time to finish your summer reading list, check off items on the summer bucket list, finish landscaping projects and back to school shopping.  Sometime in Mid-August, schools start back up, and another school year begins. 

With all these distractions, how do you continue to succeed as a business developer?  Yes, sales are tougher and, in many industries, slow to a standstill during the first 3 weeks of August.  With so many decision makers out of the office or focused elsewhere, how do you keep making steady progress towards your sales goals?   

Continue to prospect.  So many business developers stop emailing, calling or cold calling during the month that you can stand out from the crowd by continuing to be tenacious.  Plain tenacity will only get you so far, it helps to change up your message also.  Add in levity and humor into your pitch but try not to mention how hot out it is.  The last 10 people through the door, salesman, vendors, and customers have already mentioned the heat. While you are making slight changes to your messaging, make in kind changes to your social media campaigns.  Look for summer events, new networking opportunities, charity golf tournaments, coffee meetings and anywhere else that you may meet a prospective customer.  When you are at these events, make sure to meet as many people as you can and steer some of the conversation to work.  

While it is true, the back to school sales doldrums do exist, they are not a reason to sit back and not work for the first 3 weeks of the month.  Get out and find some events, refill your sales funnel, network with a purpose and don’t mention how hot it is! 

Planning for Disaster Recovery

Planning for Disaster Recovery

With the devastating flooding and throughout the Midwest in the early spring and the record number of tornadoes throughout the country this year, Disaster Recovery (DR), has been a frequent discussion of topic for small and medium sized business owners. If my physical building was lost due to a natural disaster, how do I continue to function. Continuation plans and DR need to focus around a company’s data that is stored. If you building was a complete loss along with all of your IT hardware, will you lose all your data also? If you have backed up your data remotely how quickly can you access it? Who and where do you begin when developing a DR plan?

The first stage in developing a disaster recovery plan is to identify what is business critical. To make this identification, all aspects of your business need to be analyzed. What hardware and software are vital to your continued operations? What data is essential for daily operations and what data needs to be stored but may not need to be accessed for daily or immediate business continuity? Once these questions are answered you can begin to formulate the correct disaster recovery plan to ensure your continuation of business.

The second step in disaster recovery is identifying where you will need to store your data. Most IT disaster recovery and data backup has been moved to the cloud. The main benefit, other than cost, is you can access critical data and information from wherever you have designated as your deployment spot for your team. If you have accurately assessed you needs beforehand, once your disaster recovery plan is deployed you should be able to continue your business with minimal downtime.

The third, and maybe most difficult step in IT disaster recovery, is changing your current business practices to meet your plan that has been put in place. You will need to proactively train your team on what data gets backed up where. How often it gets backed up and ensure critical data is being saved to your remote servers instead of locally. If the right plan is put in place and the worst happens business with continue at your current pace with minimal interruption. If you fail to properly plan, the cost of lost data and downtime can be more than many small and medium sized business can recover from.

Windows 1903

Windows 1903

Just in the last couple of weeks, Microsoft released their May 2019 update for Windows 10. With it comes several new features and quality of life adjustments. Here are some things you can expect, new tools to try, and how to get the update for yourself.

After I finished the update to 1903, one of the first things I noticed was the separation of Cortana from the search functionality in Windows. In the past, you could use the search feature to find system files, programs, or even documents stored locally on the machine. The problem was, if you typed your query incorrectly or there was not a result that matched, Cortana would take over. This would result in a Microsoft Edge window opening with a Bing search for whatever you had typed. Cortana functionality still exists as a separate button. This change means more accurate searches, so you can find what you are looking for faster and without interruption from Edge.

A brand-new feature to Windows 10 is windows Sandbox. Sandbox is available to anyone on 1903 who has a licensed copy of Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Enterprise. Windows Sandbox is an application that opens a test environment of Windows. Within this program, you can try changes to system files, open files or attachments you are not sure about (though best practice is still to not open this type of content) or test a new application or tool. The beautiful thing about Sandbox is it is quarantined from the rest of your machine. There are no consequences to the rest of your PC from the changes made here. Once the session is over and you close out of the application, all changes are erased forever. It is a great tool for experimenting and can be invaluable when used in the right ways.

Another exciting new tool from the IT administrative side is Windows AutoPilot. AutoPilot is a way to automate the deployment of PCs to end users with out an IT employee having to touch the Machine. I will not go to terribly in depth here, but here is generally how it works. When IT is purchasing a new PC from their hardware vendor, the vendor will send a file with model and serial numbers. This information can be sent up to the AutoPilot management tool. From here, the IT department can customize how new PCs are deployed. They can set up Azure Active Directory Join, disable certain choices from being presented during setup, and determine which apps are deployed. As soon as the end user connects to the internet, all these settings are pushed down, and the result is a fully functioning PC with no additional interaction needed by either party for setup. This is a very robust tool that can save your organization a lot of time and money.

How do you get the update? Of course, it will organically come to you through Windows Update, but the updates are disseminated in waves and can take a while to reach every PC. As a workaround, the Windows Update Assistant tool can be used. This walks through prepping your PC and installing the new update start to finish. This is found directly from Microsoft at:

Email Security and the Dark Web

Email Security and the Dark Web

Ever wonder if your online accounts have been compromised? Do yourself a favor, and go run a scan of the dark web and enter your email address. There is a free service named Have I Been Pwned that aggregates data breaches and helps people understand if those breaches include any of their specific information. You can check it out at

Pretty scary stuff! At a recent convention I attended with about a thousand attendees, they ran all results for the people in attendance, and more than 90% of the email addresses had compromises associated with them.

What can you do about it? The immediate answer is to change your password, but that is only good until the next breach. The longer term answer involves help from your IT partner to setup a layered security solution that includes, at a minimum:

  • Monitoring of the dark web and alerting for any compromised accounts or domains
  • Structured password management
  • 2-Factor Authentication
  • Ongoing user training

HubWise can help you protect your people, network infrastructure, and your data. Drop us a line and we can begin assessing how best to help you now.

Rocketbook Wave Review 

Rocketbook Wave Review 

The Rocketbook Wave notebook is an erasable notebook that can upload the contents of your pages to a number of online sources.  I have recently started using this as my primary note-taking device. 

I have always been an online notes taker.  After I got my first tablet computer, I finally found a way to really keep track of the notes I take by using online systems such as Evernote and Microsoft OneNote.  Prior to that, I’d take tons of notes in the good old docket gold lined notepads, and then never really refer back to them because it took so long to find what I was looking for, if the old notepads even existed anymore. 

Ever since my switch to digital note taking, I have retained the information and become more productive, but I missed 2 aspects of handwritten notes: 

  • The speed of getting up and going in a meeting.  When writing, I don’t have to boot up and navigate to the right application. 
  • The ability to diagram and sketch.   

This last one is HUGE.  I don’t know why it’s so different but drawing on a tablet and saving them with notes for some reason just doesn’t work for me.  So, this Rocketbook is a godsend. 

So, this device works pretty well.  It comes in two sizes, Standard and Executive.  Both come with a special erasable pen that is INCREDIBLY easy to miss in the package – it comes in its own separate sleeve alongside the main compartment of the pouch, but it’s in there.  You can purchase a number of different color and types of pens within the Frixion line, and all work as erasable pens in the notebook.  Here’s the cool part – you erase the thing by PUTTING IT IN THE MICROWAVE.  You put the book in your microwave with a coffee cup ¾ full of water and blast it for 45 seconds.  AND IT WORKS. 

There is some minor ghosting (after my first go around with full data wipe) that appears to happen where I applied more pressure to the pen strokes.  But hey, it still works pretty darn well and I am able to get more notes onto the same set of pages. 

It uploads more or less as you would expect.  There are icons at the bottom of the page that you can tick off and based on how you assign those icons in the app, the page images will upload to the assigned application, notebook, or email address.  The resolution is good, not great.  I wouldn’t try to capture a professional portrait and expect it to upload with the same resolution, but it works great for sketches and diagrams. 

I would (and have) recommended the device to friends, family, and customers.  It has helped improve my note taking capabilities in a big way. 



What does a vCIO do?

What does a vCIO do?

One of the terms that has become almost cliché in the managed service world is vCIO.

Everyone wants to have and offer a vCIO service, but what does is really do for you?

Most of the time, your provider is offering a vCIO (Virtual CIO) service because they know they can’t deliver against your business goals without having someone dedicated to your business. Having someone dedicated sounds like a great idea to most people. Someone who gets to know your business inside and out and provide the guidance you are looking for from a technology perspective – wether it is managed services, network security or help desk & support. If you really think about it though, what happens when that person moves on, another role, another company, the proverbial Good Humor truck. All the knowledge and experience about your business is gone in a flash. Good luck getting the next vCIO back to that point quickly.

I feel, and one of the reasons I started HubWise, that your partner should be able to help your business drive towards your goals, and it all starts by understand what they even are in the first place. What, why, and how do you do what you. If your provider can’t answer those basic questions about your company without charging you hourly for a vCIO, then maybe it’s not a fit.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place to have a deeper consulting relationship with your provider. If you truly need more time from them during a project or growth period, then it absolutely makes sense to have a higher-level engagement. You just shouldn’t need it during your day to day operations, you and your provider should both understand what’s making everyone successful and design the solution around that.

Contact us to learn more.