Staying Profitable and Productive in the Wake of IT Disasters

One thing is inevitable: disasters will come. They may be natural; they may be manmade. You may see them coming, or you may not. But at some point, there will come a time when every company is tested and strained to the breaking point, and when those times come your company will either be adequately prepared to survive and recover – or it won’t.

When it comes to your company’s IT services, your ability to backup and recover data will either make or break your business. At the heart of this issue are two key concepts: preventing disasters from occurring in the first place, and proper, speedy recovery should anything go wrong.

Below are three tips for preventing and recovering from IT disasters.

1. Define Your Specific Disaster Prevention and Recovery Needs

There isn’t always a clear long between your disaster prevention and recovery needs, especially when the term disaster is defined along the lines of a disruption of data and IT processes.

A great place to start detailing your IT recovery plan is to perform a risk assessment or a business impact analysis, identifying the key IT services that support your business’s vital operations and activities. Once you have a clear picture of what you need to protect, establish some recovery time objectives and get started working out a disaster recovery strategy specific to your company’s needs.

2. Develop Disaster Recovery Plans for a Variety of Scenarios

The first step to ensuring your business survives a disaster situation is to have a disaster recovery plan in place, one that has been analyzed, tested and adapted to fit the dynamics of your company. All the planning in the world, however, will be for nothing if the employees are not properly educated regarding how to analyze emergency situations and how to implement that plan.

But multiple disaster recovery plans should be developed for different types of disaster situations. For example, two very different approaches would be needed to survive a full out cyber assault on the site or to recover from a lost SQL server.

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3. Automate Offsite Data Backup and Recover

Keep in mind that it’s important to not only plan out the methods for data backup and recovery – which should be automated as much as possible – but you should also consider how quickly you can get the full database up and running again. How will you recover data if your entire server is destroyed? Do you have offsite data backups? How long will it take for a full restore?

There are many elements to consider in preventing and recovering from IT disasters, but having a well-developed disaster recovery plan that covers multiple scenarios is important to ensure that your company is able to bounce back quickly and to remain productive and profitable.

Don’t let the backbone of your business get disrupted in the wake of disaster. Protect yourself with the IT backup & disaster recovery services from JENLOR. Our IT backup strategy and recovery services prevent malicious data from damaging your network on-site and off, 24/7. Discover how our IT services can help your company land on sturdy ground and contact us today!

Taking the Steps Towards a Long-Term IT Support Solution

Every business, no matter how big or small, is faced with the prospect of establishing IT support, and whether it will be provided by in-house expertise or by outsourced IT support. The same can be said about the hardware and software necessary to drive and maintain the business. Together these two issues comprise one of the biggest problems every business needs to solve in order to become and remain viable and competitive. While there is something to be said for both in-house and outsourced solutions, many companies have decided that an outsourced IT service strategy makes the most sense for them.

Advantages of Outsourcing IT Support

There are many advantages to outsourcing your information technology support services, chief among them being the fact that it relieves you of the need to hire in-house talent and having most of the necessary hardware at your business location. The hiring process that Human Resources departments must observe these days gets more and more arduous by the year, and even then, misfires can occur. Having qualified expertise through an outsourcing agency removes all those issues, and when much of the hardware is also supplied by the agency, your company is likewise relieved of the huge burden of maintenance.

Flexibility and scalability are two more reasons why outsourcing makes sense, especially for small business IT support. While it might be a major project for a small company to make significant changes to its IT infrastructure, or to make sweeping new additions, all those issues are handled by the agency in an outsourcing scenario.

One of the greatest headaches in the world of computing is security. Hackers are constantly adopting increasingly sophisticated ways of compromising businesses. For every new layer of security developed, there seems to be a new counter-measure, or vulnerability, discovered and exploited by malicious software programmers. While an outsourcing company may not catch absolutely everything either, a reputable company will at least be making every effort to apply the latest patches available for keeping things secure.

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The Bottom Line

With all the personnel required for support of your company’s infrastructure supplied by an outsourcing agency, your own personnel are freed up to carry out the other important aspects of your business. Even the very expensive Helpdesk function is removed from consideration, and managed off-site with perhaps even greater effectiveness.

Getting started with an outsourced solution can be as simple as reaching out to an experienced and reputable IT consulting firm, which would then perform a thorough IT network evaluation at your site. This will establish a baseline for the level of support that your company would need, and can be the basis for ongoing discussion.

While IT outsourcing may not be truly worry-free and hands-off, it certainly does remove much of the worry and hassle of IT support. Relieve yourself and your team of the daily grind in IT by reaching out to the IT pros at JENLOR Integrations. Using our ‘3 Pillar’ approach to IT, our team will create a well-defined service strategy to help put your network on sturdy ground. Don’t let the frustrations of an ill-managed network keep your team tied down, contact JENLOR and make your IT easy.

Is Your IT Killing Your Productivity?

More often than not, the IT department is considered to be one of the key drivers of a business. Your IT department maintains the network infrastructure, safeguards company data and provides the applications in use by the entire white-collar staff. Even in a scenario where some of the IT function has been outsourced, all the local hardware and software is under the direct management of the IT department.

If you have any doubt about the value of IT to your company, just try and visualize your business with no IT department – or with the department being mismanaged. It’s not much of a stretch to see how your company could quickly go in the tank if things with your IT were out of place, or at least be hampered so badly that staying competitive becomes challenging or downright impossible.

Mismanaged IT

Technology is a big part of business these days, and making optimal use of the latest technology is almost always advantageous to a business. However, that technology is really only as good as the personnel who are supporting it. For instance, in the hot-button area of security, IT mismanagement could create dangerous exposure to security breaches, and valuable company data might be compromised. Failure to apply the latest patches might be one simple way that such vulnerability is created, and exploited by an enterprising hacker.

Carrying out projects like software implementations or upgrades could end up costing a company far more money than it should, if sound project management principles are not utilized by the IT department.

Supporting the company network infrastructure in a reliable and effective manner is an absolute must for any business to maintain its reputation for reliability. When it’s not handled in a consistent, appropriate, and professional manner by IT, employees will be far less productive, and the company’s public image will suffer.

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Possible Solutions

Your company may not be suffering from poor IT support, but may simply lack the personnel in-house to carry out necessary support for your computing platform. In such cases, your IT service strategy should take into account that remotely managed network services can be a very viable and affordable option. If you don’t already have qualified and talented IT talent in your company, hiring IT services to bridge the personnel gap can be a sound option, both financially and competitively.

With cloud services, offsite backups and even IT disaster recovery managed by an IT consulting firm, your employees are freed up to do what they do best – use their knowledge of the company to help make it stronger and more profitable. Security issues disappear, hardware and software project management are handled by the experts, and your network can achieve greater reliability and performance.

Give your team the confidence of having a reliable IT infrastructure on their side by contacting the pros at JENLOR Integrations. Our managed IT services allow your team to worry about the task at hand, knowing full well that the proper technology is in place to keep your business goals on track. Don’t navigate through the rapidly advancing world of IT alone, give yourself some expert insight by choosing the customer-centered services from JENLOR today.

Why It May Be Time to Breakup with Your IT Provider

When dealing with managed services, it’s often comfortable to assume that your IT Helpdesk is already the best there is. Unfortunately, such romantic notions are undercut by the massive changes in network management that have taken place in general security management, storage protection and much more.

Because of this, it’s important to ask some questions about how your IT provider (whether in-house or remote) is handling aspects of your corporate security. If these questions aren’t handled to your satisfaction, contact us: we’re one of the leading Pittsburgh IT consulting firms and we can help your business make changes in order to head in the right direction.

Are You Still Using Older Methods of Remote Data Access?

Advances in Cloud Computing and mobile device management have made older methods of backup & disaster recovery obsolete. Data now moves at the speed of the latest updates at the group level, while keeping records of older forms when needed instantaneously. Gone are the days of having to update data redundantly for safety: whether using a public cloud system which is shared, using a private cloud with data distributed over various networks, or even using physical servers as cloud systems, modern data storage and protection is done at an instantaneous level.

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How is Data Being Backed Up?

Say goodbye to the days of daily data backups. Now, data is updated across storage levels with backups as it is being created, updated, deleted, or expanded. It is no longer necessary to start over for the day: it is possible to pinpoint potential security issues, data problems and more at the minute they occur and correct them instantly if needed. Offsite backups provide for quick, efficient recovery of your data overall.

Do You Have a Mobile Device Management Solution in Place?

Your IT provider should also be keeping you abreast of the widened technological options available. The days of platform-specific storage and transmission are over– most modern data solutions are designed for the widest variety of data systems across the board. Because of this, if you are still using or mandating specific devices because your IT department recommends it, your data storage systems may already be obsolete, and, therefore, vulnerable to attacks and other issues. Mobile device management is essential to modern data storage and can often be platform-independent, allowing you and your employees access to data through a variety of secure methods.

If the above doesn’t sound like where your company’s IT stands, and you’re still using outdated methods for storage and data policies, contact JENLOR to see what we can do to help you keep your data– and those in charge of taking care of it– up to date. Our IT managed services ensure a smooth and reliable network for your organization, allowing to you trust your technology to our expert needs while you operate your business with confidence. So stop letting the daily grind of your IT management hold your business back, and get the proactive support you need by contacting JENLOR today.

Keeping Your Network Secure When Spam is Worse than Ever Before

Spam is a serious problem for every business. Spam is unsolicited information sent from one user to another, typically via email, that is unwanted by the recipient,  and costs your business in terms of time and resources necessary to address the problem. An estimated 94 million messages considered spam are sent on a daily basis. Researchers with Microsoft and Google have estimated the societal cost of spam to be in the neighborhood of $20 billion.

Your IT security management services are responsible for the email security of your organization. It is important to consider all anti-spam services that are available to you and security management services necessary to beef up security and protect your hosted email service from unwanted intrusions and potential harm to your network. Here are some tips and suggestions you may want to consider when working with an IT managed service provider to address your issue with spam.

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Ongoing Monitoring of Network Traffic

One of the first steps that you and your IT security management services can take to improve network security is to implement ongoing monitoring of your network traffic. There are many different solutions available on the market that can be custom designed by your IT managed service provider that allows you to establish a baseline for your data flow and detect unusual traffic patterns. Understanding traffic pattern flows is a quick and easy way for you to map your network flows and react to pattern changes that may pose a threat to your network.

Renaming Your Admins to Thwart Directed Attacks

A simple way to address dedicated attacks and efforts by spammers to bombard your network with unwanted messages is by renaming the privileged or admin accounts on your server. This tip, according to a July 2012 InfoWorld.com article, is designed to keep those who may have gotten inside your network from engaging in a password guessing scheme designed to gain unauthorized access to your system. Renaming your admin accounts may defeat the attempts of hackers and prevent dangerous malware from reaching your employees.

Review and Require Periodic Updates to Passwords

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers several tips for securing your data network. One of the tips provided by the FCC is for organizations such as yours to ensure that your employees use passwords that are unique and changed periodically, at least once every three months. Requiring your employees to engage in a practice of regularly updating their passwords is a sure way to prevent hackers from attacking your network and threatening the security of your data.

Creating a Plan of Action

Any affirmative steps you take for protecting your data networks will rely on your ability to create and implement a plan of action. The plan must include actions your IT team is required to take and a communication element that allows important stakeholders, like your employees, to understand their responsibilities in ensuring full implementation and compliance. Securing your network is extremely important. Taking the necessary actions to do so falls on your shoulders, so the actions you take will determine how your organization meets its obligation to protect its vital data and reduce the amount of spam that you receive.

Managing your internet security is an around-the-clock job. Make sure you have the right strategy in place with help from the IT security pros at JENLOR. Our security management services come with 24/7 monitoring and alerting, allowing us to monitor your network and keep it free from harmful exposure. So stop wasting time and money on unwanted emails, and start beefing up your organization’s security standards by contacting JENLOR today.

Boost Employee Productivity Even When Working Remotely

More and more these days, terms like working remotely and telecommuting are becoming a part of our everyday language. According to a recent Gallup poll, 37% of workers claimed to have telecommuted. That is up more than 300% from 1995 (9%). The average worker in the U.S. telecommutes two days a month. Of those engaged in telecommuting, 46% percent do so during the workday.

The days of having to maintain a physical presence in a brick-and-mortar structure seem to be fading. Greater confidence is being gained in the productivity of workers away from the office. Ensuring this productivity is a mission all organization IT departments must accomplish. Techniques such as mobile device management and seamless email synchronization between accounts keep workers busy no matter where they are based. Here is a discussion of the approaches you should consider, not only to boost employee productivity, but also to promote more opportunities for work outside of the office walls.

The Case for and Challenges Faced with Remote Work

A study conducted (as published by Harvard Business Review), involving a Chinese travel website, allowed workers the option of working from home for nine months. A control group of 50% of employees stayed in the office while the other 50% conducted their work while on the go or in the comforts of their own home. The results found that the company gained nearly an extra workday’s worth of productivity from those who worked at home. The remote workers also reported a higher level of job satisfaction and better retention rates. Perhaps most significant of all, the study found that the remote workforce saved the employer $1,900 in costs.

The results of the study are not totally indicative of the results you may yield, but they prove a promising endorsement of remote work. The challenge that an organization must overcome when moving toward more off-site working opportunities for their employees (which includes working on-the-go) is the protection of sensitive and proprietary information. The establishment of a virtual private network, or VPN firewall, is necessary in order to keep data safe when accessed over a public Wi-Fi system. You also need to ensure reliable VPN connectivity when employees need to access critical information from their desktop computers.

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Increasing Your Remote Employee Productivity

Your IT team provides you with a huge assist by facilitating work from home efforts and working on-the-go that requires remote access. Your VPN firewall must account for security issues that are present with public Wi-Fi in order to minimize risks to your network. These efforts, along with changes to traditional management expectations for productivity (such as establishing regular check-ins, auto-tracking, etc.), can help you realize results that may be on par with those reported in the Harvard Business Review.

Eliminate any disconnect between in-office staff and on-the-go employees with seamless and secure workplace integration from JENLOR. Our IT managed services empower your team to work from wherever they please, and our 24-hour Helpdesk Support is always on hand just in case something goes wrong. Don’t let IT become an obstacle to your efficiency and productivity. Contact JENLOR today and start taking control over your IT systems and services.

Just How Important is a Network Backup

Data backup and recovery are important realities for your business. Your business relies on the proprietary data residing on your network servers, which needs to be protected from unwanted intrusions launched from hackers and other unauthorized persons. Depending on the type of industry you are in, disaster recovery management is an essential part of your IT strategy.

If you do not utilize a data backup service, or have in place a plan for regularly managing both onsite and offsite backups of your critical data, you may be at great risk for data loss. You need to understand the importance of backing up your data networks on a consistent and regular basis. There are many examples of how not backing up data has harmed a business. More importantly, there are many examples of showing how routine backups have improved the operations of a company.

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The Process Involved in Performing Network Backups

Backing up your data provides you with an insurance plan. What this means is that you have the ability to create a working duplicate of your network available to you in the event that disaster strikes. Conditions that may be beyond your control, such as natural disasters or unauthorized intrusions (such as the introduction of an enterprise virus that is designed to take down your system) can not only wreak havoc on your operations, but also result in the loss of money and time as you work to restore your network.

The Case for a Data Backup and Recovery Plan

Your disaster recovery plan does not exist without a plan for reliable, routine data backups. If your routine does not call for the periodic maintenance and backing up of data, you are putting your company’s business at risk. According to a 2014 Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark Survey, three out of four companies were found to be at risk for data loss due to a lack of a disaster recovery plan. Thirty-six percent of companies experienced a loss of one or more critical applications, with such losses lasting from several hours to several days. The ¼ of companies that were prepared had maintained detailed recovery plans, setting specific metrics and engaging in regular testing to make sure their plan was performing up to par.

Steps to Take to Ensure Your Network’s Security

In order to reduce the risks associated with the loss of your network data, you need to have in place a plan. Your plan should include a process that requires the backup of your network data at regular intervals. A point person, whether it is the head of your IT or other professional responsible for the management of your data, should be appointed and empowered with the abilities to make decisions and be held accountable for the management of your backups and disaster recovery management plans. Additionally, you should understand that any plan for the management of your data should involve offsite backups. Maintaining your data at a remote location allows you to gain access when needed in the event of a disaster event.

Don’t leave your business vulnerable to cyberattacks, hacks and other threats. Create a safety net that protects all of your business’s data by getting in touch with JENLOR. Our backup and disaster recovery services help you better safeguard your data, both locally and offsite, in the event a disaster was to occur.  With your data backed up and a plan in place to recover it, your business is free to operate with confidence, knowing that you are prepared for anything the web can throw at you. Start building up your backup plan today with help from JENLOR.

The Top IT Outsourcing Mistakes of 2015

In any company’s IT network design, there are different mistakes that are made. These mistakes are of particular concern when a company chooses to outsource portions of its IT functions to a third-party provider. These mistakes range from improper IT disaster recovery management techniques to selecting the wrong cloud service provider. Companies find that making these types of mistakes results in losses in terms of talent resources, time and money. Here is look at some of the top IT outsourcing mistakes made in 2015 and ways in which you can both avoid and enhance your IT operations in 2016.

Poor Communications Resulting in Major Implementation Problems

One of the biggest mistakes companies made when outsourcing their IT services in 2015 is failing to maintain proper communications with a vendor. The process of outsourcing, like every other business function, relies on maintaining effective relationships in order to avoid problems and issues. When a lack of communication between you and the provider occurs, this results in implementation problems, potential service interruptions and customer dissatisfaction. The use of an IT outsourcing communication plan is one way to communicate expectations and avoid potential problems that can affect your bottom line.

Too Much Focus on Cost versus Results

You want to get the most service you can from your vendors for the lowest cost. This basic business principle is indisputable when considering how the cost of your operations relates to the price you charge your customers. When selecting a vendor to outsource a portion of your IT, it is important to consider the cost of the service. Relying too heavily on cost however rather than the results may be problematic. This mistake can result in getting inexperienced project managers or paying for services that are not sufficient for your business needs and requirements.

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Failing to Properly Manage Internal Processes

Hiring a firm to manage a portion of your IT operations may make sense as a way to lower your internal costs and bring forth the resources of a value-added partner. Relying on the provider to manage all of your IT functions, internally and externally, is a mistake that often occurred in 2015 by companies. A third-party hired to manage a portion of your IT operations understands its internal processes but may not be as equally versed in your specific internal and external processes as it relates to the use of IT outcomes by your staff. Make sure the IT provider you choose has the experience and expertise needed to help you get ahead.

Improper Virtualization of “Everything” to the Cloud

One of the IT buzzwords that persisted throughout 2015 is cloud computing. Most every business, from small, medium to large, uses some aspect of the cloud in their everyday IT operations. When considering use of the cloud, it is reasonable to expect that you would turn to a reputable cloud service provider to provide services to your company. The mistake however comes with selecting the wrong provider. A third-party provider who does not understand the nature or scope of your business or industry may not be a proper fit. Worse, choosing a provider solely on cost may save you a few dollars upfront but cost you greatly on the back-end when problems arise.

Outsourcing your IT services shouldn’t add to your stress. Relieve yourself of the daily IT grind d outsource your IT management with help from JENLOR. For over 15 years, the JENLOR team has made managing IT easier than ever for businesses big and small. Don’t let the trials and tribulations of IT management hold your business back in the new year. Better manage all of your IT services by contacting JENLOR today.

Evolving Your IT Services for a Mobile Office

According to an annual poll conducted by AT&T and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (AT&T Small Business Technology poll), mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have saved business owners roughly 2 billion hours. These savings in hours translates in a cost savings of approximately $65 billion. The number of small businesses that rely on mobile technology is at 94 percent, up from 85 percent in the prior year.

Any IT managed service provider can tell you that mobile device management services are an essential element of your mobile device program. Working with a mobile device management service provider can help you create effective strategies to better manage your mobile technology as well as make the seamless transition from wired to mobile IT solutions. Here is a discussion of the evolution of IT services away from the office and why a mobile device management program must be adopted in order to provide the security, monitoring and required necessary for the program’s success.

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Mobile Technology and Today’s Business

Mobile technology is becoming an integral part of how business is being conducted today. . A Constant Contact report found that 73 percent of small businesses use both smartphones and tablets in order to conduct their social media marketing efforts. Another 71 percent stated that the use of mobile technology aids in their email marketing campaigns. A third of businesses have optimized their websites for mobile users and nearly one in five small businesses have the capability to conduct point-of-sales payments via mobile devices.

How Mobile Technology is Revolutionizing Business

Mobile technology allows business to do more when away from a brick-and-mortar location. Mobile technology often comes with apps that are free or lower in cost than expensive software, with multi-user licensing requirements and related technology (i.e. servers, storage facilities, hard wired PCs, etc.). The introduction of the smartphone allows your employees access to the tools they need, when they need them in order to do more business and be more productive, no matter where they are. Tablets increase this capability and when combined with the introduction of cloud computing (that is safe and secure) you can launch a virtual workforce at a fraction of the cost.

The Benefits of a Mobile Device Management Program

With more and more businesses discovering the benefits of mobile technology and employing either smartphones or tablets for use by their employees, it is important to consider why you should have a mobile device management (MDM) program in place. Mobile device management programs help you effectively manage all of the devices that interact with your IT infrastructure. This is especially important if you are a company that permits employees to use their own devices to perform certain work duties, as in the case of a bring your own device or BYOD environment. The proper MDM protects you, your proprietary information and allows you to do more with the most technology options available.

Make sure you have what it takes to make the switch to mobile with help from the IT experts at JENLOR. Our mobile device management program enables your team to work wherever they are, while maintaining a safe and secure network for you to operate in with confidence knowing your data is protected. If you’re looking to enhance your team’s efficiency while relieving yourself of the daily IT grind, contact the experts at JENLOR today and discover the advantages of our mobile device management services.

5 IT Trends to Watch Out for in 2016

As we start a new year, the ever-exciting question is: what technology trends lay on the horizon. Truth be told, technology is constantly on the move. If you want your organization to stay ahead, you’ll need to know not only the latest technology trends, but how those trends are transforming the way people do business in 2016 and for years to follow.

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  1. Enhanced Automation of Everyday Tasks

For years, people have been looking for a way to streamline the mundane aspects of day-to-day business operations. 2016 seems to finally be the year that true automation of these simpler tasks takes hold. Infobots and software applications will rise to run automated errands over the internet and change how employees carry out their duties.

  1. 24-Hour Help Desk IT

The days of on-site IT personnel are numbered, and in its place outsourced 24-hour help desk IT support is expected to take their place. Starting this year, more small businesses are expected to outsource their IT support, digitally updating and renovating their way of doing business.

With outsourced IT support at your disposal controlling enterprise tech-activities, servicing customer queries and addressing common technical issues becomes easier than ever. On top of that, you’ll be able to reduce your cost and stress on your in-house employees allowing them to be more productive with day-to-day tasks.

  1. Adapting to Mobile and Wearable Technology

According to MarketWatch, this year will witness fundamental tech improvements that will set and serve as the basis for a smarter future. Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR) devices are expected to burst onto the marketplace and revitalize the industry. Businesses will not only need to focus on how clients will adapt to virtual technology, but also they must look for ways to utilize this technology in their own infrastructure to further enhance employee efficiency.

  1. A Boom in Security Management Services

Over the past year, you could barely go a day without reading about the latest security hack of a major corporation or small business. In 2016, it’s no wonder that security management services will continue to attract a huge amount of interests from businesses big and small. Cyber threats and attacks are only becoming more sophisticated, so expect a new class of security solutions to emerge in order to keep up with the chaos.

  1. The Cloud Continues to Grow

2015 was a huge year for cloud computing, and the trend doesn’t show any sign of stopping in the new year either. CIOs should expect to see even more improvements in the current cloud environment as well as the integration of new technologies into the cloud platform.

Keeping up with the ever-evolving IT environment can be quite the task. Stop worrying about how you’re going to keep pace with all the latest IT innovations by outsourcing your IT to the experts at JENLOR. With over 15 years of experience dealing with the everyday trials and complexities of IT, our team knows what works and what doesn’t. Using our expertise, we create a customized IT service package to reduce downtime, increase productivity and keep expenses in line. Don’t sit back and wait for IT to get easier, take a proactive approach to your IT system management and contact JENLOR today.