Businesses in the entertainment industry work around the clock to keep the party going for their guests—from tight, ever changing schedules to high expenses to an abundance of large files to manage and share. With so many moving parts, it’s essential to have a solid managed service provider (MSP) that you can trust to keep your IT operations running as smoothly and safely as possible.
Imagine it’s a busy day for business and all of a sudden the power goes out and you lose internet. Left wondering how this could possibly happen, you realize that you need to resolve the problem fast before your reviews and reputation take a hit. Remember that without proper IT management keeping a close eye on your tech, issues that may seem minuscule can quickly snowball into greater issues for your business—and can even impact your bottom line.
With a highly competitive and technical market, entertainment businesses need to be prepared for any curveballs that come their way. Wondering what the top IT managed service providers bring to entertainment businesses? We’ll cover the best practices for IT management in entertainment, plus what to search for specifically in an MSP that will generate success in your business.
IT Management Best Practices in Entertainment
There are many factors to consider when managing IT for your entertainment business. Essentially, you have to work hard so your customers can play hard. Although every business in entertainment is going to have different offerings, services, and products, one thing remains the same across the board: the weight the customer experience holds. Follow these best practices to ensure that your IT is streamlined, organized, and properly managed to provide an optimal customer experience and smooth operations across the board.
Establish a Strong Internet Network Redundancy
Nothing kills a good time quite like an internet outage, especially if your entire operations depend on it (which most businesses do). That’s why it’s important to implement a backend internet infrastructure—commonly required for opening, maintaining, or growing your business. Just think, without an established backend internet infrastructure, you can lose access to your point of sale system, audiovisuals, VoIP, and security system.
Whether it’s your internal internet network or guest wireless network, you don’t want your internet to fail. If, in a worst-case scenario, your network does go down, you’ll want to rely on network redundancy or a disaster recovery plan. What is network redundancy? Essentially, it’s the process of implementing multiple communication pathways and alternative devices to a business’ network. To ensure that internet outages never affect the various technologies your business relies on, it’s best to implement failover and even a secondary failover. For extra support, it is recommended to set up a tertiary LTE cellular backup as a last line of defense so that in the case of a network disaster, you can keep your business running. Check out this case study featuring our client Puttshack, who trusted Exact IT to lead a complete setup of network infrastructure and internet-enabled devices.
Technology is a multidimensional aspect of your business, and you need to provide it with the ongoing management it needs to keep it all running efficiently. To ensure high utilization, it’s critical to monitor the internal physical ports and bandwidth to adjust and reallocate when necessary. You never know when errors will occur, but you can minimize this risk by checking on how things are running periodically.
Monitor and Remediate Security Vulnerabilities
It’s 2023, meaning cybersecurity is not optional; it’s essential. It’s best practice to monitor your router status and port status for any potential security issues. Especially for the sake of customer loyalty, you’ll want to protect your guests’ data while they use the guest wifi network provided by your business. Typically when customers join a guest network, they trust that the business hosting that network houses strong cybersecurity practices to minimize risk to guest users.
As an added layer of protection, it’s best practice to provide cybersecurity training to all your employees. Your team is only as strong as your weakest link, which is especially true regarding your cybersecurity practice. Your staff can be an extremely vulnerable target if you don’t train them on how to handle threats or disasters. In fact, you may be surprised by how many organizations face security issues that are caused by their employees. Although these issues typically stem from something as small as user error, they can lead to major problems down the line if the hacker gains internal access to your company’s data. That is why cybersecurity training for employees is a necessary step in the onboarding process and should be revisited periodically.
Ongoing IT Helpdesk Support
Finding an MSP with an IT Helpdesk is a no-brainer decision for your business. IT helpdesks support all the employees and leadership of the company to troubleshoot, answer burning questions, and find solutions to all kinds of technical issues that arise.
Depending on your business hours (as many entertainment businesses work late nights), you may want to go the extra mile and outsource an MSP that offers an IT helpdesk with 24-hour support. The most common cybersecurity threats include email phishing, password attacks, malware, ransomware, and distributed denial of service attacks. While it’s almost impossible to predict when cyber attacks will happen, the best thing you can do is be prepared and have access to an IT helpdesk that is only a call away.
The bottom line? You can’t predict that an emergency or disaster is going to happen between the business hours of 9 AM- 5 PM, so why should you wait to take action until your IT helpdesk opens? Having 24-hour access to your IT helpdesk provides you with a piece of mind, so you can minimize the stress and anxiety of managing your cybersecurity and IT operations. As they say, it takes a village!
What to Look for in an IT Managed Service Provider
Hiring an IT MSP is one of the greatest investments you can make for your business. MSPs ensure that your systems run smoothly and stay secure and up-to-date, plus, they handle the day-to-day technical issues so that the business owner can remain focused and productive on everything else. Most MSPs assume responsibility for one or more of your business’ IT services—like email, helpdesk, cybersecurity, networking, cloud integration, backup and restore, data storage, and more. Conveniently, MSPs can remotely monitor, update, and manage the service while also reporting on the quality, performance, and availability of the service.
Maybe you’re seeking someone to manage small venue entertainment IT, event hosting space IT support, or even general IT support for small businesses. Aside from trust and credibility, there are a few things to look out for when outsourcing an MSP for your business.
Internet network outages can cost you more than you think. Even if your business’ internet is down for only a few hours, you’re cut off from customers, suppliers, distributors, partners, and cloud applications. In the business world, time is money, and internet outages cost you time that you can’t get back.
Prevent the loss of time and money that comes with internet outages with an MSP that can establish internet failover protection. It is ideal to find a failover solution that incorporates wireless failover protection as either the secondary connection or a third failover connection if the first two connections fail. Particularly, LTE failover provides the advantage of wireless failover protection. With LTE failover, the backup router links your devices to a fully functioning network in a process that’s pretty seamless (without any noticeable changes in the service).
Experience with POS Systems & Integrations
The top IT managed service providers in the entertainment industry will know the lay of the land. When outsourcing IT, be sure to do your research to find experienced MSPs that have experience in the services you’re looking for. In entertainment, you’ll need an MSP that knows how to work with point of sale (POS) systems and various integrations. Essentially, integrations are a way to connect external software and tools to your systems, expanding their capabilities. Integrations go hand in hand with automations, too, because they allow you to open up the information and connect it to external software so you can do more.
The beauty of cloud hosting is that the cloud follows you wherever you go (as long as you have internet access, of course). If you’re scratching your head wondering, “What is cloud hosting?” Have no fear, the concept is pretty simple.
It’s safe to assume that your business has a lot of applications and websites that are an integral part of your daily operations. In the past, you probably hosted all of these on your own server, but that is no longer the case when you switch to cloud hosting. Instead of hosting your apps and software on a single server, you can host them in the cloud. All you need to do to access all of your information is log into the cloud.
In addition to cloud hosting, it’s a good idea to ditch your in-house email server and switch to hosting your email in the cloud. MSPs that offer cloud-hosting email support offer customized solutions that better protect against issues that may arise in your physical location—like a power outage or fire. Not to mention, in-house servers are more expensive to run and maintain compared to the cloud.
Other email support features to consider when searching for an MSP are spam protection, phishing training tools, and multi-factor authentication. A good MSP will protect you, but a great MSP will continuously educate you on how to stay protected. Simple training tools offered by an MSP can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Just think, if one training tool can prevent your employee from a phishing attack or falling victim to ransomware, email support should be a non-negotiable need for your business.
Exact IT Consulting is Your Premier Partner in IT Solutions
In the entertainment industry, having a reliable managed service provider (MSP) is your secret weapon to success. It’s essential to have the right IT partners in place with dedicated expertise to support the success of your company. At Exact IT, we tailor our services to the unique needs of the entertainment industry—including nightclubs, member clubs, event venues, arcades, and small to mid-sized businesses. Headquartered in Indianapolis, we’re not your typical run-of-the-mill IT consulting firm; Exact IT is a premier managed IT services organization that helps businesses make strategic, long-term IT decisions.
Ready to make your life easier with Exact IT as your new MSP? Request a consultation today.