When Charles Berry founded TotalCareIT in 2001, his plan was to bring the business practices and services offered at his former South Miami employer, Western Digitech, to the Brevard County market. Once TotalCareIT was off and running, he soon realized the immense need for his new company’s expertise, especially among small- and medium-sized businesses attempting to manage their company’s IT infrastructure on their own.

Essentially, Berry was (and still is) able to deliver peace of mind to business owners by offering a wide breadth of IT solutions and 24/7 IT management on an outsourced basis. TotalCareIT even offers the rare service of business hardware purchasing (with all purchases made locally), ensuring that the business at hand procures the right hardware for its unique needs.

“A business’s network connects video, voice, data and wireless all together. Our specialty is managing the network,” explained Berry. “Everything in the network relies on that communication.”

Data security, for instance, is an element of the network that must be managed properly. “As with any security system, there is a give and take of convenience. The most convenient networks are the least secure and the most secure networks are the least convenient. Finding the right organization-specific combination is essential,” explained Berry.

The New Normal

That’s especially true in today’s business world in which it is fast becoming the norm for employees to use their personal devices (e.g. laptops, tablets, smart phones) for business purposes – a trend commonly known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

“BYOD started in 2009, but didn’t gain too much traction until 2011 when Citrix and VMware coined the term,” said Berry.

As with most new emergences, there are benefits and drawbacks to BYOD and doing it right can be a strategic advantage.  “On the positive side, BYOD means greater productivity among employees as it allows the freedom to access voice and data from anywhere, anytime. Business owners that allow BYOD also eliminate their capital expense of hardware, or, if they reimburse the expense, they can turn it into an operating expense,” explained Berry.

That said, the increased costs associated with supporting and securing reliable wired and wireless networks for multiple devices with various operating systems may offset the hardware cost savings. “Traditionally, the ability to standardize the IT infrastructure of a business has lowered the cost (of time or money),” said Berry. “BYOD throws this out the window.”

One of the primary concerns of BYOD is data ownership. When corporate data resides on the same device that contains the employee’s personal data, like family photos, a paramount issue can arise if the device needs to be wiped.

Plan, Plan, Plan

These drawbacks are why Berry says any business owner adopting BYOD should “plan, plan, plan.”

This refers to having proper policies – specifically a Mobile Device Management (MDM) Compliance Policy – in place, enforced and communicated to employees. He added that business owners must also plan for QoS (quality of service) as it relates to bandwidth at the network’s core and edge. Business owners must also examine bottlenecks to relieve network pressure and ensure IT support does not become overwhelmed.

For business owners who don’t employ an IT department, the services and capabilities of companies like TotalCareIT can be especially useful. Berry said everyone at TotalCareIT has a passion for what they do, and the company as a whole stands out by developing a deep understanding of its clients’ businesses, then finding solutions that are the right fit. “TotalCareIT delivers robust, secure network infrastructure management and consulting to businesses that have discovered that doing it right is too expensive to do themselves,” he said.