Entrepreneurship, Leadership

What is a Business Continuity Plan, and Why Do I Need One?

Rocket IT

Between natural catastrophes, unfortunate accidents, and cybersecurity threats, it’s not a question of if something will happen to your organization, but when.

Does your organization have a business continuity plan in place? Do you know how your team will respond?

A business continuity plan is a documented strategy outlining the steps and processes to ensure your business operations continue to run should disaster strike. In case of significant data loss or even loss of leadership, this plan gives your organization the support and tools it needs to recover.

How do you know if you need one?

If you have a business, then you need a business continuity plan. When calamity hits, you don’t want to scramble around trying to decide how to handle it. The more time you spend choosing an action path and reacting, the more downtime your organization is going to have. And with the average cost for end-user productivity downtime at over $740k in 2016 (and rising), the less downtime you have, the better.[i]

Who needs to be involved?

Typically, your leadership team, IT, and head of Accounting/HR should be included in the creation and execution of your business continuity plan. Their roles need to be defined in the documentation of the plan so everyone knows who the point person is on each task. This way your team won’t be stumped on who should be doing what and who has the authority to approve decisions.

You should also clearly define who has final authority should you or others not be available and able to carry out a leadership role. In some cases, this may mean that you need to legally name someone who can make important choices in your absence.

Do I need to test it?

Yes. You need to test it. You’re not going to be simulate perfectly an unexpected event (thus is the nature of unexpected events), but you can make sure your team is familiar with it and there aren’t any preventable kinks in the process.

Think about it this way – If you built an emergency bunker (not that you should need one for your business continuity plan!), you would want to test that your ventilation sources were functioning properly and any radio equipment you had functioned while the bunker was sealed. Testing your plan won’t go exactly the same way as it will in true action, but you’ll see what parts work well and what others need some improvement.

Should anything happen to your organization’s data, systems, or even to a member of its leadership, a business continuity and disaster recovery plan will help ensure that the organization will be able to recuperate and continue thriving, enabling you to build a legacy to last.

If you’d like strategic insight on security vulnerabilities and expert advice on how to build your own business continuity plan, contact us. We’d love to help you.

 


[i] http://files.server-rack-online.com/2016-Cost-of-Data-Center-Outages.pdf

 

About the Author-

Eric Henderson is Rocket IT’s virtual Chief Information Officer. He is also the tallest person at Rocket IT (by a fraction of an inch).

 

The average cost of unplanned downtime per minute in 2016 was nearly $9,000 per incident.

Your organization doesn’t have to eat the cost of dead time. Download our free whitepaper now to learn five easy steps you can take to capture dead time.

 

 

 

 

 

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Technology

How to Tell If an Email is Valid

Rocket IT

With most business transactions taking place at least in part over email, phishers have gotten very sophisticated at mimicking typical emails users receive and tricking innocent end users into clicking on malicious links or opening corrupted files. So how do you tell if the email you just received is valid… Or a Trojan horse in disguise?

You’ve received an email, and something about it just seems phishy, but you’re not sure. And you don’t want to miss out on an important business opportunity.

The first thing you can do is check the email address of the sender. If the email says it’s from LinkedIn Customer Support, but the return address says bclyde@linkin.com, then it’s a safe bet you should send that email straight to your junk folder. Scammers like to use email addresses that appear similar to the original domain they’re impersonating, and they’re counting on you to skim and look over those details.

Next, check the validity of all the URLs they’ve included in the email WITHOUT clicking on them. If you hover your mouse over a URL, a preview link will appear above it. Does this link lead to a different site than the one they’ve presented in their text? Check each link individually since some hackers will use legitimate links mixed in with their phishing URLs to lure you into a false sense of security.

Is there an attachment included in the email? Without opening it, check the following: were you expecting this attachment? Is it from a trusted sender? Is it in a usual format you expect from that sender? It’s very common for phishers to spoof an actual email address from a trusted person (even within your own organization) and make it appear as if the email is really coming from that person, as well as enable the phisher to receive replies to that email as if they had access to the account they spoofed.

Best practices for email attachments are to follow up with the sender in a new email (okay), over the phone (better), or in person (best) to make sure the attachment is really from them. You should ideally never open an unexpected email attachment. If you absolutely must open an attachment against all advice (again, please don’t!), be sure that Macros are automatically disabled through all of your programs (Adobe Acrobat, Word, Excel, etc.). If an attachment prompts you to connect to outside links or run Macros, DO NOT GIVE IT PERMISSION TO DO SO. Enabling this in a file will allow it to connect to an outside server and run processes on your computer without your permission.

If you want to really get into the technical nitty gritty, you can check the header of an email to see if the message is being sent from someone on the same domain server as the sender. If a hacker is spoofing the email address, a clue could be hidden in the header information.

To check the header in Outlook 2016, 2013, or 2010, open the individual message in its own window and click on the File tab. From there, select Properties in the Info tab. The header information will appear in the Internet Headers box. Here’s how to open the same in Gmail.

The information in your header box is ordered by most recent action and later. So the information at the top will be from when you received it. To see where the email originated from, you’ll have to look at the earlier actions.

In the header information, scroll through to find Return-Path. This section should reveal the real reply email address of the sender. If an email is being spoofed, this address will be different from the original sender. Another clue to watch out for in your information can be found in the sending server’s domain name. If an email hops around multiple servers (which is common with legitimate emails as well), look at each Received: from function. The further into your header information you go, the more likely you are to catch the real domain address of the original sender. Seeing one email hop that matches, especially in the beginning, is not a good indicator that the email is valid, as spoofers can trick that function later on. You need to make sure each server hop resolves the sending server back to the purported sender’s domain.

For example, the email below appears to be coming from our Marketing Specialist, but when we go into the header, we can see that the email is really from our friends over at KnowBe4.

While checking into the header is definitely very cool, it’s mostly unnecessary since the other flags should let you know if the email is suspicious. When in doubt, ask your IT team!

 

 


 

About the Author – 

Steve Hopkins is a Support Professional and Team Lead at Rocket IT. Steve and his wife are growing their family through adoption. They have already adopted two sons. 

 

1200x627- vCIOHave you found that you need the expertise of a Chief Information Officer to help you make strategic decisions on how to leverage technology to meet your unique business goals, but aren’t ready to commit to hiring a full-time executive to fill that need? Learn about our virtual CIO services.

 

 

 

 

 

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Press Releases

Rocket IT Named Among Inc.’s Best Workplaces 2017

Rocket IT

Duluth, GA – Rocket IT has been named one of Inc.’s Best Workplaces for 2017, the publication’s second annual ranking in the fast-growing private company sector.

As part of a prominent Inc.com feature, the list is the result of a wide-ranging and comprehensive measurement of private American companies who have created exceptional workplaces through vibrant cultures, deep employee engagement, and stellar benefits.

“By introducing an employee survey into this year’s Best Workplaces selection process, we’ve really raised the bar. Companies that don’t score at the very top of their peer group don’t make the cut. So, our hats are off to the winners. They all excelled at engaging their workers, making them feel appreciated, and aligning them behind a mission. And remember, that’s not just our opinion: The employees told us that themselves,” says Eric Schurenberg, Inc.’s President and Editor In Chief.

What does it take to become a company that workers want to be part of? Inc. magazine says it’s more than good pay and good perks – it’s also about having a clear purpose, a sense of humor, and leadership that makes the two work together.

While researching the entries, Inc. and Quantum saw distinct themes develop:

  • Strong company cultures breed stunning individual and team performance.
  • Workers at the best companies aren’t mesmerized by whatever giveaways seem to be the latest fad—be it gourmet lunches or beer fridges.
  • When employees feel valued by their organization, they are far more likely to be engaged. This single factor proved to be one of the largest drivers of employee engagement.

“Even when things were hard, Rocket IT was always a ‘best place to work’ for me. Our driving purpose is to help others thrive, and that starts in our office,” said Matt Hyatt, Rocket IT’s founder and CEO. “It’s a huge honor to be endorsed by our team and by Inc.com.”

 

About Rocket IT

Rocket IT is the IT partner of choice for Gwinnett County organizations, providing both the strategy and support they need to thrive. By providing a client’s leadership team with the strategic foresight necessary for them to align technology investment with business goals, they can work from a shared vision, which increases efficiency, decreases risk, and increases revenue. Rocket IT is the recipient of multiple awards, such as Partnership Gwinnett’s Innovation Award and a spot on the Inc 5000.

About Inc. Media

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders.  Winner of Advertising Age’s “The A-List” in January 2015, and the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in both 2014 and 2012. Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2,000,000 in 2010 to over 40,000,000 today.  For more information, visit http://www.inc.com/.

About Quantum Workplace

Quantum Workplace is an HR technology company that serves organizations through employee engagement surveys, action-planning tools, exit surveys, peer-to-peer recognition, performance evaluations, goal tracking, and leadership assessment. For more information, visit www.quantumworkplace.com.

 

 

 

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Technology, Uncategorized

What is Ransomware?

Rocket IT

Ransomware is a specific type of malware or virus that locks users out of their own data by encrypting it… And then holding the decryption key hostage in exchange for a large sum of money, usually delivered via bitcoin because of its difficulty to track online.

These cryptoviruses (Locky, CryptoLocker, WannaCry, etc.) spread in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to) spam emails, malvertisements, and downloaders. But most ransomware attacks depend heavily on social engineering.

The human element is the easiest to exploit. Given time and resources, hackers can (and do) trick computers and spam filters. Some attacks take advantage of known vulnerabilities, like this one from Intel, to infect computer and networks, but many still rely on just one misguided click from an end user. And the strategies these criminals employ to trick you into being that user continue growing in sophistication, making them harder to spot.

Phishing attacks have significantly evolved from messages sent by foreign royalty in distress, and while you’ll still encounter the occasional blatant scam message rife with grammar mistakes and misspellings, the more recent ones could very easily appear to be someone in your contact book, sending an email they might normally send.

We’ve gone in-depth before once or twice about how you avoid falling for these phishing scams and becoming another victim, but here’s what happens when you do take the bait:

 

You’ve just opened an attachment you weren’t expecting from the accounting department at one of your vendor companies.

And nothing unusual happens… Or so it seems. Once a cryptovirus begins downloading itself, your computer might start running a little slower if you have limited bandwidth, but this is typically relatively imperceptible to your average person.

But the malware has already started its work on your computer.

Behind the scenes, the virus on your computer has started getting busy. It’s already contacted its home server and generated the cryptographic key that will hold your data.

Before you’re even aware it’s there, the ransomware has encrypted your files.

Once the virus has communicated with its base, it begins locking every file it can find with common file extensions like .doc, .xml, .jpg, and more. What’s worse? The encryption is so difficult to break, that it’s highly unlikely a third party will be able to unlock it anytime within the next, oh, hundred years or so. You’d have to know the exact method and algorithm the hackers used in order to crack it.

Now that your files are locked, you receive the ransom.

Anyone who’s watched a few episodes of Criminal Minds has an idea in mind of what a hostage situation is like. The phishers who have locked your files let you know exactly what they’ve done, and they name their price… Along with a deadline.

Typically, the hackers will give you a short deadline that will end with an increase in the cost of the ransom if you don’t pay it in time (and sometimes an increase in ransom even if you do). After a certain amount of time, they’ll say they don’t want to play ball anymore, and your files will stay locked.

At this point, you’re faced with a difficult choice.

If you aren’t running regular backups, you now have to choose between losing your data and paying the ransom. It’s easy to say you won’t negotiate with terrorists holding your company’s information hostage… Until you’re actually facing that data loss.

On top of that, every minute of unproductive downtime is costing your company even more in revenue (nearly $9,000 per minute, in fact).

Facing one of the newer viruses, like WannaCry? Then it gets worse.

Ransomware like WannaCry are virtual worms, and they can spread from one computer across an entire network in seconds. This is why it’s important to keep all of your important data and backups offsite and separate from the general network.

 

As experts work on disabling and blocking these threats, new ones are sure to roll out. Hackers will continue using ransomware as long as it pays… And boy, does it pay.

Be sure to think before you click. When you receive an email with an unexpected attachment or a suspicious link, be cautious. Follow up offline with the original sender. Make sure macros are disabled. Hover over a hyperlink without clicking to see if it’ll lead you where it says it will.

For business leaders, the best protection you can have against cryptoviruses and other malware is to educate your employees and make sure you have good backups running on a separate network. Not sure where to get started? We can help.

 

 


 

About the Author – 

Tyler Priest is the Junior Systems Administrator at Rocket IT. His first hobby turned into his career, and so now he’s looking for the next!. He likes to collect all kinds of music from vinyl to tapes and CDs. Tyler lives in Barrow County with his fiance and a menagerie of pets.

 

 

Inefficiency is the enemy of a profitable, thriving business. What would a 2.5% increase in utilization mean to your organization? Download our FREE whitepaper for five easy steps to increase employee productivity at no additional payroll cost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Technology

WannaCry Ransomware: The Biggest Ransomware Outbreak in History

Rocket IT

The newest ransomware threat sweeping the digital world, WannaCry (also known as WCry, Wana Decrypt0r, or WannaCrypt) is being hailed by security experts as “the biggest ransomware outbreak in history.” Over the weekend, WannaCry has infected organizations all over the world, such as FedEx, the United Kingdom’s National Health System hospitals, Nissan, and many more. That these are high-profile targets doesn’t mean, however, that small businesses have been exempt from the outbreak.

The WannaCry virus infects individual computers through corrupted email attachments and can spread to infect entire networks.  Like other ransomware, WannaCry encrypts data on your PC and offers to send you the decryption key at a price. Since this malware spreads so quickly, all it takes is one user clicking on one of these phishing email attachments to infect your entire network.

So what’s the best way to combat ransomware like WannaCry?

Make sure your firewall firmware is up to date and that your end users are educated on email attachment best practices and how to identify malicious links.

Do not open any unexpected email attachments, even if they come from a trusted source. Hackers can spoof legitimate email addresses and may appear as someone in your address book.

If you receive an unexpected attachment that you think may be important, create a new email to follow up with the individual from whom that attachment was sent. If you hit “Reply” to the original email containing the attachment, your response will go straight to the person who sent that original email, even if that person is not the actual owner of that email address.

How does this affect you? If you’re a Rocket IT client, we are carefully monitoring the situation, and our clients have been protected by our managed firewalls and spam filters. Investing in the right managed security services can save your organization from falling victim to the latest cryptovirus.

For companies that have been infected by ransomware, having good backups can save you from the tough choice between significant data loss and paying the fee demanded by the hackers who have encrypted your files.

We’re only in the second quarter of the Year of Ransomware. Take the proper precautions to educate your employees and protect your organization from becoming the next victim.

For up-to-date news on the WannaCry virus, follow KnowBe4’s real-time article.

 

 


 

About the Author-

Jason Hand loves making music, serving his church and getting people excited about technology tools. He currently lives in Georgia with wife and two adopted sons.  Jason is the Systems Administrator at Rocket IT.

 

Inefficiency is the enemy of a profitable, thriving business. What would a 2.5% increase in utilization mean to your organization? Download our FREE whitepaper for five easy steps to increase employee productivity at no additional payroll cost.

 

 

 

 

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News, Press Releases

Rocket IT Named Overall Winner at Gwinnett Chamber IMPACT Regional Business Awards

Rocket IT

Duluth, GA – The Gwinnett Chamber recently recognized Rocket IT as the Overall Winner and as the leading organization in the Information Technology Category at the IMPACT Regional Business Awards, presented by Contemporary Marketing Group.

“There’s one word I have for being recognized with this award, and that’s ‘grateful,’” says Matt Hyatt, Rocket IT Founder and CEO. “I am extremely grateful for the support and recognition of our clients, our partners, and our community. This is a huge honor, and thank you to everyone for recognizing our efforts to change the way people think about outsourced IT.”

Held on May 10 at the Infinite Energy Forum, the program pays tribute to premier organizations in top industries that are driving economic development and job creation, while enhancing our quality of life. From more than 500 nominations, 125 finalist companies, across nine industry categories were recognized.

“The winners of the IMPACT Awards represent the creativity, determination, and engagement of our business community,” said Dr. Dan Kaufman, president & CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber. “These risk-takers and innovators are the ones laying the foundation for a bright future of opportunity that we all enjoy.”

Rocket IT is the IT partner of choice for Gwinnett County organizations, providing both the strategy and support they need to thrive. By providing a client’s leadership team with the strategic foresight necessary for them to align technology investment with business goals, they can work from a shared vision, which increases efficiency, decreases risk, and increases revenue. Rocket IT is the recipient of multiple awards, such as Partnership Gwinnett’s Innovation Award and a spot on the Inc 5000.

For more information, visit IMPACTBusinessAwards.com.

 

 

 

 

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MEDIA CONTACT

Jacque McFadden | 770.441.2520 ext. 781 | jmcfadden@rocketit.com

 

PROGRAM CONTACT

Cally D’Angelo | 678.957.4958 | CDAngelo@GwinnettChamber.org

 

 

 

 

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Leadership, Uncategorized

Join Rocket IT vCIO Eric Henderson for our Inbox Zero for Executives Webinar

Rocket IT

 

What is Inbox Zero?

Today’s professionals have an albatross around their necks, preventing them from staying focused on what’s mission critical and crippling their productivity. This weight is your email.

As an executive, you receive so many emails in just an hour that it’s easy to get distracted and weighed down. How many messages do you currently have in your inbox? How much time do you spend just sorting through them?

The fewer items you have demanding your attention in your inbox, the more time you have to stay focused on more productive tasks. It’s time to work towards your own Inbox Zero.

Join Rocket IT vCIO Eric Henderson on June 6th, 2017, at 1:00 PM EST for our Inbox Zero for Executives webinar.

Eric Henderson is the virtual CIO for Rocket IT, a technology company based out of Duluth, GA.  He received his B.S. in Management from Georgia Tech in 2003, and has worked in a variety of industries.  Eric serves on the National Board for 48in48, a nonprofit dedicated to creating websites for other nonprofit organizations, and on the Endowment Board for the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology. He is passionate about technology, leadership, and seeing people and their businesses thrive. 

Eric lives in Atlanta with his wife Heather, and their two sons, Thomas and Jonas. 

 

 

 

 

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Press Releases

Rocket IT Named 2017 Impact Regional Business Award Finalist

Rocket IT

DULUTH, GA – Rocket IT has been recognized as a leading area organization by becoming a finalist for an IMPACT Regional Business Award.

Designed to be reflective and unique to Gwinnett and across metro Atlanta, the program pays tribute to premier organizations in top industries that are driving economic development and job creation, while enhancing our quality of life.

“At Rocket IT, we’re striving to change the way people think about outsourced IT and what they expect from their IT partner,” says Matt Hyatt, Founder and CEO of Rocket IT. “It’s a huge honor to be endorsed by the Gwinnett community.”

Rocket IT is a finalist for the 2017 Impact Regional Business Award in Information Technology. Recipients will be selected in other various sectors such as AEC (Architecture, Engineering & Construction), Healthcare, International, and more.

“Bringing together leaders across these important industries is another example of how the Gwinnett Chamber can fulfill its mission to serve as a community forum,” said Dr. Dan Kaufman, President & CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber. “We are honored to provide a platform that showcases these excelling organizations, which are what makes the metro region a leader in so many areas.”

The awards ceremony will be held 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 10 at the Infinite Energy Forum.

An overall IMPACT Regional Business Awards recipient will be selected from the category winners.

 

 

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MEDIA CONTACT

Jacque McFadden | 770.441.2520 ext. 781 | jmcfadden@rocketit.com

 

PROGRAM CONTACT

Cally D’Angelo | 678.957.4958 | CDAngelo@GwinnettChamber.org

 

 

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Technology

From the Desk of the vCIO: How to Choose an Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Rocket IT

Setting up a new office, adding a secondary Internet connection, or replacing an expensive/poor ISP is a daunting task.  The variety of services, contract types, acronyms, and other traps in the buying process can be overwhelming and leave you stuck with a bad contract.

When selecting the right ISP for your organization, there are four basic questions you’ll need to answer. Let’s break down the various options to help you hone in on a provider:

 

Question 1 – What type of Internet Connection is even available to my building? – Fiber, Cable, T-1, Wireless?

Before we dive into the plethora of vendors, costs, and speeds, we need to determine what types of service can even be delivered to your building.  If your building is in a bustling office park, you can expect to have a wide range of choices.  If your building is in a rural location, you may be limited to only T-1’s or Wireless connections (we’ll talk about what that means to you in the next section). Do some research on what’s available in your area so you know what you have to choose from.

We can help with narrowing this down for you!  Give us a call.

Question 2 – How is the Internet Connection delivered to your building? – Fiber, Cable, T-1, or Wireless?

The biggest factor in cost, performance, and reliability in an Internet connection is the medium by which it is delivered to your building. Now that you know what’s available, here’s what the difference in those options means to you. You may have more than one available, so pick the best one for your needs and budget.

  • Fiber – highest cost, highest bandwidth, highest reliability. Recommended when the Internet connection is a critical part of your business.  Costs range between $600 and up.
  • Cable – recommended as a secondary connection. Low cost, high bandwidth, mediocre reliability.
  • T-1 – high cost, lowest bandwidth, highest reliability. An older technology at this point, and should only be used if no other reasonable options exist.
  • Wireless – moderately high cost, moderate bandwidth, ? reliability. In some areas, it’s possible to do point-to-point high-speed wireless signals.  Most appropriate when other technologies don’t exist.

Question 3- How much bandwidth do I need? 

The bandwidth is your pipeline, so it determines the speed of your connection. We measure that in megabits per second or Mbps. For an office staff relying heavily on the Internet, a rough rule of thumb is to expect that each employee will require 1 Mbps of bandwidth for a smooth experience.

  • Fiber’s bandwidth generally ranges between 10 and 2,000 Mbps.
  • Cable is generally 50-200 Mbps.
  • T-1’s are 1.5 Mbps each (which is why they are poor options, being so low!)
  • Wireless is in the 10-100 Mbps.

The more devices you have connected to your network, and the more active they are on it, the more bandwidth you’ll want. This isn’t just limited to your employees’ desktops anymore. This also includes smartphones, tablets, and anything else that communicates with the outside world. Also, if you work with large files, stream video or audio a lot, or use cloud services, then you’ll want more bandwidth available. When looking at what you’ll need, keep in mind that you won’t want to just focus on how much you download, but also on how much you upload.

Question 4 – Do you need phone service on your ISP connection?  Which type?

Nearly every ISP offers optionally-bundled phone services with their Internet Connection services.  These can often be secured at a reasonable cost alongside Internet.

If you do need Internet, you’ll need to know how many concurrent phone lines you require – what is the maximum number of users who will be on the phone with external parties at once?

You’ll also need to know what type of phone system you have. Your phone vendor can assist with this, and help you make the right decision for your organization.

 

Now that we know what the choices are, what type of connection, how much bandwidth is needed, and what type of phone service you need, we can now move to determining which provider is best for you.  Consider the following when making your final decision:

  • Peer Reviews of Provider – being saddled with a poor provider is an incredibly frustrating and time-consuming problem. Talk to your IT provider, business contacts, and neighbors in your building to learn how their experience has been with their ISP.
  • Up-front and Monthly Cost – how much will the bandwidth cost?
  • Do you need a secondary provider – Even fiber goes offline on occasion. Do you need a secondary connection via Cable?
  • Contract term – some providers require 3 year or 1 year contracts, while others are month-to-month.
  • Provisions for breaking the contract/moving – do you have options available for if you want to break the contract without a termination fee? What about if you move to an area that isn’t serviced by your ISP?

 

 


 

EH 2About the Author-

 Eric Henderson is Rocket IT’s virtual Chief Information Officer. He is also the tallest person at Rocket IT (by a fraction of an inch).

 

 

1200x627- vCIOHave you found that you need the expertise of a Chief Information Officer to help you make strategic decisions on how to leverage technology to meet your unique business goals, but aren’t ready to commit to hiring a full-time executive to fill that need? Learn about our virtual CIO services.

 

 

 

 

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Best Practices, Leadership

Living Company Values – An Employee’s Perspective

Rocket IT

Company culture is a hot topic right now. It’s headlining industry magazines, touting its name on awards, and (for those of you active on social media) it’s all over LinkedIn newsfeeds. At Rocket IT, it’s something our team is very intentional about.

As someone who interacts on our organization’s behalf out in the community in both a marketing and a recruiting capacity, I’ve had a unique opportunity to both share my experience and hear from very different perspectives how others see Rocket IT’s company culture.

One of the highest compliments I hear is how much others love that Rocket IT lives out its values. That other people from outside our organization can look in and see how much our team loves to help others and be passionate stewards for those we serve is incredibly rewarding.

One of the questions I’m asked most often (though not nearly as often as Matt Hyatt, our Founder and CEO, I’m sure!) is how Rocket IT has sustained a company culture that lives its values when so many organizations struggle to name theirs.  It’s easy to get buy-in on company values from the leadership teams that created them, but how do companies get everyone else across all levels to do the same?

Basically, how did the Rocket IT leadership team get me and others as invested in the Rocket IT values as they were?

When Matt created our company values, he started with why. Our purpose is to help others thrive. As Matt says, we just happen to do this through technology, but it’s at the core of everything we do at Rocket IT, and our company values help us define how.

Connect with people. Be passionate stewards. Find a better way. Have a blast!

Matt and the rest of the Rocket IT leadership team have fostered a company culture that lives these values in three simple ways.

 

Our values are stated in simple language that makes sense.

When Matt wrote our company values, he didn’t bury us in corporate jargon and buzzwords. Our values are simple, and it’s to see how we can act on them.

Take a look at our values listed above again. They’re simple, clear, and easy to remember. You could ask any employee at Rocket IT about our values, and they’d be able to tell you about all four (and even our secret fifth value – Eat ice cream).  There isn’t a single buzzword in any of them, and each value is four words or less.

 

We regularly engage in open dialogue about our values.

If the only time your employees discuss your company values is when they get a list of them in their onboarding packet, they probably won’t be able to name them one month later. Values are something that should be a regular conversation topic when you want your company to live them out.

At Rocket IT, we talk about what our values mean, how we can be mindful about them in our roles, what they mean to us, etc.. We talk about them in all-staff meetings, team huddles, and during our Café Tuesdays where Matt invites us to bring our lunch into the Rocket IT café and talk with him and each other about what’s on our minds.

Our values weren’t created in a vacuum, and they don’t exist in one either. If you want your team to invest in your company values, you should engage your team in regular conversation about them.

 

Rocket IT’s leadership verbally (and publicly) acknowledge when employees embody a company value in the way they act or what they do.

There’s a lot of power in simple recognition, and when our leadership team positively recognizes team members for living out company values, we become more invested in understanding and acting in line with those values.

It’s not unusual for individuals to be lauded for “being a passionate steward” or “finding a better way” during our staff meetings. And it’s not unheard of for someone to receive an Amazon gift card for exemplifying one of our values in their interactions with our clients.

 

Our company culture of living our values is hinged on our values being very real, active goals for us. They’re not just words on our website or phrases in our employee handbooks for HR to recite by rote and other team members to forget immediately. From the perspective of the general “everyman” employee, if you want buy-in from employees at all levels of your organization, follow these three tips to make your values meaningful to them.

 

 


 

 

About the Author-

Jacque McFadden is the marketing specialist at Rocket IT. While a large portion of her job focuses on the more traditional side of marketing, she is also responsible for finding great new employees. Jacque is originally from Indiana. 

 
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