Five Reasons Small Businesses Should Use Managed IT Services
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As a small business owner, I am eternally grateful for the cashflow-friendly monthly payment option charged for most goods and services that support small businesses today. That said, the total amount expended after paying the monthly bills for cell phone, accounting, bookkeeping, banking, payroll, shipping, e-commerce, cloud-based productivity, web hosting, and more services quickly adds up. So, it is understood that like me, you may be hesitant to add another fee to the monthly payroll.
As previously addressed in the technology section of our Blog though, through personal experience, I have learned the hard way that in the long-run, failing to keep pace with technology is more expensive than consistent maintenance. Outdated technology is not only costly to upgrade, it takes a toll on employee and customer relationships and poses a significant security threat. A cost-effective solution may be managed IT services.
When you enter into a managed services contract, some, or all, of your IT functions are outsourced. For example, a managed services agreement can include assistance with basic IT functions, on-site technical problems, security, back-ups, infrastructure support, and/or more. To fully analyze whether a managed services contract is a good solution for your small business, consider the following benefits.
- Cost Effectiveness
Employing full-time in-house IT staff can be expensive, especially compared to the reduced amount you can spend for a managed services contract. This is, at least in part, due to the economies of scale you may be able to realize by sharing IT infrastructure through such contract. Additionally, since there is a lot of competition in the managed contract services market, you can leverage the size of your organization, length of contract, level of services, and other factors to negotiate a comprehensive plan that is affordable for your small business. And, as mentioned above, most providers offer a cashflow-friendly monthly payment option.
- Ability to Focus on Your Business
As discussed in Three Strategies to Effectively Manage Your Time as a Small Business Owner, as a small business owner, to effectively grow and scale your business, your time must be focused on the top tasks for which your unique skillset is needed. More than likely, IT functions are not on this list and addressing them will distract you from your core business activities that are worthy of your attention. Thus, delegating IT strategy and maintenance through a managed services contract will allow you to focus on your most important business objectives without sacrificing your company’s IT infrastructure.
- Robust Services
As discussed in Why Every Business Needs a Great IT Team, oftentimes, having a cadre of IT professionals with whom you can work, such as through a managed services contract, is more beneficial than working with an individual professional. A single technician may be skilled in handling a certain subset of IT issues, not all technology issues that may arise given the breadth of the technology field and depending on the size and complexity of your organization. So, having a team of professionals who can each assist your business with its various IT challenges will ensure your business can best handle any technology problem that comes your way. This is especially true given that under a managed services contract, the company you engage should be responsible for ensuring that its technicians servicing your contract are up to date on the latest technologies and accreditation.
- Reduced Downtime
The team of IT professionals available to you through a managed services contract can much better consistently monitor your IT systems and apply necessary updates and patches than one in-house individual. As a result of having IT infrastructure that is well-maintained, your business will avoid network downtime, slow systems, cyber attacks, and other security issues. Avoiding delays not only prevents your business from losing the value of the downtime caused by IT issues, it also improves the morale of your employees who rely on your infrastructure to perform their job responsibilities and client and customer relationships that depend on timely receipt of the goods and services promised to them without interruption from avoidable IT challenges.
- Reduced Cyber Attack Risk
Like previously addressed in Tech Mistakes Your Small Business May Be Making, big businesses are not the only targets of cyber crime, they are just the ones who generally make the headlines. In reality, 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. It is therefore important that your IT systems are designed and monitored with security in mind, as the consequences of a data breach can be catastrophic for your reputation and the financial future of your business. Such security can best be provided by a managed services contract that will protect your business with an entire team of skilled IT professionals.
Final Thoughts When Selecting IT Services
In today’s technological society, sound IT infrastructure is crucial to maintaining efficient business operations. Managing multiple IT vendors only complicates your operations and increases the risk that your IT efforts are not coordinated, leading to additional unnecessary problems. These issues can be avoided by carefully vetting one managed services contract that provides the full range of required infrastructure, security, and break/fix skills. Once your ideal partner is identified, you can concentrate on more important business functions knowing that your IT services are well-managed.
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