Technology plays a central role in business, making it a key component of almost every company. Staying on top of your business’s IT game can be a real challenge, as the technological environment is always changing. Overwhelmed with choices and a lack of expertise, many companies often overspend on IT without understanding which technology expenses are vital, a luxury or redundant.
This is particularly true in the case of small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs), due to the fact that larger companies work with bigger budgets that have a greater capacity to sustain in-house IT roles. But it’s the SMBs that can really struggle to stay afloat when it comes to the crunch. It is always of interest to cut costs and maximize efficiency wherever possible for all businesses. Your IT department is exactly where outsourcing can give rise to the win-win scenario of saving time and money, not to mention improving team productivity.
Defining Managed IT Services
Managed IT services consist of outsourcing the coordination of anything IT-related, from office hardware maintenance to network security needs and cloud storage and computing services. A few examples include outsourced helpdesk, outsourced CIOs, disaster recovery and back-up planning. If you’re not a very tech-savvy business, something as simple as forgetting to ensure all your antivirus software is up to date can risk an attack onset that could interrupt your business services and cause serious damage to internal security systems — as well as your company’s reputation. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to IT, as the needs of each enterprise can differ greatly.
According to the latest Deloitte Tech Trends report, the economic impact of the classic in-house role has been estimated to take up as much as 70% of a company’s IT budget just to keep business-critical systems working. With the increasing importance that IT continues to play in any business operation, this is definitely not a viable formula to stick to, especially when experience comes with a heftier price tag. Aside from the money-saving aspect of these outsourced services, they also help tap into the more senior expertise that may be missing in your team.
Where To Start With Managed IT Services
Some businesses may recognize they need to start offloading parts of their IT infrastructure, but they aren’t quite ready to seek out an all-encompassing plan from a third party. In this case, there are some a-la-carte services that serve as a good starting point.
A current popular strategy is to outsource the management of your company’s cloud infrastructure. In doing so, you free up more time to work on new features that would provide better value to your customers. Even contracting an MSP to handle a single feature that is routine but necessary, such as specific software maintenance or anti-virus protection, could also prove to be your most cost-effective first step. This way, less time is spent staying on top of the technical details involved with handling these standard responsibilities.
The Pros and Cons of MSPs
Given the current financial forecast, it’s in any business’s best interest to keep their structure lean yet agile — so that they will be ready to face any hurdles that come their way. As with anything, there are pros and cons to MSPs as well.
On the plus side, managed IT services may lead to greater cost control and better risk evasion. Threats are always rapidly evolving as technology advances, so MSPs might be more in tune with current security trends and privacy regulations. With access to the latest features in IT, could more quickly improve your customer experience, helping to increase customer loyalty and referral potential.
As for the cons, not all MSPs will be local to your business, which means on-site visits to fix issues with hardware won’t always be feasible. Another shortcoming may be that the scope of services offered by an MSP may not include all the products used by your company, which would limit their ability to help you with related upkeep and troubleshooting. Moreover, personalized service is even less probable with larger providers, as they tend to favor a larger client base and have to deal with incoming tickets on a priority basis.
With recent studies indicating that over 40% of cyber attacks are targeted at SMBs and that those who experience cyberattacks are generally out of business within six months, managed IT services are a great alternative for those organizations hoping to cut costs and maintain peace-of-mind. Even if an MSP may not work for your company, it is imperative that you stay aware of potential threats and keep security top-of-mind. The costs are too high not to.
*This is from an article featured on Forbes.com