In only a few years, technology has become integral to the operation of every business, regardless of industry or size. Our computers manage our day-to-day tasks; our emails keep workers in constant communication; networks transform segmented projects into cohesive, collaborative efforts. It’s safe to say that growing your business isn’t possible without making use of these innovations. And if you don’t use them, your competitors definitely will.
These technologies are constantly adapting to the realities of a changing business world. While this means that your business will always have the right tool for the job, it also means that there needs to be someone there to update these tools as they develop. Even the smallest one-person companies will find themselves using the latest software to streamline day-to-day tasks. All this requires oversight to keep up with changes in the industry that could impact your business.
It’s already a headache with a small company. As your staff grows, you could find yourself completely swamped with the responsibilities of managing your business’s technology. IT is a complex, full-time commitment. Chances are, you didn’t start your business with the goal in mind of playing IT technician for 40 hours a week. And that’s if you even have the opportunity to learn about that vast industry. You have clients to reach and staff to support, so learning how to manage a network, set up a scanner for a 10-member workspace, and protect your staff from email phishing could be well out of your reach.
So the question remains: how do you manage your IT?
The most obvious answer is to hire your own IT department, but just because it’s an obvious answer doesn’t mean it’s a good one. IT specialists are expensive, easily falling outside of small and medium company budgets.
Maybe you can call a technician as-needed? While they are certainly cheaper than having in-house specialists, the nature of their employment means that more problems mean more work for them. They might feel less inclined to solve the fundamental IT issues of your business if it takes away from their bottom line. Moreover, IT takes time to fix; all that time spent waiting for the technician to arrive, diagnose, and repair the problem means lost business.
Avoid half-measures and opt for a turnkey IT experience: a Managed Service Provider (MSP). MSPs effectively outsource your IT services, streamlining your IT infrastructure so that you don’t have to. For a fixed, recurring fee, MSPs can actively maintain your IT services, squashing problems as they arise and keeping your software up-to-date.
Like any big change, it can be tricky to determine whether your business needs an MSP. Depending on its size, demands, and future plans, an MSP could be the optimal choice.
To help you determine that, Tom Martinez, who provides IT services in Grand Rapids shares 20 Reasons You’re Ready to Outsource Your IT Services and see what option is right for you.
1. You need affordable, predictable expenses.
In-house IT services are expensive and on-call services are unpredictable. An MSP, however, is neither. A flat, regular rate gives you a complete service, regardless of the number of issues presented. What you end up with is a consistent budget: the same affordable cost at regular intervals, without a pile of surprise repair fees during particularly unlucky quarters.
2. You need your repairs to be thorough.
Deciding to go with the break-and-fix method of on-call technicians guarantees a future of incomplete repairs. If you have to pay a fee every time the technician visits your office, then they want to visit as often as possible.
MSPs don’t have that problem. Just like how you’re paying them the same rate every month, they have the same job every month: to maintain your IT services. Flat pricing means you get to avoid the nickel-and-diming of on-call specialists.
3. You need to minimize your downtime.
You can’t equal the speed and efficiency of an MSP. Even in-house IT departments have their limits since most small and medium businesses will have to settle for one technician on the payroll at most. MSPs have the resources to staff an entire force of qualified professionals which can diagnose and squash your business’s IT issues as quickly as possible. This minimizes the downtime of your IT infrastructure, giving you a smoother, more productive workplace.
4. You need your business to be safe and secure.
You always have to plan for the worst-case scenario when it comes to maintaining your IT: data breaches, server crashes, network failures. The timeless phrase is “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”, so having recovery plans in place for your business can save you precious time and money in the long run.
MSPs understand the serious repercussions of IT disasters and can help you keep your business running smoothly through difficult times with file encryption, data backups, and network security. With these numerous safety features in place, a huge catastrophe can be reduced to a minor speedbump.
5. You need your business to be up-to-date.
And not just with the latest web browsers. IT is an innovative field, constantly growing and changing just as businesses do. Keeping up with all these changes can be a difficult, time-consuming task that eats up a lot of your annual budget.
MSPs take up that responsibility, putting in the due diligence for new technologies, all without denting your finances thanks to discounts negotiated with software and hardware providers. You would be getting up-to-date IT solutions for a fraction of the cost, ensuring that your business’s security and efficiency are at their peak at all times.
6. You need customized IT implementation.
Every business has its own needs and limitations. MSPs work with you to determine what it is you’re looking for. If you want to prioritize productivity and user experience, a Managed Service Provider can create a plan for you to accomplish that goal with the resources they have available. Working together, you and your MSP can set long-term goals that are custom-made to take new developments and your business’s growth into account.
7. You need your IT to scale.
The needs of large businesses are not the same as the needs of a small one. As your business grows, you will find that your IT needs to expand and adapt. This applies to everything—from software solutions to the availability of hardware and services.
MSPs ensure that you are always getting the best return on investment for your IT solutions. Tailor-made roadmaps for your business make sure you don’t invest in expensive upgrades that go beyond what your business needs at that particular stage of its growth.
8. You need your technology to adapt quickly.
MSPs benefit from having the experienced manpower and well-developed infrastructure necessary to roll out new technology quickly. They cut down the time needed to deploy new technology so that your business can adapt as quickly as possible. That lets your business stay ahead of its competitors by taking advantage of the newest innovations available instead of playing catch-up.
9. You need flexible access to your business.
Expanding your business requires that you keep your infrastructure accessible. You might have some employees working from home or other remote locations depending on the demands of your business. Wherever they are, you want your employees to have secure access to your business’s data and software solutions so they can do their jobs. The cloud-based software and communication solutions available to MSPs make sure that location doesn’t have to limit your staff.
10. You need to consolidate your network.
The decision to outsource your IT services offers an opportunity to consolidate all of your servers within safely administered data centers. These centers give your staff access to your business’s network, saving you the cost of maintaining centralized infrastructure and providing safety services like secure data storage and off-site server backups.
11. You need a real-time overview of your IT infrastructure.
The complexity of IT can make it prohibitive for those without a background in the industry. MSPs have IT professionals that can develop your business’s complicated infrastructure into a comprehensive overview that identifies locations for potential improvements in security and productivity.
This overview is vital for deciding what technology your business needs for its day-to-day operation, as well as possible upgrades, to consider in the long-term. With information compiled by your MSP, you can have a clear idea of what current and future IT solutions are good for your business.
12. You need detailed reports.
Just as MSPs can provide comprehensive overviews, they also offer access to detailed data-gathering. A centralized IT provider puts all of your information in one place, from storage capacity to network bandwidth trends.
With data in hand, you could adjust your annual budget and your chosen IT solutions according to the performance of your network.
13. You need legible reports.
Data-gathering can produce dense, technical reports full of information that takes a lot of time to decipher. MSPs can provide summarized dashboards with the key statistics you need to assess your business’s performance and adapt your executive strategy to its needs.
14. You need your infrastructure regularly assessed.
All of the reporting above is not only thorough, but constant. MSPs regularly inspect your IT infrastructure to identify possible gaps in data compliance or network security. Consistent auditing of your IT services by qualified professionals guarantees that you’re not just seeing how your business operates on one particular day, but how it operates every day.
15. You need a wide range of IT experts available.
When you outsource your IT services to an MSP, you are partnering with teams of experts in different IT fields. What this means is that even small MSPs provide a treasure trove of IT knowledge, streamlining your IT in as many areas as possible. Whatever information you’re being provided is the product of many different experts, allowing you to make IT decisions from the best position possible.
16. You need IT professionals to consult.
Managed Services provide an expert, human element to their IT solutions. Their team can be consulted to provide valuable advice in determining the direction of your business. They can help you negotiate the numerous data-reporting solutions being offered so you have a complete understanding of current technologies and the way they’re being implemented in your business.
17. You need a single point of contact for third-parties.
Consolidating your technical support can go far in effectively coordinating your IT. MSPs have long-standing partnerships with front-running leaders of the industry. This means that you’re getting the best solutions while saving yourself the headache of coordinating the many different software and hardware providers utilized by your business.
18. You need to free up your time spent on IT.
Every disruption to IT is a lot of time spent on your part-time spent contacting on-call technicians, consulting third-party phone lines, maybe even trying to fix the issue yourself. Managing your business is a full-time job, so you definitely don’t need to tack “IT specialist” onto your current responsibilities. MSPs take on that burden, freeing up your limited, valuable time.
19. You need to think and plan ahead with your IT.
MSPs offer a wealth of real-time information that goes beyond the present. What you have is an opportunity to plan out how new technology innovations will be implemented in your business. Managed Services can inform you of the steps you need to take to fulfill your business goals, guiding you through the process from the beginning to the end.
20. You want to stop worrying.
With so many different responsibilities already resting on your shoulders, the stress of managing your business’s IT can be a serious tipping point that affects your ability to administrate effectively. Putting it short: the fewer things you have to worry about, the healthier you’ll be and the better you’ll be at your job.
Choosing to outsource your IT services can mean washing your hands of this stressful timesink, providing more time to give your business the care it deserves.