Being surpassed by the competition.
Exposing sensitive information.
There are plenty of reasons not to sleep at night.
Even if the technology is not your business, it is so deeply ingrained in every facet that it can greatly impact the way you operate. From being able to access information from the road, or at all, to ensuring the privacy of data and offering customers better service, how can you enable innovation and ensure uptime and accessibility, without putting yourself at risk?
With the need to manage infrastructure, keep up with technological advancement and protect client data, staying on top of every aspect of managing your IT can be challenging. And for smaller companies without a dedicated IT manager or only one on staff, it is impossible to specialize in every facet, be the jack of all trades.
IT as-a-Cost or a Service?
As employees, customers and businesses become increasingly more reliant on 24/7 accessibility and innovation, worldwide spending on IT services is set to increase 2.1 percent to $929 billion, up from $910 billion the year before says Gartner Group. Sixty-nine percent of small businesses hire one or more IT service providers, and 39 percent of them expect to increase their spending; 59 percent of IT services have transitioned from the traditional break-fix model to a managed service contract, says research firm, Clutch.
Managed IT services, or an agreed upon subscription with an outside technology provider to help with managing network and software infrastructure, can include everything from ensuring the performance of applications to specific functions, like storage, backup and recovery, network monitoring and so much more.
What is Managed IT Services?
Enhanced security, a more proactive approach to IT, better continuity, peace of mind and access to newer technologies, are just a few motivations for businesses to increasingly look to managed service providers (MSPs). Managed services can also help companies to control IT costs, focus on its core business and elevate existing IT staff roles to concentrate on more strategic issues.
Why Outsource IT?
As a provider of IT support services for over 20 years, before there was even a name for managed services, we have noticed four key reasons businesses most often move to them, and we also know that having these IT services managed by an outsourced provider will help you sleep better at night.
Could you benefit from having help in any of these areas of your business?
1. Cyber Attacks & Ransomware – Most organizations realize the importance of instituting multiple layers of network security–a strong firewall, secure passwords and antivirus, regular program updates, safeguarded and encrypted devices, consistent backups and monitoring. Yet, having basic measures in place can also provide a false sense of protection, with organizations still susceptible to malware, botnets, and malicious applications.
Over 3.8 million records are compromised every day according to the Breach Level Index from Gemalto. Fifty-six thousand ransomware attacks, considered one of the most dangerous threats to businesses, occurred in March 2016 alone, with 39 percent of organizations surveyed had suffered at least one attack in the past year says a June 2016 survey from Osterman Research. Thieves encrypt the victim’s files in this attack holding them, the decryption keys and the business hostage for ransom. Malware programs are openly accessible to anyone on the “dark web” where thieves can easily purchase and download the software’ for criminal activity. This has prompted a 600 percent growth in new ransomware families since the first quarter of this year.
Many organizations are upping their game with new security measures leveraging an outsourced experienced security team who monitors and manages your environment around the clock, using leading technology and advanced analytics to actively search for threats.
2. Disaster Recovery – Cybercriminals and other thieves are not the only threats; natural disasters—fires and floods—and even infrastructure operation itself, can leave businesses vulnerable. With growing expectations of high availability and zero to no downtime, how will your business recover from significant negative events?
- 58 percent of small businesses are not prepared for data loss (National Archives & Records Administration in Washington), and 60 percent of small businesses that lose data will shut down within six months, says Research Firm, Clutch.
Disaster recovery (DR) involves strategically planning what to do (who to involve, what specific steps to take) before an adverse event happens to quickly resume mission-critical functions after one. DR includes assessing your organizations RPO (recovery point objective) and RTO (recovery time objective) or maximum age of files your organization must recover from backup storage in the maximum amount of time allowable, planning and testing to continue to be operational. Usually, it includes backing up and hosting files in a separate location or on the cloud to enable quick restoration.
An outsourced IT vendor can manage, back-up and restore these disasters in less than an hour. Sleeping better at night as a business owner or leader means you are prepared in the event of a disaster.
3. 24/7/365 Uptime – Have you ever thought, network outages, human error, device configuration, poor software or patches could cause my team to have shut down for hours or days, costing me dearly? Regardless, downtime is not good.
From hardware to software, configuration, accessibility and security risks–organizations are increasingly challenged to manage complex, ever-changing, quickly obsoleted environments. Often they need to do it with fewer financial, and ‘human’ resources, with IT often seen as a cost, versus profit, center and sometimes one of the first places to be cut. Small businesses can often benefit from having access to an “IT resource pool” from service providers with a full team of experts with various levels of expertise, accessible 24/7 to address needs. An outsourced IT team can also often catch little problems before they become big ones.
4. Managing Complexity – Even for companies with an IT manager in-house, it is virtually impossible for any person to be the jack of all trades to support every system required. For some smaller businesses, a managed service provider (MSP) may be able to take care of all system requirements–network layer, servers, support—so owners and managers don’t have to worry about them, for less than the price of hiring an additional full-time employee. They can also offer a point of escalation, to troubleshoot services from a specialist in IT, security or other aspects, based on need.
An outsourced IT team can you and your team focus on important company initiatives and even take a well-earned vacation every now and then without constant calls from someone needing a password or wondering why the internet is performing slowly. In addition, a predictable, monthly fee helps any small business plan and leverage technology to grow without sacrificing your internal resources pool to troubleshoot IT issues.
Wait! Before you consider working with an IT provider, we recommend you download our free 5-Point self-assessment checklist to determine if an outsourced IT team could benefit you.