Why managed IT solutions are essential for your small business and the many ways they can enhance your business' workflow efficiency
When you run a small business, you've always got your hands full. There are customers to keep happy, employees to keep engaged, and overhead to manage. Among all your worries, maintaining an up-to-date computer network should also be one of the top ones.
In today's environment, it's nearly impossible to run a successful business without the use of technology. While we've all become accustomed to tech's presence in our daily lives, many entrepreneurs are still far from experts on the subject.
Still, expert or no, technology is almost certainly a crucial part of your business operations. As such, maintaining a secure and functional computer network is incredibly important to your short- and long-term success.
The average small business allocates its IT budget toward hardware, software, network, cloud, and labor costs. Many of these are services your business can't go without, so you will need to pay for them one way or another.
When you are outsourcing this work to multiple third-party companies, you manage an unnecessarily complicated and bloated network.
Has this ever happened to you: you ask your network provider a question about data privacy, and they "I'm not sure, check with your Cloud provider." So you check with your cloud provider, only to be bounced again to your desktop support partner.
With this model, there are too many seats at the table. Instead, you can partner with a managed IT provider. They will function as your single point of contact, reducing the amount of time you spend coordinating between multiple parties.
Not only will you rest easier after partnering with a managed IT company, but your business will, too. Having a dedicated expert who handles all your IT moving parts gives a more significant opportunity to identify efficiencies and save you money.
Overall, bringing in a managed IT partner will enhance your quality of life while potentially saving money along the way.
Increased Employee Productivity
Every business relies on its employees to succeed.
Payroll makes up the most considerable expense for nearly every business' budget. Your employees are your most valuable asset in this regard, and giving them the tools they need to succeed is mission-critical. When you partner with a managed IT company, they can help increase your employee's productivity through indirect and direct ways.
Taking a proactive approach to your cybersecurity, for example, can help prevent a nasty malware invasion that could derail an employee's hardware for some time. In a more immediate sense, having the most up-to-date software versions on your company computers along with cloud-based server connectivity can make your workforce more connected.
The specific services you wind up using come down to your business needs but managed IT offers nearly every business to increase employee productivity.
When you're managing many clients, customer, or patient activity and you experience a network outage - or if a computer shuts down altogether - you're in trouble.
Every minute of downtime is potentially lost productivity. As such, having a hands-on support team that focuses on keeping your system operational is exceptionally beneficial. For most IT consulting companies, you will have a dedicated account team who responds quickly and effectively when you have any tech issues whatsoever.
Whether you run into power failures, security breaches, or data loss, you can feel comfortable knowing you have an IT team on your side.
Private computers store a lot of information that hackers want to obtain - personal data, credit card information, and even bank routing numbers. As such, a data breach involving ransomware or spyware can jeopardize your customer's trust in your business and shatter years of hard work along the way.
Also, hackers don't "choose" who they are going to target. They cast a wide net and see who has the most vulnerable system. If you aren't using standard data security methods, this method means getting hacked is a matter of "when," not "if."
Managed IT companies will help you install and maintain an antivirus infrastructure that suits your business' needs. You can also utilize your new partner to encrypt data at multiple points, adding an extra layer of security beyond bare-bones antivirus measures.
Having access to all of your relevant work files is something many business owners take for granted. It's a common mistake to ignore regular, automated data backup, which is not a fun lesson to learn the hard way.
If you are handling your system without managed IT services or an in-house IT department, you may have a blindspot to potential data management pitfalls. In some cases, years of work and hard-earned productivity can vanish overnight when you don't understand how a new tech implementation will affect the rest of the network. If you don't have up-to-date backup files and a team who knows how to restore your servers, you'll be scrambling to recover.
Instead, having a steady IT partner lets you relax during these seemingly stressful events. With managed IT, your servers will back up frequently, and you'll have a support team on call - ready to get your business back into action as quickly as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are interested in learning more about a managed service provider and how it may be best suited for your small business, please reach out today.
Small Business IT Services and Technology Solutions
Managed IT involves more than merely keeping your network up or your computers functional - the best managed IT companies become close partners with their clients.
Although there are dozens of helpful services they provide, the real value-add here is you have experts on your side who understand how all of these services intersect with one another. The ability to tweak the most subtle details while still envisioning how it affects the big picture in their mind is the most valuable trait any IT company can offer.
Still, all the vision in the world doesn't get your computer to start again after it broke down - here are the technical services managed IT companies provide to small businesses on an ongoing basis.
Network Support and Management
First and foremost, onsite Network Support & Management is an essential service you'll receive from a managed IT partner. They will handle everything required to keep your wifi network up and running while ensuring every device can remain connected.
This service includes managing network hardware onsite, coordinating with your network service provider, and responding quickly to any connectivity issues. Managed IT companies also maintain an active firewall for your network, providing an extra security layer for your business.
Once you have a partner on call that can help you with any network outages, provider changes, or office relocations, you'll never go back to managing it yourself. They'll make every step of the process easy by taking away your end's technical duties and executing with ease.
IT Communication Management is beneficial for businesses in constant communication, both internally and externally.
As your business grows, email management becomes more complicated. Whether you are currently using an email platform, want to transfer to a new one, or you're just starting altogether, the right IT partner can help set up an email infrastructure that scales with your business.
Your new partner will also assist in all personnel changes you have, so you won't need to worry about adding new employees to your email server or removing employees no longer there.
Beyond email, many businesses utilize VoIP - Voice Over IP - to communicate externally. Your managed IT partner can arrange hardware installation and implement software products so your team can efficiently conduct business.
Data Backup and Recovery
A fundamental service in information technology is Data Backup & Recovery.
Your IT partner will help you install policies and procedures that automatically backup your data as you create it. Some will help arrange cloud services, while other businesses are better off storing backup data in onsite servers.
In addition to storing your information, making sure it is secure is a whole different story. IT professionals install extensive security measures to protect your backup data from theft, just as they would for any other sensitive information.
If and when disaster strikes, your IT partner will quickly walk you through recovery - thus reducing downtime and keeping your business productive.
Server Support and Management
As your company scales larger, Server Support and Management becomes incredibly important.
The right IT partner does more than sets up your servers so you can communicate. Instead, IT consultants help you create a complete system that effectively connects your workforce and allows for seamless file sharing.
Through your managed IT partner, you can easily assign permissions, create file shares, and track team activity. On the backend, IT management will maintain antivirus software, track storage figures, and manage updates.
The result is a shared server system that safely houses your business' most important information.
Data and Privacy Compliance
Almost every business needs to make Data & Privacy Regulatory Compliance a top priority if they wish to remain open. This concern is especially valid for heavily regulated industries, such as health care.
Managed IT partners work closely with your team to ensure your entire network is up to code. For health care, that usually means ensuring your company is HIPAA compliant.
HIPAA outlines how practices can collect and store patient information. This involves implementing encryption, clearly defining data policies and procedures, establishing strong network security, and limiting physical access to data.
Why Managed IT Support Services is Critical for Small Business Owners
Most small and medium-sized businesses make decisions based on the budget available to them. From that perspective, partnering with an IT management team can seem a little daunting. However, once you understand the complete value-add you'll receive, it's difficult to imagine how your operations performed before partnering up.
With cost structures that can fit any style of business needs - from monthly retainers to hourly billing - you can find the right partner that helps your business thrive.
At Kansas City IT, we become an extension of your team. Our experts help design and implement an operations structure that makes your business run as smoothly as it can. And you'll always have peace of mind knowing a bonafide IT expert is a short phone call away from fixing any tech problem you encounter.
If you are interested in managed IT services, contact us today for a free estimate!
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