As a small business owner, you may have to wear many hats. Even when your business reaches the point that it could be considered a medium-sized business, you may still find that you don’t have the personnel you’d like to have. One area that SMBs find it hard to be competitive in is IT. Large corporations have the budgets that allow them to pull in top-tier talent, often leaving smaller businesses with newcomers and those will less experience.
That’s why many smaller companies have chosen to outsource their IT support needs to managed IT companies. These companies provide all of the support and maintenance you need, so you don’t have to worry about hiring as many in-house IT staff. There are other benefits, too, such as being able to budget your IT costs better. If you’re uncertain about using a managed IT service, it may help to learn more about what they offer and how you can benefit from such a partnership.
What Are Managed IT Services?
When you partner with a managed IT services provider, you’re outsourcing your IT needs. Like many outsourcing companies, most IT services providers offer tiered packages. You can outsource all of your IT needs if you want, but you can also outsource specific parts of IT. This allows you to keep some services in-house while bringing in experts to handle those things your staff isn’t well-versed in or simply doesn’t have the time to handle.
As a third party, your managed IT services provider will need access to your system. This can make some business owners hesitate, but it shouldn’t. These are the experts who understand how to protect your data and keep your network secure. They’re here to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to anything, so you don’t need to worry about them accidentally leaking your data or leaving access doors open.
In fact, that’s why many people work with IT management services. These experts can help you create, implement, access, and upgrade your cyber security processes and tools. They can also provide IT support, maintenance, scaling your system, and more. By working with one of these providers, you’re free to focus on running your business, and your in-house IT team will have the time to work on specific projects only they can do.
What Services Are Available?
What can your managed IT services partner provide? Here are a few of the things that these companies can manage or take over for their clients.
Dealing with your cloud services, especially for those who aren’t familiar with how the cloud works, can be a headache. With multiple cloud services, including Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, and more, there’s a lot to understand and keep on top of. Allowing your managed IT partner to oversee your cloud services ensures that your data will be protected both on the cloud servers and when it’s being accessed.
Cyber security is vital, no matter how big or small your company is. You cannot afford to cut corners or use old security measures that are no longer effective. Because all they do is focus on IT, your managed services provider will be able to provide in-depth security. This includes virus scanners, firewalls, and malware protection, of course, but it also includes actively monitoring your network for attacks and even using advanced AI to build profiles for users. If a user account begins to try to access data it shouldn’t or acts in any suspicious way, it can be flagged and investigated.
Security also involves looking at how your overall technology infrastructure works together. It doesn’t matter how strong your antivirus programs and firewalls are if you have two programs that are so incompatible that they create security vulnerabilities. Managed IT providers will ensure that your software and operating systems are compatible and are patched or updated as needed.
Of course, your IT partner can also provide basic tech support for your employees. If your system goes down and they’re handing your support, you’ll simply call them and let them know what the trouble is. They will provide on-site support as needed, but they will also handle remote IT support. Many issues can be handled remotely, allowing your team to get back to work very quickly or repairing outages that are affecting your customers.
When your hardware goes down, you need someone who understands how to repair it or what needs to be replaced to get everything up and running again as soon as possible. While your managed IT partner will do this, many also implement a preventative maintenance plan. This plan involves replacing hardware before it breaks, allowing you to avoid unexpected outages. Preventative maintenance gets more life out of your hardware and can save you money.
The Benefits of Working with a Managed IT Services Provider
There are many different benefits to outsourcing your IT management services to a professional. Here are some of the biggest reasons why working with a managed IT services provider is a good idea.
You Gain Access to Dozens of Professionals
If you hire your own IT team, you may find that you can’t hire everyone that you’d like to. You may want to have a cyber security expert on staff, but those with the experience you need simply want more money than you can offer. When you outsource your IT needs, you pay a single monthly fee that is lower than hiring an employee. However, you gain access to all of the experts your IT provider has on staff. This means you essentially gain all of their employees’ skillsets and knowledge for a much more budget-friendly cost.
They Keep Up with Changes in the Industry
Technology is always changing. What may be considered best practices today may be out tomorrow. Keeping up with all of these changes can be time-consuming, and it’s why many small companies fall behind. When you work with a managed IT partner, though, that won’t happen. Your partner focuses solely on technology, so keeping up with changes in the industry is a part of their job.
Your IT Budget is More Manageable
In addition to saving money on hiring, you also have a better idea of what your IT budget will be. Your managed IT services partner will provide you with a set monthly contract. You can count on that cost always being the same for the duration of that contract. There’s no need to factor in promotions, raises, changes in benefit costs, or other overhead you have with employees. You don’t even need to budget for a desk, office space, or equipment.
They’re Available 24/7
Most IT service providers have someone available 24/7 to provide support in the event of a system failure or other major issue. This is very helpful if you have offices in different time zones, but it can also be handy for those companies that have customers around the world. If your website goes down, you can reach someone to immediately begin looking into the issue.
Your cyber security team will also be working 24/7. If there’s a breach early in the morning, your IT provider will immediately notify you. They will also lock down your data and do everything possible to protect your information.
You Can Plan Your Network Outages
As mentioned earlier, many managed IT providers focus on preventative maintenance. One of the reasons why preventative maintenance is important is because it allows you to schedule your network’s downtime. Equipment can fail at any time. For example, you could have a hard drive fail in the middle of the day during one of your peak use times. This leaves your team unable to work efficiently and can result in lost sales.
With preventative maintenance, though, you can have a better idea of when that hard drive is going to go down because you track its age. You can then schedule a replacement to be installed during the evening or early morning when you can take that server offline without it affecting as many people. In addition to avoiding a costly crash, you can also shop ahead, giving you time to research your options and find the best price.
Wooden Spoon IT is Here to be Your Managed IT Services Partner
When you partner with a managed IT services provider, you want to be certain they’re someone you trust. You need a partner who hires the best, is dedicated to helping their clients, and is available when you need them. Wooden Spoon IT in Santa Rosa is that partner. We have years of experience in the managed IT services industry, and our team brings many different skills and knowledge to the table. As one of our clients, you would have access to all of these skills as well as our top-of-the-line equipment and knowledge of best practices.
We provide our clients with a wide range of services, including IT planning and strategy, preventative maintenance, on-site and remote support, project services, and more. If you’re ready to work with a managed IT services provider, reach out to Wooden Spoon today to learn how we can help you.