Today’s business climate calls for the need to have a strong IT infrastructure for your company. We have become increasingly reliant on services that allow us to work and learn from home. Is your small business adapting with the times? Are you ready for technical hurdles that may appear at any time? Maybe it’s time to explore managed it service providers (MSP). 75% of SMBs occasionally outsource their IT to an external company or managed service provider ¹. Traditional businesses such as medical clinics, law firms, or even accounting firms often don’t have or lack IT departments that have the technical skills needed for a growing business. Without experienced helpdesk expertise, companies can expect increased security threats, higher IT costs, and unnecessary downtime.
Imagine you’re the owner of a small law firm. You have one technical employee in charge of your firm’s IT department who is responsible for managing all your confidential customer data, point of sale systems, phone systems, video conferencing, employee payroll data, etc. Suddenly, there is a cyber-attack that your employee can’t solve and you can’t access sensitive client files. Without proper backups, the files could be wiped clean and you must essentially restart your business.
What are the top IT challenges small businesses face today?
Within a single generation, businesses have had to learn new ways of operating with technology. Business owners are now having to ensure that their technology is up to date, safe and, functioning. Here are some common IT challenges that small businesses face today:
Embracing Technological Change
Technology is always evolving, so it’s difficult for small business owners or small tech teams to be an expert in everything. Today’s digital world makes it even more apparent. Oftentimes, small tech teams that wear many hats can’t keep up with the latest IT trends and high IT costs.
Small tech teams often lack accountability when it comes to costs. Hiring an experienced technology expert can be a heavy burden on your payroll. During times of crisis, a weak tech team may spend a lot on disaster recovery on top of the cost of downtime. A CTIA poll of 400 IT managers and business owners revealed that a whopping 96% of respondents reduced their costs with managed IT service providers ².
Small businesses are often not aware of the dangers and risks of their connected business. Many don’t do periodic audits (recommended every 6 months at least), have a firewall installed, or even back up their data. These IT issues may not seem like a big problem — until it is. 62% of small businesses claim that they lack the skills in-house to be able to properly deal with security issues while 52% of small businesses feel helpless to defend themselves against new forms of cyber threats ³.
What are the benefits of using a Managed IT Service Provider?
Get peace of mind
Running a business is hard. Business owners today must juggle more responsibilities than ever and often don’t have time to manage their IT infrastructure. Using an MSP to handle the technical IT aspects of your company allows business owners to focus on your core competencies and deliver more value to your clients.
Reduce IT costs
In-house hardware can get very expensive; not to mention, there’s the high cost of the salaries and benefits of the employees who operate the hardware. Outsourcing to an MSP and moving your business applications to the cloud can drastically lower these costs. With MSPs you can expect transparent and predictable monthly pricing.
Get help faster
MSPs are easy to get in touch with and usually provide a 24/7 helpdesk so you can get assistance anytime. Getting quick support for everyday IT issues is vital for a company to keeping your staff productivity high. Technical issues may appear without warning and every minute of downtime can impact your profit margins. Good MSPs use modern automation to solve simple issues and employ experts when on demand whenever required. This means that common issues will be resolved with automatic solutions, and monitored by your MSP.
Enhance security and compliance
Keeping data safe has become a top priority for business owners. It’s predicted that by 2021, cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion annually and on average there is a hacker attack every 39 seconds ⁴. In 2017, just over one-fifth (21%) of Canadian businesses reported that they were impacted by a cyber security incident which affected their operations. MSPs make sure you always have the right security features in place to protect your business ⁶.
Increase staff productivity
An average employee loses 12.4 hours a year due to server downtime and 6.2 hours a year for network downtime. By implementing managed IT services, companies were able to reduce server and network downtime by more than 85%⁵. The opportunity cost for losing such valuable resources is high and could be allocated towards other areas of the business.
Scale with your small business
An MSP will design your network to meet your current usage, but is always ready for your future growth and can provide advice on how to scale. Often times hiring extra staff usually ends up costing much more than the flexible plans offered by MSPs and you won’t receive the same level of expertise.
Most of the time, MSPs offer proactive IT monitoring which detects and solves technical issues before they become a problem. Disaster recovery is generally expensive, so having a “proactive manager” monitoring your IT system is beneficial.
How can a Managed Service Provider help your small business?
MSPs improve your IT operations and held reduce your operational expenses. MSPs are essentially an outsourced IT service that can either augment your existing IT team — or replace it if necessary — to help your business reduce costs and increase expertise.
Types of managed IT services
Managed services come in many shapes and sizes. There are a wide variety of services offered by MSPs including but not limited to:
- IT Infrastructure Monitoring
- Service-level agreement Management
- 24/7 Help desk support
- Cloud Services
- Disaster Recovery
Differences between IT contractors and in-house IT departments
Individual IT contractors vs managed IT service providers
Many small businesses opt for utilizing individual IT contractors under break and fix contracts- like a repairman for technical issues. The technical knowledge provided by these IT contractors are often inadequate and are unable to sufficiently mitigate the root problems of the issue. Additionally, these contractors often have multiple clients and you may experience unnecessary delays and downtime.
IT departments vs Managed IT service providers
Typically, a single-person IT staffer at a small company is responsible for all IT responsibilities, from troubleshooting phones to dealing with connectivity issues and replacing/configuring hardware and software—they do it all. But there are only so many hours in the day and it’s impossible to keep up to date on all the different systems and applications your business runs. Moreover, if your IT expert is sick or on vacation, you’re left helpless if anything does go wrong. By working with an MSP, you gain access and coverage from a team of experts that have diverse skill sets, levels of expertise, and a shared knowledge base.
Some MSPs provide a full suite of services while others stick to just one aspect of technology support. It is important to choose an MSP that can handle a wide range of different issues to avoid any surprises and extra costs.
About OnPoint ONE
Offering a full suite of managed services, OnPoint ONE is the only MSP that provides enterprise-level IT solutions with an accessible and predictable monthly plan. Contact us and find the perfect plan for your small business!
We use a practical and pragmatic approach, and have worked with organizations such as Bombardier, Indigo, City of Kelowna, and Langara College.