If your company is like most, you probably handled your own I.T. needs when you were first starting out. After all, it’s hard to justify spending the money on outside consultants when you can handle most of your storage and sharing needs with Google Drive, and do all your paperwork via Microsoft Office. All it takes for that is some off-the-rack computers and an external hard drive! Besides, in the early days, when you’re focusing on keeping your head above water, going beyond I.T. basics is simply something it’s hard to find time for.
As your business grows, however, so does your need for technological infrastructure. More customers and clients means more data to process, as well as keep safe and secure in an ever-changing online landscape. If you are considering seeking out additional I.T. support, here are a few indications it’s time to take the next step:
Your Business Is Expanding
Expansion is a sign of a healthy company, but it also comes with growing pains. Case in point: the hardware, network, and servers you once used to run your business might not be able to handle the demands of a growing company with more employees and more business than it had in the past. If you are starting to outgrow your current technological solutions, a managed service provider (MSP) can help you streamline your operations. For example, many MSPs can help you install enterprise software that will simplify your workflow, as well as providing around-the-clock monitoring and support.
More business means more data, and if you are working solo or with a small in-house I.T. department, there simply might not be enough storage to handle all the information coming your way. If your business is growing and onboarding several new employees, now is a great time to explore the advantages that come with managed services. For example, cloud computing solutions can give your new team members instant, scalable access to everything they need to work effectively.
You Need a Better Network
Network outages are an unfortunate fact of life that cost time and money no matter what kind of business you operate. In addition to making it impossible to communicate with customers and employees, each time your network goes down you lose important data. For this reason, many business owners opt for cloud-based network monitoring from a managed service provider. This service improves security and reliability while remaining flexible and customizable. Your MSP will take care of the network and offer 24/7 support, freeing up your in-house staff to handle day-to-day operations.
You Have No Disaster Recovery Plan
If your vital data resides only on in-house hardware, then information loss is a matter of when, not if. It is hugely important that you create a disaster recovery plan to implement in the event of equipment failure and data losses. A disaster recovery plan is a set of policies, tools, and procedures put in place to aid in the restoration of normal operations should the I.T. infrastructure become damaged. Most MSPs will help you put a disaster recovery plan in place, in addition to providing solutions such as remote storage and automatic data backup designed to prevent catastrophic losses.
You Need to Focus on Your Core Competencies
Running a business takes a lot of mental bandwidth. You probably started out with a vision in mind and a plan to implement your ideas—but it’s impossible to maintain focus on what makes your company special when you are constantly bogged down with I.T. issues. Over time, it’s likely that your bottom line (and sanity) will start to suffer if you find yourself caught in a pattern of breakdown, repair, rinse, repeat.
Getting stuck in a break-fix cycle often means you and your I.T. staff are so busy dealing with escalating problems that you do not have time to give your attention to key aspects of your business. If you find yourself slipping when it comes to marketing, product development, customer service, and other vital areas, don’t dig yourself deeper into the hole—get the help you need to get back on course and do what you do best.
You Would Like to Cut Costs
According to the Outsourcing Institute’s Outsourcing Index 2000, cost reduction is one of the main reasons that companies make the switch to managed services. Working with an MSP lets you get all the benefits of a highly trained I.T. staff without having to pay for training, management, hiring, health insurance, and other costs associated with taking on new employees. In addition, you benefit from the collective experience of a specialized team rather than the expertise of a single person. Outsourcing non-core business functions also frees up capital funds so you can put them to use expanding your core competencies. For a predictable monthly fee, you can get the peace of mind of knowing highly competent professionals are meeting your needs.
(Photo via Foter.com)
What Should You Look for in an MSP?
Once you’ve decided it’s time to outsource your I.T. services, it’s a good idea to start researching your MSP options. Many firms provide managed services for companies, so how can you decide which one is right for your business? Well, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Budget is a primary concern for most business owners, meaning you should look for a managed service provider that will cost-effectively meet your needs. BizTech notes that MSPs can often help cut your I.T. costs by as much as 40%, but you should still be aware of budgetary concerns when choosing a provider.
When you are ready to start meeting with prospective MSPs, have some specific business goals in mind and ask how they can help you achieve them. For instance, maybe you would like to grow your email subscriber list, and your MSP can suggest a certain type of content management software that will make it easier for your marketing department to collaborate when creating emails. Beware of providers who only talk about themselves—their processes, their engineering resources and toolkits, etc.—because this means they likely take a “one size fits all” approach that will not take your specific needs into account. Instead, look for providers who are willing to listen to your concerns and offer suggestions.
JMARK is an award-winning managed service provider that has been helping organizations of all sizes and types get the most out of their technology for 30 years. For more information about our I.T. solutions that can help your business thrive—and take the burden of I.T. off your weary shoulders—contact JMARK today at JMARKIT@JMARK.com or call 844-44