Does the thought of a sudden network outage make your blood pressure spike? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Whether you’re a fresh, innovative startup or the owner of a family business that has been running for generations, chances are you could benefit from exploring managed I.T. services. What are managed services, you ask?
In general, the term “managed services” refers to the practice of proactively outsourcing certain services in order to improve operations and reduce costs. In the field of I.T., managed services providers supply security, help desk services, networking and server solutions and monitoring, data backup and recovery, telecommunications, and mobile device management, just to name a few available services.
Still on the fence about whether managed services are right for your business? Here are a few signs that it’s time to upgrade:
You’ve Recently Expanded Operations
You used to handle all your orders and invoices with the help of a few trusty Excel spreadsheets, but now you have dozens of employees and hundreds—or thousands—of clients. If this scenario sounds familiar, you might be ready for the benefits of managed services. If you find yourself suddenly in need of network and I.T. solutions due to rapid expansion, a managed services provider (MSP) can help you set up the software and network architecture you need to deal with an influx of new data.
You Handle Sensitive Data
If your business handles personal and financial information, getting outside help to back up, store, and protect that data will safeguard your customers and make them feel more secure. As recent high-profile hacks have shown, one data breach can have catastrophic consequences. An MSP can provide you with strategies to encrypt and share valuable information safely, providing an additional layer of security for your vulnerable digital assets.
You Want To Save Money
High-powered brokerage firms and high fashion retailers have one thing in common (apart from stylish suits): they both want to reduce the cost of operations. Spending less on troubleshooting and repairs means more money in your pocket to put towards improvements to your business, whatever your specialty may be. A managed services provider saves you money by eliminating the need for hiring outside technicians whenever repairs are needed, as well as preventing breakdowns from happening in the first place. They reduce the number of resources being diverted away from your company’s core competencies, giving you more freedom to pursue your passion.
You Feel the Need for Speed
A slow network grinds everyday operations to a screeching halt. When your business depends on fast, reliable connectivity, network speed can make the difference between gaining a lifelong customer and losing a sale. MSPs can evaluate your network to find any bottlenecks that could be affecting performance, as well as identifying improvements that can be made to existing network architecture. Your managed services provider will then present a written report detailing immediate steps you can take to improve network speeds.
You’re Not in the Cloud
Cloud services have revolutionized the way many companies do business by making communication and sharing virtually effortless. According to the 2016 Future of Cloud Computing Survey by the growth equity and venture capital firm North Bridge, just under 50% of all businesses now have a strategy that relies solely or primarily on the cloud, and that number continues to grow. Cloud services are endlessly scalable, accessible from all devices, and they save the cost of storing and maintaining hardware. If your business has yet to examine the benefits of cloud computing, an MSP can help you get started.
You Don’t Have Enough I.T. Support
Many small to medium-sized businesses lack an in-house I.T. department (or have one or two overworked go-to helpers on staff). That means when Murphy’s Law inevitably strikes, and something breaks down, the business will likely face network outages, lost data, and a host of other challenges. Hiring technicians to get the system back in order probably won’t address the underlying problem, leading to a frustrating cycle of breaking and fixing.
Managed services allow businesses to free themselves from the break/fix mindset by optimizing and monitoring I.T. solutions to prevent problems before they escalate. Many MSPs provide around-the-clock monitoring to identify your needs as they arise and prevent costly downtime.
You Need a Recovery Plan
Your business lives on your network servers—but in the event of a data breach or hardware crash, it could all vanish in an instant. Backing up data often seems like an annoying task, particularly if it is not done automatically, but a little prevention can make the difference between keeping your important files and losing everything. A managed service provider can take the guesswork out of data backup and recovery by helping your business take advantage of the latest technological solutions, such as cloud computing and blockchain technology, ensuring that your data is never out of reach—even if your hardware gives out on you.
You Need Specialized Software
Sometimes Microsoft Office just doesn’t cut it. When your business is in need of enterprise software to help it run more efficiently by performing specialized tasks, an MSP can help. A managed services provider will install and maintain software to help you handle automated billing, email marketing, resource planning, relationship management, and more. It will also save you hours of research and comparison by selecting the right software for your needs and budget.
You Are Concerned About Threats to Cybersecurity
No one ever thinks a cyber attack will affect their company until it’s too late—and when you’re a business owner, it’s not just your information on the line. Employees and customers all rely on the integrity of your security measures. Attacks come in a variety of forms, from malicious software like worms and ransomware, to viruses, to phishing scams delivered to your inbox. MSPs take proactive measures against these threats, including managing security protocols and helping employees recognize potential risks.