Managed IT: What It Is and Why It May Be a Good Fit for Your Business
Managed IT services offer customized solutions from a third party to maintain network security, servers, computer hardware, and data recovery. Managed IT helps reduce IT costs, prevent network problems, and ensure maximum productivity.
Managed IT is an alternative to the break-fix IT model. With the traditional break-fix model, the customer only receives on-demand service provided when equipment breaks down.
Since the early 90s, IT support has always been a "break-fix" support model—the business owner waited for their systems to fail before they ever called for help. Not only is break-fix IT costly, but it can be an endless (and needless) cycle for all involved.
Managed IT services offer proactive support. Instead of fixing problems as they appear, a Managed IT provider will identify the issue before it occurs. Now more than ever, small businesses are considering paid monthly services from Managed IT providers over traditional, break-fix IT companies.
Managed IT is an excellent option for small businesses. If you own or work for a small business, you probably already know that one of the most substantial expenses your company encounters is IT. Not only does staffing an in-house IT department eat up a lot of your operating budget, but unexpected costs from hardware and software failure can be hard on your bottom line.
At the same time, it's essential to make sure that all of your technology is fully operational — it's hard to do business when your entire system is down. When that happens, you can't afford to spend your valuable time trying to fix the problem yourself (and maybe making the problem worse in the process.)
With a Managed IT approach, support is proactive. Managed IT services will maintain devices, networks, and other IT-related issues to prevent problems from ever happening in the first place.
Why Outsourcing Your IT is a Good Thing
The term "outsourcing" can be scary to small business owners who typically like to have control. Yet in the IT world, outsourcing is an excellent thing because the speed of technology is moving so fast that it's hard for even large corporations with big budgets to keep up. Other considerations include:
- In-house IT staff's time is too limited ever to devote enough time to strategic initiatives
- IT professionals are hard to find because there is a shortage of qualified candidates
- Preventing IT problems is more effective than reacting to them in a moment of crisis
- IT management often involves a lot of mundane, yet necessary, tasks in a day
Managed IT providers help small businesses stay up and running with a collaborative approach to IT services. In a nutshell, you hire a third-party expert to help ease the everyday burdens on your IT teams and work together to achieve long-term business objectives. Everyday burdens like:
- 24/7 network monitoring
- Employee HelpDesk support
- Software update maintenance
- Security patches
- Data backup
- Virus and malware protection
- Hardware refreshes
- On-site repairs
In addition to assisting with the everyday burdens, Managed IT providers can also give small businesses a competitive advantage with two additional offerings:
- Access to a network of certified IT professionals whenever you need them
- Long-term, strategic and scale-able IT planning
IT is Too Important to Put Off
Do you know how well your current IT infrastructure is running? Are you as secure as you need to be? If nothing else, consider an assessment from a Managed IT provider. With this evaluation, you get a baseline for your operations. A team of experts come in, assess your current IT environment, and tells you exactly where you are, and where you need to be.
When any part of your IT infrastructure — your network, the Internet, your phones, your software systems — is down, so is your business. Being down affects not only you but also everyone connected to your business — your customers, your employees, and, ultimately, your bottom line.
Threats are just too common in today's small business environments. It's nearly impossible to thwart them all with your own in-house IT team or think that a break-fix provider will be able to save you after the fact. Don't put your business at risk; consider a managed approach.