Small businesses often face unique challenges when managing their IT systems. They typically have limited budgets, staff, time, and resources, making keeping up with the latest technology trends and security threats challenging. By hiring managed IT services, small business owners or team members don’t have to wear the IT Specialist hat along with all the other tasks they are juggling.
Managed IT services provide small businesses access to a team of IT professionals who can help them manage their technology infrastructure. These services can include everything from help desk support to network monitoring and security to software and hardware management. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of managed IT services for small businesses and provide some best practices for choosing a managed IT services provider.
Benefits of Managed IT Services for Small Businesses
#1: Cost & Time Savings
One of the most significant benefits of managed IT services is cost savings. Many small businesses end up with a long laundry list of apps, services, and programs they don’t fully understand to “manage” their IT needs. Often, these tools end up conflicting with each other and leave substantial gaps where hackers can slip through, or systems can fail.
By outsourcing your IT needs to a managed services provider, you don’t have to worry about the ongoing costs of hardware and software upgrades. Your provider will provide all of the correct resources for your business, saving you on those overlapping fees. Plus, you have the added cost-effectiveness of avoiding the high expense of hiring and training an in-house IT team.
#2: Increased Business Productivity
Managed IT services can help increase productivity by minimizing downtime and resolving issues quickly. The last thing you want is for your staff to be sitting around while they wait for tech issues to be fixed! With a team of IT professionals available around the clock, you can ensure your systems are always up and running smoothly.
Plus, forgetting to back up your computer systems and data constantly is commonplace. Sadly, it can lead to years of hard work going down the drain if your entire data network disappears overnight. Fortunately, managed IT services provide data backup, so you never have to worry about that again!
#3: Improved Business & Client Security
As technology improves, so do hackers; thus, so much your IT team. Security is a top concern for small businesses, as they are often targets of cyber-attacks. It is never a good day when client information is stolen or systems fail due to a cyber-attack. Managed IT services can help improve security by providing regular security updates, monitoring potential threats, and implementing best practices for data protection.
#4: Access to Expertise & Continued Education
Unfortunately, small businesses may not have the budget or resources to hire a team of IT professionals with a diverse set of skills, nor can they juggle continued education in technology while managing a business. Managed IT services provide access to a team of experts with a range of knowledge and experience, ensuring that you have the right resources to address any IT needs that arise, now or in the future!
Best Practices for Choosing a Managed IT Services Provider
As you can see, managed IT services are incredibly beneficial to employ in a small business. However, not all managed IT services are the same. Prior to choosing a provider, we recommend considering the following tips in your hiring process.
Determine Your IT Needs
Before choosing a managed IT services provider, it’s crucial to determine your IT needs. This includes assessing your current systems and identifying areas where you need additional support. We recommend having an in-depth chat with whoever has been managing your IT thus far. If that is you, we advise chatting with small businesses similar to yours that have hired managed IT services to see which services they need the most. You should also consider your budget and any specific compliance requirements for your industry.
Research Local Managed IT Services Providers
Once you’ve identified your IT needs, it’s time to research managed IT services providers. Look for providers with experience working with small businesses in your industry. Of course, you should check their credentials and certifications to ensure they have the expertise to support your specific needs. Plus, you want to verify their reputation and reviews.
Evaluate IT Services Offered
Not all managed IT services providers offer the same services. It’s essential to evaluate the services offered by each provider to ensure they meet your specific needs. Look for providers that provide a range of services, including help desk support, network monitoring and security, and hardware and software management. Conversely, you want your provider to solely work in this field. If they offer other industry services, like website building or social media management, they are likely a jack-of-all-trades rather than the expert you need.
Consider Communication and Availability
Communication is key when working with a managed IT services provider. Look for providers that are responsive and available around the clock to address any issues that arise. You should also consider their communication methods, such as phone, email, or online chat, to ensure they can provide support in a way that works for your business. Don’t forget about on-site assistance! Your managed IT services provider should be able to come to your location for assistance if needed, so you will want to avoid outsourcing your IT to other countries or states.
Review Service Level Agreements
Service level agreements (SLAs) outline the terms of the services provided by a managed IT services provider. Reviewing these agreements carefully is important to ensure they meet your needs. Look for providers that offer SLAs with clear expectations and guarantees for response times and issue resolution.
Check for Scalability and Flexibility
Lastly, as your business grows, your IT needs will change. Choosing an IT services provider that can scale its services to meet your changing needs is critical. Look for providers that offer flexible pricing models and can easily add or remove services as needed. Plus, check on their continuing education plans. The tech industry is constantly evolving, and you want to ensure that your IT team is keeping up with the latest trends, so your tech doesn’t turn into a dinosaur!
IT Haven Pro – Your Local Managed IT Services Provider
If you are a small to mid-sized business in the Columbia Basin, WA, or Northern Oregon, IT Haven Pro offers you a safe and secure place for your data. Contact us today to learn how we can help you elevate your business and ease your worries.