Managed IT support is now widely considered to be an essential service, particularly for smaller businesses. Managed IT services can actually an provide a much needed life-line for any sized business who may have a range of IT networks and need sophisticated support in order to manage it should something go wrong.
However disasters aside, there are many other reasons for why businesses should consider their IT systems when it comes to improving their companies processes in order to stream-line the day to day running’s of the business.
Focus on core business
For many companies, the single, biggest advantage of using managed IT support is that it takes away the hassle of having to manage IT. This is especially important for SMEs. The smallest businesses are likely to be the ones with the least resources. It’s therefore vital for them to focus those resources where they do most good for the business.
IT is something just about every modern company needs. It’s only very rarely something an SME does as part of their core business. In most cases, it’s an obvious candidate for delegation to a third party. Handing it off to a specialist frees up regular staff to focus on their core tasks.
After being able to focus on core tasks, this is probably the next most significant benefit of using managed IT support. Even though the UK has now officially left the EU, GDPR is still very much in force (albeit with some minor changes). Also, cybercriminals are, sadly, just as active as ever.
Luke Watts, Director of RoundWorks IT presses the issue of managing IT systems by commenting, “Digital security, like physical security, depends greatly on routine care and maintenance. In the digital world, this includes tasks such as applying upgrades and patches to all software, managing access controls and renewing hardware on an appropriate cycle.”
None of this may sound particularly complicated. In reality, however, even SMEs have a lot of moving parts that create complications. For example, updates are often made to solve problems. It is, however, far from unusual for them to create other problems. This is why it’s generally advisable to test them thoroughly before putting them into live systems.
It’s also advisable to apply updates at a time when they’ll cause minimum disruption, ideally no disruption. Making this happen is often better left to a team who see this as part of their job than to a team that has to fit it in around “proper work”.
Keeping infrastructure robust
Similar comments apply to making sure that your IT infrastructure is always fully operational whenever you need it. This is a huge area, even for SMEs, but three particular aspects of it stand out. These are network response times, network resilience and business continuity/disaster recovery.
Your network response time and its overall resilience are key to your employees’ productivity. For many businesses, they will also be key to customer relations, including sales. Most businesses, even SMEs, now do a lot of their business via their websites. Slow response times and outages can therefore do serious damage to a company’s revenue.
Business continuity and disaster recovery are similar enough to be classed together. Both are hugely important. Both also require a lot of forethought and, in particular, a robust backup process. What’s more, those backups, as with live data, need to be stored encrypted in case they are attacked.
It may seem odd to put this last at a time when many companies, especially SMEs, are really having to watch every last bit of their spending. Successful businesses do, however, understand the value of investing in themselves and their growth and IT is often central to making this happen.
That being so, many businesses, even SMEs, would probably have been prepared to pay extra for all the benefits managed IT support can offer. As it happens, another, significant benefit of using managed IT support is that it often saves money.
What’s more, it often gives businesses a compelling balance of stability and flexibility. For example, businesses can choose to sign a contract for their core needs to get the best price. They can then add extra services on an ad hoc basis according to their needs, wants and budget.