Many small businesses let their IT network (servers, routers and back-ups) “run until it breaks”, which is a recipe for disaster. We’ve seen it often, as we get called in to fix the problem.
There is a very high cost in the “run until it breaks” principle. Lost data and less staff productivity equate to large one-time costs. Moreover, loss of data could put you out of business.
The solution is easy. Have a proactive managed services team who provides regular checks and tune-ups to our network and often fixes problems before they occur.
Many mid-size companies make similar mistakes by hiring/using an IT generalist to look after their staff and their complex network, including:
- Computer/storage capacity and scalability
- Network reliability
- Business continuity readiness
- Network security
- Configuration and changes
You might say: “But I got back-ups!” Back-ups are useless if the backup has corrupt data, is not working or has been destroyed by a virus.
You might say: “I got virus protection.” Your virus protection may very well be inadequate, especially free ones.
You might say: “Joe can fix it!” And maybe he can, really?
How does a managed services contract with a company that has IT as its core business help me avoid pain? Here are three:
- Getting someone who’s seen most of the problems before and knows by experience how to provision and manage properly lowers the risk of downtime to your business.
- Best Practice. Someone with knowledge of IT best practice is able to inform you of options from a business perspective. They ensure your IT is set up properly, get to the root of problems and don’t waste your time or money.
- It’s less expensive to outsource than to hire the team of full-time specialists needed to achieve the same. Managed Services gives you the benefit of an in-house IT team without the cost.
Risking your business
Although the generalist may be reactive in fixing problems, they are very often just band-aiding the problem. Do you really think your business can grow and thrive with IT being maintained by a casual apprentice? How much lost productivity is happening across your company from things not getting fixed properly? With a break/fix attitude and no planning, you are adding unnecessary risk to your business.
Ask yourself these questions.
- How do you know if your network is reliable?
- How do you know if your IT person is doing a good job?
The best way to check is to pay a small price and run a professional IT audit of your network. An IT audit will look at a number of factors (mentioned above) and provide a report showing your risk.
When you wouldn’t use Managed Services
If you have a software package or application that is critical to your core business, you should keep the IT function of looking after it internal. The strategic element of your business should be in your full control. However, most proactive maintenance, infrastructure management and user support functions are not part of your core business and should be outsourced as a proactive managed service with Service Level Agreements (SLA).
There are a number of solutions which can lower your risk while not shelling out money for a full-time IT team. Here are two managed services solutions that are the most pro-active and have fixed monthly costs:
1. Small and mid-size businesses
Have a fixed cost solution for unlimited support of your users and IT network. The proactive support includes planning and monitoring of your compute, storage and network reliability. Monthly patching, checking and adjustments are combined with unlimited user support. You have access to specialists in supporting the latest Microsoft and printing issues who have seen your problem before. The operational cost of this solution is generally substantially cheaper than hiring full time staff.
2. Mid-size and large businesses
This solution allows you to have an on-site IT generalist to fix users issues, add new users/PCs and other basic issues. The IT generalist can escalate problems to a managed services team who handle more complex issues. Similar to solution number 1, your monthly maintenance, planning, back-up management, checking and adjustments are handled by people who solve IT issues every day. The cost of this solution is usually a small fraction of your revenue, especially when compared to hiring full-time staff.
We can provide these solutions, give an IT audit or manage your network and services. Empower IT Solutions has provided IT support and managed services to clients located in Australia since 2004.