We are in the middle of the Information Age. The trends that define this era are reshaping business models. Businesses are increasingly reliant on digital tools for operations and marketing and emphasis on improving productivity and efficiency.
Essentially, businesses that do a good job of taking advantage of the tools available today have a significant advantage over those that do not. This means investing in robust hardware and software to ensure all business processes run more efficiently.
However, other than having the infrastructure, businesses will also need reliable IT support to keep everything running smoothly, maximize their investment and experience the full benefits of their IT infrastructure.
Let us examine the importance of IT support for business and why it is essential today.
What Does an IT Provider Do?
All businesses need IT support in some form or another, from one-time services to round-the-clock, 24/7 network monitoring. Unfortunately, not all companies have enough manpower or expertise to handle in-house IT management and support.
Moreover, many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) do not have the resources to acquire the expertise of in-house specialists. In these cases, their best option is to outsource their IT services to a managed IT service provider (MSP).
MSPs provide extensive IT support for businesses. While some specialize in specific services or software, you can still expect them to offer variations of the following:
- 24/7 Support and Monitoring: IT issues can occur at any time. When faced with such issues that threaten significant downtime, a general IT services support team can be your savior. They can help you troubleshoot and regain access to your Microsoft apps and data files. IT support for business covers everything, from minor issues to bigger problems like network-wide downtime. Having a reliable team means you can get back to work as quickly as possible and prevent significant losses.
- Customer-Facing Help Desk: When customers or end-users end up having issues with their hardware, software or network, having a 24/7 help center can help resolve the issues immediately. Tech companies with thousands of customers benefit the most from this setup. Instead of shouldering the costs of hiring and training customer support staff, they can tap the expertise of a managed IT service company.
- On-Premises Security: Office security can also be outsourced to a service provider, which may entail entrusting important tasks like CCTV surveillance and monitoring video feeds, sensors and emergency alarms. This is ideal for companies with sprawling properties or buildings with physical access control systems. Physical security in modern office buildings is no longer an isolated circuit but an integrated, network-enabled system that can be managed on- or off-site. If you don’t have enough qualified people to oversee physical security, hiring an MSP specializing in surveillance monitoring would be an excellent option.
- Cybersecurity: Enterprises must be up-to-date on cybersecurity software and best practices. Online threats are rapidly and constantly evolving, with cybercrimes becoming more sophisticated. Hiring IT support for cybersecurity helps because you’ll have a team dedicated to improving your network security. MSPs assess and locate vulnerabilities, recommend solutions, implement them and perform subsequent monitoring and maintenance. Cybersecurity support should be a priority if you stand to lose clients and thousands of dollars from breaches.
- Backup and Recovery: Even with cybersecurity, businesses must invest in data backup and recovery. Hackers aren’t the only threat to data integrity and security. Incorrect installation, overlooked license renewals, corrupted drives and damaged hardware can also be causes of data loss. As such, critical data should always be backed up. Moreover, businesses need a recovery plan for retrieving and protecting data after an incident.
- Compliance and Regulation: Businesses must establish and observe standards in network security, quality assurance, bookkeeping, workplace safety, etc. In some industries, businesses must also comply with legal and regulatory requirements to keep their business permits. MSPs can provide IT support for security and standards compliance, freeing you of this burden and worry when it’s time for annual audits.
- IT Planning: IT support staff are privy to a lot of information. Since they do a lot of the grunt work, they may have valuable insights and recommendations to improve your current SOPs. Businesses can use the input from IT support specialists to streamline processes, identify lags and redundancies and address issues to improve overall efficiency.
The best thing about IT services is they can be tailored to match your needs and help you achieve your business goals. After initial assessments and discussions with your team, IT providers will present solutions that address current problems and fill any gaps in your IT infrastructure.
The Benefits of Outsourcing IT Support Services
If you’re still wondering whether IT support services are worth paying for, consider the benefits they can bring to your business:
- Access to Expert Specialists: Having IT support for business means experienced and trained professionals will look after your IT infrastructure. Furthermore, when complex problems requiring expert assistance arise, IT companies typically deploy their best people to solve them.
- Improved IT Infrastructure: Seasoned IT service providers are proactive. They are up-to-date with the latest technologies and will recommend software and solutions they know would benefit their clients and give them a competitive edge.
- Data Protection: With data backup and recovery being among the services offered, IT support companies can reinforce your existing data storage and security infrastructure. More importantly, they can improve your SOPs, educate your employees about data security best practices and implement measures to ensure the accuracy and integrity of your data.
- Reduced Downtime: One of the biggest challenges for businesses that offer Internet-based products and services is downtime. These “blackouts” can be devastating to your reputation and business. When customers suddenly cannot use the applications they purchased, they might lose confidence and trust in you. Fortunately, an IT support team that monitors your systems 24/7 can help prevent downtimes. If a network blackout does occur, they will immediately work to get your network back online as soon as possible.
- Fast Problem-Solving: If your employees encounter IT issues, no matter how simple or complex, they can contact the IT team immediately and ask for their help.
- Increase Productivity and Efficiency: Having IT support for business ensures your networks and servers are running smoothly at all times. For instance, your support team will handle daily checks and maintenance, including patch installations and license updates, so your core staff doesn’t have to.
- Improved Decision-Making: The tools and solutions offered by IT service providers can track large amounts of internal data and market and competitor information. These can all inform your strategy and enable you to make sound decisions for your company’s future.
- Cost Savings: Outsourcing generally allows businesses to deliver products and services at a fraction of the cost of a 100% in-house operation. The same benefit applies to IT support. As a client, you don’t pay the full salaries and benefits of the IT specialists and support staff, nor do you shoulder the costs of onboarding and training. You only pay for the services they deliver.
Choosing an IT Provider: What To Look For in a Company
Having established the importance of IT support for business, we now offer some tips on how to choose an IT service provider that is right for you.
The following are things you need to consider:
- Experience: Service providers with lots of experience in your industry are ideal.
- Technical Expertise: The point of outsourcing is tapping into skill sets and expertise you don’t have in-house. So ensure that your chosen company is qualified (and licensed, if applicable) to provide IT support services.
- Service Capacity: Ask your prospective service provider if they can provide the technology and staff you need before signing a contract.
- Your Budget: Pricing structures for IT services depend on many factors. However, instead of choosing the cheapest services, we recommend that you decide on a range you’re comfortable spending and select from service providers who can provide what you need within your budget.
- Culture: If your IT support team is involved in your day-to-day operations, you must ensure that your work culture and ethics match. Otherwise, friction could emerge when your people have a hard time communicating and working with your IT provider.
- Reputation: A company’s work speaks for itself. Bad reviews from unhappy customers are inevitable, but the ones that do excellent work will always shine through.
- Account Managers: IT service providers appoint account managers who ensure clients have a smooth experience with the IT company. They play a crucial role in IT support, so make sure your potential account manager is someone your team can get along with.
Unlock Your Business’s Potential Through IT Support
Choosing an IT service provider is as essential as outsourcing your IT services. The good news is that if you get the first one right, the second is pretty much guaranteed.
Proactive and reliable IT support increases productivity and efficiency and improves overall performance. Find out how it can benefit your business specifically by speaking with our IT service specialists. Get in touch with E-Valve Technologies today.