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There is a point in every small business’s lifecycle when technology becomes integral to the business. With some organizations, this could be the first day they are in existence — with others, it may be several months to a year or more before technical challenges begin to invade business operations. This can come on slowly, starting with a backlog of support requests, patches that are applied several months later and software licenses that are shared “for now”. Each of these small steps are leading your business away from secure operations, and into a spiral that can be difficult and expensive to undo. Before you get to that point, it’s important to consider the benefits of outsourcing the IT needs of your small business.
Simply managing your software licensing needs can be a challenge when your IT team consists of a single individual or perhaps a few overworked souls. Creating a cohesive strategy for your business should involve technology partners, but if they are focused on keeping the (digital) lights on it’s tough for them to be strategic in any meaningful way. Leveraging the minds that know your business best in places that they can add real value starts by removing some of the nuisance tasks from their plate, and passing them off to individuals who are able to act upon them in a timely manner. That way, you can take full advantage of the thoughtful advice and research that your internal team can provide to drive the business forward.
Small business owners and leadership wear a variety of hats: your customer service manager may also be supporting web design, while your operations head is juggling production levels as well as infrastructure and wiring. Having these professionals stretch outside their comfort zone is how many small businesses get started, but growing into the next level requires a strategic focus within several dimensions. Cybersecurity is a major concern for businesses these days, with thousands of attacks happening on an annual basis to organizations of all sizes. Experts estimate that email compromises alone constituted over $12.5 billion in losses over the past five years — a staggering sum when you consider that small businesses bore a large percentage of that loss.
Working with an outsourced IT service provides you with the peace of mind knowing that there are dedicated professionals fully focused on ensuring that your business stays secure. With active monitoring solutions that can quickly trigger an alert, you’re already avoiding the average 191 days that it takes a business to discover that they have been infiltrated by cyber attackers and that their data has been breached. Once a breach is identified, you’ll still need to remediate the problem — and it can be extremely costly in terms of both time and money to bring in an outside organization that is not familiar with the data or infrastructure of your business.
Technology budgets can be quite complicated, as you’re balancing the reasonable lifecycle of hardware products, software upgrades and the unexpected IT needs of the business on an annual basis. One way that you can add some consistency to your budgeting is by working with an outsourced IT provider. Instead of massive unexpected bills for services that you weren’t anticipating, your technology services provider is able to work with you on a retainer basis so you can spread your costs more equally throughout the year. This allows for a higher level of predictability when you’re working through your annual budgeting period.
With outsourced IT services, your business also gains around-the-clock protection for your data and network, robust backup and recovery platforms, access to professionals who can help quickly upgrade hardware and software as well as advanced security processes and procedures for your business. Together, you’ll find that your operations and service levels are higher for both internal and external constituents when you’re working with an IT solutions provider to support your business needs.