Most of us, when asked if we would prefer to pay for something we could theoretically do ourselves, will opt to take care of the task personally – even if it’s not our strong suit, or indeed, if we lack all experience entirely. This is often the case with managed IT services.
Whether your company has an in-house IT team or is small enough that you hire only one person, chances are good you don’t spend much time thinking about whether you should update your approach. That could spell disaster for your company, though, especially in this day and age of cyber attack and data breach.
Here’s a quick look at what most people get wrong about IT management and six of the most common signs your company needs it.
Why Does IT Require So Much Management, Anyway?
The root of many companies’ unwillingness to bring on IT help stems from a fundamental misunderstanding about its nature. Most people think of computers and other technology as a blank canvas of sorts. You put your applications and software on them, type messages, input information, manage spreadsheets and message others using the systems IT makes available to you. But you rarely think about the systems themselves.
That’s a problem. If we compare it to dentistry, you’ll see why. No one would claim that you can eat and eat all day without ever worrying about your teeth. Taking care of your teeth requires both daily maintenance and constant vigil, looking out for any problems that might be headed down the pipeline. Brushing your teeth isn’t enough to stay safe and healthy, but neither can you neglect to brush your teeth simply because you watch for cavities.
Managed IT is like any other sphere requiring both care and prevention. Your daily activities are the food. Your hardware and software and network security protocols are the teeth. If they don’t stay healthy, you won’t have the tools to eat for long.
Sadly, most companies have neither the expertise nor the resources to care for your company’s IT the way it needs. The result is that they use IT systems until they break, at which time they cast about wildly for the quickest possible fix, so they can go on with business as usual. Sometimes your in-house team can handle it, but more often (at least when the problem is serious), they can’t. As for preventing those problems in the first place, that’s usually more than one small team or a single individual can handle on behalf of a company.
5 Signs Your Business Needs Managed IT Services
That’s where managed IT services come in. When you outsource your IT needs to an outside company, you have access to a true wealth of expertise and professional tools. Rather than the limited knowledge and skills of one person – and whatever budget you can put toward information technology in-house – you now have an entire business on your side.
Still, think you don’t need outsourced IT services? Here are five signs you do.
- Tech issues stop productivity in its tracks: You’ve been there. The day was going just fine, and suddenly someone’s computer manifested a weird bug … and then everyone’s computer seemed to have it. Or maybe your SSL certificate grew outdated and no one fixed it; the network went down and no one could figure out why; half the people in the office were locked out and asked to create new passwords for no reason. These “temporary” problems might have solutions, but that doesn’t make them easy to deal with. If you’re facing a lot of them, it’s time to do something about it.
- Your “IT guy” doesn’t have experience in your niche: It hardly bears saying that banking IT and artisanal grocery IT are not the same thing. While both require careful safeguarding of customer information, the former industry manages far more detailed, and personal data is under much greater scrutiny and is subject to particular federal laws regarding the safeguarding of information. To keep your company aboveboard, you need someone who knows exactly what they’re doing, both on the day to day, and in extreme situations or crisis.
- You don’t have a security plan: One of the primary responsibilities of an IT staff is to ensure you have a good security plan and robust software to back it up. If you don’t have a strong defensive approach, you could find yourself at the mercy of cyberattackers and data thieves, so don’t wait for that to happen before contacting a real IT provider.
- Your maintenance plan is casual at best: Again, many companies use a “break it, fix it” model, in which they turn a blind eye to systems until something goes wrong. With preventative maintenance, however, you can avoid many (if not most) of those breaks – but you need someone who knows what they’re doing. An expert can help you configure your systems most intelligently, reallocate resources as your company grows, protect new vulnerabilities that open up and stay on top of updates, so you’re always protected and functioning at the highest level of productivity.
- You’re paying too much for IT: If you’ve ever asked yourself “Why does it cost so much to deal with this?” that’s a bad sign. Believe it or not, it often costs less to pay for outsourced IT, because you have access to economies of scale that you just don’t have if you employ a few people in-house. We challenge you to do a cost comparison and see what happens.
Don’t Wait to Get Started with Managed IT Today
In the end, your decision to outsource your IT services to a professional provider should be an easy one. It’s like getting a dentist. Is there really any doubt that your company needs one to stay healthy now and in the future?
Hint: The answer is no. If you want to stay safe from attack, steer clear of potential disaster and keep your business humming along at the most productive rate, it’s time to make the switch today.