Technology management is something that a lot of businesses struggle with, especially small businesses that already have many employees fulfilling many different roles and taking on additional responsibilities. Managed IT services give businesses who struggle with technology management a way out by providing access to top-notch services designed with the small business in mind.
Whether you are a small business or a large enterprise, chances are you have some experience working with vendors. Your business certainly depends on the products they provide, but how is your relationship with vendor management holding up? Let’s take a look at one particular anecdote that displays the pains of vendor management and how working with a managed service provider can alleviate the stress associated with it.
Business technology isn’t going to be a strength of your business if it isn’t properly maintained. Unfortunately, most modern businesses can’t commit the time and resources necessary to do this on their own. This is why partnering with a managed IT services provider brings great value. This value wouldn’t be possible, however, without trained and experienced technicians. Today, we thought we’d take a closer look at the people that deliver that value.
How Businesses Can Benefit from Managed Services Right Now It goes without saying, but businesses everywhere are feeling the impacts of widespread orders to close their doors in the attempt to minimize the continued spread of COVID-19. While this makes the idea of any major operational shifts intimidating for the small business owner, the transition into a managed service agreement can ultimately help protect your business from closing for good. Let’s look at a few of the difficulties that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused for businesses, and how working with a managed service provider (MSP) makes these difficulties somewhat less of a concern. Challenge #1: Businesses Can’t Operate with their Teams Staying Home Naturally, without their employees coming in to work, businesses have found it difficult to keep up on their workloads. This obviously isn’t a great situation for these businesses. However, in the face of such a pandemic, employees can hardly be blamed for wanting to minimize their chances of infection by staying home. This is an especially big problem for businesses deemed essential, as people are still relying on their services, but they can’t in good conscience put their employees at risk. With an MSP’s support, it is much easier to find a balance to maintain operations, especially for those businesses who can sustain themselves via remote work. While this may not apply to all industries, those that can function without employees needing to come into the office can adopt the solutions and security required to do so. In these cases, an MSP can serve as a useful resource by helping to manage the use of these solutions. Challenge #2: IT Support is Difficult to Acquire Safely Working from home is one thing. Receiving support for the technology that is used in the home is (for many) another can of worms entirely. While this is true in most circumstances, the need to keep our distance from one another makes this a larger concern. You don’t want to put your team members, or the repair technician for that matter, at risk. An MSP can help resolve this situation on two fronts, both thanks to the remote nature of managed services. First of all, the management of your IT means that an MSP’s technicians will always be using remote monitoring tools to catch and diagnose issues on the devices that your team uses. Secondly, with the same remote access, the MSP can then resolve many of these issues without an in-person visit at all, whether your team is in the office or working remotely. Challenge #3: The Economy Isn’t Strong Enough to Invest in Any Additional Services Let’s do a quick comparison between how the traditional IT services will bill your business, compared to what is included by an MSP. The old-school repair service doesn’t incorporate additional fees into their rates, like time and materials. As a result, the total price can be wildly unpredictable, and practically impossible to budget for accurately. On the other hand, by offering a predictable service covered by a comprehensive monthly fee, the MSP’s rates can be budgeted for and scaled with the services delivered. With a few exceptions for out-of-scope services, a business that signs on with an MSP can operate with the confidence that they know what their bill will say each month […]
Uptime and Capacity Optimization An efficient business doesn’t have to deal with a lot of downtime. This is made possible by reliable and well-maintained systems. Technology doesn’t maintain itself, after all, and it takes a dedicated strategy to keep technology updated, patched, and maintained. This strategy is typically to update systems when organizational productivity slows. With the help of a managed IT service provider, you don’t have to schedule these fixes. The MSP has powerful remote monitoring and management software that allows professional technicians to keep an eye on your network, your infrastructure, and your data storage systems to ensure that all are functioning optimally. Additionally, using innovative automation technologies, we are able to better patch, update, and protect your network than any other method of IT support. An MSP’s service is a fraction of the cost of a comparable solution: paying multiple IT technicians to monitor and maintain your business’ network and infrastructure. The value of an MSP is clear. Your business will see more uptime, and less overall IT-related issues, while also having access to useful methods of IT support. Business Management Optimization The small and medium-sized business owner has a lot of responsibilities. Adding the health of a company’s IT to that list may not be ideal. Running a business means making tough decisions, but if you could move some of them off of your plate, wouldn’t it make you more effective at dealing with your other responsibilities? Definitely. Managed IT Services makes this possible. Besides freeing up capital that typically would be allocated to payroll, an MSP puts you in position to focus your efforts on other endeavors. Your IT, therefore, will be a strength, as it will have trained professionals focusing on it, allowing you to focus on everything else. IT Budget Optimization Speaking of shifting capital. Managed IT services, even with every machine your business has covered by a managed services agreement, is a fraction of the cost of hiring the corresponding number of IT professionals. Having IT technicians that live and breathe IT working for you is advantageous, but having them working under contract for a small percentage of the cost you would expect, is a positive development for any business. Furthermore, an MSP can help you direct the saved capital to make your business better. When people have years of experience dealing with business-centric information technology issues, they can help you design and implement the technology that will help your business make gains in efficiency and productivity. Security and Compliance Optimization Sure, managed services bring a lot of value to your organization. Nowhere is this more evident in combating cybercrime and maintaining organizational compliance. With the ever-expanding knowledge base in cybersecurity that an MSP’s technicians have, your business will see some major benefits. Firstly, you are sure to get the most comprehensive and dedicated security consulting. Secondly, an MSP can help you implement a training regimen that can do wonders for keeping your business’ IT secure. Finally, an MSP can present you with innovative tools to keep your data, network, and infrastructure safe. As far as compliance goes, the more secure your IT resources, the better your organization will be at operating up to compliance standards. Since compliance isn’t all about keeping your information secure, our expert consultants can help your organization […]
Your Business’ IT Support If IT support plays such a big role on the success of your business, it stands to reason that you would want to establish how to determine what type of IT support will have the most significant impact on your business’ ability to create revenue. The first consideration that needs to be addressed is ensuring that your IT support can help you maximize your company’s uptime; and, that the support results in a net positive ROI. Minimize the Total Cost of Ownership There is a metric in business called Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). This is where a business determines how much it actually costs to own a product. For the average business, a server is the most important and expensive device, but once you factor in the expense in migrating files, regular and irregular maintenance, the cost of utilities that power the device, you may be adding a large percentage to the total. Minimizing this through viable output and consistently good performance can improve your ROI and limit your TCO. We’re not suggesting that you should go into a total TCO analysis of all of your computing resources. That would take a lot of time that you just don’t have. Our suggestion is, however, to keep in mind that proactive management carried out by an outsourced IT provider will work to maximize the value you will see from that device. This is because the more uptime your systems have, the more they can be used for revenue-creating possibilities. Additionally, if you want to go beyond outsourcing your IT support, you can utilize cloud computing platforms that remove your need for IT support completely. Since these platforms have dedicated IT professionals managing their own hardware, the price of which is baked right into the product, you won’t see additional costs from utilizing utility computing in the cloud. Boost to Productivity and ROI We’ve already presented how outsourcing your IT support can work to save you considerable money due to its proactive nature, but we should mention that you do have options. You can choose to do business with an outsourced IT provider, who admittedly already does business will other companies in the same fashion. With new automation that is available, not much is missed, but it stands to reason that if you are going with an outsourced provider that you may be concerned that your IT isn’t always being valued. For companies that don’t want to outsource, there are two options, you can rely on a break/fix provider that fixes technology as it breaks; or, you can work to hire a dedicated IT staff for your business. Regardless of what you choose, to keep productivity high, your business’ technology has to be available and functioning as intended. To maximize the return you see on your investment, you have to have systems up and running as intended, but also have to be financially conscious. Managed IT services make this possible. If you would like more information about IT support and services, contact the professional IT experts at SRS Networks today at (831) 758-3636.
Why IT Procurement Matters So Much In order for a business to see the most value from its technology, there needs to be an awareness of how interconnected and codependent the individual pieces are, and what technology solutions are needed. Let’s go over some of the components that a business will need. Servers and Networking Solutions In order for your employees to be appropriately collaborative, there needs to be an infrastructure in place that makes communications and data sharing practicable. As a business grows, the capacity of this infrastructure needs to grow with it. However, if tackled by someone who isn’t very familiar with the solutions currently in place, this expansion is apt to only cause further problems. The same goes for other improvements as well – a single misconfiguration could potentially cause a very expensive downtime event. On the other side of the coin, by calling in a professional to assist with the expansion of your networking infrastructure, you can effectively eliminate the risk of causing downtime while greatly expediting the actual process of upgrading your infrastructure. A professional can both advise a business in what is best for it to adopt, as well as come in to assist with the installation of the improved solution. Workstations and Computing Resources Without the right technology for their tasks, your employees aren’t going to be able to achieve very much. This makes it important that you acquire the right tech for the task at hand, rather than focusing exclusively on bargain hunting. Consider the possible ramifications of automatically going with the least expensive option, without taking the time to consider it more comprehensively. Bargain hunting online can lead to ultimately wasting money on a system that doesn’t actually serve your needs – or worse, doesn’t even work properly. In that case, you’d likely be stuck having to pay a professional to fix your newly acquired systems… and that’s assuming you wouldn’t be stuck having to purchase other ones. Once again, in working with a managed service provider, you have a resource that will assist you in selecting the right technology – the first time – potentially even getting a better deal than you would have otherwise. Software as a Service Of course, if you plan on using your technology, you are also going to need the appropriate software. If handling this independently, you may be tempted to cut corners a bit – downloading torrents instead of paying for the software you need. Doing so puts your business at considerable risk, and subjects it to negative attention from law enforcement and the public at large. However, a managed service provider provides a much better option. Instead of putting your reputation and operations at risk, you can lean on your provider’s Software-as-a-Service offering, Instead of investing a large lump sum on a software title that’s only going to need replacing in a few short years, a Software-as-a-Service arrangement effectively serves as a subscription to a particular solution. For a low monthly sum, SaaS provides your business with the most up-to-date version of a given software, as well as all the support you may need for it. That way, your employees have the tools to do their job, while you (and your budget) can rest easy. Which Experience Would You Prefer? If you’re looking […]
Here, in part four of our series exploring the value that a managed service provider can offer a business, let’s explore these data services and how businesses can benefit from utilizing them. To do so, we’ll discuss the solutions that a managed service provider can implement that assists in managing your business data – or, as we said above, storing it, protecting it, or putting it to use. Storing It with Cloud Services Modern businesses acquire and generate a truly massive amount of data in their day-to-day operations – and this data is invaluable to any businesses with goals to improve and grow. However, this data does need to be stored somewhere. While it may be able to be stored onsite for a time, there are a few shortcomings to this approach. Space isn’t used efficiently in the office The solution relies on massive amounts of heat-generating power in order to operate Limited room for error during setup Patchy warranties on equipment Very high costs for equipment and setup Limited room for expansion Requires oversight and maintenance from a skilled professional Keep in mind, we didn’t even mention redundancy. As useful as all this onsite storage could prove to be if implemented correctly, most small businesses lack the internal experience to do so – never mind setting up and managing a cloud storage server. However, a managed service provider can eliminate all of the difficulties that a small business would encounter, thanks to their status as industry professionals and their connections to various resources – such as cloud storage providers. Backing Up Data and Recovering It in the Event of a Disaster Let’s return to the business that developed their own storage solution in-house. It isn’t very likely that their business’ data is backed up… at least, not in keeping with best practices. A business like this might keep a spare hard drive tucked away in a broom closet, periodically updating it when someone remembers to do so. So, what happens to this kind of business if their landlord never warned them about some issues in their building’s plumbing, and a flood wipes out every piece of equipment they have… including the server and the improvised backup? Any managed service provider worth their salt will know that keeping an extra data copy onsite is like locking the spare key in the safe that it opens… if something bad happens, that extra copy is as good as gone. That’s why a decent managed service provider knows that the further away a data backup is from the disaster that wipes out the onsite data, the safer that data backup will be. In fact, a managed service provider will actively work to keep copies of your data in data centers in multiple areas, just to ensure there is always a safe copy somewhere. Furthermore, a managed service provider can help you strategize a disaster recovery plan, enabling you to use your data backup to at least continue some of your operations until the impact of a disaster has passed. Data Warehousing for Greater Insights In addition to all of the operational advantages that a managed service agreement brings, working with a managed service provider allows a business access to data warehousing capabilities. In simple terms, this is effectively the process of combining what […]
Consider Your Own IT Costs If you’re running blind, your technology maintenance can (read: will) cost your business quite a few pretty pennies. Did you know that a small business that doesn’t have an IT department – instead relying on staff members to resolve their own technology issues – is statistically more likely to pay higher amounts than a company that proactively attends to issues? Granted, there may be long stretches of time that you don’t need to make any investment into your technology support – but if you have to pay the typical break/fix rate each time one of your business computers goes on the fritz, you’ll soon be spending quite a bit more money than you would have otherwise. Maybe taking on an in-house IT administrator can keep these kinds of issues at bay… but is this actually helping your business’ finances any? The skills of an IT administrator don’t come cheap – the starting rate starts at $50,000 each year, so if you can afford that, your business is doing pretty well for itself. However, you could also take on managed IT, which offers comprehensive management of your technology for quite a bit less than what you would pay an additional employee. Why Outsourced IT Services Are the Best Option By taking on SRS Networks as your managed service provider, you are fulfilling a wide variety of your business’ technological needs. Your network and infrastructure will be monitored and proactively maintained for far less than an IT administrator’s salary. As you might imagine, the value of these services quickly overtakes the costs that you incur. Let’s consider a hypothetical (but very realistic) scenario: Let’s assume that your business has 12 workstations and two servers. In addition to this, you have your requisite networking equipment, digital surveillance equipment, and a few cloud subscriptions for each workstation. A dedicated IT administrator may have the experience necessary, but one person isn’t going to be able to keep up with your network’s needs. Selecting a break/fix provider is even worse. Each and every time something goes wrong, you’re going to have to deal with downtime and expensive support. Most businesses can’t support that… can yours? However, if you utilize the managed services that SRS Networks offers, you’ll get: Remote Network and Infrastructure Support – This includes 24-hour monitoring, proactive maintenance, and remote management. Comprehensive IT Consulting – This can provide value by helping you better understand how useful your technology can be, while putting you in a better position to acquire the technology your business needs. Help Desk – A helpline that any of your staff can call if they have computer problems, with live support to assist them. Backup and Disaster Recovery – Keeping your data backed up and reliable in case of emergency is extremely important nowadays, and isn’t something that can be neglected. Patch Management – Your software solutions and tools require maintenance to remain up to date. The same is true if you want to keep your network free from threats. To simplify things for you, we take over the responsibility of patching and updating the software you use to run your business. Vendor Management – Your company uses several technology vendors, and the amount of time it takes to work with them all can get frustrating. […]
What Are the Different Types of IT Services? There are three different approaches you can take for your business’ IT needs. You can hire an IT consultant, host your own IT staff, or pay a set fee with an MSP. IT Consultant An IT consultant will charge you hourly and is a more reactive measure to IT dilemmas. Typically, you will reach out to an IT consultant once a problem has actually occurred. This means your company suffers from downtime while you wait for the problem to be resolved. On-site IT An on-site IT team is relatable to a managed service provider in the sense that it is a more proactive approach. These two work to prevent problems from occurring in the first place. However, with an on-site IT staff, you are still paying hourly; and your hourly staff is more beneficial leveraging the skills to the benefit of your business rather than focusing on IT. Managed IT Services MSPs are the superior option due to their fixed fee arrangements and proactivity. They give your company greater freedom to focus on core business matters. There is no need to divert your attention to IT-related tasks with a managed service provider. MSPs have the experience needed to properly see the needs of your sized business. Is My Business Too Small for an MSP? Part of an MSP’s responsibility is to identify your business’ needs and create a strategy to fulfill them. Managed Service Providers offer the most cost-effective IT strategy for any business, of any size. MSPs provide 24/7 detection your business otherwise would not be able to detect. This means your MSP will be able to tell you when your server is failing, or your hardware is crumbling. MSPs allow you to fix the issue before it ever becomes a problem. They also offer 24/7 monitoring and patch management which can prevent your hardware from crumbling in the first place. Prevention is the most cost-effective strategy your business can utilize. The traditional approach, “fix it when it breaks” which meant paying for expensive technology malfunctions and issues as they occur, has been left behind with the introduction to affordable and proactive managed IT services. SRS Networks Offers Your IT Solution Whatever industry your business operates in, SRS Networks offers IT solutions that leverage your investment. MSPs are the future of IT. To learn how you can outsource your IT and benefit from our services, talk to our professionals at (831) 758-3636.