How Fully Managed IT Support Helps Businesses Grow
July 15, 2022
IT support is a critical part of any modern business operation plan. Whether your organization uses internal IT staff to maintain your tech infrastructure and provide support to internal users or you outsource your IT function to a third-party specialist, having the right support structure in place is critical for your long-term operational stability.
Technology has become an inseparable part of modern business. If you want your business to grow, you need to account for the IT resources your internal and external users will require. It’s also important to have resources available to help troubleshoot your IT infrastructure, provide support to your end users, and help you plan for your future needs as your organization grows.
Dorothy Copeland, the Global Head of Partner Ecosystem & Alliances for STRIPE, talked about tech from the perspective of payment processing in a panel discussion on Tech Crunch. She noted that “accepting digital payments was really hard when our founders started their first company… they realized that there’s just a ton of heavy lifting that was not accretive to an entrepreneur’s business at all, and it was really expensive.”
In STRIPE’s case, they provided a critical IT tool that allowed even the smallest business owners to more easily process credit card and online payments—paving the way for these small businesses to accept payments in a method that was more convenient for themselves and their customers. This, in turn, helped to fuel growth. IT support helps businesses find, maintain, and understand the tech tools they need to keep growing.
However, it’s all too common for IT support to be treated solely as a resource that’s called on when something stops working instead of a tool for proactively managing IT to ensure operational efficiency. Let’s discuss some of the types of managed IT support services that businesses can invest in, how these services support business operations, and where to get started.
Types of IT Support Services
What is IT support? The definition varies depending on who you ask. For some organizations, it’s strictly limited to the classic example of over-the-phone tech support: an end user has a problem with some piece of hardware or software, so they call a number to get help identifying their issue and how to resolve it.
However, there are more kinds of IT support than just a remote helpdesk. If you go with the broad definition of “services to assist individuals or organizations regarding their IT assets,” you could expand IT support to include other managed IT services, such as:
Infrastructure Setup and Maintenance
Adding individual devices to a network is often incredibly simple. Many devices will actually walk users through the process with simple, easy-to-follow onscreen instructions. However, setting up a single device and establishing a comprehensive IT infrastructure that ensures consistent performance and uptime across the whole of your business are two very different challenges.
It’s like the difference between planning a picnic for four people versus planning an entire family reunion. Many of the basic elements will be similar (preparing food, finding a venue, arranging transportation, aligning schedules, etc.) but on a completely different scale that introduces extra complexity. For example, aligning four schedules for a one- or two-hour picnic is typically a lot easier than aligning 20+ schedules for a one- or two-day gathering, especially when many of the invitees are fully grown adults with incompatible work schedules living in different time zones.
When planning IT infrastructure setup, it’s important to consider:
- The complete lifecycle of all the IT assets being added
- How they’ll be maintained
- How they’ll be kept up to date with the latest security patches and updates
- What they’ll be used for
- How access to each resource will be controlled
- How to incorporate any hardware or software upgrades that will eventually be needed
- Additional resources needed to keep the infrastructure running (electricity, internet connection, etc.)
This is all necessary to ensure the consistent and efficient operation of the organization’s IT resources. The larger the IT infrastructure is, the more comprehensive and complex the setup process and roadmap for managing it will need to be.
This is where IT support from a dedicated and experienced managed service provider (MSP) can be crucial.
IT Security/Cybersecurity Management
It’s an unfortunate fact of business that there will always be those who seek to cause organizations harm. While technology has created many conveniences for companies of all sizes, it has also created new opportunities for malicious actors to damage or defraud those businesses.
The motivations for these attacks vary. Some bad actors are motivated by money. Others may have political motivations. A few might be engaging in corporate sabotage on behalf of a competitor. Some might simply target your company for the thrill of it or to make themselves feel powerful.
This is why IT security (a.k.a. cybersecurity) is important.
However, because of the sheer number of cyber threats that businesses face, cybersecurity isn’t something that can be addressed with just a simple firewall and antivirus/antimalware solution. To be sure, those are good starting points, but they shouldn’t be the only protections a company uses when you consider that, across the globe, 30,000 websites are hacked every day and 64% of companies have reported experiencing at least one form of cyberattack (Source: Techjury).
Managed IT security services provide expert support to your cybersecurity efforts—helping you assess the current state of your cybersecurity to uncover potential vulnerabilities, address any deficiencies in your internal security policies, implement new security tools to protect against a variety of threat signals, and keep your security measures up-to-date so your business can be secure against the countless online threats it faces.
Fully Managed IT Support
For many businesses, trying to manage IT internally is like trying to manage and maintain a second line of business—but one where the company itself is the only customer and there’s no clear profit to be made. Adding internal personnel to manage the different aspects of IT—implementation, maintenance, security, and IT support operations—can be a significant expense for a small to midsize business.
Fully managed IT support combines a variety of IT functions into a single comprehensive service that addresses all of an organization’s IT needs. The major benefits of fully managed IT are that it helps to make your IT more reliable with predictable costs while minimizing the number of vendors you have to keep track of.
How IT Management Streamlines Business Operations
So, how does managed IT support help you streamline your business operations? In the case of a fully managed solution, it helps you to:
Reduce the Need for Specialist IT Staff
Recruiting, training, and retaining a fully-qualified team of IT specialists to manage the various aspects of your IT infrastructure can be cost prohibitive for all but the largest of companies.
For example, the average base salary of a cybersecurity specialist in the USA is about $109,541/year (Source: Indeed). The average salary of an IT manager is about $118,277/year (Source: Glassdoor). Individual IT engineers have a base salary of about $73,060/year (Source: Indeed), though that may change depending on their specific skill sets.
Because multiple IT staff members are needed to efficiently manage an IT infrastructure and competition to recruit them is so high, IT recruitment can get prohibitively expensive and churn is always a concern.
Leveraging an outsourced IT support service helps alleviate this staffing burden. It also helps save you time and money on training IT personnel since the MSP will be responsible for keeping their team’s knowledge up to date.
Access to a Larger Pool of IT Talent
In addition to saving you time and money on training, using an outsource IT support service gives you access to a larger pool of IT talent. This can have a couple of different positive effects for your organization.
First, it gives you more consistent access to IT talent when you need it. With an internal team of one IT staff member, you only really have IT support whenever that person is on the clock. With an MSP, it’s possible to get around-the-clock support when you need it—though it should be noted that not all MSPs offer this. Be sure to check your MSP’s service level agreements to see if 24/7 support is specified in your service contract.
Second, it increases the chances that you’ll have access to the specific IT skills you need to address different situations. For example, say you had one IT engineer that had strong coding skills but didn’t have much experience with cybersecurity tools. If you ran into a cybersecurity problem, that engineer wouldn’t be much help. With an MSP providing IT support, odds are good that someone on their team would have experience with cybersecurity (especially if they offer a cybersecurity service). There’s even a chance that they would have dealt with your specific situation before with another of the MSP’s clients.
Both of these benefits help improve the uptime and stability of your IT by giving you consistent access to the expertise you need when you need it. This, in turn, helps fuel your business’ growth by reducing the risk of unplanned IT disruptions.
Improving IT Asset Uptime and Stability
One of the major issues with IT is that, without sufficient maintenance, there’s a heightened risk of unplanned downtime and service disruption. IT support services help improve your IT stability by providing initial implementation support, ongoing maintenance, and consultation on when to upgrade or replace your IT assets for newer ones.
They can also help you find the best remote data backup and business continuity solutions to match your IT budget. For example, many small businesses might not need a constant hourly backup of their data to a spare production server that can instantly be spun up if something happens to their local computers or data center—it would be useful, but too cost-prohibitive for most small businesses.
Here, an MSP might recommend a much more affordable remote data backup service that only backs up data once each day. A professional IT support provider would take into account things like how much data the business processes each day, what the potential cost of unplanned downtime would be, and how downtime would affect the business’ productivity.
Get Started with IT Proactive!
The above list details just a few of the potential benefits of leveraging an outsourced IT support service to support your business and its growth. Need help with your IT so you can grow your business more efficiently? Reach out to IT Proactive today to get started!