Businesses rely on IT services. Your business, mine, and most all other businesses. Advances in technology have pushed pen, pencil & paper to the side, if not off the desk. The early hero of modern office technology, the typewriter–electric or otherwise–is a scarcity in offices and is now a museum relic. We’re now in the world of applications, processors, data, BYOD, IoT, the Internet…the Cloud. And malware, hackers, breaches, privacy, compliance, threats, bit coin and the Dark Net.
How does your business cope with the incredible changes that have taken companies in these new directions? If you’re a small business like so many, hiring qualified technical support gets expensive. A quality employee with the skills needed to manage the network & data security plus provide the needed help desk expertise and ongoing projects can, well, approach six figures.
Of course many businesses hire that computer savvy cousin or neighbor. Yes, they’re computer smart, yet do they have the skills required to maintain business continuity? And what is business continuity, anyway? What’s your RTO (recovery time objective) and your RPO (recovery point objective)? If some of these terms are foreign to you, it’s time for a consultation.
How you choose to navigate the labyrinth of technology choices can make the difference between success, mediocrity, or failure. You could be one of those companies that has no dedicated IT support (24%) or you could be a business that uses one or more cloud services (92%), which tells me that there’s a percentage of overlap that doesn’t have a consolidated IT business strategy. (1)
What Managed Services does for your business. A Managed Service Provider (MSP) provides your business leverage, expertise, and controlled costs. Even companies with local technicians can benefit by the day-to-day unloading of tasks that allow the local techs to work on projects while the MSP handles the systems monitoring, patch management, security, data protection and other supportive functions that lift that workload.
The services delivered by MSP’s can vary from company to company. A true line-by-line comparison would be necessary to ferret out differences in offerings. Network protection, data protection, user protection, whether local or remote-only support is offered, is a start. What type of monitoring and metrics are in place? What are add-on’s and projects. How are replacements handled? Does the prospective MSP offer “as a Service” products that become operational expenses or are you expected to expend capital dollars and own equipment that may become obsolete in a couple years?
What’s your risk aversion? How long can your business be without network services or Internet access without it adversely affecting your bottom line?
Reality. Computers crash, networks stop moving data, data becomes lost, corrupt, and unusable. Now we’re back to RTO and RPO. These two objectives should help to define the level of services you expect. The lower your risk aversion, the higher the requirement for the services you need.
Choose wisely. Basing your selection simply on cost can be either a very good or a disastrously bad choice. Because IT technicians are “in your business“, establishing trust is essential. Treating your IT support, whether in-house or external services, as simply an expense ignores the importance of the value of your technology and how it interacts with your business. Ask if they guarantee their services. Ask for references. Review testimonials. This may be the most important hire of your business.