Small business owners tend to be jacks of all trades. You’re the floor-level manager, HR department, payroll processor, and, if you’re reading this article, probably the computer support and repair guy or gal, too. If you’re small business has grown beyond a few computers and Wi-Fi router, it’s time to think about passing off at least one of those trades: that of the IT services.
When it comes to securing IT services, you have a couple options. You could hire an in-house IT person to work part- or full-time for you, for instance. Or you could contract with a local IT provider who can offer IT services on a per-issue basis. Or you could go the route most small business owners are taking by securing IT managed services. Managed IT services can provide 24.7 support, on-site services as needed, planning and deployment when major projects come up, and remote diagnostics and troubleshooting.
The Importance of IT services and security
If you’re on the fence about securing IT managed services or not, consider this: According to data gathered from breached organizations, data breaches cost organizations an average of $5.9 million in 2014. A general data breach was estimated to cost $201 per compromised record. Breaches resulting from malicious criminal attacks cost even more at an average of $246 per compromised record. System glitches and employee mistakes were the second most costly cause of data loss, resulting in an average cost per record of $171 and $160, respectively.
Not only do data breaches cost your business in the immediate reconciliation efforts, but they can also cost you future business. In 2014, data breaches resulted in $3.2 million worth of lost business to companies. These costs were comprised of customer turnover (i.e. higher average loss of customers), higher customer acquisitions by other firms, and a loss of reputation and goodwill.
A data breach is most commonly viewed as the acquisition of personal information via unlawful and unauthorized means which compromises the security or integrity of personal information. A breach could occur from malicious attacks or mere neglect, such as employees failing to use complex or new passwords. Only 8% of people indicate they never reuse a password. Businesses with inadequate cyber security or spyware are also more susceptible to data breaches.
Heightened security is only one of the IT services examples provided by IT managed services providers, and by no means the only benefit to using professional IT services. Other benefits to IT services examples include:
- Time savings – – almost 90% of respondents to a recent survey indicated they were able to concentrate more resources on strategic business needs after hiring an IT services provider.
- Improved service – – over 90% of respondents reported achieving improved service with an IT managed services provider.
- Decreased downtime – – average annual downtime was reduced by over 50% for users of IT managed services.
A few IT services examples
It managed services are becoming a more popular choice for small business owners because of the benefits above, but also because of the wide variety of services an IT managed service can provide. Here is a list of IT services examples an IT managed services provider can offer your small business:
- Computer maintenance and repair
- Development and implementation of applications
- Business process outsourcing (i.e. having front or back office functions managed by a third party)
- IT service desk and support
- Backup and recovery
- Running core business applications (e.g. Microsoft Exchange)
These IT services examples are by no means exclusive, either. Depending on the IT provider you use, they could likely provide other IT support as needed. Not all IT managed services providers offer the same level of support, so make sure your provider can offer all the services your business needs before contracting with them. Once you’ve started working with an IT managed services provider who can do everything your internal IT guys can do and more, you’ll be glad you did.