The rapid pace at which business technology is advancing is dizzying. Keeping up with new softwares, management systems, upgrades, updates, security patches, equipment and enhanced functionality place major demands on most organizations. Overlook any of these areas and your company could be at risk of falling behind the competition or becoming the victim of a cyberattack.
To mitigate the risks, many organizations consider putting an IT specialist on the payroll. Small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) face a dilemma, however; they’re often unable to afford the salary of a qualified technical expert, yet can’t afford to go without. That’s because 70% of cyberattacks target small businesses according to the National Cyber Security Alliance, and 60% of businesses that end up being victims of a successful breach go out of business within six months. Staggering.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Outsourcing IT is an increasingly popular and affordable alternative that SMBs should consider when it comes to making sure their IT needs are met. Consider the following when making your decision about investing in technology and hiring versus outsourcing your IT.
Forecasting expenses tied to IT is challenging at best. It’s impossible to predict when repairs will be needed, if equipment should be replaced or looming security threats. If a computer network or server goes down, data could be lost and an entire organization’s operations could be suspended for days. Most SMBs simply can’t afford that kind of downtime and lost productivity.
Having reliable hardware and software is a must, and it can take up a sizable chunk of an SMB’s budget. Just as important is having someone available to service that technology, perform updates and troubleshoot issues that inevitably arise. The average annual salary of an IT specialist is around $54,000 plus benefits. When combining the need for technology and the in-house staff to maintain it, the costs are prohibitive for many SMBs.
By leasing or renting equipment and outsourcing their IT, businesses can anticipate a fixed, monthly amount to even out their cash flow, reduce costs and minimize unexpected expenses.
Finding skilled labor ranks as one of the top three issues among small businesses. Attracting the right IT candidate who not only has the necessary expertise in your industry and with your systems, and is also a fit culturally, can be a lengthy, difficult and costly process. Once you find the right IT specialist, he or she will need to keep up with the latest technology trends, cyber threats and other emerging issues. Continuing education and training will need to be considered as part of a budget in addition to any salary. Managed IT providers regularly provide education and training for their technicians so they acquire the latest information and expertise to handle any security threats and ensure the smooth operation of your systems. Plus, they’ll have a help desk that is staffed around the clock to address any issues.
Technology and Equipment
A robust Managed IT provider not only stays informed of emerging trends and stays on top of the latest security threats; they also have the latest technology and equipment to back it up. Most hardware and software has a lifespan of 2-5 years. As your systems age, you’ll likely experience slower log-ins, more reboots, hanging apps and other signs that you need a tech upgrade. These incremental downtimes add up and reduce productivity and cause frustrations. With Managed IT, you can establish a schedule to upgrade equipment and systems, and you aren’t tied to technology that no longer meets your needs or runs inefficiently.
As they grow, the IT needs of most businesses grow with them. Sometimes entire business models change as markets expand, customer preferences change or new products are introduced. For many organizations, especially start-ups, it’s difficult to determine what equipment or technical needs they’ll have a few years down the road. Outsourcing your IT and leasing equipment will help your organization adapt to changing needs more easily.
Without question, cyberattacks are one of the biggest threats facing SMBs and are a major liability risk. Many smaller organizations mistakenly believe they won’t be a target, but statistics show that they may be at an even greater risk than larger companies because they’re ill-equipped to handle most threats. With hackers becoming more sophisticated in their efforts to access networks, it’s imperative to make sure your systems are protected and that, not only should your IT specialist have training, but all employees should know how to identify potential threats.
A reputable Managed IT provider will provide 24/7 remote monitoring of your systems to automatically install security patches and proactively prevent most issues. And they can provide training and resources to educate your employees on how they can do their part to keep your systems secure.Once you’ve done a total cost analysis and assessed your needs, you’ll likely discover that Managed IT is the most economical and practical choice. If you’d like a professional assessment, the experts at the Gordon Flesch Company would be happy to provide a free, no-obligation consultation. Reach out to us today.