One of the toughest questions facing a business is figuring out how much to spend on IT. For many the question is whether a Managed IT service, in-house IT, or a combination of the two will be the right solution for managing their technology infrastructure.
Unfortunately, the fact is that there is no one, simple answer for how to allocate your IT dollars. The right answer is that your IT solution needs to address the tech concerns facing your company in the most cost-effective manner. In my experience, there are a couple of common challenges companies face that indicate a Managed IT Service might be the right answer.
Building, implementing and managing a cybersecurity plan needs to be a priority for every business owner who values the technology that supports their business. This shouldn’t be a DIY project for an SMB owner. No different than having external legal, accounting or payroll services, Cybersecurity requires expertise, tools and constant attention to ensure an effective risk mitigation strategy. Etc. etc. etc. Tools like security awareness training, Dark Web monitoring, advanced endpoint detection and disaster recovery tools need to work in concert with each other for the investments to reach their true value.
2. Hiring (and Keeping) IT Staff is Hard
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects computer and information technology employment will grow 12 percent through 2028, much faster than the average for all other occupations. Even more importantly, the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations is now almost $50,000 higher than the median salary for all other Americans. Particularly in the area of cybersecurity, delegation to a professional firm that can manage your cybersecurity risk with a multi-layered approach is the only effective way to truly mitigate and manage your risk. In fact, according to reports, cybersecurity professionals are in such demand that they face a zero unemployment rate and more than 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs are unfilled.
That’s great news for IT workers. That’s bad news if you are trying to hire and retain an in-house IT staff. Demand for these workers stems from growing emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security.
The good news is that a Managed IT service provider handles those staffing issues for you by retaining a staff of experts no small or medium-sized business could hope to hire. And because those experts serve many companies, they will likely have a broader range of experience than any in-house IT person could hope to offer.
3. Technology Systems and Applications Are Out of Date
Here is a list of the most common software updates an average company needs to run regularly:
- Operating systems, for example Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android
- Advanced endpoint protection, antivirus and security software
- Browsers, for example Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer
- Server, PC and Infrastructure hardware
- Applications that run your business, for example Microsoft Office or, Quick Books
Are you confident that your IT staff has all of these up to date? Are KPI’s available to show the health of the network the same way you monitor your sales, accounting and service departments? It’s not so much a matter of having all the latest features, but of having all available patches and bug fixes installed – and the oversight to see that it’s done consistently. When you have fully updated software, it runs more reliably from both an operational and security standpoint. You get prompt fixes for security holes, avoiding expensive data breaches. For example, the much-publicized Equifax hack in 2017 originated because of an unapplied patch. A Managed Service Provider (MSP) has the staff, infrastructure and policies to ensure those updates are done on time.
4. Your IT Budget Keeps Blowing Up
Is your data locked up because of a ransomware attack? Did an employee mistake an email to be legit when it was phishing? Is your server going down repeatedly because no one detected one of its hard drives was going bad? Did you lose backups because of a software issue? Are you continually paying for someone to come on-site and fix little problems with your employees’ computers? These should be great, big, screaming alarm bells warning you that your approach to IT management is not working.
As we discussed in a recent blog post, the “break-fix” service model may be less expensive in the short run, but recovering from a service disruption can be very expensive when it happens. With managed services, your costs are predictable. When budgeting for IT costs, companies must factor in not just the cost of correcting a problem but the time lost and the effect of downtime and stolen data on your business’s reputation.
Even worse, losing information because of a cybersecurity event like ransomware, system failure, or physical damage can have devastating costs including lost revenue, productivity, and damage to your carefully created brand reputation. A Managed Service Provider performs regular backups on your systems, so that you can quickly restore any files that are accidentally or maliciously wiped out. For the highest level of protection, you can set up a disaster recovery service that will keep downtime to a minimum.
If you’d like help with strategic technology planning, reach out to the Gordon Flesch Company or learn more about our Managed IT and Cybersecurity with our Guide to Managed IT. We’ve got the expertise, tools and technology to help provide the most robust security possible through Managed IT, Enterprise Content Management systems and a dedicated team that manages systems 24/7.