Entrepreneurship and Startups are the new trends of today’s world where youths are determined to start and run their own company. For this matter, Information Technology (IT) has become a significant consideration. Today, business or enterprise go hand in hand with Information Technology (IT). However, having a complete IT department is not a viable solution for such new and small businesses, and very few small companies can afford to deploy even one permanent IT employee. Fortunately, there is an emerging and quickly growing service known as “Managed IT Services” to help.
Startups and Small business owners are under constant pressure to conduct business more efficiently and improve the productivity of their employees, while at the same time reduce costs. For reducing the overall cost of the business, the use of new technology is a must. Having said that, we cannot ignore the fact that along with dealing with normal business challenges, many small businesses are unable to deal with the new emerging technologies. Implementing new technology is a challenging job for small business owners and can cause numerous difficulties in day-to-day operations. These companies are often compelled to deal with problems such as spam, virus, and security threats, and server and email access malfunctions which cause employees to sit idle and reduce their productivity. Company systems often do not operate at their optimal level to fully satisfy the business needs, and a huge amount of downtime is experienced waiting for technicians to come and solve each problem. These small system disruptions and downtime add up and greatly affect the revenue of the company as a whole. The growth of small businesses is often slowed down by the lack of handling of IT infrastructure properly. Instead of focusing on revenue-generating activities, small business owners are stuck trying to find solutions for technical problems.
As smaller companies are increasingly becoming more dependent on IT systems, it has become very crucial to find cost-effective ways to manage technology. Growth-oriented companies need a well-organized IT infrastructure so that they can focus on the business instead of trying to solve IT failures. However, having a complete IT department is not a viable solution for most small businesses, and very few small companies can afford to deploy even one permanent IT employee. Fortunately, there is an emerging and quickly growing service known as “Managed IT Services” that is proving to be quite helpful in managing small business technology.
What are Managed IT Services?
Managed IT services are provided by an outside firm or IT consulting company. Managed IT services provide affordable solutions to the complex technology problems of small businesses for a fixed monthly fee. An outside firm or IT Consulting Company provides managed services based on remote, proactive monitoring of company networks on an ongoing basis – with minimal involvement of the small business owners. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) employ consultants who specialize in small business networks, computer support, and security. Generally, managed IT services are delivered from a remote location via the Internet, but on-site proactive and emergency services are also provided when necessary. Services range from basic monitoring to fully managed services. Overall support for day-to-day operations and on-demand support for any other major need is also provided by these IT consulting groups. Managed services are usually provided on a flat monthly fee or per device basis.
Types of services
Managed IT Services includes broad categories of IT services. They include:
֎ Computer & Server Support
For optimized desktop performance, regular maintenance and monitoring of company computers is essential. IT consulting companies offer various solutions for ensuring that computers are functioning properly and are protected against all of the latest technology threats and disasters and also provide troubleshooting services and recommendations to prevent the same problem from happening again. Their solutions also include server installation and administration.
֎ Custom Software Solutions
Each business has its unique needs therefore IT consultants recommend and provide custom-designed software solutions to address these needs of each small business. Depending on the project needs and requirements, IT consultants help small businesses determine the technology best suited to their business needs.
֎ Data Backup & Disaster Recovery
For any organization or business company, the biggest asset is their data and with the advent of technology these data are under constant threat of being attacked by the intruders or hackers. Therefore, backing up data is essential and should not be ignored, yet many small businesses do not perform backups. In a remote backup facility, a backup of files is made regularly over the Internet, and files are stored in a secure, off-site data storage facility, requiring no tape or hardware. Remote Backup and Online Backup Services help small businesses avert data loss in case of any disaster.
֎ Network Security
As already discussed above, business is always under the threat of being hacked or attacked by hackers, small businesses need computers and network security even more than large businesses. This is because small businesses are often the primary target of hackers who can more easily attack the smaller networks. IT consulting companies provide tools and practices such as spam management and firewall management to help protect small businesses from hackers, viruses, and spam.
֎ Remote Network Monitoring
Remote monitoring of the critical components of a network such as servers and firewalls is also provided by managed service providers. Consultants troubleshoot problems remotely to minimize network downtime. With automatic alerting systems, issues are resolved before they can significantly impact network performance.
֎ Technology Evaluation & Planning
With fewer resources and less manpower, most small business owners employ an “ad-hoc” approach to dealing with technology, with no long term plan for future technology needs. IT consulting companies provide a comprehensive computer and network assessment and evaluate the current IT setup to suggest possible changes to maximize technology effectiveness for the small business.
Key Benefits of Managed Services
Most small companies use the “break and fix model” of technology management; when technology fails, a consultant is called in to fix the problem and the company pays a fee for the service. This method results in repeated downtime and lost productivity. The two important problems with this model is that, most of the productive time is wasted while waiting for the arrival of the consultant and next the consultants are not motivated to keep the client’s network and systems running efficiently because the consultant makes more money when the technology breaks down. Therefore, Small business owners should consider the managed IT services solution for several reasons. That includes.
Therefore, the managed services model is beneficial to both the client and the technology expert because small businesses have the advantage of lower rates and better services while technology experts get the fixed monthly fee from multiple customers. Managed IT Services help small business owners by simplifying IT operations and improving the reliability of networks. Instead of spending time worrying about technology, small business owners can stay focused on growing their businesses.