When businesses are first starting out, it’s often easy to make do with just having an “IT guy”. We all know the ones. They’re usually somebody with limited technology and computer experience who, at one point, was branded as the person to handle all IT issues no matter how complex, and has been stuck in that role ever since. This brand of reactive IT support may seem like a cost-effective way to address the technology at your company but, ultimately, there comes a time when you need a more proactive, more strategic services running your IT department. But how do you know when you’re ready to make the switch? Let’s take a look at some of the signs that could indicate you’ve outgrown your reactive IT support.
1. You’re updating everything manually
These days, security issues can appear and become exploited by hackers within a matter of hours. If your business is updating its software, spam filters, and antivirus programs manually, you’re potentially leaving yourself vulnerable to malicious attacks. That’s why it’s important to have as much of your technology as possible update automatically. If you or your reactive IT staff are updating systems and software merely as they get round to doing it, who knows what may be falling through the cracks.
Using an IT company means not having to worry about this. Whether it’s patches for the operating systems you’re using or security software, having these updates pushed out to all of the machines on your network ensures minimal time for known security holes to be exploited. Any opportunity to minimize the potential for data breach or virus attack translates to better uptime for you and your business.
2. You’re not planning for capacity growth
Ultimately, the goal of most businesses is to grow, both in size and revenue. If you aren’t making plans for your technology to grow with you, you’re likely lagging behind. Your technology should grow with you, adapting to your needs and the challenges of your industry. Perhaps your email solution was working fine when your company had only a few employees, but what happens when you look to expand and your email system can’t handle it anymore?
Planning for capacity growth can even be as foundational as making sure you have solid wireless networks so your employees can work efficiently and productively. Planning for the future involves a comprehensive strategy on the specific lifecycles of your software and hardware. It’s all very well buying a brand new server, but is the projected lifecycle of that server aligned to where you believe you’ll get a positive return on your investment over that time? Strategic IT consulting works with your business to understand its goals and then implements technology around those goals. In other words, you should have a proactive strategy so the technology is there as you need it— you should not be in a possible where technology is holding your business back.
3. You’re using outdated systems and software
4. You aren’t up to date with the latest risk assessments
If you and your reactive IT support learn about the latest viruses and security threats through blog posts, that’s likely not going to cut it. In order to minimize downtime, a business needs to have up-to-the-minute awareness of what’s going on in the technology world. A managed IT services company has the ability and motivation to constantly monitor threats to their clients’ systems. Proactive action against such threats can potentially protect a business against new threats before they strike— ensuring that you don’t miss a step and continue to be able to do your business day-to-day.
5. You aren’t getting industry-specific expertise
Every business is different. It follows, then, that technology should be different for every business too. Depending on your industry, compliance standards may require significant IT projects to minimize the risk you will be held liable for any data breach. This is particularly true for the financial services and healthcare industries.
IT support companies provide industry-specific consultation on compliance with data protection regulations. These consultants understand that conforming to such regulations requires the integration and coordination of all of an IT department’s operations along with the employees at a company. There is no band-aid patch to becoming compliant but rather ongoing behaviors, processes, and best practices that put your business in a position to avoid industry-specific compliance issues.
6. You don’t have round-the-clock availability from your “IT guy"
Disaster can IT can strike at any time. Without proactive managed IT support, you may find instances where you simply don’t have the manpower at certain times to address IT issues. What happens to your business then? Having a dedicated support team in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week means you don’t have to scramble around to find somebody to solve your IT issues. Maybe whoever is currently fulfilling the role of “IT guy” for you is actually supposed to be doing other things. What is the cost of them being taken away from these tasks to perform IT functions? While you may prefer the “small team” approach that comes with an in-house reactive IT team, a quality IT consulting firm will give you the same feel. This comes from the experience gained working with other clients as well as having a comprehensive understanding of your IT systems and your overarching technology goals.
There is enormous benefit to having a proactive managed IT service over more reactive IT support. The economics behind utilizing an IT support company also make sense. Having a fixed monthly fee to cover all IT expenses means avoiding the surprises that come with a reactive IT setup. It also means you don’t have someone to manage on a day-to-day basis, instead you have a company working for you behind the scenes so you can focus on what’s important to your business and start achieving more.
Have you had any experience working with reactive IT services? What was happening that made you decide to make the switch to a managed service? Let us know in the comments below.
If you would like to learn more about managed IT services or have any other questions about IT as part of a comprehensive IT support strategy, don’t hesitate to contact us today to speak with an IT expert.