Outsourcing operations to an IT service provider is common among small and midsize businesses (SMBs), according to a CompTIA survey. In fact, more than 70 percent of the 500 SMBs participating in the survey said that they use an outside IT firm at least occasionally.
Most often, the SMBs hire the IT service providers to troubleshoot computer and network problems as well as repair equipment. However, the SMBs revealed that they also need help with other IT challenges they are facing.
Here are three other standard IT issues that SMBs often need help with and that an IT service provider can support:
1. IT Security
Being small does not make SMBs invisible to cybercriminals. On the contrary, it makes them prime targets.
Cybercriminals bank on the fact that many SMBs do not invest much money in their IT security measures due to a lack of resources, or in some cases because the SMB just doesn't know what they should even be worried about.
But in today's environment, you can't afford not to beef up your company's IT security. With cyber-attacks growing more sophisticated every day, it is only a matter of time before you get hit with malware or a ransomware attack.
And it is not quick or easy to set up and manage intrusion detection systems, perform security assessments, and implement other security measures. Beyond that, once they are set up they need to be monitored and patched on a regular basis in order to remain effective. Don't forget too that the only guarantee against data loss is a solid data backup plan, which is also something that needs to be monitored and tested on a regular basis.
Which is why having an experienced IT service provider help you with these tasks is a good idea, particularly if you are not knowledgeable in IT security practices. Though, even if you are, turning to an IT service provider is still a smart business decision, because it allows you to focus on managing and growing your core business instead of devoting all your time to protecting it.
2. Data Management
The amount of data in the world is growing at an alarming rate. According to IDC analysts, it is doubling every two years. Given this flood of data, it is easy to understand why SMBs often need help with data management.
If your business is facing rapidly growing pools of data, an IT service provider can help you set up the systems you need to securely store and back it up. More importantly, an IT service provider can help you build intelligent data management processes and transform that raw data into information that you can use to both protect it and make better business decisions.
3. IT Infrastructure Upgrades
Like many SMBs, your hardware and software may be getting out of date. Determining which components to upgrade or replace is a central issue that all businesses must address. It is also an overwhelming task if you don't have the necessary expertise to evaluate your options.
The good news is that when you are faced with aging equipment or software, it's a good time for you to explore the pros and cons of shifting to newer technologies such as cloud computing and virtualization.
For example, Office 365 may be a more efficient option for an SMB currently managing (and troubleshooting) a variety of Office versions and facing an email server upgrade. By migrating to O365, all users will be standardized to the latest Office products and apps, documents will be stored and accessible from anywhere, and there is no need for an in-house email server with this cloud-based product.
That's just one example of many. An IT service provider can and should serve as a trusted adviser, helping you determine where you can be more efficient, save money and increase productivity by take advantage of the modern technology that makes the most sense for your business.
Put Your Focus Where It Belongs
Just like large companies, SMBs need their IT systems to operate efficiently, effectively, and securely. If you lack the expertise and more importantly, the resources required to successfully manage, monitor and maintain your IT environment, the good news is that you can turn to an IT service provider for help.
By offloading critical services like intrusion detection, data backups, infrastructure upgrades, and other IT operations to an experienced IT service provider who specializes in having the expertise AND resources required to manage these solutions, you can focus on what you do best: running your business.
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