How Can Small Businesses Effectively Outsource Their IT Management?
By Space Coast Daily // March 31, 2021
IT outsourcing has become quite popular in recent years, and for good reasons. If your business is spending too many resources on managing your network, updating software, maintaining printers, or ensuring that your cybersecurity software is doing its job, it’s time to start thinking about getting help from IT professionals.
Now you may ask yourself: How to effectively outsource your IT work and make it work for you? We’ll interview multiple MSP experts to give you a concrete answer.
Benefits of Outsourcing Your IT Management
“From my perspective, there are three key benefits to outsourcing information technology. The first and most obvious one is reduced cost, or at least a predictable cost. By outsourcing information technology small businesses can control any variable costs that could really sink the business if a mistake is made.” -said Ilan Sredni, the CEO of Palindrome Consulting, Inc.
Clear Alignment Between Business and the Outsourced Partner
As Ilan puts it, “The business is incentivized to have as much out of their time as possible, the outsourced company loses money anytime that there is a downtime, therefore aligning their goals. ”
Technical Support Available Anytime from the Experts
“Most of the time the IT needs of a small business do not require a full-time IT person.”- said Carl Fransen, CEO of CTECH Consulting Group, an award-winning IT support company based in Canada. He added that “For a fraction of the price, a small business will receive a full IT department with the array of skills to implement the right solutions for them to grow. As the needs of the small business grow, the IT firm will be able to match the needs of the small business.”
What he said couldn’t be more accurate. As your business evolves, so do your needs for IT services. One day, you may need an SQL expert. Another day, a networking technician. Finding a full-time employee who is capable of all is difficult, and if you find one, it will be too costly to hire them. Contracting an MSP is different because you only pay when you need their service.
Keep Pace with a Fast-Changing Technology World
Technology is one of the fastest-changing fields in the world. According to Ashu Singhal from Orion Networks, there are two aspects that keep evolving when running a business:
— How to improve/automate various aspects of how you run your small business AND
— How hackers are getting smarter at stealing your business data and using it for their benefit.
“It’s hard to keep track of the technology changes and do an effective job on both fronts, while also running your business. With the right IT partner, the productivity gain you will have and the hassle you prevent from getting your data hacked will more than makeup for it. ”
Troy Drever from Pure IT, on the other hand, emphasized the importance of outsourcing your cybersecurity system to a managed IT service. Cyberattacks are nothing new in today’s business world and cybercriminals just get more creative with their methods each day.
Ransomware, for example, costs businesses about 75 billion each year and is expected to rise to 6 trillion in 2021 alone. According to Troy, “Small businesses need to focus their resources on what is needed to build and grow their company. They don’t have time to worry about whether their systems are backed up properly, and secured against cyberattacks. There are far too many risks these days to not have proper cybersecurity protection and preventative measures in place. Many companies don’t recover from cyberattacks and they can easily be protected by a company that offers that level of security expertise to small businesses.”
How Small Businesses Can Effectively Outsource Their IT Management
To successfully find a suitable Managed Service Provider to entrust your IT tasks to, you need to pay attention to many factors.
Choose Local Providers If Possible
That’s the advice of Nick Allo from SemTech IT Solutions. Local services generally have a better understanding of the business environment in the area and can design their solutions accordingly. Moreover, for certain services, it’s more convenient to troubleshoot a problem if you hire a local company.
Choose a Partner with a Good Reputation
Needless to say, you should stay away from MSPs with lots of negative reviews online. Use the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to verify a company, if needed.
Be Leary of Companies That Quote You on the Spot
Nick put it that a trustworthy service should spend time analyzing your IT needs before giving you a quote. Any quote given on the spot is either overpriced or a sign of carelessness.
Assess Your IT Needs
Before contracting an IT service, Nick suggested that businesses ask for an assessment of their IT needs. What they think they need and what the experts think may differ!
Ensure That There’s a Performance Guarantee in the Agreement
The contract is the most important part of the process, so make sure you get it right. “The engagement of an MSP needs to be detailed with specifics of what’s covered. This is covered usually under a master services agreement with sets out both parties’ obligations.” — said Ian Brady from Steadfast Solutions. He also added that “Depending on the size of the company it would be worthwhile inviting a specialist to assist in the engagement of a provider.”
Before letting the finance department deal with the commercial aspect of the contract, business owners need to make sure the technical requirements are met.
Create an Accountability Structure with Key Metrics
Mark Veldhoff, the CEO of Envizion IT, an IT services organization based in West Michigan, emphasized the importance of creating an accountability structure with key metrics that the IT partner should focus on.
If the business already has an internal IT team with its own accountability structure, that structure could be used for the IT partner as well. Keeping track of key metrics helps you know if your business is achieving desired results and which areas need improvement.
As you can see, outsourcing IT management is not just a matter of assigning a budget and finding a partner. When you put in the extra work, you’ll find an IT partner that helps take your business to the next level. If you have any questions regarding IT management outsourcing, don’t hesitate to contact us!