Doing business in the digital era means using technology to expand your business. If you don’t have an IT department to manage your digital needs, hiring managed IT services may be good.
By understanding what managed IT services are, you can weigh their importance and how they can affect your business.
What Are The Common IT Challenges Businesses Face?
If you’re running a business without an IT team, then you may want to check the following IT challenges hindering your business’ potentials:
Conflicted IT Goals with Business Goals: If you already have an existing IT department, you may want to check if your IT goals support your business goals. When it does, your business can become more productive as the right technology can help your business processes.
On the other hand, you may need strategic guidance from a professional IT expert if your IT and business goals conflict.
By partnering with an IT expert, you can create and implement strategies that can react to the technological needs of your business. You’ll also know what IT upgrades your business needs to keep up with the rapid technology changes.
With this proactive approach, you can lessen your expenses as you identify and eliminate outdated IT approaches your business may still be using.
Lacking Comprehensive Backup Plan: You may think that having IT equipment is enough to keep your business running. While that may be true, you may have to check if you have a complete backup plan if your IT department is in chaos.
Installing and using technology should only be the beginning. To ensure that your business operations won’t be interrupted in the future, you should have a backup plan that will protect and help recover your IT solutions.
These backup solutions should cover your software-as-a-service tools, computer, servers, and data storage. That way, you won’t lose every piece of data your business needs and uses.
Not Taking Cyber Attacks Seriously: One of the common victims of cybercriminals is businesses. Most businesses don’t understand the threat that cyber-attacks can do to their businesses. They rely on their traditional solutions, making their business operations inefficient and more exposed to cyber-attacks.
But with the right IT solutions, you can implement security policies and how your team can react and handle possible cyber-attacks. As for preventive measures, you’ll need to ensure you’re using IT solutions that are known to provide tight security.
What Are Managed IT Services?
With all the challenges you may be facing now, or in the future, spending on managed IT services may be worth it. Managed IT services mean hiring a third-party provider or outside IT team to repair, operate, maintain, monitor, and improve your technical needs.
By outsourcing this kind of provider, you can ensure that your business can readily face challenges. You’ll be geared toward IT solutions that can protect your business’s interests.
If your business is in Chicago, you’re lucky because many local Managed IT services are available that you can work with. That way, you can transition from a traditional to a digitized form of business. Or you can have around-the-clock technical support whom you can call any time because you’re in the same time zone.
Types of Managed IT Services
Before you outsource managed IT services, it’s also best to understand the different services they offer. That way, you’ll weigh the IT solutions that your business may need. You can check these common types of managed services:
Managed Communications: The best thing about technology is making communication in the business industry much easier. With managed IT services, they can provide you with one platform to connect with your employees or clients.
Managed communication is unified, so you don’t have to install and log into different communication apps. With one managed communication package, you can have administrative portals, calendar sharing, virtual spaces or rooms, email, file sharing, video conferencing, hosted phones, and instant messaging.
Data Analytics: Instead of learning how to analyze your network data, let experts do the work so you can focus on your expertise. Managed IT services can help you in researching, capturing, and monitoring your network data. That way, they can provide you with solutions you can implement to improve your productivity.
Desktop as a Service (DaaS): With managed IT services, you can also enjoy a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). They run your entire operating system from their virtual cloud infrastructure. That way, you can access your system using different devices as long as you have the software.
This service also has superior security to ensure that critical data is safe, making it a good solution if your business is in telecommunication or has a Bring Your Own Device policy.
Backup as a Service: Remember that one challenge you might face has backup solutions. You can have this with Managed IT services as they can recover and provide you managed backups. They’ll duplicate your business data and use an off-site server to store your data with a high level of security. This type of managed IT service can also give you a disaster recovery plan (DRP) that can help in restoring your system when it crashes.
Managed Cloud Infrastructure: With this service, you can have virtualization services for operating systems, software, apps, and the like. They also handle your IT, network, storage, and computing needs.
Managed Print Services: If your business requires complex file management, this service may be best for you. You can receive remote assistance with the file and data infrastructure of your business.
Managed Support Services: With this service, you can have IT help manage and troubleshoot all IT issues of your business. They’re on call so that you can have help anytime according to your contract with them.
Managed Security: As for this service, it can enhance your security needs from real-time updates to implementing anti-malware solutions.
Managed Networks: In addition to your storage and backup management, managed IT services also include establishing various connections like WAPs and LANs that your business may need.
Big Box Provider vs Local Provider
When choosing your managed IT service provider, you may want to know if the location matters. Both types of providers have their pros and cons. Weighing which will work better for your business is essential so you won’t have to waste your money on the wrong provider.
Should You Choose The Big Box?
With this type of provider, they have a global footprint, allowing you to have support if you’re planning to replicate in multiple countries. They have experience in providing IT solutions for businesses catering to more than one country.
However, the downside is you may not get the same customer support that local providers can. But if you’re looking for an IT service provider with the latest technology, big box companies are your go-to managed IT services.
How About Choosing Local?
Although they’re for local customers, local providers don’t mean they skimp on capabilities and services. Some even have the same technical expertise and infrastructure as that of the big box stores.
And there’s more: even if they’re local, some have multiple locations across states. This means you can benefit from their robust service selection and extended support hours.
Another advantage when you choose local providers is that they ensure you get the best customer care. That way, they can build a long-term relationship with you.
Since they’re local, they’re familiar with the local market, allowing them to provide you quick and on-site help. That way, you can call them and get managed IT services on-site instead of having just virtual services.
Tips When Choosing the Right Managed IT Provider
After weighing whether your IT needs require a local or big box company, it’s time to choose the right provider. You may find it hard to choose the best one since there are many providers out there. But with due diligence, you can ensure that you’re outsourcing the most suitable managed IT services for your needs.
To do that, you may need to consider the following tips:
Education and Training of Their Employees: It’s also recommended to ask what ongoing training or education their employees are taking. Although they may already have certifications as proof of their knowledge, continued education or training can make them more flexible with the latest changes in the IT industry. This means they know the latest trends in technology that can be valuable for your business and IT goals.
Moreover, it also shows how committed the company is to provide the latest education to their employees by ensuring their regular training. Some companies even shoulder the cost of continuous training and education of their employees. That means they value providing quality services for their clients.
Getting certifications and accreditations involve a lengthy application, studying, and exams. It means that only the ones who complied with their requirements can get such certificates. Thus, you can be sure that you’re outsourcing IT experts.
Has Regular Security Monitoring and Testing: Aside from certifications, you should also hire those who regularly monitor and test their security. As mentioned, cyber-attacks can happen, especially to vulnerable businesses. Ask the provider how often they test and monitor the security of their systems.
Response Time and Fast Service: Although you may not be the only customers they have, it’s still best to have IT support that can quickly respond to your needs. They should have an adequate number of personnel that’s available at all times. Ask them if they provide guaranteed response time and not to be forwarded to a call center. That way, you won’t have to stop your business operations for a long time if issues ensue.
Company Culture: Even if a company has all the certifications, a good company culture still matters. Since outsourcing the company means working with them, it’s best to work with a similar working culture. That way, you can have a better working relationship instead of clashing.
Market Presence and Portfolio: You may also want to check the provider’s portfolio. That way, you can understand their market presence through their client’s testimonials, case studies, and the like. By doing so, you can weigh if they’re a good fit for your needs.
Experience: Another consideration you should look at before hiring is the company’s experience with your industry. When they’ve worked for companies similar to yours, the provider is familiar with your customer base, legal requirements, technology, and trends. That way, they know how to work towards your IT and business goals.
Positive Attitude: However, you shouldn’t exclude companies that don’t have experience in your industry. If you think they have the criteria you’re looking for, check if they have a positive attitude towards learning the ropes of your needs. They may ask about your email host, antivirus tools, operating systems, devices, and software. This will show their interest in taking the initiative to be involved in your business.
Long-term Partnership: Moreover, you should find a provider that you can work for on a long-term basis. Don’t just look for a provider that will solve your current IT needs, but hire those you’re willing to build a long working relationship with. That way, you can save on the cost of looking for another provider if you keep on changing them now and then. However, you should also hire a provider with no commitment contract. That way, you can get out of the contract any time if they’re not delivering the services they promised you.
Contract Terms: Most importantly, compare the contract terms of your IT provider candidates. That way, you can check the best contract suitable for your business. Read their billing policies and the like to ensure you’re not missing any disclaimer.
Achieve Your Goals
IT solutions are now a must when running a business, especially if you’re not IT savvy. By outsourcing IT managed services, you can personalize your IT needs to save on spending IT solutions that may not apply to your business.
But before you sign a contract, learning the ins and outs of a managed IT service provider will help you choose the best provider. Weigh if you need a local or big box company.
Then, you may want to consider the tips above when looking for candidates. That way, you’ll be hiring an IT team that will help you achieve your business and IT goals.