Information is the key to successful business today.
You need to be able to act on your information and protect it.
To use information, we all rely on secure networks, a solid IT strategy, our laptops, phones, and computers; apps; email; servers; the cloud; and the 1,002 other information technology-related tools we all use to make decisions internally and work with our customers externally.
Many companies continue to think that doing everything themselves is a good idea.
At least not all the time.
There are three IT functions you can easily stop doing yourself. Doing so will save you time, money, and aggravation. These IT functions are:
Managing your network (and security)
These IT functions are needed by every business. I think of them as “lights on” IT. While they don't provide competitive advantage, without them your business can't function to full capacity.
You don't create your own electricity.
You don't need to perform any of these functions in-house either.
What you do need is the time and budget to think creatively about how to improve your business offerings and make your customers happy. Outsourcing these business functions allow you to do that.
You need more than one copy of your information so backup is critical for every company. We’ve all experienced a laptop or PC crash and losing a document we slaved over for hours – and then having to spend more hours recreating it.
That’s annoying on a personal scale. When you lose data your business relies on, that goes from annoying to potentially crippling. So be sure you are backing up your data!
But backup is, frankly, a pain. Equipment needs to be updated and maintained. Physical media, such as tape, can break or be lost. Scheduled backup windows can be missed. Data can be corrupted and should be periodically checked to ensure that recovery of data is possible.
Most importantly, many SMBs simply don't back up their data. Not only can you go out of business if you lose access to all of your business documents and customer information, data backup is one way to protect yourself from ransomware.
Call Me - Business Phones
Often overlooked is that you can free up internal IT resources by outsourcing your business phone system, especially with a voice over IP (VoIP) communication platform.
Think about the time you can save from not having to
Monitor your bandwidth to identify bottlenecks and choke points to optimize your network for traffic
Figure out if jitter is a VoIP problem or a sign of an overall network usage issue?
Understand baseline traffic patterns to help plan future capacity and upgrades
On top of not having your IT staff troubleshooting phone issues, if you're still on an outdated PBX phone system, a move to VoIP can cost less and deliver more functionality. VoIP is also great for business continuity.
Network Management and Maintenance
Small businesses have limited resources to devote to information technology. Today, a network is the cost of doing business, not a competitive advantage. The competitive advantage in IT comes from looking at opportunities to use IT to streamline business processes and serve customers better.
It’s better to devote those resources you do have to the technology and strategy that will make a difference, not just in keeping the lights on for your business. IT networks can be outsourced in whole or in part. A partner can work with you to identify your needs and then either supplement your IT staff or essentially become your IT department.
The security challenges of managing a network can overwhelm smaller IT departments. Keeping up with patches and the latest security threats from ever-evolving cybercriminals is hard. As I've written about before, it's going to be harder to hire security experts because there's a shortage of cybersecurity skills and it's growing larger.
What are you waiting for? Start planning now and enter 2018 able to focus on growing your business, not worrying about managing basic IT functions that an IT services partner can do better than you can.
For more information on everything to do with Managed IT Services, check out our resource page, here.