If your business is growing, it’s likely that your tech-based pressures are intensifying too. The last thing you want is for a potentially devastating technical glitch or external threat to undo all the hard work it took to get your business to a place of success. You need to have confidence in your capacity to avoid or resolve any IT threats that come your way.
If you’re struggling to satisfactorily meet the IT demands of an evolving business with existing in-house expertise alone, a managed service provider could be the solution you’re looking for.
Why Do You Need Managed IT Services?
Technical glitches mean wasted time, financial losses and severe headaches. When they result in extended periods of downtime, reduced productivity and a negative customer experience, they could damage your business reputation irreparably.
If placing your network into the hands of a dedicated expert who is committed to the ongoing, smooth-running of your systems over the long-term sounds like a good idea, then keep reading …
What Are Managed IT Services?
For those unfamiliar with the term ‘managed IT services’, it’s essentially about providing unfettered access to the diverse skills and knowledge of an entire team of IT gurus.
Ideally, they will have the technical knowledge to effectively handle any issue that may arise, large or small, along with the communication and people skills to understand your situation and treat you with respect and care.
24/7 Network Support & Monitoring
Is the main purpose to react to issues, and quickly resolve them as they arise? The answer is a little bit of yes and a large bit of no. Keeping one eye on the immediate issues of the day via 24/7 monitoring and troubleshooting is an important component of any managed IT service offering. Where issues are resolved quickly, costly downtime is reduced, as is the impact on profitability.
Planning Your Long Term IT Needs
However, it is equally crucial for an IT partner to keep an eye fixed firmly on the future. In doing so, they can identify potential network improvements over the long term, ensuring continuous upgrades to accommodate your evolving business needs. This also has the added benefit of preventing a large number of potential issues from occurring in the first place. Therefore, before entering into this relationship, you need to make sure you investigate your prospective new partner’s commitment to strategic thinking and proactivity.
You can spot an effective IT partner by their willingness to develop a comprehensive understanding of your current needs and future goals early on. Thorough knowledge of your business will enable them to make recommendations that will drive success in the immediate and long term.
Choosing a Managed IT Services Partner
So how do you choose an IT partner for your business? We’ve listed below the most important factors for consideration.
Start With a Free IT Network Review & Audit
A great starting point is to ask any candidate IT partners about the possibility of conducting a free IT network review of your current infrastructure. The insights gleaned from this review will keep your technology primed for optimal performance and help to identify opportunities for network improvements and optimisation.
Get A Tailored Solution
One thing a quality IT partner should never do is offer you ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions, with no questions asked or prior understanding of your needs. The key to true IT success is a tailored solution, designed to deliver the most appropriate support services to meet the unique needs of your organisation.
Ensure a Good Cultural Fit
Personality and culture are important too. If you’re going to enable and empower your external IT support provider to do the most effective job, you need to be open to trust and collaboration. In an ideal world, your IT provider will become an important extension to your in-house team. Your goal should therefore be to find a partner committed to developing long-term client relationships.
Bring Them In On Critical Business Decisions
Further, you should work towards offering them a seat at the table as you make business-critical decisions. Put simply, the more your IT partner understands your business, needs and operations, the more insightful they can be with their recommendations.
The ongoing global pandemic has changed the way we work, potentially forever. For that reason, there has never been a more important time to re-think your approach to IT. Changes may be required to ensure your team continues to enjoy easy, uninterrupted and, most importantly, secure access to all the company information and applications needed to do their jobs, regardless of location.
Are They Security Focused?
On the topic of security, this is another key consideration when selecting a managed IT services partner. Your network houses vital and often sensitive information so you need to be 100% confident it is adequately protected.
If a security breach occurs, your IT support partner should be equipped and ready to spring into action, taking the fast and effective steps needed to guarantee business continuity, before implementing long-term measures to prevent future attacks.
Even before a cyber security incident takes place, a good IT service provider will take the time to consider any previously unidentified potential for cyber security issues and implement measures to heighten protection. Along with this, your ideal IT partner will have some form of ongoing security monitoring – to capture issues before or as they are happening – preventing a disaster in the first place. Together, these approaches will help keep critical data safe and accessible and support a speedy recovery in the worst case.
For an ever-increasing number of businesses, external management of their IT requirements from proven experts is progressively becoming the norm. Advocates of this solution cite advantages as diverse as a lightning-quick resolution of issues, cost savings, reduced stress, more hours in the day to do other things, continuous business improvement, boosted security, and round-the-clock access to knowledge and skills that don’t exist in-house.