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The actual nature of the managed IT services required are as unique as the businesses they are designed to support. There is no one-size-fits-all solution and, for that reason, the associated costs will vary from client-to-client.

If you’re looking for a very basic rule of thumb, the average company tends to dedicate between three and five per cent of total revenue to their IT spend, including everything from troubleshooting issues, to the fixed costs associated with licenses and hardware.

This is, however, a crude means of estimating the expenses. Many considerations need to be made before it’s possible to accurately identify what your business and people need from a managed IT service provider, and how much that is likely to cost.

It’s vital that your provider takes the necessary time and asks all the right questions to develop a comprehensive understanding of your distinct business requirements, expectations and available budget. These insights will inform the development of a realistic recommended approach that perfectly meets your needs.

The size, set-up and nature of your business, the number of employees, locations and devices, as well as anticipated future needs and goals, should all be taken into consideration when designing your ideal solution. It is at this stage that a more accurate quote can be developed, and give you an idea of what you should expect to pay for the delivery of the services you need.

In return for their fee, your managed IT service provider will typically offer access to ongoing, proactive and reactive support. Over and above this, they will conduct ongoing research into opportunities for improvements for peak levels of reliability, performance and resilience over the long-term.

One particularly relevant example of the need for the ongoing and regular re-assessment of your IT infrastructure is the recent shift towards remote working. Clearly, this has required businesses to re-think their IT approach, in particular so that staff can enjoy seamless access to company information from wherever they are, and in the most secure way possible.

What we tend to find, particularly with businesses that started relatively small, is that more complex IT needs must be managed as the company grows. With only a handful of employees, the temptation at the start of a company’s life is often to assign one person the responsibility for all IT matters, regardless of whether or not they have the appropriate expertise.

Engaging a managed services partner, however, will not only free that person up to focus on supporting the business using their core skills, but will also provide access to an entire team of IT experts, equipped to handle every eventuality. Ultimately, entrusting the ongoing success of your infrastructure to a dedicated external expert will ensure it always remains fit-for-purpose, and positions your business for success.

Outcomes of letting the experts take charge include unlimited, uninterrupted network access, with rewards comprising unimpeded productivity, and a better customer experience. You’ll also enjoy various extra benefits that you simply can’t put a price on … reduced stress, and time back in your day to focus on running and growing your business!

Perhaps a more important consideration than the costs incurred by always having an expert IT team in your corner, is the potential costs incurred through the inefficiencies and reputational damage you are otherwise leaving yourself wide open to.

A good IT partner will strive to become a trusted member of your team, developing a long-term relationship that allows for an evolving service to ensure you always have the right tools in place to get the best out of your network. They will make it their business to stay across the latest technological advancements from around the world, so the right upgrades for your business can be recommended.

Outdated equipment and legacy technologies that have been overtaken by new innovations in terms of functionality and efficiency can result in lost time. As the old saying goes, ‘time is money’, so when deciding how much budget you’re willing to dedicate towards your overall IT spend, try to focus on how retooling a clunky system and transforming it into an efficient business asset can lead to significant cost savings.

At Lanter, we are always here, day and night, to resolve even the most minor technical glitch swiftly and effectively. Of course, this reactive approach is highly necessary, but should form only one element of your IT support service. The need to react usually means the problem has already yielded some sort of negative impact. You wouldn’t wait until your car broke down before getting it serviced, so why should your network be any different? Prevention is often so much cheaper than the cure!

Try looking at the preventative steps taken by your IT partner as a valuable type of business insurance. Making sure robust security measures are in-place to protect your system and critical business information from cyber breaches is vital. So are back-ups and easily recoverable data. Failure to properly manage this function can be debilitating, with many businesses unable to make a full recovery, due to sometimes unimaginable financial losses.

However, an external team of IT experts committed to continually monitoring and troubleshooting potentially harmful issues before they escalate will fortify your business against disaster, and position you to make a quick and strong recovery (both operationally and financially) in the unlikely event of a successful cyber attack.

Ensuring business continuity will mean productivity and profitability won’t take a hit, and you won’t risk negative customer experiences and consequential reputational damage. And for any business, reputation should be protected at all costs.

If you’re interested in exploring the potential costs involved with a managed IT service provider, the friendly and highly knowledgeable team at Lanter is always happy to chat. Whether you have prior experience of engaging an external IT partner, or are considering moving in this direction for the first time, we can let you know what to expect, and advise you on the best next steps for you.