Many businesses employ the services of an “IT guy” – an IT contractor who is contacted from time to time when their technology breaks, or when they need changes made, such as new users starting, or setting up a new laptop. Many who take this approach to their IT systems believe that it is good value for money, based on the fact that it has worked well for them in the past.
Although this approach may be a good fit during the early years of a new business, the subsequent hidden costs and risks to the business escalate quickly once a business starts to grow. A well structured proactive IT support agreement – also known as a managed service agreement – is essential at this point to protect the business from lost revenue, reduced productivity and lost opportunities. If your “IT guy” doesn’t offer such an arrangement, it may be time to talk to a Managed Service Provider that can offer this kind of partnership for your business.
Hidden costs and risks to the business escalate quickly once a business starts to grow
Here are 5 reasons to consider an IT managed services agreement for your business:
- Avoid unnecessary outages and downtime
As part of a managed services agreement, your workstations, servers and network are constantly monitored for a range of potentially disruptive conditions and emerging problems. There are a large range of proactive fixes that can be applied to address issues before they cause problems. A simple example of this would be running a disk cleanup to delete old updates and temporary files when your hard drive is starting to fill up. By dealing with these issues before they cause disruption – it saves both the end user, and the service provider from wasting time with unnecessary support calls.
- Proactive maintenance, planning and advice
Consider the following example: Most people take their car to a mechanic regularly for a service to keep things running well. The alternative is to leave your car to degrade – in unknown condition- not knowing whether it is safe to drive, and with the possibility that it could break down at the worst possible time. Repairs may consequently cost thousands of dollars – only to fix problems that could have been easily prevented. The same logic applies to your IT systems and devices.
A managed service provider takes responsibility for the health of your technology. As part of this, regular maintenance is performed on areas that need attention, ensuring that common issues are not likely to surface. With this level of responsibility for your technology – it is also in a provider’s best interest to suggest improvements, upgrades and replacements where and when they are most needed – helping you make the most of available options and helping your business grow.
A managed service provider takes responsibility for the health of your technology
- Stay protected from cyber threats
Two of the most important requirements to protect your computers from cyber threats are; ensuring you have functioning, up to date security software (antivirus) installed, and that your operating system and software is patched to protect from known security holes and bugs. Although there are more steps required to fully secure your environment, these are two of the most important things to get right when it comes to IT security. A managed service provider will ensure that your security and operating system are functional and up to date – so that you are protected against the newest viruses and threats (which are also the ones most likely to spread quickly).
- Availability – getting prompt support
Have you ever been caught in a situation where you have an IT issue, and the only person who knows what to do isn’t available? Hopefully it wasn’t an issue that cost your business in lost revenue or reputation. If this is risk that you currently face, I would recommend speaking with an IT provider who can provide you access to a team of engineers for support with guaranteed response times. A well structured managed service agreement should come with guaranteed response times, so that you know there will always be someone available to respond promptly to your IT issues. On top of this, a responsive IT support partner may provide direct access to an escalated contact in the case of urgent and important requests.
- An IT provider that works with, not against you
Consider the typical break/fix style IT support model. You call them when something breaks, and pay them to fix it. Although this is often an available option, there are a number of fundamental issues with this model :
- The more IT problems you have, the more money they make
- The longer they take to fix a problem, the more they are paid
- There is no incentive for them to prevent issues from occurring in your environment
- There is little incentive for them to invest in better tools, systems, or automation
Contrast this with IT managed services, where both the provider and the customer share mutual interests: ensuring that problems are prevented, minimised, and solved on the first instance! Anything that can be done to reduce the number of support requests is in the IT provider’s best interests, including investment in the latest management and monitoring tools to improve responsiveness.
If you can relate to any of these points in your current situation, we would like to speak with you. Please fill in the contact form below and one of our consultants in Crows Nest, Sydney will be in contact with you to discuss your concerns and requirements, and how Lanter Technologies can help your business thrive and grow.