Small businesses depend on IT, but it’s not always a simple undertaking. Even small business owners with an IT background may want to focus on IT efforts that grow their business instead of day-to-day IT maintenance tasks. Managed IT solutions for small businesses can help protect and sustain your business while you focus on business growth.
More than 40 percent of small businesses have just two to three employees according to a survey by Guidant Financial. This means that every employee is wearing multiple hats. Dealing with IT issues takes time and expertise.
Savvy small business owners focus on five key areas to shore up IT so they can move on to truly building their business. These five areas are backup and recovery, cybersecurity, collaboration, troubleshooting, and network management.
Focus on These Areas for IT Solutions for Your Business
These five key areas are essential to making the most of your business’ technical capabilities. They can also be some of the most challenging areas to maintain, which is why many small businesses entrust these areas to a knowledgeable partner.
1. Backup and Recovery
Losing your critical business data can have devastating consequences. It could take weeks to rebuild your data if you can rebuild it at all. It’s vital to have a backup and recovery plan in place. Many small businesses have an on-site backup and an off-site backup to ensure redundancy. A knowledgeable managed services provider can help you develop backup and recovery plans. They may provide offsite hosting for your backups or they may recommend cloud hosting. Your backup and recovery plan should also include regular backup testing to ensure those backups are viable.
Unfortunately, small businesses are particularly vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. Cybercriminals often target small businesses because they don’t have the robust security measures in place that large enterprises do. For example, 58 percent of malware attack victims were small businesses, according to the Verizon 2018 Data Breach Incident Report. Some of the threats facing small businesses include:
- Malware: In particular, malware is being introduced into small businesses through email.
- Ransomware: These are also introduced via email as well as through pop-ups that look like legitimate messages from software you use.
- Cryptomining: Cryptomining uses your system’s resources to mine for cryptocurrency. The slows down your network over time.
A trusted partner can monitor your network for potential intruders and quickly responded to threats, ensuring that your business has the security it needs.
The right collaboration solution can give your small business the look and feel of an enterprise. Collaboration tools make it easier for your employees to communicate with you when they’re on the go and they improve communication with external stakeholders. Collaboration tools that enhance productivity include:
- Video conferencing: Video conferencing improves meeting productivity and efficiency. A robust video–conferencing solution will include features such as filesharing and whiteboarding.
- Instant messaging: Third-party instant messaging tools don’t provide adequate security. Secure instant messaging can keep your employees connected and improve customer service.
- Mobile applications: An integrated mobile application ensures your employees have secure access to your collaboration tools wherever they are.
Today’s collaboration solutions can be based on-premises, in the cloud, or both. Deciding on the right collaboration solution and then implementing and maintaining that solution can be time-consuming. A trusted third-party can direct you to solutions that will help you meet your business goals and then ensure those solutions keep working for you.
IT troubleshooting can be incredibly time-consuming. IT problems slow down productivity and efficiency for you, your employees, and your customers. On any given day you or a member of your staff may have to deal with everything from hardware failures to network connectivity problems.
Dealing with these tasks takes time and focus away from other business-critical goals. Helpdesk IT solutions for small businesses provide you and your team with the technical support you need when you need it, allowing you to focus on growing your business.
5. Network Management
Your employees and customers rely on your network. To ensure your network performance is optimized, your network needs regular monitoring and maintenance. A third-party managed services provider will monitor your network and make adjustments to address any performance issues. They will assess your current network and make recommendations for improvements, and then implement their recommendations on a schedule that doesn’t interfere with your business. If there is a network issue, their familiarity with the network allows them to quickly address the issue, minimizing downtime.
There are other key areas of IT for small businesses but focusing on these five gives your firm a strong foundation for growth, development, and a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Knowing these core five pieces are in place gives you the peace of mind to move forward in your business but it takes effort, focus, and expertise you and your team may not have. Some small business owners have found partnering with an outside solution provider to be the answer.
Choosing a Managed Services Provider
To choose a managed services provider, consider what IT services you want to outsource. Which areas are causing the biggest drain on your time and resources? As you talk with potential providers, find out their experience in your industry and in the area where you need support. Consider discussing their level of support to small businesses. Do they consider small businesses a priority? Or do they come second to larger, enterprise clients?
We take pride in the work we do with small businesses. We know you need reliable backups, robust security, and a high performing network. We consider ourselves to be partners and your business. Contact us today to find out how we can help you grow.