How much does it cost to hire an Information Technology (IT) expert? Do you need them for one or two tasks per year, or do you need support every month? What if you need them as a part of your staff?
What if you need an entire IT department? All of these questions lead to potentially big, variable costs depending on who you hire and how often you need help.
As a small business, growth is a blessing and a curse. Your business can be doing well and growing at an amazing pace, but in order to support all of the clients, investors, market forces, and demands that come with growth, you may need to invest in expensive support services.
Managed IT services offer a scalable way for small businesses to grow into their success. Here are a few ways that an IT services team can help you bridge the gap between small business or startups today and enterprise, corporate, or many other momentous accomplishments tomorrow.
Help Desk as a Service
Your team needs a way to get help with the basics without haggling with a freelancer. While specialists and solo technicians fit a helpful niche in many communities, they’re not cost efficient when you have daily IT needs.
Many businesses need to make significant changes to their software and hardware on a regular basis. If a new program needs to be updated you need a technician who can plan and troubleshoot around uncertain results.
Do any of your employees get viruses on their computer? Are some systems slower than others until a system cleanup happens? Your business needs someone to handle break/fix and system fine-tuning on a potentially daily basis.
Hiring a full-time technician is great if you know what you’re looking for. If you don’t have the technical background to truly test the technician–or if you’re too busy to get deep into their skill sets–you could be paying salary, health insurance, 401k, vacation time, and many other benefits to an incomplete fit.
Get a managed IT services team on your side. Instead of interviewing, testing, and paying the full salary for a new employee or entirely new department, you bring in an existing team of trained professionals who can learn your systems.
The team needs to learn about your business to perform well. Orientation exists for this reason, and skilled managed IT teams will have best practices for interviewing you about what they need to learn.
As a small heads-up, this is what you should be ready to answer:
• How many computers do you have? Are they Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, Linux, Unix, or something else?
• Does your business use mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones? If so, are they Android, Apple IOS, Windows, Blackberry, or something else?
• What kind of network equipment do you have? Do you use residential or business modems and routers from your ISP, or do you have bigger appliances from companies such as Cisco, Juniper, Barracuda, Broadcom, Meraki, or OpenMesh?
• How many employees will use your systems?
• Do you need to follow any official guidelines, regulations, or compliance systems? This includes HIPAA, PCI, IAVA, or GDPR.
• Does your company use Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as smart cameras, thermostats, locks, or alarm systems?
Knowing these basics will help the team understand what they need to support and how they can create a help desk team that fits your needs.
Field Services for Hands-On Support
In many cases, a managed IT help desk team can handle your issues remotely. Software changes, virus removal, guiding users through confusing steps, and network configuration can happen across the internet.
If something can’t happen digitally and needs physical control, you may need to get a field technician on your side. Some employees may be able to unplug and plug in a printer or router, but some issues take a technician’s skills.
There are multiple ways for a managed IT help desk team to deliver hands-on support. Some companies have national or even global networks of vetted, trained technicians who can handle your issues with a basic brief of the problem. Other companies will simply interview local technicians for you.
No matter the recruiting method, the important part is that you know how to identify a field technician. Most companies will send you identification for the visiting technician and other credentials to make sure you’re allowing the right person into the business.
Once their information is verified, build rapport if you’d like. Some businesses prefer to let technicians do their job, while others may want to find out if the technician would be a good part of their permanent team.
This is also a good opportunity for training. If you have some junior technicians or employees who are qualified in some parts of IT, be sure to arrange for training sessions and continued IT learning as a part of your managed services agreement.
There are so many great ways to enhance a growing business. By partnering with a managed IT services team, you get help with pre-approved costs and agreements rather than guessing about the flexible costs of a permanent hire.
Contact a managed IT services consultant to discuss more ways that a services team can help your business grow.