Tolar Systems Blog
Investigating the Value of Managed IT Services
Managed IT services can present a lot of benefits for small businesses. Small businesses often can't afford to hire in-house IT technicians, making managed IT services an attractive alternative for IT support and management to keep their business running efficiently. In this post, we'll cover the benefits a managed service provider can present a small business, and how an MSP delivers significant returns on your IT support investments.
With all the threats in the online world, every business needs dedicated IT management. Many small businesses have tried to keep their crucial IT working properly through what is known as break/fix. The break/fix strategy is: when a part of your company’s IT infrastructure breaks, you get it fixed.
This strategy has some merits for smaller companies that don’t necessarily use enterprise-level, or complicated, IT solutions. However, if your strategy for dealing with IT is to wait until something breaks, downtime is sure to be an issue at some point. Small business owners often don't consider the actual cost of the downtime, in terms of lost business opportunity, loss of key data, and other factors. But in fact, it typically costs a pretty penny, and there is no telling if the problem will cause others, or come back again frequently.
Every minute that your IT is down, hinders your business profitability and costs money. If you are lucky, you will be able to keep your business open while your IT systems are down, but often, you simply cannot do business. Many businesses today rely on technology for their key business systems, so when your phone, computers or networks are down, no work can be done. When dealing with IT downtime your customer service will inevitably be hindered. New customers will be discouraged from returning, and you could lose repeat customers if they become frustrated enough.
Word is also likely to spread; word of mouth about bad customer service and frustrating experiences carries further than ever before as a result of social media.
Managed IT Services
With managed IT services, you’ll never have to shut your business down or deal with long stretches of downtime. This is because everything is handled proactively.
Proactive, Remote Monitoring and Maintenance
With an MSP looking after your business’ computers and computing network, you will know in advance if one of your computers is going to fail. Tolar Systems’ Complete Care is an example of managed IT services that proactively monitor your computers and network; and, using state-of-the-art software, leverages built-in automation to your advantage, effectively reducing your IT costs by keeping your systems up and running efficiently. The fact is that most of the problems the modern PC has can be remedied with dedicated monitoring and management.
It’s easy to see the value of proactive monitoring. The ROI for your business is properly functioning technology, greater profitability, and a reduction in your IT repair costs. But that is just the beginning: an MSP provides several other services that are designed to deliver value.
Backup and Disaster Recovery
One such service is our Backup and Disaster Recovery service, which protects your business from data loss, a major problem for any business that depends on its data.
Data loss doesn’t just happen when a disaster hits your business, it can happen in a variety of different ways - many of them unexpected. In fact, most data loss is a result of employee negligence. Businesses also have to deal with strategic hacking and social engineering attempts that put data at risk. Studies show that the majority of small businesses that deal with an event where they lose large portions of their data are out of business within the next fiscal year. This scenario is especially problematic when the data that is lost belongs to vendors and customers, since, for a small business, reputation damage is hard to rebound from.
MSPs like Tolar Systems provide state of the art backup and recovery services. often using a network attached storage device that can be removed quickly from your network in case of hacking, preventing a breach of your key data. Redundancy is another key to the MSP approach to BDR; your data is redundantly stored in multiple places. Snapshots of changes to your organization’s data will be taken periodically to ensure that, if you are forced to restore, that you aren’t losing much data. Data snapshots can be completed as little as every 15 minutes, preserving your data and immediately boosting the potential effectiveness of your business’ continuity strategy.
MSPs typically also offer thorough network security practices to ensure that your network is protected. Outside of the comprehensive management you get with network and endpoint monitoring, you also will be outfitted with security solutions designed to ensure that if they don’t have access to the network and infrastructure, that they don’t get in, period. This is where the years of experience managing and maintaining business networks comes in. By knowing what to look for, and knowing where to strengthen security measures, your organization will deal with less downtime, essentially presenting you further opportunities for profitability.
Most MSPs also offer a vendor management service that is designed to keep clients from wasting time trying to juggle all their vendors. By handling your vendor relationships we are able to be a single point of contact for anything that you could need, saving you a lot of time. You can then focus on your business and not your vendors, which are relationships that tend to take up a lot of time. Moreover, with vendor management, you will get the solutions, services, and products you need at a price that works for you.
Managed Help Desk
Additionally, most MSPs will also offer 24/7/365 help desk, so that if your organization does have problems, that it can get in touch with a remotely-connected technician immediately. Moreover, many MSPs also provide training resources that delivers information about industry best practices designed to keep security top of mind. If your staff is repelling threats instead of accepting them, it will go a long way toward securing your organization’s IT infrastructure and network.
There is a lot a value in rolling out managed IT services, but how valuable is it to you? Well there is no simple algorithm for this particular service. You could produce ROI totals for every service that your MSP provides for you then add them up, but that algorithm would get pretty long. Between the monitoring and maintenance, the network security, the vendor management, the backup and recovery, the around the clock support, the consultation, and the onsite support, you’re looking at a pretty significant amount of value from your monthly service agreement.
Another way to calculate the value of managed IT services is to compare against the cost of hiring an in-house resource. As the chart below indicates, in-house IT costs more, provides less coverage and delivers fewer skills than an MSP brings to your business. It also makes it more difficult to support growth.
Another way to calculate the return on investment of hiring and MSP is to estimate the cost of downtime - lost customers, lost busness opportunities, damage to your reputation, and loss of key data. Then consider the outcomes of well-managed IT: technology as a driver of growth and profitability, less downtime, and less risk to your reputation. Compare these costs and benefits to the cost of managed services.
Downtime is a business killer. MSPs stop downtime from costing our clients’ money and limiting their success. If your business ready to put an end to costly downtime and drive more value from IT, contact Tolar Systems today at 325-627-0018 or contact us online.