As your company grows, you will likely find yourself spending more and more time and money on IT services. If you can't afford to hire an actual IT person, then you will be reliant on outside vendors.
There are two models for this:
Break/Fix IT Services
Break/fix IT is like appliance repair. When something goes wrong, you call the technician, and they come over and fix the problem. You pay them by the hour and for any parts you need and nothing more. Using this same model, you might also bring in an IT tech to handle upgrades, cybersecurity improvements, or train your employees on new software.
Under this model, you pay only for the services you specifically need. You pay for services you do not have the experience or knowledge to do. You also keep more control over your IT services spend but your IT budget may be highly unpredictable. If you think about it, there is no incentive for an external technician to fix the problem permanently, mitigate risk or even give you tips on how to keep it from happening again. Break / Fix IT Service is reactive rather than proactive and leaves you treading water, trying to keep everything going.
Managed services are when you hire a third party to assume primary responsibility for your IT infrastructure. You pay a fixed monthly subscription for certain services, tools and technician time. The managed services provider will monitor your network infrastructure, provide a help desk, and do software updates and system maintenance all for a set price.
Although this model can seem more expensive month-to-month, having a fixed cost means you can budget for IT support and avoid service and repair surprises. You receive a proactive approach, and long-term issues are more likely to be fixed the first time. It is in the provider's best interest to keep your network running smoothly and use industry best practices. Today's IT professionals are measured by how little downtime their clients experience and a good managed provider will continuously check your network for minor issues and resolve them before they become major ones.
Break/fix is often the option of first resort but moving to managed services as your company grows is a long-term solution that will help your company grow.
When Should You Consider Managed Services?
You should consider upgrading from break/fix to managed services when:
- You generally need more than 10 hours of IT assistance in a typical week but cannot afford to hire a full-time IT specialist. Depending on costs in your area, this point may come sooner or later.
- You have specific compliance issues that are hard to stay on top of. This is often the case for healthcare companies that fall under HIPAA, but FINRA, SOX, and PCI also require a lot of compliance.
- You have IT systems that contain valuable information and you cannot do your job if you lose access. This goes for lawyers, CPAs, and financial advisors.
- Your infrastructure has become more complicated, which happens when your split between on premise and cloud
- You have one or more offices or locations to worry about or have people working remotely.
- You want to ensure that you have ongoing access to the most recent software and technology without doing upgrades that might turn into a problem.
- You know you need a disaster recovery plan but have no clue how to implement one.
If you feel you need a managed services provider, then you will want to take great care of finding the right provider for your business. You need to choose a managed services provider who covers your business' specific needs, has a good reputation, has expertise in cybersecurity, and has a wide range of knowledge.
Outsourcing your IT can be a lot more cost-effective than trying to handle everything in-house, especially for small to medium-sized businesses. To find out more about how managed services can solve your ongoing IT problems and save you money, contact Total Computer Solutions today.