Budgeting for IT support? Our must-have services!
Well-managed and maintained IT infrastructure plays an ever-important role in business success.
In the earliest stages of establishing a business, the owner or another member of the in-house team is likely to take responsibility for this aspect of the company’s operations, alongside their regular role.
However, the growing demands of an expanding business, alongside technological complexities and frustrations soon tends to require the oversight of an expert, usually in the guise of a managed services provider (MSP).
An MSP will step in to ensure your IT needs are met in a way that best suits the specific needs of your business, and sets you up for future success.
This type of support can come in a variety of ways. You might turn to your MSP to handle network issues as they arise. Equally, it could mean ongoing, daily support to handle all IT requirements, or even a complete redesign of your network.
Whatever your solution looks like, having a team of external experts on-hand allows continual access to the skills and knowledge needed to guarantee your network doesn’t negatively affect your team’s productivity or your company’s reputation.
While the specifics of the IT support your business requires will depend on the nature of your operations, there are a few areas that every modern business should consider …
A whole-of-network audit
Our first (and possibly most important!) piece of advice is to look for an MSP that will conduct a thorough audit of your network at the beginning of the relationship. By reviewing your current set-up and processes, working to understand the distinct nature and requirements of your business, and considering all current and future needs, they can make informed recommendations on the IT solutions that will work best for you.
Ongoing network monitoring and support
An MSP will offer unfettered access to a team with broad expertise, available to provide 24/7 support. This level of access means problems are identified and managed quickly, for minimal impact on your daily operations and productivity, as well as on the customer experience.
Advice on upgrading and maintaining vital hardware, software and licenses
Don’t let an unwieldy system slow you down! Outdated legacy equipment can easily overstay its welcome as part of your IT network. Not only does this place you at a disadvantage in terms of efficiency, but it can also leave you wide open to security risks … more on that later!
Businesses have little option but to remain updated on the latest tech innovations and trends, and place a focus on continuously updating their systems. The alternative sees businesses trail behind competitors that do choose to utilise leading-edge technologies for ultimate productivity, protection of valuable data, and superior customer experience.
The good news is MSPs tend to possess a natural curiosity that sees them remain continuously up to date on industry-leading technologies globally, placing them in a solid position to ensure networks remain fit-for-purpose and equipped to meet immediate and future business goals.
A focus on security
In a world where cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, regular IT security reviews and corresponding upgrades are vital to protect any business from harm.
In addition, the recent shift towards remote working has resulted in the need for businesses to enable staff to access critical data from more devices and locations. This has brought a host of additional risks that need to be factored into security planning.
Your MSP can utilise current knowledge to ensure the most powerful security measures are in-place to detect threats and protect your network.
To begin, consider requesting a security-specific audit of your network. This will identify current weak links in protection, and inform solid recommendations for the improvements.
Underpinning all of this, your MSP can work with you to develop the most effective disaster recovery plan.
As part of this, make sure you consider implementing regular data back-ups as standard practice. Having your business data backed up and stored safely in on-site and remote storage locations will place you in the best position to make a swift and full recovery in the event that disaster does strike. Failure to do so could be devastating for business continuity, not to mention your reputation.
Enabling best-practice around remote working
Going back to our previous point about increased remote working, all businesses should investigate new methods that allow teams to seamlessly access information and collaborate, regardless of location.
Applications such as Microsoft 365 are soaring in popularity, and allow easy, secure access to company files from any device, alongside in-built features such as virtual meetings, instant messages and live document editing. These are all vital tools for supporting worker mobility.
There are many such platforms to choose from, and many ways to use each of them. That’s why it’s important to work with your MSP to identify the right approach to remote working for your business.
Maximising the benefits of the cloud
As an increasing number of businesses turn to the cloud as a secure, scalable, affordable data storage solution, others remain hesitant to embrace a solely cloud-based approach. One reason might be sensitive information that needs to be stored on-site for reasons of compliance.
However, your MSP should have the necessary understanding of the different storage solutions available to advise on a customised, hybrid solution that meets all your business requirements. In addition, with a view to keeping storage costs to a minimum, your MSP will work to reduce any unnecessary complexities in your approach to storage, and ensure it remains within budget.