Without an IT partner, small businesses may face numerous technology-related problems.
- Small businesses can benefit greatly from finding an IT partner.
- Most small businesses point to efficiency and support as the top reasons for finding an IT partner.
- IT partners can help with planning, scalability and support.
Most successful companies don't get where they are without forming beneficial business partnerships. In today's technologically driven, on-demand world, a strong partnership with a managed service provider is essential for businesses. This is because every business, no matter the industry, relies on technology. Without such a partnership – especially if technology isn't your company's forte – you could be asking for trouble.
Think about it as it relates to security alone. Your systems and data could be vulnerable without the right planning and protection. Your employees access the company network via your computers. Customers locate your business information on your website. Office visitors need guest access to your network. With all that going on, hackers and cybercriminals must still be kept at bay. Throw in all of the little IT issues that come up every day, from jammed printers and software patches to setting up new employees on computers.
By collaborating with an IT partner that specializes in IT infrastructure and processes, you can save yourself a world of hassle and, in many cases, deliver tangible savings to your bottom line. Here are three reasons you should align your business with a resourceful IT partner.
1. IT strategy and planning
Just as you have a strategy for your business's success, you also need an IT strategy. Having an IT expert as a partner can prove very beneficial in helping you to map out an IT growth path that makes the most sense for the size, scale and functionality of your organization. They can also make you aware of many useful solutions that you might not otherwise be aware even exist.
A smart IT partner will help you develop a plan that also supports overall business operations. This means making sure your IT department can support overall business goals and aligning IT budgets with corporate budgets.
If you're still not convinced that you need to develop an IT strategy, consider your network security. By developing a plan to protect your network, along with a strategy to keep it up to date with the latest security strategies, you will be a proactive player in protecting your organization. What you don't plan for now can cost you dearly later.
According to Verizon's most recent Data Breach Investigation Report, 43% of all data breaches target SMBs. Cybersecurity firm 4iQ, in its 2019 Identity Breach Report, stated that cybercriminals targeted small businesses at an exorbitant rate in 2018, increasing nearly 425% from the previous year. To top it all off, InsuranceBee's survey of more than 1,300 SMB owners shows that more than 80% of businesses lack the money they would need to recover from a cyberattack or data breach. And I haven't even mentioned the repercussions of downtime or other network security issues.
Preparation is the only true way to avert or minimize disasters and ensure that business operations can continue. Protecting your business begins with understanding its vulnerabilities and safeguarding against the risks you face. By working with an IT partner to prepare for the worst-case scenario, you can avoid business disruption, downtime and other issues. By relying on an expert, you can also rest assured that your systems are available and reliable, no matter what disasters you encounter.
2. Increased efficiency and scalability
By utilizing an IT partner, you can scale your IT infrastructure up or down to meet your needs with far greater speed and less upfront hardware expense than if you tried to do it internally. Scalability is especially important when dealing with a growing business, since you can scale servers and other infrastructure as needed without going out of pocket for new hardware.
In most instances, you will find an IT partner delivers better equipment and services than you could otherwise afford. Rather than purchasing new equipment and maintaining expensive hardware and software internally, you can focus on your core business.
New hardware and software implementations will also go smoother, without disruption to daily operations. An experienced IT partner can help ensure the implementation is done right the first time, and with experts managing the migration, you can focus on the business at hand.
With the trend of cloud-based services and cloud servers, many companies become overwhelmed by the process and potential disruption to critical business functions during implementation. Here, again, an IT partner can handle the entire implementation and save you the day-to-day headache.
If all goes as planned and your company grows, you'll add more employees, more computers and expand your network. While growth is great for business, it could create problems for novice IT staffs. An expert will know how to successfully scale with your growth and vigilantly protect your data repository.
3. Constant support and happy customers
Another advantage is having IT expertise at your fingertips 24/7. Why should you spend part of your day dealing with unexpected downtime, managing software upgrades or security patches, and maintaing hardware and software when you could have an expert handling it for you? They understand how to better utilize your IT resources. In fact, according to a CompTIA survey, more than two-thirds of companies used an outside IT partner.
Even those with an IT department found the additional expertise and knowledge of an outside partner more efficient than hiring another full-time employee as the company grew. The same report found that 56% of companies with 100 or more employees ranked efficiency and support as the main reason for using an IT partner. IT emergencies can happen outside of normal business hours. IT partner companies are staffed 24/7, giving you the support necessary to run your IT operations whenever you need.
Reduced downtime is another huge benefit, as an IT issue costs you money for every minute it is not resolved. A study by IDC found that 80% of small businesses experienced downtime, with the cost ranging from $137 to $427 per minute. If you or an employee experience an unfamiliar problem, you could spend hours trying to figure out a problem, while a trusted IT partner who has dealt with the same issue dozens of times can make a quick fix.
With an IT partner, not only do you have an experts on call whenever you need them, but you also often have the benefit of newer, up-to-date hardware with managed antivirus and security services to mitigate your risk. It also means that your employees are less likely to lose productivity due to technical issues or a downed network. Your customers will also be happier and more likely to do repeat business with you because they had a pleasant and successful experience with your website.
So, before you decide to take on or expand the IT portion of your business, consider finding a resourceful IT partner that can help drive you to success. The entire premise of IT management is to align technology with your business goals to create value and ensure the smartest, most efficient use of your technology assets.