As a business owner or manager, you have a lot to juggle. Not only do you have to manage staff, provide great products or services to your customers and clients, and keep your business running efficiently on a day-to-day basis, but you also need to ensure that you’re reducing costs wherever you can and maximising your business’ profit potential.
IT is an absolute essential for any modern business, but can also eat into your profits significantly if it’s not well managed.
Hardware and software is expensive, but for most businesses it isn’t an optional requirement. Chances are, you need up-to-date and high-quality equipment and systems in order to run your business effectively.
On top of these costs, you also need to factor in the expenses of making sure all these IT resources are working as they should be. Most businesses rely on their IT systems working 24/7, or at least during business hours, and if they go down it could spell disaster. Data loss and downtime is estimated to cost Australian businesses an average of over $2,000 an hour for the smallest organisations, and even more for larger businesses.
So how do you make sure that your IT systems are running at an optimal level, and that you can recover quickly from any problems? Having an in-house team of IT professionals is a possible solution, but for most SMEs, it’s more cost-effective to outsource this duty to a managed service provider, or MSP.
Outsourcing IT services can help to save your business money in several ways.
Pay Only for the Service You Need
Let’s say you do decide to build an in-house IT team that will meet all of your potential service requirements. With the average salary for an IT manager now approaching $120,000 per year, this is no small undertaking. You’ll also need to budget for other full-time IT specialists too – network technicians, software support, hardware setup and installation, security – the list goes on.
Bearing this in mind, it’s no wonder that maintaining an in-house team is cost-prohibitive for most small to medium-sized businesses.
The advantage of using an MSP is that they have a full IT support team available, but you only pay for what you need.
Need someone to provide 24/7 helpdesk support, but only occasional network and hardware support? No problem. Pay for the services you need, when you need them, rather than needing to budget for several full-time salaries.
24/7 IT Monitoring
Another disadvantage of in-house IT support teams is that they go home at the end of the working day, leaving your IT systems unmonitored over night.
On the other hand, if you outsource your IT service needs to a managed IT services in Brisbane like Productiv, you’ll have more flexible access to support. For example, Productiv offers a 24/7 monitoring service, so if any errors or data breaches occur outside of normal working hours, they’ll be flagged immediately.
This can be particularly valuable if you have employees working remotely from other countries, or those who take frequent business trips overseas. Regular working hours in other countries don’t necessarily correspond to working hours in Australia. The last thing you want when you’re trying to close a deal with a customer in the UK is a major IT problem that you’re stuck with because it’s 2am and your IT guy is asleep.
Don’t limit your business potential and give yourself the stress of time-limited IT support. Our 24/7 Help Desk can diagnose IT problems and provide support remotely, and they will work with you to decide on the urgency of each situation. An on-call service for urgent issues is available at level 3 an 4 of our managed service agreements, and we aim to resolve issues at any time of the day or night within hours.
Improve Your Staff Productivity
Your employees need IT systems and services that are working efficiently if they are to do their jobs effectively.
An MSP can identify improvements and upgrades you can make to your IT systems, and these could result in significantly improved productivity for your business.
For example, this could include things such as improving the speed and processing power of your hardware, removing network bottlenecks, installing cloud software for remote working, and reducing server downtime.
This is particularly advantageous if you have relied on your staff to sort out their own IT problems in the past, or even if you employed a small team of one or two overworked IT technicians.
Let’s say one of your sales employees had a problem sending outgoing email. He called your IT support team but they were busy working on other tasks. He’d just been on the phone to a potential client and promised to send over some documents, but he wasn’t able to. He spends the next couple of hours trying to fix the problem himself until IT support finally turns up.
With the services of an MSP, this situation just wouldn’t happen. Instead, the employee would flag a support request, which would be dealt with promptly, within the parameters of the promised service level agreement. With the IT problem fixed, he would be back up and running at work, and be able to work to maximum efficiency.
Outsourcing makes sense from a productivity point of view. We all have the same number of hours in the day, and we can get the most out of those hours by concentrating on our strengths, and delegating other tasks to someone better positioned to accomplish them.
Eliminate Unanticipated Spikes in Budget
IT costs are notoriously difficult to budget for. Part of the reason for this is that you never really know when a particular piece of hardware is going to fail, or when you’re going to suffer a cyber-attack. It’s almost impossible to allocate a monthly budget to IT costs, because if one of your main servers dies suddenly, or you’re the victim of a data breach, the costs of recovering from this will be significantly more than your normal IT costs.
Another reason is that the world of IT moves so fast that it’s hard to anticipate how much capital you’ll need to keep up. Hardware upgrades, new software licenses, and keeping up with the latest technology all costs money, and these costs can easily spiral out of control.
For new and small businesses in particular, these budget spikes can be highly damaging. 22% of businesses that were affected by ransomware attacks in 2017 were damaged so severely that they could not recover.
You can’t plan for every eventuality, but a managed service provider can take away some of this uncertainty for you. With an MSP you can arrange to pay a set monthly fee for whatever hardware, software, or IT service requirements you may need.
This means you can stay up-to-date with your IT needs, recover from major IT disasters, and keep scaling up your technology, without the huge budget-threatening spikes in cost.
Cybercrime is a growing concern for Australian businesses. Cybercrime is estimated to cost the Australian economy $1 billion every year in direct expense alone.
There’s no easy solution to stopping cybercrime. Hackers are becoming more aggressive and proficient all the time, and malware and ransomware is becoming increasingly sophisticated and difficult to detect.
While it may not be possible to completely prevent cybercrime, your best line of defence is to make sure you’re taking advantage of the most up-to-date hardware and software protection, and that your IT systems are monitored around the clock, so that any potential breeches can be identified and stopped quickly.
There’s a cybersecurity skills gap in Australia right now, meaning that there simply aren’t enough cybersecurity professionals available to protect businesses.
While it may be challenging, either for financial or availability reasons, to hire a full-time cybersecurity expert, you can benefit from the cybersecurity services provided by an MSP.
Don’t wait until your business suffers a catastrophic data breach or data loss. Take advantage of managed IT services in Brisbane to stay on top of your cybersecurity needs and make sure your data is protected.
Add Resources on Demand
Cloud technology now offers businesses more flexibility and better cost reduction than ever before. Before The Cloud, if you needed more server resources or a new piece of software, you’d have to invest in the hardware or software licences as a one-off expense or a yearly fee. This would be the case even if you just needed these additional resources for a short time – say for a project lasting a few months for a particular client.
With the services of an MSP and cloud technology, you no longer need to make these huge investments if you need additional resources.
If you need to add additional IT resources or services to your business, you can now do this instantly and cost-effectively, whenever the need arises. This means that your technology scales seamlessly along with your business, as and when you need it.
No longer need those extra resources? No problem. You only pay for what you need and use at the time. If you want to scale back again, you can do this at any time.
Ensure Compliance with Government Regulations
Additionally all businesses must adhere to European GDPR data protection guidelines if they have dealings with any individual or entity within the EU. While you may not think this applies to your business, if you have a website and/or trade internationally, it probably does.
As these regulations are subject to frequent change, it can be quite a challenge to stay up to date with the current requirements and to avoid inadvertently breaching guidelines. However if you fail to keep up, this could land your business with a large fine or worse. This could happen due to something as seemingly insignificant as the wording on your website.
Managed service providers make sure they stay up-to-date with all government regulations to ensure that their clients are fully compliant.
By using the services of an MSP, you can ensure that you have taken all necessary steps to ensure your data is protected, and all your IT systems and resources are compliant to avoid penalties.
Contact Productiv Today to Improve Your Business’s Bottom Line
Want to learn more about how managed IT services in Brisbane can help your business to be more productive, more secure, and more profitable? Give us a call today. We offer a variety of hardware and software solutions and IT support to businesses in Brisbane and beyond, and we’d love to have a chat and see how we could help you out.