There’s a prevalent attitude among small businesses that IT support is the domain of larger enterprises and tech startups. As a result, they tend to prioritise other things before they get around to thinking about their IT.
It might be that small businesses are short on budget and resources or simply don’t realise the long-term value of a robust IT strategy will help their business in the long run. In fact, small businesses are at an increasingly greater risk of cyber security attacks from, say ransomware, especially since the recent shift towards remote and hybrid working environments.
But what small businesses might not be aware of is that IT support could be a vital element in helping them grow to profitability. What’s more, it doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, a good IT support company will offer flexible arrangements to ensure that you only ever pay for what you need.
What IT Support providers can do for small businesses?
An IT “service desk” or a “help desk” will answer your day-to-day IT issues. Whether they be minor fixes for user errors or system interruptions or bigger issues like data breaches or network outages, the helpdesk will ensure that your issue is resolved as quickly as possible.
Although helpdesk support isn’t always 24/7; the majority of IT support companies offer 9-5 Monday to Friday support, which is sufficient for most businesses.
IT Disaster Recovery
Whether it’s a cyber attack or damage to your hardware or software, an IT support company will help your business recover quickly, In fact, you will have worked with your IT support company to plan your mitigation strategy ahead of time.
Without an IT support company, it may take time to identify a problem, diagnose the issue, and fix it. By the time your business is up and running, this may be a matter of days or even weeks, losing your business valuable time and money, and adding untold disruption to your operations and service offering.
IT Asset Management
When you’re running a business, it can be a time-consuming chore to manage your team’s IT equipment. Even tasks as simple as making sure licences are renewed or safely removing obsolete hardware will all take up time and resources that could be better used elsewhere.
In the interests of keeping your systems running smoothly, your IT support company will have the expertise, software tools and supplier relationships to ensure that your hardware and software are kept in good condition at a good price.
When network disruption occurs, it can take time to identify the issue, find a solution, and fix the problem. All the while, downtime can behugely disruptive to your business and how you provide your service to your customers. Not only is the financial cost significant but the interference with your operations can make for a stressful time, not to mention the impact it might have on your reputation.
An IT support company will support you with your network, whether you’re starting from scratch or migrating from another hosting solution. Not only will they manage the initial installation and configuration but they’ll take care of the 24/7 monitoring and management of your network.
If and when the time comes to move offices, an IT support company will help you relocate your IT and telecoms.
They’ll help you draw up a detailed plan of the move; scope out the new premises for possible hurdles or opportunities; audit your IT infrastructure; advise on your location, connectivity, cabling and power requirements; and ensure you’re up and running in your new location as quickly as possible.
At a premium level cost, most IT support companies will offer you higher-level strategic advice and planning. This is a two-way relationship where you work together to ensure your IT is supporting your business growth.
Cyber security Management, Detection and Response
The Cybersecurity Breaches Survey 2021 reported that 38% of micro and small businesses identified breaches or attacks from 2021 to 2022 with around 27% of which being attacked at least weekly. In spite of this, many small businesses lack the time, resources and expertise needed to avoid security breaches and recover when things go wrong.
An IT support company will manage this for you, monitoring your network, carrying out regular checks, and identifying and responding to threats, keeping any damage or disruption to your business to an absolute minimum.
What kind of small businesses need IT support?
There is no small business out there, with the exception of IT businesses themselves, that wouldn’t benefit from IT support.
The benefits might differ from one business to another, but it’s extremely likely that IT support will prove a significant ingredient in increasing your revenue over time and becoming a successful business.
The way in which IT support will benefit your specific small business will depend on the type of technology you’re using, your hardware and software, the amount of sensitive data you deal with, your existing in-house IT expertise, as well as your goals and ambitions in the medium to long term.
You may be governed by different priorities for your IT support depending on your budget. That said, a good IT support company will provide flexibility and will adapt its service offering as your business grows.
In-house vs outsourced: what’s best for your small business?
There are several things to think about when deciding if it’s right for your business to outsource your IT support. To give you some help weighing up the pros and cons of each:
|Cost-effectiveness||⨯More expensive long term||✔ Cost-effective|
|Focus||⨯ Often multi-tasking||✔ Focus|
|Speed of attention||✔ Immediate attention||⨯ Resolution may take up to 3 working days|
|Expertise||⨯ Gaps in expertise||✔ Team of experts|
|Overwhelm||⨯ More chance of overwhelm||✔ Objective strategic advice|
|Control||✔ A quick understanding of the problem and how long it will take to resolve||⨯ Perceived lack of control|
|Company core values||✔ Hired to suit the company’s IT needs||⨯ Not hired to fit the company culture (it’s a good idea to find a support provider that makes a good fit)|
How much does IT support cost for a small business?
When budgeting for IT support, the best strategy is to work with a company that has a flexible approach to its costing and service offerings.
Take Equity, for example. We offer three broad tiers of services to suit varying budgets and needs.
Our IT Support for the small business package is the most affordable service and will offer you flexibility around your spend. You’ll receive IT set-up advice, helpdesk support, cybersecurity installation and advice, disaster recovery and backup, as well as telecoms and hosting.
Our middle tier is Active Maintenance at a fixed monthly cost, where you’ll receive all the benefits of the Essential Support package, plus other benefits including network performance management, management of your security systems, scheduled on-site engineer visits, and cyber security monitoring, detection and response.
For businesses looking for a strategic partnership, we offer a bespoke package that includes everything on the other two tiers, with the added benefit of having an entirely tailored service focused on advice and strategic planning. This service is meant to support developing businesses navigate how the IT infrastructure can support their strategic goals.
How to find an IT support provider?
If you’re looking to find an IT support provider for your small business, Firstline IT is the place to go.
Right from the get-go, we work closely with you to tailor the right IT package to suit both your strategic need and your budget.
Our whole outlook is to ensure that we’re there to support your business as it grows, and that means enabling your IT systems to run efficiently and securely in the background.
We offer packages that manage the entire setup, maintenance and monitoring of your IT infrastructure and cybersecurity and work closely with you to advise on new tools and techniques as they come on the market. We’ll also help you devise a disaster management plan so that when a problem arises, its impact on your business is kept to an absolute minimum.
With Equity, you can be assured that your IT systems are being looked after, so you can focus on running your business.