Are you prepared for a cyber-attack or server crash? With ransomware attacks continuing to rise, it's important to have the right support, security, and infrastructure in place to avoid any tragic situations. That's why partnering with a managed IT company is so vital.
For those looking for managed IT services in Jacksonville, we've compiled a guide of everything you need to know about the benefits of IT management and what you should look for in a company. To learn more, read on for more information.
Before we start talking about all the benefits your small business can reap from hiring a managed IT company, let's go over what it entails. If you had decided to hire an in-house IT manager, you'd likely be looking at a hefty price tag.
The average salary for an IT manager is around $146,360. In addition to the salary, you'd also have to cover sick pay, vacation time, and employee benefits.
When you hire a managed IT service company, you're able to outsource all of the responsibilities of an internal employee. Not only do you get to work with the best in the business, but you're able to reduce your overhead costs as well.
Some of the responsibilities an IT service vendor handles include:
As a small business owner, you can't manage all of these tasks on your own and you likely can't afford the salary of someone in-house. You don't want to skimp on the costs for IT services as it provides your company with a variety of benefits.
Like we talked about, reducing your expenses is one of the great benefits of hiring a managed IT vendor. Let's go into some of the other reasons why you should partner with an agency.
An IT management company will ensure that your systems are running and operating at maximum performance levels. A qualified company will also adhere to best practices for IT services, such as:
All of the above items will guarantee that any investments that you've made in IT products will perform optimally throughout their expected lifespan. When you're proactive in this area, your company will save money and time.
Another area that an IT management company can optimize your investment is with your product licensing. They'll manage and document your organization's licensing, subscriptions, and software. This will ensure your business that you're using what you paid for and not paying for things that you don't need or use.
As all of your systems and investments are being continually monitored, your specialists can also make strategic changes along the way. They'll be able to respond to limitations and problems with your tech. The goal of this is to plan for your business's future needs while minimizing downtime.
When your IT products are running smoothly, it'll ensure a more positive experience for your customers and employees. When you have high-performing technology with no downtime, it'll result in a positive user experience and increased productivity. This will enable you to scale your business efficiently.
Additionally, if your tech isn't running smoothly, it can have a negative effect on your customers and clients. Having a timely and efficient IT infrastructure will maintain productivity and goodwill with your clients. Your employees will be able to continually add value to your company as they connect to your clients.
If you had an internal IT manager or even a team of IT specialists, they would spend a lot of time dealing with one issue after another. On top of that, they'd have to still spend time focusing on your tech continuing to run smoothly.
When you partner with a managed IT service company, they can manage your systems more efficiently and deliver predictable results. You'll have fewer overhead costs and your employees can focus on their own tasks.
Changes in your IT systems can go poorly for organizations. This especially happens when these changes aren't planned well, tested, and poorly executed. There's a big risk for companies that a change in tech can result in service or business interruptions.
An IT management company will have the skills and expertise to advise you on what the right system is for your company. They'll also know how to successfully roll it out and implement it with as little downtime to your company as possible.
IT specialists will create a plan that includes processes, policies, and roles that all work together to support the change in systems. They'll clearly communicate what's changing with your employees and customers. They can also identify any possible issues that could arise during the implementation process.
Automating a lot of your IT systems is key to eliminating tedious tasks that your employees do daily. Not only will it free up time in their workday, but it'll eliminate any human error that tends to happen in those types of tasks.
A skilled IT company will look at your current software programs and evaluate how effective it is for your company. They'll either recommend a new program or look at ways you can maximize your current systems. Everything they recommend will be focused on reducing the daily tasks of your employees and improving customer relations.
Information management is the preservation, maintenance, and storage of information. This is vital to any type of business that needs to safeguard and store sensitive information, like financial data.
Managed IT services help businesses safely store, backup, and share data for future use. They also help protect that information from individuals who aren't authorized to access it. You'll have peace of mind that any information you're collecting will be stored properly and guarded against external threats.
Assessing your company's current assets, goals, and needs will help you ensure that you get what you need from a managed IT service provider.
One of the first steps in the process is assessing your current IT costs and needs. You'll need to identify what workflows and infrastructure you need to have managed. Additionally, you'll have to evaluate what resources you currently have.
For example, you may want supplemental support for an in-house IT team. The managed IT providers you look at will be different than if you want a full team. Like we talk about in this article, you should only pay for the services you need.
Having potential managed IT service vendors conduct an audit on your current infrastructure will help determine if they have the experience and support to help you. You also want to ensure they're competent with the software and hardware you're currently using.
Additionally, you should make sure they're familiar with any compliance or industry standards that apply to your data and systems. If they struggle to audit your systems properly, they likely won't be able to support you once you hire them.
Evaluate the capacity of the services each company can provide. They should be able to scale your business. They should also have more expertise and bandwidth than you currently need.
If they don't, the vendor might bottleneck your performance and capacity in the future. This is an important thing to consider if you're looking at making big changes in the future.
For example, you may want to do cloud migration somewhere down the road. Whoever you hire should be able to help you with that in the future.
Now that you've decided to hire a company for their managed IT services, it's time to select the best one. But how do you do that?
It can be especially hard for people who have no experience in the IT industry to evaluate whether or not a potential company is a good fit. Below are some of our top tips for you to consider when choosing a company to hire.
Experience is a critical component when selecting a managed IT service provider. While everyone has to start somewhere, it's likely not a wise choice to hand over the reins of your company to someone who's just starting out. You'll want to look for a company that's been in the IT support business for several years.
You want an experienced provider to watch over our IT infrastructure and provide you with strategic recommendations. In addition to having the proper skills and qualifications, they need to stay up to date with the latest changes in the field. You don't want them implementing outdated technology.
Your budget is a key determining factor with what company you hire for IT issues. Look at your overall budget for IT services and use that as a jumping-off point when looking at companies.
You'll also want to inquire about their payment structures. The typical fee structures you'll find with managed IT companies include:
Keep in mind that if you choose one of the lesser options that you'll likely have to pay extra for additional services. You may want to put aside additional money on the off chance you have a tech or security failure.
The company you hire should have a skilled workforce that has years of experience. A potential provider may look good on paper but if they don't have an experienced technical team, that puts them out of the running.
There may be occasions when the IT firm will have to send one of its technicians to address a problem or conduct maintenance. You want to ensure they have the expertise necessary to remedy any issue and answer any questions you have.
When talking with a potential company, you can ask them the following questions:
Determining this before you sign a contract will help you avoid any potential issues in the future.
Good communication is important in any environment. Your provider should respond to all of your inquiries quickly and efficiently. If they're slow to respond, even during the interviewing phase, they might not be a fit for your company.
You should also know the best ways to get a hold of them. Do they prefer email, text, or phone calls? Figure this out beforehand so you can have a process in place for if/when something goes awry.
If you know other companies that use managed IT services, ask them for recommendations. They may be happy with their current company in Jacksonville or potentially looking for another one.
Compile a list of recommendations and conduct an internet search. Look for reviews, testimonials, and case studies on their website.
However, don't limit customer reviews to just what's on their website. Companies will typically only put positive reviews on their sites. Look at third-party review sites so you can get an unbiased picture of the company.
When interviewing them, as for company referrals as well. They should be able to point you in the direction of several happy clients that can talk about their positive experiences.
After you've narrowed down your list of potential companies, it's time for the interview process. You should treat this as if you're hiring an internal company. Go into your initial meeting prepared with questions that'll give you insight into their technical abilities and service.
Knowing what a managed IT service provider can do is important but it's equally as vital to know what they can't do. If they're offering you a flat-rate price, you should ask for a list of everything that's included in it. You'll have to decide if any missing services are a dealbreaker for you.
This doesn't mean when something goes wrong at your company. This question is focused on how they'll recover if a catastrophic event happens at their facilities.
For example, imagine if a hurricane hit the Jacksonville area. Not only will your business be down for a while, but so will your IT company. You need to know ahead of time what their emergency plans are in the event of a natural disaster so you can know how long it'll take before you're back up and running.
If you only want the service provider for IT support, you won't need to ask this question. If you want them to help build the IT aspects of your company, you'll need to inquire about how they do this. Some companies may not offer this service, so it's important you ask in the beginning if it's something you'll need.
Some managed IT providers may outsource certain tasks themselves if they don't have the internal staff members to support them. If they do outsource, you need to know what company they use. You have to be comfortable with what information is shared with a third party.
You want more than a company that'll just fix a problem when it's broken. A provider needs to offer solutions for long-term problems with your technology. These solutions need to be focused on reducing your overhead and improving your company's efficiency.
While the goal of a managed IT service company shouldn't be to replace employees with automated systems, they should still be seeking out ways to improve their productivity. This can include researching and implementing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that helps you nurture your client relationships.
Request a list of their certifications. This will illustrate their technical qualities and where their strengths are. You can also request information about certifications and degrees for the support members who will be working directly on your account.
Whatever their strengths are, they need to align with what your needs are as a business. You should also inquire on what their educational programs are that they use to keep their staff members up to date on the latest information and tech.
Even though you're outsourcing your IT services, the last thing you want is to be completely ignorant of what another company is doing with your infrastructure. Make it clear to them from the start that you expect to be looped in with what's going on in regards to your company's IT. They should want you to be a part of it and already have set procedures on how they keep their clients in the loop.
Some practices you can ask them about include:
Knowing how you want information presented is key. You then need to verify that the provider can give you that information in a way that's easy for you to digest.
The answer to this question should be yes. Every business needs to grow so it can prosper. You want a managed IT company that'll make expanding easy. As your staff grows, your provider should make it affordable and easy to add new employee accounts, locations, and workstations.
Just as a managed IT service provider is caring for your infrastructure, they need to take care of yours as well. Knowing the care and effort they put into maintaining their own systems will give you insight into how attentive they'll be to yours. You also want to determine if your business will encounter any downtime when they conduct maintenance.
If there will be downtime, ask if they'll let you know ahead of time. Inquire as to if there'll be ways to contact them if you have concerns about potential downtime. You don't want to not be able to get ahold of them if you have an issue during that time frame.
You should end with this question. If you lead with this type of question, you may get a generic response. If you feel like you're getting a canned answer, don't be afraid to push a little bit more.
You want to know why the company is different from other companies in the Jacksonville area that you can choose from.
Hiring a managed IT service company can provide your organization with a variety of benefits. Protect yourself from threats and improve the overall productivity of your employees. Take some of the work off your plate when you outsource your IT services.
Contact Techspert Services to schedule a consultation regarding our managed IT services in Jacksonville.