Is your productivity always taking a hit due to frequent downtime? Are your employees and customers constantly frustrated by overwhelming network outages and disruption? It is possible that your IT support still employs the old break-fix tactics, which means fixing systems once they break down. The problem with this reactive approach is that it causes frequent and prolonged downtime, during which your IT support technicians will be working under pressure to bring your systems back online.
It’s no wonder proactive IT support has become the new industry standard. Here, your support team won’t just wait for your IT infrastructure to fail and then fix it. Instead, managed IT providers like Welsh Consulting watch over your network and equipment 24/7, identifying issues as they develop, and deploying quick solutions to keep operations running smoothly.
In this post, we’ll highlight the importance of proactive IT support in Boston MA, its benefits, and its value for small businesses.
- Reactive IT support, also called the break-fix approach, creates more downtime as support often means shutting down entire systems and networks to find solutions.
- Proactive IT support amalgamates collaborative efforts between intelligent monitoring tools and human IT experts. Both work in a unified effort to identify and resolve issues before they bring your business to a standstill.
- Choosing an expert IT support team with the right qualifications and expertise in your industry is crucial for the development of solutions tailored to your business.
Benefits of Proactive IT Support
Running day-to-day operations without proactive support is equivalent to playing whack-a-mole with the very essence of your business. Small businesses often fall victim to stalled operations stemming from cybersecurity threats, equipment failure, network outages, and downtime. The results can be devastating, with repair costs being the greatest concern. With the stakes this high, there has never been a better time to invest in proactive IT support than now.
To further support your need for proactive IT support, we’ve associated the following benefits with the practice:
- Minimized operation costs – Proactive IT support and maintenance involves spotting weaknesses in systems and fixing them early on. If you’re overly worried about the costs of hiring a proactive IT support company, think about how much you would spend on addressing total system failure and the ensuing potential losses from missed revenue opportunities – losses that could have been avoided in the first place.
- Streamlined operations and increased productivity – Proactive IT support providers watch over your IT infrastructure 24/7, eliminating obstructions to employee productivity. Downtime and outages can be spotted from a mile away and prevented. This ensures that employees always have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively.
- Enhanced cybersecurity posture – Part of proactive IT support includes threat monitoring to detect anomalous patterns in the system. Any suspicious activities are detected, isolated, and logged in real-time. Usually, your IT support provider will address suspicious activity by installing patch updates outside working hours.
While proactive IT support may not be the only solution you’ll deploy to eliminate all IT issues once and for all, it makes it more difficult for minor IT issues to snowball into company-wide disruptors – which is exactly what you want when running operations aimed at serving your customers better.
Assessing Your Business’ IT Needs
A successful proactive IT strategy starts with understanding the specific challenges facing your business. With every proactive IT strategy devised, your managed IT service provider must first assess the scope of the business, its technology assets, size, and nature of operations. It helps to point out that there is no specific formula for an assessment.
However, a comprehensive evaluation may take the following factors into account:
- An inventory of existing technologies – Taking inventory of your existing technologies unveils gaps within the company. It also helps address the important question on whether your current IT infrastructure meets your day-to-day operations. If so, what other risks does it pose to the business?
- Current workflows – Understanding your workflows sets the foundation for a comprehensive IT strategy that covers the most important aspects of your business operations. Existing gaps, e.g., slow computers and unstable networks are identified in the process and the support team can make more informed decisions on the solutions available.
- Long-term business objectives – Think about your long-term growth objectives and how your business IT can get you closer to your goals. Technology evolves rapidly, and your current infrastructure needs to evolve with the emerging trends. Otherwise, there is a good chance that it may not support your company’s growth objectives in the long run.
- Customer and employee feedback – Employees and customers are vocal regarding the challenges they face with the existing infrastructure. Are there particular complaints from either end, say, frequent outages, non-responsive servers, or frequent service disruption? Such issues are hard to miss with a short survey. The information obtained can help identify new challenges that can be addressed sooner with proactive support.
As part of the assessment, consider the cost of service and whether it meets your budget.
Choosing an IT Support Team
An expert IT support team helps you make technologically sound choices when faced with overwhelming tools that don’t necessarily take you closer to your business objectives. External IT support teams are cheaper to have around, not to mention the level of expertise they bring to your business with years of experience in the field.
When sourcing a team, consider the following:
- Analyze their qualifications – By all means, you should always be on the look out for a qualified team. Ask about their technical certifications and experience in your industry.
- Response time – You want a responsive team that bolts to action whenever an issue comes up. Besides, quick response time is a major green flag for professional service.
- Review their customer service – Be sure to conduct thorough background research on your provider. Professional IT support experts offer reliable solutions, and one solid sign of a professional IT support company is its customer treatment.
- Check out the provider’s security posture – Does your proactive IT support provider employ stringent data protection measures? Any weak links in your provider’s ecosystem can be projected onto your business as well.
For this reason, double-check your provider’s cybersecurity measures and compliance with data protection measures.
Implementing Proactive IT Solutions
For the most part, your IT provider will take the responsibility of implementing proactive solutions to keep your business operations running smoothly. They may install their own proprietary 24/7 monitoring tools (where possible), create backups, install antimalware programs, and update your systems outside working hours for minimal disruption.
As stated earlier, proactive solutions are enabled by a joint effort between round-the-clock monitoring tools and human support for optimal results. Advanced monitoring tools will scan your infrastructure in the background 24 hours a day for as long as they’re installed. They will identify weak links in your systems, detect suspicious activity, and record issues in a detailed log.
IT support companies offer the best tools and experts in the business. These experts can interpret the information obtained from your monitoring software and administer long-term solutions that keep your business running with very little to no downtime.
Managing Your IT Budget
IT support doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Depending on your provider, you could be spending 6.9% of total revenue on IT alone. For small businesses with limited resources, it is important to prioritize the most pressing IT needs while also ensuring that you’re getting the best value for your investments.
In reality, this can be easier said than done. Here are some tips to guide you:
- Conduct an assessment of your IT needs and budget to identify areas that need improvement.
- Research the latest trends in IT, e.g., cybersecurity, cloud migration, data backup, and disaster recovery.
- Develop a proactive IT strategy to help you prepare for future challenges.
- Establish a budget and timeline for the implementation of new IT solutions.
Creating and adhering to a budget ensures you’re getting the best technology for your money. Remember, your IT is an investment, and specifying your budget helps you stay on track and ensures you’re making the most of your IT investment.
The Value of Proactive IT Support
The true value of proactive IT support can be seen in more efficient business operations. Businesses that invest in proactive support are able to anticipate potential issues and prepare adequately. In return, this will minimize downtime and alleviate even more severe risks, such as cybersecurity incidents.
As a small business, you may not have the resources to hire a full-time IT team. However, by outsourcing the IT burden to external support, your business stands a lot to benefit from the expertise of experienced professionals without the overhead cost of in-house staff.
Proactive IT support is essential for small businesses looking to remain competitive. Not only does it help to ensure that your technology remains on par with industry expectations, it also helps to maximize the efficiency of your operations. Need a reliable IT support partner that will ensure that your business is well-equipped to handle any IT challenges that may arise? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!
What Kind of IT Support Services are Available for Small Businesses?
Small businesses have access to a wide range of IT support services, including remote monitoring, hardware and software installation, data backup and recovery, cloud storage, and onsite and remote support.
What Types of IT Solutions Can Help My Business Be More Efficient?
Cloud-based solutions, remote desktop support, and automation can help boost efficiency without necessarily interfering with your daily operations. However, these solutions are not without their unique challenges. Regardless, consider professional help for better outcomes.
What are the Benefits of Hiring an IT Support Team?
Hiring an IT support team takes the burden off your internal team’s shoulders so they can focus on other productive duties. An outsourced professional IT support team brings its own tools and decades of expertise to the job. As such, they’re generally considered more equipped to handle downtime, cybersecurity, and other serious issues better than in-house teams.
What Should I Consider When Deciding Which IT Support Team to Hire?
When choosing an IT support team, consider their level of experience, cost of service, customer relationships, response time, and availability. Ask for references where possible and read online customer reviews to anticipate the quality of service they will deliver.
How Can I Ensure That I Stay Within My IT Budget?
In order to stay within your IT budget, map out your business’s needs. Talk to several IT support providers to increase your options. Lastly, choose a provider that delivers on your needs without sacrificing quality.