Many small to medium sized businesses will be familiar with the constant challenge of trying to grow a business within the constraints of a very limited budget.
Most will also understand the importance of having good, reliable IT systems in place if they want to stay competitive, productive and efficient. Maintaining good IT systems is not always straightforward which is why having good IT support in place is crucial. This can usually be provided in one of 3 ways
If the owner of a small start up company has some basic IT knowledge they may successfully manage to get the business up and running by maybe setting up a couple of PCs a printer and a wifi connection. However over time and as the business starts to grow, it will become more and more difficult to keep on top of all the essential software updates, important backups, viruses, malware as well as email, pc and printer problems. Over time they may find themselves or a member of their staff devoting more and more time on IT related tasks instead of essential business tasks. Increased periods of downtime due to unresolved IT problems can very quickly escalate and become expensive to fix or recover from. This can become extremely detrimental to the success of a small business.
2. Employ an In-house IT Support Engineer
Employing a member of staff with the skills to take care of all your business IT support is at first glance a very attractive proposition. However when you factor in the cost of providing a salary, pension, bonuses etc this can work out very expensive, particularly for a small business. In addition, any IT problems that occur during holiday periods or absences due to sickness can leave a small business vulnerable. It is also important to remember that IT is a rapidly expanding area and it is unlikely that even the most experienced IT engineer will have expertise in all areas of IT.
3. Outsource to an IT Support Company
This type of support consists of buying the IT expertise that a business needs from another company. The cost of this type of support will depend on the level of support provided.
Ad hoc Support
For very small companies that only require the occasional help with their IT systems, buying support on an ad hoc basis may be ideal. They will only be paying for IT support as and when they need it. This can be a very cost effective way for a small company to receive good quality IT support without committing themselves to a contract.
With this type of IT support a business will
- Only pay for the support it needs
- Get an extremely high level of expertise
For slightly larger businesses with more complex IT systems or businesses which rely on their IT systems being available round the clock, a greater level of support is usually required. In this case an unlimited support contract is usually a better option. This type of contract will usually consist of a fixed monthly fee. The size of this fee will be dependent on the number of PCs, laptops, tablets, mobiles and perhaps company server etc included in the contract. The contract should detail its on-site and off-site support provision as well as its SLAs (service level agreements) detailing the performance standards it is obligated to meet. This type of support can really suit businesses which prefer to set a monthly budget for their IT support and then not worry about large unexpected expenses.
With this type of good quality outsourced IT support, a business will
- Have a fixed monthly support fee
- Have agreed SLAs (service level agreements)
- Get an extremely high level of support across all areas of IT
- Receive good advice on other products/services/technologies
The benefits of outsourcing business IT support does not stop there. Using an IT support company will also provide access to a host of other IT services that can really help a small business such as
- Proactive monitoring and maintenance of servers, desktops and laptops
- Automated backup of data
- Cloud managed services
- Managed telephony
- Microsoft Office 365
- Exchange email
Employing an IT support company to look after IT systems can very often be the most cost effective way for a small company to spend less time worrying about IT problems and more time focusing on their core business. This is because a good IT support company can help eliminate IT emergencies, diminish unplanned downtime, reduce risk and control costs.
In addition, technology is constantly changing and it can be difficult for a small business to keep up. A good IT support company will be keeping an eye on new products coming to market and will be able to offer good advice and personal experience of which ones will be beneficial, cost effective and worth implementing and which should be avoided. Good outsourced IT support brings not only a host of valuable support services; it can also bring a wealth of experience and a high level of expertise to a business.
If you are a small/medium sized company and would like to find out more about outsourced IT support, please get in touch with DATA Computer Services. We are an experienced and trusted business IT support company in Edinburgh.