5 IT Solutions for Small Business and Your Most Nagging IT Issues
In the aftermath of the pandemic, many small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) have turned to IT solutions with greater regularity. Why?
First, IT solutions provide a foundation for business at all levels – from startups to enterprises. Second, IT solutions permeate the modern industry, from improving operations on the shop floor to expanding customer service options. Third, the fallout from COVID demands better collaboration and workspace solutions as organizations must now cater to an increasingly remote workforce.
IT solutions provide a means of leveling the playing field. More importantly, they’re requisite if you’re serious about meeting your business goals. As an SMB, however, you often lack the IT support and IT services required to run your business accordingly.
Here are some focused IT solutions to make your life easier as a small business owner.
1. Access to Experts
As an SMB, it’s challenging to afford the staffing requirements to run an effective, efficient IT operation. Information technology, for example, has too many critical facets to be handled by a one-person IT shop. But attempting to hire all the required skill sets would quickly spiral your overhead costs, making them unsustainable.
Apart from overhead costs, there’s a skill gap. Cybersecurity professionals, for example, are in significant demand, with nearly 40% of organizations struggling to fill vacancies. In addition, 60% of U.S. employers have job openings that remain vacant for 12 weeks or longer, according to CareerBuilder.
As a result, more global organizations looked to increase their IT outsourcing jumping to 13.6% of their IT budget last year. And that’s where an IT support company, whether fully managed IT services or co-managed form, is essential.
IT managed services deliver varying levels of expertise at a fraction of the cost required for full-time staff. Moreover, managed IT services provide the 24/7 support you need, support that would be virtually impossible from a one-person operation.
And because a managed IT support company works with a varied clientele, including other organizations in your market arena, they’ve seen it and done it. So, they’re capable of addressing IT issues expertly, quickly, and accurately.
IT support services can also help you address the elephant in the room – cybersecurity.
Speaking of cybersecurity, it presents the most significant IT issue facing your small business. But, unfortunately, few organizations have taken the necessary steps to implement an appropriate IT solution for this mammoth concern.
First, as mentioned, your small business can’t afford the levels of IT support and expertise required to deliver maximum security protection. Second, consider that less than one-third of companies with fewer than 100 workers have even implemented multi-factor authentication, a standard for IT security. Third, consider that only 14% of small businesses have the necessary tools to combat a cyber-attack, according to Embroker.
Network security threats are at an all-time high, with network damage costing the average small business nearly $4 million in damages. Those threats stem from an ever-increasing number of endpoint devices. Unfortunately, most companies, regardless of level, are unaware of all the endpoints associated with their business. So, that leaves a ready-made path for cybercriminals to launch attacks.
As a result, cybersecurity presents another opportunity to enlist the aid of a managed security services provider (MSSP) or well-qualified managed IT services provider. Each has access to experienced professionals capable of addressing cybersecurity from all angles.
Indeed, roughly 70% of organizations plan to supplement internal security teams with an MSSP or MSP over the next 12 months owing to that specialized expertise. Managed services can support your business with a Security Operations Center, endpoint security best practices, threat intelligence and management, continuous vulnerability scanning, and more.
Regardless of how you get there, an IT solution for cybersecurity stands as paramount.
3. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
If your cybersecurity isn’t up to snuff, you better have a solid business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan to protect your business from critical, adverse events. Let’s say, for example, a tornado wipes out your data center. Are you prepared? What are you going to do?
With a BCDR plan, you’ll be able to restore your IT operations. But, equally important, you’ll be able to restore them more quickly to avoid costly downtime. Gartner, for instance, presents downtime costs at $5,600 per minute on average. So, the faster you’re able to restore your operations, the less impact to your bottom line.
Unfortunately, few businesses avail themselves of this critical IT solution. For example, FEMA reports that 20% of organizations lack a disaster recovery plan. In addition, DataCore reveals that only 2% of companies recover from a disaster within an hour.
A managed IT services provider can alleviate this potential IT issue with cloud-based storage and a backup plan.
4. Workspace Solutions
The days of your employees sitting at a desk and working from a desktop all day have passed. Instead, today’s workforce is mobile, connecting to the office from home or the road using smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices. And that puts a greater demand on having appropriate workspace IT solutions to scale your business and improve employee productivity and collaboration.
For example, Microsoft 365 is becoming a mainstay, with nearly 260 million users as of 2020. Moreover, that user base primarily resides with small businesses with 50 employees or fewer – 61% use Microsoft 365. Another 24% use the suite at companies with 51 to 999 employees.
VoIP usage continues to increase. Smaller budgets and increasing remote workforces bolster it. Indeed, the VoIP Services market is forecasted to reach nearly $2 billion by 2024 with a CAGR of 16.8%.
VoIP’s inherent benefits drive that growth:
- 82% of businesses report cost savings
- 94% of companies cite greater security
- 77% of remote workers report greater productivity
- 50% of companies reduce costs by 50%
- 90% reduction in startup costs
- 61% of businesses switch to VoIP service when old contracts expire
With video conferencing seeing an uptick of 212% since the pandemic began, VoIP service offers a cost-effective means of supporting that trend.
5. The Pace of Technology
Technology changes – fast. As a result, IT solutions come and go. What was considered state-of-the-art at the time can now be regarded as outdated even one year later.
Technology requires ongoing research, evaluation, and assessment. Moreover, technological advances often require integration with legacy systems. Otherwise, you wind up with outdated equipment and systems that cut your productivity and, more importantly, leave you vulnerable to a cyber threat.
That’s another reason why enlisting IT support from an MSP can be invaluable.
Technology advances require planning. Unfortunately, many small businesses lack access to long-term strategic IT planning. That’s why many managed IT services companies include a Virtual Chief Information Officer as part of their service offering.
A vCIO views your business holistically to determine where you have gaps in your IT infrastructure. Consequently, they’ll focus on how to close those gaps. But, equally important, they’ll keep their eyes open for new technologies that benefit your company. And because they’re focused on the IT industry and manage several clients, they remain on top of the best IT solutions today and the best IT solutions on the horizon.
A vCIO supports you with these typical small business owner concerns:
- Understanding technology and tool selection
- Implementing that technology and integrating it into your infrastructure
- Educating employees on new systems and getting the most value from them
- Ensuring that every IT solution supports protecting your data
- Determining how to scale your IT environment as your organization grows
Apart from providing a vCIO, IT support companies eat, live, and breathe technology. In addition, they grasp how fast technology moves and move at that pace. So, you’ll never have to worry about not taking advantage of the best IT solutions out there.
Searching for Effective IT Solutions for Your Small Business?
Implementing appropriate IT solutions drives your business success in numerous ways:
- Improving customer service, satisfaction, and access
- Increasing company revenues while decreasing expenses
- Enhancing collaboration and data sharing throughout your organization for more efficiency
- Streamlining operations to save time and money
- Accommodating remote workforces for greater productivity
- Improving your business agility to keep pace with market changes and launch products faster
- Automate tasks to handle critical tasks more efficiently and with fewer errors
- Reducing your exposure to damaging cyber threats
Whether you implement these IT solutions in-house or through outsourcing, it’s in your best interests to make sure you address each one. The penalty for not doing so is lost profits, an unhappy workforce, reduced efficiencies, and, worst of all, increased cybersecurity risks.
If you think you could use a little IT support, call IntermixIT. Our IT company focuses on SMBs in Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Reading, and surrounding areas. For example, you’ll access comprehensive IT services offering designed to solve all the challenges of managing your IT environment at a small business. Call today, and we’ll conduct a FREE penetration test to uncover system vulnerabilities. It will show you what data hackers can access,