Orlando is home to many industries, a budding talent pool, and high quality of life. Starting or running a business in this city is easier because it offers access to entrepreneurial resources and a business-friendly tax structure. According to Arizona State University’s recent Doing Business North America survey, Orlando ranked 15th in the US for ease of doing business in 2020.
As a small business owner, you will still need to leverage the right technology to run a successful business. It will not only keep your business secure but also help you compete with the big brands in your niche. The question is, with the average salary of an IT manager in Orlando being $72,287 per year, how can you find cost-effective yet good quality IT services for your small business?
The good news is, you don’t have to hire an IT manager or maintain a full-fledged in-house IT team. You can always outsource your technology needs to an IT company. This guide will help you understand:
- What IT services are.
- How small businesses can benefit by outsourcing them.
- What you can ask an Orlando IT services provider to make sure they are the right fit for your business.
Let’s get into it.
What Are IT Services?
According to Gartner, IT services refer to the application of business and technical expertise to enable organizations in the creation, management, and optimization of or access to information and business processes.
In other words, these services include the use of technology to build secure, agile, and highly adaptable business processes. You can get these services in-house (by hiring IT managers, engineers, and technicians) or partnering with an IT company.
When you outsource these services, they are called managed IT services or managed services. Depending on the IT company you hire, these services may change. But they usually include the following:
- IT consulting for custom technology solutions.
- Full range of managed services that cover everything from printer management to updates and backups.
- IT support as and when you need it.
- Cloud computing.
- Data backup and recovery.
- Cybersecurity and compliance.
Most tech support companies offer customized solutions for a flat monthly or yearly fee. It is a cost-effective alternative to maintaining an in-house IT team. However, it isn’t the only benefit your business can get by outsourcing tech support.
The Benefits of Outsourcing IT Services for Small Businesses
Although overall IT budgets may decline in 2021 due to the pandemic, 76% of businesses plan to make long-term IT changes, while 80% anticipate tech spending to stay the same or increase. It is a clear indicator that an increasing number of businesses, including small ones, have started recognizing the importance of professional IT services.
With your business enjoying the following benefits, you would want to hire IT experts as well.
Ability to Focus on Your Core Business Responsibilities
When you hire a competent Orlando IT Services company, it provides you with peace of mind as your tech infrastructure is in expert hands. It also frees up your time and resources. You can divert those into handling your core business responsibilities.
With no IT issues to distract them, your employees can be more productive in fulfilling their core duties. It will help your business generate more revenue, expand your customer base, and establish brand trust.
Access to the Next-Gen Technology
Being experts, third-party IT companies often have access to next-gen technology and hardware. They can help you procure the latest and the most suitable technology. As they also have vendor partnerships, you may be able to purchase hardware and software at discounted rates.
Better IT Budget Management
In 2021, the need to upgrade outdated infrastructure (64%) will be the top factor contributing to increased IT spending among small and mid-size businesses (1-999 employees). Given how uncertain the current market is, you will need to be careful in IT budget planning more than ever.
Fortunately, with IT experts doing all the planning, you don’t have to worry about overspending or investing in sketchy or outdated technology. They can make sure you get the best return for every dollar you spend on technology.
Increased Business Process Efficiency
Day-to-day IT issues like broken printers or internet connectivity glitches will affect your overall efficiency. It also brings employee morale down. You would be spending your valuable time dousing fires instead of tending to your core responsibilities.
With experts keeping your IT infrastructure running 24/7, your business process efficiency will anything but improve. If something does go down, your MSP or managed service provider can quickly fix it, keeping your overall work efficiency unaffected.
Implement New Technology with Ease and Speed
In 2020, 62% of small businesses purchased new technologies due to end-of-life events, while 56% spent on upgrades and refresh cycles. In other words, you will need to invest in new technology at some point to ensure business continuity.
An outsourced IT services company can help you implement new technology or upgrade existing ones with ease, speed, and without interrupting your work. They can also help train your employees to learn the ins and outs of new applications.
While an in-house IT team may also do this, you might have to hire people qualified for the task. It can take weeks or months to find the right professionals. Plus, you will have to pay for their salaries, vacation times, healthcare, and other overheads.
Reduced Cybersecurity Risk
When it comes to data breaches and ransomware attacks, cybercriminals don’t play favorites. They often look for security gaps, which most small businesses often exhibit. As most small businesses lack multilayered cybersecurity systems, they are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
According to Data Breach Investigations Report, in 2020:
- 78% of attacks on web applications involved using stolen credentials.
- 31% of breaches involved employee error: often mis-delivery or misconfiguration.
- 33% of breaches involved social engineering tactics.
Your managed service provider can help you set up a multilayered cyber defense with a firewall, antivirus, and round-the-clock network monitoring. It can prevent most such incidents from happening in the first place.
In addition to cybersecurity, you also need to ensure regulatory compliance. Depending on your industry, you may need to comply with several local, national, and international regulations.
For example, if your business accepts credit and debit cards and other electronic payments, you will need to comply with PCI security standards. Similarly, healthcare-related businesses like dental practices will need to comply with the latest Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations.
Given the complexity of cybersecurity regulations, you are better off hiring an expert that ensures 360-degree regulatory compliance. They can help you upgrade your cybersecurity measures, data handling practices and train your employees to avoid violating any cyber laws.
8 Questions You Must Ask When Hiring an Orlando IT Services Provider
Looking up managed service providers in your area is relatively easy nowadays. A simple online search for IT Services Company will provide you with a list of local IT companies. However, you shouldn’t outsource your technology needs to the first service provider you come across.
It is often challenging to find a reliable and competent IT company that fits your budget and technology requirements. Asking the following questions can help you ensure your new MSP is the right fit for you.
1. What IT Services Do You Offer?
Most MSPs offer a variety of services in their tech support bundle, including on-site and remote assistance. Ask the organization what services they provide to make sure they can meet your technology needs. Also, check if they rely on a third party for a particular IT support. As involving a third party can cause delay, look for a company with robust in-house support.
2. How Long Have You Worked in This (Our) Industry?
It is vital to work with someone with relevant industry experience. If the managed IT agency is from a different vertical or lacks relevant industry experience; they will fail to meet your expectations. Ask the MSP to provide references so that you can verify their work experience.
3. What Is Your Approach to Resolving, Updating, and Implementing Technology?
Asking this question will essentially tell you about the work process of the service provider. Never work with an MSP that uses outdated systems, applications, or processes. Your tech support team needs to know and implement the latest technology to ensure business continuity.
4. What Is Your Response Time? Can You Share Your Response Time Metrics?
This is perhaps the most crucial question. Whether it is on-site or remote IT services, lower the response time is always better. A professional IT company will include response time metrics based on different case scenarios in the Service Level Agreement or SLA. Check them thoroughly before hiring an MSP.
5. What Is Included in Your Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
SLA is the most crucial aspect of partnering with a managed IT company. A typical SLA includes the following:
- Details of monitoring and managing your overall system.
- Service performance and system uptime guarantee (it is usually 99.99%).
- Remuneration you’ll get if there are system outages or performance failures.
- Payment terms for the services you avail.
- Response time metrics and penalties if the MSP fails to deliver them.
Make sure to check every point carefully to see if the conditions of your contract are realistic and acceptable.
6. Is Your Help Desk Available 24/7?
Most service providers offer 24/7 help desk support. However, some of them may not provide phone support outside of regular work hours. You will have to rely on online chat, email, or ticket system to raise complaints outside of work hours.
On the other hand, some IT companies may outsource their desk support. It could mean a potential delay in IT services. That’s why 100% in-house desk support is always better. Take all these factors into account when choosing your MSP.
7. Who Are Your Technology Partners?
Many managed IT companies work in partnership with other technology companies to provide faster and better solutions. For example, an MSP may have a tie-up with a cloud service provider like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure for cloud-computing-related services.
Ask the MSP who they partner with and for what technology. Knowing the reputation of their technology partners is equally critical. In the end, it’s the technology that will either protect or help improve your business.
8. What Is Your Fee Structure?
Find out how much the MSP will charge you. Usually, you will have to pay a flat monthly or annual fee. This fee will depend on the number and type of IT services you choose. You can also pay for additional services as and when you need them. Just make sure to include the complete fee structure in your SLA.
Over to You
As you can see, your business will have to rely on technology for growth, security, and success. As a small business owner, your best bet is to find a technology service partner who can take care of all your IT needs. Finding a reliable, experienced, and well-established service provider is critical as they will be handling your sensitive business data and applications. This guide will help you understand important aspects of managed services and help you find a suitable MSP.
Can IT Services help your business grow and stay secure? Yes, they can! Let’s find out how.