No matter the size, businesses these days cannot survive without a reliable IT infrastructure. Companies have equipment to run and maintain, inventories to oversee, and sensitive information to manage and store. The staggering amount of data handled daily by organizations can be overwhelming. This is why it’s essential for all businesses — not just banks, law firms, or hospitals — to put in place an efficient IT infrastructure with robust cybersecurity measures.
Large companies can afford a decent-sized IT department dedicated to managing their daily technology and cybersecurity needs. But what about small- to mid-sized businesses (SMBs)? Here in the Four State Area, SMBs dominate the economy — 99.3% of businesses in Arkansas, 99.1% in Kansas, and 99.4% in both Missouri and Oklahoma are classified as small. For many SMBs in these states, hiring one or two competent IT experts may put a strain on their budget. But without a reliable IT team, how can these SMBs stay competitive?
The “break-fix” IT support model: Why is it not sustainable?
Decades earlier, most companies that didn’t have an in-house IT department relied on technicians to come in and fix their IT problems. These technicians charged by the hour, and businesses were at the mercy of their availability.
The flaw with this break-fix model soon became clear — technicians received work only when something went wrong. There was no incentive for them to make sure IT systems were in tip-top shape. In fact, getting called to fix many IT problems means they never have to worry about running out of work or clients.
And because these technicians weren’t in-house, they didn’t have an intimate knowledge of their client’s business, especially regarding their competencies, pain points, and systems. This made them ill-equipped to recommend new technologies that were best suited to their clients.
In answer to this need, the managed IT services provider (MSP) was born.
What is a managed IT services provider?
Think of having an IT department, but outsourced. That’s a simplified way of looking at a managed IT services provider, but of course there’s more to it than that.
For one, an MSP is more of a business partner than just a supplier. They manage your IT network for you so you can concentrate on growing your business. They will look after your IT systems and address issues quickly before they cause major problems down the line.
Second, you can engage their services for a fixed annual or monthly subscription fee. This subscription model reduces the number of times you have to call them to fix an IT issue because they'll regularly check your systems. So there’s no need to wait for something to go wrong with your IT before calling on them.
MSPs can also watch over your IT infrastructure using remote monitoring and management software. This allows them to ensure your system is running optimally 24/7. Some MSPs will even offer on-site support, should you need it.
What’s more, MSPs offer a myriad of other services to keep your IT network running smoothly, including but not limited to the following:
- Infrastructure monitoring and optimization
- Data backup and disaster recovery
- Cloud services
- Business phone systems
Related reading: Top Four Traits to Look for in a Dependable Technology Partner
What are the benefits of partnering with a managed IT services provider?
For many SMBs, partnering with an MSP is the smarter choice versus hiring your own in-house IT staff or relying on break-fix technicians. Partnering with an MSP gives you the following benefits:
- Proactive IT support – Unlike break-fix technicians, MSPs don’t wait for a problem to rear up before they go to work. They ensure you don’t have a problem with your IT network in the first place by monitoring your systems 24/7, identifying potential problems, and preventing your system from shutting down.
- Better access to talent – With an MSP, you get an IT manager, a virtual Chief Information Officer, and a whole IT support team. It’s an entire IT department at a fraction of the cost of hiring in-house staff. And with an MSP looking after your technology, you can focus on running your business.
- Predictable, low costs – You can subscribe to your MSP’s services for a fixed annual or monthly fee, making budgeting so much easier. Your MSP provides the maintenance and repair services that are covered within your contract period. This payment scheme eliminates costly one-time fixes.
- Strategic IT planning – As IT experts, your MSP can serve as your technology consultant who comes up with IT strategies specific to your business needs. They’ll take time to study your operations, understand your business objectives, and recommend solutions that will improve your operations’ efficiency, security, and profitability. Plus, the best MSPs are partnered with industry leaders such as Microsoft and Apple, allowing them to recommend the most efficient technology investments that won’t strain your budget.
Why your business should partner with Summit Advisors
Are you an SMB owner who’s worried about your cybersecurity needs but doesn’t know what first steps to take? Don’t worry. If you’re within the areas of Wichita, Kansas City, and Tulsa, we’ve got you covered.
Summit Advisors, LLC’s IT experts will manage your IT needs. We’ll take care not only of the nuts and bolts of your technology, but we’ll also help you with your overall strategy. You’ll get enterprise-grade IT solutions that fit your small business budget. Still hesitant? Contact us today, and you’ll get an IT needs assessment FREE of charge.