When Does It Make Sense to Outsource Your IT?

Outsourcing your IT department is definitely a decision that no business owner should take lightly, regardless of size. Choosing to keep everything in-house means that every last server, desktop and even kilobyte of information is under your complete control at all times. However, it also makes this all your responsibility – if something goes wrong, nobody is going to fix it but you.

 Why Outsource IT?

For some, making the decision to outsource your IT might not make sense at all. If you run a small business with just yourself and one other employee, you likely won’t see any type of appreciable benefit to outsourcing that you wouldn’t get from either hiring a dedicated employee or doing everything yourself (if you can, in fact, do it yourself). Part of success in outsourcing your IT comes in knowing how to identify exactly WHEN the decision makes sense and then taking that important step to do the right thing for your business. Of course, this requires you to keep a few key things in mind.

Your Infrastructure Is Too Big to Manage With Your Current Resources

Perhaps the number one sign that it might make sense to outsource your IT has to do with your level of control over your current situation, or rather your lack thereof. Managing IT can be a full-time job in and of itself, which can quickly prove difficult if you don’t have the employee resources to devote one or more full-time employees to this task. Antivirus solutions need to be updated. Software bugs need to be patched. Hardware issues develop constantly and sometimes troubleshooting alone can eat up the better part of a day, to say nothing of how long it actually takes to fix something when the problem is identified.

 Throughout all this time, you’re likely thinking to yourself “I wish my IT employee could be focusing on something that would move my business forward, instead of working so hard to maintain the status quo.”

 If you’ve found yourself in exactly that situation before, you’re in the perfect position where outsourcing your IT makes all the sense in the world. Everything already mentioned – from patching to updating to routine maintenance to network security and more – is handled by a managed services provider. Suddenly, you have access to an IT employee (or team of employees) who can now turn their attention elsewhere, allowing them to do the jobs that you actually hired them to do rather than focus on what you needed them to do in the past.

You’re Looking for a Way to Reduce Costs

 It’s no secret that an investment IT is often necessary to remain competitive in the market as a whole. However, that investment is often a sizeable one – between servers, storage and other hardware as well as software licenses, subscriptions and more. You’re looking at a pretty massive upfront investment before you’ve even seen a single dime by way of a return.

 On the one hand, you need these resources to help provide maximum value to your clients. On the other, is it possible for those clients to make up for the initial investment in the first place? It’s a self-fulfilling trap to get caught in, but with outsourcing it’s one that you don’t have to worry about any longer.

 When you make the decision to outsource your business’ IT, you eliminate all of these costs. You don’t have to worry about the cost of buying new hardware (or paying someone to fix existing resources). You don’t have to worry about software subscription licenses. You don’t even have to worry about hiring a dedicated IT employee at all if you don’t want to – your business may not even need one any longer. This would eliminate costs associated with training, health insurance and more even further.

 Instead, what you’re left with is all of the technology that you’ve come to rely on for one monthly, predictable fee. If that sounds like the type of benefit your business could use right now, outsourcing is likely for you.

You NEED the Latest Technology to Remain Competitive

 Keeping in line with the same idea of depending on technology to remain competitive, one of the biggest challenges that many small businesses face is the rapid rate at which technology changes in the first place. You’ve just spent several thousand dollars on a new server, only to find that it is outdated and woefully inadequate for your needs in six months. Now you’re faced with an unenviable situation – you can either upgrade yet again, or try to make do with what you have. Neither one is the best scenario to find yourself in.

 Outsourcing your IT eliminates this core challenge, however, as you automatically have access to the latest that modern technology has to offer by way of your managed services provider. Software is automatically patched, making sure that you and your employees are always using the latest version. As hardware falls outdated, you don’t have to worry about updating it – that is your managed services provider’s job. You get access to all of the most advantaged technology that you need and none of the risk associated with making the wrong purchasing decision, buying a piece of hardware that isn’t the right fit for your goals and more.

Along the same lines, outsourcing your IT also brings with it the added benefits of scalability and flexibility that your business likely never had. You don’t have to worry about buying a new server as your business expands – you can add or remove resources at will, guaranteeing that you’re only paying for what you’re actually using. You don’t have to worry about spending money on a hard drive that sat unused due to a miscalculation in your priorities ever again.

Outsourcing your IT can help make your business great. Contact us today! 

Demystifying “The Cloud”  

Unfortunately, “the cloud” has become something of a marketing buzzword in recent years. This has only led to a great deal of confusion regarding exactly what it is, what it does and (most importantly) why you should care in the first place. Is the cloud a trend that will soon disappear like so many others before it? Is the cloud just something for personal users to make sure that they always have access to their favorite songs everywhere that has no implications for the world of business? Is the cloud truly the savior of businesses in all industries like some people would have you believe?

In truth, the cloud has a number of important implications that small business owners in particular cannot afford to ignore. The key to understanding these benefits and leveraging them to your advantage, however, requires you to dive deeper into the subject than you likely have in the past.

We have jumped into the cloud for you to help you understand the benefits to your business. Our goal is to always share helpful information to make your business great.

What is “The Cloud?”

At its core, “the cloud” is a term that is used to describe a type of Internet computing or “on-demand computing” that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It began to permeate the lives of both personal and business users in the form of cloud-based storage. Instead of saving a file to a hard drive on a computer, you essentially saved it to the Internet instead (or rather, to a hard drive that was connected to the Internet that you could remotely access).

In recent years, however, it has evolved into so much more. “Software as a service” allows for businesses to serve up mission-critical applications in an on-demand capacity over the Internet, only paying for the resources they need and eliminating the requirement of purchasing a new computer every three years just to keep up with technical specifications. Even “security as a service” allows businesses to not only have access to proactive security and network monitoring capabilities, but to glean valuable insight into emerging trends and patterns to help identify small issues before they become much larger (and more expensive ones) down the road.

Make no mistake about it: the cloud isn’t just changing the way businesses operate. It’s changing them for all time and for the better.

The Power of Working Remotely

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits that the cloud brings to the table has to do with completely eliminating two of the most significant challenges that small businesses face on a regular basis: geography and Mother Nature.

If you live in an area with all four seasons, you’re no doubt experienced with sudden snowstorms that crop up without warning. You’ve got major work that needs to be done in the office, but the problem is now that your employees can’t actually get there – at least not with three feet of snow on the ground that is only getting deeper by the hour. Now, you have to lose an entire day’s worth of work due to the winter weather, creating a snowball effect (no pun intended) that can negatively affect every one of your deadlines for the next few weeks.

Or, you could just not worry about that at all.

With the cloud and concepts like “software-as-a-service,” employees can be just as productive at home as they can be in the office – if not more so. Software is served up via the Internet, completely eliminating its dependence on physical hardware. Your employees can log into a remote desktop interface and have access to every last kilobyte of data that they would if they were actually sitting at their desk, but they’re doing it from the comfort of their own home. Your employees may grumble that the cloud has shattered the concept of a “snow day” for all time, but your clients will absolutely thank you.

This idea extends to other areas, as well. Say you’re halfway around the world on vacation and your team back home run into an issue that only you can solve. You’re thousands of miles away – what can you possibly do before you get back to the office? The answer is “anything you want.”

When documents and other mission-critical files are stored in the cloud, they’re accessible via any computer or mobile device in the world with an active Internet connection. You can hop on your iPhone, make a few key adjustments to that file and those changes are instantly available to everyone in your office. It really is that simple when you’re talking about a concept as powerful as cloud computing.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

Another one of the most significant benefits that cloud computing brings to the table for businesses has to do with backup and disaster recovery. Anyone who has been a business professional long enough can tell you that something going wrong is not a question of “if,” but “when.” You back up all of the important files on your server not only daily, but hourly, making sure that you can easily recover in the event that something goes wrong.

However, you backup your files to a server stored on your business’ property and unfortunately, your business just burned to the ground. You’ve just lost access to all of those backups and the important, business-critical information they contained. Your entire enterprise is done for, right?

Not if you had embraced the cloud, it’s not.

The cloud as a concept makes backup and disaster recovery not only easier than ever before, but more efficient. All of your important files and other documents are always stored in a secure, third-party location that is AWAY from your physical business infrastructure. Oftentimes, cloud-based service providers store redundant backups in multiple locations to prevent a failing data center from causing any type of issue whatsoever.

Why is all of this important to you as a business?

With the cloud, someone could walk into your office and steal every last hard drive and it wouldn’t matter – you can be back up and running without skipping a beat in no-time at all. Are you interested in learning more about managed backups? Lets us help you build a great business. Contact us today!