The importance of high-quality IT services for small businesses is growing all the time, especially as organisations become increasingly reliant on IT systems, requiring continuous, uninterrupted access to data. This is a challenge, particularly for organisations such as charities where resources are limited and much of the workforce operates on a voluntary basis.
IT services has far exceeded merely providing support for maintaining and installing hardware and software. There are now many other considerations that while related have become separate disciplines in themselves, such as cyber security and cloud computing.
There are two options for support: in-house or outsourced IT services. For many small businesses comprehensive in-house support is not realistic. As such they need to consider outsourcing which offers several key advantages.
IT services are vital for ensuring that your network is optimised, and you have access to support when you need it. In addition, consider the consequences of having inadequate support; what would happen if you suffered a disaster or cyber-attack and customer data was compromised?
In this article, we examine the benefits of outsourced IT services, as opposed to relying on in-house support, and highlight why these services are so crucial.
Many smaller businesses and charities are reluctant to outsource IT services to a third-party, fearing the costs of doing so. This is an understandable concern as all businesses need to scrutinise expenditure, particularly during times of economic crisis, but it is actually a myth that third-party solutions are less affordable.
In reality, affordability can be one of the key advantages of outsourcing your IT support. In many cases, these services allow organisations to save money on staffing and infrastructure.
“Outsourcing helps control capital outlay, especially in the early years of operations,” explains Samantha Gluck, in an article written for Chron.com. “IT services make up fixed costs for companies that do not outsource. Businesses that choose to outsource IT [instead] convert those fixed expenses to variable ones, freeing up capital.“
Also, it is important to remember that if you rely on an in-house team, you are responsible for providing them with training and ensuring they are up-to-date on the latest processes and legislation. By outsourcing IT services, many of these expenses can be reduced or even eliminated entirely.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
One of the difficult truths businesses and charities need to contend with is that while IT systems open new possibilities, they also make you vulnerable. For instance, research from Hiscox shows that 55 percent of UK businesses reported a cyber-attack in 2019.
In addition to outsourcing IT services to support cybersecurity, it is important that businesses take steps to ensure continuity and promote rapid data recovery. This means backing up data regularly and may involve the use of cloud hosting services. However, it also means having a plan in place for if systems go down.
For businesses and charities, downtime associated with data recovery and restoration of systems is costly. By seeking professional IT services, these risks are minimised.
Compliance with Regulations
Another major benefit of outsourcing IT services relates to compliance with regulations surrounding network and information systems, as well as data protection such as GDPR. The General Data Protection Regulation is something that applies to all businesses to some extent.
The Network and Information Systems (NIS) Regulations 2018 applies to operators of essential services and relevant digital service providers. This includes businesses offering online search engines, online marketplaces, and cloud computing services. In general, there is a small business exemption, but if the number of people you employ is above 50 or your earnings are too high, it may still apply to you.
The consequences of negligence in this area can be costly. A service provider specialising in IT support will be fully up to date with the latest industry regulations and can help to ensure compliance.
IT support as a business management consideration is vast and evolves constantly; its significance with regard to your business cannot be understated. Your IT support service can provide a one-stop-shop for all IT concerns, from the initial assessment of your IT infrastructure to the development of IT procedures, and on-going support for any IT matters.
Small businesses can benefit from outsourcing IT services for several reasons. When compared to the alternative of maintaining in-house support, it can provide a truly cost-effective solution. It can also greatly reduce the risk associated with all facets of IT management.
High-quality third-party IT specialists, like Cygnet, are equipped to assist you with regulatory compliance. Moreover, we understand the importance of business continuity, along with the prevalence of cyber-attacks and other IT disasters, and can help you take the necessary steps to both minimise risk and guarantee swift recovery. Get in touch today and see how we can help you.