If you think running an IT framework is easy, think again.
An enterprise-grade IT infrastructure is a complex web of hardware and software, virtual platforms, phones, and other tech components. Besides searching high and low for equipment, you’ll have to ensure they align with your business needs.
Furthermore, a tech network requires continuous maintenance. You must constantly service your systems unless you want them to go kaput in the middle of a busy workday.
As a business leader, you may not have enough time to look after your tech infrastructure all by yourself. Under such circumstances, you can outsource your technology needs to a managed IT services provider.
But first, let’s look at why you need a reliable IT setup for your SMB in Mississauga.
Why You Should Never “Settle” with Business Technology
When it comes to the best places for SMBs in Ontario, few match Mississauga’s potential. Canada’s sixth-largest city harbors several Fortune 500 companies, a diverse talent pool, and multiple provincial employment mega-zones.
Additionally, the Mississauga Business Enterprise Center (MBEC) provides SMBs with affordable workshops/seminars, online courses, and mentorship programs to help them harness their resources to the fullest.
There’s no doubt that Mississauga’s business-friendly ecosystem paves the way for intense local competition. As a result, you will need to play your cards right to make your presence felt in the market. In this regard, leveraging the latest tech tools can work in your favor.
Advanced tech helps small enterprises:
- Connect with more clients and improve marketing strategies.
- Ramp up productivity.
- Establish a secure network.
- Use the cloud to their advantage.
- Enhance customer experiences.
But before you rush to get your hands on the newest tech components, consider this: do you have enough experience to run an enterprise-grade IT network? And, if you don’t, who do you leave it to?
Should you establish an in-house IT department or hire managed IT services in Mississauga?
In-House IT Support v/s Managed IT Services: A Comparison
Perhaps the biggest downside of setting up an internal IT department is the cost it carries.
If you want your network managed well, you can’t get away with recruiting a single expert for all IT aspects. For example, a data security expert won’t be able to fix your accounting software.
Also, a growing business in Mississauga is bound to have increased technology needs. During certain phases of the expansion, your in-house IT team may be swamped with tech support requests. While hiring more manpower will reduce the workload, you may not be able to accommodate multiple new additions to your payroll.
Thankfully, there’s a straightforward solution to this conundrum: managed IT services in Mississauga.
A managed IT services provider is an external IT company that manages your tech infrastructure. Once onboard, a managed services provider (MSP) takes the reins of your IT maintenance, resolving issues, updating programs, ensuring proactive support – and everything in between.
These services are usually covered under a flat fee, meaning you don’t have to dole out any extra cash for a sudden system breakdown.
An MSP may also offer:
- IT Consulting.
- Telecommunication Services.
- Network Security.
- Data Backup and Disaster Recovery.
What Do You Stand to Gain from Managed IT Services in Mississauga?
An outsourced IT model provides a smart way for MSPs to increase their technology base without breaking the bank. IT outsourcing is a significantly more cost-effective alternative to recruiting a permanent team of technicians.
But there’s more to using an IT company than just saving on tech expenses. Here is what an MSP can do for your business.
- Get Access to Technology On-Demand
Have you ever purchased a digital asset, only to realize you have no use for most of its features? If yes, then you know how frustrating it is.
And, given the rate at which technology is expanding, it won’t be long before your current IT framework turns into a thing of the past.
Instead of investing in expensive digital assets that you’ll finally outgrow, you can team up with a managed IT services agency providing technology-as-a-service (TaaS). With TaaS, you get hardware, software, and IT support for a single subscription price. Moreover, you only pay for the tech products you need, scaling up or down as required.
Besides saving you the headache of making hefty tech purchases, TaaS enables you to access incredibly optimized IT products. The MSP will keep their tech equipment running at peak performance, so you can make the most of a highly efficient IT framework.
- Robust Business Continuity Plans
Business continuity is critical to a company’s recovery strategy. It is a proactive plan designed to diffuse risks before, during, and after an event to sustain your company’s moneymaking processes.
However, business continuity is seldom paid enough attention to.
For example, a survey conducted by Mercer in early 2020 revealed that 51% of organizations across the globe had no plans to combat a worldwide crisis.
If you are unsure about how to develop an effective business continuity strategy, you can turn to managed IT services in Mississauga for help. A competent MSP will:
- Use advanced backup and recovery tools to retrieve important business data as quickly as possible.
- Store your data on cloud-based platforms to protect you against unexpected hardware failure.
- Run regular checks on your business continuity plan to ensure they are up to speed with your changing needs.
- Educate your workforce on how to respond to a crisis.
- Expert IT Advice
There are several ways in which small businesses benefit from sound IT consulting. An IT expert will point you towards programs suited to your business goals. They’ll also advise you on your buying decisions, making sure you don’t overspend on tech products.
That said, the cost of hiring a full-time IT consultant in Mississauga is about CAD $81,783 a year. Considering how most SMBs struggle with budget constraints, you may not be able to spare this amount.
Managed IT services providers have specialists who can assess your overall network to identify areas of improvement. Furthermore, they’ll help you source the right infrastructure to maximize efficiency and productivity.
- Protection Against Cybercrime
It’s no secret that cybercrime is an ever-evolving world of horrors. According to CIRA’s 2020 Cybersecurity Report, nearly three in ten organizations reported an increase in cyberattacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You may think that all cybercriminals attack government agencies and large enterprises. However, while these organizations are rewarding targets, they are also the hardest to break into.
Instead, most hackers turn their attention to the low-hanging fruit: SMBs.
Although small businesses are not big on the financial front (when compared to the giants in their industry), they often have much lower defense protocols. This makes them lucrative prey for cybercriminals. And, as hackers are constantly changing their attack tactics, rudimentary cybersecurity strategies won’t work any longer.
A managed IT services firm will take active measures to patch weak spots in your security and install multiple layers of protection. Most MSPs bring the following cybersecurity tactics to the table:
- Round-the-clock device monitoring and scanning.
- Immediate threat detection and remediation.
- Enterprise-grade firewalls, antivirus, and antimalware programs.
- Web filtering tools.
- Regular security updates.
- Cloud Services
If you haven’t shifted your operations to the cloud yet, chances are you will very soon. As per a recent report by IDC, 90% of enterprises across the globe will depend on a combination of public/private clouds and legacy infrastructure to fulfill their business needs.
You’ll probably need some help with migrating to the cloud, which is where a competent managed IT services provider comes in. Their experienced cloud engineers will make sure that your move to the cloud is smooth, error-free, and safe.
4 Things to Ask a Prospective Managed IT Provider
Choosing a managed IT provider is easier said than done. You’ll have to sift through an overwhelming number of options to find an agency that best serves your requirements.
Be sure to do your homework before entering into any negotiations with an MSP. Check their website for a comprehensive list of services. Reach out to their previous clients for honest feedback. Try to understand their approach towards security, data recovery, and proactive maintenance, among other things.
Once you’re happy with the information, ask the managed IT services agency the following questions:
1. How Do You Respond to IT Emergencies?
In the event of a widescale network emergency, how will the MSP triage the incoming tickets? Will they resolve issues on a first-come-first-serve basis, or respond to the most pressing problems first?
Furthermore, check if they have a large enough team to handle multiple system failures. For example, if they have only one person on their helpdesk team, they won’t be able to mitigate a range of IT issues at once.
2. What are Your Cybersecurity Protocols?
What tools will the managed IT services provider used to protect you from network security threats? Are their cybersecurity analysts informed of the latest threats? What do they do once the threat hits your network?
Your MSP must be competent enough to jump into action and handle critical situations before they take a toll on your profitability and market reputation.
3. Are You Aware of My Industry’s Compliance Guidelines?
This is especially significant if you’re part of a highly regulated industry. Your managed IT services firm should have an in-depth understanding of the different compliance guidelines you must adhere to. This will help them keep you compliant and avoid fines.
4. Does Your Fee Cover On-Site Support?
Not all IT issues can be solved remotely. A few may require onsite support; in which case the managed IT services provider will send a technician to your office. Ask if this is built into the operational charges. Otherwise, you are likely to be caught off guard by hidden costs.
Over to You
Needless to say, your business needs an array of advanced tech tools to compete with industry bigwigs. With an MSP on your side, you’ll be able to make full use of your IT framework without drifting away from your existing responsibilities. Leaving your tech management to a reputable IT company is sure to help you sleep easy at night.
Have you decided to team up with a managed IT services provider in Mississauga? Get in touch to learn how we can help your SMB.