As a small or medium business, there’s a very good chance that you prioritize your company’s ability to operate efficiently. Such efficiency is the key to your revenue, after all; the more you can do, and the faster you can do it without sacrificing quality, the more you can earn. Unfortunately, not all SMBs have the equipment and personnel for that efficiency, and that’s exactly where managed IT support comes into play. 

What is Managed IT Support?

To put it simply, managed IT support is designed to help small to medium businesses by providing them with access to the IT resources they need to succeed. Those resources may include human IT professionals, access to cloud-based servers, software and even hardware as a service, and much, much more. Back in 2016, some 64% of organizations used some sort of managed service, and by 2020, that number is expected to increase by 12.5%. Managed IT support can help small companies grow without huge investments in employees, equipment, and more. 

Round-the-Clock Care

Back in the old days, when the internet was brand new and data storage was in its infancy, if a server or a computer crashed and a company couldn’t access its database, there was only one solution, and it involved calling a professional, waiting for that professional to arrive, and hoping that professional had the knowledge to get things up and running again quickly. Today, managed IT support not only prevents downtime associated with server and computer crashes, but it also helps to resolve these issues no matter the time of day. 

How They Do It

You will get access to a variety of services when you choose managed IT support. These include:

At the end of the day, managed IT support benefits small and medium businesses by providing them with a bevy of services that would otherwise require several onsite employees. Everything from assessments and implementation to monitoring and security response comes with managed IT services, and when these things are managed remotely, business owners can focus on other things – like growing their businesses and boosting their revenue. 

Whether you are hiring your very first IT professional for a new business endeavor or you’re simply interested in moving to a remote IT support solution, there are many options out there in the world. Below are some of the most important questions you should ask IT support companies before you make your hiring decision. 

How Will We Communicate?

The most common issue associated with IT support companies according to business owners is a lack of communication – or a lack of viable ways to communicate. For this reason, make sure you take the time to learn as much as you can about hours of operation, communication methods, and more. If you have an issue, what do you do? Will you be required to submit a ticket online? Can you pick up the phone and call someone? What about sending an email? If that issue occurs after hours, such as late at night or even on a holiday, will there be someone available to help you? These things are very important, so be sure you have the answers before you hire. 

What is the Process for Handling Requests?

Once you’ve determined how you will communicate your need for IT support with the company you choose, the next question you should ask is fairly straightforward: how do you handle requests once you get them? A ticket system is the best way to go, and the system should be reliable enough that the IT support company can see the details, assign the best person for the job, and get that issue resolved quickly. Structure and workflow are crucial, so get a feel for these things before you make your decision. 

What Other Services Can You Provide?

Though you may only need basic IT support services for now, this may change a great deal as time goes on. You might find yourself in need of a complete network overhaul, and in this case, hiring someone to assist with network design can benefit you for many years to come. Try to find a company that offers you a variety of other services that you can take advantage of when the need arises. Cloud storage, telephone and VoIP, and even security cameras with remote access are all beneficial in their own way, especially as your company grows. 

How Do You Keep my Network and Data Secure?

Finally, it is important to determine the steps your IT support company will take to keep your network and all its associated data secure. Do they utilize state-of-the-art firewalls? Are their cloud-based systems encrypted and protected? What antivirus do they use, and what are the steps for resolving a breach? It’s also important to find out whether the company will run a network analysis to determine where your biggest security risks lie and then make recommendations for resolving them. 

Though there are certainly plenty of other questions you can ask an IT support company before hiring them, these are by far the most important. Above all else, communication, request processing, and security are the three most important factors, so learning how these work will help you make the best hiring decisions possible. 

If the time has come for your small to medium business to have some dedicated IT support, you have two options: onsite or remote support. Each one comes with its own unique set of pros and cons, as well. Exploring these benefits and drawbacks can help you make the best possible choices for your business. 

Onsite IT Support

Onsite IT support is still by and large the most common route for small to medium businesses to get the support they need. It requires hiring one or more people to oversee and maintain your company’s IT infrastructure. You might choose to hire someone who will work for your company, or you might choose to hire a private contractor who provides his or her services to numerous companies in the local area. The benefits associated with onsite support include:

Just as there are benefits associated with onsite IT, there are also a few drawbacks to consider:

Remote IT Support

More and more often, companies choose remote IT support. In this scenario, one or more individuals located anywhere from an office downtown to a company across the globe provide all the IT support you need remotely. This is perfect for many companies, but just like onsite support, it has its own unique set of benefits and challenges. The benefits include: 

There are a few downfalls, though. These include: 

As you can see, there are benefits and downfalls associated with both onsite and remote IT support. For the most part, though, small businesses will reap the most benefit from remote IT support – especially managed IT support. It’s affordable, it’s convenient, and it’s available around the clock should issues arise.

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