In today’s market, businesses that fall behind the IT curve are often at a disadvantage from their more tech-savvy competitors. For start-ups and established small business owners, keeping up with new technology can be challenging. This has been especially critical over the past year, as many small businesses have been forced to rely heavily on IT solutions to adjust to new business needs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, this global issue has ensured that many of the latest IT trends focus on these SMB needs, offering better solutions for smaller-scale operations. Here are some of the most common IT challenges small business owners face and how outsourcing IT support can help overcome them.
A restrictive IT budget is one of the biggest challenges small businesses face when assessing their needs. While large companies often staff a full IT department, most smaller enterprises don’t have the means for this kind of on-site support. Fortunately, there are many cost-effective options that provide small companies with the same level of professionalism and expertise, even if they don’t have the same cash flow as the larger corporations.
Outsourcing IT needs is an excellent way to access expert IT staff without the need for a full-time salary commitment. Business owners can choose an outsourcing company that will help assess their needs and offer budget-friendly solutions to their IT problems, and its IT professionals can be contacted whenever needed for a fraction of the price typical for an in-house expert. Hands-on proprietors can choose to use these services to design their IT infrastructure on an a la carte basis and take over from there, or those who prefer the comfort of on-demand support can pay a subscription fee to have experts on call. Choosing to outsource can help businesses avoid the costly mistakes of choosing the wrong equipment or software for their needs and make sure they have the appropriate tools to get the job done. Outsourcing can also help reduce their time off-line, ensuring their bottom line is less impacted when issues arise.
Companies without dedicated IT staff may struggle when trying to upgrade their IT equipment. The introduction of new technology to an older system can often create compatibility issues that require downtime to resolve and could result in additional purchasing requirements or useless equipment or software. Fortunately, IT outsourcing provides an easy solution for this as well.
When trying to integrate new software or equipment, having the expertise of an IT professional can help guide business owners in their purchasing and licensing decisions. Outsourced IT staff can assess the company’s IT goals and come up with reliable solutions that are likely to integrate well with current infrastructure and reduce the chance of incompatibility issues. Outsourcing companies are also up to date on the latest IT advancements and may have new solutions that are a better fit with more dependable functionality than those known to the small business owner. Finally, these IT professionals have the know-how to help guide businesses to solutions that offer better scalability and are likely to work well with the projected growth of the company.
Businesses that worked largely in-house may still be struggling with remote work solutions that allow full operation of their company while complying with many of the new health precautions put in place since the emergence of the novel coronavirus. For a company that’s always conducted its business on-site, crossing over to a remote working business model takes more than simply providing staff with new mobile devices. A few of the technology challenges that come with remote access include a possible revamp of the company intranet, determining whether cloud options are more appropriate and choosing between the Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) and company-provided devices models.
Once again, IT outsourcing provides a cost-effective solution to these issues. Business owners can take the time to research possible solutions and attempt to reorganize their collaboration structure in-house but risk costly mistakes and unnecessary downtime. Most outsourcing companies offer special packages for IT assessment and cloud implementation. Allowing these companies to convert the small business’s IT infrastructure from an on-site-only work environment to a more distributed workforce will offer a number of benefits, including affordability, seamless transition, minimal downtime and user-friendly solutions that ensure employees can easily work with the new technology provided.
Perhaps the most critical small business challenge when implementing IT consulting solutions is the security risks that come with a new or expanded system. Hardware incompatibilities, software bugs, outdated technology and loose enforcement of staff security measures all offer cybercriminals an opportunity to gain access to sensitive data. Additionally, if a mistake is made when changing the infrastructure of the current system and it crashes, companies risk losing that same data.
IT outsourcing companies stay on top of the latest security threats and understand the steps that must be taken to keep your data safe. Not only will they be able to identify gaps in your security protocols and offer solutions, but they can also ensure your systems are in compliance with any required government regulations, helping keep your business safe from unexpected noncompliance consequences. Most outsourcing companies also offer options for data backup and recovery, allowing you some peace of mind should disaster strike and erase your sensitive information. This extra help with security is especially important when a business is implementing a remote working model. Offering employees access to company information from remote locations increases the possibility of a security breach unless the appropriate steps are taken to safeguard this access. The IT support offered through outsourcing companies can help develop an implementation plan that includes safeguards from unauthorized access and also help guide staff through the access point security measures necessary to prevent criminal breaches through their own accounts.