For many small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners, a big challenge of returning to the workplace post-pandemic has been getting IT systems up and running again. While the pace of work may have slowed during COVID, the rate of change in technology and cybersecurity only increased. With many SMBs suffering financial losses due to the pandemic, hiring or expanding an in-house IT team may not have been an option. However, now that most of the nation is back to business as usual [sort of], three challenges stand out when thinking about managing IT environments:
- Integrating and Managing Diverse Technologies
- Multiple Business Locations
If your business relies on multiple software platforms and applications, managing licenses and integration can become difficult without an IT expert's knowledge. On top of that, vendor management can require a good deal of time. Working with someone (like an MSP) who already has strong vendor relations can help support you here as well.
Cybercriminals took advantage of the pandemic to develop new methods of attacking business networks. SMBs now face a significant risk of incursion if they cannot address such security threats. On top of this, compliance requirements are changing, and having an expert in your corner will help you remain compliant.
If your business has multiple locations, providing a dedicated IT staff for each is challenging and can become costly. Hiring new members of an internal IT department adds to this challenge, as you'll need to screen potential applicants and invest in IT training resources. Another layer to this is hybrid work that inevitably creates additional help desk tickets and new environments for your IT team to support.
To maximize returns on your IT budget, we encourage you to work with an IT managed services provider (MSP), such as Charles IT, who can meet your needs no matter how much your environment changes.
What Is an IT Managed Services Provider?
A managed service provider, or an MSP, is a company responsible for monitoring and supporting all functions related to your organization's IT systems. In other words, we're you're "go-to IT guy/gal". Charles IT, in particular, provides various service options to help SMBs overcome their IT challenges. Some services are discussed below to give you an idea of what's included.
Cyber threats continue to evolve — from black hat hacking to social engineering and insider threats. Detecting these threats early is vital in keeping your business safe. We provide security awareness training to help employees identify potential threats and stay one step ahead.
According to a 2022 article by Forbes,
"What’s more concerning is that over 70% of social engineering and phishing incidents are discovered by external parties. This means that when employees are falling for the bait, they usually don’t realize they’ve been hooked. On top of that, attackers are constantly coming up with new ways to evade automated security tools." - Most Common Cybersecurity Threats in 2022
With security awareness in place, employees are trained and regularly tested so they learn what to look for and become empowered to stop any attempted attacks.
Hackers can use every device and hardware connected to your infrastructure as an entry point for a cyberattack. An endpoint encryption service, like ours, encrypts sensitive data copied and stored on removable media devices. This ensures that no one can access your data without the correct decryption key.
Our CEO, Foster, likes to use the example of traveling for work and [accidentally] leaving your laptop in your car or hotel room. We certainly hope you only come across honest, upstanding citizens wherever you go, but we're in the security business, and it's our job to plan for all situations. If a not-so-nice someone were to break into your car and steal your laptop, an encryption service would make it nearly impossible for them to use any of the data stored on your device.
Tech Tip: Removable devices include things like: USB and external hard drives, smartphones, and tablets.
Backup and Disaster Recovery
System failures, natural disasters, and cyberattacks can bring your business to a grinding halt. It's crazy to think that an hour of downtime can cost you over $100,000 of lost revenue (TechChannel) - but it's true. For most SMBs, this is enough to shut down operations, either temporarily or permanently. Having a backup and disaster recovery solution in place will ensure that your business can quickly recover after a disaster and mitigate the devastating effects of prolonged downtime.
Learn More: Backup & Disaster Recovery with Charles IT
Charles IT’s cloud hosting service provides virtualized computing resources over the internet designed to help your business grow and save you some money along the way. This service includes hosting servers, software, hardware, and other infrastructure components, as well as performing system backups, maintenance, and planning.
Benefits of Including an MSP in Your IT Budget
Working with an MSP provides your business with various financial and logistical benefits, which include:
- Affordable Monthly Fees
- Lower Operating Costs
- Increased Uptime
With regular monthly fees and a tailored IT roadmap, working with an MSP makes your annual IT budget more predictable, allowing you to plan for what you need today and in the future.
While many of our clients also have a small internal IT staff, hiring and training new members is expensive. Partnering with an MSP allows you to control those costs over time and reduce the expenses associated with additional internal IT staff.
Finally, by creating backup systems and proactively monitoring your systems 24/7/365, an MSP (like Charles IT) can reduce your risk of downtime resulting from cyberattacks, human error, natural disasters, and utility outages.
Partnering with Charles IT will help you keep your IT budgets in check. Our team of professionals will act as your IT department and answer all their technical needs — from fixing printer problems to reconfiguring entire networks so you can focus on your critical tasks. Ready to get started? Give us a call today.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2020 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.