It can be difficult for a small business owner to know when is the right time to upgrade to more robust IT services. It’s a stage that will come for any small business that experiences growth, and it’s best to be prepared for it given the importance of technology to modern business operations. Here are some of the signs it is time to upgrade your IT services.
Your Tech Needs Have Outgrown Your Current Arrangement
As your business grows, its needs will change. This includes its technological needs, which are arguably the most sensitive to changes in the company. You may need software that can support more user and customer accounts, as well as hardware to run a more robust internal network. If your current tech simply can no longer support your needs, you need to upgrade. Managed IT services are usually the best way to do this because they offer more personalized advice and recommendations both for what you need now and how it might be required to scale in the future. This advice can be invaluable in choosing the right combination of software, hardware, cloud services and devices for your company.
You Have More Advanced Security Needs
As you get more customers, especially if they are high profile, and handle more assets, the need for robust digital security grows exponentially. A hack or a data breach can be catastrophic to a small business, possibly even halting your growth in its tracks or driving you out of business. You definitely need to consider managed IT services that understand the principles of cybersecurity and use the latest encryptions to keep your data safe. This is especially true if you store sensitive customer information like payment methods or health information. If you store health information, you will need to find a managed IT service that is able to legally comply with the requirements for keeping it secure, most notably HIPPA.
You Keep Experiencing Downtime and Technological Emergencies
You should start shopping for managed IT services if you are experiencing significant technological downtimes in your business. This can happen with any technology, but especially closed networks, cloud services and anything that is interconnected. Prolonged or frequent downtime is disastrous for business productivity, negatively affects your bottom line and is incredibly frustrating for your employees. It can be difficult or even impossible to fix yourself if you don’t know how to effectively troubleshoot the problem. Many of these issues can be avoided or prevented by using IT consulting services. When an issue does occur, they can work to fix the issue remotely or even come to your place of business to get you up and running again, depending on your agreement with the provider.
Your In-House IT Is Overwhelmed
Most small businesses do not have a dedicated in-house IT employee at all, but if you do, a common sign that you should enlist more comprehensive services is when your in-house IT employees are struggling. Perhaps they don’t know enough about maintaining a growing network or the technology you are trying to use. They may be fully competent but the amount of work might have become too much for them. In this case, it is best to start looking into IT management services. You can still retain your in-house employees for handling problems that must be dealt with in-person while hiring a remote service to manage everything else and take the strain off your in-house employees.
Small businesses need to learn how to leverage the web and technology, as both are critical to getting their brand out there and competing against larger companies. Some form of managed IT services will become necessary eventually, so knowing when you should start investing in them is a very important determination. Watch for the signs and take action when needed.