As cybersecurity threats grow, are managed IT services the best way to protect your SME?
There are many reasons why SMEs should consider managed IT services – rapid growth, reducing the burden of IT and a growing need to link networks are just a few examples. One reason that is becoming increasingly urgent is security. Cyber attacks, particularly ransomware, are affecting businesses of all sizes across the world. Experts are warning that this year will bring even more relentless and hard-hitting attacks. So what questions should you be asking yourself when deciding whether to outsource IT to protect your business?
1. Can you recruit the right people?
With the current rate of technological change, it’s becoming harder to find staff with the right skills to meet modern business needs. 74% of CIOs are finding that candidates do not meet their technical skills demands. The shortage is particularly acute in cybersecurity, with nearly half of UK companies reporting that the shortfall of personnel is causing security breaches. The question is, how can your recruitment drive compete with that of larger or specialist IT organisations? Can you provide the ongoing training they need to keep their knowledge up to date?
2. Do you have time to protect your IT?
When it comes to cybersecurity, there are a bewildering array of products and technologies out there. Very often SMEs will need to take a multi-layered security approach across the whole business, tailored to each department’s needs. It could take a non-specialist considerably longer to find the best options, and they may have limited experience of how these will function in practice. More importantly, all this work is taking them away from their core business focus and responsibilities.
3. Is your data safe?
Your data is at risk from both cyber attacks and human error. Sensitive information, such as customer names and address, or bank and credit card details, need to be protected, but accessible when you need them. Managed service providers can offer a comprehensive cybersecurity solution, including anti-virus, firewall and backup strategies to protect you from malware, data loss and non-compliance. As part of an IT managed service, they will also apply the latest security patches as soon as they are available and regularly test for weaknesses in your system – tasks that may not always get prioritised by busy in-house teams.
4. Are you getting value for money from IT?
IT can take up a significant amount of an SME’s budget, so you need to be sure you are getting the best value for money. With managed IT services, you will pay a fixed monthly cost for 24/7 support and access to the IT expertise you need to deliver new projects. Detailed monthly reports will show you what work has been done so you can make sure you are getting a return on your investment. IT projects will be closely aligned with business objectives to focus resources on driving business growth and building resilience.
5. What happens when things go wrong?
If your IT system goes down, your business is effectively shut. You need to know that you have the resources and capacity on hand to get it fixed quickly. Managed IT services usually include a fully-tested disaster recovery solution to make sure that your data and systems are back up and running as soon as possible in the case of an unplanned error. As more SMEs expand into international markets, having this level of support available around the clock is vital to business continuity.
6. How well is your IT performing?
Is your IT fine-tuned for optimal performance to help your staff do their jobs? If you’re experiencing high levels of glitches and downtime, your IT systems aren’t reaching their full potential and neither are you. Managed IT services give you access to the right expertise with full accountability against a Service Level Agreement. Regular reporting will give you better visibility of how your systems are performing.
Cybersecurity is a fast-moving area and the risks of business disruption, loss of revenue and reputation can be devastating for SMEs. As IT systems become more complex and more business-critical than ever before, SMEs need to make sure that they have the right systems and processes in place to protect themselves. However, few have the expertise or resources to do this in-house. Managed IT services offer a genuinely practical and affordable solution to SME’s cybersecurity concerns. Enabling them to stick to what they know best – running their business.
- Cybersecurity threats are growing: cyber attacks, such as ransomware, are predicted to become even more prevalent and sophisticated.
- There is a global shortage of skilled and qualified cybersecurity professionals that will get worse as demand increases.
- SMEs need a comprehensive and multi-layered approach to cybersecurity that covers the whole business and regularly tests for vulnerabilities and weaknesses.
- Backup strategies and disaster recovery solutions are essential to mitigating the risks of business disruption and data loss.
- Managed IT services can implement proactive cybersecurity strategies, offer 24/7 support, and give you full visibility of how your systems are performing.