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Why IT Support Solutions Are So Useful

It’s more or less accepted wisdom that if you have a business, it needs a website. Websites provide a host of benefits to a business at a comparatively small cost. They serve as everything from a news portal to a lead generation tool.

The pandemic even transformed businesses that historically haven’t run operated online into online businesses out of necessity.

Unfortunately, that transition into online businesses takes more than a slick website. It takes an information technology infrastructure to really back it up. For small businesses, in particular, that means a need for IT support solutions.

Never worked with an IT service before? Keep reading to discover the many benefits of IT services.

What Is Information Technology?

Before getting into the details of why IT support matters and what benefits it offers, it can help if you understand the essentials of information technology. What is information technology, really?

Broadly speaking, information technology encompasses all the computer-related physical hardware and processes that a business uses to conduct business. In practice, that translates into areas as diverse as:

  • Laptops, desktops, tablets, and mobile devices
  • Servers
  • Physical networks
  • Software-defined networking
  • Cloud computing
  • Cybersecurity
  • Programming

It also refers to the entire range of software that a business uses from accounting and analytics software to CRM software and enterprise resource planning packages.

In addition, information technology takes in system and network architecture design, websites, and overall maintenance for IT infrastructure.

Needless to say, all of that can prove overwhelming for a small business with a limited IT budget. This is where IT services take a role.

What Are IT Support Solutions?

IT service providers are third-party companies that typically specialize in multiple areas of information technology. Most companies will provide service à la carte or through bundled services. Some of the more common services offered include:

  • SaaS
  • PaaS
  • IaaS
  • Network monitoring/management
  • Cloud computing services
  • Cybersecurity

If you opt for a bundled services package, it’s generally called managed IT services.

With those basics out of the way, let’s dig into how can IT support solutions help you.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a constant worry for most business owners. The endless string of data breaches is proof positive that it’s a very grounded concern. Unfortunately, small businesses often become the target of cybercrime.

Small businesses simply lack the resources to secure their systems the same ways that larger corporations defend their systems. To make matters even more complicated, there is a shortage of almost 360,000 cybersecurity pros in the US alone. That means that experienced cybersecurity pros can often command salaries in excess of $100,000 a year.

Those kinds of salary demands make it incredibly difficult for many SMBs to hire cybersecurity experts.

Companies that specialize in IT services, on the other hand, can and do make those kinds of salary investments. Rather than working for you full time, the cybersecurity pro acts like a consultant who helps you get things into order. You benefit from their experience with a more secure system while bypassing the massive salary investment.

Core Infrastructure Setup

For many small businesses, the initial setup of your IT infrastructure is a nightmare of consulting Google, changing a setting, and hoping that it fixes whatever problem vexes you at the moment. That’s just for run-of-the-mill IT setup and problems.

Once you start looking at setting up servers, those problems only grow harder and harder to fix. IT service providers often offer consulting services. You meet with them, explain what you’re looking to accomplish, and they help you put together a plan.

The plan will often include hardware and software recommendations to get you up and running. If you search for IT support near me and find a local provider, many of them will help you set up the hardware and software as part of a service package.

Network Reliability

Once you get an internal network up and running, you’ll probably find it becomes part of your business backbone. You’ll run more and more services and applications on it because it’s faster or more efficient. Of course, that also means that any problems with your network become business-wide problems.

That slow network isn’t just an annoyance. It’s actually a productivity killer that costs you money while your employees wait around for things to load or processes to complete.

Network monitoring services can help you prevent network issues by spotting problems early. Monitoring may catch a router working at sub-optimal levels. Or, monitoring might catch a network intrusion before it gets too far.

Some companies also offer solutions for common network issues, such as DDoS attacks.

Cloud Services

Almost every business uses one cloud service or another. For example, maybe you use a file-sharing service. Almost all file-sharing services are cloud services, they just don’t call themselves that specifically.

Of course, cloud services go well beyond basic file sharing. With major cloud services, you can carry out very sophisticated analytics on big data and even conduct machine learning.

For smaller businesses, though, data storage is often the main goal of cloud services. If you backup your critical data in the cloud, it means that you can get up and running again very quickly. It doesn’t matter if flooding or a fire destroys your local hard drives because all you need is a new computer or server to access your data.

Smaller businesses may also want some of their applications run from the cloud. Running applications in the cloud means most of the processing happens on the servers. That means you can run data or processor-intensive programs on low-end machines.

The real challenge is in the setup for these services. Services like AWS have actual training programs to teach people how to use the system. If you don’t want to do the training or wait for someone in-house to get up to speed, an IT services company can often handle the setup for you.

Helpdesk

Ever have something go wrong with your computer and you’re just sure that it must have a simple solution, even if you don’t know it. A lot of the time, you’re right.

That’s why so many IT service providers offer a helpdesk solution for businesses. As part of a managed service package, you can get access to remote tech support. In some cases, it’s an email system where you file a ticket.

With some service packages, though, you get access to a 24/7 phone tech support system. You or your employees can simply call the help desk about your computer trouble. If you’re set up for it, the services company can often access the problem computer remotely and fix the issue.

If you’re not set up for it, they can talk your employees through the most likely solutions to a given problem. This frees you and any IT staff you have from dealing with mundane IT problems. It also means you get alerted when a more serious problem needs some professional attention on site.

Help You Implement New Technologies

Sometimes you’ll hear about some new piece of technology or a new approach to a problem and think, “I could really use that.” Then, you think about all the trouble you had the last time you upgraded.

A good IT services company can often help you get past that miserable learning phase. They can advise you on whether a new piece of tech or approach will work with your current setup.

Then, they can help you implement the new tech with installation assistance.

Training

Human error is one of the most common reasons for IT problems. Someone changes a setting they shouldn’t. Someone unplugs something they shouldn’t.

Worse still, someone opens an attachment they shouldn’t. IT support solutions experts can help get your people up to speed on a new piece of software or hardware.

They can also help train you and your employees on cybersecurity best practices. For example, do you employ good access control to your server rooms or can anyone just walk in there?

Do you remind your employees about not opening attachments from unfamiliar senders? Do you warn train your people to recognize ransomware popups?

If not, or if you’re not even sure how to go about that, talk with your IT service provider about what training options they offer for customers.

IT Support Solutions and You

The world of information technology covers so much ground that even IT experts specialize in small areas. That means it’s almost impossible for non-IT experts to rack up enough knowledge to handle all of their own IT needs.

An IT support solutions company can help you fill in the gaps in your own knowledge or gaps in the knowledge of your IT team. If you’re still in the early stages of putting together your IT system, they can offer bundled services that help you cover the bases.

Looking for more business tips? Check out the posts in our Business section.

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