In today’s constantly shifting technological landscape, where fresh viruses and the new security patches designed to protect against them arrive by the week, it takes a proactive approach to stay abreast of all the changes. This is why, in 2019, more small to midsize businesses (SMBs) are ditching their outdated break-fix strategies and making the switch to a managed services provider (MSP) for their IT needs. But for those of us still coming to terms with the new rapid-fire reality of business in the digital age, it can be difficult to determine which approach is right for your organization, or even what a managed services provider actually does. Here’s a breakdown of the managed services strategy versus the traditional break-fix approach and how it applies to your business.
Managed Services are Designed for Up-to-the-Minute IT Upkeep
Maintaining the integrity, efficiency and security of your business network is a little like taking care of your car. You don’t buy the equipment with the expectation that it’ll be good to go forever; you know that it’ll take regular upkeep to stay in tip-top shape. For a car, of course, that means regular oil changes, rotating the tires, checking the alignment, checking and replacing the fluids, ensuring adequate tire pressure, changing your spark plugs, flushing the transmission – the list goes on and on. If you don’t bother with basic preventative maintenance of your vehicle, it’ll fail you sooner rather than later. We’re guessing most of our readers wouldn’t drive 20,000 miles without checking the oil, for instance. Many of these tasks can be taken care of with some savvy and time investment, but others require the expertise of a seasoned professional, especially when serious problems arise.
It’s the same with your network. Business technology is notoriously finicky. It’ll work perfectly for months and, in rare cases, for years – until suddenly it doesn’t, at which point it’s likely too late. Suddenly all your data is locked down behind some nasty new ransomware, or your server decided to give up the ghost without warning, leaving key customer information swinging in the wind. We constantly hear about Fortune 500 companies shelling out millions for high-profile data breaches, but when these attacks come to SMBs, they often fold the company completely. What was once a thriving small business is now an empty storefront, buried under the never-ending progress of modern technology.
The old break-fix approach to IT management attempts to address the digital risks facing SMBs only after problems arise. Is your server down? Is malware giving you a headache? Is your e-mail not working for some reason? If so, they’re on the scene. Otherwise, they’re hands-off. The idea behind this strategy is the classic adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Business owners look to cut costs on IT by only addressing the most serious technological crises after they’ve already happened, rather than shelling out funds for regular preventative maintenance.
Unfortunately, just like how this approach doesn’t make sense in the context of your car, it certainly doesn’t make sense for your network. A break-fix strategy can save money in the short term, sure, but it results in more network downtime, a much higher frequency of issues and a ton of dollars spent on damage control down the line.
Instead, you should demand that the IT professionals responsible for the backbone of your business provide managed services. This means they’re in the guts of your network every day, mastering and locking down every aspect of your technology long before anything goes wrong. They’ll detect issues before they cost you money and fix them without hesitation. You might balk at the initial subscription fee, but if you run the numbers, you’ll quickly see how much money it will save you in the long run.
An investment in an MSP is an investment in the future of your business. You wouldn’t drive your car mindlessly until it breaks down; it’s arguably even more dangerous to do the same with your network. Take a proactive approach, demand managed services and breathe a sigh of relief knowing your network is in the hands of professionals well-versed in the ins and outs of your business’s specific needs.