The rapid growth in online commerce and the way we interact has great significance for small business owners since it affects our ability to collaborate online, work remotely and engage in transactions with several parties even on a global scale. The underlying glue that makes all this work however, is confidence. We are able to do all the wonderful things with technology because we allowed ourselves to believe that our information will be protected and that the risks of foul play are minimized.
This expansion in connectivity creates new opportunities for businesses of all sizes, but especially for small business owners. At the same time, the new frontiers bring along a new set of vulnerabilities and threats like phishing, pharming, identity theft, data leakage and unmanaged endpoints. Recent research shows that about 63 percent of businesses are going to experience some form of information loss and regulatory breach which will lead to damage to reputation and loss of revenue, partners and customers.
Small businesses have to find ways to maximize current technologies and must do so in a cost effective manner. As is often the case, many small businesses have little Information Technology experience and cannot afford to maintain a full-time IT department because it is just too expensive, time-consuming and in many instances flat-out inefficient.
There are many ways small business owners can address the issues of cost-saving, increased productivity and efficiencies, but the only viable option is using a professional Managed Services Provider as leverage to do the same things big corporations do without the cost. Managed Services Providers have talented professionals on staff, have deep resources and huge economies of scale.
By using managed services providers, small business owners stand to reap the following benefits:
- Ability to focus on core business functions: We all love to do what we do best and easily get frustrated when we are forced to perform tasks that have nothing to do with our job functions. So an accountant who has to spend time researching why email is stuck in the Inbox, or a doctor trying to fix an IT-related problem are engaging in activities that are highly inefficient for that accountant or doctor’s practice.
- Increased purchasing power: Technology providers have access to a wide range of resources that small business owners can tap into. They can help the the small business owner purchase hardware and software at reduced cost;
- Reduce cost and control operating expenses: when a service provider is used, there is immediate cost savings since the small business owner does not have to worry about recruiting, training, vacation, benefits etc. Moreover, there is predictable cost since IT expenses will be budgeted, planned and controlled.
- Access to talent: Managed services providers have resources that allow the small business owner to draw upon specialized talents that would normally be too expensive to maintain in-house. The service provider has access to teams of IT specialists through partnerships and affiliations that can be called upon to provide on-going and critical support for the small business owner when needed.
- Resource flexibility: whether the economy is growing or shrinking, the use of a managed services provider means the small business owner does not have to worry about adding or reducing personnel. The availability of Just-In-Time resources for emergencies from the service provider creates the additional benefit of not having to worry about the morale of current employees that is often associated with scaling back personnel.
- Improved productivity
- Reduced downtime
- Access to most current technology and the attendant competitive advantage.
- Access to vendor support: Manufacturers very seldom deal with end-users directly. So a small business owner who relies on calling customer support will often get frustrated when there is no response or quick resolution to a particular problem. The managed services provider has access to a wide range of vendor support through the partnerships maintained by the service provider. This special relationship means that the small business owner will have priority access to most vendors like HP, Dell, Cisco, Microsoft etc.