At the moment, with COVID-19 cases surging across the U.S. and the future shrouded in uncertainty, many business leaders are considering the best ways to weather the crisis and respond to the economic effects of the pandemic. It’s a particularly stressful time for small companies with limited resources to draw on: Of those included in the June 21-27 Small Business Pulse Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, 37.7 percent said the pandemic has had a “large negative effect” on them, while an additional 45 percent reported a “moderate negative effect.”
If you’re looking to contain costs and increase efficiency in the immediate future as well as long-term, outsourcing your IT makes more sense right now than ever before. While working with a managed service provider has always had significant advantages for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), it’s particularly beneficial in a world where the pandemic has eliminated the main upsides of in-house IT support.
How COVID-19 Could Drive Demand for Managed Services
In the second half of 2020 and beyond, a growing number of SMBs will likely turn to managed service providers (MSPs) to help them accommodate remote workers, fulfill IT support needs, maintain optimal security posture and continue digital transformation efforts. In fact, 11 percent of the organizations included in Datto’s most recent Global State of the MSP Report adjusted their growth projections upward because of COVID-19, expecting the pandemic to drive additional revenue.
The mass migration to remote work arrangements has already led many to turn to external service providers for assistance: Only 41 percent of professionals included in a March 2020 CompTIA survey described their organizations as having strong technical abilities in the realm of remote work. The majority (67 percent) reported they were either very likely or somewhat likely to seek out third-party help with remote work arrangements.
Why In-House IT Doesn’t Make Sense After COVID-19
Based on my 17 years of experience working with businesses across various industries, there are generally two main reasons why people opt for internal IT support over outsourcing.
1. Data security. Many business leaders and managers feel it’s safer not to let any third parties, including MSPs, access their data. However, depending on the service provider, outsourcing your IT doesn’t have to mean upping your data breach risk level.
For instance, the Stratosphere Networks team includes experienced security analysts with high-level knowledge of best practices for safeguarding sensitive data. Additionally, we’re HIPAA compliant, and all our staff members have received training on the proper handling of protected health information (PHI).
On top of that, given that cybercriminals release new versions of malware every day and have made efforts to take advantage of the current crisis, it’s difficult for small in-house IT teams to stay on top of the rapidly changing landscape of IT security threats. The transition to remote work infrastructure has also created new points of vulnerability for many organizations. Maintaining a current cybersecurity strategy and optimal security posture is generally much easier with outside help from a larger team of experts.
2. Physical proximity. The other reason why many businesses have historically preferred in-house support is that they like knowing there’s someone sitting in the same building as the rest of their team who they can go talk to if an issue arises. However, for those whose employees have transitioned to working from home, that potential advantage no longer exists.
In addition, an MSP can often fix problems in a faster and less disruptive manner than on-site support staff with our remote monitoring and management capabilities. Once someone calls us with a problem, we can remotely access the machine that needs attention in just 30 seconds. Our skilled engineers can then leverage advanced tools to troubleshoot and fix the problem – all in less time than it would take in-house IT staff to walk over, log in to the machine and talk to the end user about the problem.
Our Network Operations Center (NOC) staff resolves more than 98 percent of tickets remotely. In the rare event that we can’t fix the issue remotely, we provide on-site technical support with guaranteed rapid response times. Additionally, our team handles on-site project work and moves, adds and changes.
Overall, especially in a post-pandemic world, outsourcing IT makes more sense than handling things in-house for SMBs.
Advantages of Partnering with an MSP
Even before COVID-19 turned everyone’s lives upside down, working with an MSP for IT services and cybersecurity was beneficial for numerous reasons. Here are just a few of the main reasons to seek outside assistance:
1. Lower costs. Although it’s not guaranteed to come with a lower price tag, outsourced IT is almost always less expensive than in-house support. This typically results from only paying for the services you actually use and not dealing with the downsides of maintaining an internal staff (such as the hiring process, turnover, sick days and vacation time).
2. On-demand access to high-level expertise and a broad skill set. A decade ago, tackling IT was simpler. Today, with the rapid pace of growth and change in the tech world, it’s extremely difficult to keep up with new solutions and services. An MSP can give you access to a larger team of experienced techs with a wide array of skills to fulfill all your technological needs and help your business stay up to date.
This is particularly advantageous at a time when digital transformation is a top priority for businesses looking to stay competitive. You can even leverage virtual executive services, such as virtual CSO and CISO.
3. Maintaining the best possible cybersecurity posture. As I’ve already mentioned, hackers cook up new malicious programs and strategies for accessing sensitive data at a breakneck pace. Having access to a team of security analysts and Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) offerings can make a huge difference in your likelihood of experiencing a data breach and your ability to minimize the damage if an incident occurs.
Ultimately, turning to an MSP for IT services and support has always been a wise choice, especially for SMBs. Now, in a world transformed by the pandemic, outsourcing your IT can help your organization not only survive present economic hardships but also lay the groundwork for long-term success.
If you have any questions about outsourcing your IT support, feel free to leave a comment or contact the Stratosphere Networks team at 877-599-3999 or firstname.lastname@example.org.