Small businesses are increasingly recognising the importance of robust IT support, with surveys indicating that over 64% of small to medium-sized businesses already rely on Managed IT Services for some aspect of their IT needs. The global managed services market is expected to grow from approximately £180.63 billion in 2020 to around £266.57 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.1%.This trend is propelled by the need to address complex technological challenges and cybersecurity threats without the overhead of expanding in-house IT teams. This article demystifies Managed IT Services, providing small business leaders with the insights necessary to leverage this resource effectively.

Introduction to Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

Managed IT Services allow businesses to outsource their IT operations to specialised providers, offering a range of benefits from cost savings to access to cutting-edge technology. However, the true value of Managed IT Services lies not just in offloading technical tasks but in partnering with providers who can transform technology from a mere support function into a strategic asset.

Key Reports and Insights from Your Managed IT Provider

Effective communication and reporting are the linchpins of a successful partnership with your Managed IT Service Provider (MSP). A good MSP should provide clear, understandable reports that go beyond technical jargon to offer valuable insights into your IT infrastructure. Essential reports include:

  • Backup Reports: Detailing what devices are backed up, the success of these backups, and the frequency of tests. This ensures that your data remains safe and recoverable in case of an emergency.
  • Asset Management: Offering a snapshot of your current IT assets, their age, and usage. This proactive report helps plan for future needs and budget accordingly.
  • Security Reports: Simplified into green (good) or red (action needed) indicators to easily understand your security posture, emphasising the importance of regular system patches and the efficacy of cybersecurity measures.
  • Service Tickets: Though considered of lower value, understanding the volume and types of service tickets completed can offer insights into the IT challenges your business faces and how effectively they are being addressed.

The Rising Trend of Co-Managed IT

For businesses that have outgrown basic IT services but aren’t ready to fully internalise their IT operations, Co-Managed IT offers a perfect balance. This model allows businesses to retain control over their IT strategy while benefiting from the external expertise of an MSP. When considering a Co-Managed IT setup, it’s vital to evaluate multiple providers, visit their operations, and speak directly with their engineers to ensure they align with your business needs.

Why Small Businesses Benefit More from Managed IT Services

Small businesses, with their limited resources and tight budgets, stand to gain significantly from Managed IT Services. Access to a team of IT experts and sophisticated technology levels the playing field, allowing small businesses to compete more effectively in the digital age. Furthermore, statistics from industry leaders indicate that the global managed services market is expected to grow significantly, reflecting the increasing reliance on these services to drive business success.

managed it services for small business

Harnessing the Power of Managed IT for Small Business Growth

Choosing the right MSP or co-managed IT partner is critical. Look for providers who understand the nuances of small businesses, offer flexible and scalable services, and prioritise security and innovation. By focusing on effective communication and demanding actionable insights through regular reporting, small businesses can ensure their IT strategy aligns with their broader business objectives, driving growth and success in an increasingly digital world.

Evaluating Your IT Provider’s Performance

Understanding the effectiveness of your IT Provider is crucial for small business leaders. It’s not just about having technology in place; it’s about ensuring it aligns with your business objectives and security needs. A truly supportive IT provider should regularly check and report on several key aspects:

  • Backup Systems and Tests: An essential part of managing IT is ensuring data is safely backed up. Providers should offer clarity on both onsite and offsite backups, including the frequency and success of backup tests. A robust system undergoes testing at least quarterly to ensure data recovery is possible in case of an emergency.
  • Network and Security Management: Your MSP should be capable of remote management for your network devices, including switches and access points. This capability ensures prompt responses to issues, no matter where they are. Furthermore, security features, especially active services on firewalls, are paramount to protect against threats.
  • Segmented Networks and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): A well-structured network keeps guest Wi-Fi separate from the private network, safeguarding sensitive business data. Implementing MFA for critical applications like Microsoft 365 adds an extra layer of security, a practice all small businesses should adopt.
  • Comprehensive Device Management: From anti-virus protection to Managed Detection and Response (MDR) systems, your IT provider should ensure every device under their management is fortified against cyber threats. This includes implementing advanced spam filters to guard against email-based attacks, including phishing and spoofing attempts.

The Importance of Proactive Recommendations

A standout MSP doesn’t just fix problems; they anticipate them. Through regular reviews—preferably quarterly—your provider should offer recommendations to enhance your IT infrastructure, improve security, and streamline operations. This proactive approach ensures your technology evolves in line with your business needs.

Onboarding and Offboarding Checklists:

Effective employee onboarding and offboarding processes protect your business from security risks associated with personnel changes. Your MSP should have checklists in place to manage access rights, ensuring former employees no longer have access to sensitive business information and new hires have the tools they need from day one.

Why Detailed Reporting Matters

Contrary to the belief that non-technical executives may not value IT reporting, the truth is quite the opposite. Effective reports shouldn’t drown you in jargon but provide clear insights into the health of your IT systems, highlight security statuses with simple color-coded indicators, and showcase the MSP’s value by reporting on issues pre-empted or resolved. Service ticket reports, while seemingly of lower value, offer transparency into the day-to-day operations and responsiveness of your IT team.

We can Serve Your Business

At Commercial Networks, we’re here to personally ensure your business thrives in the digital world. Our Managed IT Services are designed with your unique needs in mind, promising not just reliability, but a transformative experience for your operations. Let us be the secret weapon behind your success. Reach out today, and let’s chart the path to transform your business together.”