Managed services are a well-established concept in the world of enterprise IT, but it is easy to associate them exclusively with – well – enterprises. What does a small or medium sized business have to gain from outsourcing their IT management to a third party?
Plenty, as it turns out.
The small business landscape is increasingly competitive and complex, particularly when it comes to managing the IT infrastructure. Small organisations have to meet a greater number of robust regulations and compliance frameworks, and defend against ever more sophisticated cyber threats. The cloud introduces potential benefits in terms of flexibility and agility, but also greater complications in terms of management and control.
Managed services can help small businesses to meet these challenges and even build an edge on their competitors, by introducing a raft of benefits. Here are four of the main areas that small and medium organisations can enhance by turning to managed services.
Any business, large or small, always needs to keep a healthy focus on the bottom line. Managed services can have a healthy impact on SMEs’ bottom line in a number of ways. First, managed services reduce and can even eliminate the need for costly capital outlay on technology. Both IT procurement and deployment costs can be slashed as a result. Then there are costs associated with hiring in-house IT staff. Because increasingly complicated business IT infrastructures and threat landscapes require increasingly varied skill sets to manage, even small businesses can require more than one full-time employee to cover all possibilities – a costly endeavour.
Managed services make the costs associated with maintaining and even optimising an organisation’s IT transparent, predictable and closely mapped onto the amount of resource required – a boon for small businesses needing to maintain tight control of their cash flows.
As outlined above, the business technology landscape is getting more and more complex. Even small organisations have a raft of often highly specialised applications to draw on, and may wish to deploy mobile and smart devices, Internet of Things ecosystems, augmented or virtual reality, and big data analytics. They also face the same sophisticated threat and regulatory landscapes as larger organisations. Managed services enable small businesses to draw on the same breadth and depth of skills and experience as their larger counterparts, without the expense of a huge in-house IT team.
In this complicated world, business resilience is a must. Even small organisations cannot assume that they will not be targeted by cybercrime. Human error and hardware or software failure can never be entirely mitigated, and can have a dramatic impact on a business’s ongoing operations.
Managed services can deliver more sophisticated cybersecurity protections and more proactive technology monitoring than in-house mechanisms, reducing the risk of a serious incident occurring. Then, should the worst happen, managed services can ensure fast incident identification, isolation, repair and response, with thorough data recovery and a fast return to normal operations. It is an insurance policy that no business should be without.
Managed services delivered via the cloud can lend SMEs fantastic agility regarding resource allocation, enabling them to scale their services up and down according to demand. This enables management peace of mind and also allows internal resource to be focused exactly where it is most needed; on longer-term strategy, planning and innovation. In this sense, managed services truly can give SMEs a competitive edge.