Did you know that 28% of all data breaches last year involved small businesses?
The Center for Internet Security (CIS) recommends that small business owners protect themselves. They should put in place email and web protection, data and network safety, and monitoring tools.
Yet many businesses don’t know how to do this. Or they don’t have the skills to support themselves adequately.
This article provides the ultimate guide to small business IT support.
You’ll discover the different types of services that exist to assist SMEs. And we explain how to plan for the worst by hiring the right support provider.
Read on to learn all about managed small business IT support solutions and how they can benefit you.
Small Business IT Support and Managed Service Providers
Running a successful small business is challenging as the world turns digital.
Communication with customers is now conducted via emails, online messaging, and VoIP calls. Orders arrive via a website and customer data must be kept secure at all times. Systems must remain functional or the business will fail.
That’s why two-thirds of businesses partner with a managed IT service provider (MSP).
MSPs ensure that every IT-related asset runs smoothly without interrupting operations. They take care of day-to-day maintenance issues and keep systems safe. They’re also proactive and help monitor networks against attack.
But what types of services do IT support firms offer small business owners in 2021?
Small Business IT Services
IT support providers offer a wide range of solutions that fall into the following areas:
- Security – cyber-security and digital threats
- Technical support – helpdesk system for tech issues
- Procurement – purchasing or leasing equipment and applications
- Cloud-based services – hosting data securely and accessing online apps
- Communications – videoconferencing and digital calls
The best providers also offer planning and strategy.
They’re forward-thinking about their client’s future. And they actively monitor for problems and implement solutions before issues arise.
To help you understand what these terms mean, we’ve highlighted 5 key small business IT services below.
1. Cyber-Security and Compliance
Only 43% of SMBs have a cyber-security defense plan in place. Sixty-percent believe they aren’t vulnerable to attack. Yet over a quarter of all breaches affect small business owners.
Cyber-security measures include anti-virus and anti-malware software, firewalls, and monitoring. Providers ensure that definitions are kept up-to-date. And systems remain secure to protect against hacking.
Not only will these measures help to protect a small business, but they’re also essential depending on the industry type.
Companies in the healthcare sector must meet HIPAA’s stringent compliance requirements. That includes keeping patient data safe at all times. Businesses that sell online are subject to PCI DSS conditions when taking payments.
Compliance also affects those companies wishing to trade within the European Union under GDPR rules. Failing to keep EU citizens’ data secure from third-party threats can lead to hefty fines.
Hiring an IT support provider covers all of these bases because they’re experts at protecting your business.
2. Software Maintenance
Software updates fix bugs and known issues and ensure apps work as they should.
They also repair any security holes and are therefore essential to maintain a healthy network. Unfortunately, 80% of breaches occur because companies ignore maintenance and installing patches.
IT support for small businesses includes an active software maintenance strategy.
Actions like Windows Updates and installing patches reduce common vulnerabilities. They also make the applications run faster, thus improving productivity.
MSPs offer this service remotely. That means an engineer doesn’t need to visit your office, which is essential during the pandemic. And they can install and restart devices during out-of-work hours so routines aren’t affected.
3. Business Continuity Planning
A business continuity plan outlines how the company will operate during unplanned disruptions. It mimics a disaster recovery plan but also includes all aspects of the company that might be affected.
Business continuity planning should form a core part of small business IT strategies.
Technology moves fast and new threats emerge daily. Having a plan in place that’s twelve months old won’t work. That’s why the right service provider continually refines this document to keep pace.
Most small businesses don’t have the knowledge or expertise to do this themselves. They outsource to an IT support team that can.
4. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is an umbrella term that covers:
- Data storage – hosting business data online
- Cloud backup – storing failsafe copies of data securely in the cloud
- Software as a service – SaaS apps like Office 365 let employees work from any Internet device
- Hosting – from websites to email apps to web-based phone systems
SMBs can take advantage of the cloud to reduce costs and offer better customer service. The cloud also provides support solutions through automatic back-ups and online security apps.
Small business IT support providers incorporate cloud computing to monitor potential threats.
If their clients host data on a cloud platform, the IT company ensures it remains secure. That filters down to email and spam protection. And successful syncing of data so employees can access information remotely.
5. Remote Access Support
Remote support means a technician can connect to and use a computer as if they’re sitting in front of the screen.
When problems arise, remote access support offers the perfect solution for fixing problems. An expert is able to log in from anywhere in the world and resolve a problem as it occurs.
Many remote support solutions also allow file and screen sharing.
Engineers can install fixes themselves without the need for an employee to hover by the computer. That saves everyone time and provides a timely resolution to unforeseen issues.
IT Support for Businesses and More at Endzone Score
This article has highlighted several small business IT support services and how they can benefit your company.
Hiring the right managed service provider will keep your systems and data safe. Implementing a continuity plan shields you against malicious attacks. And regular remote access support ensures that everything runs smoothly.
Read more about IT for small business in our Business Online section.
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