The Evolution of the IT Department
- Information Technology was only for large firms with deep pockets
- Networked computer equipment was expensive and difficult to maintain
- Small businesses could not take advantage of many advancements like the larger companies
- Costs were high for computer repairs and consulting fees were often worse.
- Many consultants pushed expensive solutions that were out of reach for many small businesses
- Small Businesses only called in IT when something broke and they desperately needed help!
Break – Fix
Waiting for something to break, then repairing the damage is often false economy. In our local market today, most firms charge $125 – $150 per hour to repair your computer equipment. This leaves you with a number of bad choices when something breaks. Do you fix it or is it time to just replace it?
Calculating the Costs
The real cost of this repair is not just the price of repairing or replacing the equipment. How much time did you have to spend to get that done? Think through the costs of replacing the machine. It’s easy enough to get a new desktop or laptop and you can probably get one for under $1,000. The real value, however, is in your time and data. You could even be faced with paying someone who could not perform their job!
How much would it hurt if you lost all of the data on your PC today? Do you make backups? How long would it take to restore that data? Be sure to add the time needed to reinstall all of your software. You DO have the disks and all of your serial numbers, don’t you?
A recent survey of small business owners put the time needed to restore a computer at 2-3 days. That’s 2-3 days that you aren’t doing what you do best, running your small business!
Why Break – Fix is bad for business
- If you wait for things to break, then you will always have unplanned downtime when it happens. Murphy’s Law says that this will happen at the worst possible time for your business.
- Businesses today are dependent on having a solid IT infrastructure. Most businesses have key functions that require solid network access. These can include appointment systems, POS systems, accounting software, QuickBooks, billing software, etc.
- Most businesses do not backup as often or as completely as they should.
- IT systems are complicated and often have separate suppliers. Try calling HP for support when your virus software stops working and they will refer you to the vender that bundled it on your new system. That vendor may point you back to HP since they sold it to you. Alternatively, both of them may point you back to the reseller who sold you the system.
- We see businesses regularly with intermittent internet issues. Most providers only guarantee their service to a single point where they enter your building. Try calling them when something quits working and see what they say.
Managed services are a philosophical change in the way that business deals with technology. Instead of waiting for it to fail, we spend more time on maintenance.
How many people wait for their car to break down before having it serviced? We all know that changing the oil and rotating the tires can reduce your overall costs, even though there is a cost associated with having that work done. We do it knowing that spending some money now is better than spending much more at some point in the future.
Large businesses were the 1st to implement managed services. They needed a way to monitor data centers with hundreds or thousands of machines. With that many machines, you really can’t just have someone go through them one by one looking for issues. Waiting for them to break is not an option since that could impact thousands of customers. Their answer was to develop sophisticated software that allowed a single control room to interact with all of the machines under their control. This software was the beginnings of what we call RMM (remote monitoring and management) today. It was, of course, frightfully expensive and each company cooked up their own version trying to gain a competitive edge over their competition.
As years passed, and the software matured, however, some vendors started making their software available to partners and vendors. Gradually systems were developed to allow providers to offer these services to small and mid-sized businesses.
Do Managed Services Cost More?
Surprisingly, the answer is no! Most Managed Service Providers cost about the same or even less than the traditional break – fix when you include the cost of downtime and lost productivity. More problems are caught before they reach an emergency status. Managed services allows you to spread the costs out in a predictable manner. This both helps with cash flow while improving your service level to your customers.
What Do I Have Now?
If your answer “no” to any of these questions, then you are utilizing a break-fix methodology to maintain your network and you may benefit from Managed Services.
- Do you find out immediately if your data back-up fails?
- Do you have a disaster recovery plan in place?
- Do you know which equipment on your network is aging and may need replacement?
- Do you know that your server and all desktops have the latest anti-virus and anti-malware installed and working?
- Have all of the latest security patches been installed on your equipment?
- Do you have know of any PCs that regularly run out of memory or hard drive space, impacting performance?
- Do you have a single number to call when something quits working?
- Do you only hear from your computer guys “after” something breaks?
- If you want to purchase new hardware or software, do you have a trusted partner that can help you research solutions and help you make the best choice for your situation.
What Does G.Technology Offer?
Small businesses are diverse and there is no rubber stamp solution that fits them all. We offer a range of services and customize them to fit your needs. Services range from the most basic monitoring to turnkey, platinum support.
These services can include:
- 24/7 monitoring that includes daily performance checks, as well as weekly and monthly maintenance.
- Enterprise level anti-virus and anti-malware protection
- Email, phone, and remote desktop support (levels dependent on the agreement).
- Service agreement – there is never a labor charge for repair of managed equipment
- Service discounts for new installations, moves, and upgrades.
- Hardware discounts
- Consulting services for hardware and software
- Free “loaner” computer, if needed, when a managed system breaks
- On-site and off-site backups
- 3rd party support – we work directly with your 3rd party vendors to develop a solution for you.
- Website and domain hosting
- Business email (hosted MS Exchange)
- Microsoft Office subscriptions
Our Service Advantage
Other companies support your hardware, we support you.
We recognize that most small businesses can’t afford to have a full time employee handle their computer issues. We use a combination of state of the art technology and our incredible customer service to give you the support you need at a price you can afford.
The heart of any managed service provider is in the monitoring system that they use. Beware of firms that use remote “dial-in” to solve your issues. Without the monitoring, this is just a break-fix solution without the costs of the service call!
Remote access should always be used in conjunction with 24/7 monitoring and alerts to allow rapid response to issues BEFORE they become emergencies.
That’s why ALL of our service agreements start with basic monitoring. In addition, our anti-virus and anti-malware solutions are designed to work with our monitoring solution. We highly recommend that you use our software so that we get the virus alerts in real-time.
72% of small businesses don’t have adequate backups of their data. After 9/11, the only companies that survived the disaster and reopened were the ones with off-site backups.
Insurance companies have taken note of this and are now asking specific questions about your backup strategy and disaster preparedness. Your insurance rates and even your insurability can depend on your ability to restart your business after a disaster.
Backing up can get expensive so we suggest a hybrid approach with solid local backups combined with cloud storage of critical files. It is important that we review this regularly to insure that your critical data is always backed up.
How Much Does This Cost?
No one likes the idea of adding an extra monthly bill. We run a small business, just like you. We look at every expense carefully to make sure that we invest our money only in places where it makes sense.
That’s why we sit down with each client and custom design a service agreement that works for your needs and your budget.
We want to create a solid, long-term relationship with you to protect the most important asset in your business.. Your customer data.