I’m already planning goals for my business in 2020 and I suspect almost all small business owners are doing the same. Before I think about product improvement or personnel upgrades, though, I think about whether my infrastructure can or cannot support those initiatives. Maybe the best plan for growth starts with an assessment of what you already have? One of your strongest in-house assets should be your information technology. Here are 4 tips to help you look at what should be your greatest productivity tool.
It Should Be About Both Money And Value
Not quite knowing if you are getting what you are paying for is the #1 hesitation I’ve seen from small business owners anguishing over the need to pay for managed IT services. Nobody wants to get screwed, but how do you even talk to computer people?
These two issues should be the first addressed when you decide to partner with an MSP (Managed Service Provider.) Be satisfied with how you and your IT contact person communicate. Don’t let even one little question or doubt go without discussion. Expect, receive, and be able to understand a regular accounting of what your MSP has done and is doing for you.
Write In Stone Your Service and Response Time Agreement
24/7 monitoring and availability is a given in today’s world. But you also need to know your MSP’s service and response time commitment. Whose number is on your speed dial in case of disaster? How fast can they get to you? Participate in designing your disaster recovery plan and know what needs to happen first to get your company back on track. You expect your local firemen to arrive with axes and water hoses. Your MSP’s response and recovery protocols should operate just like that.
Know Your Virtual CIO’s Full Job Description
Your Managed IT Service Provider should function as an officer of your company. He or she should provide you with budget advice based on their expert knowledge of your specific hardware, software, and training needs. This person should know about equipment and leading-edge procedures. They will locate and interact with any third-party vendors. They shoulder the responsibility for proactive maintenance so that foreseeable breakdowns are diagnosed and prevented.
Cybersecurity Should Be Top Of Mind
Cybersecurity is part of your MSP’s job description, but it’s also a category all it’s own. Ask your MSP how likely you are to be attacked. Is all your data secure and well-guarded? Learn about cybersecurity experiences your chosen MSP has dealt with and be comfortable with his company’s beliefs about what should be done. Time is money and if you’re down, then you’re not producing. More than that, if you store any customer data in your server, then you also have a responsibility to protect them from malicious actors. Trust the MSP to have your back on security.
I urge you to go into any new year knowing the status of your company’s technology. Aptica offers free assessments of what you have and what it all means based on your business goals. We start with a conversation. Call me with your questions.
Jason Newburg, 260.243.5100, ext 2101, is the founder and owner of Aptica LLC. This IT management and support company has been serving small to medium-sized businesses for 16 years in the region that includes Angola, South Bend, and Fort Wayne, IN, Battle Creek, MI, and Toledo OH.