Managed Services Mean Big Benefits for Small Businesses

Outsourcing IT support lets you reduce IT costs and focus your efforts on what your company does best

Small companies are proliferating in every industry, from health care to hospitality and financial services to technology. But regardless of their industry, all small companies face similar challenges when it comes to their IT networks. Despite a lack of in-house IT resources, small businesses must keep their networks running reliably at top speeds. At the same time, they need to watch their budgets by reining in IT operational costs and limiting IT investments. For an increasing number of small businesses, the answer to these problems is relatively simple: managed services.

Managed services can also help small companies address two critical issues that aren’t directly related to IT. Most companies are striving to expand into new markets, and they need ways to make their sales and marketing efforts as effective as possible. By eliminating the need to invest in in-house IT support, managed services let small companies focus their resources on their core business. It also frees up time and money to grow into new markets, acquire new customers, and find ways to better serve their existing customers.

So it’s little surprise that small companies are embracing managed services. According to TechAisle’s recent survey of U.S. SMB market trends, the SMB managed services market will grow from $7 billion in 2011 to $12 billion in 2015. By then, at least 40 percent of small companies’ support and maintenance will be delivered via managed services.

Good for the small business, good for the network

Managed services are good for the business in general, and they’re also good for IT in particular. Small companies can outsource the critical day-to-day support and maintenance of their network to a service provider that really understands small business IT.

Ask your managed service provider (MSP) if its offering utilizes Cisco’s Smart Care or Cisco OnPlus. These services enable partners to regularly assess the network, monitor the network for problems, perform remote maintenance—including firmware updates to keep your equipment up to date—and even alert your provider when service contracts and warranties will expire.

Managed services can actually improve small companies’ IT—the MSP provides networking know-how and sophisticated network monitoring tools that small businesses just doesn’t have. Through ongoing network monitoring, the MSP can help cut down or even eliminate IT emergencies like a misconfigured switch. This helps improve network availability, so small businesses can avoid unplanned downtime.

Contracting with an MSP is, for most small companies, more cost effective than bringing comparable IT skills in house. In general, MSPs offer their services either through flexible, pay-as-you go plans, so you pay only for what you use, or as a predictable, manageable monthly fee that doesn’t change through the life of the service contract.

Managed services can be a really good deal for small companies. They can keep their employees focused on core business demands and new revenue-generating opportunities while making sure their networks are reliable, speedy, and available.

What part of your network would benefit from being outsourced as a managed service?