Too many business owners fail to invest in IT until it’s too late. They don’t have IT consultants, and don’t conduct ongoing maintenance on their tech. The see IT service as an unnecessary expense, or otherwise can’t fit IT maintenance into their budgets.
But this view is problematic. By utilizing managed IT services, you can actually save your business money in the long-term—and in multiple important ways.
Network Maintenance vs. Recovery
Managed IT services often involve routine maintenance to make sure your devices, servers, and other network components are in good working order. Your devices will be kept up-to-date, your servers will be inspected and upgraded as necessary, and if you’re relying on cloud services, you can count on your IT provider to conduct these inspections on their end.
The cost of maintenance is relatively low—at least when you compare it to recovery. The warning signs of server failure are almost always there, but if you ignore them and keep using the network, it’s eventually going to break. If and when it does, you could lose data, you’ll suffer the costs of downtime, and you may need to rebuild everything from scratch. A low monthly fee, by contrast, is quite reasonable.
The Massive (and Increasing) Costs of a Security Breach
The cost of a data breach is already incredibly high, and it’s only getting higher. The average data breach today costs a business something like $3.86 million. Why is this so high? The number is partially skewed by high-profile attacks that cost businesses billions of dollars, but even small-scale attacks that target small businesses tend to be costly.
There are several sources of cost to consider:
- Attack identification and mitigation. In many cases, the attack is ongoing; if a denial-of-service attack is preventing your website from being accessed, or if ransomware is holding your devices hostage, you’ll need to take action to identify the threat. You’ll also need to find a way to abate it, to prevent any more records from being compromised or lost. This requires expertise.
- Immediate recovery. From there, you’ll need to work to immediately restore what you can. You’ll want your employees to be able to use their devices normally, and you’ll want your customers to be able to access your website and online services; again, it costs money and takes time to recover.
- Reputation and long-term recovery. In many cases, businesses are pressured to reimburse the customers who were affected by the data breach or security issue; this, too can be costly. You might need to send your customers a free gift, offer them a discount, or help them repay any debts taken on because of the breach; if you have lots of customers, this can be intimidatingly expensive.
- New safeguards and restoration. From there, you’ll need to install new safeguards to make sure you’re not the victim of this attack a second time. You were compromised initially because there was a vulnerability in your network; patching that vulnerability is an absolute must.
All of these costs are the direct result of a successful cyberattack—but by comparison, the cost of preventing a cyberattack is minimal. With IT experts helping you, you’ll be able to easily identify the weak points of your organization and find a way to close those gaps. For example, IT experts can test your network for weaknesses, keep your software updated, and help educate your other employees about the importance of cybersecurity (along with best practices for keeping your organization secure).
Management vs. Isolated Fees
It’s also important to realize that enlisting the help of an IT services provider as a monthly, regular service is superior to simply paying a one-off consultation fee every time you need help. That’s because monthly fees tend to be lower than individual consultation fees, at least compared to the amount of help and support you get.
Monthly management is also important because it gives you and your employees a lifeline; if something goes wrong or if they have a question, there’s always someone ready to help. Beyond that, a regular IT consultant will be able to help you identify what you don’t realize are problems—the unknown unknowns that can otherwise compromise your entire organization.
Striving for Cost-Efficiency
If your organization depends heavily on technology, whether it’s to do your core work or just to store customer information, it’s ideal for you to enlist the help of a regular IT services provider. While it may seem like a major investment, it’s worth it in the long run. With a qualified IT team on your side, you’ll be able to prevent the vast majority of cyberattacks and system failures, which could otherwise devastate your finances.