If you manage a small business, you probably have a broader-than-average list of things to worry about on an ongoing basis. When things are going well, business is great and stress levels are low.  You may have considered outsourcing your IT but may have run into a few myths about the process that have kept you managing it all yourself.

Do any of these statements sound familiar?

  1. PCs are throwaway items, so I don’t need to repair them.
  2. I’m too small for anyone to want my data. I don’t need to spend money on security.
  3. I can take care of things myself.
  4. I haven’t had a problem for years. Why should I worry about it now?
  5. It’s too expensive.
  6. Only large companies need to track print utilization.

Even if you think you’re covered, you may be surprised to discover that there’s a cost or security exposure. Ask your IT support resource for more details.

Myth #1: PCs are throwaway items, so I don’t need to repair them

Over decades, IT hardware has decreased dramatically in price. Hardware is much less expensive (relative to speed and processing power) than it was ten years ago. This leads to the idea that you can measure the business value of a device based solely on its replacement cost.

FACT: Your email and applications are costly to switch, in terms of licenses, installation, migration, and adoption curve.

95% of STS service tickets are software-related, not hardware.

In addition, your data is not replaceable. Even if your mission critical data is not stored on a PC, but rather in a cloud application (Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, for example), you’ll have to re-import data. Not to mention, you’ll need to reload client applications.

You’ll also need to install and update operating systems; setup and re-enable security; import your preferences; re-map drives and printers, and so on.

These processes can take an inexperienced person an entire day, at a true rolled-up cost (labor, missed business opportunities, unhappy or lost customers) that might exceed the cost of managed IT services for an entire year.

Myth #2: I’m too small for anyone to want my data; I don’t need to spend money on security

You look at the total size of your operation and wonder, “We have nothing to steal. We’re not a target. I’m sure we’re under the radar.”

FACT: While it is true that highly publicized hacks (Target, Amazon, Google, etc.) are targeted, 99% of hacks occur for no other reason than simply because you are connected to the internet.

Most viruses and malware come through email. You use email, right? A virus or malware does not care how big or small you are.

Depending on the infection, an attack could require a total rebuild. This means spending days to resolve the situation and recover your data if possible. A malware attack could be worse: the mind behind it could encrypt all of your data and demand a costly “ransom” to return it to you.

Here’s what you have that cyber criminals want:

  1. Customer email addresses and physical addresses
  2. Phone numbers
  3. Billing addresses
  4. Credit card information
  5. Asset information
  6. Purchase records

If someone walked through the door and asked for this information, you would quickly escort them out. By implementing an IT security strategy you stop them before they enter their store, and if they get through security you have the muscle you need to safeguard your company data against threats.

Myth #3: I can take care of things myself

You only have a couple dozen individual user devices in house. You trust your employees to be careful, and some of them are using personal devices. All your key applications and data are in the cloud. The network is secured and you patch once a month or whenever you think about it. You can map new devices and troubleshoot as needs arise. No big deal.

Every day, millions of automated scripts are running throughout the internet looking for access points. Email attachments, browser exploits, real and fake software updates, very convincing phishing campaigns, “free” downloads with default installation settings for malware and bloatware, and increasingly, social media exploits.

52% of data security breaches occur due to human error or system failure, rather than malicious intent.

On a properly managed computer, an IT support system will scan thousands of data points every day looking for errors, countless entries in system logs, virus and malware alerts, Microsoft updates, third-party utility updates, and system capacity.

If an error goes unnoticed, it could result in a crashed system instead of a proactive fix. It is impractical for an individual person to stay up-to-date or to be proactive, given the volume of logs and updates that are generated every day.

Myth #4: I haven’t had a problem for years – why should I worry about it now

Outsourcing can solve several business challenges, prevent disruptions and uncover efficiencies to make things easier for you and your staff.  With the increase in system complexity, industry regulation changes, and the burden of anticipating and mitigating threats growing larger – outsourcing becomes easier.

According to the Deloitte Global Outsourcing Survey 2020, the top reasons for outsourcing break down as follows: cost (70%), flexibility (40%), speed to market (20%), access to tools and processes (15%) and agility (15%).  These attribute are attractive to any business leader no matter what size of business you oversee.

Outsourcing companies offer specific skills  and experience that goes beyond a stop-gap measure and provide preventative and strategic growth planning and security services for their customers.

Myth #5: IT management is too expensive

Right now, you may be weighing the cost of outsourcing management of IT support against the cost of “doing nothing.” While the cost of a service agreement is a fraction of hiring a full-time dedicated IT administrator, it still might feel like an “optional” expense that could be among the first line items to go.  This is why it is important to choose your outsourcing partner wisely.

FACT: Your information technology is a critical asset and represents the cost of doing business. It is the lever that can either stunt your growth if poorly managed, or allow you to multiply your efforts beyond your current capacity.

It may seem trite, but the question shouldn’t be, “Can I afford professionally managed IT?” but rather, “Can I afford NOT to have professionally managed IT?”

Try scratching out some numbers: what is an hour of downtime worth? In the event of a compliance violation, what fines might you be subject to? Can your business survive a catastrophic data loss? Can you withstand a lawsuit if your network infects another network?

Managed IT services are a proactive way to safeguard your data, your productivity and your business from unseen threats or normal failures. It is the cost of doing business today.

Myth #6: Only large companies need to track print utilization

One of the most common neglected areas of management is printing and copying costs. You look at the small number of multi-function copier-printers combined with a dozen laser desktop printers, perhaps even a handful of inkjets, and think, “This isn’t worth managing.”

51% of surveyed small businesses are not allocating any budget to risk mitigation

FACT: Print usually represents the third largest business expense after payroll and facility costs.

You probably look closely at every lease you sign and you carefully plan capital projects. You’re cautious about screening employee and vendor candidates and you balance expenses and costs against opportunities. Are you missing an opportunity to manage print costs, which could be as high as 3% of your revenue?

Not only does managing your print volume and operational costs give you good intelligence about where printing is occurring, it can also help you streamline your fleet of printers through better placement, higher utilization, and replacing unreliable devices with reliable ones.

Effective managed print services reduce costly company downtime resulting from printer issues. An hour of printer-copier downtime for a 50-person company may have a proportionately much bigger impact than an hour of downtime for one department of a 1,000-person enterprise. (Resource: Developing an effective print strategy for your organization.) 

The key to overcoming IT myths

Many small and midsized businesses are increasing their IT outsourcing when it comes time to scale their business or they have encountered repeating service failures that cause work stoppage or lead to bad customer service.

In fact, many small businesses owners are turning to service providers to help them with their company growth strategies and discussing preventative measures to prolong the life of their IT devices and eliminate device failures leading to work disruption.  The key is finding the right provider that will provide the service you need now, and scale with you as your company grows.

STS helps small businesses nationwide strategize, scale and secure their business without sacrificing quality or incurring outrageous expense.  If you want more information or have a myth you want to debunk, let us know.  You can give us a call, or chat with us directly on Facebook.