Reducing Business Risks by Outsourcing IT
Every business, large or small, faces risks. That doesn’t mean that business leaders can’t do everything in their power to avoid them. A company’s IT infrastructure, and the way its employees use the company’s technology, is one area of potential risks that tends to be overlooked. Unfortunately, when employees don’t always understand how to solve an IT issue when one occurs, they’re left helpless and their business suffers.
One great reason for outsourcing your company’s IT services is to mitigate these potential technology-related risks. Because you’re working with a team of professionals who have experience with businesses of all sizes and IT issues of all types, you can count on them to work more quickly and with less error than if you were to try to handle the issue alone.
These are some of the risk-reducing benefits you can expect by outsourcing your IT services.
General IT Problem Prevention
While it may be easy to blame the computer when a problem arises, there are many cases in which the user is the one who caused the issue. For example, if a company sets up its IT infrastructure incorrectly, things might not work the workers expect them to. Other times, an employee might forget his password or somehow lock himself out of his employee account. A worker might even spill coffee on his computer. As silly as these issues may seem, they’re problems that take time to fix.
On the other hand, technology-related problems sometimes arise outside of employee control. Take aging hardware, for instance. Over time, computers and hard drives are more likely to fail – something you’ve surely experienced. Or, in some cases, newly-installed software may cause issues with something else, leaving you to find out where the discrepancy is and how to solve it. These problems, which an outsourced IT team could solve without issue, might take your team all day to sort out.
Disaster Prevention and Recovery
Most likely, your business is prepared to deal with disasters. You’ve probably trained your employees in the event of a fire or tornado, and you’ve enrolled your business in insurance to protect against disasters. Your IT infrastructure deserves similar attention. A natural disaster can cause permanent damage to your company’s technology, affecting things like your computers or any servers you have on site. If your data isn’t backed up, the data contained in that equipment could be lost forever.
It doesn’t take a full-on disaster to harm your business. Even smaller incidents, like a flood or a power outage, can cause downtime that your company doesn’t want to face. After all, when your computers are down and you can’t work, you’re losing money from lost productivity and potential sales. There might even be situations that you don’t think of, such as an employee losing a phone, that an outsourced IT team can help anticipate and prepare you for.
The world of technology is always changing, and businesses are often charged with keeping up with the times, even when they feel the effort isn’t worth it. This isn’t just a case of buying into new fads, however. Things like operating system updates and security patches are necessary to keeping your technology working correctly and your business safe from people with bad intentions.
A professional outsourced IT team will help you stay on top of any changes you need to make to your IT operations. They can also recommend hardware, software, and procedures that will keep your business goings-on safer than if you were working alone. Without a team of experts to guide you, you’re more likely to keep your infrastructure open to attacks.
Protection Against Threats
While some risks to your technology come from pure happenstance–such as an employee mistake or an outdated operating system–other risks are intentional and malicious. Most companies rely heavily on computers that are connected to a network; a network that is left unsecured or a device that isn’t properly locked can allow intruders to access sensitive data you keep on your devices. That could be information about your employees, clients, and business practices, all of which you don’t want falling into the wrong hands.
Malware is an example of a recent threat that’s recently caused much concern. When a thief targets someone with malware, they essentially lock the victim out of their computer, offering the “key” back into their data in exchange for an exorbitant sum, usually in the thousands of dollars. Even when a business decides to pay the ransom-holder, there’s no guarantee that the thief will restore access to the files. In fact, this is exactly what happened to the Kansas Heart Hospital. Even if you don’t consider your business to host sensitive data, it’s important to keep your network protected, as you don’t want someone to be able to access and perform illegal activities using your connection.
Your outsourced IT team will have a lot of knowledge about potential threats that you may or may not be aware of, and they’ll be able to prepare you and your company’s data for any threats that may arise.
Staying Code Compliant
Whatever your business, you want to keep your customer data secure. But, depending on the nature of your work and the industry you work within, you may be responsible for staying code compliant. For example, when operating under HIPAA regulations, a company that suffers a data breach of 500 or more people is responsible for informing the government, the news media, and the affected individuals. Other violations can result in hefty fines that your company may or may not be able to afford. A leak of your company’s customer information, whether caused by employee negligence or a malicious attack, would have serious effects for your business.
It’s within your company’s interest to stay compliant with any codes your business may fall under, and that’s something that an outsourced IT team can help you with. Not only will they help you get set up so that you’re compliant from the beginning, but they’ll also help you monitor and secure your data so that you never violate code – for the safety of both your business and your customers.
Saving Time and Money
Businesses also face the risks of workplace inefficiency and poorly allocated capital, especially companies that are small and are just starting out. Oftentimes, a small company doesn’t have the need for a full-time systems administrator, let alone the budget or the time for hiring one to work on site. However, this doesn’t mean that a small business should ignore its IT needs.
Outsourcing is one of the most time and money-efficient ways of handling your company’s IT, especially if you’re a small business. The cost of an outsourced IT team is typically less expensive than the salary of an on-site systems administrator, so you’re already saving money. Plus, an outsourced IT team provides the added benefit of having multiple experts with years of experience being familiar with your IT needs. The bottom line is that if you’re a small business, you can count on getting better quality work for less cost by outsourcing your IT.
The mark of a good business is in how it handles risks. But, just as important is how a business forecasts and prepares for those risks. By outsourcing your IT needs to a team of professionals, you’re not only safeguarding yourself against all the things that could go wrong with your company’s IT – you’re also putting your company’s IT in good hands.