IT is at the front and centre of the business world but a significant number of SMEs in the UK do not have the financial clout to employ a dedicated IT support team. In many cases, embracing IT support-as-a-service makes more sense.
One of the primary reasons for the barrier is that today’s IT solutions often require specialist knowledge. And a team of IT specialists is a costly crew to assemble.
And expense is not the only issue. There’s also an IT talent shortage in the UK. A recent survey performed by Gigged.AI found that 90% of digital transformation professionals are “experiencing a tech skills shortage to ‘some extent’ while 74% are already experiencing it at a ‘large extent’”.
What’s more. In 2022, the British Chamber of Commerce reported that 25% of SMEs had concerns about the resilience of their tools to protect their business from emerging trends, whilst 22% had concerns about the security of their software.
If these concerns are valid, the future of a quarter of UK SMEs are at risk. On the one hand, inadequate performance tools impair your capacity to maintain high productivity and a competitive edge, whilst a lack of network security can leave you vulnerable to malicious attacks.
To stay ahead of the curve and on top of your game, it makes sense for UK SMEs to work with a managed IT support team. Embracing IT support-as-a-service enables you to install the most up-to-date tools, enhances the security of your business network and gives you access to IT specialists.
The Problematic Shift To Digital Transformation
Whilst the shift to digital transformation is generally viewed as a positive development, offering numerous benefits to businesses and society as a whole, it also presents certain challenges and issues that need to be addressed.
Surveys show that SMEs regularly encounter difficulties during digital transformation. Reports reveal that SMEs in the UK are lagging behind other countries due to cost and the skills gap.
With the increasing amount of personal data being collected and the obligation to protect customer data under GDPR, privacy concerns have naturally grown. Protecting individuals’ data and maintaining their privacy is a significant challenge in the digital era.
As businesses and individuals become more dependent on digital technologies, the threat of cyberattacks and data breaches also increases. Organisations must invest heavily in cybersecurity to protect sensitive information and systems.
Implementing digital transformation initiatives can be technically challenging. First of all, it requires knowledge of hardware, software, and expertise to set up the infrastructure, and IT professionals also need to know how to manage, analyse, prevent and troubleshoot issues that might arise.
Some SMEs may also have to deal with staff resistance to a culture shift, particularly the older generations. Whereas the younger generations bemoan companies that do not have the latest technologies and are known to turn down positions with companies that are not up to date.
How Can IT Support-as-a-Service Improve Your Business?
Customised network designed around your business needs
A business network should be designed to meet your specific requirements, ensuring optimal performance for your business applications and processes. It should be able to handle your data traffic efficiently, reducing latency, improving network speed and ensuring optimum uptime.
Designing a custom network tailored to your business needs offers several benefits. For example, custom networks can be designed with scalability in mind, allowing your network infrastructure to grow alongside your business without having to take reactionary and expensive measures further along the line.
Off-the-shelf networks may not address all your unique needs. A custom network allows you to prioritise traffic, ensuring that mission-critical applications receive the bandwidth and priority they require. This is essential for maintaining high-quality communication and service delivery.
Custom networks are also engineered for reliability. They can include redundancy measures to minimise downtime and optimise performance, and support advanced collaboration tools and communication systems which make it easier for employees to work together, even in remote or distributed environments.
Enhanced Data Protection and Management
Avoiding a data breach should be a priority for SMEs. If you suffer a data loss the financial strain and damage to your reputation could spell the end of your business.
Managed IT teams play a crucial role in enhancing data protection and management within an organisation by implementing robust security measures to protect data from threats.
General cybersecurity strategies include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, encryption, and access controls. When you adopt IT support-as-a-service you also receive 24/7 monitoring for unusual activity and the ability to promptly respond to incidents.
In addition, we can also set up network protocols and tools that restrict access to unauthorised users. Authorisation and role-based access controls prevent individuals from accessing sensitive information they do not need to see if it is not relevant to their day-to-day job.
This provision means you can erect point checks that unauthorised individuals cannot pass without the correct credentials. This makes it more difficult for threat actors to steal sensitive data.
Patch management is also a critical solution that most SMEs can benefit from. This service ensures that all software, including operating systems and applications, is updated with security patches as soon as new codes are released by software companies. Updates are essential for minimising vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cybercriminals.
For more information about patch management, I recommend reading our in-depth article, ‘This is why you need patch management services’. Seriously, patch management should not be undervalued, and certainly shouldn’t be ignored by SMEs with remote staff.
However, the crutch of your overall data protection and cybercrime defence strategy is educating your employees. When people know where cyber threats might come from, and how to identify them and prevent a data breach, your business network is significantly less vulnerable.
“88 percent of data breach incidents are caused by employee mistakes.”
Our IT support team provides ongoing training and awareness programs to educate employees about data protection best practices. From time to time, we also update our blog with reports about the latest hacking techniques SMEs are falling victim to.
Establishing incident response plans to address security breaches can also benefit SMEs that do not have in-house professionals who specialise in cybersecurity. This includes identifying and containing the breach, mitigating its impact, and reporting it to relevant authorities and stakeholders.
The purpose of incident response plans is to categorise data based on its sensitivity and importance, applying appropriate security measures to each category. This helps prioritise protection efforts.
Downtime in IT is inevitable in a digital workplace. IT Support-as-a-Service can minimise downtime by deploying certain strategies and advanced tools which are essential for maintaining the reliability and availability of IT systems and services.
Monitoring tools play a central role. They keep a constant eye on the performance and health of IT systems and can be set up with alerts that notify us of potential issues as soon as they arise.
This allows our IT support team to proactively respond and prevent downtime. Regular maintenance, such as software updates, hardware checks, and system optimisations also prevent issues before they occur.
On a technical level, our IT support specialists can design and implement redundant systems and failover mechanisms to ensure continuity in the event of hardware or software failures. This redundancy minimises the impact of potential downtime.
Another technique is load balancing. This strategy distributes network traffic evenly across multiple servers or resources, preventing overloads and ensuring that services remain available even during high-traffic periods.
Rigorous change management processes can also be implemented to ensure that updates, configurations, and modifications are carefully planned, tested, and documented to prevent unintended disruptions.
To enhance this service, our IT support professionals have well-defined incident response procedures in place. This enables us to quickly identify and resolve recurring issues and minimise the potential for downtime moving forward.
Regular backups and a robust disaster recovery plan are also useful to have in place. This ensures that data can be restored in the event of data loss, hardware failures, or other disasters such as fire or flood.
24/7 IT Support-as-a-Service Helpdesk
A 24/7 IT support helpdesk ensures that technical issues can be addressed at any time, including outside regular working hours. This minimises downtime and ensures that critical systems and services remain available.
With constant access to IT support professionals and specialist technicians, employees can quickly resolve technical problems, allowing them to remain productive and focused on their tasks. This translates to improved efficiency and workflow.
Not only that, but it’s often the case that technical issues can be addressed and resolved promptly, preventing minor problems from escalating into major disruptions. Micro Pro recognise that fast issue resolution is crucial for maintaining operational continuity.
If your business provides customer-facing services, our 24/7 IT helpdesk can ensure that customer inquiries and technical issues are addressed promptly wherever they are in the world. Our ability to enable seamless operations and customer services enhances customer satisfaction. The same applies if any of your employees work outside traditional office hours.
IT Support-as-a-Service Saves You Money and Maximise Profit
IT support teams perform regular maintenance and updates, identifying and addressing potential issues before they become major problems. This proactive approach helps avoid costly emergencies.
Moreover, Many IT issues can be resolved remotely, saving on the time and expense of on-site visits. Remote support can address problems more quickly, reducing downtime and costs.
Our IT experts are also familiar with the latest technologies and can recommend cost-effective solutions that meet your business needs. Subsequently, we help you to avoid overspending on unnecessary or unsuitable technology while ensuring you have the right tools for the job.
For example, you will probably need to build an IT stack consisting of several tools made by different software companies. The danger with mixing and matching is a question of compatibility, and when software does not communicate, bugs can bring the whole system down.
Our specialists seek to prevent downtime from the outset, but we also have an award-winning IT support team that quickly resolves technical issues as well. Less downtime means your employees can stay productive, and your business can continue serving customers without interruption.
IT Support-as-a-Service can automate and streamline processes, reducing the time and effort required for routine tasks. This increases productivity and operational efficiency whilst saving costs for tools, equipment and licenses you don’t need.
For example, by leveraging cloud services, IT support teams can help reduce the costs of maintaining on-premises hardware and software. Moreover, cloud services can offer flexibility and cost savings that give you more scope to enhance operations.
For more information about how cloud service can help you to make your operations more robust, read our article on the Benefits of a Microsoft Modern Workplace.
If required, our IT support team can also provide training and support for your employees to enhance their digital skills. This improves their efficiency and reduces errors.
IT Support-as-a-Service in London
It’s clear that SMEs in the UK can benefit from managed IT support-as-a-service. By investing in quality IT support and infrastructure, your business can operate more efficiently, reduce costs, and focus on revenue-generating activities. It’s essential to view IT support as an investment rather than an expense, as the benefits often far outweigh the costs.
However, the big question for you to answer is how you go about adopting a managed IT support team and which service provider you team up with. To help you reach that decision, take a look at our article ‘What you should expect from an IT support consultancy’.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us for advice. We’re happy to help!