Your business’s tech assets are incredibly important. Technology is an integral part of all business operations these days – for even the most menial tasks. So, it is no wonder that enterprise spending on IT support has increased significantly over the past decade. It is even predicted to peak at just under $1.2 trillion in 2022.
However, many smaller businesses are still holding back from getting the IT support they need. Since they cannot fund a full-time internal IT team or only need help from time to time, SMBs often rely on a few tech-savvy employees to get the job done.
But IT support is crucial for businesses of any size to succeed for countless reasons. What business owners often fail to realize is that IT support companies provide far more services than just trouble-shooting internet connection issues.
Here’s everything you need to know about what outsourced IT support in Berkeley can do for your local business.
Why is Outsourced IT Support Important for SMBs?
First, let’s clarify what an IT support company is.
IT support services are often called Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Companies can outsource whatever IT services your business needs through them.
IT support companies are there to help with all internal technology-related systems your business uses. This usually includes (but is not limited to):
So, why is this important for small businesses?
Reduce Technical Downtime
Technical issues can slow your business down big time. If your computers aren’t connecting to the internet or your servers are malfunctioning, your business will be losing money. Not only are you missing out on sales and revenue potential, but there is also the lost productivity and repair costs.
It is estimated that IT downtime costs businesses $1.55 million every single year – and about 545 hours of employee productivity is lost as well. For a small business, this number is quite staggering.
Having an IT support team available to step in and fix an issue quickly is a huge advantage. Further, they can help to prevent future problems by monitoring your network and keeping systems updated to avoid common problems.
Small businesses are at an unfortunately high risk of cyberattacks. Hackers often target smaller companies specifically because they tend to have less protection on their digital assets. A data breach or hack can be devastating for an SMB. Around 60% of small companies shut down permanently within six months of a cyberattack.
IT support teams help increase your company’s digital security through several approaches. First, they will install firewalls and antivirus software. They will also offer employee training to help them learn the signs of common cyberattacks, such as phishing scams.
Finally, MSPs are responsible for monitoring your entire network to prevent cyberattacks. Hackers will use all kinds of approaches to infiltrate internal databases. Your business needs IT experts on its side to stop them.
Improve Internal Operations
Communication and productivity tend to go hand-in-hand in a business. When employees struggle to share crucial data or contact each other, it makes everything far more difficult. IT support teams can help by providing better, faster systems for digital communication.
One way they do this is through software and hardware upgrades. Outdated tools and technology can hamper productivity immensely. IT teams can help you find better solutions, such as more efficient resources for internal and external processes.
Some IT support companies even offer communication and connectivity solutions to integrate the latest technology. This involves designing a customized plan to increase network speeds and create more effective communication systems.
Hiring internal IT support is not often an option for many small businesses. First, this requires adding another full-time employee to the roster, which some companies cannot afford. Second, not all companies really need to have an IT team at the office at all times.
Outsourcing IT support through an MSP is far more affordable for SMBs. Many IT support companies offer scalable service-level agreements. This allows you to choose the level of service your company needs to be based on your size, goals, and budget. You still have access to 24/7 support and you can add on more services as needed.
Disaster Recovery and Backup
Finally, having an IT support team can give you peace of mind that all of your company’s data is protected. Say that your office is flooded or ruined in a fire. If all of your information is kept on internal servers, it could be lost forever. MSPs offer disaster recovery and data backup to ensure that all your data is securely stored in off-site locations.
What Does IT Support Include?
Managed IT support is designed to cover the full range of services companies need to operate and grow. These can be customized based on your business’s specific needs, but MSPs typically include the following services with IT support:
IT issues don’t always occur during typical business hours. Thankfully, MSPs are available around the clock to step in and address any troubles quickly. Your employees can contact the support desk for help over the phone or through virtual communication tools to resolve any end-user issues.
Smaller businesses are not necessarily known for using the latest technology. Upgrading to cutting-edge tech can be quite intimidating – but IT support teams can help. MSPs will offer scalable services to find new, better solutions that align with your company’s goals and objectives.
As mentioned before, SMBs are quite vulnerable to cyberattacks which can destroy their company. IT support teams offer 24/7 monitoring and will implement security solutions to reduce these risks.
Professional IT Support
With an MSP, your company has access to true IT experts at all times. This gives you an incredible advantage. IT professionals will help you implement new programs and integrate IT infrastructure to help your business thrive.
Do I Need IT Consulting Services?
Berkeley is home to some of the fastest-growing technology companies in the country. Some even are predicting that this city will be the next Silicon Valley, thanks to the numerous tech startups launching in the area.
So, to keep up with competitors in your area, you must use the latest information technology. IT consulting services from MSPs can help your company find specific solutions to take your business to the next level.
IT consultants will work with your company to pinpoint current weaknesses and optimize solutions. These often include:
Should I Find IT Support in Berkeley?
There are many remote IT support providers around the country – but is it best to go local? The answer here is yes. While MSPs do offer support virtually and can handle most IT services remotely, it is best to work with IT Support in the Berkeley area for several reasons.
First, you may need in-house assistance for some services. For example, say that you decide to upgrade to new computers and programs. The IT support team will coordinate with local technology partners to deliver and set up these services for you. So, you’ll want to work with a company in the area to connect you with trustworthy, reliable experts.
Cybersecurity and IT issues can be location-based, too. Say that your area is hit with a bad storm that knocks out network connections in the entire city. You’ll want to know that your IT support in Berkeley is aware of the situation and is doing all they can to resolve your issue.
Another possibility is a localized cyberattack. A recent report published by UC Berkeley explained that smart cities that utilize more technology are at a high risk of location-based cyberattacks. This research was published around the same time that the university was the victim of a targeted attack where thousands of employee’s data got leaked.
Working with a local IT support company is advantageous as their team is more aware of location-based attacks that could threaten your business. They also understand your needs far better than an IT group located in another city, state, or country ever could.
What Should I Do Next?
IT support services are important for every business, no matter the industry or its size. The type of services you receive can also be customized based on what your company requires so you have the support you need to grow your business.
Be sure you are hiring an MSP that will give you the exact support and services you need – not more, not less. When searching for an IT support partner, be sure to ask:
Goal of post: This post will build credibility, answers all of the big questions on the topic, then ends with a call to action. It is aimed at business owners in the Berkeley area to educate them and list the benefits of IT support.
It's no exaggeration to say small businesses drive the U.S. economy. Around one-half of all domestic economic activity derives from small businesses.
Small businesses often have to pick and choose which supportive departments (marketing, IT, HR) they can afford. In today's tech-based economy, you should consider IT support as an essential part of your business plan, and here's why.
What Can IT Support Do for Me?
IT services are integral to today's business environment because commerce and services rely on computer technology. An IT consultant or IT professional has training and experience solving computer system problems. IT services can solve problems with networking, software glitches, and even electronic hardware.
Here are some common problems that can be solved by IT services.
IT professionals can help your company salvage lost information. Data can often be extracted from crashed hard drives, for example.
The loss of internet access can be restored with the help of IT support. IT staff are there to help with Wi-Fi issues and other network-related problems.
Disruptions of company software can mean lost revenue. IT support staff fix software issues for customers and business staff.
Management of Cloud Services
Cloud services now store the majority of data for many companies. The loss of access to the cloud requires prompt IT support.
In past decades, IT services basically involved fixing hardware issues like crashed hard drives. Today, those teams handle computer systems, cloud platforms, electronic hardware, device networking, and software applications.
Top Reasons You Should Not Go Without IT Support
Entrepreneurs and small business owners are tasked with doing a lot with minimal staff. The nature of small business ownership requires maintaining a small overhead in order to maximize profits.
It may be tempting to simply publish a website and wait for sales to come in, but companies that forgo IT support risk frustrating customers. Here are the top reasons why small businesses should have IT support.
Outsourcing IT Services Boosts Productivity
An overstretched small business team will inevitably falter on customer service. Only a trained professional can handle technology problems that you may face. Hiring professional IT services or outsourcing those services frees your other team members to focus on servicing customers.
IT Services Work in Tandem With Your Company's Strategic Goals
Business leaders often forget that IT services can help a company reach its long-term goals. Many business-related problems can be solved when they are IT managed. If your business is not recording customer data in an efficient manner, you may be losing an important base for future revenue. Even when this data is saved, it may not be stored for easy access. These are all IT-related problems that an IT company can address. IT professionals can work remotely or in-house. The tech-savvy professionals should be included in discussions on strategic planning. IT specialists have insights that non-IT team members may not have.
Protection From Ransomware and Other Online Threats
The recent ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline Company is only the most recent reminder that cyberattacks are costly. The owners of that company had to pony up $4.4 million to the hackers. Cyberattacks are on the rise, especially in the U.S., where companies continue to fail to safeguard their digital assets. IT consultants protect your company from damaging ransomware attacks. The DHS recently announced that 50% to 70% of ransomware attacks in the United States target small to medium-sized companies. The federal government is taking steps to combat cybercrimes, DHS said.
IT Services Can Be Affordably Outsourced
Small businesses may not have the funds to hire full-time IT personnel. Like other business sector services, IT support can easily be outsourced. Contracting with remote IT services allows businesses to benefit from immediate IT services without the need for adding full-time staff. With remote services, you will not have to wait for IT staff to physically reach your office. Desktop sharing software can allow remote IT support to fix technical problems in real-time.
One decade ago, cloud-based services were far less common. Now, business owners are expected to have some type of cloud-based network service. Advances in data storage, network security, and artificial intelligence need updates. These updates include both software and hardware. If your company does not have access to IT consultants, you may be missing access to professionals who can keep your digital infrastructure up to date.
IT Services Handle More Than You Might ThinkWhile some may cling to the perception that IT professionals are there to swoop in to find lost passwords or fix crashed computers, the truth is quite different. The profession has grown to include email marketing, social media content management, and a wide range of tech-related services. If you are in the market for an IT company, ask if that company provides email marketing services like weekly newsletters. Many IT companies go several steps further by analyzing marketing campaigns. They then provide advice on how to better reach new clients. IT support can become one of the most cost-effective resources your company invests in.
Think IT Services Are Dispensable?
IT support should be an integral part of any business plan. The availability of remote IT support and IT consulting has made that option more affordable and effective than ever.
Our team of 15 full-time employees is here to help you reach your business and IT goals. We currently support 1,000 endpoints with locations throughout the nation. Our responsive team can provide solutions to all your information needs.
To learn more, contact our Bay Area office to schedule a meeting so we can assess your technology needs. We will then provide you with a proposal that explains all the benefits our team can bring to your business.
Businesses in Berkeley and throughout the country are at a high risk of cybersecurity issues, especially if they are smaller organizations. Companies with less than 250 employees have the highest phishing rates compared to larger corporations. What is even more alarming to note is that over one-third of business leaders have no plan for what to do in the event of a data breach.
As technology becomes an even more integral part of business operations, the threat of leaks, hacks, and theft will only increase. But the best offense against cybercrime is a good defense.
That’s where IT security providers come in.
1. What is IT Security Exactly?
Most business owners are aware of common threats, such as hackers and cyberattacks. But they naively assume that password protection and perhaps some antivirus software is enough to keep their digital assets safe.
True IT security goes a step further by monitoring all digital databases and networks to mitigate risks and stay compliant. An IT consulting service provides strategies and solutions to prevent security incidents. This stops unauthorized access to databases, networks, and servers to ensure that all of your company’s sensitive information is kept secure.
Businesses face many cybersecurity risks, such as malware, ransomware, and phishing scams. These types of cyberattacks can be incredibly expensive to resolve. According to Accenture’s report, it costs companies an average of $13 million to resolve these IT security issues.
IT security consultants work one-on-one with your company to design systems and install solutions to protect your IT assets. Your company needs protection from all areas – but each company has its own vulnerabilities and technical issues that need additional support
2. What are the Greatest Risks my Business Faces?
Every single business that uses technology in some manner is at risk for cyberattacks. While hackers are typically looking for financial information such as credit card numbers, they want to steal other sensitive data, too. They can sell this information, use it for their own purposes, or even hold it hostage and demand payment.
IT security for Berkeley businesses is crucial, no matter how large or small your organization may be. Just recently, a cybersecurity attack targeted at UC Berkeley leaked the personal data of many UC employees. This data breach was believed to be caused by a secure file transfer service that was compromised.
But it is not just large organizations that are at risk – small companies can become victims to these attacks. And unless you are super tech-savvy yourself, you may not understand what these cybersecurity risks are, how to occur, and how to protect your business.
According to a report from Vox, the most common IT security issues businesses face are malware, including viruses, phishing, and Trojan horse attacks. All of these can lead to data breaches and cost businesses millions of dollars to resolve. However, a security issue can do irreparable damage to the company’s reputation – which is why many businesses shut down within a year of a data breach.
Computer Viruses and Malware
Malware is an umbrella term that refers to any type of software that is used for malicious purposes, such as to intercept data. A virus is a type of malware that uses code to replicate within a program and spread into databases and networks. Other types of malware include ransomware, Trojan horse attacks, and spyware.
These are commonly distributed through online programs, such as downloaded files or disguised links. Anti-virus software can help to stop a good portion of common malware attacks and will protect servers and computers from damage.
Hackers will often try to infiltrate company data through Phishing scams. These are often sent through emails, text messages, or advertisements posing as a legitimate organization requesting information.
According to Verizon’s report, the majority of malware incidents came directly through email attachments. Employees typically will receive emails seeming to come from a client or lead asking for information. They may even appear to be coming from someone within the organization – so it is quite easy for people to fall prey without realizing it!
Lack of Recovery Plan
One IT security issue that companies often overlook is their lack of preparedness in the case of a cyberattack. Most business leaders have no idea what they should do in case of a data breach – and few companies have internal IT support systems with the resources to resolve a major issue.
Taking action as quickly as possible is the best approach, of course. But scrambling to find an IT security team to handle the issue at a moment’s notice is certainly not the best plan of attack. Instead, it is far better to be prepared with a proactive IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) before any real issues arise.
No Security Training
When we think of cyber threats, we usually imagine someone typing away on a computer in a dark room guessing passwords, and hacking into databases. However, the leading cause of data leaks is actually simple human error – typically from employees.
Unless they are specifically responsible for technical support, chances are your team is not well-educated on IT security. Sadly, most employees have no idea how to keep their company’s data secure. and they often put their business at risk with common bad habits.
3. How Does IT Security Prevent These Attacks?
There are many approaches that IT security providers use to offer comprehensive protection. First, they will evaluate your company’s weaknesses and provide actionable solutions. IT security focuses on preventing these types of attacks from occurring in the first place, rather than stopping it once it has already infiltrated the network.
As mentioned before, employee errors are often the root cause of many IT security issues. While these mistakes cannot be prevented 100% of the time, IT consultants can help to reduce these risks through education and training.
Consultants will work with your team to provide some basic cybersecurity training. This will help them to identify any potential malware red flags and note any signs of data breaches or attacks.
IT security teams can help to reduce this risk with monitoring and access control to ensure that common security mistakes are avoided. This prevents employees from accidentally accessing or sharing data above their clearance – and it leaves a digital trail to track all actions.
Unauthorized users can easily access data through your business’s network if firewalls and security systems are not put in place. IT security services will analyze any vulnerabilities, such as spyware, DDOS attacks, and viruses.
Once these issues have been resolved, IT consultants will offer technical solutions such as software and tools to increase network security. Unified Threat Management networks create a barrier to protect any devices from security threats.
The devices that your employees use can also lead to IT security problems. Unfortunately, remote working situations have led to an increase in cyberattacks. According to a report from Malwarebytes, 20% of recent security breaches have been caused by remote workers. Oftentimes, this is because employees are using their personal computers, devices, and networks to access sensitive data.
Endpoint protection helps to reduce the risk of remote hacks through laptops, phones, and any other devices workers use. This will protect them from ransomware or viruses which can infiltrate devices through unsecured network connections.
The best way to ensure that all of your company’s data is backed up and stored securely is through cloud-based computing. This ensures that none of your information will be lost during a security breach or even a natural disaster that could destroy internal servers.
IT consultants will facilitate the transition to safely and securely transfer databases into a secure cloud-based system. All information is closely monitored and protected for secure access.
Security emergencies don’t often occur during typical office hours. Sadly, this is why having internal IT support is not always effective, since they cannot protect their company’s network 24/7.
With IT security teams, you will have round-the-clock remote monitoring and support. IT pros will be watching and alert you of any unusual or suspicious behavior. They will resolve technical issues quickly to reduce downtime and increase your team’s efficiency and productivity.
How Do I Get Better IT Security?
Outsourcing your IT security to an MSP is typically the best option for growing businesses – especially smaller ones. This is far more affordable and effective than hiring internal IT professionals. Plus, you receive the added benefit of round-the-clock service in case of any emergencies or issues.
It is important to evaluate your company’s specific needs when choosing a Berkeley IT security provider. For instance, if you are starting from scratch in terms of cloud-based systems and security, then you will want an MSP with consulting services to guide you. You may also want to hire a team that offers security training for employees.
Over to You
The constant fear of cyberattacks and security issues can prevent you from focusing on what really matters with your business. Thankfully, hiring a professional IT security and consulting service can alleviate this stress by offering true digital protection.
What does your IT security plan look like? If you don’t know, you’re more than likely vulnerable. Get in touch with a security expert at Precision IT to figure out the next steps to getting protected.
Precision IT Consulting Help Desk is a team of experienced and certified professionals that provides daily strategic support for businesses.