How Managed IT Services Fit Into Your Long-Term Strategy
By: Justin Krentz
We all know IT is an integral part of our business. It manages your people, processes, data, finances, and more. When it works well, your business runs efficiently. Any disruption can be detrimental, costing money, time, manpower, and compromising security. In the coming year, a majority of U.S. small and mid-size businesses are anticipating boosting their IT expenditures. According to one report, the global growth rate of IT spending by small to medium businesses (SMBs) is expected to climb 6.9% annually in 2024 and reach 8.3% annually by 2027. This is up from the $1.45 trillion that SMBs spent on IT worldwide in 2023. With all that’s being spent on IT, how can you determine the most beneficial IT investments for your business?
The new year brings a perfect opportunity to evaluate your IT strategy and align it with your long-term goals. It’s not just about the ability to spend on IT; it’s about making strategic choices that serve your businesses’ specific objectives. This is where leveraging the expertise of a managed IT service provider can be invaluable.
Benefits of Outsourced IT
Many large companies, like MGM Resorts and 23andMe have had major cybersecurity breaches in the past few months. Not every business has the resources that MGM Resorts and 23andMe have to address their cybersecurity deficiencies. Small and medium-sized businesses often face increased cybersecurity threats as they don’t have the dedicated resources of larger companies. According to Verizon’s 2023 Data Breach Investigation Report, the majority of incidents with confirmed data disclosure happened to businesses with less than 1,000 employees. Ninety-four percent of the threat actors were external. In today’s interconnected world, it’s not if a business will be subject to a cybersecurity attack, but when. Outsourced IT services are key when it comes to security.
Here are three additional areas where managed IT services can improve your business’s long-term strategy:
- Cost Efficiency:
An internal support model can be challenging to manage as you go through the ebb and flow of business. When do you hire? When do you fire? How do you build a team with the right skill sets?
With managed IT services, you get a cost-effective and reliable partner who can adjust your IT services tailored to your organization’s fluctuating needs.
- Access to Technical Matter Experts:
Security experts. Network experts. Backup and recovery experts. Cloud experts. Engaging a managed IT services partner as part of a long-term strategy gives you access to individuals who have focused skillsets to facilitate organizational goals rather than relying on a small internal team or single IT contact.
Having a team that’s focused on security is paramount, especially for those industries that have compliance standards (e.g., healthcare with HIPAA compliance) to adhere to. At any time, a major technological jump such as AI can happen. Not preparing for technological changes and advancements can lead to unexpected downtime, errors, or even security breaches. Another example would be Microsoft’s announcement that they will be deprecating Windows 10 on October 14, 2025. After this date, customers will no longer receive software updates, security updates/patches, or technical support for this operating system. Everyone running a Windows 10 machine will need to consider whether to upgrade, verify if their hardware is compatible, and/or purchase new hardware with Windows 11 operating system.
When relying on a single individual or small team, you can miss out on a lot of great technology or overinvest in tech that doesn’t make sense. A managed IT services team plays a crucial role in shaping your technology framework to support your organization’s ambitions, whether it’s growth or consolidation, and outlines detailed reasons for each decision.
- The Frontline of Tech Evolution:
Effectively leverage new technology, like AI, and ensure that it’s properly protected. Two decades ago, people didn’t know what the cloud was and now most businesses use it daily. Just a few years back, AI was a relatively unknown concept, but today it’s a crucial component in numerous businesses.
While predicting the next major technological advancement in the coming 24 to 48 months is challenging, not having a knowledgeable advisor to evaluate its implications for your business is next to impossible. With proper guidance, aligning your strategies can enhance security and boost productivity.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
Small and mid-size businesses are sometimes unaware of the options they have at their fingertips, like the ability to have certain operations in the cloud or having someone immediately quarantine and address a security threat.
I like to equate managed IT services to a skilled coach who excels in both defensive strategies, like blocking and tackling, and devising strategic game plans. They equip your organization with the right guidance and direction, identify technologies that align with and further your organizational goals, and ensure compliance with regulation frameworks. They also play a crucial role in budget development and planning, by helping you to avoid unexpected expenses. Essentially, they ensure your organization’s cybersecurity plan is robust and will adequately protect you against current and potential threats against current threats, while navigating the ever-changing terrain of the tech landscape.
When looking at a long-term IT strategy for your organization, I frequently ask my clients to consider these crucial questions and turn to professional guidance if you are unsure of the answers:
- How are you currently handling your IT services and support?
- Are you able to confirm that your data is properly secured?
- What are your biggest challenges with technology and what solutions could address them?
- Do you feel the technical support you provide your end-users (both internal and external) is adequate?
- Do you have a good handle on your IT inventory?
- What is your IT strategy for the next 12-36 months?
- How are you addressing compliance regulations (e.g., HIPAA compliance)?
These are the questions your managed IT service provider should be asking you. They, basically, become your IT department and will work with you to ensure the day-to-day IT activities and support you need are covered. At Vertilocity, we strive for a true partnership; one where we are actively engaged with senior management to offer expert advice on tech solutions, align budgets, and support in leveraging technology to achieve your goals. For gaps in your current IT services, particularly in security, strategic planning, and implementation, having a managed IT service provider like Vertilocity could be a headache-saver.
Your Tech Alignment Assessment
Businesses must do an internal assessment to evaluate the degree of confidence they have in their existing IT posture or else they may open themselves up to security vulnerabilities and reduced productivity. While you may love your current IT provider, I recommend clients do a Tech Alignment Internal Assessment each year to determine if their current provider is adequately positioned to accomplish your future business goals.
We understand the importance of aligning your technological infrastructure with your long-term business strategy. That’s why we’ve crafted the Tech Alignment Internal Assessment at Vertilocity. This assessment serves as a comprehensive evaluation tool to gauge your current IT posture and its synchronization with your business goals.
Why Take the Tech Alignment Assessment?
- Identify Focus Areas: The assessment is designed to help you pinpoint areas that require attention, improvement, or potential expansion within your IT infrastructure.
- Strategic Planning: Gain a comprehensive understanding of your business’s technological positioning and formulate strategic plans for the upcoming year. This assessment acts as a roadmap, highlighting strengths and weaknesses for a focused action plan.
- Enhanced Decision Making: Understand your IT landscape better. By knowing your strengths and weaknesses, you can make informed decisions regarding IT investments, security measures, compliance adherence, and future technological advancements.
- Tailored Recommendations: Receive tailored recommendations based on the assessment results. These insights can guide you on how to realign your IT strategy to better meet your business objectives.
The assessment is a confidential tool that helps you evaluate your current technological standing and creates a plan for the future. By providing us with some basic contact information, you’ll gain access to this valuable resource. It’s our commitment to assist you in optimizing your IT infrastructure for success. Take the Tech Alignment Assessment now to gain a clearer understanding of where your business stands.