Why I.T. Support Is Important
Businesses today need technology. It plays an essential role in any organisation, big or small. Technology is often one of the largest investments in a business. So you should also invest in looking after it.
This is where professional IT support is required. If your technology fails the effects on your business can be catastrophic. But IT support is about prevention and compliance as well as solving problems when they arise.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the issues that business can face when they have poor IT. For many moving to remote working was easy. They had the technology and the plans in place. But for others it was almost impossible and has even led to businesses failing.
In this article we will talk about just some of the reasons why professional IT support really is vital to your business.
Protection Against Cyber Crime.
Whilst it’s the attacks on large companies such as Boots and Facebook that make the news the latest Government Security Breaches Survey found that almost half of businesses (46%) and a quarter of charities (26%) report having cyber security breaches or attacks in the last 12 months.
Among this 46 per cent of businesses that identify breaches or attacks, more are experiencing these issues at least once a week in 2020 (32%, vs. 22% in 2017).
You may have anti-virus software and a certain amount of knowledge. But do you know how to detect and avoid the full spectrum of malware and viruses? An IT support team can help defend your IT infrastructure against digital threats. This is increasingly important in a world where cyber crime is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.
Effective Solutions to Tricky Problems.
You might know how to work your company’s systems. But if something goes badly wrong do you know what to do? (and turning it off and back on again doesn’t always work!) How long can you afford to be without your systems before it starts to affect your customers and therefore your business?
It is estimated that in 2018 internet downtime cost UK business £742m. Yet most connectivity problems can be fixed quickly by technical experts over the phone. Many can even be prevented before they occur through proactive monitoring.
Even if you are using software that comes with customer support it can help to have a dedicated IT Support team on-hand. They may be able to fix the issue for you faster than your software provider’s support team pick up the phone.
A professional IT support team can analyse most technical troubles and deliver highly-skilled solutions.
Data Storage, Management and Security.
The new General Data Protection Regulation (the GDPR) came into force in May 2018. This is a major tightening of the regulations around data protection.
The most significant change was an increase in the amount of money regulators can fine companies who do not comply with the legislation. Fines cane be up to 4% of their global turnover or 20m euros (£15.8m), whichever is greater.
The biggest fines issued under GDPR so far in the UK went to British Airways (£20m) and Marriot International (£18.4m). But SME’s have been fined significant sums too.
The charitable organisation The Bible Society, with a turnover of approximately half a million, was fined £100,000. It stored personal data on an insufficiently secure internal network. This was deemed by the ICO to grant inappropriate remote access rights and was accessible via an ‘easy-to-guess’ password.
The Bible Society is not the only charity with hefty fines for data breaches. The RSPCA has been fined £25,000 and the British Heart Foundation £18,000.
Life at Parliament View Ltd, London based Estate Agent, was fined £80,000 for leaving 18,610 customers’ personal data exposed for almost two years.
So it’s time to start taking data protection very seriously.
The role of an IT Support team is to make sure your data is stored in a secure environment. They make sure it is easily accessible but only to the people that are allowed to view it.
Without the support of a professional IT team you could end up storing data in a vulnerable location. Or giving access to somebody without the right permissions. This can be a big issue where data protection is concerned.
What To Look For in a Great I.T. Support Team
Follow this advice to ensure you end up with a reliable and competent team that can really help your business.
Responsiveness – when you’re reliant on a system and it goes wrong you need it fixed quickly. Look for a service that gives you a guaranteed response time, and several ways to make contact. If your internet is down, you don’t want a provider who’s only contactable by email or online chat!
Cost – Cost shouldn’t be your top priority, but your budget will of course play a part. Get more than one quote and meet with someone from the IT Support provider. We’d recommend visiting the provider. That way you can meet the people that will be looking after you. Not just the Salesperson.
Make sure the quotes all include the same things. If the price is very low, you might have to pay extra for additional services such as onsite support. Also look out for providers who add a lot of extra services that you don’t need or understand.
Knowledge – Ask the provider to show you what qualifies them to keep your systems running. Look for experience and ask about engineers’ qualifications and continuing professional development. The world of IT is constantly changing, what are they doing to ensure that staff keep up?
Flexibility – It should be easy to alter your contract. Things in business change. Look for an IT support provider that can change with you. Long contracts often mean inflexibility; if the service is up to scratch then they will be confident you’ll keep using them.
Your IT systems are vital to your business make sure you get the right kind of support to look after them.
Our MD has been in business for over a decade and in IT for a lot longer. (Though he might not like us saying that last bit!)
If you’d like a chat with him about IT, cyber security or how we might be able to help your business then please book some time in his diary.