Reach your IT peak: Conquering the outsourcing mountain

As you’ve heard us mention before, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to outsourced IT support – what will work for an SME in its early stages, won’t be suitable for one that’s fully established.

It’s crucial that businesses take stock and assess what stage they’re at on their corporate journey, so this can be mirrored in the IT support they seek. But, as an SME business owner, how do you know the level of IT support needed to help you #ReachYourITPeak?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we look at three common support tiers – start-ups, scale-ups and established SMEs – to help you better understand your organisation’s IT assistance requirements.

IT support for start-up SMEs

Every journey has a beginning and every business needs the basics when it comes to IT support, but – so that we’re all on the same page – what do the seemingly obvious ‘basics’ look like?

At the heart of any successful organisation, desktop, server and third-party software support is fully covered. In layman’s terms, this means that you should have a go-to team to help you with anything from hardware or Windows-related issues, through to disk space errors, and even nuisance problems with printer and scanner devices.

Then, when it comes to security, you should be equipped with several things… Email archiving, anti-virus and anti-spam protection, as well as patch and Wi-Fi security management.

Again, what this really means is that your IT infrastructure has the optimum defence level that it requires. Because computer viruses and unwanted emails can happen at any time of day, your support needs to monitor, scan and update your systems on a regular basis, keeping your protection levels high and e-clutter to a minimum. This doesn’t only lower the chance of hackers being able to access your company data, but it also keeps everything running smoothly and user access under control. Also, because accidents sometimes happen, it’s handy to have a 30-day safety net that allows you to recover a deleted email.

Surely there can’t be anything else a start-up SME would need for its IT support? Well aside from the basics, a few extra perks wouldn’t go amiss! A remote back-up facility is super useful, as it saves your important documents at frequent intervals, allowing for easy retrieval of information in the event of a natural disaster or power outage.

At Q2Q, we know that sometimes, if you have a query, it helps to talk things through. So, make sure you hire a company that dedicates consultancy time to you and your SME – you deserve it!

IT support for scale-up SMEs

For SMEs that have left their primary stages and are on the next stage of their journey, all of the above comes as standard, but due to their increase in size and system complexity, they call for a few, little enhancements.

For example, you may have multiple servers and third-party devices that need assistance, but when it comes to those pesky printers and scanners, you’d likely benefit from some best practice advice too. And, when it comes to email archiving, having a support option that offers one year of off-site storage may be a godsend – particularly if you have a case management section within your company.

For the security side of things, an advanced upgrade on the basic package keeps bigger SMEs safe. This would mean being equipped with added URL protection – preventing the possibility of accidental click-throughs to infected websites – and additional anti-malware cover, reducing the risk of ransomware attacks.

Management supplements would also be useful for scale-ups, as this would give you device control, in addition to firewall and remote-user management. This type of support permits the disablement of USB devices, meaning only authorised memory sticks are able to sync with your systems.

Also, with teleworking becoming an ever-larger part of an organisation’s operations too, having support that extends to remote workers – maintaining secure connectivity – is a popular desirable for most scale-ups.

Perks are applicable to all firms – no matter their size – so with a mid-scale package, bonuses such as Adobe Creative Cloud or accountancy support, could help to offer you peace of mind that set-up and maintenance of these applications are taken care of.

IT support for established SMEs

Last but not least, it’s time to talk about those SMEs that have surpassed the start-up and scale-up days, and who are now at the top of their business game.

All the details listed in the tiers above are essentially boosted – with a few extras – to meet the support requirements for larger SMEs.

When it comes to the archiving of emails, 30 days or one year may not be enough for organisations with higher volumes of email communications and sensitive data. So, that’s why a package that offers a three-year reserve may be a more attractive option.

There’s another layer of security that’s recommended for larger SMEs – that we haven’t covered above – and that’s the implementation of an annual data recovery test. This effectively works like a disaster drill, ensuring that all back-up components work soundly in the event of a real-life incident.

In life, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so enshrining your firm in security extras such as two-factor authentication and email data detection decreases your cyber-vulnerability even further. In a nutshell, these fancy-sounding solutions simply prevent unauthorised account access, limit offline devices, and stop employees from disclosing sensitive data via email – it’s all very clever technology!

To round-up, when you’re flying high in the SME world, you may require some more ‘specialist’ perks – especially if you have more complicated software installed on your systems! That’s why more targeted benefits – such as update management of bespoke software and video conference support – may be services worth looking out for in a supplier.

If you’d like to find out whether your SME is receiving the level of IT support it needs, why not register for a free IT audit, today? Or for more information, contact our friendly team of IT professionals!

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    Technical IT Support illustration at Q2Q HQ Lancaster, Lancashire and the North West