Picture this, you have a beautiful tree in your yard, you appreciate its beauty and shade but worry that one of the branches hangs ominously low over your roof. If you have a monthly landscaping service with the tools to remove the branch safely, you might ask them to take care of it during their next visit. Alternatively you might presume the branch is sturdy enough and decide not to spend money where it’s not seemingly needed.
But when that inevitable storm hits and you wake to the splintering crash of the branch dropping through the roof, ask yourself how much you have REALLY saved by not hiring a monthly landscaping service. Gardening and IT may seem worlds apart but the attitude of “if it’s not broken, why fix it?” is a surprisingly common one.
Of course, it’s human nature to think this way. We don’t like paying for repairs in advance, when they might not be needed. But this is a mindset you need to get out of when it comes to IT. Even a small office these days has several machines that are required to perform a range of functions, deal with thousands of files and make millions of calculations a second. What’s more, they have to do this while trying to run ever more sophisticated software and are under attack from hackers and viruses, not to mention kicks from frustrated staff whenever there’s a paper jam in the printer. Even if you’ve not experienced major problems so far, it’s not a case of if, but when.
Reactive support costs your business more
So it’s eventually happened. That aging hard drive on your CFO’s desktop which has been making grinding sounds for months has stopped working – and it contained all of your Account Receivables. You are going to need someone to come in and fix it if that’s even possible, and while you’re frantically calling around to find an IT service company, your accounting staff can’t collect or pay bills. This is the world of reactive IT support.
But if someone had been checking your networks and IT equipment every month or so, they’d have seen that the vital hard disk needed replacing and let you know. What’s more they’d have been able to back up its contents so, you had access to the data you need to work. This is how proactive, rather than reactive solutions can end up giving you a much greater return on your investment than you expect.
How Proactive support saves you money
If you are paying a Managed Services Provider (MSP) to look after your IT, they can carry out a range of tasks for the same monthly fee. Best of all, they are proactively monitoring your entire infrastructure 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that one of the experts on your MSP team can see potential problems before they grow and cause downtime. It is easier to fix problems when they begin rather than when they’ve spiraled out of control. If you’re using reactive IT support, chances are your IT issue is already massive by the time you call someone. And then you’ve got to spend more time waiting for him to diagnose the problem and fix it. In the meantime, ask yourself if you can operate without your computers or file access?
You can’t budget with a reactive IT approach.
Going back to our tree analogy. The person paying the landscaping service knows how much he needs to put aside each month and knows it’s always the same rate. The person with the tree branch lying in their home now has an enormous and unexpected bill to pay. You simply can’t budget for expenses that you don’t know are coming. You are just hoping, and probably praying, for the best. And when that nasty virus does hit, or your servers crash, will you know in advance how much it’s going to end up costing you? Proactive support means you are paying a fixed monthly fee; you know it’s coming and can work it into your budgets.
A dependable, secure network saves you money.
Of course, you may be lucky with your choice of reactive support and not suffer a major disaster that necessitates calling out the IT service company. But you are still actually losing money. This is because machines that are not regularly patched with the latest software updates will slow down and become a security risk. And the more time your staff are waiting for computers to boot up, open websites and complete tasks, is time wasted.
And of course, if you’re not constantly updating your system security, ensuring backups are scheduled and that firewalls and antivirus applications are being used correctly and are up to date – you can expect a disaster sometime soon. It has been estimated that there are nearly a million new malware threats released every day, but hackers don’t even need to be particularly innovative to attack you. Verizon’s 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report found that 90% of hackers rely on computer bugs that have been around since 2002 and target companies that haven’t got round to patching them. A proactive managed support team would have fixed this long ago.
Quite simply, except for very small companies relying on only one or two desktop computers, reactive IT just doesn’t make sense these days. Preventative IT maintenance with periodic hard- and software checks and diagnostics will improve network dependability and guarantee more uptime. It also helps to prevent any number of dangerous and potentially very expensive technical issues.
To end with our landscaping analogy, which method of gardening is most efficient? The one where you spend a couple of hours a week trimming the lawns and weeding the flowerbeds, or one where you leave everything to grow into a wild jungle? You probably already know the answer.
We are more than happy to fix your IT hardware and software here at IT Authorities, but we know you’d get more from a proactive partnership with us. Either way, we can find a way to improve your IT.