Learn about managed IT services and how they can benefit your Seattle business.It’s hard to resist Seattle’s charming appeal. Hailed as the sixth richest region in the USA (along with Tacoma and Bellevue), Emerald City is known for its shellfish, coffee, and booming economy. In fact, the Seattle metro area is currently the 10th largest economy in the country, according to an announcement by the Greater Seattle Partners.

Also, the city’s thriving tech scene has made waves across the nation. Apart from bigshots like Microsoft and Amazon, many small IT firms call Seattle their home. As per CBRE’s 2020 Scoring Tech Talent Report, Seattle has the third-best tech labor pool in North America.

As a business owner, you can easily leverage Seattle's many tech resources to enhance your overall productivity and efficiency.

However, all tech components require efficient management and maintenance. Without adequate tech support, your IT framework is at a greater risk of malfunctioning. At the end of the day, you may find yourself spending more time putting out technical fires than growing your business.

In case you don’t have enough finances for an internal IT team, you can outsource your tech management to a company offering IT services in Seattle.

But what all do IT services involve? Let’s find out.

Managed IT Services: An Introduction

Running a small business is far from being easy. As per the 2020 Small Business Credit Survey by the Federal Reserve Bank, 66% of employer firms faced financial challenges - and 43% found it difficult to pay for operating expenses.

Keeping a business afloat on a tight budget is daunting, to say the least. Add to that the cost of hiring more employees, and you have a recipe for disaster. Plus, IT  services labor in Seattle is expensive. The average salary of a tech support specialist in the city is $19.89 per hour, 28% higher than the national average.

So, is there any way to receive effective IT services in Seattle without jeopardizing your capital?

Thankfully, there is.

Enter providers of managed IT services in Seattle.

Once hired, these external agencies take the reins of your IT services management, charging a flat fee in return. The amount, payable either monthly or annually, depends on the services you opt for.

This is a much more cost-efficient alternative to hiring full-time salaried employees, where you may be paying for time and talent that you don’t require.

Generally speaking, a reputable MSP will offer a diverse range of services, including (but not limited to):

  • Comprehensive IT Support
  • VoIP Telephony Services
  • Network Security Checks
  • Cloud Computing Services
  • Vendor Management Services
  • Network Cabling Services
  • Data Management Services

Why Choose Managed IT Services?

There’s no doubt that Managed IT services providers serve as economical stand-ins for in-house tech departments. But they have a lot more to offer. Here are a few advantages of hiring an external IT services firm.

Aggressive Network Security Protocols

If you’ve fallen into the habit of pigeonholing your cybersecurity needs, these stats may change your mind.

  • A 2021 study conducted by Comparitech recorded 70 cyberattacks per minute.
  • In 2020, cyberattacks ranked fifth on The Global Risks Report. The likelihood of detecting and prosecuting organized cybercrime was found to be as low as 0.05% in the US.
  • According to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report, it takes a company an average of 207 days to identify a breach and 73 days to contain it.

Small businesses are most vulnerable to the following forms of cybercrime:

  • Phishing
  • Malware
  • Man-in-the-Middle attacks
  • Denial-of-Service attacks
  • Insider threats

You may not be able to put an end to cybercrime, but you can protect your network against vicious threats, courtesy of external IT services in Seattle. An MSP will analyze your network and identify potential security gaps. They’ll also set up enterprise-grade antimalware/antivirus programs to safeguard your systems against unprecedented attacks. Simply put, an MSP will take proactive measures to minimize the impact of a breach.

Qualified IT Experts at Your Service

If you think your IT setup has room for improvement, you should think about hiring a managed IT services firm. Their qualified, trained, and resourceful personnel will be able to address your business’s tech shortcomings (if there are any) and recommend appropriate solutions.

Experts at an IT support company will also help you optimize your network’s performance, enabling you to ramp up your deliverables without compromising quality.

Proactive Network Monitoring

Disaster can strike your IT network at any time. All it takes is a software glitch or a hardware breakdown to halt operations indefinitely. The fact that a few of these problems are entirely preventable makes them even more frustrating.

Managed IT services providers used advanced network monitoring tools to keep a diligent, proactive eye on your IT framework. This helps them spot and mitigate risks before they blow out of proportion and disrupt your workflow.

Help With Vendor Management

Although vendor management is critical to efficient business administration, it may not rank high on your list of priorities all the time. To save yourself the headache of maintaining vendor contracts and relationships, you can outsource these tasks to an IT services provider.

A managed IT services provider will work with a variety of vendors to ensure you have the tech you need. Moreover, as they already have established connections with different vendors, they will be able to get you better pricing on certain products. However, be sure to check if the managed IT services provider is vendor-neutral at the negotiation stage.

Latest Tech Advancements Suitable for Your Business

You need the latest technology to stay ahead of the curve. But ask yourself this: do you know enough about tech to choose the most suitable tools for your business? If no, then you run the risk of spending precious cash on products you don’t need.

This is where a managed IT services provider will help. Managed IT services providers will integrate your business with the latest tech that fits your specific requirements. These tools will help you compete with bigger names in your industry and advance your goals.

6 Things to Look for in an IT Services Provider

There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all IT support. Each organization has its unique set of requirements, goals, and technology gaps. What works for other enterprises may not work for your business.

That said, almost all reputable managed IT services providers share the same basic attributes, making it easier for you to identify them.

So, while recruiting outsourced IT services in Seattle, be sure to check for:

1.  Background in the Market

When it comes to the managed IT services market, it’s largely about the survival of the fittest. Only the most competent managed IT services provider can run beyond their initial days. If your potential managed IT provider has a few years of experience in the bag, chances are that they are familiar with complex IT problems.

Furthermore, the managed IT services provider's history in the market can tell you a lot about its caliber. Check if they have a proven record of client retention and referrals. Also, look up the IT consultants they employ to learn more about their qualifications. This will help you gain a comprehensive idea of the quality of service you can expect.

2.  Approach Towards Cybersecurity

Cybercrime is an ever-evolving playground of dangers. The managed IT services provider should be able to proactively counter cyberattacks before they devastate your business. They should constantly monitor your network and jump into action anytime they sense a potential threat. This way, you’ll be able to escape with little to no damage.

Ask the potential managed IT services provider if they arrange ongoing training programs for their cybersecurity personnel. Unless your managed IT services provider is keeping tabs on the changing world of cybercrime, they won’t be able to protect you adequately.

3.  Response Times 

You’ll have a bone to pick with IT support providers that don’t turn up during a network emergency. Nip this problem in the bud by clarifying your managed IT services provider’s estimated response times right at the get-go. Also, ask about how much time they need to address typical tech problems.

Keep in mind, response times and resolution times are two different things. Most good managed IT services providers boast response times of an hour or less. Be wary of IT services providers that guarantee resolution times without knowing what the problem is. This may suggest that they will cut corners or do a half-baked job of fixing the bug to meet their promised figures.

4.  Transparency

See if the potential managed IT services provider is transparent about their fees and terms. The Service Level Agreement (SLA) they provide should lay down all their services and guarantees in writing. Additionally, the SLA must also define the compensations you are entitled to in case the managed IT services provider fails to deliver on its promises.

If an IT services agency does not give you any straight answers to your queries, walk away. You will have to trust them with sensitive business intelligence. If they aren’t honest about their prices and services, you shouldn’t consider recruiting them.

5.  Proactive Support Policies

Choose a managed IT services provider that transcends the break-fix model. Although there is nothing wrong with offering reactive support, a distinguished managed IT services provider will deploy proactive management tools to reduce tech glitches in the first place.

Besides monitoring your network for outages, the managed IT services provider will take your business goals into account to formulate an all-inclusive technology plan. By taking active steps to troubleshoot problems before they take life, they’ll help reduce downtimes - and increase your productivity.

6.  Availability

Tech problems don’t ring the doorbell, which is why you will benefit from hiring an IT provider who is available round the clock. If your business operates throughout the day, the IT team should always be a phone call away from fixing issues and maintaining uptime.

For businesses that do not operate all day, the managed IT services provider will survey your network to ensure that everything is in order before you begin work. And, if you’re going to be burning the midnight oil, make sure the IT services company does too.

Wrapping Up

By outsourcing your IT management to an external service provider, you’ll essentially buy yourself more time to break the glass ceiling in your industry. A reputable tech firm will keep your IT network running at full throttle all the time, without costing you a fortune in overhead. As a result, you’ll be able to invest additional capital in improving other aspects of your enterprise.

Do you need more information about outsourced IT services? Get in touch with us and we’ll answer all your questions!