For years, the most popular model for small and medium-sized businesses to get their IT support was a break/fix arrangement. It was easy to communicate and understand: “When something breaks, we’ll fix it, and all you have to pay for is the time we spend getting it back up and running.” This remains the most reactive IT support model available.
Now, perhaps the most common outsourced IT support model is the Managed Service Provider (MSP). The mainstream industry standard MSP offers a blend of reactive break/fix support and managed services. The managed services offered by these providers typically combine monitoring a customer’s technology remotely and responding when issues are reported by either the customer’s employees or their remote monitoring tools. Although this model is presented as proactive, it really is still reactive IT support.
Unfortunately, your business technology isn’t an engine that keeps running smoothly and securely once it’s started — it needs constant maintenance and attention. Business and IT happens: patches and upgrades are applied, new software is installed, employees make changes, employees come and go, security threats are entering your network – the list goes on, and so does the need to manage your technology. Unless your IT support (outsourced or in-house) is specifically designed to manage your technology in a truly proactive manner, you will have no choice but to live with the common reality of reactive IT support results. In other words, if you are among those with reactive IT support, you are stuck with the results your IT processes and structure produce, whether you employ these processes and structure directly or via a third-party support provider.
Reactive IT Support: Security Risks
Techaisle’s survey of the top ten IT priorities listed by mid-market businesses pegged ‘Security Solutions’ at number two. New and frightening words like ‘ransomware’ and ‘phishing’ are on the tips of everyone’s tongues, and IT support providers are promising protection. But what does that look like for you if you rely on a reactive IT support provider? It probably means you “hope” you are protected against such a security incident and not sure what you would do if you became a victim. If you suffered a ransomware attack, would you know what to do and what to expect from your IT support? How much technology downtime can you afford? What would you do without your data for a period of time, or worse, permanently?
Reducing your exposure to security threats like ‘ransomware’ and ‘phishing’ attacks requires planning and best practices. Planning, best practices and documented processes are also key to minimizing the disruption to your business should you experience a security breach. Planning and developing proven best practices and written processes requires time – time that reactive IT support providers just don’t have available. If your IT support is not designed to have the time, experience, expertise and processes necessary to properly plan for a secure IT environment and to continually align your technology with proven security best practices, you are operating exposed to much more risk than organizations like yours with truly proactive IT support. Remember, it is your data, your reputation and your business that is at risk.
Reactive IT Support: Productivity Costs
We have all experienced them in the past: reoccurring reactive IT issues. The nagging problems that seemingly always get a band-aid applied and resurface at the most inopportune time – productivity and morale draining issues with email, remote access, printing, scanning, Internet, a slow computer, etc. Likewise, almost every organization has repetitive tasks done by valuable employees that undoubtedly could be automated to free time for more impactful activities. And then there are the incredible opportunities that unlocking technology could unleash to help strengthen your client relationships and grow your business. But, there is no one with the time and expertise to identify and plan for these truly proactive initiatives – because your IT support is focused on reactive work, just like it is designed to do.
If you could dramatically reduce the time your employees are distracted from their core responsibilities by IT issues, and win back employee time with more efficient technology use while benefiting from more effective technology, what would change in your organization – what would change in your life? You can have these things, you just need IT support designed to be truly proactive. When done the right way, the cost for the type of proactive support that can deliver these results is small compared to the cost savings realized in real productivity gains.
Moving Beyond Reactive IT Support
So often in our industry, when a customer suffers a technical issue, the problem is not “technical”, it is the result of an IT support process (or, more common, a lack thereof) that allowed the technical issue to disrupt and/or hold back a business.
If your IT support is designed to “close reactive support tickets” rather than “reduce time spent on reactive support tickets”, then most likely there will not be enough time to spend on high-value proactive initiatives. You do not have to settle for IT support that focuses on reactively closing tickets and making reactive technology recommendations. If you prefer the positive outcomes common with proactive support vs. reactive support, you have to ensure your IT support (outsourced or in-house) is truly designed to deliver the end results you desire. Like so many things in business and in life, with IT support you reap what you sow.
The team at CyBerJaz is great at solving IT problems, but we’re even better at designing agile, truly proactive technology management programs. If you would like to learn more about moving beyond reactive IT support and the results our clients experience — contact us today.