A Guide to Outsourced IT Services in Houston, TX
Managed Services Providers (MSPs) are third-party companies that partner with businesses to handle their IT support. Outsourced IT services keep networks secure, operating systems up to date, and business data backed up.
More importantly, they take the IT load off your team’s shoulders so that you can focus on more important things – like growing your business.
The city of Houston, Texas is full of up-and-coming businesses that could benefit from outsourcing their IT services. Many small business owners in the area fail to prioritize IT support and security, feeling they don’t have the time or money to divert from their vital marketing and growth strategies.
However, technological disruption or cyberattack can be costly and set a business back – or even shut it down for good. The best way for Houston businesses to avoid IT risk and focus on growing? Outsource their IT services to a company that really knows what it’s doing.
In this guide, we’ll discuss why outsourced IT services are so valuable, as well as answer some of the most commonly asked questions about hiring and working with an MSP.
Why You Should Consider Outsourced IT Services
Almost all modern businesses rely on technology in some aspect of their operations – which means all are risking an encounter with a security threat. When a company falls victim to a cyberattack or data breach, they risk their reputation and customers’ trust, especially if private client information or data is hacked.
Malware, ransomware, phishing scams, and other online threats can be extremely expensive, and leave many businesses bankrupt. By the year 2025, cybercrimes are projected to cost the world $10.5 trillion in annual damages – according to Cyber Crime Magazine. The average small business in Houston isn’t prepared to face hundreds of thousands of dollars in IT emergencies, which means that just one incident could shut them down.
That’s where an MSP can help. Outsourced IT services set up preventive measures to maintain network security for their clients. The company will pair businesses with a team of experts to monitor data safety and carry out frequent antivirus and security software checkups.
In short, MSPs significantly reduce the risk of cyberattacks and data breaches, as well as keep up with the latest threats that businesses might not know about. Hiring outsourced IT services serves as a vital defense tactic, not just a way to avoid tedious IT problems.
2. Access to Better Tools and Technology
Technology is always changing, but working with an outsourced IT service provider helps your company keep up with the times. High-quality MSPs offer access to the most advanced infrastructure tools and technology available. Many also provide cost-effective innovative solutions that would otherwise be difficult for small businesses to afford.
Overall, the goal of an IT MSP is to help businesses streamline their processes and workflows. As a part of this effort, they provide updated tools that make operations run smoother.
3. Improved Business Focus
Some businesses assign in-house employees to manage their IT issues alongside their regular jobs. However, if these employees are also juggling responsibilities outside of their tech duties, they will likely miss important steps and red flags. Employees can easily become overwhelmed when a big series of IT issue(s) occurs at once.
Working with an MSP prevents IT problems from overwhelming your team and disrupting your company’s workflow. Let the IT experts maintain steady productivity and address problems – you just focus on growing your company and serving your customers.
What Kind of Businesses Should Outsource Their IT?
As mentioned earlier, small to medium-sized businesses can benefit the most from outsourced IT services.
When smaller businesses get hit with a cyberattack or data breach, they struggle to bounce back more than a large corporation might. The cost to recover is often too high for them to face and survive. An estimated 60% of small businesses that fall victim to cyberattacks wind up closing (permanently) within six months of the attack.
Small and medium-sized businesses in Houston should try to find a Managed Services Provider that is locally based. Local IT services are more cost-effective and often more willing to develop a budget-friendly service plan than a national or global MSP would be.
Another benefit of hiring a Houston-based MSP: they know the common threats in the area, and they will be able to quickly provide relevant security advice and a proper setup. You want a team that’s suited to combat issues often faced by your competitors, as well as one that could show up in person if needed during an emergency.
FAQs About Outsourced IT Services
Many businesses are skeptical about outsourcing IT services – they don’t know if it’s worth spending the money or how to find the right partner. To clear up any confusion, let’s look at some of the most commonly asked questions regarding MSPs.
1. What IT services can be outsourced?
- Network administration: An MSP will ensure that your network is up-to-date with the latest industry technology. They will also run frequent security checks on your network.
- Infrastructure: The software, hardware, and components that make up your IT infrastructure require constant monitoring and updates to operate smoothly. An MSP will provide those services.
- Anti-virus protection: Viruses are a common cyber threat that can bring down an entire network and costs thousands to repair. New viruses are always being introduced, but MSPs will manage all machines and devices to ensure they have the latest virus protection.
- Monitored off-site backup of data: This service makes certain that important company information and data can be restored to the main server in the event of a natural disaster or cyber-attack.
Other Services MSPs Can Provide Include:
- Enterprise e-mail services
- IT vendor management
- IT training and support for in-house employees
- Application support and management
- Cloud storage solutions
- Telecommunication services
- Disaster recovery plans
2. What IT services should be kept inside?
There are some IT-related tasks that you should probably avoid outsourcing. IT needs that are should remain in-house include:
- Professional development
- Account management
- Hiring management
- Market research
In addition to the IT services listed above, business owners should never outsource a task that they don’t fully understand. If you have questions or concerns, talk to your MSP. They will explain what they can safely handle and what they cannot.
3. Do I lose control of my business by involving a third-party IT company?
No. In fact, outsourced IT services help streamline business functions to make it easier to control and maintain workflows. You will likely feel even more in control.
4. Can any size of business benefit from working with an MSP?
Yes, businesses of every size can benefit from hiring an outsourced IT services provider, although smaller companies tend to experience the highest level of benefits.
5. How are outsourced IT service providers trained?
Managed Services Providers generally consist of expert technicians who have been trained to use the latest tactics in data security technology and IT solutions. However, companies should check to make sure that the MSP has worked with past businesses that match their industry.
Some industries, such as the medical field, have strict data regulations and legally require MSPs to obtain certain credentials before they can go anywhere near their data. Learn what your industry’s specific requirements are and find a local MSP that has worked with businesses like yours before.
6. Do I need an MSP that’s been around for years?
The length of time in which an MSP has been operational does not set its quality standards. Instead, businesses should check past reviews and testimonials to get a better understanding of service quality. Age isn’t everything, but feedback from previous customers is highly influential.
How to Find the Right MSP for Your Outsourced IT Services
First, let’s talk about some of the things to avoid on your hunt for the best MSP in your area.
Managed IT Services providers have a low barrier to entry, which means some outsourced IT services companies spend less money and time on developing their offerings than others. MSPs that rush to the market typically value profit above customer service. These MSPs may lack the qualifications and credentials required to legally manage certain types of industry data.
Although the length of experience is certainly not all you need to consider when it comes to an MSP, you do need to understand that they have a proven track record of successful partnerships.
Clients can distinguish a high-value MSP from a low-value one based on their:
- Reviews and testimonials
- Credentials (which should be listed on their website)
- Online support hours – quality service providers should be consistently available
Another thing to avoid: outsourced IT services based in another country. This could lead to critical language barriers or miscommunications, and some other countries do not have the same regulations and protocols for handling data, applications, and IT risks.
What You Should Look for in an MSP
MSPs should provide constant online support because when you need tech support, you need it immediately. If you see that the company doesn’t offer service every day or find that they’re slow to respond to emails and phone calls, keep looking for another partner.
Quality MSPs should offer fast service, as well as disaster recovery plans so your business has a course of action in the event of a natural disaster – such as a flood, as well as man-made threats like cyberattacks.
This typically includes creating a cloud-based backup storage solution for company data that can be accessed if the servers crash or technology is damaged beyond repair.
Questions Businesses Should Ask to Find the Right MSP Provider:
Because MSPs differ in service quality levels, it’s important to ask them questions like:
- What is your MSP’s area of expertise?
- What is your average response time?
- Do you respond on holidays?
- Have you ever worked with a company in our industry before?
- What is your data security policy?
Businesses should always do their research when searching for an MSP. Companies should look for outsourced IT services that have received positive feedback from past clients and that have the hard-earned credibility to protect their network and data.
Businesses should also look for an MSP that is local to their area. MSPs that focus on one location are likely more knowledgeable about the area’s specific security needs.
All in all, we believe the benefits of outsourcing to an IT support company are clear. If you want your company to function more smoothly with better protection, it’s time to partner with an MSP.
If you have any more questions about or are interested in a FREE consultation, give us a call at 1-800-656-3144, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our online form.