Most small businesses need technology to operate. However, many business owners are likely unprepared for handling a technology crisis.
Instead of waiting until your server crashes or a data breach occurs, consider getting an IT service provider as a preventive measure.
With IT experts in place, you’ll have a dedicated team to support your company’s network and help reduce the likelihood of a tech catastrophe.
No matter what type of business you have, you may benefit from the support of small business IT services.
We’ll share reasons why you may need an IT service and how to find one for your business.
You may be wondering, “What are popular IT services for small businesses?”
First, there are many IT services available to meet various needs. Every small business is different, so you should focus on what you need to keep your operations running smoothly.
Generally speaking, an IT service provider can monitor your network, troubleshoot daily technology issues, ensure your data is backed up, and provide software support.
Here’s a list of 10 common IT services used by small businesses:
While your business may not need all of these services, you should consider hiring an IT service to consult on the services you do need. A single service may be a better solution than hiring multiple experts.
Technology is constantly changing, and it can make or break your small business. New tech solutions can advance your business and allow you to keep up with the competition, while outdated technology can slow you down, resulting in missed opportunities.
Maybe you realize your current system is no longer working for your business, but you’re unsure what to do first. An IT service can help you make the best strategic technology choices for your business. When you hire an IT service provider, they can identify your most pressing issues and help provide the solution and guidance you need to get the best results.
How many hours have you spent rebooting the Wi-Fi and troubleshooting the printer?
Small business owners often become the default IT expert when something goes wrong. Or they rely on their most tech-savvy employees to fix all the glitches. If your team is spending too much time playing tech support, small business IT services may be the solution.
When you have IT service experts on board, your employees can get back to work. Your technology issues are addressed, and your team stays productive and on task.
Some small business owners hire a full-time IT employee to set up their technology and keep it functioning. The problem is that one person may not have the range of expertise you need to support your business.
For example, you may require a certified IT technician to set up a VoIP phone system. Or you may need a cybersecurity expert to safeguard your online business.
When you hire IT services, you typically can get an entire team of experts who can manage everything from your finicky printer connection to your monitoring services. And IT services for small businesses usually cost less than keeping a full-time employee on staff.
And who isn’t?
These days, cybersecurity threats are a growing concern. In fact, 88% of small business owners felt their business was vulnerable to a cyberattack.
If you don’t have security measures in place, there’s even more reason to be worried. Cybercriminals know that most small businesses likely don’t invest in cybersecurity.
Fortunately, many IT service providers are cyber experts specializing in the latest preventive measures. They can help identify areas where your business is vulnerable and set you up with the best solutions.
If you’re expanding your operations or staff, this is an excellent time to get IT services on board. Engaging with IT experts when you’re not in the midst of a crisis allows you to focus on opportunities instead of problems.
As we said before, technology can make or break your small business. Taking a proactive approach can help you achieve or even surpass your new business goals. Strategic IT planning takes time, but it’s the best way to identify and implement solutions to help your business thrive.
These are just a few reasons you may want to hire IT services for your small business. While you may be hesitant to take on another business expense, IT support is critical for your business strategy. When you invest in an IT provider, you are more likely to avoid significant technical problems and potential cyberattacks.
Now that you know more about IT services, let’s talk about how to find the best provider for your small business. Here are a few things to consider before hiring IT support.
Budget. We know you may be worried about the cost of an IT service provider, so here’s a tip: If you have a specific budget, look for a plan that offers a monthly fixed-fee pricing model. With a flat-free plan, you have an agreed-upon price, and your service provider takes care of any IT-related issues that fall within budget.
When you set a budget, you have a fixed cost to cover your most urgent technology issues. This allows you to plan for additional services you may need in the future.
Ensure you understand what’s covered in your service agreement, including the terms and conditions. Some services or equipment may cost extra depending on what they are.
Compatibility. Are you a Mac or a PC? Some IT service providers specialize in one or the other, so make sure that your potential service team supports the technology you rely on.
Think about the hardware, software, and e-commerce platforms you use, and find a team to support your current and future technology needs.
Security. A not-so-fun fact: IT services can be targets for cyberattacks too! Ask your potential IT provider about their protocols for keeping passwords safe and protecting your most sensitive data.
Your security is only as good as your IT provider’s security, so make sure you understand how they train their staff. Cybercrime trends are constantly changing, so you’ll want to hire a team who trains employees frequently.
Goals. It’s crucial to find an IT services provider who understands your goals. Take the time to interview a few IT providers before settling on one.
Small businesses have different needs than larger organizations. Your business may need more personalized attention or hands-on training. Whatever your needs, the best provider for you may be one who feels like a trusted partner.
While an IT service can be a preventive measure against cyberattacks, it's never guaranteed. As mentioned before, cybercriminals often target small businesses, and even the most experienced cyber expert can get hacked.
That’s why cyber insurance is so important.
The average cost of a data breach for a small business with fewer than 500 employees is nearly $3 million per incident. It’s a staggering number and no surprise that many small businesses are not financially prepared to recover from a cyberattack.
If you’re a small business with internet access and information stored electronically, you could be at risk of a cyberattack. Cybercriminals often target businesses that collect and store:
Even if you don’t electronically collect and store customer information, your business could still be at risk for cyber activity. The use of ransomware and denial of service attacks are two other types of cyberattacks that could hurt your business.
Without cyber insurance, a cyberattack can have a crippling effect on your business. Cyberattacks are not only expensive, but they are also time-consuming. As a small business owner, you may be responsible for:
Cyber insurance — also known as cyber liability insurance — helps protect your small business from the high cost of claims associated with stolen customer data, cyberattacks, breaches, and fraud. Cyber insurance can help cover many of those costs (up to your policy limits).
Here’s what cyber insurance usually covers:
Cyber liability insurance usually does not cover:
At Simply Business, we can help you get cyber insurance coverage quickly, easily, and affordably. You can get a quote in under 60 seconds if you start right now.
As a business owner, there’s a good chance that you already have business insurance to protect against loss and liability due to some accidents and mistakes. Cyberattacks are a different type of liability risk because they are targeted events intended to bring harm to your business.
Cyber insurance is another layer of coverage that protects you from criminals who want to disrupt your business and steal from you.
Some hacks occur when an employee’s login credentials are compromised. For example, your employee receives an email asking them to log into one of their business accounts. When the employee types in their username and password, the hackers install ransomware that locks your computer system.
Then the hackers demand payment to unlock your system. Your small business may not have the money to pay the ransom. Cyber insurance can help cover the payment to let you get back to running your business.
You may not be able to prevent a cybercriminal from hacking your business. But with cyber insurance, you’re in a stronger financial position to react and respond.
There’s a lot to deal with if you’re the target of a cyberattack. Knowing you have cyber insurance to cover many of the costs, including legal fees (up to your policy limits), can help you focus on addressing the problem and taking care of your business and customers.
A trusted IT service provider can benefit your entire organization. Updated technology can improve efficiency, enhance your customer experience, and help your small business gain a competitive edge. When you enlist the help of IT services, you’re free to focus on other aspects of your business while they provide you with the support you need.
*Monthly payment calculations (i) do not include initial premium down payment and (ii) may vary by state, insurance provider, and nature of your business. Averages based on August 2021 data of 43% of our total policies sold.
I've always loved to write and have been lucky enough to make a career out of it. After many years in the corporate advertising world, I'm now a freelance writer—running my own show and contributing to Simply Business. Fun fact: I have three desks in my house, but I still do my best thinking walking in the woods.
Susan writes on a number of topics such as workplace safety, customer sales, and workers' compensation insurance.
This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer
*Harborway Insurance policies are underwritten by Spinnaker Insurance Company and reinsured by Munich Re, an A+ (Superior) rated insurance carrier by AM Best. Harborway Insurance is a brand name of Harborway Insurance Agency, LLC, a licensed insurance producer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. California license #6004217.