IT Services: The Complete Guide for Houston Small Businesses

Find out what IT services are and how your business in Houston can benefit from them. Along with that, you can also learn how to choose the right managed service provider.

Whether it is a small business or a big one, it can flourish only in a healthy economic, social, and business environment. That’s what Houston offers. As a result, it made it to the top 10 in the states with the best business environments 2021 list published by US News. According to the report, Houston boasted:

  • Business creation rate of 3.2%.
  • The tax burden of just 10.5%.
  • Patent creation of 403 per million people.

A nourishing business environment will invite more competition over time. Thanks to modern technology, however, even a small business like yours can now thrive regardless of the competition. Technology allows you to automate various elements of your business, resulting in higher revenue and lower overheads.

Most importantly, you can do it without having to invest in an in-house IT team or hiring an IT manager. That’s where IT services come in.

What Are IT Services?

IT services usually include building, operating, optimizing, and controlling various technologies a business is using. The managed IT provider uses their technical skill and knowledge to monitor and streamline different hardware and software applications.

These services aim to provide value to their customers by improving the performance of IT infrastructure and business processes. These services essentially allow your small business to:

  • Successfully survive in an increasingly unpredictable economic environment.
  • Innovate and keep up with the latest technological advancements in your industry.
  • Comply with the latest regulations, saving you from expensive lawsuits and bad brand publicity.
  • Gather deep technical information and knowledge.

Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Outsource IT Services in Houston

The demand for managed IT services in Houston and the rest of the world is growing. The global managed services market was worth $215.14 billion in 2020. From 2021 to 2028, the market is likely to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.7%.

The chances are, your rivals may have already invested in a competent IT services provider. If you are still unsure about why you should follow their suit, here are a few reasons that’ll change your mind.

Control Your IT Costs

For a small business, controlling IT costs is often a challenge. As a small business owner, you may have faced the following issues.

  • Unexpected maintenance and repairs that put a dent in your IT budget.
  • Investing in sketchy software or hardware results in financial loss.
  • The lack of proper cybersecurity and maintenance results in increased downtime, which will eat away at your profits.
  • The lack of cyber compliance can lead to expensive fines and lawsuits.

Outsourcing IT services will convert these costs into fixed monthly expenses. The IT support company will charge you a flat monthly fee, covering almost all your IT needs. As a result, you will pay only for the services you need.

Lowered Your Labor Costs

Maintaining an in-house IT team is an expensive affair. As of April 27, 2021, the IT manager’s average salary in Houston was $132,523. It is a prohibitive expense for a small business.

Apart from this, you will face the following challenges as well.

  • You will have a hard time retaining IT professionals due to their high in-demand skills. A higher turnover rate is often expensive. Nearly 81% of business owners agree that turnover is a costly problem.
  • On the other hand, if an IT professional fails to live up to your expectations, you may have to fire them and recruit a new one.
  • IT is a diverse industry. You may need to hire new tech pros with specific skill sets as and when required. Overall, it is an expensive HR nightmare for a small business.

Work with Experienced Qualified and Trained IT Experts

Technology is evolving rapidly, making it necessary to have professionals with up-to-date skills and experience at your disposal. When you hire third-party IT services in Houston, you get instant access to a pool of experienced, qualified, and well-trained IT professionals.

As it is their bread-and-butter, MSPs will have engineers from different IT disciplines like cloud computing, cybersecurity, and data management on their payroll. They also hire only competent professionals to ensure higher performance.

Keep Your Sensitive Business Data Secure

Whether it is a small bakery or a dental practice, you will collect, store, and process sensitive information. Losing this sensitive data in a data breach or ransomware attack can be catastrophic.

Most small business owners think they don’t need to worry about ransomware attacks or data breaches – as hackers wouldn’t target them. But the growing preference for hackers to target small businesses is concerning. According to a cybercrime sample taken by DBIR in 2021, there were 307 breaches in large organizations and 263 breaches in small organizations. The gap is closing fast.

A professional IT services provider will use a multilayered cybersecurity approach to safeguard your network against potential threats. They also offer 24/7 network monitoring, mitigating threats before they can bring your network down.

Enjoy Higher Efficiency That Drives More Sales

The reduced network downtime will result in higher productivity. It also improves the user experience for your customers. As your employees don’t have to worry about out-of-order printers or a broken computer, they can focus more on their core duties.

This helps you improve overall business performance, which, in turn, can help you increase your sales. It will help you retain existing customers and build a loyal fan following. Word-of-mouth by your loyal customers will help boost your sales further. All of this can happen if you choose competent IT services in Houston.

Develop a Proactive Approach Towards Technology

Another significant benefit of partnering with a managed IT services provider is the proactive approach towards technology. Most small businesses, unlike their larger counterparts, have a break-and-fix IT approach. Meaning they focus on fixing issues as and when they occur.

An IT services team, however, focuses on developing a proactive approach. They prevent IT issues from arising in the first place – minimizing downtime and unexpected hits to the budget. They can also provide valuable insights for long-term tech planning. Thus, outsourcing can benefit all aspects of your IT, making it more valuable.

Greater Financial Security for Your Business

Outsourcing IT services will help you save considerable money down the line. It will also increase your profits and reduce other business expenses. The more money your business saves, the higher financial security it can enjoy.

Apart from financial security, it also offers the opportunity to expand your business. Essentially, you will have better control over the future of your business.

What to Look for in an MSP When Outsourcing IT Services in Houston

The far-reaching impact of managed IT services on your small business is undeniable. But not all MSPs are created equal. Partnering with a qualified, experienced, and trustworthy MSP is a must. Looking for the following factors can help you find a competent service provider in Houston.

Response Time

IT emergencies may not occur all the time. But, when an emergency does take place, the MSP should be able to respond quickly. Make sure to ask about the average response time for both on-site and off-site IT services; a good MSP will be proud to tell you.

Ask if the MSP will include service response time metrics in the SLA. These metrics are calculated based on various IT scenarios. Ask the user to clarify all these points before hiring them.

Availability

Another critical factor is availability. Usually, a managed IT provider is available 24/7 via phone, email, or online chat. So, you will be able to raise a service request on weekends, holidays, and outside of regular work hours. Remember, your business will depend on the availability of your service provider.

Proactive Approach

What is the point of hiring an IT services provider if they practice break-and-fix IT? Only a seasoned MSP will monitor your network 24/7/365 and keep an eye out for potential threats. The proactive approach minimizes the damage caused by potential threats and increases your network uptime. Ask the IT provider about their work approach to understanding whether or not they are proactive.

Industry Experience

Skills and training are important. But, nothing beats an MSP with relevant industry experience. Ask the SP if their team of professionals has worked with other organizations in your niche. They’ll know the industry practices and regulatory compliance.  They also have the skills to provide you with appropriate IT services in Houston – and the local business ecosystem.

Vendor Partnerships

Most managed IT companies have strategic partnerships with vendors. This allows you to get the required IT support and services with ease. You don’t have to look for vendors when onboarding a new technology, hardware, or application. Ask the MSP to provide you with a list of vendors.

IT Budget Planning

A seasoned IT provider will help you plan your long-term technology needs. Make sure the MSP you choose can provide you with this service. Without long-term planning, you will most likely encounter unexpected expenses in the future.

Customization

Lastly, the managed services provider should be willing to offer you custom IT solutions. Custom IT solutions will allow you to stay ahead of the curve. In other words, never work with an MSP that believes in a one-size-fits-all game plan for providing IT support.

Parting Words

Technology adds value to your small business, making it more agile, secure, and efficient. Partnering with an IT support provider is one of the easiest ways for a small business to make the most of its business technology. If you haven’t already thought about your technology goals and management, now is the time to do it. Hopefully, this short guide will prove helpful in this regard.

How can managed IT services help your small business grow? Let’s find out together.