Is IT a pain-point for your small business? Why not try outsourcing?

small business IT solution

In today’s fast-moving digital world, small businesses can often get left behind. Big players employ large IT teams to keep things running and make decisions that ensure staff have the right tools to be productive and efficient. 

But with small businesses and start-ups, it’s often the business owner or a key staff member who becomes the ‘go-to’ IT person. And they often end up bogged down with fixing IT issues instead of focusing on what they do best – growing the business. 

The good news is there’s an easy and effective small business IT solution to this problem – outsourcing. 

 

Why outsourcing means great support for your business 

 

Sometimes people confuse ‘outsourcing’ with ‘offshoring’, and all its negative connotations. But in this context, ‘outsourcing’ means using a Managed Services Provider (MSP) for small business IT support.  

MSPs provide proactive support for on-premise servers and IT equipment, management of cloud services such as Office 365, hardware and software procurement, anti-virus and cyber security, and access to a helpdesk. Some MSPs also offer IT strategy consultancy to ensure your company is on the right path.  

The benefits of outsourcing as a small business IT solution include: 

Access to IT expertise If IT isn’t your speciality, you’re not going to be aware of every tool and app out there and which ones would best fit the needs of your small business. Having professional advice means you’ll be introduced to different technologies that could boost your company’s productivity and efficiency.  

Peace of mind about security With so much data being generated, security is vital – not just to meet privacy regulations, but also to protect your company’s reputation. IT experts are best placed to help you put the right security measures in place.

Access to a help desk That way your staff can get fast solutions to their IT problems. 

Access to extra resources Even companies that have their own IT staff are seeing the benefits of outsourcing – perhaps for sickness or holiday cover, or for extra resources for specific projects. Projects like moving to Office 365, for example, can be tricky without extra, expert help.

 

Things to consider when outsourcing

 

If you think outsourcing IT would work for you as a small business IT solution, there are a few things to consider as you choose your IT partner: 

– Make sure the MSP has sufficient resources to offer the support level your business requires. 

– Make sure the MSP has expertise and familiarity with the technology your business uses. 

– Make sure there’s a cultural fit between your business and your MSP and that you trust them to give you the best advice and support for your business. 

– Make sure they’re interested in getting to know your company and how you work. 

– Make sure their IT small business support includes an out-of-hours service for emergencies. 

 

How IT Smart Solutions can help 

 

When it comes to IT small business support, IT Smart Solutions have a wealth of experience, having been looking after SMEs in Sydney since 2005. We offer the following: 

Modern workplace transformation We’re experienced in helping small businesses make their modern workplace journey by adopting new technology and cloud solutions 

Helpdesk We offer a fullservice desk between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday, with emergency out-of-hours support outside those hours. And we have lovely staff! 

The IT Smart Solutions onboarding process begins with an onsite visit from one of our senior engineers, who will spend a few hours getting to know your systems and documenting your setup. Then our helpdesk team is given access to highquality documentation that enables them to offer efficient support to your users. Usually, there is also a discussion with a senior engineer in relation to any improvements that might be recommended or any security issues that IT Smart Solutions feel need addressing.

 

Check out our solutions

 

Interested in finding out how we can provide a small business IT solution to your company’s IT pain-points? Get in touch, or download our managed service product brochure to learn more about what we can help with.

Office 365 Migration: Our top 5 commonly asked questions

Office 365 migration commonly asked questions

Microsoft Office 365 can give you increased security, easy collaboration tools and make your workplace more efficient. And that’s just the start of the reasons to consider an Office 365 migration.

We’ve consulted with many organisations about moving to the cloud-based Office 365 environment and the same questions come up time and time again. Here we answer our five most commonly asked questions.

 

Office 365 Migration – what you need to know

 

1. Is Office 365 secure, particularly compared to having a server in our own office?

 

Using the cloud-based Office 365 is much safer than storing your data on your on-premise server, both physically and in regards to attack.

With Office 365, your data is stored in a secure, fully redundant data centre based in Australia.

With your on-premise server, it’s likely stored in the corner of your office and is vulnerable to break-in and theft. It’s also unlikely to be built with as much redundancy as the servers in Microsoft’s data centres, so is more vulnerable to hardware failure.

In terms of cyber-attack, most small businesses use entry-level routers and firewalls that offer minimal protection. Microsoft’s data centres use state-of-the-art hardware that is fully updated with patches to keep your data safe.

Office 365 also has many security features that can be switched on, like two-factor authentication and Advanced Threat Protection. These features will help mitigate against malicious attacks.

It also comes with Secure Score – a feature that recommends actions you can take on your setup to improve security. It enhances security from the default settings.

 

2. How much storage do I get with Office 365? Will I have enough space?

 

There are several types of storage with Office 365, each with their own limits.

Mailbox storage

The Office 365 Business Premium & Microsoft 365 Business licences include 50Gb storage per user.

Enterprise licences E3 and E5 have 100Gb included. They also include access to an unlimited online archive, which in effect means you have unlimited email storage with those subscriptions.

File storage

With OneDrive for Business, each user is allocated 1TB of storage for personal files. For team files, Sharepoint offers 1TB of storage per organisation plus 10Gb of storage per licence.

 

3. How can I access my files if they are in the cloud?

 

Before you can access your files, you need firstly to be authenticated. After that, there are a few different ways you can access your cloud-based files.

Web browser

You can access your files via the web browser from any computer with web access.

Synchronise your files to your computer

Synchronising your files allows you to access them from your local hard drive. They’re synchronised on the fly so they only get downloaded when you access them. This saves on save hard drive space and bandwidth.

 

4. Will my employees have to do anything differently when we move to Office 365?

 

For email, there will be no difference for your users between using an on-premise or a cloud server.

For file access, there will be some difference in the way they access files. If they choose to access files via the web, the process will be different. If they use synchronised files, the process will be similar to using a networked drive of the normal on-premise server.

 

5. Which subscription should I choose and what is included in each one?

 

The type of subscription will depend on the size of your organisation and what features you need.

Small business plans

Small business plans are capped at 300 users.

  • Office 365 Business

The Office 365 Business plan gives you access to the Microsoft Office desktop software e.g. Word, Excel, and Outlook. The software can be installed on your local computers. You don’t get access to online services like Exchange Online or Sharepoint Online.

  • Office 365 Business Essentials

The Office 365 Business Essentials plan gives you all of the online services but no desktop software. So that gives you access to software such as Exchange Online, SharePoint, One Drive for Business, and Microsoft Teams.

  • Office 365 Business Premium

Office 365 Business Premium gives you a combination of Business and Essentials. It gives you both the desktop software and online services.

  • Microsoft 365 Business

Microsoft 365 Business gives you all the inclusions of Business Premium along with additional security features like Advanced Threat Protection and Simplified Management Console to help manage PCs. It also includes Windows 10 Pro so it’s a great option if you want to upgrade an existing Windows 7 Pro PC.

Enterprise plans

Office 365 Enterprise Plans are available for organisations bigger than 300 users or for those looking for a stronger solution. You can choose from Office 365 E1, E3 and E5 licenses depending on your needs.

They can include increased mailbox storage along with additional compliance features. The E5 plan also includes telephone conferencing capabilities.

 

What are the benefits of implementing Office 365?

 

Office 365 has many advantages for small to medium businesses. Some of the major advantages include:

  • Mobility – with the cloud-based Office 365, you and your employees have the ability to work from anywhere
  • Security and redundancy – By using Office 365’s secure and dedicated data servers, there’s no need to worry about hardware failures or security issues impacting on your business.
  • Collaboration – The team-based software of Office 365 makes it much more efficient for teams and individual users to collaborate, thus increasing productivity.
  • Price – It’s much more cost-effective to purchase an Office 365 subscription for each user at $17.20 each month, than spend $15,000 on an on-premise server that needs maintaining.

 

Our Office 365 implementation tips

 

Office 365 implementation and migration requires careful planning and consideration. It pays to talk to an expert before you start the process.

Of particular concern for small business is security. It’s important to make sure you have the right settings switched on to make sure your data is secure. You also need to make sure any computers you use are fully patched and up-to-date.

 

How can IT Smart Solutions help you implement Office 365?

 

We’re the experts in end-to-end IT services for small to medium enterprises. We’ve migrated over a thousand users to Office 365. We can ensure your path to the cloud is smooth.

We can help from consulting on your project, through to implementation and ongoing support. Our helpdesk is able to assist you with any help you may need post-migration.

To see how Office 365 can help your business, take our Small Business Modern Workplace Assessment.