For all its challenges, Chicago is a fantastic place to start a business. Just ask KPMG – in 2017, they ranked the Windy City as a top 10 global tech innovation hub.
That year, Chicago startups attracted over 1.7 billion USD in VC funding. Eighty-one percent of funded ChiTown businesses offered an ROI yield of 3 to 10% last year – not bad, if you ask us.
There are drawbacks to locating here, though. Chicago, being America’s 3rd largest city, isn’t the cheapest place to live. Here, the average two-bedroom apartment costs well over $2,000. Consequently, businesses must pay more for key talent than in neighboring Midwestern cities like Milwaukee.
This reality makes hiring IT employees, who are already pricey commodities, even harder on your businesses’ budget. For this reason, it may make sense to hire a managed IT services firm. With several quality organizations serving the Chicago area, adopting this strategy is a feasible, realistic idea.
What precisely do managed IT service firms do for Chicago businesses? We’ll cover the pain points they alleviate below.
They Are Helping Startups Scale
When you’re building a business from the ground up, cash is king/queen. Every dollar you make is spoken for – if they aren’t going towards payroll, production, or maintenance, you’re sinking them back into other growth activities.
Any extra capital you save allows you to scale operations that much faster. For instance, if you can save $20,000 per year, that’s money you can spend on automation, marketing, and other force multipliers. This conundrum is why many startups bristle at the thought of paying high IT salaries. Often, it’s unavoidable, but if you can save money in this area, the returns can be enormous.
Managed IT service firms offer an array of functions at a reasonable monthly cost. For instance, one of the biggest IT time drains are calls related to printer mishaps. Rather than hire a help-desk employee, a managed IT services firm can handle it, along with network maintenance, cybersecurity, and other tech-related functions.
They Are Providing IT Expertise At A Reasonable Cost
To save money, many Chicago-area SMEs hire IT employees as cheaply as possible. Even in this market, some businesses get away with paying IT generalists as little as $63,000 per year. However, as the cliche goes, you often get what you pay for.
Lesser-paid IT employees often lack the experience of that better-paid counterparts have. As a result, downtimes last longer and costly mistakes are made. For instance, an online services firm in NYC lost the ability to function during the Blackout of 2003. Their problem? In-house IT staff failed to build an offsite fail-safe to keep the company running. Meanwhile, their competitors kept on trucking through the outage.
A managed services IT firm offers expertise that lesser-experienced in-house employees lack. They hire employees with in-depth skills in specific areas. They have talent that knows cybersecurity, network administration, and tech support better than your average generalist. Given the comprehensive coverage they offer, it’s often worth paying a bit more for a managed services IT firm.
They Offer Around-The-Clock Tech Support
We live in a globalized world. Many businesses now make use of distributed teams that link together talent from across the globe. Even if you don’t, there’s a decent chance you/your employees work well into the evening.
However, what happens when the network goes down at 9 pm? If you can’t reach one of your IT employee after-hours, you’re out of luck until the next business day. With a managed services IT firm, you’re covered 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year. Quality firms have staff covering operations constantly – that way, they resolve issues promptly, avoiding costly downtime.
They Are Defending Businesses Against The Scourge Of Cybercrime
According to the White House, cybercriminals cost the US economy 57-109 billion USD in 2016. When a hacker strikes your servers, they can steal customer payment data, trade secrets, and other sensitive information.
Recently, a survey conducted by Dell revealed that over 60% of businesses reported a data breach in the past year. These incursions do an average of $200,000 damage to affected SMEs.
Chicago certainly isn’t immune – in January, a MOCA cannabis dispensary was robbed of $200,000 cash and products. The burglars broke in using custom key cards, and they were able to disable security cameras without being detected. As of now, it’s speculated they used data from a hack to coordinate the heist.
These crooks capitalize on mistakes that lesser-experienced IT employees regularly make. Not enforcing complex passwords, using legacy firewalls, and failing to update software are just a few of these.
Any legitimate managed IT services firm has cybersecurity experts on their payroll. They can go into your organization and identify weak links that are putting you at risk. They can also educate employees on how to spot phishing or social engineering attacks.
Leverage The Knowledge Of A Managed IT Services Firm
There’s more to IT than just fixing printer issues. IT spans a wide range of disciplines – from network management to cybersecurity, your organization must excel at each. By hiring a Chicago-area managed IT services firm, you can achieve this goal while staying on-budget.