Home to numerous startup centers and learning facilities, Baltimore has emerged as one of the friendliest cities for upcoming businesses. The city ranked 38 in a list of the fifty best places in America for launching a new startup.
On the technological front, Baltimore is focused on pushing boundaries and creating new possibilities. Being one of the leading centers of IT innovation in Maryland, the city hosts incubators, events, and makers to nurture its thriving tech ecosystem. In 2019, Baltimore’s IT sector contributed nearly $21 billion to Maryland’s regional economy.
Although the rising number of startups in Baltimore translates into the increased competition, new business leaders can take advantage of its burgeoning tech scene to utilize their resources in smarter ways.
Large enterprises can do this by hiring a team of technological experts. However, since the average annual base pay of an IT specialist in Baltimore is around $78,483 (in 2021), small businesses with limited budgets may find it difficult to invest in a full-fledged IT department.
This is where Baltimore-managed IT services come in. In this post, we discuss the basics of managed services providers and how they can streamline your IT needs.
How Technology Benefits Businesses
Before we dive into our discussion on managed IT services providers, let us first explore why technology is crucial to modern corporations.
Technology helps businesses to:
Enhance customer service and communication
Ensure efficient operations and network security
Facilitate data analysis and market research
Increase employee productivity and engagement
Accelerate business expansion
All businesses, regardless of their size, can benefit from technology. However, as mentioned before, small companies often do not have the resources or space to establish an elaborate IT department. This is where companies offering managed IT services come in.
Introduction to Managed IT Services
As a small business owner in Baltimore, you can easily outsource your IT needs to an external Baltimore managed IT services provider.
A managed IT services provider takes over your day-to-day IT tasks and maintains your tech needs in exchange for a flat fee. Their services usually include the following:
The managed IT services market, which stood at $190 billion in 2019, is expected to grow up to $350 billion in 2026, according to a report by Global Market Insights. Another report lists a few reasons behind the visibly growing popularity of IT services, such as:
A growing desire to cut down on administrative and maintenance costs
Widespread availability of cost-effective tech resources
Willingness to replace legacy systems with a more advanced tech infrastructure
Benefits of Choosing Baltimore Managed IT Services
Managed IT services are often seen as an ideal choice for small businesses due to the many benefits they offer. A few of these include:
1. Cost Savings
Setting up an IT department can be quite expensive. Apart from hiring competent IT personnel, you will also have to acquire reliable IT infrastructure, such as hardware/software, virtual platforms, servers, and data centers, among other things.
Outsourcing these services to a third-party Baltimore managed IT services company can help you cut down these upfront expenses. Plus, it can also keep unpredictable IT expenses at bay, as you will only have to pay a flat fee for IT consultations, maintenance, and repairs.
2. Increased Cybersecurity
Cybercrime is rising at an alarming rate. In 2020, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 791,790 cybersecurity complaints from the American public, a 69% increase from 2019. Additionally, the global losses for cybercrime exceeded $1 trillion in 2020.
According to a 2019 press release by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), small businesses are susceptible to nearly 10,000 cyberattacks every day. Given that the average cost of a ransomware attack reached $312,493 in 2020, it is easy to see why multiple cybersecurity incidents can put startups out of business.
To counter this issue, you need to have an effective cybersecurity plan in place. If you are not comfortable with developing one yourself, you can always turn to a Baltimore managed IT services agency for help. Their team of cybersecurity analysts will assess your network and patch security gaps as quickly as possible.
3. Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Your business intelligence is your greatest corporate asset, which is why you need to take active measures to keep it safe. Data loss occurs when files are accidentally deleted due to unprecedented incidents, such as security breaches, cybercrime, or natural disasters.
Sudden data loss can seriously jeopardize your day-to-day business operations. Data loss can:
Gravely impact employee productivity and network uptime
Result in loss of revenue
Tarnish market reputation
Lead to legal ramifications
Force your business to shut down
Working with a Baltimore-managed IT services provider can serve multiple purposes. A competent MSP will first chart a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) to gauge how much downtime you can stand. They will then provide customized Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) options crafted to your specific needs.
4. 24/7 IT Support
Unexpected system issues can bring your business to a screeching halt. According to a global report, 25% of participating companies reported that their average server downtime expenses ranged between $301,000 and $400,000 per hour.
Most Baltimore managed IT services agencies offer 24/7 helpdesk services to resolve emergency IT issues round the clock. In case of a system failure, the managed IT services provider will receive an alert in real-time and start resolving the issue immediately. Depending on the severity of the situation, they may even visit your office premises for repairs.
5. Proactive Maintenance
Besides resolving ongoing network glitches, an IT support company also monitors your network 24/7/365, mitigating potential threats before they take a disastrous turn. Due to their efforts, your network is less likely to face a catastrophic outage, especially during peak business hours.
How to Find a Competent Managed IT Services Provider in Baltimore
Below, we list a few factors you should consider while scouting managed IT services companies for your business:
1. Industry Expertise
You must hire a managed IT services provider who is familiar with the intricacies of your industry (for example, compliance guidelines and regulations). Such knowledge will enable them to recommend tech solutions pertinent to your specific needs. If your prospective MSP has a definite one-size-fits-all approach, you should keep looking.
Take a look at the MSP's data and network security plan, along with how they will be handling sensitive information. This can give you some valuable insight into their understanding of cybersecurity. More importantly, see if the managed IT services agency implements the latest cybersecurity tools to safeguard their clients’ IT networks.
3. Business Processes
Staying on top of daily IT operations can be chaotic, which is why you need a managed IT services provider with well-established procedures for IT emergencies and minor technical glitches. They should be able to control change and manage operations without floundering under the pressure.
4. Affinity for Innovation
You need to ensure that the prospective managed IT services company has enough knowledge of both proactive and reactive IT support. Additionally, they should be able to think outside the box. This innovation should flow beyond technological considerations and influence their service delivery methods.
In the increasingly competitive digital age, a managed services provider can help your business stay ahead of the tech curve. MSPs usually have access to the latest technological tools, which they use to keep your IT infrastructure running smoothly. With a competent MSP taking care of your IT operations, you can focus on business expansion and help your company carve a niche for itself in the market.
Do you want to know more about Baltimore’s managed IT services? Reach out to us and we will be happy to help!