Addressing IT in Your SMB

Jan 23, 2024 | managed services

No matter the size of your business, the product or service you sell; your company is at least partially reliant on technology to survive and function in today’s marketplace. It is just unavoidable. A significant portion of everyone’s business is online in some fashion or other. Internal operations and administration are dependent on databases, shared content on local servers, on-line resources, even phone service in most offices is now internet-based. A large and diversified company may have the depth of staffing to fully support all of its IT infrastructure needs. Unfortunately, this is not the case with most small-to-medium-sized businesses, and it is absolutely not the case for new startups struggling to get a foothold in the market. SMBs are generally forced to focus all of their resources on operations that immediately drive revenues. For example; how many small firms have a trained human resource practitioner on board, even though the lack of one can leave them vulnerable to a number of legal and staffing issues? Very few. They just don’t have the resources to devote to anything that isn’t directly sales or a critical line operation. The same tends to be true for addressing IT needs and personnel required to support it 24/7.

Getting the job done

So, how does an SMB begin to bring on the necessary resources to support their IT needs? A common solution is to bring on a generalist who will act as the IT director/manager and then that person may bring on additional, more specialized staff as revenue growth permits.

This is a pretty standard model for addressing IT support needs for a growing SMB. But does that really make the most sense? The issue with this model is that it follows a typical, hierarchical company org chart, but doesn’t necessarily meet the needs of an SMB. The IT demands of a typical company are very diverse, and one individual typically doesn’t have the depth and breadth of experience to significantly support every aspect of your IT infrastructure. More often than not, the person tasked with managing company IT also has other job responsibilities and, though they may have some technical proficiency, really do not have the specialized knowledge to keep a network running reliably or securely. Add to this that IT tasks have to be balanced with other job duties and may actually take a back seat to their other responsibilities. When resources for IT staffing are limited, creating an IT department that covers everything is unrealistic. Building out this traditional model takes time and resources to make sure you have the people that possess all the diverse skills needed to meet the many requirements of a sound IT infrastructure. The cost of doing so actually may not withstand a cost-benefit analysis. As a result, this model may not truly meet the immediate or urgent needs of a developing organization. So, if IT support from an organizational chart approach doesn’t make sense, what does?

Choose your focus

Let’s look at this from a risk management perspective. For any business, but especially a smaller one without deep pockets, the consequences of some disaster may mean the end of the business. As a result, risk evaluation becomes critical. There are an endless variety of events, from mishaps to major disasters that challenge your viability. Risk management inventories all of the possible risks that could befall the organization and places them in a hierarchy of significance. At the top are single points of failure disasters, extreme events and common vulnerabilities/misconfigurations that would shut down the business, at least temporarily. Risk management then works to channel limited resources toward mitigating the most serious risks. What is the impact on how you bring in IT support for your business? You bring on the support, either through internal hiring or partnering with an MSP to address where your IT infrastructure is most vulnerable. This approach is more appropriate for an SMB that has limited resources. When weighed against the costs of search, management, possible training, payroll and benefits for internal employees to manage your IT needs, partnering with a managed service provider typically is a better fit. While IT may not directly drive revenue, it supports your productivity and sustains it. Ignoring or not addressing IT in your SMB appropriately could definitely cost you.

Essential Tech Solutions logo


Mon - Fri: 9 AM- 5 PM
By appointment
Sat- Sun: Closed