IT staffing should address risk first and foremost

Feb 21, 2024 | disaster and recovery, IT staffing

For any business, but especially a smaller one without deep pockets, the consequences of a natural disaster, human error or cyberattack may mean the end of the business. As a result, when pursuing IT staffing risk evaluation becomes critical. 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 or extreme events that would shut down the business, at least temporarily. Risk management then works to channel limited resources toward mitigating the most serious threats. Here are some examples of risk in the IT arena that could be especially damaging if left unaddressed.

Data Security and Cybercrime

Loss of data – Failed backups and human error can lead to lost data. Every business needs to have the expertise to ensure that quality backups are maintained and tested. An untested backup could be no backup at all when things are down to the wire. Proving data is viable to restore is as essential as getting the backup in the first place. Frequent backups means there are no large gaps of time where changes are not backed up and therefore potential for data loss increased. How much time would it take you to recreate data generated in the elapsed time between viable backups?

Data breaches – More significantly, data is constantly at risk from cybercrime. From malware to ransomware, viruses and cyberattacks can destroy a small business by not only destroying data, but also potentially leaking confidential data outside your organization. A data breach can mean downtime along with fines, fees and loss of your consumer’s confidence. Consequently, quality IT support is most critical in this area. It should be an issue of highest priority.

Hardware redundancy/resiliency – Your entire physical IT infrastructure represents a vulnerability. Single points of failure could shut down your business. Proper design of your infrastructure, and 24/7 monitoring of it is, again, a risk mitigation factor. How much evaluation has been done to determine your level of risk?

Natural and human-made disasters – How prepared is your IT infrastructure to continue operations in the event of a flood, fire, or natural disaster that prohibits access to your physical location? How would you handle a long-term power of broadband outage? IT professionals skilled in disaster recovery can help you mitigate the risk in the face of such a major event.

The point here is not to list all the possible risks you face, but to recognize that IT support should be focused on the most critical areas. Whether you bring them in-house or use the services of an MSP, resources should be directed first at areas where the risk is greatest.

How can an MSP help support a risk-focused IT staffing strategy?

Hiring individual in-house support can be expensive and slow – Given the tight labor market, finding ideal IT staff candidates can be exceptionally difficult, and as a consequence, too expensive. An MSP represents a faster way to bring on skilled support. You may choose to have them handle everything or to augment in-house staff.

Up-to-date support – Over-worked in-house IT staff in a small company may be too busy putting out fires to keep up with the latest developments in specific corners of their field. As a result, they are likely to remain in fire-fighting mode instead of fully addressing the security and performance concerns of your infrastructure. It’s quite common for small teams in such a situation to lack the depth of knowledge needed in critical areas. IT is a very broad field, and only a diverse IT team has the depth to cover all the areas. A good MSP will not only be up-to-date with the latest in tech but also advise you on what tech changes you need to make to stay ahead.

Scalability – The size of your in-house IT support staff is, in the short term, static. If you experience peak demand times, resources can be stretched to the point of being overwhelmed. Choosing a managed services provider, however, provides the flexibility to scale your IT investment up or down to meet business demands.

Round-the-clock monitoring and availability – Until your organization gets big enough, an in-house IT staff cannot be available nor provide monitoring 24/7 for aspects of your business that must be functional at all times. An MSP has the resources to cover those issues. In many cases, a well-maintained infrastructure will have limited disasters to contend with. Cyberthreats may be stopped or at least isolated by automated and monitored systems. Data recovery from the previously mentioned backups with modern tools are typically rapid. A good MSP will prevent most disasters and quickly respond to and remediate those that occur, preventing significant downtime for you. Should a major event occur, they can assist you with getting up and running again.

What is the best use of limited resources to meet your most immediate vulnerabilities?

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