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Advantages of Pay-As-You-Go vs Fully Managed IT Support

A common question posed to the team here at help4IT is which type of support is best suited to our prospective client’s business: Pay-As-You-Go IT Support or Fully Managed IT Support?

To help answer this frequently asked question, we have set out some of the key advantages and disadvantages of each of these types of arrangements.

Advantages of Pay-As-You-Go IT Support

PAYG IT is an arrangement with a third-party supplier where you pay for IT services at an agreed hourly rate and just pay for whatever you use. Clients often choose this type of arrangement as it offers:

  • A cost-effective solution for businesses that are not heavy technology users – making PAYG ideal for start-ups and smaller companies.
  • Only paying for what you need in relation to your business’s IT issues – the IT service provider will usually quote you an hourly fee for their assistance with fixing any issues that crop up. Sometimes this fee may be tiered, so you will pay a higher fee for a senior consultant’s time and a lower fee for a consultant who deals with more run-of-the-mill problems that commonly affect businesses. Often clients are invited to buy blocks of hours, sometimes referred to as a “time bank”, that can help to reduce the hourly cost but may expire if not used up within a given timeframe.
  • No ongoing monthly contract – multiple rolling service contracts for assistance with different areas of business support can cause your overheads to quickly stack up. A Pay-As-You-Go IT service avoids the higher set fee that is associated with managed IT support contracts, keeping your financial commitment to a minimum whilst enabling you to resolve IT issues quickly, whenever they occur.
  • Access to high-quality expertise at a set rate – there will always be issues that occur in any business where internal resources are unable to resolve the problem. PAYG services enable you to access expertise at an agreed set rate and resolve the issues quickly.

Disadvantages of Pay-As-You-Go IT Support

PAYG IT may not be the right model for resolving your business’s IT issues. The downside to hiring IT professionals under this sort of arrangement includes the following:

  • Resolutions to your company’s IT problems are reactive rather than proactive – under a PAYG arrangement, your service provider may only run very basic monthly checks on your systems or possibly none at all. If increasing numbers of staff are accessing your systems and encountering IT issues, a fully managed solution may be more advisable for continually assessing your infrastructure and providing a solution that minimises downtime and increases productivity.
  • If IT problems become more prolific, you may end up spending more money under a PAYG arrangement – as mentioned previously, PAYG tends to suit start-ups and smaller businesses. As businesses grow, and their technology requirements expand, moving over to a fully managed solution may make sense if your business is continually firefighting by only ever reacting to IT problems as they occur (rather than anticipating and planning for their occurrence).
  • The PAYG model is not best suited for organisations looking for strategic direction and systems monitoring – businesses that are reliant on technology and have ambitious growth plans should consider how they can either facilitate that growth in-house or by outsourcing the requirements to a third-party supplier. Furthermore, if your business deals with highly sensitive data or needs to adhere to stringent industry compliance regulations, a fully managed IT solution is by far the more advisable route to take.

Advantages of Fully Managed IT Support

A fully managed IT support solution is one that aims to identify and solve potential IT problems before they can impact the day-to-day running of your systems and your business. The benefits of a fully managed contract include the following:

  • A significant reduction in support calls – a proactive, managed IT support plan can help you significantly reduce the number of support calls that your team need to make to help them resolve their technology-related issues.
  • Achieve real-time continuous monitoring of your servers and critical network components – offering you greater protection against cyberattacks whilst providing a strong basis to anticipate technology-related issues that affect business performance.
  • Better management of your hardware and software – including administration of licensing and software updates, tracking and monitoring devices, anticipating your future technology requirements and scaling up to meet them seamlessly.
  • Stronger disaster recovery posture – ensuring that your business can continue to function in the event of a natural disaster, server failure, or cyberattack.

Disadvantages of Fully Managed IT Support

A fully managed IT support contract may not be suitable for all types of businesses. For example:

  • Freelancers, start-ups, and businesses with less than 10 employees may not require all the features associated with a fully managed IT support plan – so the overhead of a regular rolling contract may be an unnecessary burden. However, any business with ambitious growth plans should discuss with their IT provider how best to set up their systems from outset, to avoid potential headaches further down the line.
  • Fully outsourcing all your IT requirements to an external contractor could potentially limit aspects of your growth by reduced in-house knowledge retention – clients that are rapidly expanding may therefore want to consider bringing some IT functions in-house, whilst also retaining the services of a third-party supplier to ensure seamless delivery.

Still unsure which IT support model is right for you?

Are you currently considering a change to the way IT issues are handled within your business? The help4IT team have been providing an exceptional standard of IT support to customers both large and small on Pay-As-You-Go and Fully Managed arrangements since 2005. Read more about our success stories here or get in touch with our team to discuss your requirements.

5 Microsoft 365 Features to Help Your Business

Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based evolution of Microsoft Office, designed to help you run your business more efficiently and safely. It is more than just apps such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint; it brings together best-in-class productivity apps with powerful cloud services, device management, and advanced security in one, connected experience.

The subscription model of Microsoft 365 makes it an ideal, cost-effective solution for SMEs that want to deploy a mobile, collaborative work environment that is productive and secure with features that offer a competitive advantage. With its combination of the operating system (Windows 10), the productivity suite (Office 365) and the authentication system (Enterprise Mobility and Security), Microsoft 365 is a turnkey suite that SMEs can deploy quickly and inexpensively, offering smaller businesses the edge to succeed in a competitive marketplace.

With this in mind, we thought we’d take the time to highlight five of the most innovative Microsoft 365 features that will likely be an asset to the running of your business.

1. Real-time co-authoring

With Office and OneDrive or SharePoint, multiple people can work together on a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or PowerPoint presentation. People working on these documents at the same time is a collaboration method referred to as co-authoring.

2. Easy editing and converting to PDF

Converting finished documents, spreadsheets or presentations to PDF is easy in Microsoft 365 with the Save as PDF integrated feature.

3. Improved version control

Microsoft 365 offers much-improved version control with co-authoring. Easily see which changes were made when and by whom. You can also revert back to any previous version of the file, whenever you need to.

4. Work anywhere from any device

Devices Microsoft 365

Work on cloud files using any up-to-date web browser using any device type in any location. You can even access and work on Word, Excel and other productivity apps directly from your smartphone, while you’re on the move.

5. Intelligent email

Clutter Microsoft 365

With the Clutter feature, Microsoft will use your mailbox rules to automatically organise your email so high-priority messages are visible first. Other incoming mail is moved to your Clutter inbox for you to view separately when it suits you.

Moving to Microsoft 365

Are you an SME looking for assistance with your migration to Microsoft 365? Get in touch with the help4IT team for details on how we can assist you with a smooth transition.

How to Provide the Best IT Support for Your Remote Workers

The number of employees working remotely within the UK has grown significantly in recent years, largely due to the impact of Covid-19 and the subsequent national lockdowns. According to a study by the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data, remote working was relatively rare in 1981 when only 1.5% of those in employment worked mainly from home. By 2019 it had tripled to 4.7%, however, it rose suddenly and dramatically in lockdown with just over 43% of employees working almost always working remotely.

With 36% of working adults reporting that they have worked at home at least once over a 7 day period in January 2022, there has emerged a significant requirement for employers to ensure that their staff can fulfil their roles to the best of their ability outside of the office or other traditional work environments. With the remote working trend likely to continue long after the impact of Covid-19 has diminished, employers must be able to provide a high standard of IT support services for staff working from home and other spaces outside of official company premises.

Key areas that employers need to consider when accommodating the requirements of remote workers include the following.

Ensure remote workers can get technical issues fixed by a remote IT support team

If large sections of your team are not office based, it’s unlikely that you will be able to provide onsite IT support for every issue that they encounter. You need to ensure that you have a good system in place for responding to their issues quickly and fixing the problem remotely, wherever possible. If your business serves customers from around the world, then you may need to consider providing a multi-lingual remote IT support department.

Ensure that your remote team can access IT support 24/7

If a high percentage of your staff do not work regular 9 to 5 office hours, it’s important that they are able to access help and fix IT issues whenever they occur. If you are unable to establish an in-house 24/7 IT team, consider outsourcing support to a dedicated managed IT support company. This will ensure that staff working from home late at night or operating in different time zones are not prevented from meeting important deadlines or delivering solutions to customers.

Ensure that you can deal with local emergencies experienced by remote workers  

Whilst most issues can be resolved remotely, occasionally an onsite visit is the only option for resolving urgent issues faced by staff working remotely. You, therefore, need to ensure that you can facilitate a response to any emergencies occurring no matter where in the country, or the world, they happen. One way to do this would be to work alongside multiple local IT support providers based on the locations of your remote staff. This might work for smaller businesses, however, for larger and more complex operations you should consider hiring a local managed services provider (MSP), one that can leverage network connections to ensure onsite support is provided quickly no matter where in the world your staff are based.

Ensure that strong security standards and procedures are implemented

Never assume that staff working remotely are not a threat to your central systems. Without carefully considered security procedures and solutions in place, staff may attempt to access company files from unprotected or public networks potentially compromising sensitive data and information. Important steps to ensure that staff can work safely whilst remote include the following:

  • Mandating Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
  • Mandating strong passwords and user access protocols
  • Limiting access to sensitive files and directories
  • Providing training and support on common security risks such as phishing attacks
  • Setting up a VPN network
  • Setting up systems to ensure that security software on devices used to access company information is kept up to date
  • Implementing a cloud-based mobile device management (MDM) service such as Microsoft Intune.

Ensure you have considered the bigger picture for remote working staff

It’s not enough just to provide a solution for fixing IT issues for your remote staff. You need to ensure that your business can continue to operate well in the face of bigger systemic issues such as server failures. Backup server maintenance, temporary systems, and devices for both your office-based and remote staff all need to be considered to assure uninterrupted productivity and business continuity.

The help4IT advantage: providing specialist support for remote working staff

With our extensive global partner network, the help4IT team provide emergency support for our clients that have operations in multiple countries and remote staff working in varied locations. We have also assisted countless businesses to migrate to a platform that offers best in class security provision for both office-based and remote working team members.

To find out more about how we can help you, please get in touch.

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