Over the past few years, the retail industry has been moving at a rapid pace. From a technological perspective, this has made things even more complex. For those who are running a retail business, there is not only the task of managing day-to-day operations but also ensuring that they can successfully keep up with the landscape of the latest technologies, which changes and evolves rapidly.
As a result, retailers are finding that the cost of managing software and IT hardware maintenance, security, and compliance is mounting.
For many retail business owners today, staying ahead of the evolving technological curve is essential for keeping the company afloat. And for some, it’s not something that can be done alone. Turning to experienced providers that specialize in managed IT services has become a more commonplace choice, as an increasing number of retailers realize that there is no room for cutting corners when it comes to security, reliability, and scalability. If you run a retail business, here are some of the main benefits of investing in managed IT support.
Maintain High Employee Productivity
Lots of retail businesses may be familiar with the common situation where IT tasks tend to fall on the shoulders of the most knowledgeable member of staff, even if they were not hired to work specifically on IT.
While this might work for a while, the unfortunate truth is that staff members working on tasks that are not part of their job description is only eventually going to lead to problems, as productivity drops, and things don’t get done. Employees only have a certain amount of time in the day to get things done, so if they’re working on other tasks, they are not going to be able to complete their main ones. When you work with a managed IT services provider, you can entrust all IT work to them, allowing your employees to save time and be more productive in other areas.
Improve Your Cybersecurity Protections
Retail businesses are often targeted by cybercriminals who are only interested in stealing data and wreaking havoc. This is especially true for small businesses, who bear a disproportionate share of the cybersecurity attacks nationwide.
If you run a small retail business, then you might be mistakenly thinking that hackers won’t be interested in you as your company isn’t big enough. But the truth is that smaller businesses are often seen as easier targets and are at a bigger risk of being hacked. By working with a managed IT service provider, you can ensure that your business and the data that it stores are kept as safe as possible.
Ensure Regulatory Compliance
Retail businesses of any size need to be very careful and strict when it comes to protecting customer data. This is especially true if you are selling products online and customers are making payments to your business via debit and credit cards. Working with an expert IT company that is experienced in the retail industry will give you access to professionals who have a keen understanding of the importance of remaining compliant when it comes to the regulations and laws surrounding customer data. They will not only be able to ensure that your company remains compliant throughout changing regulations but can also check your current compliance and inform you of where improvements can be made.
Deal With IT Problems Proactively
When you run a retail business, you’re likely to be aware that the cost of reacting to IT issues as they occur is likely to be more expensive compared to taking a preventative approach.
However, dealing with IT problems as they happen might be your only option if you are managing IT on your own. One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing your IT to an expert managed provider is that you will be able to ensure more prevention, leading to fewer IT problems overall. Instead of waiting for something to go wrong before you deal with it, a managed services provider will be able to go over your IT infrastructure and put proactive, preventative approaches in place to ensure that these issues either don’t happen or are caught as early as possible.
Quickly Recover from Disaster
While working with an IT services expert can reduce your risk of experiencing an IT disaster in your retail business, it doesn’t mean that a disaster will never happen. The risk is always there, but when you work with a managed IT service provider, you will have peace of mind knowing that your business has the necessary support to recover from a disaster faster and more smoothly. A managed IT service provider will put steps in place to prepare your business for a range of different disaster types, with comprehensive recovery plans to follow in the event that they do occur. This means that in the event of a serious incident such as a breach, your business is less likely to suffer downtime or lose the trust of customers.
Streamline Your IT Budget
While there is undoubtedly a cost involved with working with a managed IT services provider, you might find that it is actually easier for your business to manage compared to trying to do all IT tasks yourself. Instead of being faced with different costs depending on the situation at the time, working with an IT company can make expenses more predictable since most will charge a flat monthly fee for their services.
Discover Lasting IT Peace of Mind
Is working with an IT services company worth the extra expense for your retail business? For most, it is a cost-effective decision that brings further peace of mind. With a designated professional to look after your IT, your employees don’t have to worry about it, allowing them to be more productive and increase the chance of them improving revenue overall.
Along with this, the cost of hiring a managed IT services provider can be well worth it if your business faces any kind of disaster, such as server failure or a hacking attempt, as they will deal with it on your behalf quickly and smoothly.
For retail businesses of all sizes today, managing IT has become a crucial factor. With IT playing a huge part in all aspects of running a retail business, working with managed IT services can be one of the best investments you’ll make.
Author – Eric Madden is President of Astute Technology Management, one the midwest’s leading managed IT service providers and a trusted technology consultant to healthcare, commercial construction, and professional services firms.