As a Los Angeles registered investment advisor (RIA), you have the critical duty of protecting not only your firm’s IT infrastructure and data, but your clients’ data as well. Employing effective IT services is just as important an issue now as it was five years ago — if not more so. As such, keeping your RIA technology in good working condition is imperative to being a productive and profitable firm.
Every successful business has to plan and budget for its various services and costs. For example, you can’t just “wing” spending to pay for employee salaries and benefits. The same can be said about the need to budget for your IT services. While managed IT services can be costly, it also is significantly less expensive than trying to pick your firm up off the ground when your RIA technology unexpectedly fails.
One option, of course, is to hire an in-house information security team. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average annual salary of an Information Security Analyst was $92,600 as of 2016, and the cost of hiring just one of these professionals can easily exceed six figures just for their salary (in addition to the cost of their benefits and any required professional training). Experienced IT professionals are in high demand, and they know their value. This is where a managed IT services provider can help.
A managed service provider (MSP) is a company that provides dedicated IT services and support to your firm at a lower cost than hiring in-house IT staff. The goal of an MSP is to keep your RIA technology, network, and IT infrastructure running in optimal condition and to ensure your network uptime.
Benefits of Budgeting for Managed IT Services
There are several reasons why registered investment advisors need to budget for managed IT services:
1. Budgeting Transforms Your Mindset from Reactive to Proactive
Many registered investment advisors approach IT services from a time and materials (T&M) mindset. This approach entails paying to fix their RIA technology when its broken rather than investing in preventative maintenance services and ongoing support. Having this type of reactive mindset toward IT services can be potentially detrimental, and significantly more costly, to your business in the long run. After all, with a T&M approach to IT services, it can leave your firm vulnerable to unethical or incompetent computer “techs” who will nickel-and-dime you by charging for unnecessary components or taking extra time to complete a project.
Proactive service and support enables your in-house IT services staff or a managed service provider (MSP) to identify areas of improvement in your organization’s infrastructure that can eventually impact your IT defenses. Ultimately, the goal is to monitor and improve the overall health of your network while increasing productivity and reducing long-term costs.
If your organization has a proactive mindset and adopts a managed service model for your IT services, it means that your firm will pay for pre-defined outcomes that are agreed upon rather than one-off repairs as they arise. It won’t matter how long a project takes; you will be charged the same amount regardless. On the surface, this can sound expensive. However, preventative maintenance helps to reduce costs overall because you’re taking care of your RIA technology rather than trying to salvage or repair it when something goes wrong — which risks data loss and other serious concerns.
Proactive IT services offer you peace of mind in knowing that your maintenance and repairs will be completed on time and within budget — and, that the MSP won’t be tempted to delay service to drive up costs.
2. You View IT as a Profit Center Rather Than a Cost Center
In addition to changing your mindset from reactive to proactive, it’s also essential as an RIA to think about IT in terms of uptime and staff productivity. This is a stark contrast to the conventional perspective that views IT services as a cost center. Seeing this necessary service as something that can help your business achieve its goals rather than as a burden requires a change in mindset that starts with your firm’s leadership.
Managed IT services and support can help your firm be not only more successful, but more profitable as well. Partnering with an experienced IT managed service provider (MSP) can help to increase your firm’s efficiency and effectiveness while reducing its overhead costs and operational risks. As far as we’re concerned, that’s a win-win scenario for you and your clients.
3. Transforming IT into a Resource Rather Than a Cost to Minimize
An experienced and knowledgeable IT services provider can help the key decision makers in your firm leverage its RIA technology and IT services, using it as a tool to achieve the firm’s business objectives.
At FPA, it’s one of our goals to help RIA firms and other organizations handle their IT services strategically and holistically rather than (continually) reacting to situations at the symptom level. Unlike other MSPs, we implement and support technology from a business perspective, helping us to live up to our beloved phrase of “Business Before TechnologyTM.” And, unlike firms that employ a T&M approach to IT service fees, we offer “worry-free, flat-fee IT” that helps to keep your IT service and support costs to a minimum and reduces downtime.
Please feel free to share your thoughts on the discussion topic in the comments section below. Or, reach out to speak with me directly if you’d like to discuss this more in-depth.
Learn more about how to maintain and protect your RIA technology and firm from internal and external threats. Download our free guide by clicking on the image below.