As a distributor, it is always best to take a proactive approach concerning the creation and implementation of policies, procedures, and protective measures for your distributor technology. For example, let’s consider your fleet of vehicles: Should you be proactive and ensure your fleet receives regular maintenance, or should you be reactive and allow drivers to keep driving until the vehicles break down, resulting in costly repairs and putting your drivers at risk? Ideally, you should be proactive and take care of each vehicle to ensure it receives preventative maintenance and is safe to operate.
Unfortunately, however, many distributors take the “reactive” approach to protecting their distributor technology; they want to react rather than work ahead proactively to address issues before they become major problems. While it’s easy to understand the mentality — a reactive approach can seem easier or less costly up front, particularly when considering the financial limitations of small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) — many people don’t realize the true cost of that lackadaisical approach to IT security.
Reactive vs. Proactive IT Services for Distributor Technology
The two terms are pretty straightforward: Proactive IT services maintain your systems to keep them operational, whereas reactive services focus on fixing issues as they arise. However, a critical difference between the two is that proactive services enable your in-house IT services staff or a managed service provider (MSP) to identify areas of improvement in your organization’s infrastructure that can impact your IT defenses. Ultimately, the goal is to improve the overall health of your network while increasing productivity and reducing long-term costs.
As a distributor, you are responsible for protecting your organization’s IT infrastructure and keeping customer data (and your own) from falling into the wrong hands. As such, you should be building a “cyber aware culture” regarding your policies, procedures, employee training that protects your distributor technology, and initiatives that are identified and addressed by every leader. This can entail making sure you have adequate email security in place, creating an acceptable use policy (AUP) for employees for how your distributor technology is used, establishing a social media policy, and implementing data backups and disaster recovery solutions — just to name a few methods.
Determining Where Your Organization Falls in the IO Model
Microsoft developed an infrastructure optimization model (IOM) that breaks an organization’s IT optimization into four levels: Basic, standardized, rationalized, and dynamic.
The reason the IOM matters is that it affects your organization’s security, costs, and productivity. According to the model, the more advanced your optimization (basic vs. dynamic), the stronger the foundation for organizational agility you can achieve. For example, the basic level is decentralized with no IT security policies or standards in place and reactive IT services. The dynamic level, on the other hand, is a highly integrated environment with an infrastructure that is a competitive advantage and has fully automated processes in place.
No one wants to fall within the “basic” category because it doesn’t reflect well on their organization and also means that it is at high risk of attack. However, making improvements to IT services can be challenging for a limited in-house IT staff. This is where a managed IT services provider can simplify the process.
Managed IT Services Can Facilitate a Proactive Approach
Outsourcing is becoming increasingly attractive to organizations of all sizes as they begin to recognize the value of partnering with a managed service provider (MSP). According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Outsourcing Survey, 72% of businesses outsource their IT infrastructure. Furthermore, according to the IT Outsourcing Statistics 2017-2018 study from Computer Economics:
“At the median, large organizations have increased the percentage of their IT budgets spent on outsourcing from 6.3% to 8.7%. Small organizations are now spending 7.8% of their IT budget on outsourcing at the median this year, compared with 6.7% last year. Midsize companies have increased their spending at the median from 4.7% to 6.5%.”
The benefits of managed IT services are numerous and include:
- Serving as an affordable solution for IT services needs
- Reducing vulnerabilities through increased security
- Improving organizational productivity
- Providing access to more resources
- Helping to ensure industry compliance
Partnering with an unreliable or ineffective managed IT service provider can spell trouble, leaving you to deal with shoddy service to a lack of responsiveness. However, partnering with a trusted and reliable provider, like FPA, can make all the difference. A high-quality managed IT services provider brings a dedicated team of experts to the table to proactively identifies and addresses issues that exist within your organization’s IT infrastructure and prepares your organization for future threats.
At FPA, we provide comprehensive IT support to our distributor and manufacturer clients. Our proactive managed IT services approach keeps your network up and running at optimal efficiency and effectiveness so you can provide the best service to your customers. We have provided top-quality IT support services to distributors and manufacturers in the Los Angeles area for more than 25 years. By understanding the needs of our clients and their businesses through a business-before-technology approach, we are able to focus on your IT so you can focus on your business.
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