SMEs with No Tech Support: Is It a Problem?

We know from data previously cited by the SMB Group that 27% of businesses don’t have any form of tech support. 

What does that mean?

It means that while they might run IT systems like computers, servers and digital services, they don’t have a dedicated technician or member of support staff on hand in the event that something goes wrong. 

Twenty-seven per cent of businesses is a lot. 

According to the FSB, there were 6 million registered businesses in the UK in 2020. That means 1.6 million businesses could currently be operating without any IT tech support.

The big question now is: If you’re one of these businesses, is that a problem?

The Risks of No Tech Support: Is It a Problem?

Yes. It is a problem. We’ll start with a few fundamentals. 

The Potential for Downtime

IT systems, no matter how advanced, have the potential to falter. When this happens, a business will experience “downtime”. This is when they are partially or completely without access to their digital services. 

Tech support offers two benefits when it comes to downtime. 

Tech staff maintain your systems, helping to prevent them from going offline. And, should they go offline, the tech staff can help bring them back up as quickly as possible, avoiding unnecessary disruption. 

Without tech support, you could face longer and more regular system downtime. 

The Case against Outdated Technology

Technical staff have numerous responsibilities, one of which is making sure you are using the most suitable software and hardware for your business operations. If you don’t have technical support, your systems can become outdated, which includes both running on legacy systems and failing to install important and beneficial updates.

No Tech Support Invites Security Flaws

Data security has never been so important. 

Lost data can lead to a myriad of problems, from legal action to business and reputation damages and lost digital assets. Tech support plays a vital role in making sure you are compliant with essential IT governance and that your system security is capable of withstanding attacks. 

IT technicals can also be on hand to manage and resolve problems in the event of a security breach. Without tech support, you can leave your data, systems and business vulnerable. 

All of This Hits Your Productivity

Downtime, outdated technology and potential security breaches — all of these impact productivity by slowing your workforce down and diverting attention away from their primary tasks. 

Tech support keeps your digital service running smoothly, allowing your staff to maintain high levels of productivity. The reality is that there is a cost to everything, and the cost of no tech support can be a big one. 

Financial Implications of No Tech Support

Estimates collected by Gartner put the cost of IT downtime or total loss of activity due to problems such as technical errors or security breaches at around $5,000 (£3,500) per minute

This is not the cost for a large corporate but instead the average cost for smaller to medium-sized businesses. The average cost for a large corporate is much, much more extreme.

Why are the fees so high?

The business is hit from all angles: 

  • The cost of reactive maintenance, which can be far more expensive than having a tech crew already to hand.
  • The time it takes to source a tech company to help.
  • The loss of productivity while systems are restored.
  • You’ll need to consider the time it takes to catch up on work.
  • You may have lost work, and valuable data must be replaced.
  • There is a potential loss of business and sales.
  • You could owe compensation for loss of service or data breaches.
  • You may have to make system changes as part of restoration — such as replacing broken hardware.

The list of costs is ever-mounting.  

The longer your tech problem goes on, the more those costs add up. Days offline can destroy a business. 60% of SMEs that experience a major cyber-security hack and end up with long periods of downtime as a result will go out of business within six months. The costs of recovery are simply unsustainable. 

What Can You Do?

The simple answer?

Get some tech support.

You don’t need to hire in-house tech staff members if you’re concerned about full-time and unnecessary hires. You can work with an IT consultancy and support companies who can offer their services as outsourced professionals. These services generally provide help 24/7, so if the worst should happen, they’ll be on hand to get you up and running as fast as possible. 

Working with IT support services also helps mitigate the chances of tech problems in the first place. IT consultants can advise you on your IT process and network structure, help you identify weaknesses and security flaws, provide guidance on making improvements and even handle things like upgrades on your behalf. 

Your digital assets are some of your most important assets. Ask yourself what you’d do if your IT system went down for the day. If you don’t like the answer and you don’t have any tech support available right now that you can rely on to restore your business’s functionality, then it’s time to make a change. 

Rylie Holt