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How to find the best IT support for your business


Picking an IT support provider for your small business can be a headache. Learn what to look for and how to prepare your small business today with Resolve.

There is perhaps nothing more frustrating than IT issues at work.  

Surely everyone can resonate with this. 

Picture this: it's a Monday morning, you're sipping on your coffee and you're already mentally juggling the day's deadlines. That one large project you want to progress today. The presentation is scheduled for just after lunch. The meeting with your team is booked for just after arrival at the office.  

However, everything comes unstuck because there has been some problem with the IT which has left everybody hanging around the coffee machine chatting whilst it gets fixed.  

If you’re an employee, it’s frustrating.  

Now, if you're the boss, it's a whole different level of headache.   

We've been in the game for two decades, chatting with folks just like you. Trust us, we get the headaches this situation causes for businesses like yours.

It’s not just big businesses, but small businesses too. Recent estimates put the cost of downtime for small businesses at around £400 per minute

We see Servers go offline unexpectedly, networks go down and long outages from cyber security breaches.  

In fact, according to government statistics last year, over 50% of small businesses faced cyber attacks resulting in a breach.  

These types of problems call for expert solutions and you’re in the right place.  

See this as your helpful guide to assist you when it comes to making the right choice for your business – whether outsourcing or insourcing, Resolve or not – and put those IT headaches behind you by informing yourself of which direction to go next.  

Understanding your IT support needs as a small business

You likely have a pretty good understanding of your problems already, which is most of the work done at this stage. Right now, we don’t recommend you focus on the available options to fix the problems, but instead on being able to clearly define what your business challenges are with IT.  

Some of the most common examples we see include:  

We recommend taking a moment or two to summarise your problems with your key team members.  

Next, it’s a good idea to start to take stock of your existing setup so you can communicate your needs clearly. 

What current IT infrastructure do you have?

We’re talking here about the number of computers, your internet connectivity, if you have servers; how many of them? What about your router; do you know it’s make and model? What’s your data backup strategy? What about a disaster recovery plan? What cyber security tools do you use? 

If you only know the answers to a couple of these questions, don’t worry (that’s why you’re looking for help, right?). Just pull together what you can; it will help your conversations later.  

If you already have IT staff, whether outsourced or not, they should be able to provide a detailed breakdown of your current IT infrastructure.  

Next up, you need to determine what help you need. 

What are you looking to get out of your IT support?

So, you’ve identified your challenges and taken stock of your IT setup. Next, you’ll need to begin to think about what kind of support you’re looking for. A great way to think about this is by working with your ideal case scenarios. Take the list of challenges you’ve made and next to each one write a summary of what the perfect solution would be.  

For example, let’s say that one of your IT challenges was that your internet connection drops out several times per day. This results in a member of staff on the phone with the supplier, wasting valuable time. Your ideal solution might be a reliable internet connection with dedicated technical support and uptime guarantees.   

You’ve just started formulating your plan to get your next IT support solution in place!  

Once you’ve completed this process, let's look at the next big move – your budget.  

What is your IT support budget?

If technology worked all the time, two things would be true:  

  1. You wouldn’t need IT Support.  
  1. We would be out of business!  

It seems to have become a law of nature since the first PC hit the shelves in the 1970’s – the Altair kits that wherever technology and people collide, both amazing and weird things happen. 

Fortunately for us, if you have a business with people using IT, you’re going to need IT Support. We recommend you treat IT as a business overhead and start considering, based on the needs you defined earlier, what your budget is.  

There are no fixed rules here, but a helpful measure to use is to link the cost of support proportionally to the quantity of staff in the business, i.e. for every 10 staff increase, you should budget for the costs to correlate.   

Let’s have a look at your options.  

Types of IT support

So, you’ve gathered your intel on your situation, put on your proverbial cap and headed out to market to see what’s on offer. 

You’ll start to notice that you have three popular options on offer. Whilst there are always exceptions to this, and keep in mind we’re talking about small business options only, these three options are your best choices.  

Which way you go will depend on how closely aligned each option is to your ideal scenarios, as you’ve already described. 

Let’s take a minute to understand the three of them.  

In-House team

Employing an IT Technician might seem to be the one that jumps out at you at first. After all, an in-house resource can have some great advantages. Firstly, they work in the building, alongside the team. That can have some great benefits; they’ll learn about the culture, people’s priorities and how everyone likes their coffee.  

For a larger business, typically 80-90 staff and above, the in-house option becomes very realistic, but if you’re not there with staff numbers, we’d recommend weighing up the costs. Remember we spoke about the budget? This option is going to set you back the most; salary, pension, NI contributions and equipment, cover some of it. You’re also going to need someone to train them, mentor and manage them, as well as keep them engaged.  

Take it from us; IT technicians enjoy a challenge and you may find them becoming bored of fixing email issues and wanting bigger fish to fry!   

The other stick in the mud here; who takes over when they’re off? The business doesn’t simply “manage” in the meantime (remember the imaginary scenario at the start? See you for a chat at the coffee machine). You will want to consider a backup plan. 

If this option isn’t right, what about the other two?  

IT support providers

IT Support Providers, or ‘MSP’s as they’re increasingly widely known, provide a slice of the benefits of in-house support but with several added side dishes.  IT support companies have been around for as long as businesses rely on technology.  

Things have changed a bit since then. They’re now lovingly referred to as Managed Service Providers, with the idea being they are providers of services, plus their management and support on top. It works well, but keep an eye out for a subtle difference; Managed Services doesn’t always include IT Support for your team!    

IT Support Providers typically charge a fixed monthly fee based on what you’re asking them to support you with. Generally, you’ll want all-encompassing support, which means you don’t want any element of your IT un-supported. Just be ready for a bit of negotiating, as they can’t always manage every request from you in-house and you’d be amazed at the kind of problems people come up against with their technology!  

So, what about the final option? 

Pay-As-You-Go IT support

Pay-As-You-Go IT support is what it sounds like. Rather than paying a fixed monthly fee, you pay for the time you use. This kind of arrangement works best with IT support companies (who offer it), and in our experience, is a great option for start-ups and smaller organisations with a very low demand for technology. Without paying your IT partner to do so, there will be no proactive support here, so exercise caution if you’re a growing business.  

The benefits of using an IT Support Provider

OK – we were always going to be a bit biased weren’t we, but stick with us and we think you’ll see why this works. 

Outsourcing your IT to an MSP solves the problem of your IT technician being away. It also deals with  

the boredom issue we mentioned before; IT support companies are structured in a way that allows for progression within the company when people want to challenge themselves. Additionally, costs are going to be significantly lower; when you factor everything in, you’re making a huge saving every month.  

Things get even more interesting when you consider the number of people you have at your disposal. Rather than a single IT technician, you’re looking at a whole team of experts with varying skill levels, abilities, and talents, all in a position to look after you.  

Regular maintenance

Your IT Support provider will provide routine updates as part of their monthly service. It’s a bit like taking out a maintenance plan on a car; it’s all about pre-emptive and proactive actions here.  

As you might have guessed, this is vital with technology, especially as far as cyber security goes. Some parts of your IT will need updating weekly to ensure they’re protected from the latest vulnerabilities.   

Having a team carry out routine maintenance is a must, especially as the business grows. Optimising your systems, patching vulnerabilities, and replacing old and dying hardware, can prevent IT from crippling the business.   

Monitoring and reporting

Before we go on, to illustrate what makes this section so important, keep in mind that IT support providers have many, many clients. These teams are equipped not just with the skills and talents in their people, but also in their toolset.  

Think about your in-house tech team. They're focused on one company, one set of issues. Now, imagine having a whole squad of IT superheroes watching over your business. Your IT Support provider scales way beyond one business, often providing support for hundreds of businesses at a time. This is only possible through the highly sophisticated toolset available to these companies. A piece of network equipment starts playing up – they know about it immediately. How many times has that exact thing happened before? There’s a report for that.  

Having this team and their specialised toolsets available to your business provides you with some real reassurances; all activities will be monitored and ultimately, downtime reduced and data loss minimised.  

Consistent communication

There is power in numbers. 

Your team can scale upwards of 100 staff and a good IT support provider can adapt their processes to continue to support you. One of the ways they manage this is with some of the best communication processes in business; when one of your team has a problem, they want to know:  

How is this done on such a large scale? Only a team with enough technicians can handle high volumes of requests and keep your business running smoothly.  

Cost saving

We’ve mentioned it before, but we’ll mention it again – outsourcing will always lower costs when it comes to IT support. Make sure you’re engaging with your IT support provider regularly; we recommend a minimum of 4 times per year, to keep on top of licensing and other costs. If you work with your partner, you’ll enjoy all of the benefits we’ve mentioned, at a lower price point.  

How Resolve can help your small business

We’ve been an outsourced IT Provider for decades; we’d like to think that we’ve seen it all, but every day remains a learning day. Resolve focuses on frictionless IT systems and support, by providing services like Disaster Recovery planning, detailed IT strategy planning with our IT Strategy Reviews, our in-house cyber security services, backups, monitoring and audits.  

Our service desk is multi-award winning for supporting businesses like yours with your IT challenges, helping you understand and integrate new technology into your processes and removing the hassle caused by long wait times, no callbacks and queues.  

We’re a team of just under 40, with a wealth of knowledge and experience amongst us.  

Don't let IT challenges slow you down. Schedule a consultation with Resolve and experience proactive, expert support. 

If you’ve found this informative, we’d recommend our mailing list, where we talk about the tech world and how it affects small businesses.  

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