Most companies start out with zero IT support staff, if you exclude the person who has to stop what they’re doing and figure out what’s going on when technology stops working.  As the company grows, that person might track down a freelancer they can pay to come help with the network when they get in over their head. Eventually the company will reach the point where they’ll pay that person to visit them for a few hours each month, because problems always accumulate in the interim.

All of these are good decisions, and they’re likely to increase a company’s productivity.  But as the company continues to grow, it gets to a point where a few hours a month, or even a few hours a week, isn’t going to cut it.  Eventually, it’s time to stop allowing a single point of failure to be the knowledge base of your entire corporate network.  Here are two signs you’ve arrived there.

Workload Sometimes Exceeds Bandwidth

When companies first hire someone to help with technology, their needs may range from zero to four hours a week.  Over time, that range starts becoming larger – perhaps from 4 to 20 hours a week.  If your freelancer can’t handle 20 hours a week, you might even hire an internal person to handle your network.

When companies reach the point that they need 20 to 80 hours a week of technology support, however, they’re in a tough spot.  How does a company justify hiring a second person when the first person isn’t even always needed for a full 40 hours?  On the other hand, how can a company justify not hiring a second person when they sometimes need far more than one person can handle?  And what will they do if they face a network crisis (or an office move) and need 120 hours’ worth of help for a few weeks?

This is exactly the type of situation managed IT service providers (MSPs) are built to support.  It’s hard to balance workloads like this across one company, but when a large team supports many companies, they don’t all need major help at the same time.  This allows them to scale to meet your needs – something no freelancer or internal IT support person can do.

Technology Risk Starts to Equate to Big Money

It seems like people want to sell you insurance for everything today.  You can’t go to Best Buy and buy a $30 pair of headphones without them asking if you want the 2-year replacement plan for three bucks.  Of course, they know you aren’t going to bring those headphones back in a year and a half with your insurance receipt.  You’re going to throw them in the trash and get a new pair.  It’s thirty bucks – it’s not like your house burned down.

If you’re like most small business owners, you probably started your business with a couple of computers that look pretty similar to the ones next to those $30 headphones at Best Buy.  And the odds are high that you didn’t buy the insurance plan, either.  After all, money was tight, so you saved insurance purchases for things that could bring down the company.

Once your company’s employee count starts to hit double digits, however, the risk associated with those computers (and the network connecting them) starts to increase.  You accumulate years of customer data that you need to keep private and safe from loss.  A day without your network stops looking like a trip to Best Buy and starts looking like tens of thousands of dollars of lost productivity and sales.

When you hit this point – the point where losing all of your data starts to sound more expensive than losing your house – that’s when you need more than one person standing behind your network.  Because if something goes very wrong with your network, you need to know you can get it back up and running, and you need the resources to get it back up quickly.

To learn how WingSwept supports small and mid-size businesses, give us a call at 919-779-0954 or email us at