IT Support

What IT support do small businesses need?

13th May 2024 | 9 min read

What IT support do small businesses need?

IT and cyber security issues are costing small businesses. Research has found IT downtime costs small businesses an average of £3.6 million every year. On top of this, 545 hours of staff productivity are lost annually because of outages.

And 48% of small and mid-size businesses have experienced a cyber security incident in the past year.

Despite the sheer volume of risk and the financial implications facing small businesses, many still do not invest time, skills or money into IT. They often don’t believe incidents will happen to them, or are too focused on daily operation to prioritise IT.

As a result, many companies find themselves ticking along with outdated systems or IT vulnerabilities. Not only does this reduce performance, it leaves them at significant risk. It only takes one outage or cyber attack to bring disruption, alongside financial and operational implications.

We examine the challenges small businesses face in their IT infrastructure and the support they need to excel.

What IT challenges do small businesses face?

There are several reasons why IT is often deprioritised or below standard in small businesses.

Firstly, many smaller organisations will be constrained by budget. With a limited budget, it becomes difficult to invest in top-tier hardware, software and qualified IT professionals. This can lead to outdated systems and reliance on free (but less secure) solutions.

Often, IT decisions end up being left in the hands of employees who already have significant roles, such as finance managers or CEOs. These people tend to have limited time and knowledge of IT, meaning IT takes a backseat to other priorities.

This limited resources often leads to weak security practices, making them more susceptible to cyber attacks. Plus, with minimal capacity devoted to IT, there is no time or skill to assess IT needs, research and implement the right solutions and troubleshoot problems.

However, the lack of IT investment and expertise can cause bigger challenges for businesses, with a susceptibility to security and performance issues.

When these issues do happen, they’re also more likely to face worse consequences and be slower to recover. The results are extended downtime, financial losses, frustration and disruption to daily business.

Without proper backups and disaster recovery plans, a system crash or other IT failure could result in significant data loss. If customer data is breached, it may also cause you to become non-compliant with GDPR, as well as a loss of trust.

Why should IT be a priority?

With so many barriers facing small businesses when it comes to IT, many will be tempted to leave things as they are.

However, it’s often only when an incident occurs that businesses realise how crucial good IT processes are. By then, it’s too late.

Here is why IT should be a priority in any small business:

1. Security

Small businesses are prime targets for cyber attacks because they’re often seen as easier prey than larger corporations. Strong IT safeguards your data, protects you from malware and viruses and ensures financial security.

A data breach can be catastrophic for a small business, so prioritising IT security measures is crucial.

2. Efficiency and productivity

Streamlined IT systems can significantly improve efficiency and employee productivity.

Benefits include faster processing times, reliable software and seamless collaboration tools. This translates to getting more done in less time, allowing your team to focus on core business activities. It will also facilitate growth in your business, while enabling you to better serve customers.

3. Competitive advantage

IT often leads to innovation. And innovation empowers you to leverage technology to gain a competitive edge.

For example, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can help manage customer interactions. Marketing automation tools can streamline outreach and save time. E-commerce platforms can expand your reach. So, by prioritising IT, you can leverage these tools to stay ahead of the curve.

4. Communication and collaboration

Effective IT facilitates seamless communication and collaboration within your team, whether remote or in-office.

Cloud-based solutions and video conferencing tools can keep everyone connected and on the same page, fostering a more collaborative work environment.

5. Growth and scalability

A robust IT infrastructure provides a solid foundation for future growth. As your business expands, your IT systems should be able to scale to meet your growing needs.

Prioritising IT now ensures you have the technology in place to accommodate future success.

What are the basic IT support provisions a small business should have?

So, now it is clear how crucial good IT infrastructure is in a small business, let’s review the essentials every small business needs.

Security essentials

  • Anti-virus and anti-malware software:This is a must-have to protect devices from viruses, malware and other cyber threats.
  • Firewalls:These act as a barrier to prevent unauthorised access to your network.
  • Strong passwords and access control:Enforce strong password policies and implement multi-factor authentication for added security to prevent unauthorised people getting into your systems.
  • Data encryption:Encrypt sensitive data so only the right people see it, in order to minimise risk in case of a breach.
  • Regular backups and disaster recovery plan:Regular data backups and a disaster recovery plan ensure you can restore your data and resume operations quickly in case of a system failure.
  • Staff training: Your staff are your first line of defence when it comes to cyber security. You need policies that encourage staff to be careful, alongside training on best IT practice.

Hardware and software

  • Reliable devices: Invest in dependable systems and devices you can rely on. This includes computers, laptops and other hardware. It enables you to avoid downtime and ensure smooth operation.
  • Essential software: Equip your team with the necessary software for core business functions like productivity suites, accounting software and industry-specific tools.
  • Cloud-based solutions: Consider cloud-based options for services like email, file storage and project management for scalability, accessibility and potentially lower costs.


  • Maintenance: Even the best IT setup requires maintenance. This will involve managing issues and actioning software and hardware updates. You need capacity internally to do this regularly.
  • Risk monitoring: To keep yourself protected against cyber attacks, you need constant monitoring that identifies and responds to threats. However, this is only possible with resource or effective tools.
  • Management: IT needs can develop over time, so you need to constantly manage it. There will also be issues you need to respond to. Constant IT management is needed to cover policy creation, staff training and ongoing development.
  • Emergency assistance: An incident can occur at any time – usually when you least expect it. You need to respond quickly to minimise the damage. This means having someone available 24/7 in the case of an emergency.

Additional considerations

  • User-friendly solutions: Prioritise user-friendly IT systems and train your employees to minimise reliance on IT support for everyday tasks.
  • Scalability: Choose IT solutions that can scale to accommodate your business growth.
  • BYOD policy (if applicable): If you allow employees to use their own devices, establish a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy to ensure data security and manage potential risks.

While this may seem an extensive list, you can now get comprehensive solutions that tick multiple boxes. The key is finding systems that meet your needs, backed by robust policies that offer long-lasting performance and capable resource to manage it all.

How can small business IT support help?

There is a lot to consider to build effective IT infrastructure and processes. When small businesses are already constrained when it comes to resource, it can be difficult to find the time to do everything entailed.

This is where external IT support can be a lifeline. It enables you to outsource the burden of IT, saving costs while protecting your resource. Here are the key benefits:

  • Cost-effectiveness: For small businesses, hiring a full-time IT professional can be a significant expense. External IT support offers a more cost-effective solution. You typically pay a monthly fee for a service package that covers your IT needs, eliminating the costs of recruitment, training and benefits associated with an in-house employee.
  • Access to expertise: External IT support providers have a team of experienced professionals with a wide range of IT specialties. This gives you access to a level of expertise that would be expensive to acquire by hiring a single in-house IT person. They can address complex issues and stay up-to-date on the latest cyber security threats and technological advancements.
  • Improved security: Small businesses are prime targets for cyber attacks. External IT support providers can implement robust security measures, including firewalls, data encryption and user access controls. They can also proactively monitor your systems for vulnerabilities and keep your software updated with the latest security patches.
  • Increased efficiency and productivity: IT issues can be a major drain on employee productivity. External IT support providers can troubleshoot problems quickly and efficiently, minimising downtime and keeping your business operations running smoothly. They can also help you automate tasks and streamline workflows, freeing up your team’s time to focus on core business activities.
  • Scalability: External IT support can easily scale up or down to meet your evolving needs. As your business grows, your IT needs will change. An external provider can adjust their services to accommodate your expanding requirements, without you having to worry about hiring additional staff.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing that your IT infrastructure is in the hands of qualified professionals allows you to focus on running your business without the worry of IT headaches. External IT support providers can provide 24/7 monitoring and support, ensuring that you have help whenever you need it.
  • Targeted support: Another advantage of an external IT contract is you can choose which areas you want covered, based on your needs and budget. If it’s specific support you need, such as in security or 24/7 care, you can request it.

If you are pursuing external support, follow our tips to find a provider that is suitable for your goals as a small business.

Get small business IT support from Infinity Group

Since 2001, Infinity Group has provided award-winning IT services to thousands of businesses.

Our flexible range of contracts, give you peace of mind that your IT support needs are managed efficiently. We can provide tailored support, designed for the goals and budget of your small business. We cover the core areas of cyber security, disaster recovery, GDPR and beyond.

It’s not by chance that for the past 3 years we have consistently been awarded for delivering customer service excellence by Feefo. Our commitment to customer service has been reflected in the quality and efficiency of our work.

To find out more about our IT support and how it can meet your needs, speak to a member of the team.

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