There is a tremendous amount of value which a managed services provider (MSP) can bring to a company in today’s business world, both in the way of services and as a partner to be collaborated with for the betterment of your company. Exactly which services you choose to avail yourself of will be a matter of your own preference, and it will be dictated by such factors as the level of in-house expertise you have, your monthly I.T. budget, and your business objectives.
Below is a description of some of the services which can be provided by an MSP, and when it comes time to find the best possible support provider for your business, it may come down to which company can fulfil your needs the best, while staying within your budget. After browsing through some of the most common reasons companies choose to work with a managed services provider, take note of which ones sound like your situation.
Then compare that to the services which can be made available, and you’ll know what you should be looking for in a provider. Have a monthly budget figure in mind, and then you can begin your search for the ideal I.T. support services provider, armed with all the information you’ll need to find just the right company.
Reasons to use managed I.T. support services
There are some fairly universal reasons that companies opt for using managed I.T. services today, and those reasons have a common thread among some of the best-run companies around the globe. Those reasons include the following:
- Free up staff to work on internal projects – Productivity for your business can be increased significantly by outsourcing IT support to a talented off-site company. Since in-house personnel are no longer obliged to carry out various IT functions, they can become dedicated to working on internal projects which bring the most value to the company.
- Proactive approach to maintenance – Most business owners have very little time to spend considering their IT infrastructure, and worrying about such issues as network connections, data speed, and overall reliability. By working with a managed services provider, any company can gain the advantage of having full-time coverage for all those issues, so no in-house manager needs to spend any time thinking about it. Very often an MSP will identify bugs and other issues, and have them fully resolved before a client is even aware of them, and that is proactive management at its best.
- More efficient I.T. operations – This is probably the reason that most people think of first when outsourcing I.T. to a managed services provider comes up. Many companies lack the expertise to provide their own support, or their I.T. staffs are so overburdened that they can’t do an effective job. Working with an I.T. provider can be a very collaborative kind of situation, and in some cases, a few I.T. services can be managed internally, while the majority are handled by your I.T. partner. It stands to reason that a company which specializes in I.T. support would have the appropriate expertise and talent level to get the job done effectively.
- Enhanced security – Many business owners live with the fear that their company will be victimized by some kind of data breach or by some clever hacker who holds the company for ransom after hijacking its data. When you work with an I.T. provider, the entire security burden is shifted onto them, and they take on the responsibility of safeguarding your system from attack. In some cases, your I.T. partner will also provide security training for your employees, so they can be made aware of scams which are directed at them to gain entry into your system.
- Return on investment – There is a significant savings associated with managed I.T. services, although most business owners are not really aware of this fact. Given the fact that an I.T. budget can include major expenses for hardware, software network infrastructure, maintenance costs, and professional labor, it can quickly become a very expensive proposition. With a managed I.T. model, any business will know what its monthly expenses are all the time, and they’ll be able to budget for it and plan for it very effectively. All those other costs will be absorbed by the I.T. provider, while the cost to your business is a monthly flat fee.
Managed I.T. Support Services
These days, managed I.T. support can provide a number of services that will make your life much easier, so that you can concentrate on running your business efficiently, while having an expert I.T. company manage that aspect of your business for you.
Some of the services which you may want to take advantage of are on-site and remote helpdesk support, so that any issues or problems you encounter can be identified, tracked, and resolved effectively. You will probably want to take advantage of having 24×7 network and server monitoring, so that your computing system can be operating efficiently, and so downtime can be minimized.
Any new patches or releases which come out for your system software, can be applied by your I.T. provider promptly, so that for instance, you always have the latest security patches in place. Vendor and warranty management can be handled by your provider as well, so that you are always aware of the status of any warranties you have.
Network device management is probably another area you’ll want your provider to handle for you, so that you don’t have to hire someone in-house to take care of it. Installing anti-virus software for all endpoints will protect your system from invasion by malware and other cyber hacking attempts by criminal-minded individuals.
Whenever it’s necessary to upgrade your infrastructure, that can be another thing handled by your I.T. provider, and if you don’t have the in-house expertise, it should definitely be left up to the provider. Security and security awareness training is a service many I.T. providers offer, because no matter how good your network protection is, one of the big weak points of security is often the human element.
Training can make all your employees much more aware of the threats out there, and how they seek to exploit human weakness or ignorance. Backups are an essential part of your overall security program, and they should be carried out regularly by your I.T. provider. If disaster should ever befall your company, and you need to revert to a backup from some prior period, your provider will probably have an off-site backup that can restore your business-critical data.
Disaster recovery is a major component of any managed I.T. support system, and it’s something you should take advantage of. Finally, to get the most out of your managed I.T. support service, you may want to do some consulting and strategic planning with your I.T. partner, so that your network can grow right along with your business, and the two are always in sync, regardless of any business eventualities.