Over the past few years, businesses have become more familiar with managed services such as data backup and recovery, hosting of email, and network monitoring. This need is not going away any time soon. In fact, it looks like the demand is getting bigger.
Having a managed IT provider helps an increasing number of small to medium-sized businesses allows these businesses to leverage new technologies and have better up-time of the network without having to tax their in-house IT department, if they even have one.
What are Managed Services?
Managed services is the outsourcing of daily technology responsibilities to an IT firm. This IT firm or Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a company that offers not only remote management of the small business’s network, but some remote support and proactive monitoring of network systems.
An MSP can handle any number of critical tasks, such as the remote monitoring of a small business’s network infrastructure, procure the latest equipment and software, cybersecurity, and data backup and recovery services. Also, as technology progresses, the MSP evolves right along with it.
One of the biggest concerns for the MSP is helping the small business with cybersecurity. This is more important than ever because of the ever-evolving threats. These threats can arise from both outside hackers and internal weak links. This, along with ransomware, makes the importance of an MSP all the more crucial.
There are multiple benefits to a small and medium-sized company that the MSP can offer. Probably the most important is the time that utilizing an outside provider gives back to the company as a whole. This enables the companies to gain back productivity that translates into more time for important business functions and greatly increasing productivity.
The SMBs must deal with the challenge of managing the IT infrastructure that they do not always have the skills or resources to handle on their own. To filly meet the needs of this, more and more they are turning to MSPs to fulfill the role.
Top Reasons SMBs Are Turning to Managed Services
- The need for technical expertise
- The want to focus core resources on other business operations
- The infrastructure has become to complex or too large for internal IT
- Lowering the cost of having an internal IT department
At first, the thought of letting an outsider manage your IT infrastructure can be uncomfortable and even overwhelming. To help you calm these worries, here are some things you should look for in an MSP:
Make sure you have a services contract. This is the best way to help protect your business from unforeseen expenses. This will enable you to not be surprised by any unknown costs at the end of the month. The service contract will also outline what the MSP is responsible for and help you identify your basic needs. This will also save you a bit of time as there are different solutions as you look at one MSP or another.
All businesses are focused on growth and having a sustained revenue. When selecting the MSP you will be working with, ensure they will help you with your growth plans. As your business grows, so will your infrastructure. Make sure the MSP can handle the growth and even grow with you.
Technology continues to evolve. Make sure that your MSP is up on the latest technologies and consistently keeping in mind your businesses growth and budget requirements
Having a help desk is a key role that MSPs will provide for you. However, it is important to know that they are not all created equal. One easily identifiable criteria is where it is located. Either US-based or overseas. Is the help desk located in an area that is susceptible to natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, or tornadoes?
Additionally, you will want to make sure that the MSP’s help desk is available the hours that you work. If you are a 24/7 operation, make sure that the MSP is as well. If your network goes down in the middle of the night, or on a holiday, you will want to have the MSP available to you.
Make sure that you share what you expect for communication preferences. Making sure that if you want to be involved in certain events with your IT infrastructure. A good MSP will want you to be involved and will keep the lines of communication open.
Some Items You Will Want to Ask About
- Reports – Are they going to be included with your service and how often are they made available?
- Meetings – Do they offer recurring meetings to keep you and your staff up-to-date?
- Troubleshooting – Do you want to be involved or do you want the MSP to just handle it?
Because MSPs offer a wide verity of services, you will want to make sure they can compliment your existing IT staff. There is the option to outsource all of your IT needs as well.
When are you ready to bring on an MSP as a partner? Here are some things to look at:
- Is your IT staff overwhelmed with trouble tickets? Are they needed to focus more on the big picture IT items and are bogged down with mundane tasks such as resetting passwords?
- Are you planning on moving your data to the cloud?
- Is your business large enough to actually have an IT department or should you outsource the work to the MSP to free up your time.
- Do you currently have a disaster recovery plan in place?
- Does the idea of a fixed cost sound better to you than having fluctuating IT bills every month?
- Do you have employees that work from the home or on the road? Will you in the future?
- Do you have sensitive data that your company works with?
If you are able to answer yes to any of these questions, then it is time for you to start to work with an MSP.
As always, stay safe out there!