Businesses across all industries are becoming increasingly reliant on technology. From law firms to retail outlets, the digital age has taken everything online. Business owners rely on IT managers using all kinds of technology from cloud storage, to online collaboration solutions to customer relationship management systems.
It’s common for businesses to have an in-house IT department to maintain the technology infrastructure of the company, and resolve any technical issues that may arise. Depending on the size of the company, this can be anything from a large team of technical experts to a single IT manager.
Employing an in-house IT team has numerous benefits; the team is close on hand to troubleshoot problems and fix computers, and this allows the business owner to have more control over the process. However, more and more companies are starting to opt for a managed service provider (MSP).
A third-party IT provider, although physically separate from your company, will be constantly on call to provide support when you need them. An MSP and an in-house IT department are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can work hand in hand together.
Many IT managers are enlisting MSPs for help with their workloads, particularly when the company enters a growth stage, or peak business times such as tax season for accountants. IT managers should not see an MSP as a replacement, but as an additional resource to help the business expand and make more money.
What an MSP Does
If you are not yet convinced of the need to hire an MSP for help, here are some of the services that an MSP can provide.
A managed services provider will monitor your computer systems 24/7, while an in-house IT team generally clocks off at 5 pm and doesn’t work weekends. An MSP provides much more robust security, and will spot any potential threats from hackers, or malware as soon as problems appear.
Managed Network Assessments
An in-house IT department can often be too close to the company to spot any weaknesses. Any business could benefit from a third party network assessment. This will provide a detailed report and analysis of your company’s technology infrastructure and identify any areas for improvement. This will subsequently help you make more informed and strategic business decisions.
Employing an IT team to work in-house requires training on your systems and processes, and it is ultimately up to you to decide whether they are qualified for the job. An MSP, on the other hand, will have substantial resources and expertise. They are highly qualified, experienced in the industry, and reliable when it comes to addressing your technological needs.
For businesses working with large quantities of data, storage is a big priority. Many MSPs will offer cloud-storage services as part of the package to save you time and money in finding a solution.
Signs You Need an MSP
Many IT managers, and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) find themselves juggling several roles, and spending the majority of their time dealing with technical issues. This leaves little time to spend on improving, and developing the infrastructure for growth. Here are some signs that your technological infrastructure’s needs are becoming more than your IT managers can handle.
- Your costs are escalating rather than decreasing.
- You have invested in technology but you don’t have the time or expertise to use it to its full potential.
- You lack the network management tools that your business needs.
- You are experiencing significant periods of downtime that are affecting your bottom line.
- You spend all your time fighting theoretical fires, and have no time to make improvements.
- Other heads of departments in your business are using outside providers rather than their own IT division.
- Your users are complaining about their user experience and service levels.
If you recognize any of these signs, you should see it as a warning sign and consider talking to an MSP.
What Should You Ask When Choosing an MSP?
When choosing a managed service provider, you want to make sure you select the right one. But how can you know if you’re making the right decision? Here are a few key questions to ask.
- Can they tailor their services to meet your specific business requirements?
- How is their service packaged and delivered?
- How will they ensure your business remains wholly compliant at all times?
- How do they measure up to their competition?
In conclusion, there are several good reasons for an IT manager to consider hiring a managed IT services. As long as you ask the right questions, and make your decision carefully, they will provide the resources you need to develop your IT infrastructure, and fight the daily fires at the same time.