Continuity of business operations and consistent innovation are essential for any organization that leverages IT technologies.
However, the ever-evolving technological landscape brings in a new set of challenges in the form of end-user demands for security and compliance, making the entire IT management process an ongoing challenge for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
This is where a managed service provider (MSP) and a suite of Managed IT Services come into play. By assisting with remote maintenance, execution and monitoring of complicated IT infrastructures and tasks, MSPs have simplified a big chunk of what would otherwise be an organizational IT burden.
As an organization, ensuring you obtain the highest ROI from outsourcing your complex IT tasks requires you to engage a Managed Service Provider that fits best within your IT needs and budget, along with other factors.
With that said, here are a few things to consider when choosing the right IT Managed services provider.
What is a Managed IT Services Provider?
A managed IT services provider (MSP) is a third-party service that oversees the managing and maintaining of an organization’s IT infrastructure.
The MSP is responsible for monitoring and managing the organization’s IT systems while ensuring they run efficiently. Managed IT support services can include anything from network and server administration to Help Desk support and security and data backup and recovery.
Managed IT Service Providers – Features
By outsourcing IT services to a managed service provider, businesses can save on the cost of hiring and training in-house IT staff and purchasing and maintaining expensive equipment.
Managed service providers also offer pay-as-you-go pricing models that can be more flexible and cost-effective for your businesses than traditional IT service contracts.
A managed IT service provider should provide an overview of an enterprise’s IT infrastructure. MSP executives utilize this information to attain visibility and transparency to make informed decisions about their client’s IT needs.
Additionally, comprehensive reporting helps MSPs and clients identify areas where services can be improved or where there are potential issues. By gaining such detailed insights into the company, MSPs can provide a higher level of service and support to their clients.
24/7/365 Network Monitoring
A network that is down, even for a short period of time, can result in lost productivity, missed opportunities, and dissatisfied customers.
MSPs have tools that constantly monitor the network, enabling them to quickly identify and fix any problems that arise. This ability to identify potential problems can help prevent the occurrence of technical issues in the first place.
IT Managed Service Provider – Pros and Cons
Working with any outsourcing partner always has advantages and disadvantages, so it is essential to identify any potential Pros and Cons before engaging with a Managed service provider.
Increased focus on business initiatives
Outsourcing IT services to an MSP allows businesses to free up their internal resources to focus on more strategic initiatives.
When outsourcing your IT requirements to an MSP, you have peace of mind knowing they have the expertise and automation tools needed to keep the IT infrastructure your business operations rely on fully optimized.
Long term security
Managed service providers always seek to improve their services and protect their clients’ data. The changing threat landscape means they have to stay ahead of the cybercriminals. By investing in the right technologies
MSPs can make long-term strategic technology investments that benefit the client organization.
Additional management duties
When partnering with a Managed IT service provider, it is important that the contract includes the coverage you need and that what is and is not included is clearly stated. MSPs do not have to take on additional management duties outside the scope of the contract.
For example, suppose you encounter an issue with your computer network that falls outside the managed services agreement (say it requires a site visit to replace a hard drive). In that case, the MSP will charge you extra to resolve the problem, and these rates will be higher for out-of-hours or weekends.
Make sure they understand your business
A lack of compatibility can occur when the client and provider are in different industries or sectors, or even if they are just based in different geographical areas.
It is essential to ensure the MSP you partner with understands your business and industry and has experience in servicing other clients in the same sector. When there is a lack of understanding or a breakdown of collaboration between the two organizations, it can impact results and deliverables. In some cases, this can lead to delays in projects or an overall decrease in productivity.
Types of Managed Services Providers
Managed IT services encompass a wide range of technologies and service offerings. Many MSPs have built a business around certain areas of expertise and, depending on your needs, might be a better fit for your IT needs.
Managed cloud infrastructure
These MSPs focus on handling computing, network, storage, and IT needs within a business’s cloud-based infrastructure. In addition, some managed cloud infrastructure providers also offer virtualization services.
By outsourcing security to an MSP, businesses can protect themselves with a comprehensive range of services designed to identify threats, protect data, prevent data breaches, and ensure compliance with industry regulations. These services include data encryption, data recovery, firewall, and anti-spam to intrusion detection and prevention services.
Managed software as a service (SaaS) providers offer a subscription-based software platform. This type of service is typically for small to medium-sized businesses. A few examples managed SaaS providers offer include Office 365, universal communication software, and anti-virus software.
The software is subscription-based, but the MSP’s value is that it takes on the overhead of managing the software’s infrastructure, security, and maintenance.
Working with a Managed Service Provider
When deciding on an IT Managed Services provider as a partner, please do your research to ensure they have a suite of services that can be tailored to the specific IT needs of your business, and they have experience working with SMBs. Every managed service provider differentiates itself by its IT-related services, years of experience, and a base of satisfied customers.
Define your business IT needs, develop an outsourcing plan, consider all the variables and then choose a Managed service provider that best meets your IT requirements.
CG Technologies knows from over 25 years of experience that your success doesn’t lie in merely choosing an MSP; the real success is when your business builds a long-lasting, trusted partnership with your managed service provider. Contact us to learn more.