Today nearly all businesses from plumbers to flower shops rely on their computers to get the job done. In some cases an outage is merely deeply inconvenient, knocking out scheduling software and payment processing systems, but in other cases everything simply grinds to a standstill.
A managed service provider ensures that the technology that you depend on experiences less downtime and keeps your operations running. For anyone still on the fence about working with an MSP, here are 7 reasons that may convince you.
What Are Managed IT Services?
Before we dive into the reasons why you should use an MSP, it’s important to understand what an MSP offers. Managed service providers are essentially outsourced IT staff. Instead of having an in-house team (or more often, an in-house person) taking care of your business’s information technology, an MSP’s IT team will be responsible for it.
Depending on your business needs, an MSP may handle everything including your network management, maintaining your cybersecurity, and ensuring your cloud computing services remain operational.
Additionally, MSP’s offer disaster recovery services, can upgrade your system when they reach the end of their life, and provide routine troubleshooting for any day to day tech problems you may encounter.
The 7 Ways Managed IT Services Can Help Your Business
Help you achieve your business goals
As companies grow their needs change. The systems and processes you have in place in your early days will likely become inadequate as your business expands and outgrows them.
Rather than attempt to reinvent the wheel each time, rediscovering on your own what IT infrastructure you’ll need to invest in, MSP’s leverage their experience working with diverse businesses to help you plan for and transition into the future.
IT support when you need it
Small business owners often work around the clock – taking care of matters like payroll, marketing, or customer service at all hours of the day. Having an on-call IT professional on the payroll is untenable, but that means any IT problems that arise outside of business hours might have to wait to be resolved.
On the other hand, MSPs offer short response times, even during nights and weekends. You’ll be able to get support for your computer problems, no matter when they happen.
The most bang for your buck on IT spending
Inevitably your company will need to upgrade its technology, and this is one area where managed service providers shine. Commonly the cost of upgrades is built into their monthly service model, meaning that your upgrade expense is spread out over time.
Additionally, MSP’s have the experience necessary to choose systems which will offer the best value for your company. These ‘goldilocks’ choices will have enough overhead to give your company room to grow, while not being overpowered to the point that you’ll need to replace the systems before you grow into them.
Avoid downtime and get back up and running faster
Arguably the single greatest advantage of a managed service provider is reduced downtime. Downtime is the bane of small and medium-sized businesses. Each hour that you can’t make a sale or customers can’t access your website represents significant revenue loss, while your operating costs simply keep on ticking!
MSP’s will help your company plan redundancies and ensure that system backups are being done properly and regularly. With the right combination of maintenance and technical support when problems arise, your downtime will be kept to a minimum.
Enhanced security and compliance
Over the past decade the damage inflicted by cyber attacks has been rapidly increasing. With 43% of all cyber attacks aimed at small businesses, and the average attack inflicting $200,000 of damages, these are risks that need to be taken seriously. Even if your business has insurance, this will only cover the expenses of the breach itself and will do nothing to recover your data or get your network online again!
An MSP will keep your company safe from attack with hardware firewalls, antiviruses, and backups. In the event that an attack does breach your system, your MSP will be able to quickly get your company network back up and running.
For companies working with sensitive data, such as HIPAA, managed service providers can ensure that you meet all applicable compliance requirements. This takes diverse forms, ranging from harddrive encryption to password management systems to choosing cloud providers who are capable of handling sensitive information.
More diverse expertise than a single employee
On the face of it, it seems that hiring an in-house IT professional is a reasonable alternative to working with an MSP. However, this parallel is not quite the apples-to-apples comparison as it might first seem.
With a managed service provider you’ll choose to pay for access to whichever IT services are relevant to your business’s needs:
- Customer support experts to help your staff resolve bugs, troubleshoot problems, and install new applications
- Server experts to keep your website and company resources online
- Email exchange server experts to keep your communication lines flowing
- Network experts to ensure your devices can access the internet
- IT automation experts to streamline your business processes
- VoIP and Call Forwarding experts to manage a diverse array of telecommunications
- Cloud computing experts to leverage the power of off-site processing and storage
Ultimately, for the same or less than it costs to hire a single full-time employee, you’ll gain access to a complete IT team with a wide range of expertises. As new technologies emerge, your MSP will stay abreast of these advancements, hiring specialists where necessary and paying for the continuing education of their team.
Outsourced IT departments simply represent a better value than an in-house employee as they have more resources and more expertise at their disposal.
One major advantage of an MSP is that they allow your IT systems to seamlessly grow as your business grows. This could include adding workstations and support staff as your team expands or helping your business transition to cloud services as you outgrow your local storage and processing infrastructure.
Most MSP work on a business model where the cost of your service scales with the number of employees supported, allowing you to incrementally increase your service level as you need additional services.
What Does a Managed IT Service Provider Do?
Managed IT service providers are offer real time monitoring of your PCs, servers, and network. This proactive approach to IT allows problems to be caught before they have time to disrupt your operations. In many cases by the time you notice any issues and reach out to your MSP, they’ll already be working on the solution!
Remote IT Support
Have a tech problem? Help is just a phone call or chat message away, day or night. When problems can’t be solved remotely, your managed service provider will dispatch on site support to get your problems resolved fast.
The best way to keep your system running at its peak and maximize uptime is to keep up with regular maintenance tasks. Your MSP will be able to schedule these crucial security updates and backups for after hours, minimizing their impact on your business.
Not sure if it makes sense to host your own website? Trying to figure out which laptop will make for a reliable workstation? Your MSP is a one-stop shop for all of these questions and more, helping you to map out your future technology purchases.
Who Can Benefit From a Managed IT Service Provider?
OK, so it’s clear that MSPs offer valuable services… but does your company stand to benefit from working with one? If your company meets any of the following criteria, then an MSP is likely right for you:
- You want a predictable IT budget
- With an MSP you won’t have any unexpected repair costs and upgrades are amortized
- You want to minimize downtime
- When scheduling applications, email servers, payment processing, internet connections, or printers go down, it costs your company time and money
- You want to protect sensitive information
- Cyber attacks are a real threat to small businesses and it is vital to keep your proprietary information and customers’ private information secure.
- You want a competitive edge
- While your competitors are still using an in-house IT guy (or worse, not using one at all!), you’ll reap the benefits of a full team of IT specialists, able to scale with your business and respond to varied needs.
Managed IT Services Are An Easy Choice
The benefits of outsourcing your IT department are legion. You’ll enjoy cost savings by reducing downtime, protect your business from cyberattack, and benefit from the expertise of an entire IT operations team. Managed IT service providers are a cost effective way to ensure your business’s IT infrastructure keeps up with your company’s growth.
If you’re ready to experience the benefits of managed services, Bristeeri Tech is here to help small and medium sized businesses in the Columbia SC area.