Computer networks are more powerful, efficient, but more complicated than ever. Every small business has multiple computers, mobile devices, and critical business applications running on cloud services. While computers provide a platform for intelligent business operations, it also creates access points for hackers to try and to get into your network. Information security should be a primary concern. A business computing network requires full-time attention, but can your organization really afford an IT manager, let alone an IT team?
Fortunately, there's a more cost-effective approach. A managed service provider can handle all aspects of your network maintenance for a fixed monthly rate. With an MSP, you get the reliability and security which a full-time IT staff provides at a fraction of the cost.
Both small, medium and large businesses are becoming very aware of the reasons to choose the managed-services business model, and the demand is strong. Here's an outline of some of the reasons why your business should choose IT managed-services.
Why to choose IT managed-services?
Focus on Core Objectives
As your business grows, so will your IT needs. Your IT team may be able to handle some of this increased workload but will most likely find themselves overwhelmed and unable to scale according to your business' needs, forcing you to assign additional responsibilities to employees who aren't on the IT team, which can distract from core business objectives.
One of the benefits of managed services is that it not only frees up your employees to focus on the jobs they were hired to do — it also enables you to fill in gaps as needed. A truly qualified managed services partner will offer a flexible service model that allows you to determine what level of service you require, whether that means just keeping the lights on or outsourcing your company's entire IT department.
Get the Expertise You Need
New technology means new problems — problems your existing IT team might not have the knowledge or experience to solve. Then there's the issue of management: Regardless whether your systems are in the cloud or on-premise, you'll need a significant number of resources to support your business solutions, which poses an issue if your IT department is really a one-person shop.
Both of these problems can be solved by recruiting new team members, but the cost of hiring and training new employees can be astronomical — over $1,886 per employee for training alone. Plus, there's an ongoing IT talent shortage to contend with.
One of the key advantages of the managed services model is that it enables you to hire an entire team of IT professionals at a flat monthly rate. Certain Managed Services Providers (MSPs) even take a shared approach to managed services, meaning you can add or remove specialists from your managed services team as needed depending on the demands of each project. These specialists include technical, functional, architectural, and training consultants who can help you keep your systems up and running, as well as unlock their full potential.
Even though you may know enough about computers and systems to take care of some of the basic issues that may come along every day, you are probably not an IT expert. More challenging problems may come along that you do not have the skill set or insight to take care of. This could end up making you spend hours or even days trying to fix something, while the whole time your regular work is falling behind and the business may be falling behind because of computer problems. Experts with IT experience will be able to analyze the problem quickly and know the solutions that will work best, allowing you to save a lot of time and keep the systems running.
Access to Newer Technologies
Often, the SMBs you aim to partner with have over-burdened IT staff with employees who may lack the skills and training necessary for specific tasks or can't handle the whole of the company's network on their own. In response, these companies recognize the value of working with an outside technical support team. Not only does IT outsourcing help with having a special team of IT experts able to troubleshoot and remediate issues that arise, but clients also benefit from having access to the latest technology and business-grade solutions that maintain uptime and profitability, such as remote monitoring and management (RMM), backup and disaster recovery (BDR) and cloud computing.
Investing in the managed services business model tackles existing labour constraints and prevents internal IT departments from always having to play catch-up. By working with an MSP, a business can gain access to business-grade technology, leverage tools that help increase the reliability of their IT infrastructure and also receive a virtual CIO (vCIO). The role of a vCIO is critical to business in 2018 as it helps in understanding and managing the evolving technology landscape—allowing your clients to better plan for long-term goals and scale their business.
Enhanced Security and Compliance
There are so many variations of technology that store and transmit data nowadays, including tablets, operating systems, servers, smartphones, laptops and more. Because data is stored and transmitted on these devices, it means their security is critical. Many business owners live in fear that they will fall victim to a security breach. As a managed service provider it is your job to make them well aware of the risks, sharing examples that have been highlighted in the media and explaining how their data and compliance practices are compromised when such an event arises.
It is also crucial you address the business owners concerns about compliance, especially in industries such as health and legal, where compliance is a major concern. For these people, it is important they work with a provider that is HIPAA compliant and in addition, can implement other ways to supplement additional managed security protocol, policies, and procedures.
More Efficient and Reliable IT Operations
This is one of the main reasons that companies with over 100 employees decide that managed services are the right choice for them. Often, the businesses we partner with as managed-service providers are suffering from overburdened IT staff, or lack employees that have the knowledge and skills to handle certain tasks and successfully handle the entire network on their own.
In these situations, it is hard to deny the value of working with an outside IT service provider. A majority of businesses using managed-services describe their partnership with their provider as a collaborative arrangement with their internal IT department, leading one to believe that certain aspects of IT management fall into the MSP bucket while others are preferably handled in-house. The driving force for these business owners is to improve and enhance the capabilities of the in-house IT team, not replace them altogether. Outsourcing IT not only ensures an extra team of IT experts to help resolve any issues or concerns but to be able to benefit from having access to the latest and greatest technology and innovative business-grade solutions that will assist in maximizing uptime and profitability. These technologies include such things as:
- Remote monitoring and management (RMM)
- Backup and disaster recovery (BDR)
- Cloud computing
By investing in these tools, the entire IT infrastructure becomes more reliable and dependable, labour constraints are overcome, and internal IT departments are able to keep in control of the situation.
What is the importance of an IT managed-services?
This is one of the most important reasons businesses need to manage IT services. Lack of employees with the knowledge and skills to handle an entire network and an overburdened IT staff just leads to inefficiency and unreliability. It's difficult to negate the value of having an IT provider. It's a partnership that is collaborative that leads to more efficient and reliable IT operations. While it doesn't replace an in-house IT staff, it enhances its capabilities. Not only do issues get resolved quickly, but businesses also have the benefits of the latest technology and innovative solutions to maximize uptime and profitability. These technologies include cloud computing, backup and disaster recovery and remote monitoring and management. The need to keep the entire IT infrastructure efficient and reliable is a big reason for managed IT services.
Keep Costs Low / Cost-effective
From a cost perspective, one of the clear benefits of managed services is that it lowers labour costs and eliminates the cost of hiring and training new IT staff. The ability to have skills available on a scalable basis is incredibly compelling, and most MSPs offer a hybrid model of onshore and offshore resources, which lowers the average effective rate and widens your resource base.
Best of all, since you sign a service-level agreement that's tailored to your organization's unique needs, you'll never have to worry about unexpected service costs. This will enable your organization to shift from a capital expense model to an operating expense model. Look for an MSP that has a solid strategic relationship with your solutions or cloud provider for additional savings; they'll be able to escalate and advocate on your behalf, so you can reinvest the money you save back into your business.
Working with a managed IT service provider benefits companies financially. It's a considerable cost saving. It helps control outgoing expenses and increases return on investment. Typically, an IT budget consists of many things like IT labour, maintenance costs, software and network infrastructure and hardware costs. Using outdated software negatively impacts the return on investment. Plus, managed IT services provide scalability and flexibility to grow in a manner that internal IT teams cannot provide. Businesses can easily project IT expenses on a monthly basis and can plan for improvements and larger projects. IT services play an instrumental role in cost-effectiveness and return on investment.
IT people command good salaries and having just a full-time IT manager can be a significant expense. There's more to know than any one person can, so hiring just one person may not be enough. A large enterprise can afford a full-time staff, but it's a burden for a business that doesn't have many employees. Managed services let you share the cost with other customers while getting the expertise needed to keep your systems running.
With managed services, your costs are predictable. "Break-fix" service may seem cheaper, but recovering from a service disruption can be very expensive when it happens. You have to factor in not just the cost of correcting the problem but the time lost and the effect of downtime and stolen data on your business's reputation.
One of the top reasons why companies choose managed IT services is because it's much more cost-effective than hiring permanent staff. The resources required to manage your IT services can be immense. The demand for your tech-savvy staff members will gradually become overwhelming to handle.
If you're determined to grow your company, it's important to outsource IT services so that your staff can concentrate on other stuff. For small and medium-sized businesses, it makes financial sense to outsource it to a professional IT management firm.
This is why the finance team can calculate exactly how much is required to manage the IT systems each month. Your financial team will surely thank you for helping them determine the budget for monthly operations expenses.
One of the biggest business values of managed services is greater cost savings. IT budgets consist of many items: hardware costs, software and network infrastructure costs and maintenance costs, to name a few. Also, the cost of labour is significant for any business, but especially for SMBs who rely on managed services providers. Maybe the company you want to work with needs to reduce the size of its IT department because the cost of paying their current staff is far too high. It could also be the case that the company has no dedicated IT team and employees are forced to compensate by performing technical tasks that are outside of their core area of expertise, slowing productivity and preventing the business from being able to grow. With the managed services business model, customers are able to predict their IT costs on a month-to-month basis more easily.
How does a managed IT service help you in your business?
A Proactive Approach to Maintenance
This is another major reason to work with a managed IT service provider. Businesses no longer have to waste time thinking about their IT infrastructure. There's no need to worry about daily things like the speed of network connections and dependability. With a managed IT service provider, businesses are given the luxury of an all-day, every day around the clock coverage. Security and service solutions are always at work, detecting potential disturbances, vulnerabilities, and threats. Issues and bugs can most likely be detected and fixed before the business is even aware of a problem. And data management on the cloud with a service provider yields more revenue. IT service providers offer a proactive community with regular and encrypted backups, virtualization and cloud computing.
This is a major and important benefit to managed IT services. Business owners have little to no time to spend thinking about their IT infrastructure, worrying about things such as the dependability and speed of the network connections, and other concerns. By working with an MSP, they are afforded the luxury of all-day, every-day, around-the-clock coverage.
Security solutions and services such as RMM are always working to detect potential threats, vulnerabilities, or potential disturbances. When you provide fully managed IT support, bugs and issues can most often be troubleshot and remediated before they are ever a concern to the business owner. Owners are happy to pay for such a service, as CEOs and others have no time to be verifying that backups are done properly. It has become more than clear that data management on the cloud is expected to yield more managed services revenue in the coming year, and when business work with the right MSP they are able to take advantage of proactive business continuity solutions, such as BDR, by combining RMM intelligence with regular and encrypted backups, cloud computing, and virtualization.
Operating systems and applications need to stay up to date. It's not so much a matter of having all the latest features, but of having all available patches and bug fixes installed. When you have fully updated software, it runs more reliably from both an operational and security standpoint. You get prompt fixes for security holes, avoiding expensive data breaches. For example, the much-publicized Equifax hack in 2017 originated because of an unapplied patch. From Wired Magazine: "Equifax has confirmed that attackers entered its system in mid-May through a web-application vulnerability that had a patch available in March."
Maintenance also includes configuration and data management. A well-configured system uses resources efficiently and gives access to the appropriate people. It provides better response times and has a few problems.
Fixing systems after they break is expensive and disruptive. Managed services keep them from breaking.
Managed services can help to take over daily routines of your business like performing secure backups, running software and system updates, maintaining the website, managing system security and more. All of your daily routines can be taken care of without anyone even noticing they are getting done, allowing for better workflow.
Free Up Internal IT Staff to Concentrate on Strategic Projects
Often, businesses need their own internal staff to focus their energy on other tasks. It's a good reason to work with an IT managed provider. Projects and other needed tasks get the necessary time and attention. It maximizes the company's IT budget. Think about it. It doesn't make any practical sense to have an internal IT team handling things like migrating over to Microsoft Office 365 when a provider can expertly handle it. With specialized services, managed service providers take the pressure off the internal IT team.
When to receive support whenever you need it / access to niche focused IT support?
With an MSP, you never need to worry about availability because most MSPs offer 24/7 flexibility, on-call options, and weekend support (though it's important to note that these are often offered as cost options). When searching for the perfect MSP, look for a global company that can support multiple time zones and offers round-the-clock support, so you can rest assured that help is available whenever you need it.
A primary benefit to an MSP is the Service Desk. A service desk provides the ability to call, email or chat a problem within your organization and allow a resource with a specific technical competency to address that issue. By teaming up with an MSP that has multiple resources on a service desk, your IT issues get resolved faster and with less frustration to users by not having to search and test the solutions on their own or with a member of the company that functions in a different role as the part-time fix-it person. Having access to a service desk also allows you to vet new hardware, software and cloud solutions that will give you input based on a wide variety of experience and use cases.
With managed IT services, you don't just get the occasional check-in. But rather it's a 24/7 service that ensures your IT systems are running all the time properly.
No matter how big or small the problem, you could consult the managed IT services for a solution. You can sleep easy knowing everything is taken care of.
But sometimes you won't even notice that there was a problem. Before you know it, the IT managed support will have everything working soundly once again. This means that any slight glitches or pesky bugs will be taken care of immediately.
How to get support for security & compliance?
Do you work with other organizations and client data?
It's important that they can trust you. If they know that you have a secure IT system in place, they will have no problem doing business with you. With managed IT services, you confidently know that your client's data is protected.
Regulations and compliance are constantly changing. It's difficult to keep up with the latest policy changes. By employing managed IT support, you can rest peacefully that your system will comply with the regulation.
Software platforms such as Dynamics 365 collect and analyze an exponential amount of data on a daily basis in order to benefit your business — data that must be maintained in a secure way that is compliant with relevant industry regulations. Unfortunately, MSPs can't handle corporate compliance needs on your behalf (but what a world it would be if they could!). Still, your MSP can partner with your legal team to find out which regulations it should be aware of so that it can take precautions to ensure that your systems meet them.
Every system on the Internet is a target for data theft, ransomware, cryptocurrency mining or data deletion. Keeping a network safe is a difficult job because of all the potential access points. Managed services can provide spam protection, software patches, security software, and monitoring to protect your system investment. The threat landscape constantly changes, and it takes full-time experts to protect systems against the latest attacks.
Security is becoming a vexing issue for all small businesses. Laptops, desktops, smartphones, applications, tablets, servers, operating systems, browsers, wearable technology and the like all store and transmit data and thus require the strictest security measures. Prospective clients will turn to you out of fear of becoming the next headline in a high-profile data breach or data loss incident. 70% of the businesses surveyed in Microsoft Store's Small Business Insights Survey suggested they would prefer to pay for support in matters of cybersecurity, rather than do it themselves.
Technology is transforming the world of business. But it changes fast and is a complex industry. Most companies today want to streamline their IT operations and turn to managed IT service providers to accomplish that goal. Managed services make perfect sense for you and your business, so it is just a question of finding the right service to work with you.
Frequently Asked Questions
A managed service provider (MSP) manages the temporary worker recruitment for an organisation and is responsible for the end-to-end management of the contingent workforce — from supplier management and strategic workforce planning to contractor care and offboarding.
The need to keep the entire IT infrastructure efficient and reliable is a big reason for managed IT services. Working with a managed IT service provider benefits companies financially. It's a considerable cost saving. It helps control outgoing expenses and increases return on investment.
That said, managed IT services is the most commonly referred to type of managed service and will be the focus of this article. The demand for managed services has grown exponentially in recent years. The global managed services market was valued at $185.98 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $356.24 by 2025.