When deciding how to manage your IT support needs and technology implementation, you have two options. You either do the ad hoc thing, relying on a local “break/fix” IT company to tackle big problems and an informally trained team member to handle everything else, or you engage a professional managed services provider (MSP) for ongoing help overseeing technological solutions on a day-to-day basis.
While neither strategy is more “right” than the other, there are instances where hiring an MSP for long-term IT support just makes sense. MSPs offer regular maintenance, monitoring and helpdesk services—things you just can’t get from one-and-done hourly IT providers. What’s more, MSPs can help you build more robust, secure solutions to meet certain business needs. You might be a good candidate for an MSP if you fit into one of the following six categories.
You’re a healthcare provider, online retailer, financial institution or other organization subject to industry regulation.
The convenience that makes technology so impactful also comes with privacy and security risks. With this in mind, businesses that deal with sensitive financial or health data are required to do what they can to keep their data secure, which includes avoiding access issues that may put privileged information into the wrong hands.
Staying compliant with privacy regulations and consumer protections can be burdensome for shoestring IT departments, particularly as companies look to leverage cloud technologies. For instance, HIPAA Journal recommends that HIPAA-compliant providers not only invest in security solutions like data encryption but perform regular risk assessments to evaluate how they’re protecting themselves as technology solutions change (think Fitbit and similar health innovations).
So, how can MSPs help? Because experienced, consistent managed services providers are familiar with the ins and outs of consumer and patient protections, they’re well equipped to assist you in implementing solutions and security monitoring that will keep your business safe and compliant—no matter where tech goes in the future.
You’re concerned about hacks, data leaks, breaches and other cybercriminal activity.
And if you’re not concerned about data security, you probably should be. Hacks and leaks don’t just affect big-time targets like Equifax and Sony. In fact, there’s significant evidence that hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses, especially for ransomware attacks.
Not only do hackers expect a lower degree of technological sophistication from small businesses, they know you might not have the resources or budget to fight a hack in earnest—or the know-how to build comprehensive disaster recovery plans. And when hackers strike, it can be difficult for small businesses to bounce back. Did you know that 60% of SMBs go out of business in the first six months following the attack?
Engaging an MSP for services like intrusion detection, monitoring and security training keeps you in front of security challenges that can make or break your business. MSPs can spot suspicious activity quickly and offer advice on how to mitigate attacks once they occur. When a hack goes down, it’s good to feel like someone’s got your back.
You’re positioning yourself for future growth.
Security and networking solutions become more complex as you grow and add team members to your staff. An ad hoc network might have been fine when you were working out of the house and your client base was slim, but now that you’re getting some real wind in your sails, it’s time to start looking for faster and more effective networking solutions and security protections.
Managed services providers can help you implement wireless networks, servers, databases, cloud storage solutions and other tools necessary to keep business humming along. They also provide continuous, 24/7 IT support and regular maintenance to minimize downtime and improve issue resolution.
You need to be able to quickly react to and implement new technologies.
Although you didn’t get into business for the tech, modern companies need to be able to respond quickly to new technologies to maintain the perception that their products and services are fresh, timely and innovative.
One of the often-overlooked benefits of managed services providers is their role as business partner. Because their business model revolves around long-term client relationships, it’s in their best interest to act as not just a tech provider but a partner. They have skin in the game, so to speak.
This unique relationship not only yields steadier, more client-focused solutions, but robust technological planning as well. For instance, an MSP can help you roll out a plan for migration to a new service or solution, and may even offer insight into what’s coming down the technological pipeline. In the long run, that kind of foresight can be invaluable.
You’d like more predictable budgeting and cost-effective IT spending.
Many business owners look at the monthly cost for managed services and wonder if the extra expense is really justified. After all, if it ain’t broke, why pay money to fix it?
Although the lower price tag associated with break/fix services may seem appealing, this mentality isn’t always the most effective approach to business IT. When it comes to your company’s tech, think of IT spending as an investment. Continuous maintenance helps you avoid the kinds of costly surprises that can throw a serious wrench in your monthly budget while also keeping systems running faster and more securely, which can certainly save you money in the long run.
Those savings may be more difficult to calculate, but here’s one number you can easily remember: $82,200. That’s the low side of the average cost of one downtime incident for an SMB. Surely avoiding that expense is worth a monthly MSP payment.
You want to build more productive teams and efficient processes.
It’s 2018. Compared to 10 or even five years ago, work just, well, works differently. Today, you might use an outsourced vendor or a variety of freelance contractors, and your team members may all be at an office across the country or working remotely from their respective living rooms. Building effective processes to overcome these physical barriers is what the modern work world is all about.
By partnering with a managed services provider, you can implement cloud applications, storage and other online solutions no matter where your team is located. Moreover, you have the means to ensure your online data stays safe and private even while flying back and forth across networks. MSPs can help you roll out high-level security solutions like threat detection, data encryption, VPNs and other tools for remote teams to make your business processes more effective and secure.
To be clear, managed services aren’t the best solution for every business, and companies with low technology overheads or little to spend on IT support may find that other methods are a better fit for their budget and needs. However, if your business is among those that require efficient, sophisticated technological guidance and protections, the ongoing support of an MSP can be a game changer. If you’d like to learn more about the types of managed services that MyITpros provides, check out our services page or contact us directly. Your future is waiting for you—and you’ll never have to read a “Tech for Dummies” guide again!