Staffing an in-house IT support team can be prohibitively expensive for small to medium-sized businesses. However, managed services providers (MSPs) are lightening the budget burden with a more cost-effective approach to managing the IT needs of SMBs.
Outsourcing your IT support to an MSP saves you needing to pay a full-time salaries to in-house IT staff. Meanwhile, it can connect you with industry-leading IT expertise for a fraction of the cost of employing an experienced CTO.
What do MSPs do?
While individual MSPs will tend to offer different services, they all do a few general things.
- Look after the maintenance of your IT equipment, including server management.
- Apply software updates and patches.
- Provide help desk-style IT support to your employees.
- Handle your data backup and security compliance.
- Minimize downtime and keep your IT infrastructure humming.
Most MSPs operate on a monthly subscription model. In other words, you pay a monthly fee for an agreed set of IT support services.
Where can I use MSPs?
MSPs are particularly helpful for managing your data center, servers, and network infrastructure. Consistency in these areas is critical because most SMBs require good data flow and reliable network connections for many mission-critical processes.
However, you can also use MSPs for non-critical operations. Managed print services, for example, are rapidly growing in popularity as SMBs look to external expertise to streamline in-office printing, maintain printer hardware, and reduce printing costs.
Where is the value?
Return on investment (ROI) is front-of-mind for most SMBs owners considering engaging an MSP. The good news is that partnering with an MSP can deliver significant value to your business.
Working with an MSP is perhaps the fastest way to close any existing skills gaps in your in-house IT department. MSPs have the up-to-the-minute expertise to keep your IT infrastructure performing at optimal levels, and many provide predictive maintenance to prevent downtime.
Compliance you can trust
Data security is becoming an increasingly important business concern, and an MSP can help ensure you’re meeting your compliance responsibilities. They’ll usually also offer data backup services so you can trust that your data will be appropriately secured.
Many MSPs can audit your existing IT infrastructure and recommend ways to streamline your operations. This advice will likely lead to cost savings in future hardware and software deployments and cut down on the amount of IT labor required.
Better vendor deals
Many MSPs carry existing relationships with hardware and software vendors. Therefore, they will likely negotiate better deals for you.
How do I select an MSP?
When assessing MSPs, look for companies that are interested in understanding how your business operates over and above selling you a list of standard services. A quality MSP will take a proactive approach to add value to your IT operations, and this requires an intimate understanding of how your business processes fit together.
The keyword here is “strategic.” The best MSPs will strive to improve your overall IT operations, not just sign you up for generic support and maintenance services.
Partner with the right MSP, and you’ll connect your SMB to enterprise-class IT expertise and innovation.