What is a Managed IT Service Provider and why do you need one?

Val Watson
Authored by Val Watson
Posted Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - 8:31am

Managed Services Providers (MSPs) are an integral part of the IT industry. As a business owner, you may not have the time or knowledge to manage your infrastructure on your own. In this case, hiring an MSP will take the stress off of your shoulders and optimise your infrastructure without having to pay for costly in-house IT staff.

These experts can come in and set up a service desk for things like antimalware protection, new user setup, remote backup solutions, disaster recovery preparedness, network set-up and security and more!

1. What is a Managed Services Provider?

An MSP is a company that manages IT infrastructure, typically for a collection of customer networks. This can be as small as a single server or as large as an entire corporate network. An MSP will usually manage everything from computer systems and application software to networking devices such as routers and switches in return for a single monthly fee covering the entire scope of their work.

Since relatively few companies have the time or expertise to manage their own IT infrastructure, hiring a Managed Services Provider is often the best option.

2. Why do you need an MSP?

In today's age, technology is an extremely important part of running a business. In fact, many businesses almost completely rely on their IT infrastructure to function. Without this, your company would be crippled and unable to function efficiently. If you want your business to remain competitive in the market, it is vital that your technology maintains peak performance at all times. This can be extremely difficult for smaller organisations who do not have the resources or knowledge to maintain optimal functioning within their network structure. Hiring an MSP will take care of these issues instantly without having to hire full-time staff members

Without hiring an MSP to manage your IT infrastructure, you could be putting yourself at risk for downtime or outages that could potentially cost thousands of dollars. Not only that, but these experts are highly qualified - meaning they will be able to resolve any issues much faster than if you attempted the repairs yourself! This equates to less down time for your business; making it worth every cent.

 

3. The benefits of hiring an MSP

There are a number of benefits to hiring an MSP for your IT needs. These include:

  • Flexibility. One of the most common reasons that business owners hire an MSP is because they lack the resources or knowledge to manage their own technology infrastructure. In this case, hiring an MSP will take care of all of these issues without having to pay for costly in-house IT staff.
  • Expertise. A Managed Services Provider has a team of experts on hand at all times who can work with you and your business to design a solution that meets your needs and helps grow your company. This is a huge benefit as they have years of experience in the IT industry whereas most businesses would not be able to provide this (especially if they are not technology-based).
  • Scalability. When you hire an MSP, your company instantly becomes scalable without having to hire full-time staff members. This is because the experts at the MSP will handle all of the issues on your behalf and provide support whenever you need it. If your business continues to grow or more employees are added to the team, simply hiring a larger share of the resources of your MSP can easily keep pace with your growth.

In most cases, your MSP will provide a dedicated account manager who will work with you and your business to design a solution that fits your needs. This provides for synergy between your business and the MSP so you can meet certain goals for growth and development within your technology infrastructure.

4. How can you find a good MSP for your company's needs

There are a number of factors to consider when looking for an MSP. The size and scope of your company is likely to play a major role in determining the right service provider for you. When hiring an MSP, it is also important that you focus on customer service and reliability. This will help ensure that any issues with your system can be resolved quickly and without costing you any down time or wasted money.

When looking at potential MSPs, be sure to ask about how they handle emergencies. You will also want to look into what type of security protocols are in place with their infrastructure and services. This will help prevent security breaches and hacking attempts.  It's your business' good name on the line so be sure you're satisfied with their answers!

Customer service is one of the most important factors to consider when looking for an MSP. For smaller businesses especially, downtime could result in significant losses that are not worth the risk. Choosing an MSP based on their customer service can help ensure that you get back up and running in no time!

Get recommendations from trusted business owners who have used an MSP before (and were happy with them!). This will help ensure that they are reputable and reliable.

Along the same lines, read the reviews!  Although they are susceptible to manipulation, reviews on third-party sites often give you a good sense of whether a particular MSP is a reputable firm.  It's true that any company can "game" the results to a certain extent by asking their best customers for a review, but you'll get a feel for the real reviews versus the fakes once you have read a couple.

5. When should you hire an MSP and when not to

If you run a small business and you're too busy to manage your own IT operations, then hiring an MSP is a good idea. This will allow the MSP to take care of your IT needs without relying on costly in-house IT staff. You can also use the MSP as a troubleshooting resource for any potential problems with your company's network.

In other words, when you have either limited expertise or limited time to handle your own IT operations, an MSP is a good solution because it relieves stress from both parties while optimising infrastructures at a reasonable cost.

Small businesses make up a very large majority of companies across the world, employing approximately 80% of people around the globe. Out of all small businesses, 29% don't even have access to enough technology savvy employees to maintain an effective IT department within their company. With so many different levels of expertise, it can be difficult for managers to find employees who are properly trained to manage IT systems without making costly mistakes

Bear in mind that some MSPs are better than others. If you can afford it, hiring an MSP with a formalised Service Level Agreement (SLA) is the safest bet. These SLAs let each party know what to expect of one another. This ensures that deadlines will be met and goals will be reached without any unnecessary delays or problems during the process. 

An MSP will take care of all current problems with your network and provide support whenever you need it. If your company continues to grow or more employees are added to the team, simply hiring another resource from the same MSP can help with this process.

One major benefit of hiring an MSP is that you have full access to their team of experts. In most cases, they will provide a dedicated account manager who will work with you and your business to design a solution that fits your needs. This allows for synergy between your business and the MSP so you can meet certain goals for growth and development within your technology infrastructure.

Larger business can benefit from hiring an MSP because they can help in-house IT teams free themselves from maintaining a business-as-usual system state and instead concentrate resources on transformation projects or other items of strategic importance.

What are some of the downsides to hiring an MSP?

Generally, the only downside to hiring an MSP is cost. While having someone monitor and manage your IT infrastructure could be a huge relief for some businesses, it's not always feasible depending on the needs of the business. For example: If you're a small company with one or two computers that don't do anything all that special, you probably don't need an MSP to help monitor and maintain your system.

In another situation, it's not always a good idea to hire an MSP when your business doesn't rely heavily on technology. In this case, hiring an MSP may provide too much service for the cost and won't provide any real benefits for your company.

There are many reasons why IT outsourcing can lead your business to greater success. Some of these include getting more work done, increased productivity and faster resolution of complex IT issues.  When the higher 'per hour' cost of an external service provider vs an employee is considered, the flexibility, scalability and overall value of an MSP often still makes it the best choice for small to medium businesses.

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