Information technology (IT) systems are expected to meet high standards of operation, while offering 24/7 availability, security, and performance. In today’s environment, you have to keep pace with the constant changes in IT, performance demands, and pressure to deliver competitive IT functionality. To meet these challenges, many organizations consider outsourcing their IT activities to be an attractive option.
What is a Managed Services Provider?
A Managed Services Provider (MSP) lets you delegate specific IT operations to them. The MSP is then responsible for monitoring, managing and/or problem resolution for your IT systems and functions.
Managed services providers offer services such as:
- Data backup and recovery for different devices (desktops, notebooks, servers, etc.)
- Patch management
Basic services often start with a monitoring service which notifies you of problems, but you resolve them on your own. More intensive services cover everything from alerts through problem resolution.
MSPs act as an extension of your IT department, taking care of routine IT infrastructure monitoring and management around the clock and freeing up your IT staff to focus on more important projects. An MSP proactively monitors and maintains your systems in order to help you avoid problems and downtime.
Outsourcing your IT is not like outsourcing other services: you maintain control of your IT. You decide what you want your provider to take care of and what you want to handle yourself. In addition, the MSP subscription model gives you more budget predictability.
Internal IT vs. MSPs
Sometimes it seems that the easiest way to handle all of your IT needs is to dedicate your resources to having an in-house team of IT professionals. While this may seem like the most fiscally responsible move, it can end up costing more than hiring an MSP.
A technology professional with five years of experience may be worth $70,000+ a year. That $70,000 salary only gets you one person, not a team of professionals with expertise and knowledge.
When you hire your own IT staff, there are also challenges scheduling around vacation, training, and illness. An MSP provides full time IT coverage, but vacations, illness, and other absences don’t affect your support.
There are also hidden additional costs when you hire internally—for example, training. Combining this with the cost of equipment and other supplies, expenses can quickly add up. When you have an IT partner or MSP, training and other “hidden” expenses are no longer your concern.
How to Choose an MSP
IT firms are a dime a dozen, but finding the right IT advice and technology professional for your business can be compared to finding a needle in a haystack. This list should provide you with the insight you need to select the MSP that is right for you.
- Do they follow industry standards and best practices? Are their technicians certified in the solutions and services they provide?
- Do they have experience serving other clients in your industry or of the same business size?
- Do they have enough resources to serve you effectively and in a timely manner?
- What are their normal business hours and availability outside of those hours? Can you contact them 24/7 in an emergency?
- Do you they properly document work so that you have accurate and complete records?
- Do you trust them?
MSPs have become an attractive option for many organizations and should be an integral part of your overall business strategy, involving senior executives and key IT staff. The decision to hire an MSP is not one that should be made lightly. It is a decision that can have a significant, long-lasting influence on the reputation and the performance of your organization. If you are interested in how you can benefit strategically, financially, and technologically by working with an MSP, please contact Networking Technologies at 814.836.0000.