Many small and medium-sized organizations turn to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to ease some of the burden on their internal IT resources or take over the management of their network as a whole.
Partnering with an MSP has several benefits, from increased reliability to a better understanding of assets, all of which are valuable in their own right.
These are some of the ones that are at the top of the list for most organizations that are considering some type of managed IT services. . .
First of all, what are "managed IT services"?
A quick Wikipedia search reveals the definition: "Managed services is the practice of outsourcing the day-to-day responsibilities of IT administration as a strategic way to improve operations."
A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is defined as "... typically an information technology (IT) service provider, which manages and takes responsibility for providing a defined set of services to its customers proactively or when services are determined to be necessary. "
- Proactive monitoring and maintenance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
As it stands, most businesses don't have a way to monitor their network 24/7, 365 days a year and receive instant notifications when a potential problem occurs.
This can be an invaluable feature because the sooner you become aware of a problem, the sooner you can fix it. 24/7 monitoring allows most issues to be proactively addressed and resolved before they become major issues causing significant downtime.
Technology planning is difficult because things can change in an instant if a computer or server fails.
When this happens, budgets for unscheduled repair services are cut. With a fixed monthly cost, managed services allow companies to budget for better service costs and prepare for upgrades. Most MSPs have repair and service jobs already included in the contract, along with ongoing maintenance that is already underway.
- Full report
Knowing what your network is doing is key to determining how to budget for the future and what your employees are doing online. Without these reports, it is not possible to know which problems have been fixed, where they occur most frequently, or which areas of the network need support.
Most MSPs can provide detailed reports on error messages, troubleshooting, and user activity, and should provide at least a semi-annual review of these reports to understand what is happening on the network.
- Availability of personnel
Whether your company has internal IT staff or someone with divided tasks within your organization, you have a resource dedicated to managing the day-to-day maintenance and upkeep of your network.
If that person is a dedicated IT person, they probably don't have time to do what needs to be done because they constantly put out fires. If that person has separate duties (IT and accounting or operations, for example), they don't have time to fully focus on one of their duties to do what their main job entails. A basic package of managed services allows IT staff to focus on what really needs to be done instead of day-to-day maintenance and allows the divided resource to focus on their core work, rather than worrying about how the technology works.
With the toolkits available to MSPs, problems are reported and resolved immediately, and by not having to put out "fires" after they have caused obvious problems or downtime, end users can have a more streamlined experience and efficient. With proper planning and notification, patches and updates can be scheduled so there are no end-user interruptions during business hours.
- Knowledge base
When working with an outsourced technology company of any kind, one of the main benefits is being able to access their wide range of knowledge in more than one area of interest.
They have a complete team to address any problem that may arise, as well as advise or contract any project that needs to be implemented. A good technology provider invests in their staff to make sure their engineers have the latest certifications for the services they offer and the providers they work with.
- Greater security
Security is a common concern for most business leaders, and having up-to-date security to protect the network is arguably the most important aspect of a company's technology.
Managed Service Packs generally offer a solution to monitor your firewall, antivirus, and apply the latest updates and patches to ensure your network is as secure as possible.