A managed service provider (MSP) is an organization that manages a company’s IT infrastructure and user systems from a remote location. A good MSP has technicians and experts in a variety of areas and can act as your network administrator, security consultant, and disaster recovery expert all in one. A good MSP provides peace of mind by taking care of the technology so that you can continue to simply focus on your business.
Ideally, a good MSP remotely monitors your IT networks in such a way that it can find and fix problems before they become issues that impact your customers, clients, patients, or vendors in such a way as to preserve business continuity.
WHAT CAN AN MSP DO?
MSPs can and do work with clients in a variety of industries, from manufacturing to retail to healthcare. The most common service provided by MSPs is backup and disaster recovery. They also can provide remote monitoring and management, managed network security, mobile device management, help desk support, payment processing, web hosting, service as a software (SaaS), network design and implementation, and even email services.
WHY HIRE AN MSP?
Outsourcing your IT to an MSP can save your business money. MSPs take care of time-consuming and repetitive tasks, and they can help you alleviate cash flow issues by staggering the costs of hardware and software into monthly recurring fees. Additionally, many MSPs are familiar with the federal and state legislation and PCI compliance standards thereby reducing the likelihood of receiving fines for non-compliance.
HOW DO MSPs WORK?
Many MSPs deliver their services via the Cloud. With centralized network services and applications housed within a single data center, your business can access data quickly. This also helps with data recovery in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. Even with cloud delivered services, if you hire a local MSP, many still provide on-site technical services when needs or issues arise.
WHAT DOES AN MSP COST?
Rates obviously vary for each MSP and often depend upon the size of the client’s business; the number of required services; and the amount of software and hardware being used. In general, the client will pay a recurring monthly fee for around the clock monitoring and security services. On-site services and projects most likely contain additional fees that are charged on as needed basis. However, these monthly contracts are great because they ensure that if something breaks down, you know that someone is available to fix it without having to look for someone when you are in dire need.
PROS AND CONS OF HIRING AN MSP
As with everything in business, there are many factors a business should take into consideration when deciding to hire a managed services provider. You’ll need to discern what fits into your budget, as well as what all your onsite needs will be. You will also need to figure out how you intend to keep all your data secure and what your business continuity plan dictates in the event of a breach or emergency.
A good MSP not only takes care of problems as they arise, but also monitors your networks closely so that it is able to prevent technical issues from occurring in the first place. Effective firewalls combined with close monitoring can prevent many data breaches. Many MSPs can also provide information to train your employees with so that your employees are also better able to prevent bad outcomes.
Depending upon the terms of your contract and your business’s needs, many MSPs provide your business with all the technology needed to run, such as workstations, servers, and software. All you do is simply use them and pay your recurring monthly fee. This means no capital expenditures for the tech up front, allowing you to focus those much-needed resources elsewhere.
No one person can know all things about all things. Your in-house IT guy may be a whiz at troubleshooting issues in Microsoft Word, but what happens if your router fails, or your printer is suddenly behaving as though it is possessed? MSPs, on the other hand, usually have skilled personal with expertise in different arenas, thereby better able to meet all your IT needs.
Do you even know how you would service your clients in the event of a natural disaster? How would go about restoring your data in the event of a breach? If not, you need the help of an MSP. A good MSP can help you create an efficient data recovery plan that will help keep your business operating in the event of disaster.
Many MSPs are not local to your business. This means that should an issue like a printer malfunction occur, you may need to get involved, as many MSPs simply manage your technology remotely. However, if you choose a local MSP, it may offer on-site support. Depending upon your contract and your service-level-agreement, these on-site services may be included in your contract or cost an additional fee.
Make no mistake, having a reputable MSP work for you will not be free. You will pay up front fees and have monthly recurring costs, all depending upon the size of your business and your technology and security needs. But again, these costs are balanced by the tremendous value and peace of mind they can bring to your business and sensitive client data. Plus, you receive all the expertise without having to pay the additional costs and benefits of having an internal IT department.
The scope of work that an MSP provides almost never covers every single area of technology that your organization may use. An MSP will typically cover all the applications and software it provides. However, when you have issues with a third-party software or piece of technology that is not covered in the contract with your MSP, you will need to contact your third-party software directly or seek help elsewhere.
Every small business must weigh the pros and cons of hiring an MSP. But if your business finds that it is often in the lurch due to technology issues; it does not have a plan in place for when there is a data breach; or you find yourself often hunched over a printer on your lunch break, the likelihood that you need the services of an MSP are high.
pim’s managed services includes solutions that detect, protect, prevent, and resolve common network and system threats before they happen. pim has tech solutions that are created with you and your business in mind. From on-site services to remote help desk support to data management to cloud computing, we can help you achieve maximum computer system productivity while reducing the burden of day-to-day IT management.