While you're working to master your own corner of the business universe, you or your employees probably don't have the time to also become the jack-of-all-trades IT guy. With IT managed services (or managed IT services if you prefer), you decide what you want to do in-house, and what you're willing to outsource. The result is seamless IT management that lets you decide your level of involvement in managing your IT infrastructure.
What Exactly Are Managed IT Services?
A managed service provider (MSP) provides a wide range of IT services to businesses like yours. MSPs can take on and manage some of your existing IT department's workload or it can become your entire IT department. Typically, an MSP will provide some of the following services:
- Data backup and recovery
- Email security and hosting
- Customer relationship management (CRM) applications
- Network security and management
- Help desk support
- Network resource reporting
What Are the Advantages of an MSP?
In a 2015 CompTIA survey, two-thirds of companies said they had used an outside IT firm that year. While many of these companies already had some internal IT staff, they wanted to free up those staff members to complete essential projects. This division of labor may allow you to have the best of both worlds – you can retain control and ownership of the essential parts of your business while outsourcing the rest.
Plenty of companies hire MSPs because they don't want to worry about their IT needs. If you don't want to spend nights researching network security options – all you know is you don't want to get hacked – an MSP partner is your best option.
So why would you be tempted to employ an MSP?
- Avoid IT staffing problems. High demand for IT professionals is here to stay, and once you hire someone you need to provide training and other incentives so their skills remain current. MSPs allow you to outsource all of these worries – and costs.
- Dedicate your IT man-hours towards important projects. Developing an in-house ERP or new mobile app may be worth the talents of your staff, but do you really need them managing email hosting?
- No need to develop IT expertise. If your company doesn't already employ an IT staff, you won't have to worry about that area of your business. You'll just need to find an MSP you trust, and then work with them to create a strategy to support your business.
- Identify what needs to get done with the help of professionals. Ever worry that something important – like data backup – may get overlooked? With an MSP, you have a partner who will help you discover what your company needs and then do it without hand holding.
- Enjoy professional IT help desk support. Do small IT snafus leave you or your staff on the phone for hours trying to get help? Or are you stuck waiting for your in-house IT guy to troubleshoot it? An MSP partner will offer you a fully-staffed help desk ready to answer your questions as soon as you call.
- Save money through outsourcing to an MSP. Network overhead costs can quickly devour your IT budget. MSPs can help you increase network services while keeping costs in check.
- Predictable IT costs make budgeting simpler. Each month, you'll pay one set fee for the IT services you need.
- Eliminate recurring IT issues. If you're always fixing the same type of problems, maybe it's time to hire an MSP with a vested interest in permanently eliminating headaches. MSPs have the expertise to get to the root of any tech problems.
Using a MSP allows you to stop thinking about how to deliver IT services to your business. Instead, all you need is a list of your company's goals and needs, and the right MSP partner can make your dreams a reality.