Partnering with a managed IT services provider is a common way for companies to offload some or all of the burden of managing their technology infrastructure so they can focus on their core business.
The best managed IT service providers (MSPs) combine IT best practices with extensive technical expertise across a variety of specialties. They are also able to offer predictable pricing models that make a solid case for companies considering IT outsourcing.
A good MSP should be able to handle the vast majority of your managed IT needs, including:
- Design, deployment, and management of data center and cloud-based solutions
- Development and testing of disaster recovery and business continuity plans
- Establishing robust cybersecurity standards and practices
- Providing end-user support services (i.e a help desk)
Additionally, MSPs offer service levels that extend far beyond what a small in-house IT team can realistically support, including:
- Round-the-clock monitoring and alerting of systems and networks
- Proactive maintenance
- Rapid incident response backed by a clear Service Level Agreement (SLA).
In this article, we’ll explore some of the major benefits of managed IT services in more depth.
The 8 Biggest Benefits of Managed IT Services
1. Access to Seasoned IT Professionals
One of the top benefits of managed IT services is a direct connection to a team of seasoned IT experts and support engineers that have the necessary technical skills and experience required for managing complex IT environments.
This level of IT expertise is difficult to replicate and generally out-of-reach for most small and medium-sized businesses.
Having access to top-level IT expertise and experience is the best way to ensure your infrastructure can support your business objectives. However, it won’t be beneficial if your MSP isn’t committed to the highest standards of quality and customer service.
As a result, it’s worth some extra time and effort to find a trustworthy partner that has a proven track record of successful IT projects and satisfied customers.
2. Predictable and Manageable Costs
IT spending can often be unpredictable and difficult to control.
One of the main reasons for this is that companies are unwilling to put in the work needed ahead of time to determine which IT initiatives will be necessary to support their business plans, their cost, and the potential return on investment (ROI).
The good news about managed services is that you are forced to consider the costs and benefits of IT spending at a much more granular level. Although that sounds challenging, it’s crucial for successfully managing an IT budget.
Remember that predictable and manageable don’t necessarily mean inexpensive. Good service is never cheap (and vice versa), and an MSP that tells you otherwise may have something to hide.
MSP pricing can help make your monthly IT spend more predictable, with various pricing models available to make that possible. However, regardless of which pricing model(s) your service provider offers, the underlying calculation is always the same.
The provider estimates the cost of providing the required services, adds the profit margin needed to support their business model, and does the math to turn that number into a monthly price using the desired model.
What you really need to look for in an MSP, is not one that seems to promise you something for nothing. You need a partner that knows what they are doing and that you can depend on to be transparent and honest with you.
A trustworthy provider can:
- Understand and analyze your business’s IT needs
- Intelligently map their service offerings to your business needs
- Properly estimate what it will take to offer those services with quality and consistency
- Deliver on their promises and expectations
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3. Cost-Effective IT
Cost-effective IT spending involves providing services that are more efficient as opposed to cheap. Although these cost savings are considered as a typical benefit of using managed IT services, how can partnering with an MSP provide greater ROI on your IT spending? Let’s take a look.
The biggest expense for in-house IT teams is generally people, which includes hiring, training, salaries, and benefits, provided that you can find the talent you need or even know which skill sets you need most.
Partnering with an MSP takes all of that off the table. They take the hiring risks and negotiate the salaries while ensuring you have access to the necessary technical skills. They provide seamless coverage when engineers take time off, and you pay only for what you need or use depending on the contract structure.
Of course, any expense that an MSP incurs is a “cost-of-goods.”
This will need to be covered by how much they charge customers for their services. However, since their resources are generally serving multiple customers and projects, they can be more efficient in their use of time. In addition, the cost to each customer is lower compared to the full-time equivalent.
Another area of cost-saving comes from a reduction in the cost and the need to purchase certain hardware and software.
For instance, MSPs usually provide their own IT management and ticketing systems. They also offer IT procurement services and have close relationships with multiple technology vendors, allowing them to offer favorable pricing and leasing options.
4. Guaranteed Response Times
Internal support teams are pulled in many directions, making it difficult for them to prioritize tasks. They also usually lack the tools available to professional help desk services, like fully-featured remote management software and sophisticated trouble ticketing systems.
Managed service providers offer help desk services to multiple customers as part of their core offerings. This gives them the incentive to invest in the tools, training, and people required to offer professional help desk services that can meet specific response time targets as defined in each customer’s SLA, even during higher traffic periods.
Rapid response times, knowledgeable personnel, and courteous service are vital to the success of any good MSP. Since the primary responsibility of an MSP’s help desk is to demonstrate their expertise to deliver peak efficiency, they can focus on that job more easily than in-house IT staff.
Despite that, it’s important to note that not all help desks are created equally, so be sure to keep that in mind. Some points to consider include:
- If it’s too cheap, it’s probably not high-quality
- Is the help desk staffed by employees or outsourced to a third party?
- How does your vendor evaluate its new hires?
- Are help desk engineers part of a healthy technical ecosystem that rewards competence and supports their career growth?
- Or is the help desk a “body shop” where help desk engineers are simply a commodity to be used up and burnt out?
Maximize your results by being an informed consumer. A good MSP will not hesitate to answer your questions honestly and openly.
5. Productivity Improvements
Improved productivity is one of the most important benefits of all. If you are interested in managed IT services, chances are that your technology infrastructure is critical to the success of your business. Anything that improves the availability, scalability, and security of your environment will likely make your employees and business more productive.
IT issues reduce productivity in multiple ways, depending on the level of severity. In the worst case scenario, a natural or digital disaster strikes that prevents your team from working.
Your business is now essentially down, and hopefully, you have a good disaster recovery plan in place and the staff to execute it. There may also be more limited problems that affect some users to some degree, but that still involves a potentially serious loss of productivity.
In any case, the faster any IT issue is discovered, evaluated, and remediated, the lower the impact to your productivity will be. That’s why the best MSPs have an advantage over internal IT support staff.
MSPs have the right tools to monitor your systems and alert the help desk to problems and outages. They also have seasoned IT professionals ready to respond to typical user requests and incidents quickly and efficiently. If something more catastrophic happens, they should have the senior staff available to tackle the problem and get it resolved as efficiently as possible.
MSPs also have advantages when it comes to avoiding downtime. Part of the core offerings of most MSPs is monitoring and patching of networks and systems to ensure they are up-to-date and performing as expected.
Since MSPs are usually contractually obligated to respond to incidents in a predetermined time frame, they have a business incentive to reduce the occurrence of IT incidents. A good MSP takes care of your systems to protect your business and theirs by extension.
6. Improved Scalability
Scalability has several meanings in this context. One refers to the scalability of your IT infrastructure.
- Is it architected in a way that allows for easy scaling (horizontal or vertical) as the demand for IT resources increases?
- Is your ability to scale in alignment with your business projections?
A good MSP will want to work with you closely on these questions and will have the broad range of expertise (network/systems/cloud/security/etc) needed to address them in a holistic and creative way.
Another way that an MSP can help you scale more easily is by providing the appropriate level of technical services and human resources needed to support your business operations as they evolve over time.
MSPs are prepared to support changes in your business size and complexity quite easily, allowing you to react more quickly to change, such as expanding or contracting your level of service, while mitigating the challenges of onboarding and offboarding full-time personnel.
7. Improved Security and Reduced Risk
All businesses need to manage risk, and one of the key goals of a managed IT service provider is to help identify and minimize the risks that are associated with technology in general, and with your IT infrastructure in particular.
Trustworthy providers will employ experts who know how to assess and prioritize your cybersecurity risks and implement appropriate measures to either eliminate them or reduce them to acceptable levels.
Good managed IT service providers offer comprehensive risk mitigation services, including:
- Systems monitoring and alerting
- Automated patching and vulnerability scanning
- Security Incident and Event Management (Siem) System
- Security Operations Center (SOC) Services
- Disaster recovery and business continuity planning
The advantages MSPs bring to the table include:
- Having the broad range of specialized skill sets and experience required
- Having the bandwidth to provide the concentrated focus needed to plan, implement and maintain a robust risk mitigation strategy
Why Companies Trust Us to Manage their IT Infrastructure
8. Regulatory Compliance
In addition to establishing best practices for cybersecurity, many businesses are required to prove that they meet specific regulatory standards for IT security and data protection.
IT compliance is a priority for businesses in highly-regulated industries that use technology to provide services to their clients. Failing to meet IT compliance requirements can result in fines, sanctions, and reputational damage that can potentially put you out of business entirely.
Although many laws are mandatory, they also include best practices for information security that can benefit any organization.
There are many specific standards for different types of businesses. Some of the more common regulatory standards include:
- PCI DSS
Common compliance standards include:
- SOC 2 Type 2
- ISO 27001
Bear in mind that an MSP cannot offer a simple solution for meeting any of these standards, as they are complex, industry-specific, and touch on almost every aspect of your business.
However, a good managed IT services partner should be well-versed in the regulations and compliance standards that are most important and relevant to your business to help guide you through the process and to ensure the compliance of your systems.
Just as importantly, a trusted partner will ensure that, in addition to being compliant, your systems are also truly secure, which is equally important for achieving and maintaining compliance.
Find a Managed IT Services Provider Committed to Your Success
If you are interested in learning more about the advantages of working with a trustworthy managed IT services partner, we invite you to speak to us.
For over 25 years, ITSco has been providing advanced IT services to companies of all sizes across North Carolina and beyond.
Our clients range from small tech startups and state-wide physician’s practices, to some of the largest corporations in the world. You can always depend on us for honesty, transparency, and competence.
Contact ITSco today to find out how managed IT services can help your business succeed.