In ever-increasing numbers, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are turning to managed services to address their IT needs. There are at least three key reasons driving this trend: cost savings, time savings and access to first-rate IT expertise. However, when searching for the right managed service provider (MSP), it’s important to look for one that’s seasoned and highly qualified. It’s also important to purchase a service plan that neither leaves out services you need, nor requires you to pay for services you don’t.
Three reasons to use managed services
For many SMBs, hiring a full-time system or database administrator is far too expensive, taking a six-figure bite out of their small yearly budget. At the same time, calling a qualified IT contractor only when something goes wrong is far too risky, as it leaves the SMB always at the mercy of system failures, viruses and hacks. To shy away from either extreme, businesses are increasingly turning toward MSPs to save money while keeping their IT needs covered year-round.
Another reason that so many small to medium-sized businesses are turning to managed services for their IT needs is that SMBs are simply tired of losing time to unpredictable IT problems. They want to avoid the trap that other SMBs fall into of merely reacting to IT problems with short-term, superficial fixes or “band aids.” Instead, they want to engage in the long-term, preventative maintenance and monitoring that will help them avoid IT problems in the first place.
Access to expertise
The right MSP will have a team of highly qualified IT professionals that represent an impressive knowledge pool for handling nearly any IT issue that might arise. These professionals spend all day, every day, navigating the nuances and complexities of the hardware and software that runs your business. It is difficult to imagine finding a member of in-house staff that could match the depth and breadth of IT expertise that an entire, dedicated IT team can bring to your enterprise.
Finding the right MSP
Once you’ve decided to work with an MSP, not just any company will do. You certainly don’t want to entrust your entire network to a company simply because they call themselves an IT-focused MSP. Ideally, you will want to find a regional provider that has built up their reputation over a decade or more. Moreover, you will want to ensure that their IT experts are certified or otherwise highly qualified in the specific networking, hardware or software service they provide.
Finding the right level of service
Once you’ve found a seasoned, highly qualified MSP to address your IT needs, it’s important to choose the right level of managed service from their suite of offerings. Most MSPs offer several levels of service, which you might think of as good, better and best. The higher levels will generally include all of the services below them, while adding new, premium services to the covered list. As an SMB, your guiding principle should be to buy the level of service that closely corresponds to the particular services you need so that you can avoid two unwelcome outcomes: paying for services you don’t need, or missing out on services that you do need. For example, if you don’t need on-site support, then you may not need to pay for the premium level service that includes a set of on-site services. On the other hand, if you need help desk support, and it’s not part of the basic plan, then you will want to move up to the next level that includes it.
Making the move to managed services
To address all of their IT needs, SMBs are turning to managed service providers in ever-increasing numbers. There are at least three key reasons driving the move to MSPs: cost savings, time savings and access to high-level expertise. Once you’ve decided that an MSP is right for your business, you’ll want to look for one that’s seasoned and highly qualified. Having chosen an MSP, the final step is to scrutinize their various plans to find a fit that has all the services, and only the services, you need.
To learn more about managed services and how they can address your IT needs, contact us.