As a business owner, there are many different aspects of your organization that you need to control.
Whether you’re trying to manage your teams, find new avenues of revenue, or come up with strategies for growth, you’ve got a lot on your hands.
And, as your business continues to grow, things become even more complicated.
With so many responsibilities falling on your shoulders, learning how to delegate is an essential part of your job.
Sometimes delegation means going outside of your organization and using a third party to help manage key systems within your business.
One of those areas is managed IT services.
If you are new to the idea of a complete technology solution provider, it might seem risky to allow another company to manage a part of your business.
However, relying on managed services can do a lot of good for your business while helping to manage costs.
In this guide we’ll help you understand what managed IT services are, how they can benefit your company, and how you can find managed services business in your area.
What Are Managed Services?
To begin, let’s define what managed IT services actually are.
A managed service is any job that is handled by an external third party.
That could include a few different types of roles like security or communication.
However, managed services are most commonly used in the context of information technology, or IT.
Managed services handle the tasks associated with IT for you, rather than trying to keep it all in-house.
This works well for a number of reasons.
As a business grows, the reliance on technology systems increases.
But unless you want to hire an entire full-time IT department, there likely isn’t enough knowledge or capacity in your current employees to do the job well.
When you use managed services, you take the burden of IT tasks off of your internal team.
You allow experts who are trained to manage IT take care of the specifics needed for success.
And as our reliance on technology only continues to increase, having a 24/7 staff for crisis management and disaster recovery is only becoming more valuable to businesses.
What is a Managed Service Provider?
A managed service provider, otherwise known as a MSP, is the company that delivers managed services to your business.
These managed service providers often run as agencies with different clients.
Because IT isn’t always an everyday type of job, they are able to manage their rosters of different clients as needed.
Managed service providers will have a service level agreement, or SLA, with the company they contract with that details the specific tasks, deadlines, and costs associated with their services.
Usually a monthly retainer is set up with a recurring payment for the services rendered.
It is possible too ave a la carte services and yearly retainers are sometimes offered by managed service providers.
Managed service providers work as round-the-clock monitors of your IT systems and networks.
Rather than allowing issues to occur and become major problems, MSPs routinely monitor and observe your systems to find issues before they become crisis-level disruptors.
What Are the Benefits of Managed Services?
Now that you know what managed services and MSPs are, let’s dive into some of the major benefits that they can bring to your organization.
As mentioned earlier, managed services help you run important functions of your business.
However, they can do much more than that.
Reduce IT Expenses and Costs
IT and IT support can be expensive.
Having an on-site team can eat up at costs, and trying to figure out your technology needs on your own can lead to a bloated IT budget.
Managed services use cloud services to constantly monitor your systems and solve most problems while off-site.
This helps you control your costs and manage your IT expenses more carefully.
Eliminate the Need to Hire IT Personnel
Running an internal IT department takes much more than just one or two people.
To have an internal team of staff members on full-time salaries can become very expensive.
Not to mention the time it takes to search for, find, interview, and train individuals to become a part of your IT team.
When you use a managed service you always have a full team of professionals standing by to help for a single monthly cost.
Reduce Technical-Issue Downtime
Is there anything more frustrating than having your systems down?
Or having an issue on your computer that stops you from doing work in the middle of a busy day?
Technology issues can lead to a lot of downtime within a company.
If you are waiting for your busy internal team to get to you or for a technician to come on-site to your business, you can experience costly delays.
Managed services reduce downtime and keep things up and running around the clock.
Get Help from Trained Experts
If you’ve ever worked for a start-up company, you know that managing IT needs can call on any number of plates from engineers to web developers.
However, these people aren’t trained experts in IT, and likely will only have patchwork solutions for you.
When you work with managed services, you are paying for the services of experts with years of experience.
These individuals can ensure success and make sure you get what you pay for.
Fill the Skills Gap
Many teams just don’t have the time or skills needed to manage IT services.
As mentioned earlier, without having an entire department added to your company, there likely isn’t enough personnel or skills within your organization to manage the IT needs that will undoubtedly arise.
Having the support of managed services will make sure that the skills gap is filled.
Even the types of tasks you never considered before due to a lack of experience are taken care of.
Experience Benefits of Private Cloud Services
While you can still run your servers on-site, working with a services company might get you to switch to a private cloud server.
These cloud services ensure that you are always able to be up and running, regardless of environmental factors that might slow down on-site servers, such as storms of electrical surges.
Not only is your data more secure on a cloud network, but it also can be managed remotely.
Get the Flexibility to Scale
When you try to run your IT needs in-house, you can come up against barriers when it is time to scale the business.
A services company can help you grow as you need without having to hire more people or find room in your employees’ workloads.
Your project management team will be able to expand and grow with you, without you needing to find new managed services every time you want to scale up.
Improved IT Services Quality
When you have a team of experts at a managed services company helping you with IT, you don’t have to worry about shoddy work or continual problems.
Whether you need help with a software development update or need disaster recovery services, having managed services on your side can make the quality of these services much better.
You also have all of the services you need under one roof, so you don’t have to rely on multiple different third party companies to help support your needs.
Partnering with a managed services provider isn’t just finding a company and hoping for the best.
When you hire a services company, you create a contract that holds them accountable for specific jobs.
You know exactly what you are getting for what you pay for, and there is a sense of reliability built between you and managed services as they deliver on their contractual obligations.
No matter what issues arise in other areas of your business, you know that your MSP will be delivering on their responsibilities.
High Levels of Performance
Managed services companies are businesses too, and have requirements and evaluations for the performances of their employees.
Because there is a constant expectation of high quality service and great management, your project management team will work hard to give you their best performances.
That means you don’t have to worry about managed services not being accountable for errors or mistakes.
Almost every industry has some level of compliance that they are required by law to follow.
Whether you are a global online marketing manager trying to keep up to date with international privacy laws or a government contractor who needs to remain compliant on online security,
making sure your technology meets all requirements can take a lot of time.
Managed services do the work for you of keeping track of changing laws and making sure you are in compliance, no matter what your needs are.
One of the most important benefits of working with a services company is the amount of monitoring you receive.
Your managed services company will constantly be monitoring your systems for errors, disasters, or issues that could slow you down.
The managed services company will make sure that none of these risks affect your business, no matter what time of day or month of the year it is.
Having 24/7/365 monitoring ensures that you don’t have to worry about your systems, even when you are out of the office.
What Type of Services Does Managed IT Provide?
There are many different types of tasks that a managed services company can do for your organization.
Because IT is such a large, encompassing term, the types of tasks that can be accomplished will likely vary based on your company industry and needs.
For example, a medical billing company might want their MSP to focus more on online security.
A business solutions brand might want more time spent on system updates.
And a software development start-up wants clear documentation of their IT needs.
No matter what specific services you need, most MSPs can cover a wide range of tasks, including:
- Computer and equipment repairs
- Software and hardware maintenance
- Software and hardware upgrades and updates
- Software development
- Support desk management
- Virus prevention and removal
- Remote management of systems
- Reporting and documenting
- New technology and service recommendations
- Network and security monitoring
- Proactive issue prevention
- Data and analytics storage
- Online security response
- Lost data recovery
- Communications support
Why Does Having Managed Services Matter For Your Business?
We’ve spent a lot of time going over the benefits that managed services can provide and the types of responsibilities that they can manage for your business.
But when it comes down to it, why does having a MSP matter for your business?
Is it really a necessity, or can you manage to run your IT needs without one?
The number one reason why having a managed IT service provider running your IT needs is important for companies is that it allows you to focus your time and energy on core projects and strategic thinking.
Rather than worrying about computer fixes, software updates, and online security, you can instead focus your efforts on the important functions and initiatives that allow your business to do what it does best.
When you have a trusted MSP, you can let go of the concerns that come with trying to manage IT internally.
Your talented employees and team members can focus on the jobs that they excel at while the MSP manages the day-to-day IT operations.
Not only does this help reduce the workload and stress on your employees, but it frees up budgets for other activities.
Pros and Cons of Having Managed Services for Your Business
To help you know how to make the most informed decisions you can, let’s examine a list of some of the pros that come from having a MSP and then compare that to some of the potential cons.
The pros of having a MSP, in addition to the benefits listed earlier, include:
Changes in Models
Your business will overhaul the IT models you have in place, allowing the MSP to operate using an effective system that they’ve used for other clients.
A MSP will have a plan in place for helping protect your business and restore any data or systems that might be lost in the case of a disaster. This can reduce the stress you carry as a business owner or executive, and protects the integrity of the business as a whole.
Your MSP will be able to give you expert advice not just on how to do day to day tasks, but on making major decisions in your business. They can help you examine new software and technology systems that you might want to include in your tech stack and help guide you towards the best options.
Some MSPs will actually provide your business with certain technologies. Things like cloud services, servers, workstations, and software can be provided to your company in the contract that you make with a MSP. That can additionally cut down on expenses.
There are always cons to consider in every decision, including in having an MSP.
Let’s examine some of those now.
No Physical Presence
Many IT service providers manage all of their clients remotely. That means there is no physical person to go to at your business, which can limit the amount of on-site support. However, selecting a provider in your area might mean that you can request a physical visit when needed.
While having a MSP will mean lower costs in the long run compared to hiring the employees needed in an internal IT department, the cost that you pay each month can still be significant, depending on the type of contract you sign.
When you sign a contract with a MSP, there will likely be a set limit on the scope of work they provide. Certain technology issues like Microsoft or Google might fall out of scope for what you are paying for.
How to Find the Best Managed IT Services Provider
If you’ve decided that working with a managed services is the right direction for your business, you’ll want to make sure that you find the right partner for your needs.
Not every MSP is built equally, so making sure that you find the best provider for your business is key.
Here are some of the steps you can take to find the right MSP for your needs.
1. Assess Your Current IT Solutions
The first step you’ll want to take is to assess and audit your current IT solutions.
This will help you determine exactly what gaps exist in your current processes and what type of services you will need when you find a MSP.
2. Consider Your Growth and Scalability Needs
You’ll also want to take some time to examine your strategies for growth over the next few years.
If you have big plans for scaling, you’ll want to find a MSP that can grow with you and has flexible contract terms for adding new services as you scale.
3. Interview Multiple Options
After you’ve decided what types of services and flexibility you need from a provider, you can then start to pull together multiple options that will work for your needs.
You’ll want to talk to several companies to make sure that you can find the best fit for your business needs.
4. Ask About Availability, Services, and Response Time
As you are interviewing different MSPs, you’ll want to ask them about their availability, the services they provide, and their response time for inquiries and issues.
If they can take over a day to respond, they might not be able to move fast enough to meet your needs.
Similarly, if they don’t offer a key service you need, then they aren’t going to be the right fit for your business.
5. Inquire About Disaster Recovery Planning
One of the most important services that a MSP provides is recovery.
When something goes wrong, like a major power outage or a weather disaster, you need to know that your data can be recovered.
Ask what their plans are for disaster recovery, and make sure that it will work for your company.
6. Look for a Proven Track Record
Finding managed services with a proven track record is important.
Look for reviews about the MSP or ask for references and referrals from other businesses in your area.
You can also get in touch with the clients the MSP currently has to see how they are enjoying their current services.
7. Make Sure They Understand Your Industry
Every industry is different, and will have different requirements and needs from their IT services provider.
Finding one that has experience in your industry is important, as that will help ensure that they know how to handle the ins and outs of your business needs.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Switch
If you partner with a MSP that isn’t working for your needs, don’t be afraid to make a switch to a different option.
If your contract is from month to month, you can leave if the MSP isn’t meeting your expectations to find another option that will be able to satisfy your requirements.
Finding Managed Service Providers in Boston
If you are looking for managed IT service providers in Boston, then look no further than IT Management Solutions.
We provide comprehensive IT solutions and support that you can rely on as you grow and scale your business.
We help you save the time and money spent on inadequate IT solutions by providing clear, encompassing support.
You can feel secure after partnering with us.
As one of the top service providers in Boston, we’re happy to make sure that we are there whenever you need us with reliable, top of the line support.
To learn more about what we can do for your organization, book a discovery call today.