As you search the internet for information about help with your small business’ IT needs, you will invariably run into the abbreviation MSP, which is short for an IT Support company known as an IT Managed Service Provider. This blog post will explore what this term encompasses and summarize the valuable services an MSP can provide your company.
What exactly is an MSP?
First, there are two popular MSP abbreviations we are not discussing: the airport code for Minneapolis-Saint Paul and the online kids’ game known as MovieStarPlanet. Please also note that for added confusion there are some managed service providers that offer services in non-IT-related areas.
In the IT world where we are concerned, an MSP refers to an IT Support company that coordinates and runs (manages) all or part of a business’ IT systems and networks. Managed Service Providers remotely manage the company’s systems and IT assets at their customers’ premises or at a data center, which is normally operated by a third party. The variety of services MSPs provide can range from the monitoring of your IT network to being responsible for all repairs, updates and patches, as well as providing new software, hardware, infrastructure, cloud services, and staff resources.
The service agreement between the MSP and the company will clarify the diverse services included, which generally are offered at a flat fee per month. Working with an MSP is completely different than utilizing only dedicated staff onsite or to using a pay by the hour IT company for sporadic assistance. This IT Support model is often referred to as “break-fix,” as the business only contacts the IT company when problems arise or things break. This approach is generally penny-wise, but pound foolish–many costly issues can be avoided with proactive monitoring and prompt resolution as opposed to waiting and reacting to a problem once it arises or is deeply entrenched in your network.
In general the MSP provides outsourced IT services for companies in an effort to make their IT more effective and efficient, so that companies can focus their efforts on their core operations. MSPs also serve as important partners to their clients as they enable them to reap the benefits of the latest technology without researching it and purchasing it themselves. In addition, companies can utilize the expertise of their MSP to better strategize the most effective use of IT to meet their business objectives.
What are some of the important benefits gained through using an MSP?
More Efficient, Reliable, and Scalable IT Operations
With an expert and proven staff and state of the art technological infrastructure, a trusted MSP like Network Depot can dramatically improve the efficiency of your company’s overall IT operations. Because of their focus on and expertise with cloud-based services, an IT Managed Service Provider can provide your company with a wide variety of IT options that are also scalable to meet growth-related needs. In short, they can recommend and implement the specific IT services your company will need currently and in the future.
Competent MSPs also offer 24/7/365 Help Desk service, improving the reliability of your company’s IT operations. Employees will see a dramatic improvement in IT ticket resolution compared to waiting for help from overburdened in-house tech resources.
An important service that MSPs provide to improve IT operations is called Performance Monitoring. Through the use of a high-end firewall, agents, and other tools an MSP will proactively manage and oversee your IT network’s performance. The MSP will know when your IT performance is being adversely affected or will be impacted in the near future with detrimental results. For example, an MSP will know immediately when your internet is operating slowly or is down and will quickly take the necessary steps to resolve the situation to minimize any disruption to your activities.
Significant IT Cost Savings and Improved IT Inventory Management/Budgeting
Importantly, with the reduction of IT infrastructure and maintenance costs and the cutting or reduction of dedicated employee resources for IT, an MSP often provides substantial IT cost savings in both the short and long run. With the use of an IT MSP that offers flat fee plans, your company can more easily get a handle on its overall IT inventory management and you will be able to predict and prepare accurate monthly and annual IT budgets.
Freeing Up Dedicated Resources and Help with Strategy
With a reliable MSP, you can reassign dedicated IT and other resources to carry out the many different tasks your company requires. With an MSP as your IT partner and advisor, your company can more effectively strategize how to utilize your IT assets to achieve your business goals. Their proven expertise can help guide you on how to most effectively utilize IT within the budgetary restrictions you have.
Nothing strikes greater fear for many small businesses than the nightmare scenario of their network being hacked and sensitive data being corrupted or stolen. A reliable IT Managed Service Provider offers your company layers of the latest cybersecurity protection through firewalls, applications, monitoring, filtering, and other protective measures. MSPs have the technology and expertise to keep hackers out or to quickly rid the system of their presence if they manage to penetrate their layered defenses. As noted below, even if cybercriminals do somehow overcome these formidable cybersecurity defenses, an MSP will also provide robust back-ups of a company’s critical data and applications to ensure the continuity of business operations.
Updated IT and Compliance Requirements
Competent MSPs will ensure that your company’s IT network and applications are regularly updated to the latest and most effective versions to meet your specific needs. An IT Managed Service Provider’s state of the art technology portfolio is also continuously being used to benefit your company without the need for you to research and implement it yourself. You can also rest assured that all industry-specific security and other compliance requirements are accounted for and being met.
Peace of Mind Through Back-Ups
Through its emphasis on the important services of Back-ups, Disaster Recovery, and Business Continuity an MSP offers your company what it wants most: peace of mind! With these services your management team and employees can rest easy at night knowing that all your important data and business applications are comprehensively backed-up at a secure remote location. In the event of a harmful man-made or natural event, an MSP can quickly restore operations with backed-up data and applications and ensure that your business will not suffer the consequences from costly downtime.
You can also consider this benefit in terms of cybersecurity. In the unlikely event that a cybercriminal overcomes the thorough cybersecurity measures provided by an IT Managed Service Provider, your data and applications can quickly be restored. This means that your company will not suffer from downtime because of corrupted data nor ever have to pay any costly fees if your company is infected by Ransomware. With the comprehensive back-up services provided by a trusted MSP, your entire IT network can be quickly restarted and restored in the event any calamity occurs.
Now that you know what an MSP or IT Managed Service Provider is and some important benefits they can offer your company, make it a point to contact one soon. An IT MSP will be your trusted partner who will work with you to take care of your IT needs, so that you can focus on your company’s core objectives. Your small business will be happy with the results!