The economy has taken a tumble and businesses worldwide have had to adapt to new ways of working. There may need to be many changes made as we head into the “new normal”. The pandemic has changed the way that we use and rely on technology to work. Before March, many people hadn’t heard of Zoom, it’s now part of our everyday vernacular like Google and Facebook. Now may be the time to look at IT operations and how outsourcing those to an MSP could be of benefit.
A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a company who provides IT (or similar) services, alongside the management of the devices in which they support. Services range from Desktop and Server support, helpdesk operations, network operations and sometimes VOIP and hosting solutions. The “Managed” aspect refers to monitoring, updating, securing and proactively supporting devices such as end user PCs, Servers, Firewalls, Switches and other equipment within their remit. All of these options will usually be discussed during the first phases when contacting an MSP.
There’s many ways in which working with an MSP such as SupportWise can benefit your business. Let’s have a look at 10 reasons why reaching out can help to grow your business, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Managed Service Providers offer access to a range of qualified technicians, sometimes split by speciality (Servers, Websites, Networking), sometimes working in the same team. This provides you with a single point of contact for all of your IT needs, while also filling in any technical gaps you may have with your in-house team. An external IT team will have access to the latest training and technologies, constantly keeping up with the advancements and progressions in the IT sector. One of the ways to succeed in any business is investing in capabilities – MSPs will ensure their teams are fully trained, so they can pass this wealth of expertise onto your business too.
As your business grows, so will your IT needs. Outsourcing your IT through an MSP will ensure that your IT scales with your business. It’s natural that your IT infrastructure grows more complex as your business expands and shifts. As this happens, you’ll want to futureproof any investments so they don’t fall short as you scale. Working with a team of experts (and with an MSP this will be at your fingertips) will give you confidence that any decisions made will be the right ones, now and into the future.
Why invest in IT equipment if it’s not the latest available? Working with a Managed Service Provider gives you access to a host of suppliers which you may not have had previously. Also, most MSP’s subscribe into partnerships, ensuring they are also kept up to date with what is available at any time. Have a niche requirement? An MSP will be able to find a solution to it. They can also advise how to upgrade your existing equipment without loss of data.
When outsourcing to an MSP, you are given a controllable, predictable cost as the pricing structure is usually based on number of devices managed, as opposed to complexity or other factors such as distance from site. A fixed-price approach means you know exactly what you’ll pay each month. Whether you need to add or remove devices from support, an MSP will adjust as appropriate, just as your business usually would, keeping your IT budget in check all year round.
An MSP will help with all aspects of IT, technical as well as administrative. When you onboard a member of staff, for example, a simple reach-out to the helpdesk and the accounts are created, on time and in line with your company policy. The same can be said for when an employee leaves – account removed, data backed up, licenses adjusted…all on the back of an email. This frees up other members of staff internally to focus on their day-to-day tasks.
The security landscape is changing constantly. Beyond the protections in place (Antivirus, Firewalls etc.) there are a plethora of other, potential, attacks which could impact your business from a financial and reputational point of view. Outsourcing to a Managed Service Provider means that they will be looking at all of these aspects, all of the time. They’ll be alerted in real-time and be able to react, often without needing any intervention on your behalf.
How many times have you seen an error message such as “Hard Disk Full” or “Windows Updates need to be installed”. These slow down your business, reducing your productivity and ultimately, sales. A good MSP will have systems in place to prevent this from happening before it becomes a problem. They’ll also check each device to see whether there are updates outstanding, can’t be installed or fully up to date. Furthermore, as part of your ongoing discussions, they will be able to show you how much time has been saved on the most routine of tasks.
Keeping your business up and running, sometimes 24x7x365 can be challenging. Your IT team should be able to work to that standard too. When using Managed Services, they can offer help desk and support whenever your business needs it most. Also, as all of the technicians are IT specialists, they’ll be able to respond to most, if not all queries on the first call. Outsourcing to an MSP can be, long term, more beneficial in both time and cost savings, from the helpdesk perspective alone, than in-house IT.
Do you need to take your business to another level? Maybe you’re looking to complete ISO 27001 and need to ensure that your systems (and processes) meet the requirements. Or, a client has approached you with a list of requirements and you’re not sure where you stand. MSPs work with clients like this on a daily basis and access to Account and Project Managers on the end of the phone, to help you achieve these goals, will often mean you won’t need a separate outsourced team uniquely for this mission.
We saved this one until last, as we didn’t want it to be misconstrued. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of pressure on businesses to make some challenging decisions. Continuous Professional Development and Training are expensive for a small, in-house IT team. An advantage to outsourcing is that this will be managed by the MSP themselves, reducing your outlay on training costs and allowing you to re-allocate resources to other areas of the business which may need more attention or staffing.
Anything IT related can be outsourced, from the technical to the administrative. MSPs can assist with account creation, modification or termination for employees, setting up new services, provisioning phone lines as well as solving any IT issues you may have. They often provide assistance with auxiliary services like Web Hosting, VOIP solutions, Access Control and ERP/Accounting software. The possibilities are endless and a Managed Service Provider’s aim is to streamline your operations and let you run your business.
When taking on a new client, an MSP will discuss what that client is and isn’t comfortable with. MSPs will need some level of access for their various functions (usually administrative access) but the end goal is that the customer and the customer alone remains in control of their IT assets, they are yours after all. Good communication between both parties will ensure that this does not occur.
We don’t want to blow our own horn, but SupportWise has the option of 30 day, 6 month and 12 month contracts. The industry norm is 12-24 months and generally this is actually a good thing. This gives the MSP enough time to learn your business and systems, as well as work together along the way to resolve any opening issues. A review should be held at least quarterly, sometimes monthly and a yearly assessment should be made by the MSP and the client to keep everybody on the same page (SupportWise have a monthly call with all primary contacts, often more, to remain in contact and check that everything is ticking over).
We genuinely believe that the benefits outweigh the risks. This is one of the reasons we offer 30 day and 6 month contracts. This gives our clients the best possibility of getting to know us on a risk free basis. For any business struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, having a discussion with an MSP such as SupportWise will give you a good idea as to how partnering with an external IT team can help you achieve your business goals as well as saving time and money. We’ve popped a contact form at the bottom of this page just in case you wanted to give us a message.