Why Your Small to Medium Business Needs a Managed Services Provider.
Small to medium-sized businesses should consider the proactive IT strategy that comes with selecting a managed services provider.
If you’re a small to medium-sized business owner, you can get pretty bogged down in the details. The last thing you need is a technology issue that slows business down to a crawl. The average American depends very heavily on technology – and we’re not even talking about those of us that run a business.
But the technology itself is growing more complicated. The infrastructure you’re relying on is connected to multiple applications that make it more vulnerable to a breakdown at any of the myriad network points. Then there are all the security threats. The nightly news has the latest tales of credit cards that have compromised or social security numbers that have been leaked.
If you don’t have a dedicated technology provider on your team, you’re likely relying on a pay-as-you-go consultant. This is a resource that primarily works to fix broken technology. Many business owners settle for this. That’s because they believe a dedicated support to help their business improve speed, security, and technical workflows are out of the reach of their budget.
That’s just not true anymore. Enter your own personal knight in shining armor – the IT managed services provider.
IT Trends – Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?
CIO had an article a few years ago highlighting human error as the biggest cause of security breaches in technology. Then there’s the 2014 Chief Information Security Officer Assessment from IBM that said 95% of IT security accidents are caused by humans. The Visible Ops Handbook reports 80% of the network outage is the result of bad change management by IT programmers and system administrators.
The truth is that most small to medium-sized business owners only hire IT support if there’s a crisis. If you’re in denial that your technology can fail, then you’re playing Russian roulette with your business. When technology breaks, it can have a critical impact — and hiring an “emergency” computer consultant can compound the cost.
That “911” tech consultant can cost $100-150 an hour plus any hardware, software, or upgrades. Multiply that by the time it will take to even get them on site and make the repair. Now consider that IT consultants are compensated only when your computers break.
Are you starting to wonder if it really is in their best interests to keep your network running at its peak efficiency?
Could a Managed Services Provider be the Answer?
Think of a managed services provider as a kind of subscription service for your computer software and hardware. A monthly fee nets you a line item in your budget that offers peace of mind in our tech-reliant world.
An MSP can be a single service provider or provide support to an on-site IT person. For the small to medium-sized business, they serve as an essential component, working not only to fix issues but year-round to improve technology infrastructure efficiencies.
Here are ten ways a managed services provider could help your business:
- Help you implement a proactive, not reactive, IT management strategy.
- Increase network uptime.
- Faster upgrades.
- Improve network security.
- Save you money.
- Give you better access to cloud connectivity.
- Save you time by freeing up internal staff.
- Replace internal IT or external crisis consultants.
- Train staff in new technology.
- Assess and improve technology-related interoperability issues.
The goal of a managed service provider is to optimize your IT network through continual evaluation and maintenance. The goal is to spot problems before they crop up, stay on top of the latest upgrades, and adopt the most recent security techniques.
The other benefit of managed service providers is that they’re inevitably cloud-connected. That means you have all the advantages of mobile technology, allowing you to connect on any digital device. It also means this is a scalable service; as your business changes, you can expand or retract these services. You won’t pay for equipment you don’t end up using. Just look at some of the services these companies can give you:
- Technology assessment and planning.
- Customized software.
- Integration of network components.
- Infrastructure security.
- Data backup and disaster recovery.
- 24/7 monitoring of critical networks
- Computer support and server maintenance.
- Training and strategic advice.
The Future of Managed Service Providers
Our increasing reliance on technology along with the pressure of security threats is causing an increasing number of small to medium sized businesses to partner with MSPs. Channel e2e says the global market for these providers will grow from the 2014 high of $107 billion (and some spare change) to $193 billion+ in 2019. In addition to MSPs offering cloud-access through resale of Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services, these computer geeks are expected to foray into big data platforms like the Google cloud.
In 2014, a survey by Business Solutions showed that more than 60% of large and small businesses have integrated managed services into their IT strategy. Whether it’s to improve their bottom line by creating a fixed budget expenditure, improving security and improving business continuity, it’s clear that managed services providers have a unique set of tools to add to the small to medium sized business.