When it comes to running a small business, strategy is everything. From building your brand and client outreach to customer service and the latest software, you want to optimize your business in every way possible. Nowadays, technology is a key part of any business, no matter how big the company is or what it does. But because the tech industry is comprised of so many moving parts that are all evolving so quickly, many businesses have an entire department specifically dedicated to managing, updating, and troubleshooting their technology.
While there are certainly advantages to having an internal IT department, some people might not realize that there are other ways to reap the full benefits of business tech. When you get down to it, some companies just don’t need their own IT department, and hiring a managed service provider (MSP) is a smart alternative that allows you to streamline your business while still getting the most out of your IT system.
MSPs: An Overview
You’ve probably heard the term “managed services” or the abbreviation “MSP” floating around. But what is an MSP? Well, basically, managed services are a way of outsourcing your business’s IT needs: an MSP is a third-party company that you hire to act as your company’s IT department.
Managed services provide you with round-the-clock IT services and monitoring without having to actually create and maintain an internal department within your business. Usually, MSPs function using a subscription-based model—in other words, you get all-inclusive services for a flat rate.
Benefits of Managed Services
There’s a wide range of benefits that come with investing in an MSP. Not only can the right MSP save you time and money, but it can also maximize your company’s productivity and help you to capitalize on your potential.
Cost-effectiveness is among the biggest benefits associated with managed services. Because an MSP is a fixed expense, you can easily factor it into your budget and watch as the savings add up. At first glance, you might think that paying a third party to take on your IT needs would cause your company to lose money rather than to save money—but the truth is that budgeting for an internal IT department can be unpredictable, and with every technical issue that you run into, you’re going to burn through money at an alarmingly fast rate.
Conversely, an MSP might cost money upfront, but it can help you to save in the long run. You’ll get expert assistance for a flat monthly fee, and the quality results are well worth the investment.
If your company is on the smaller side, you might not have the budget to hire a whole team of employees to take care of the tech portion of your business. That means you’ll have one or two people bearing the full responsibility of managing your system and fixing IT problems as they arise. Managed services offer small businesses the comprehensive service of a large IT department within having to physically have one internally.
3. Less Downtime
To build off of the previous point, being understaffed in terms of IT support means that your IT workers will always be running around from one task to the next. Or. if you don’t have an in-house IT department, your business might be relying on a couple of employees—or even a single one—to adhere to tech problems on an unofficial basis. This can result in a lot of downtime, which usually translates to lost revenue in one way or another. An MSP can give you full-time availability, 24/7/365, cutting downtime and boosting productivity.
What to Look for in an MSP
Unfortunately, in order to get the most out of your MSP, it’s not enough to just decide to switch to managed services—you need to find the right MSP. When looking for an MSP, one of the most important things to remember is that you’ll be working together with this company for what will hopefully be a long time. That means that not only does the company have to live up to your standards on paper, but it also has to meet your expectations in person. Here are a few components that serve as a good indication that an MSP could be the right fit for your business:
- Communication skills — The collaborative nature of your relationship with your MSP requires workers with strong communication skills. You want someone who will talk you through any problem that you might be having in a way that you understand, even if you’re not the most tech-savvy person on the planet.
- Responsiveness — You need an MSP that has your back in times of crisis and is able to respond quickly and effectively. This means finding an MSP that prioritizes responsiveness and takes availability seriously.
- Aptitude for problem-solving — Navigating technology isn’t always smooth sailing, even if you know what you’re doing. And in the world of tech, problems aren’t always black and white: Your MSP should demonstrate creative thinking skills that will enable them to fix issues in a timely manner.
Why Wait to Take Advantage of Managed Services?
A well-functioning IT infrastructure has become a vital element in any successful business. But that doesn’t mean that you have to rely on an in-house IT department to keep your system up and running. Luckily, we live in a world where there are more ways than one to manage a business. Find an MSP provider near you today, and see the benefits of managed services for yourself.