It can be difficult to understand your options for IT support, particularly if you are not familiar with the field. Maybe you are currently working with an IT vendor but not achieving the promised results, or perhaps the role of IT is shared as an additional resource within your team, leading to a diversion of work from other important responsibilities that affect your financial performance. Using a Managed Service Provider (MSP) may be a viable option to consider when assessing the IT requirements for your business, regardless of your individual circumstances. Now, let’s examine why this model might be suitable for your business and how to select a Managed Service Provider.
What is a Managed Service Provider (MSP)?
An MSP, or Managed Service Provider, is a third-party service that can remotely handle all of your company’s IT needs. This includes tasks such as security and monitoring, infrastructure management, data storage, and technical support. In many cases, MSPs can offer more services than a traditional in-house IT team.
The duties of an MSP can vary depending on the specific needs of a business. Generally, MSP’s assist with monitoring and maintaining customer IT solutions. This is often achieved through remote monitoring, which allows businesses to access full IT services without the need to hire and onboard an entire IT team. Additionally, considering the average salary of an IT professional in the United States is approximately $63,000 per year, the costs can accumulate rapidly.
When comparing a cloud service provider (CSP), managed security service provider (MSSP), co-managed IT service, or IT consultant, an MSP offers a wider range of services with a more hands-on approach. If you already have a CSP, it is likely that they do not provide all the necessary on-site solutions for managing your on-premises technology.
Which Businesses Use MSPs and Why?
MSPs are the secret weapon for small- and medium-sized businesses, like yours, that want to conquer the world of technology. These businesses frequently lack the necessary budgets or resources to employ extensive on-site IT personnel. Simultaneously, there are crucial and particular IT requirements that need to be dealt with. Using an MSP (Managed Service Provider) can be an effective solution for outsourcing your IT department, ensuring the security and functionality of your systems and networks.
MSPs are used by a variety of businesses, not just small- and medium-sized ones. According to a survey of 451 large businesses, 45% stated that they had intentions to collaborate with an MSP through a managed service contract.
Utilizing an MSP can reduce technology expenses while providing access to expert IT services. Similarly, these services can be adjusted to meet your evolving needs as your business expands. Business owners can also benefit from added security and monitoring services when transitioning to an MSP, which provides peace of mind and protection. In the meantime, you can allocate time and resources to other tasks, such as business development and growth.
What to Look For When Selecting an MSP
If you are considering utilizing an MSP for your business, there are various options for you to choose from. There are multiple MSPs available for consideration, each offering varying services to meet your needs.
Here are the things to expect from the MSP supporting your business:
Guarantees Proactive and Trustworthy IT Support
An MSP should always be available when you need them. Choose an MSP that offers 24/7 support, even on holidays. Waiting until the next business day for IT problems can cost your business a lot of money. Ask about response times for common IT issues to know what to expect whenever you need support.
Additionally, a comprehensive MSP provides proactive support for your business. This entails the establishment and maintenance of a disaster recovery plan, regular software updates and patches, secure data storage and backup, implementation of endpoint monitoring, and regular updates and operation of antivirus scanners to detect and address the latest threats to your infrastructure.
Provides Extensive Cybersecurity Protection
The annual cost of cybercrime is projected to exceed $8 trillion in 2023. It is crucial for businesses to avoid becoming a statistic, which is why the expertise of an MSP in cybersecurity is increasingly significant. With the constant increase of attacks like distributed denial of service (DDoS), ransomware, and other forms of threats, it is necessary to have an MSP that can provide comprehensive cyber protection against various types of risks.
It is important to assess the proactivity of your IT team in terms of cyber protection. Does your team prioritize detecting and responding to threats preemptively? Your MSP should provide a cybersecurity protection plan that includes a comprehensive framework for detecting, responding to, and recovering from threats, serving as a trusted advisor.
Utilize IT as a Strategic Business Asset and Competitive Advantage
Choosing an MSP instead of managing your own IT in-house can offer time and cost savings, as well as give your company a competitive edge. The services provided by your MSP should help differentiate you from competitors and provide cost-effective ways to stand out.
It is important to choose an MSP that specializes in your industry, such as manufacturing. This is particularly crucial if your business needs IT support to meet upcoming compliance requirements, like the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) from the US Department of Defense. Working with an expert in this field can provide a competitive advantage and ensure your business is prepared for these compliance changes that can have a significant impact on your success.
Understanding the specific IT services required by businesses in your industry, such as compliance and automation, should be a priority. Once identified, seek out an MSP capable of providing those services, and potentially more.
Provides Adaptable and Personalized IT Solutions
MSPs offer customized solutions and pricing options to meet your needs. Some MSPs charge a flat fee per device or user, while others have tiered or all-inclusive pricing. It is best to find an MSP that offers flexible plans and customized solutions for your company’s specific requirements, rather than one-size-fits-all.
First, identify the solutions your MSP provides. Then, assess which ones are most suitable for your specific requirements. For instance, you might require assistance with cybersecurity options for your hybrid workforce. Alternatively, you could be working towards CMMC compliance and need additional support tailored to your business dealings with the Do D. If an MSP cannot offer personalized solutions within your budget, it might be wise to explore other options.
Masters Your Requirements for Compliance
The top MSPs will have knowledge of the most up-to-date security, compliance, and regulatory requirements in your industry. They will provide services that meet these requirements so you can have peace of mind. When considering different MSP options, ask about each company’s experience working in your industry.
When selecting an MSP, it is important to confirm their knowledge of and adherence to the compliance and regulatory requirements specific to your industry. This may include HIPAA for healthcare, SOX for financial reporting, CMMC for manufactures with government contracts, and so on. Inquire about the steps they take to ensure not only compliance but also provide reassurance for your peace of mind.
Specializes in Innovations for Your Industry or Market
The value of certain services and innovations to your company may vary depending on your industry. A skilled and knowledgeable MSP will take the necessary time to understand your business and its requirements, enabling them to suggest suitable innovations for your market. It is generally recommended to avoid MSP’s that claim to offer “one-size-fits-all” solutions. Instead, find a provider who is open and willing for a detailed discussion before making any sales pitch.
Works Efficiently with Your Existing Team
At the end of the day, you may consider partnering with an MSP to alleviate your IT and similar responsibilities. Additionally, it is crucial to find an MSP that can effectively collaborate with your team and other vendors when necessary.
It is important to inquire about the collaboration between individual MSPs and existing teams and vendors to ensure optimal service delivery. It is important to include your expectations in your Service Level Agreement (SLA). If your team requires more frequent meetings or has time-sensitive deadlines, it is important to plan for collaboration, especially when working with a remote and distributed team, as part of your SLA.
Has a History of Being a Great Partner and Asset
When shopping for MSPs, it is advisable to consider those who have established partnerships and relationships with leading software and hardware vendors. One option to consider is selecting an MSP that has obtained a certification or authorization as a reseller for hardware and software. These MSPs typically have extensive industry experience and strong reputations within the field. These types of partnerships can also assist in managing your costs.
Your MSP should have the ability to oversee and handle your IT vendor relationships. They also should maintain a comprehensive record of your hardware, software, serial numbers, warranties, registrations, licenses, and configurations. This ensures that when you require assistance in these areas, you only need to contact one person to obtain all the necessary information from a centralized location.
Retains Talented IT Professionals With Extensive Technical Knowledge and Certifications
There can be variations in the quality and expertise of staff among different MSPs. It is recommended to work with an MSP that has a sufficient number of experienced and knowledgeable staff.
Inquire with your MSP about the certifications, experiences, and technical expertise of their technicians that may differentiate them from competitors. Additionally, it is recommended to inquire about the overall retention rate and the team’s years of service and experience in your specific industry when consulting with your MSP to ensure the most suitable match for your unique requirements.
Maintains Consistent and Open Communication
Choosing a service provider for your business requires good communication. This is particularly important when selecting an MSP. Since MSP services are usually handled remotely, it’s crucial to have easy and accessible communication with your provider. You should also inquire about the reporting system in place. This will help you measure the performance of the service and ensure that you are getting the promised return on Investment.
When selecting an MSP, ensure that there is a direct point of contact available for any inquiries or concerns regarding your service, through means such as telephone, email, or text.
Exhibits Strong Leadership Skills
The strength of an MSP is directly correlated to its leadership. The ideal MSP for your business should have a proven track record of strong leadership through past experience, current business operations, and engagement with the local community. Please inquire about leadership positions within the organization, the organization’s core values, and the management of individual team members. You could ask them to explain their escalation process if a team member is unable to resolve an issue or address a concern.
Has Records of Exceptional Client Experiences
A positive client experience is essential when working with any MSP. It is crucial for your business to prioritize this aspect and not compromise on it. Typically, MSPs are able to provide excellent experiences to clients by leveraging the most innovative technology, as well as strong leadership and communication skills to effectively serve their clients.
It is important to ensure that your MSP is held accountable for the SLA that was agreed upon at the start of the engagement.
To gain insights into the customer experience with a specific MSP, it is recommended to read online reviews and testimonials about their services. Additionally, reaching out to your network to gauge employee satisfaction can provide valuable third-party viewpoints to assess if the MSP aligns with your business needs.
Intech Hawaii’s Team Could Be the Right Fit for Your Business
There are numerous advantages to utilizing an MSP instead of other options or employing an in-house IT team. Let’s discuss if working with Intech Hawaii is the right MSP for your business. We are leaders in the industry and can help you manage and secure your network with our Managed IT, Cybersecurity and Compliance services.