Businesses today are focusing on rapid growth through digital transformation. To keep up with the dynamic market forces and changes in the digital world, they need to keep integrating new devices, programs, systems, and applications, the upkeep of which requires continuous monitoring and maintenance. It is at this point where CIOs and CTOs of both startups and small and medium businesses (SMBs) are reaching out to Managed IT Service Providers (MSPs) to keep the IT wheels of their business running.
Managed IT Service Providers are companies that address issues of the client company’s IT function. They are in charge of ensuring both proactive diligence and disaster management, in case things do go wrong. Over the years, the role of MSPs has evolved as they have tried to keep pace with the rapidly evolving world of IT by adding more skills and services to their portfolio.
While outsourcing to MSPs is a common occurrence for larger businesses, SMBs are catching on to the trend that can help them focus on their core competencies and keep their resources engaged in a more strategic and value-adding task, instead of repetitive tasks that can otherwise be outsourced to MSPs. This also benefits the finance and HR verticals of the client company, as they will not have to spend on hiring and recruitment of resources whose tasks can be otherwise outsourced.
MSPs can, on the other hand, focus on their particular skill sets, handle tickets and daily operational issues efficiently by hiring the right resources and developing tools and automating solutions, which are basically their forte. In short, the MSP-SMB partnership is a win-win.
MSPs, in order to keep up with the demand in the market, are now providing cloud services, infrastructure security, business continuity, remote and local access, and most importantly 24/7 remote monitoring which is a must in today’s global business environment, where the typical 9 to 5 model doesn’t stick anymore. So, let’s have a look at some of the features.
Why Managed IT Service Providers are required?
This increase in demand can be largely attributed to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), who require access to the latest technology to maintain a competitive edge in their respective markets and to sustain their continued growth but lack the IT budget to meet those goals.
The good news is that Managed IT service providers enable SMBs to play at the same level as middle-market and enterprise-level organizations, without overextending themselves — and that’s only one of the benefits of the managed IT services model.
What services are provided by Managed IT Services Providers?
IT is playing a larger and larger role in the running of businesses of every size. And more and more of those businesses are turning to companies that can offer managed IT solutions.
But what do you actually get for your money? What can you expect from your IT managed services provider?
Let’s have a look at what all services are provided by the managed IT services provider:
- Cybersecurity: With ever more digital data, the need for data security has grown enormously. All good IT management services should help keep your data secure and reduce the risk of hacking, ransomware, and data theft. Intrusion prevention and detection are also key. In addition, managed IT services should take charge of ensuring your company is complying with regulations. This will take another big worry out of your hands and leave you to focus on the job at hand.
- IT Management as a Service(ITMaaS): With businesses increasingly reliant on data, it’s crucial that your network is robust enough for the task. Managed services can help take care of your network to ensure that your uptime is maximized. They should also ensure that you have the infrastructure in place to be able to run your business efficiently.
- Cloud Computing Services: Cloud services are an obvious way to reduce hardware costs and keep your data safer from loss. But good IT managed services should also be offering Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions. These allow you to access software and infrastructure through the cloud and reduce upfront costs as well as storage costs and energy consumption.
- Remote Support: When things go wrong, you want to be sure that you can contact your managed IT services provider at a moment’s notice. Remote support is vital, allowing users to contact their remote managed services provider as soon as a problem occurs. This allows them to get straight on the case. At a minimum, they should be available during your business’s operating hours.
How to choose a Managed IT service provider for your business/startup?
Businesses and startups tend to suffer from the “How do you know what you don’t know?” syndrome when it comes to figuring out what exactly they need from managed service providers (MSPs). But as tempting as it would be to simply throw a vague RFP out to the winds and hope for the best vendor, that type of approach opens up the business to a world of hurt.
SMBs/startups — not providers — are ultimately responsible for the security and integrity of their own data, even when it is held by a service provider,” warns Dwayne Me, CTO of Tripwire.
That is why it is so important for an SMB to really understand what it needs an MSP for, to thoroughly investigate and evaluate potential service providers, and to set up rules of engagement that will give the organization the best risk mitigation for its MSP spend.
- Industry Experience: Each business has its own trends, technology, legal requirements, and customer base to consider. It’s not just about technology. Your IT workers need to understand the details and requirements of your industry as well as your values and vision for the future. If you want, you can ask for employee resumes and references from satisfied customers within your line of work.
- Evaluating Services: Find out about their repair services and timeframes, response time, and availability. They should offer monthly or quarterly check-ins, so find out what information you can expect during those meetings. They should also provide preventative services like data backup and threat monitoring. The most expensive services don’t always mean the best — they should show understanding that the amount of protection you need depends on the type of business you run.
- Setting Rules Of Engagement: Once an organization finds the right service provider, it is crucial to set the right rules of engagement — and get those rules in writing. In addition to having solid SLA terms, contract language that allows for an easy exit will ensure you’re not on the hook if things go south — and it offers a bit more negotiation leverage if the provider knows it doesn’t have you on the hook. One of those deliverables should be regular, detailed reporting, Grant says, a requirement that grows in importance if the SMB is under any kind of compliance scrutiny by regulators or customers that have to answer to regulators.
- Availability: You’ll want a company that can offer 24/7/365 support to help you in emergencies no matter when they occur. Ask about their response time and remote monitoring and make sure they have enough employees that your needs can be met in a timely manner anytime they arise. Find a company with remote capabilities as well as onsite support for equipment maintenance. Find out how you can get updates and who you can talk to for any questions or information requests.
- Compliance Standards: IT is a domain that is largely regulated and yet comes under attacks and issues of non-compliance, every now and then. Look for certifications in the right hardware and software depending on the products most used by your business. You’ll save money if they know how to do the job right because your company will have less downtime and you’ll pay for fewer billable hours. The Managed Service Provider (MSP) should keep up-to-date on their industry and offer you a variety of brand options — be wary of companies who push a certain brand without explanation.
- Positive attitude: You don’t necessarily need to write a company off if they haven’t had a lot of experience in your industry. If they seem willing to learn, they could still be the right fit for the position. They should ask questions about your specific software, devices, operating systems, antivirus tools, and email hosts. Make sure they understandably explain everything instead of talking in buzzwords. Customer service is as important as a good resume.
Why Manage your IT services with Exxceliq
- Free consultation to help you get started in making Staff Augmentation Strategy according to your business plan.
- Get the quality work delivered to you by professionals who have worked for IT giants like Dell, Siemens, reliance, etc.
- Subscribe to Staff Augmentation services according to your business needs just like your streaming services Eg: Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc instead of a one time contract.
- Cancel the subscription if you are not happy with the service.
Managed IT services make sense for small business owners on a number of fronts. You can improve your bottom line by utilizing affordable, reliable outsourced IT help.
And really, that’s what it’s all about—equipping you to run your business as effectively as possible and in your budget. If managed IT