Managed IT Service Providers (MSPs) are a viable solution for many businesses due to advancements in remote access software and technology. Many IT problems and issues can now be resolved remotely for a fraction of the price of in-person.
MSPs have a specialized team of IT personnel that offer an array of services to their customers. While this is often the biggest reason for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to hire an MSP, it’s not the only reason. It also means the company can focus on growing with the support of an IT provider that can grow with them. They can stay secure with better security options, receive the best IT expertise without paying out the significant salaries, have 24/7/365 access to top-notch services, and much more.
However, a typical question that SMBs have is, when is it time to move from operating IT services and support in-house, if at all, to fully managed IT solutions?
Let’s take a step back and look at the causes behind the growth in popularity of MSPs as an option for businesses.
Explosion of Technology
Emerging office technology is costly and is always changing, so managing and maintaining your office equipment and IT infrastructure can feel like a full-time job. MSPs can offer comprehensive IT services tailored to your specific needs. Whether it’s your email software, a new server, or setting up secure networks and multifunction copiers.
With managed IT services, you rarely need to buy the software and hardware and pay for the training of your staff to use it. It’s all covered in the cost of an MSP. As such, your company has access to technology that your competitors likely don’t even know about, giving you a definite market advantage.
Fully managed IT solutions providers keep up to date with the newest and emerging technologies. As such, they can advise which would be the best hardware or software choice for any new ventures you are considering. Being able to talk to an IT manager about your idea and discovering the options to move from concept to reality is what having a collaborative partnership means. You gain the in-depth knowledge of an industry expert while getting access to state-of-the-art technology and solutions that match your project, for a fraction of the cost.
Growing Business Demands on IT
As your company grows, so too will the needs of IT. More people mean more computers, more network accesses, more print solutions etc. Today’s working environment does not tolerate costly IT disruptions and demands that companies keep up with the latest technology. Software and hardware can sometimes seem to go obsolete overnight as the latest and greatest products hit the market. Any company managing IT operations in-house—unless they have deep pockets and top-shelf IT talent on board—will struggle to keep up with the growing demands. Reputed MSPs, on the other hand, have a range of IT professionals with different skills that can foresee threats and take preventive measures to avoid downtime. Plus they can deploy new solutions and technology into your business quickly.
Keeping sensitive customer and company data secure is also a massive concern for businesses as we look forward to 2020. Businesses of all sizes are vulnerable to breaches, and threats to company security change almost daily. As soon as one backdoor to your company’s network is closed, another one is forced open by cybercriminals. Keeping up with these threats is a full-time job in itself, and many SMBs simply do not have the expertise on staff to keep the company network secure.
Many managed IT solution providers offer advanced security solutions to safeguard your business from data breaches, hacking and cybersecurity threats. A CompTIA survey reported 38% of organizations citing enhanced security and compliance as one of the biggest reasons behind utilizing managed IT services. By hiring a company for IT service management, you can benefit from top-notch security technology for a fraction of what it would cost you to fund it entirely by yourself.
Can You Keep Up, Managing This All Internally?
In today’s highly competitive environment, meeting customer expectations is vital for every business. However, it’s not always possible when resources are scarce, as is the case in many SMBs. When day-to-day IT tasks are added to someone else’s plate, it can lead to broader business objectives not being achieved. A managed IT service provider can help your team free up time and resources. That way, you can focus on achieving strategic goals that add both value and profit to your bottom line. Reducing the workload of your in-house team will also help streamline your business and maximize efficiency.
When is the Best or Right Time to Hire a Managed IT Service Provider?
The IT responsibilities of a start-up usually fall on the owner/operator—much like everything else. As the business starts to grow, these responsibilities might be handed off to a member of staff. Likely one who is not entirely qualified to do the job. So when do you know it is time to hire a Managed Service Provider to take care of the office IT needs?
Here are some telltale signs that it might be time to take the leap and partner with an IT service management company:
1. Your company does not have a designated IT person
If your business cannot afford a full-time IT person, you might be relying on the most tech-savvy member of your staff a bit too much. It might be time to consider managed IT services if certain team members are spending a large portion of their day dealing with IT tasks they weren't initially hired for.
2. Your IT person is unable to carry the load
Even if you have a tech-savvy team member who seems to be managing the company’s IT requirements, there might come a time when the strain of effectively fulfilling two roles takes a toll and mistakes start happening more frequently. Botched software roll-outs, updates not taking place, security threats going unnoticed, even software licenses expiring. And if the company has plans to keep growing, the burden is only going to get steeper.
As a guide, if any team member is spending more than 10% of their time working on IT issues, it’s time to outsource. Your managed IT solutions provider can research, plan, and implement new technologies ensuring your business stays competitive.
3. You’ve lost track of what software and hardware you have within the business
As your business expands and grows, you’ll hire more people, buy more equipment, and subscribe to more software programs. Keeping track of which employee has which equipment and access to which software is vital. If you’re struggling to keep up with this information, it’s time to look for help. A Managed Service Provider will keep an inventory of all your tech equipment, access to software and company tools, helping to keep confidential internal data safe.
4. IT issues are always resolved in a reactive, rather than proactive manner
If IT problems are solved as they occur, but little planning goes into avoiding future issues, it’s time to hire an IT service provider. When you always outsource in an emergency, it’s an indication that you do not have the resources to plan for problems occurring proactively. Having a designated IT company from the start will cut back on technological emergencies. An IT service management company has the time and resources to anticipate hardware and software upgrades, as well as to protect a company from the latest security threats.
5. You have a limited budget to dedicate to IT
When your budget is limited, but the IT needs of your business keep growing, hiring an outside IT service provider is the perfect solution. Managed IT providers can reduce costs for small businesses, especially if you include the time that is taken away from other projects that impact the bottom line. If your top software engineer is working on rebooting a colleague's computer instead of working toward a project deadline, it’s wasting company money.
Even when there is a dedicated in-house IT technician, you need to add up salary, benefits, office space, equipment, training etc. The expense might not warrant someone full-time. Hiring a Managed IT solutions provider removes that expense, and can be utilized on an as-needed basis, rather than full-time.
6. You have no IT strategy and no disaster recovery plan
A Managed IT company will guide you through the process and help you with a strategy that makes sense for your growing business. This includes preventing and handling data and security breaches and implementing a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) plan. At innov8, our BDR strategy gives you peace of mind by ensuring there is a plan in place to retrieve your data should a disaster occur.
7. You are unsure if you comply with regulations
A growing company must ensure it complies with all the data storage and protection rules and regulations of the industry. If not, there could be severe consequences for non-compliance in the event of an audit. A Managed IT solutions provider will help keep you in compliance with government regulations as your business grows.
Many SMBs may be able to get by with their current IT operating situation. However, it’s important to know when the company is putting itself at risk and take a step towards a more structured and streamlined means of managing the IT services.
If you don’t have a designated IT person on staff, or your staff are struggling to handle the current workload, it’s time to outsource. The innov8 Digital Solutions team offers the most effective IT services possible. With both remote and on-site IT support, our IT experts will maintain and support your technical environment, including workstations, computers, and routers, as well as firewalls and everything in between. All of our Managed IT services plans include access to our help/service desk, remote support, antivirus protection, remote monitoring and management, quarterly IT reviews and much more. With innov8, your team will be running as efficiently as possible while minimizing lost productivity time.