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Dysfunctional IT infrastructure and obsolete technology create shaky foundations that lower employee productivity and affect business expansion and profitability. Your in-house IT module could be incapable of undertaking a major IT overhaul when you attempt to upscale business and expand to new territories. 

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) come up with multiple options for tech upkeep, bringing a centralized IT service to the doorstep of small companies in a cost-effective manner. 

Clearing myths about MSPs

At the outset, you needn’t fear that you’re losing administrative control. You retain creative and administrative responsibility for all the operations that you outsource. The choice of services that you manage externally fall entirely within your jurisdiction. The work that you perform in-house continues undisturbed. The MSP is accountable for the services outsourced by you.

What MSPs do for you

The MSP strengthens IT resources and brings a pool of expertise and technological skill sets that optimize your entrepreneurial talents and operational efficiency. 

Consider some of the vital services that MSPs deliver: 

  • Increasing the efficiency of your computer network, making it more responsive to a competitive environment.
  • Ensuring server upkeep and minimizing downtime, and if necessary, providing you additional server capacity for data management.  
  • Project management assistance from the conceptualization of new applications to their processing, development, and execution. 
  • Workforce deployment and payroll assistance, including contingent workforce management, and human resources development.   
  • Contract compliance monitoring and relationship building with significant suppliers and resource providers. 

Before you decide to outsource work to MSPs, review the pros and cons of acquiring a partner in IT administration. Experts at Toronto Managed IT support company, Precise IT, explain the advantages and drawbacks of hiring MSPs to maintain IT infrastructure and adopt new technologies. 

The chief advantages of hiring MSPs

You fix issues before they appear on the horizon

The MSP identifies and fixes technical problems well before matters balloon into insurmountable obstacles. An MSP is continually monitoring and maintaining hardware compatibility to prevent systems conflicts from lowering operational efficiency. Your security protocols need tightening, and regulatory compliances need streamlining to enable the business to function without downtime. 

Rejecting headache-prone, reactive, issue-based troubleshooting, you shift to the time-saving, cost-reducing, proactive approach of avoiding issues altogether.  

You receive a much-needed technological boost at a lower cost

For small businesses, the cost of setting up workstations, building and enhancing server capacity, and operating licensed software can be prohibitive. MSPs bring you the requisite IT infrastructure and provide handling expertise at a fraction of the cost that you’d have otherwise invested. Scarce capital resources should flow to other areas equally vital to business success.

The MSP becomes your technology partner standing firmly by your side, placing at your disposal a dedicated team for guiding you through the thick and thin of a highly competitive ecosystem.  

You gain skill sets and expertise that are available 24/7 

The computer guy in the backroom may be a specialist in his area of expertise, but the cost of upgrading his skill sets and knowledge can be high. Experienced IT staff may command higher salaries, compensation, and perks, and still fall short of expectations when a problem escalates above their capabilities. 

MSPs rotate a panel of skilled personnel and are quicker off the block in assigning the best specialist who happens to be the right fit for each IT function. Besides the onsite MSP specialists that work shoulder to shoulder with in-house teams, the business has the freedom to contact offsite MSP specialists who can be counted on to handle emergencies. 

You stay in control, functioning smoothly even in worst-case scenarios

You’re probably unaware of a dismal statistic – up to 60 percent of small businesses never recover from physical devastation, natural disasters, and cyber attacks. The problem stares you in the face. The majority of companies do not have a viable plan to get the business up and running smoothly post-disaster. 

The MSP safely, securely, and reliably backs up your data on an ongoing basis using advanced cloud computing software. Moreover, the MSP has a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that ensures business continuity, and high data availability if a disaster compromises your terrestrial infrastructure.

MSPs provide post-disaster technical backup and implement cyber-security threat mitigation measures. MSPs have the resources to deploy various troubleshooting tools and handle change management processing alongside continuous monitoring and reporting services. The business gets the breathing space to livestream technology-centric operations while focusing on recovering from physical damage.  

The drawbacks of hiring MSPs and what can be done to overcome them

In an era of cyber threats, bridging the trust deficit with MSPs could pose a challenge

You are handing over the keys to the kingdom and, more important, allowing access to vital infrastructure to a third party who is not entirely familiar to you. You’ll be depending on the MSP to be compliant with regulatory measures and cybersecurity protocols. The doubt may cross your mind how reliable and enduring outsourced services are.

Tip: Do a thorough background screening of MSPs to shortlist only firms that have a good history and reputation, and whose longevity is unquestionable. The Service Level Agreement (SLA) should outline the roles and responsibilities clearly. Ensure that the MSP is compliant with established IT governance protocols under ITIL, GDPR, HIPAA privacy rules, and the HITECH act.  

Without a good pricing strategy, MSPs could be costly in the long-term

Even though it would appear that the business is saving substantially on IT infrastructure and technology, MSP services become expensive in the long-term as the size and complexity of the business increase. 

If profitability is the core goal of every business, the same applies to the MSP that you contract. Cost optimization should be a workable proposition for the company as well as the MSP. The SLA should clearly outline the services that are covered. The costs involved should be crystal clear, including the pricing strategy you agree to implement as the business grows.

Tip: Instead of a package deal offering different services, including some you won’t use, select services you genuinely need and use extensively. Though slightly on the higher side cost-wise, such a deal offers greater flexibility to businesses. It turns out to be more cost-effective compared to per-device pricing and per-user pricing that cost you more as the company upscales. 

Without transparency, you can’t judge how you’re benefiting from MSP services 

Lack of openness plagues many business-MSP partnerships, and this blows into more significant issues creating dissatisfaction and generating distrust. Without access to the MSPs IT management system, which remotely operates your business, there’s no clarity on how you monitor day to day processes. IT administration could be proceeding without the slightest hitch, but you won’t know how you’re benefiting. 

Tip: Insist on an IT Management System that your guys have access to, and where you’re free to analyze real-time data tracking and services related information. Authorized officials/experts on both sides should be able to engage at multiple levels to exchange feedback and interpret policy decisions on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. 

Ideally, the MSP designates a service delivery officer who can become the pointsman for businesses to communicate and alleviate distress signals as and when the need arises. 

Conclusion

Growing businesses are increasingly relying on IT expertise to manage their computer networks. The in-house IT personnel are usually too busy handling technical issues, and may not have the skill sets and knowledge required to upscale the business drawing on the latest advances in technology. 

In such scenarios, a cost-effective and outsourced managed service provider presents a practical alternative. It’s for small businesses to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before they resort to outsourcing to open gateways to a booming business.   

It’s as clear as daylight that many of the pros and cons of hiring managed IT service providers ultimately depend on the reputation, skills, and expertise of the MSP you choose.