Managed IT services got off to a somewhat rocky start. Back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, a technician had to be on-premises to do just about anything. Obviously, having an in-house team could be a great advantage as opposed to working with a third-party provider.
But now, most fixes can be done remotely, which allows most Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to be more responsive than many in-house teams. And let’s be honest, looking back, the era of big hair and puffy shirts was a more innocent time — before cybercriminals became such a significant threat.
But before we walk too far down memory lane, let’s take care of a few basics.
WHAT ARE MANAGED IT SERVICES?
Managed IT services can include maintaining and supporting all technology used by an organization. Depending on your service agreement, an MSP might provide you with the following:
- Physical security
- End-user and device support
- Network monitoring and management
- Desktop management
- Server maintenance
- Management and support of tools, including video conferencing
- Cloud-based data storage and backup management
- Disaster recovery assistance
- Software licensing
- Cloud migrations
WHAT ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD CONSIDER MANAGED IT SERVICES?
Originally, managed IT was an alternative to having an in-house team. Nowadays, organizations can have their cake and eat it too. In addition to fully managed IT, where a third-party provider takes on all of an organization’s IT needs, many MSPs also offer co-managed IT, where a vendor supplements an existing team’s capabilities. Even enterprise-scale organizations have been working with an MSP to offer help desk support, additional cybersecurity assistance, and the like.
More recently, many MSPs have also begun offering project-based IT, which is perfect for helping an in-house team with a project that’s either too complex or too time-consuming for their current staff, like a cloud migration or software licensing. As cloud-based solutions have been especially helpful for managing hybrid and remote work, project-based IT has grown in popularity.
However, aside from the obvious benefit of getting additional help when needed, managed IT services can provide some surprising advantages to organizations of all sizes.
BENEFITS OF MANAGED IT SERVICES
While it seems counterintuitive that using a third party might be more cost-effective than handling something in-house, in the case of managed IT, it’s typically the other way around.
1. SAVE MONEY
According to recent data, 50% of companies who engaged an MSP saved 1-24% in annual IT costs, 33% saved 25-49%, while 13% reported savings of more than 50%. If you do a bit of math, that means 96% of companies who used an MSP actually saved money.
2. CLARIFY ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
You know that old saying, if everyone’s responsible, no one is? That tends to be much less of an issue with managed IT. If you opt for fully managed IT, it doesn’t matter if you’re facing a network issue or a server issue. The same team is responsible for fixing it. However, even with co-managed IT, your Service Level Agreement (SLA) will spell out exactly what your provider is responsible for.
3. GET HELP ON DEMAND
Even if you are fortunate enough to have a fully staffed in-house team, what happens when someone goes on vacation, or you have an after-hours emergency? An MSP has the bandwidth to provide support 24/7. You typically won’t need it, but when you do, they’ll be there for you. Not only that, with 24/7 monitoring, your provider will know if there’s, say, a network disruption before you do and can be working to have it fixed before your staff shows up the next day.
4. PREDICTABLE BUDGETING
Not only can an MSP prevent many disruptions from happening, but in shifting responsibilities, you can also transform what could be a significant liability into a predictable expense. Servers fail, networks go down, and the threat of cybercrime is very real. Emergency IT services can be expensive[a], and disruptions can be catastrophic. According to Gartner, IT downtime costs, on average, $5,600 per minute.
6. FEWER RECRUITING PROBLEMS
If you’ve been having trouble recruiting and retaining top IT talent, you’re definitely not alone. As the industry has been growing quickly, there’s a shortage of highly-skilled IT professionals, and it’s likely to persist for quite some time. If you’re chronically understaffed, it opens you up to a whole host of other problems, including increased vulnerability to hackers.
7. AVOID CYBERSECURITY NIGHTMARES
Cybersecurity is a specialized skill, and if your team is short-staffed, chances are good that they’re not able to keep software patched and updated, let alone make sure your organization is protected from cyberattacks. MSPs have the skills and the resources to make sure your business is protected from evolving threats.
8. OUTSOURCE COMPLIANCE
If your industry is highly regulated, making sure you’re in compliance with evolving legislation can be a heavy burden. Once again, MSPs typically have the time and resources to track state and national laws and understand exactly how to translate them into real-world applications.
9. OPTIMIZE YOUR TEAM
Even if you’d like to maintain an in-house team, chances are, they’d be in a much better position to help you strategize for future growth if offering help desk services or monitoring cybersecurity threats were taken off their plate. To get more insight into exactly where your IT department’s time is currently being spent, our experts have created this free tool.
10. GAIN FLEXIBILITY
With outsourcing also comes flexibility and scalability. If your business needs to grow or cut back, an MSP can scale their services right along with you, so you’re always paying for what you need, and nothing more. Especially in times of economic uncertainty, being able to gain capabilities without adding full-time staff can be a significant competitive advantage.
FINDING THE RIGHT MANAGED SERVICES PROVIDER
The right MSP for your business should be able to provide a high level of expertise, round-the-clock support, responsiveness, and clear pricing. Furthermore, it’s helpful if they have some insight into your industry, so they understand exactly what works well for organizations like yours.
Marco’s US-based staff of over 650 certified systems engineers and technical representatives are well-positioned to monitor ever-evolving cybersecurity threats and have experience across multiple industries where compliance is a significant concern. To see if Managed IT might be the best choice for your organization, this checklist can provide additional insight. Our expert IT pros are also happy to answer any questions you might have about the services we offer.