What is an MSP and Why Do I Need One

What is an MSP and do I need one?

A Managed Service Provider is the partner you need for all your IT system needs

When your business starts to grow, so does your information technology (IT) usage. Databases, documents, customer accounts, websites, the list is extensive and as a business owner myself, I know the feeling of not needing the added stress of figuring out what’s gone wrong with the company’s IT system when there are a multitude of other issues and jobs to work on.

To help with these issues, an IT infrastructure upgrade is worth looking into and what’s more, it might be due time to outsource the infrastructure altogether to a third-party company.

One of the ways to do this is through a Managed Service Provider, or an MSP. An MSP is a third-party company that provides IT services and support to businesses on a proactive basis, typically through a subscription-based model. MSPs offer a wide range of services, including network management, data backup and recovery, cybersecurity, cloud computing and help desk support. This means that you and your employees can continue about your day-to-day business requirements without needing to worry if something has gone wrong or, if it has, you can be rest assured that the issues will be resolved without damaging your business.

How do they work?

An MSP should work with your business to meet your IT needs. While it may seem like a risk that they have access to your system and data, it’s what they need to be able to ensure your systems run smoothly and stays secure so you can focus on the your actual role, managing your business. They can help oversee services like email, cybersecurity, your networks, data storage and cloud integration, software updates and updating old technology as well as giving you a virtual Chief Information Officer (CIO) to help steer your IT in the right direction and, ultimately, giving you the confidence you really need out of your technology.

Each MSP has different services and works with different size clients, so it’s good to do your research before signing a contract with one but, other than the reduced stress and worries about your IT operation, there are many other features and benefits of getting a professional and knowledgeable team to handle all your systems for you.

Features

There are many features that all MSPs will, or should, have that you will see when you’re researching. Here’s a few to get you started for your research:

UNLIMITED IT SUPPORT

Do you hate calling your IT help desk? Oftentimes, in retail stores, their help desk support is based overseas where the line might be crackling and you can barely hear and understand them, where they don’t understand what you mean as you’re not very technically inclined, you’re on hold for what feels like hours while there’s back and forth trying to explain what the situation is and on top of that, they can’t come out and fix your issue immediately as they’re the middle man and have to issue a ticket for someone to come out, whenever that may be.

A local MSP, on the other hand, allows you to receive immediate and responsive assistance when dealing with day-to-day technical issues and when an unforeseen event or cyberattack hits your business, you’re secure in the knowledge that your MSP have it under control with minimal drop in employee or company productivity, one of the major concerns in running a business.

Pronet Technology, for example, has an emergency 30-minute guaranteed response time, meaning you can get in-touch with experts within minutes of your issue occurring, while its Managed IT Services are designed to detect and solve most IT issues before they become a problem, meaning you will hardly ever require emergency assistance. Click here to see Pronet’s average response times for the last 30 days.

DATA BACKUP

I can safely say that most of us know how distressing it is to know you’ve lost a file that you’ve been working on for hours or even days. It’s incredibly frustrating clicking back into it and realising you either didn’t save it properly, it became corrupted or it’s somehow been deleted. For that reason, many of us now constantly back up our documents and data, but what about on a larger scale for your business?

Working with an MSP ensures your business is protected during a disaster, whether it be a data breach, a server crash, a fire or even someone internally jeopardising, accidently or purposefully, your business. They will regularly create quality-assured data backups, meaning you have recovery solutions for your data during disaster so that your client records, marketing resources, photos, accounting records, intellectual property and communication correspondences are all safe and your business can continue running smoothly.

CLOUD SERVICES

Cloud services allow your business to stop running your IT in-house, improves reliability and simplifies your IT, allows you to take control of your IT costs, allows you to work from any device, at home, in the office or overseas, allows for file sharing and, among other things, allows you to better control what users and employees can see and do.

CYBER SECURITY

Not many MSPs include fully integrated cyber security practice in their plans, with you often having to work with a separate company. Some companies, like Pronet Technology, however, do and will closely monitor your network and systems to ensure everything is running smoothly and if they do pick up something, they will be proactive in fixing the issue so that there is no delay and interruptions in the day-to-day, or long-term function, of your business. Cyber security enhancement is much more than virus protection and firewall configuration and management, so if you’re working with an MSP already, double check whether this is included.

Benefits

What we’ve just discussed are features, but what are the benefits to your small or medium-sized business in working with an MSP?

COST SAVING

MSPs can provide IT services at a lower cost than hiring and training in-house IT staff. MSPs also offer predictable, subscription-based pricing, whether that be monthly or yearly, or fixed or flexible plans, that can help businesses manage their IT costs more effectively. As a small or medium-sized enterprise owner or manager and reducing costs are a major role of your position, this is where an MSP can be incredibly valuable.

EXPERTISE AND RESOURCES

Rather than having one or multiple in-house IT managers, this full-time team is within the MSP who are IT professionals with specialized skills and experience that can provide a range of IT services and support. When needed, they can provide information to you and explain new technology and concepts so you’re onboard everything that is happening in your business. If you already have an MSP, ensure you’re contacting them when needed to ask any questions that might be bothering you. MSPs also have access to advanced tools and technologies that may be too expensive for SMEs to acquire on their own. You can even loan equipment from MSPs if you need.

PROACTIVE MONITORING AND MAINTENANCE

This feature is also a benefit as MSPs can monitor and maintain IT systems on a proactive basis, identifying and addressing potential issues before they become major problems. This can help prevent downtime, improve system performance, and reduce the risk of security breaches. For business executives in risk-reduction management, this is where your investments pay off. Once again, if you are already working with an MSP, ensure they are keeping up-to-date with new technology and software as cyber attacks evolve.

SCALABILITY

MSPs can provide IT services that scale up or down based on a business’s changing needs. This can help businesses manage their IT resources more effectively and respond quickly to changing market conditions. As your business grows, so does your IT, so your MSP will create a plan with you so you’re both in understanding and agreement about the changes coming in the future.

Should small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) partner with an MSP?

As shown, MSPs can benefit businesses of all sizes, especially SMEs that may not have the resources or expertise to manage their IT infrastructure in-house. It is due to this that MSPs can provide immense value to businesses in all sectors and is something executives should be looking at investing in, especially since risk management is a major aspect of their positions.

If your business is already working with an MSP, take some time to re-evaluate whether you are receiving the service your business requires and, if not, it might be time to switch providers.

Overall, working with an MSP can help businesses improve their IT infrastructure and operations while reducing costs and improving efficiency.

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