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Understanding Managed Service Providers and What They Can Do for Your Business

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Businesses today, big and small, rely on streamlined processes and hierarchies to ensure only what is needed is included in their manufacturing or service provision structure. In other words, to cut down on unnecessary costs and shorten processing times, businesses make sure they only deal with what they absolutely have to. And, typically, they don’t have anything to do with information technology, except for it being an enabler of their main processes. Their software, laptops, computers, servers and network infrastructure are there to support their main services and are not a direct part of the process itself.

The IT department, if a business even has one, would be an auxiliary one, while the staff under it could be considered support staff and not an integral part of their business processes. This usually means they play a secondary role to all the other departments. They are usually underfunded, overworked and truly unappreciated – until something goes haywire in the system. Then they are gods, expected to perform digital miracles and who must crawl back into their recesses once the emergency is over.

Does this describe your business and its IT department? Are you a business that has an IT department, but that provides services and products that have nothing to do with information technology? Or, are you still trying to figure out if you even need an IT department for your ever-growing staff and their gadgets?

If you aren’t sure, one solution that could save you time and effort across the board is a managed service provider.

What are Managed Service Providers?

Managed service providers, or MSPs, are IT companies that take over the day-to-day technological tasks of small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) so that they (the SMBs) can focus on their main processes. Tasks the MSPs take over include the management, monitoring and maintenance of hardware and software implemented within a businesses. They ensure the optimal performance of their clients’ IT structure via disaster prevention, troubleshooting and, in worst-case scenarios, data and hardware recovery.
Reliable MSPs are often categorized, maximizing their effectiveness in implementing an overall defense strategy around their clients’ network. In cases where the business is still building their infrastructure, they get involved in implementing the network infrastructure and then configuring the security that goes with it: software like firewalls and anti-virus, as well as the hardware that includes gadgets like switches, hubs and routers.

Why Should Businesses Hire Managed Service Providers?

We know the main reason you may want to use an MSP: to focus on your business and leave all the nitty-gritty tech details to the people who know how to handle them. But, that’s not all.

An important fact about outsourcing IT jobs is that, in the long run, the costs are worth it. While hiring the services of an MSP could seem like a costly affair at first, you should always remember that having your own IT department would be much more expensive. The overhead of housing the whole team alone would burn a hole in your pocket. But then there are salaries, costs of training and headhunting for new staff, the loss of staff who leave with experience and qualifications you paid for, etc. can all quickly add up.
With the use of MSPs, you also get future-proof services that use the best and latest technology. They want to remain competitive in their field of service; they, therefore, have to keep their services updated or they will quickly find themselves outdated and irrelevant to future clients.

A good MSP will also be able to offer your business a flexible service that allows for expansion and growth and cover you when you need to implement new technology. You can appreciate the fact that when you decide to expand your business or its main processes, you won’t have to worry about the technology needed to handle it – that’s the job of your MSP.

The MSPs will also offer you expert  service and advice – the acquiring of which is a big headache to most HR departments. Even if you happen to find IT experts, you will quickly realize you still have to keep them current and up to date by offering them training and certifications and sending them to conventions so they can learn the latest trends in the industry. With an MSP, all you have to worry about is the delivery of expert solutions they provide.

Finally, you should remember that when you sign up with an MSP you sign a service level agreement (SLA) that guarantees you get solutions to your problems, 100 percent of the time. It is of no concern to you how they do it, what you want is the end result – the solution.

Therefore, if you haven’t considered MSPs to help take care of your IT needs, perhaps now is the time to do so. It’s a win-win solution that could save you big bucks.

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