Maintaining an IT department has become a necessity for every business. To avoid costly downtime and to improve efficiency, many businesses prefer hiring a managed service provider (MSP) rather than maintaining an in-house IT department. But what exactly are the roles of an MSP as they relate to a modern business? Here, we’ll explore the roles and purposes of a managed service provider and the benefits they bring to a company.
The Roles of a Managed Service Provider in a Business
Simply put, a managed service provider is a third party that maintains several necessary functions in a business. They’re generally experts in their area of specialization and handle management activities on a daily basis. However, a managed service provider doesn’t operate onsite. They manage the business processes remotely.
Traditionally, MSPs’ primary functions relate to IT, where they handle everything from managing the IT infrastructure and software to offering technical support to staff to maintaining cybersecurity solutions. Today, their work scope has increased, and they can offer additional services like:
- Payroll management
- Contract management
- Compliance and risk management
- Vendor management
Other specific roles of a managed service provider include:
- IT consultation: Before taking over your business’ IT system, an MSP gains an understanding of your business needs and the challenges you’re currently facing. Also, they’ll seek to understand how your current IT needs match your short-term and long-term goals.
- IT planning and implementation: After understanding the business needs, a managed service provider develops a plan for your business IT infrastructure and initiates the steps toward implementing it, including gathering all the necessary items and installing the IT infrastructure.
- Managing and maintaining IT infrastructure: Once the IT infrastructure is up and running, an MSP takes over management and maintenance work to keep the system working optimally and to prevent downtime. Also, they can monitor the system remotely to always safeguard it against cyber threats.
- Help desk and technical support: Because end users of the IT infrastructure might not be tech-savvy, it’s the work of a managed service provider to offer support, answer queries, and ensure that employees have the necessary tools and resources to perform their tasks efficiently.
- IT reporting and analysis: From time to time, an MSP will provide you with a report of the IT system’s performance. This is crucial as it helps you identify areas that have been improved and areas that may need upgrading.
How a Managed Service Provider Benefits Your Business
A managed service provider is always proactive, which means that they don’t wait for problems to arise in the IT system. Instead, they continually monitor the system to identify potential problems before they escalate, even after business hours. The way they operate benefits a business in several ways, as explained below.
They Reduce Operational Downtime
Nowadays, most business processes rely on technology. If a technical glitch affects a business, it means some activities will have to pause until the issue is resolved. The loss of productive time in such situations can lead to customer dissatisfaction and cause financial loss.
When working with a managed service provider, you significantly reduce downtime due to technological glitches. As mentioned, these experts are always monitoring the IT system, so they’re able to fix issues immediately before they can disrupt normal business activities.
Not only that, but also they employ robust security measures to prevent cyber threats that can cause downtime. Finally, they offer data backup solutions and disaster recovery plans. In the event of a breach or system failure, you can quickly recover your data and resume operations without wasting much time.
They Cut Down on Expenses
Cutting operating costs and improving efficiency is always the goal of most businesses. When working with a managed service provider, achieving this goal is possible.
First, for all the services that an MSP offers after installation, including monitoring and maintenance, you pay a subscription fee. But after paying your monthly or annual subscription fee, you shouldn’t have to pay for any other unforeseeable expenses.
Plus, during routine maintenance, an MSP will repair all issues. This means your subscription cost covers even repairs.
If you were to build an in-house IT team from scratch, the cost of buying the hardware, training the team, paying salaries, and maintaining the system would be significantly higher, demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of a managed service.
It Is Possible to Scale the IT System as the Business Grows
As a business grows, its needs also change. To be able to meet these needs, its systems, including IT, also must scale without straining the business processes.
When working with a managed service provider, scaling is always straightforward for several reasons. First, professionals design the IT system with your business goals in mind. As such, the system remains flexible enough to accommodate any changes that might come.
Secondly, an MSP will carry out the scaling work, relieving you of the burden of onboarding new staff or buying new equipment.
What to Look For in a Managed Service Provider
Although MSPs offer a host of benefits to a business, they have different levels of skills and expertise. So, when choosing one, it’s crucial to make a few considerations to avoid introducing problems to your business. Here are a few considerations to make:
- Their reputation: Before hiring a managed service provider, ensure they have a track record of quality services. Go to their website, read the customer feedback, and check the rating. If you can’t find such details, an MSP might be unreliable to work with.
- Specialization in Managed Security Services (MSS): Cybersecurity should be a top priority for every business maintaining an IT department. However, not all MSPs specialize in MSS, and this can put business data at risk of being breached by cybercriminals.
- Scope of their services: As mentioned, an MSP offers a wide range of services. It’s always important to check if their services align with your business needs. Since you might not need all of their services, ensure they can modify their offerings to meet your subscription needs and budget.
Choose a Reliable Managed Service Provider
Choosing to work with a reliable managed service provider is an investment that pays off for your business handsomely. You’ll access the support you need and keep your IT system working optimally throughout.
Da-Com is one of the best MSPs to go to if you’re in St. Louis, Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, and Western Illinois areas. Don’t hesitate to call us today to learn the managed services suitable for your business.