In our digitally-driven world, virtually every business relies on technology in some shape or form. From e‑commerce businesses and event ticketing to large-scale service providers and locally owned wholesalers, most organizations need reliable access to software, hardware, and the internet in order to get the job done.
As customer demand and the need for dependable technology continues to grow, businesses need to keep up. In many cases, they may exceed their in-house capacity for IT. Rather than overwhelm their staff or hire more employees to take on these responsibilities, many business owners decide that making the switch to managed IT services makes the most sense.
In today’s post, we’ll define managed IT services and what’s involved, why you might want to outsource your IT, how to avoid some common issues with managed IT, and how to find an experienced company that offers the IT services that will fit your needs.
Defining Managed IT Services
First, let’s define managed IT services. Managed IT refers to the outsourcing of certain tech functions to a third-party provider. MSPs, or Managed Service Providers, provide IT support in a number of different ways. They may be charged with maintaining and managing equipment, internet and telephone networks, data center operations, break/fix issues, security patches or updates, and other issues that present themselves on a daily basis. Managed IT can be a good choice for companies with or without their own tech support team; outsourced services can either bridge a wide gap or supplement the support that’s already there.
Reasons to Outsource Your IT Services
There’s no doubt that your company needs tech support. But why is it better to outsource than to take care of those needs solely in-house? Although you might not love the idea of trusting another business with your IT needs, there are a number of compelling reasons to do so.
- Cost Savings: Although the global outsourcing market was worth $92.5 million in 2019, that doesn’t mean outsourcing has to be expensive. In fact, outsourcing your IT services can often be a great way to reduce costs. Maintaining IT equipment in-house can be a costly endeavor, as IT personnel are in very high demand. Rather than spend money on bolstering your in-house staff with qualified candidates from a dwindling talent pool, you can put your budget to much better use by outsourcing. And when you’re able to be proactive about your IT management, you won’t need to be as concerned about unexpected downtime or security issues. With the help of outsourced IT services, you can prevent these costs before they ever occur. In addition, your MSP can help you more accurately forecast IT expenditures to avoid any expensive surprises.
- Added Security: Businesses of all sizes face threats from cybercriminals who would love nothing more than to infiltrate their networks and gain access to their data. Without a dedicated IT team, these threats can be easy to miss. And if you fail to keep up with your system security updates or have poor IT support, your organization could be extremely vulnerable to data loss and even total shut-down. Many managed IT service providers will offer data backup and managed network security options to reduce your risk of a cyber attack or losses associated with one. What’s more, you’ll be able to ensure compliance with industry regulations with help from your MSP.
- Reduced Stress: Taking care of all your IT needs in-house can be draining. Because technology evolves at such a rapid rate, merely keeping up with equipment upgrades and software updates can be a lot to handle. And with your main focus on your daily operations, you’re likely to forget about your IT until there’s a big problem to solve. Rather than experience the major headaches associated with a lack of consistent IT support, you can benefit from daily monitoring and a proactive approach when you outsource. That way, you’ll have less on your own plate without jeopardizing your organization’s ability to deliver on the IT side of things.
Common Issues With Managed IT Services
Outsourcing your IT can address a number of important issues. But you must remember that not all MSPs are created equal. Some MSPs offer only basic services, while others may provide the advanced monitoring your company needs.
Moreover, not every managed service provider will offer the customization or customer service you’re looking for. Some may not offer that sense of personal connection that business owners want. But in other cases, that may actually serve the priorities of the organization in question.
There are also MSPs that don’t offer a high level of personalized services. It’s best to look for a managed IT service that offers the flexibility you need to ensure your concerns are taken care of — and that you aren’t paying for services that you don’t actually require. You should also make sure that your MSP offers detailed reporting for the sake of accountability. If you don’t know whether improvements are actually being made, you won’t know whether your concerns are being addressed. You may also want to look for an MSP that offers a true partnership; rather than provide these services with little communication, a great managed IT service provider will be invested in providing excellent customer service and helping your business succeed.
The good thing here is that you’ll have a number of choices at your disposal. That means you’ll have a greater chance of finding everything you need in an MSP. However, you’ll have to do your homework to ensure you pick the right source for managed IT before making a commitment.
Finding a Managed IT Service Houston Business Owners Trust
Now that you understand why your business might have a substantial incentive to outsource your IT services, it’s time to figure out which MSP is right for you. This will require a bit of research, but it’s well worth the effort.
First, you’ll want to figure out how much your business is currently spending on IT. This is actually more than just what you’re paying for either internal or external tech support; it also needs to factor in any lost productivity that results from downtime and other tech issues. Don’t discount how mere minutes of downtime or productivity loss can add up!
Once you know the cost of IT within your organization, you can start your search for a provider of managed IT services. Zero in on the companies that can offer the services you need, that have worked with others within your industry, and that have stellar reviews. These providers don’t necessarily need to be located within your immediate area; depending on your priorities, a nationwide provider may be in a better position to meet your expectations. After narrowing down the list, it’s often a good idea to ask for an IT audit. This process will involve having an IT specialist taking a comprehensive look at the software and infrastructure systems your business currently has in place. In some situations, this audit can even be done remotely.
After you’ve received the results of the IT audit and the MSP’s recommendations, you can determine the costs of outsourcing and learn how a given provider can improve your company’s efficiency and security. You’ll want to evaluate your final choice on a number of factors; although cost will understandably play a role, remember that you’re already going to save by outsourcing! Once you’ve made your selection, you can begin the process of making necessary upgrades, collecting documentation, and restricting access to your system in the interest of security.
Interested in learning more about our managed IT services? We’re here to help. Contact us today for additional information.