At the end of 2021, the Wall Street Journal wrote a controversial opinion piece where the author argued that the IT department is dead. In the article, the author says that a digital-first world no longer needs a centralized IT team.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, one thing is certain: technology has become central to business. It’s a cost you just can’t cut entirely. But the good news is that managed services providers (MSPs) can help you scale back on IT costs.
MSPs have the expertise to help you with infrastructure support, security, and even data services. And they provide their services at a fraction of the cost it takes to hire and train your own IT specialists.
If you are searching for more information about managed services and the companies that provide them, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading this in-depth guide for all your managed services questions answered.
Managed Services: Explained
The term “managed services” refers to services offered by a managed service provider. MSPs are third-party individuals or companies offering IT services to businesses and IT departments. We’ll talk more about the types of services MSPs offer below.
Once hired, an MSP can remotely monitor and manage your business applications. You can contract an MSP to supplement your current IT department. Or you can contract an MSP in place of an IT department.
For instance, Truit is an MSP. We offer managed services in security, storage, workstation, and infrastructure. We work with large enterprises to support current IT employees as well as small businesses that do not have the capital to support an entire IT department.
Why Businesses Use MSPs
The two main reasons companies and small businesses use MSPs are to cut costs and become more agile.
Business is all about that bottom line. Every financial expert knows that the simplest way to increase profits is to cut costs.
And cost-cutting measures put pressure on employees to operate more efficiently.
Yet, IT departments have a lot on their plate. From keeping systems secure to deploying new applications, IT managers can find it difficult to operate on a predictable cost model. That is where managed service providers can come in.
With a managed service provider, you know the upfront cost for their services. Managers can then design the remaining IT budget around this, allowing for more flexibility to focus on the things the business really needs.
According to Gartner’s 2022 CIO Agenda, the top priority for technology and information business leaders this year is to become more composable. Composability refers to the desire and ability to accelerate digital business.
Two of the biggest factors in becoming more composable are scaling and changing. The more agile a company, the better it can do both of these things. And deploying an MSP is one way to up business agility.
Types of Managed IT Services
All MSPs have one thing in common: they manage IT services. But that’s about where MSP companies’ similarities end. Different MSPs tend to offer different IT services, which typically depend on the company’s expertise.
The services an MSP offers also depend on its size. Some MSPs are sole proprietors, meaning they are run and owned by a single person. Other MSPs employ a handful of specialists, while others still have tens or even hundreds of employees.
Always ask what types of services an MSP provides before signing the contract. But, in general, here are the main types of services you can expect to receive from a managed service provider.
IT infrastructure is the backbone of your business. It helps you and your team meet your goals and better compete against other players in your market. Your connected networks also enable communication with your clients.
But what happens when your IT infrastructure gets compromised? Or, worse, what if your IT department sets up your infrastructure improperly? Both of these problems can seriously impact your team’s productivity and performance.
For these reasons and more, many companies rely on MSPs for managed infrastructure support. MSPs can take on all or some of your network tasks. They can establish connections, manage storage availability, and much more.
93% of company networks are vulnerable to online crime. In fact, studies show that the average hacker can get into your network in only a few days’ time. What’s more, cyber security hacks are up 50% from last year.
All of these statistics point to the increasing importance of a secure infrastructure. As you add more applications and employees to your network, your IT department needs to be able to secure them.
An MSP can take over or support your IT department’s security tasks. Managed security groups can handle everything from data recovery to anti-malware management. Plus, they can do all of this remotely and in real-time.
Managed support is among the most common services MSPs offer. This service has become even more common as companies have made the switch to hybrid and fully remote work styles.
Support services cover the full gamut of activities your employees and customers partake in on your network. Support professionals help customers and employees solve day-to-day technical issues and troubleshooting.
Additionally, MSPs offering support management can help with new technology implementations. Some MSPs offer IT consulting services. You can contract temporary specialists who are experts in business tech transformation.
95% of businesses agree that unstructured data is a major business problem. After all, internal and customer datasets are critical to improving your company’s performance and staying competitive in the market.
One way to harness the unstructured data at your company is to better manage information as it enters your network. This is where a managed service provider can come in.
MSPs offer many different types of data analytics services. You can find a company to manage incoming data, recommend ways to use data and even model unstructured data for you. This type of service is invaluable for companies in the healthcare industry and beyond.
Another service that has become increasingly common in a post-remote work world is file management. But this service was even important pre-COVID, especially among financial services and healthcare companies.
Proper digital data infrastructure enables seamless transfer and sharing of business files. And going back to the previous type of service, data security is the most critical feature for a healthy file management infrastructure.
An MSP offering managed print or file services can help to ensure your data is protected. And when disaster does strike, your service provider can fix the problem remotely.
94% of enterprises use at least one cloud service. So, it should be no wonder that 30% of businesses’ IT budgets go toward setting up and managing Cloud infrastructure.
To cut down on the high cost of Cloud support and management, many companies turn to MSPs. These specialized MSPs offer computing, network, and storage services for the Cloud.
A new breed of MSP is also emerging. These experts offer virtualization services. That means they can turn your computers, software systems, apps, and operating systems into virtualized systems.
Wireless Computing Support
These days, networks almost exclusively operate on wireless or mobile connections. But these connections are expensive to set up and time-consuming to manage.
MSPs often offer wireless network setup and ongoing support for businesses. Whether you need to set up new connections on your internal or external network, these experts can help.
Once they set up your network, MSPs can also help with troubleshooting and management. That way, disruptions are less likely to happen, and your company can get on with work as usual.
The average business organization uses about 80 software-as-a-service (SaaS) products. Smaller companies use as many as 16 software apps, while companies with 1,000 or more employees deploy an average of 177.
Luckily, some of these SaaS providers also offer managed services. This category includes companies like Microsft and their Microsoft Office 365 program.
You might not traditionally think of Microsoft as an MSP. But this just goes to show you that you are already familiar with the types of services MSPs provide to businesses.
MSPs typically offer two different kinds of communication services. First, they can help oversee your communication infrastructure. Secondly, some MSPs offer call center-like services.
Businesses utilizing voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phones, videos, and messaging software for communication can benefit from the first service. MSPs offering this service can set up and remotely manage your communication network.
The second service is invaluable for smaller businesses with a large reach. For example, small retailers with global customers are prime candidates for MSP call center services.
What Kind of Businesses Need MSPs?
Not all businesses need managed services all the time. Enterprise companies with good funding can often afford to build out healthy IT departments full of specialists.
So, what kind of businesses do need MSPs?
Here are four scenarios where an MSP could majorly benefit your business.
Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
The most obvious use case for an MSP is in companies that do not have an IT department or have a small IT department. This description typically includes small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
The best thing about MSPs for SMBs is that they will scale with you. You can scale back or scale up the services you use from your MSP. And if the need ever arises, you can switch away from your MSP to bring IT operations in-house.
For example, imagine that you start a company and outsource IT needs to an MSP. As you grow, you begin adding IT specialists to your staff base and slowly reduce the number of services you use from your MSP.
Enterprises in Specific Industries
Most enterprises employ a healthy-sized IT department. Yet, even these massive corporations sometimes need an MSP’s help. This is especially true of the following industries: healthcare, banking and finance, manufacturing, and automotive.
These industries deal with niche problems that an MSP is uniquely capable of handling. For instance, data has recently become a major factor in the healthcare industry. This is especially true as hospital systems have switched over to electronic health records.
In this case, an MSP could come in and handle the hospital system’s data security. A healthcare industry-specific MSP might even have special certifications to ensure HIPAA compliance.
Businesses Undergoing Digital Transformations
As the world has gone digital, businesses must follow. That is why more and more companies, both big and small, have chosen to undergo major digital transformations over the last decade.
Digital transformations occur when a large portion or the entirety of a business transitions from manual processes to digital ones. Moving operations into the Cloud is also a type of digital transformation.
Most IT departments are not staffed to handle significant migrations. Instead, corporations and small businesses alike choose to hire digital transformation consultants.
These MSPs can help set up the new programs, train your staff on them, and even offer ongoing support.
Companies that serve global customer bases have unique needs. You must transmit data across borders, employ customer support specialists overseas, and communicate with foreign suppliers and manufacturers.
Your IT department just can not handle all of these tasks, no matter how large it is. Instead, you can hire an MSP to help take some of the burden off your company.
MSPs can act as third-party call centers, help employees with technical issues, and keep your global data secure. That way, your IT department can handle the more critical operations, and your company can continue growing.
Benefits of Managed Services
Now that you understand what managed services are and if they can benefit your business, let’s talk about the benefits. After all, the MSP industry isn’t valued at $239.7 billion for nothing.
These are the top reasons why so many businesses invest in MSP services.
Be More Responsive
Most managed service providers offer 24-hour support seven days a week. MSPs also offer on-call services and support even over weekends if you pay an extra fee. This can be invaluable for your employees when they run into an IT problem.
MSPs’ more responsive service times are also great for customers. They will feel your support at all hours of the day and night, no matter where they reside. In this case, using an MSP can improve your customer service and external image.
Free Up Extra Time
IT problems do not go away the bigger you get; instead, they multiply. Growing businesses can find this a problem, especially when there is no time to hire and train new staff. Sometimes, someone who is not a technology specialist may end up picking up some of the slack.
Let your employees do what they were hired for and hire an MSP instead. Any good MSP will offer varying levels of service, so you can pay for the tasks you need to fill in the gaps. And your in-house IT department and other employees will be free to focus on more important things.
Cost-cutting needs are often the first thing that sends companies looking for an MSP. And the reasons why are obvious. MSPs can help your business cut costs in the following ways:
- Save money on recruiting, hiring, and training IT staff
- You only have to pay for the IT services you really need
- You can pay for offshore assistance, which will save you even more money
- You will always know the cost of managed services upfront and in full, allowing you to operationalize your IT practices
The first of these advantages is particularly helpful given the current talent wars. Difficulty finding and retaining new IT employees is a top concern for CFOs in 2022. Contracting an MSP to fill in the gaps can help you keep the lights on while you search for the perfect candidate.
As we just mentioned, there is a war for IT talent going on right now. One of the effects of the current talent marketplace is that hiring experienced specialists is more expensive than ever. You may not be able to afford the specialists you really need.
But your business can always afford to outsource to a highly experienced MSP. MSP firms employ highly-skilled professionals and train them in the latest tools and technologies. That means you can get top-notch talent at a fraction of the cost.
If you want to scale your business, you have to increase profits faster than your overall costs. The best ways to scale? Experts recommend using cutting-edge technology and identifying operational efficiency gaps to quickly and sustainably achieve scale.
A company can realize both of these goals with the help of an MSP. MSPs have the expertise to help you deploy and manage new systems and software. Plus, they can quickly and flexibly fill in gaps in your IT operations, so your business can run more efficiently.
Keep Your Systems Up to Date
One of the more mundane tasks IT people have to take care of is updating applications. Keeping systems up-to-date ensures they will continue to save you time and money and help your company achieve scale. But updating systems is a completely manual process that takes lots of time and employees.
MSPs can take this tedious burden off of your IT department’s shoulders. They can take over the task of monitoring and managing updates, making sure your company does not miss a beat. Experienced MSPs can even automate some application updates to save both you and your MSP time in the future.
Prevent Issues from Arising
MSPs monitor your networks in real-time, which confers an incredible number of benefits to your business. Most importantly, MSPs can identify issues before your tech guys even know they are happening. This allows your company to be more proactive and prevent downtime before it happens.
Not only is downtime expensive, but it is also a significant risk to your network’s security.
An MSP can help manage and even assume this risk for your business. That way, you and your investors can rest assured that your IT operations are in the best hands.
Another benefit of real-time network management is more cost savings. Troubleshooting issues before they arise means you don’t have to deal with the downstream effects of complications. This can save you thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Keep Your Systems Secure
Cybersecurity is a major concern that is on many companies’ minds these days. Enterprise hacks are on the rise, and email phishing scams are almost a daily problem in 2022. One of the most sure-fire ways to prevent hacks at your company is to hire an MSP.
Part of any MSP’s job is to remotely and proactively identify threats to your network and eliminate them. And if a hacker does manage to slip through the cracks, MSPs’ real-time monitoring means they won’t get too far before your service provider can get rid of them.
Finally, many MSPs have the specific industry expertise needed to handle compliance needs. Healthcare and financial industry players will find this service invaluable for keeping them abreast of new regulations and preventing hefty non-compliance fines.
Truit Has the IT Solutions Your Business Needs
Managed services can transform the way you do business. Contracting an MSP means more responsivity, extra time, and saved costs for your company. That way, your IT department can focus on mission-critical tasks.
Are you in the market for managed IT services? Truit has the reliable products and managed services you have been searching for. Learn more about our offerings to find out how we can support your company.