Entrepreneurs and other business decision-makers are tasked with making pivotal decisions about how to best invest in technology and its management. Such decisions come when an organisation must either hire IT staff or outsource managed IT services. By understanding the nature of a managed services provider (MSP) and the benefits of working with an experienced firm, industry leaders can make the right choice to further their goals.
A Managed Services Provider, aka an MSP, typically handles an organisation’s information technology (IT) infrastructure and systems from a remote location. An experienced MSP may be hired to handle all of a company’s IT and cybersecurity needs. The third-party firm can also oversee aspects that exceed the bandwidth of in-house IT technicians or aspects requiring niche expertise.
Outsourcing IT professional services allows on-staff technical support time to maintain direct profit-driving systems, reduce employee downtown, and increase business productivity. It’s not uncommon for small, medium, and large corporations to outsource network managed services and cybersecurity responsibilities to ensure quality systems performance in a cost-effective fashion.
Some managed IT services providers specialise in areas that include data storage, cybersecurity, or transitioning to the Cloud. Others provide IT support services that focus on sectors such as finance and healthcare that task organisations with meeting stringent government regulations. But the key takeaway to answering the question, what is an MSP, is that wide-reaching outfits can outsource all or part of their IT support services in a budget-friendly manner that furthers goal achievement.
Outsourcing organisational needs to an MSP business allows decision-makers to choose which, if any, processes they wish to have employees handle. That’s mainly because leading managed IT services providers possess the expertise and team members to take on most challenges. These rank among the common solutions an MSP business delivers.
One of the challenges growing businesses experience involves adequate IT staffing, particularly when full-timers are unavailable. A third-party firm can provide comprehensive, as well as select, managed IT services to support in-house teams.
Building a professional relationship with an MSP allows leaders to increase IT support at critical junctures. For example, an essential employee may take maternity leave, go on vacation, or otherwise be unavailable. During these periods, an operation can increase its reliance on a third-party firm to temporarily handle the workload. In some cases, a growing business requires in-house IT professionals to focus on expansion. A managed IT services provider delivers flexible IT staffing needs outfits require to maximise their productivity.
Australia sustained what one media outlet called a “hacking frenzy spurred by an undersized cybersecurity workforce.” The article was driven by the fact that Australia’s No. 2 telecoms company, Optus, and largest health insurer, Medibank Private, suffered data breaches that impacted 14 million customer accounts. That figure is about 56 per cent of the population. Truth be told, countries such as Australia and New Zealand struggle with a shortage of cybersecurity professionals. Upwards of 43 per cent of cyberattacks now target small and medium-sized businesses.
Enlisting the managed IT services support of a firm with cybersecurity experience can help harden network defences. Hackers sitting halfway around the world have little concern about being held accountable. They troll the internet looking for small and medium-sized organisations with weak defences. By onboarding an MSP to improve a business’s cybersecurity posture, cybercriminals will move on in the effort to find low-hanging fruit.
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Studies consistently demonstrate that human error results in more than 80 per cent of all data breaches. A managed IT services provider can provide cybersecurity awareness training, monitor for network breach attempts, and even repel hackers. But when an otherwise valued employee clicks on a malicious link or accidentally downloads ransomware, cybercriminals can run roughshod over a network.
It’s not uncommon for hackers to leave digital assets damaged and deleted, effectively shutting an operation down. Fortunately, a third-party firm can back up and store essential digital assets in places thieves cannot reach. Whether in a different Cloud location, external hard drive, or separate system, these files are earmarked for disaster recovery in the event of an emergency.
Ongoing compliance with mandates such as the Privacy Act 1988 tasks in-house IT team members with labour-intensive oversight. When an outfit struggles with understaffing or profit-driving processes that require IT attention, regulatory compliance can fall short. By outsourcing cybersecurity and privacy measures to a third-party MSP, they become part of the day-to-day responsibilities. Read about 6 ways an MSP can help you ensure compliance, e.g. with APRA and CPS234.
Advisory in nature, managed IT consulting services help industry leaders assess and align technologies and strategies with business goals. These typically involve items such as developing a comprehensive cybersecurity policy, onboarding applications, reconfiguring systems, and building secure infrastructure for remote personnel, among others. An experienced MSP business possesses the knowledge to provide thought leaders with wide-reaching options, so they can make informed decisions.
We live and work in a competitive global marketplace that requires businesses to reduce waste, and redundancies, and maximise productivity. Focusing on core competencies that further goals, and outsourcing peripheral tasks to an MSP, helps accomplish such ends. These are common benefits organisations enjoy from working with a managed IT services provider.
Few would disagree that the primary benefit of working with an MSP involves cost-effective solutions. Because companies can sync managed IT services and cybersecurity needs with their budget, an MSP ranks among the most cost-effective uses of resources, bar none.
How much you invest in hiring an MSP is largely determined by budgetary resources and IT needs. The type of products or services you provide impacts the volume of managed IT to conduct profitable endeavours. In that sense, a company’s managed IT increases with its growth. By investing a portion of its revenue as a pass-through cost, hiring a firm for IT managed services is simply part of the monthly cost of doing business.
There are not necessarily telltale signs that you need an MSP’s support. It’s not like you have a leaking roof and know it’s time to call a chippy. If you are running a growing business and do not have a dedicated IT team, outsourcing is an excellent way to keep payroll costs down.
The same holds true for organisations with in-house staff members who cannot keep up with daily processes. Others may not possess the specialised knowledge to move the operation forward in some areas. If you own or operate a venture that is experiencing growth or would benefit from enhanced cybersecurity or IT innovation, schedule a consultation with an MSP.
There are few scenarios that do not make sense to onboard an experienced managed IT services provider. If you are a technology expert, work in cybersecurity, or run an operation that does not have an internet presence, it’s conceivable an MSP isn’t a worthwhile investment. There are certainly exceptions, but most small and medium-sized outfits benefit from managed IT services at some point.
It’s crucial to conduct due diligence before entering into a contract with an MSP firm. It may be prudent to consider the following when building a partnership with an MSP.
• Does the MSP offer 24-7 support?
• How quickly does it respond?
• What types of cybersecurity solutions are available?
• Does the firm provide IT consulting services?
• What certifications do staff members possess?
• What is the MSP firm’s reputation?
Another crucial item involves whether an MSP business provides tailored and flexible services. Your organisation is likely to experience growth periods as well as seasonal slowdowns. The right MSP business works closely with business leaders to navigate changing business climates.
If you are experiencing business growth, worry about cybersecurity vulnerabilities, or would benefit from next-generation technology innovations, working with an MSP could prove beneficial. At Canon Business Services, our experienced cybersecurity and managed IT experts implement cost-effective solutions.
Contact us to schedule a consultation today.