For many organizations, the idea of hiring a department full of knowledgeable IT experts, while idealistic, is not practical. Because of this, many companies utilize managed service providers (MSPs) to supplement their IT tasks, placing their trust in the hands of external professionals rather than in-house staff.
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What Is IT Service Management?
IT service management is the process organizing and administering IT services for a business’s employees and customers. While it is common to hire entire in-house IT teams to fulfill these needs, not all organizations have the means to do so. This is where managed service providers come in.
While it is common to hire entire in-house teams to fulfill IT needs, not all organizations have the means to do so.
A MSP is a third-party company that supports the internal needs of an organization. Rather than hiring new personnel, organizations contract out certain aspects of operation to the MSP, such as human resources, accounting, and IT.
But why would an organization wish to supplement their IT workload through a managed IT service provider, rather than hiring in-house support?
Benefits of Using a Managed IT Service Provider
There are numerous benefits to using a MSP instead of a full in-house IT team for your company’s IT tasks.
When hiring in-house staff, organizations need to find qualified IT individuals, and purchase their own IT hardware and software. All of these steps can be time-consuming and expensive for small businesses. Managed IT service providers remove much of the stress and extra expense from the equation, as they already have the resources and personnel on hand.
Further, IT MSPs are specialists. Where your organization may focus on, say, retail, a managed IT service provider is focused on IT — and fully up-to-date on the latest industry trends and challenges. Even if you maintain a small in-house IT team, a MSP can fill knowledge and resource gaps in your system.
Ultimately, many organizations turn to managed IT service providers for their IT needs because the cost of using these providers is less than hiring internal IT staff.
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Who Should Use a Managed IT Service Provider?
While the convenience of managed IT service is undeniable, the utilization of these providers may be more beneficial for some organizations than others. Managed IT service providers offer the most benefits to organizations who do not have the means to take on the cost and responsibility of in-house IT staff.
MSPs offer the most benefits to organizations that do not have the means to take on the cost of in-house IT staff.
Generally speaking, smaller organizations (around 20 to 100 staff members), startups, and other organizations that may not have the funds to hire or retain their own IT staff can benefit from the comparably cheaper services of managed IT providers.
Additionally, these third-party managed IT service providers can be great for those who don’t wish to commit to long-term IT staff. The convenience of these services is ideal for organizations with temporary needs for additional IT staff during busier seasons.
What to Look for in a Managed Service Provider for IT
If you decide that a managed IT service provider would benefit your company, you should look for a quality provider to support your needs. In addition to accessible communication and fast response times, here are a few other features to consider when choosing a MSP.
Knowledge and Expertise
Let’s start with the basics; for a MSP to effectively perform IT tasks for your organization, they need to have staff members with relevant knowledge on IT processes within your industry. Along with experience in IT support processes like cybersecurity, IT audits, and incident response, the MSP should be familiar with compliance issues that are relevant to your sector.
Additionally, some managed IT service providers have staff members who specialize in software development. This DevOps approach can be useful if your company needs help with software integration or IT-related app development.
Because the MSP is supplementing your operations, its services should be optimized and fine-tuned to the IT needs of your organization. It is worth taking the time to consider how their tools and technology can benefit your IT processes.
Critical IT processes like cybersecurity are best supported when information and data are quickly and easily accessible.
For example, some IT providers may offer security services that include real-time monitoring. This is a great complement to security software, going beyond simple automated detection and response. By working in concert with your existing security infrastructure, the MSP can help your company be more proactive against threats.
It is especially beneficial to find a MSP to fulfill your IT needs as harmoniously as possible. You must be able to trust that your information will be safe and easily accessible to your internal stakeholders.
For example, some providers may specialize in Microsoft implementations; if your company doesn’t rely on Microsoft tools, you’re unlikely to benefit from using that MSP.
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