One question I get a lot is, “What is a Managed Service Provider (MSP)?”
A Managed Services Provider (MSP) takes a proactive approach to managing your technology infrastructure. This vastly reduces the need to react to issues or, as people like to say, “Put out fires”.
Being proactive allows many issues to be identified and corrected before they become problems. A benefit to this approach is everybody will be more productive, which will save the company time and money. A typical Managed Services agreement is based upon a consistent monthly fee. This helps your company keep costs in line and makes budgeting much easier. With the consultative approach taken by an MSP, gone are the days of the unexpected expenses when dealing with your company’s technology.
At the core of Managed Services is a Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA dictates how and when the MSP will respond to your needs, and is customized to fit the needs of your company. With typical break/fix services (contacting when needed), there is no SLA and no guarantee of when the service will be provided. Not having a Managed Service agreement in place with an SLA will cost your company time and money in lost productivity.
Why the Hype with Managed Services?
Just like larger companies, small businesses need technology to operate efficiently and to compete effectively. But as reliance on IT grows, the resources needed to support this increasingly complex IT environment may not. In many small businesses, IT resources are limited and can be quickly overwhelmed.
If you fall behind in keeping up with things such as backups, patches and security, the odds greatly increase that you’ll face an IT outage or another problem down the road that will negatively impact your business. For instance, if your email server, customer relationship management system, financial application or network goes down, you will likely face substantial productivity and revenue losses as a result.
MSPs are not just a short-lived fad, or a way for IT companies to fatten their wallets. Managed Services is a way for businesses to eliminate problems before they ever occur, manage their IT budgets better, and create a solid long-term partnership with an IT firm that is aligning technology with your business goals.