Are you considering managed IT services for your business?
If yes, you’re in a growing number of organizations. Managing technologies within an organization can be overwhelming to maintain. One approach to lessen the stress is to delegate all or a portion of these tasks to a third party outside the company that specializes in those tasks. An organization that provides IT services for other organizations is referred to as a managed service provider (MSP).
Related: MSP 101- What is a Managed Service Provider
Businesses vary widely in their IT administration needs. For example, an organization may have a dedicated IT staff and only require assistance with routine tasks. Another organization may have a single individual that holds multiple jobs within the organization, one of those being responsible for IT tasks, and the organization wants to free up that individual to focus on other tasks. Firms that provide managed IT services offer a wide variety of services.
The following are just a few of the types of services that MSP firms offer:
- Helpdesk Support
- Network administration
- System administration
- Infrastructure management
- Security management
- Communication management
- Server maintenance
- Data backup, storage, and recovery
If you are tasked with justifying the switch to managed services or want to learn more about the offerings, the following are 10 key benefits that should interest you:
1. Lower IT Costs
The services network firm Deloitte surveyed 40 of their clients, from all over the world who held various upper-level positions, and revealed in a report that cost was the primary objective for their outsourcing IT operations. This makes sense. Modifying any aspect of your business is going to require looking at the financial impact. The main costs associated with IT operations include equipment and operation costs, as well as personnel costs (salaries, benefits, and training). According to the Robert Half Salary Calculator, the average salary for a system administrator in Sacramento, California is $92, 340. That’s just one employee. While some organizations delegate a single individual to manage IT operations, the more prudent scenario is to employ several professional individuals with specific roles. When you calculate the salaries, you can easily reach an exceptionally large number. In comparison to hiring an MSP to handle some or all of your IT operations, the average monthly costs vary depending on the level of services provided and the size of your organization, but in the U.S. ranges from $100 to $250 per user/per month. For full managed services for an organization with fewer than 50 users, that works out to about $42,000 to $66,000/year. That amount is considerably less than the salary, benefits, and training you would pay a single employee to manage your IT services.
Change is a normal aspect of doing business. As your business goals change, your IT services will also need to change. Managed IT service firms allow you to determine the level of services they provide your organization. As your business goes through changes, you can modify those services. For example, if your organization is a startup operation with limited funds and resources, you may choose to start with a full-service option where all of your IT operations are managed by an MSP. When your business grows, you may want to minimize those services and start allocating resources to an in-house IT team that performs tasks that align with your business goals, and delegate only your routine support tasks to an MSP.
It might seem strange that a firm outside of your organization would be able to boast availability as a benefit, but it’s true. The unfortunate reality of many in-house IT departments is there are more tasks than individuals to handle those tasks and the organization suffers because of that reality. For example, when an employee encounters a problem with their computer that is preventing them from performing their work and your in-house IT staff is not available to render assistance right away, that ultimately impacts your organization’s productivity. When you obtain the services of an MSP, one of the first steps is to create a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This is an agreement that outlines the details of the services the MSP will provide to your organization. Availability is an important component of an SLA. This type of agreement or expectation of availability typically does not exist within an in-house IT department. The usual process for an internal IT staff is to prioritize tasks and get to them as time allows.
4. Reduced Downtime
Downtime is another aspect of doing business than can have a significant impact on your organization. One of the main methods organizations use to gauge the costs of downtime is the average provided by the research and advisory firm Gartner in 2014, which is $5600/minute. Of course, that average is just estimate. Your organization may vary considerably from that estimate. There are calculators available online that can help you more accurately determine the cost of downtime for your organization. The financial impact of downtime is important, but there are other ways that downtime can have a significant impact on your organization. If your network connection is down, employees may not be able to perform their duties and your customers and potential customers may be unable to connect to you or your website. Your organization’s brand may become tainted because of downtime. This is a potential consequence whether you have a well-established brand or are trying to establish one. Customers and potential customers may view a downtime incident as an indication of how you run your business.
Managed IT service firms will, depending on the SLA, monitor your network and other systems from a remote location. Since they are focused on managing your operations, they are more able to quickly respond to potential problems and lessen downtime.
5. Constant Monitoring
Are your IT systems being monitored every hour of every day? If the answer is no, your organization may be an ideal prey for data criminals. Abnormal events such as changes to files and performance issues that occur in the late-night hours may be a sign of an intruder accessing your network. Logging is a common practice for detecting abnormal events. However, an issue discovered in a log may be too late to prevent a security issue. If your organization hasn’t implemented 24/7 monitoring, you might overlook such critical events. Constant monitoring provides your organization with peace of mind. Constant monitoring tracks any changes or disruptions to the systems that can be investigated and, if necessary, resolved before they develop into data breaches. Constant monitoring enables your organization to take a proactive approach instead of one that is reactive.
6. Improved Security
If your organization has implemented monitoring tools and have reduced your system downtime, how confident are you that those systems are properly managed? If you don’t have a lot of confidence, consider the consequences of such neglect. According to a report by IBM, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. However, the costs of recovering from a security incident can be much higher with long-term effects. An example is the Equifax data breach of 2017. The consumer credit reporting agency used monitoring software, but its security certificate had expired, and the monitoring solution was subsequently rendered inactive. Equifax discovered the suspicious activity only after their security certificate was updated. Two years after the data breach, the company entered a settlement with consumers who were impacted by the incident. Equifax ended up paying nearly one billion dollars, not including legal fees.
The following are a few of the ways that a managed IT service company can improve your organization’s security:
- Assess your organization’s risk and implement security measures that mitigate those risks.
- Remotely monitor your IT systems 24/7 for vulnerabilities and suspicious activity.
- Ensure all compliance requirements are met and maintained.
- Provide training for staff.
- Inventory and track endpoint activity in the organization .
Related: A Beginners Guide to Cybersecurity
7. Latest Technology
It’s common knowledge that technology is constantly changing at a rapid pace. Managed IT service firms rely on advanced tools to provide the reduced downtime, 24/7 monitoring, and improved security benefits mentioned above. Many organizations are not able to justify the costs necessary to keep up with the pace of software to enjoy the benefits.
8. Dedicated IT Team
As mentioned previously, the costs associated with hiring IT professionals can be excessive. Developing a team of IT experts that manage all IT operations in-house is not only a costly endeavor that can cripple an organization with limited resources, but one that can limit the value of the organization. When a large percentage of the organization’s resources are allocated to an in-house IT staff, that means that fewer resources are available for other activities such as growing the business.
9. Higher Productivity
An IT department provides a variety of critical functions for an organization. All of these tasks are important, but some of them are routine and take time away from more critical tasks. Examples of routine tasks include hardware/software installation and configuration, endpoint maintenance (warranties, licenses, etc.) and troubleshooting. By allowing a managed IT services company to perform these tasks, your organization’s IT staff can concentrate on tasks that help your organization reach its business goals.
10. Less Stress
The really great news about delegating your organization’s IT services to an MSP is that you obtain a combined effect of the benefits listed above in the form of a reduction of your organization’s IT responsibilities. An overburdened IT staff can suffer burn out, make careless mistakes, neglect their duties, and develop disdain for their job. All these effects can cause your IT operations to enter into a vulnerable state. Delegating just a few of your IT operations can have a positive impact on an existing It staff.
Next Steps with BACS IT Consulting Group
While there are numerous benefits associated with managed IT services, not all businesses that provide managed IT services are equal in the value they offer. Your organization should make sure the MSP that you choose is right for your organization. That means understanding the level of expertise, services offered, industry experience, and personability of the staff. Working with an MSP should be considered a partnership. Ensuring that the organization you work with has these skills will provide the best benefit for your business.
BACS offers expertise in a full spectrum of managed IT services and works with organizations to determine the best strategy to align with their business goals.