“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” Nathaniel Branden
Managed service providers (MSP) have been around for a long time, but the number of businesses utilizing that IT model had been relatively low. According to Carolyn April, senior director, Industry Analysis at CompTIA, “as late as last year CompTIA found that only 3-in-10 organizations had any of their IT in the hands of an MSP.” However, that number is changing significantly, as more than two-thirds of companies surveyed for CompTIA’s Fourth Annual Trends in Managed Services Study, released in June 2015, say they have used the services of an outside IT firm within the past 12 months.
As a business owner of a small to medium-sized company, you may be overwhelmed with all the acronyms surrounding information technology (IT), the Internet of Things (IoT), software as a service (SaaS), disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), backup as a service (BaaS) and IT buzzwords like “big data.” In fact, this IT alphabet soup looks more like a Star Wars presentation than a business model and even the most insightful business owner can get intimidated with all the decisions associated with what was once, just a computer on a desktop – a personal computer (PC).
If you are not sure about joining the ranks of organizations that have contracted with a managed service provider, ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you know which equipment in your current IT structure is aging and in need of replacement?
- Do you know if all your servers and desktops have the latest anti-virus updates installed?
- Do you know which PCs are running out of memory and affecting employee productivity?
- Do you know if the latest security patches have been installed on your network?
- Do you hear from your IT department on a regular basis or only when things break?
If you scratched your head or wondered about any of these questions you may benefit by engaging the assistance of a managed service provider. However, before you enter into any agreement, ask potential providers some questions also:
- What level of support does each of your managed service plans provide? A reputable managed service provider should be able to tell you exactly what you are paying for, upfront.
- What staff monitors the data centers, and what training they have received?
- Is the staff is available 24/7/365?
- Do I need to report problems or do you monitor for problems and let me know?
- What backups do you have in place in case of equipment or service failure? A good managed service provider will have backups in place for each piece of equipment and a plan to switch to those as quickly as possible. Every second your equipment is not operating will impact your bottom-line, so you want that time minimized.
- What security measures are in place? Protection of your data and business should be paramount to them and the measures in place need to give you peace of mind.
- How customizable are their service plans? Your business may have unique needs and you should not engage in a “one-size-fits-all” type of service plan.
There are many driving factors that cause a business to consider a managed service provider. Enhanced security, cost savings, and improving the efficiency and reliability of IT operations are just a few of the realities business perceive after engaging a managed service provider. According to April at CompTIA, very few companies get rid of their internal IT staff just because they engage a managed service provider. A unique result for some businesses is that the internal IT staff, no longer under the shadow of the “break-fix” method, is now able to focus on strategic, forward-looking projects for the company.
Contact us at GeekTek and ask your questions. We are a proactive managed IT service provider that will keep all your systems up to date and running smoothly. We meet our clients day-to-day IT needs with exceptional service levels.