Updated: Aug 26
Let me tell you something you might not realise – the bottom line of any company is its technology, simply because your employees cannot work if your technology is not working. And while some small businesses do still hire an in-house IT employee, others prefer to outsource it to Managed Service Providers (MSPs).
So what are managed services?
Managed services are available for small businesses who are looking into outsourcing options for their IT needs. To summarise, here is what managed service providers do:
Offer support for your company’s tech at a monthly flat-fee
Proactively monitor a business’s network, minimizes IT problems and troubleshoots any issues that come up on the network
Remotely accesses networks and deploys solutions for any computing issues without being in-house
But why does my business need managed IT services?
Businesses need managed service providers because they negate risks. It is to allow your company to be more proactive than reactive when it comes to its IT needs. So instead of outsourcing IT when a problem occurs, managed services allows consistent monitoring of a network.
Also, all updating and maintenance tasks are handled by a managed service provider. This allows managers to focus on their businesses instead of worrying about the company’s IT.
MSPs can also help to evaluate current and future IT needs by advising on what type of products and services a company should implement over the next year.
But of course, like everything else, MSPs too have its pros and cons. I mean, you first have to think – does an MSP fit into my budget? Do I really need someone onsite who can fix my problems? Am I sure my company’s IT is secure? What IT needs does my company really need? Etc.
Here are the Pros and Cons of MSPs
Pro #1: Proactive IT monitoring than reactive
If you are constantly waiting for something to happen before you act on it, then my friend, let me tell you something – it will be too late. Your company’s data might be loss or not backed up, your servers might go down, you might go out of business, etc. The list goes on really. But the takeway here is – it is always better to be prepared before its too late.
This is where proactive monitoring comes into place. By outsourcing your IT needs to an external MSP, they can help your company to constantly monitor aspects of your IT such as hardware, applications, security and internet for any suspicious activity and immediately notify you when there is an issue or abnormality.
Basically, what you are paying for is literally someone to prevent your business from having issues rather than to fix them only after the issue happens.
Pro #2: Frees up capital for other business areas
Depending on the MSP and the plan you opt for, the MSP can provide all the technology for your business, such as workstations, servers and software. All you do is use them and pay for them. A caveat is that of course, this will be a pricier option. However, though expensive, this also means that no capital expenditures is needed for those tech devices, allowing your business to focus its capital in other areas.
Pro #3: More specialised expertise in the area
Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none’?
Well, let’s face it. If a business is using one “computer guy” for all things IT, chances are that this person does not have expertise in all areas. For instance, they may be good at troubleshooting Microsoft Word, but what happens when your router stops functioning?
MSPs, on the other hand, usually have skilled personnel dedicated to each function of IT. Meaning that they will be better equipped all around.
Pro #4: More assuring business continuity and disaster recovery plan
So let me ask you this – as a business owner, do you ponder how you would go about restoring all your systems and data in the event of a disaster? (If your answer is no, I suggest you start thinking about this now!) Because, this is an area where an MSP can help you tremendously.
A good MSP can help your business create an efficient disaster recovery plan that will help you sleep at night, knowing that if disaster does strike, your business can endure it.
Con #1: Expensive monthly expense
And like I mentioned above, there are always pros and cons to every single thing.
And the biggest and most concerning con is that reputable MSPs are pricey. Because the unfortunate fact is that nothing good is cheap in this world (not just for IT, but even for things like food!). So you will likely pay upfront fees and at least a few hundred dollars a month, depending on the size of your business and your technical needs.
However, with that said, do also keep in mind what an MSP will save you in terms of the other areas, — for instance, if it provides technology that you will never have to purchase yourself, or the amount of money it will save you if something were to happen to your company’s IT and data.
Con #2: Specific scopes depending on an MSP’s partners and products
The scope of work that an MSP provides or the applications it supports almost never covers every single area of technology.
For example, an MSP you are inclined to choosing might only be partnering Microsoft Teams, and may not support Zoom for example. So these applications might have to be purchased separately.
Yet with that said, when an issue were to arise with Zoom for example, an application which is not on the supported list, there may be a chance the MSP may not be able to help you.
But of course, you should clarify this point first with your MSP.
Con #3: Not available locally (if you hire a global one)
A huge downside to signing up with an MSP is that many of these companies are not local to your business (also because outsourcing globally might be more cost efficient to your business). So when an issue like a printer malfunction comes up which requires on-site resolving, you may need to get involved yourself as these MSPs would be managing your technology remotely.
With that said, if you choose a local MSP, it may offer onsite support. However, you will usually have to pay extra for each physical site visit to the office.
TLDR? Basically, if you find your business frequently having to lean on IT support, or that you are spending too much time trying to fix technical issues yourself, an MSP may be a good idea!