IT Managed Service Provider for Small Businesses
Updated: Oct 5
What is an IT managed service provider?
An IT managed service provider (MSP) is a company that provides managed IT services such as server management, desktop management, cybersecurity management, and service help desk support for a monthly fee. MSPs offer small businesses an elite and robust IT staff for a fraction of the cost. MSPs allows small businesses to focus their efforts on their company's bottom-line while still taking full advantage of existing and emerging technologies.
At first introduction, MSPs were mainly utilized by major corporations with massive networks and multiple satellite locations. Today, however, MSPs provide services to all types of companies, from small to mid-size companies to well-established corporate giants. With the introduction of cloud technologies, remote working, and advanced cyber threats, MSPs have become a prominent means for businesses to keep up with technology. According to Spiceworks "2019 State of IT" report, small businesses are using outsourced IT for communications, data storage and backups, and even hardware support.
What do MSPs provide?
An MSP provides a company with an outsourced expert IT support team. This team will –
· Establish and manage the company's network
· Design and manage the cloud architecture
· Establish and manage the on-premises architecture
· Perform desktop management
· Perform server management
· Provide IT service desk support
· Provide telecommunications support
· Establish and maintain data backup and disaster recovery
· IT business software and hardware procurement
Why should a company hire an MSP?
The two biggest reasons companies are outsourcing their IT to MSPs are cost savings and negating risk. Instead of a company calling for help when they find themselves in a bad technological situation, having an MSP continually monitoring the network and employing emerging technologies to advance a company's bottom-line allows said company to be proactive and maintain a stable peace of mind. Additionally, MSPs offer company executives the ability to focus on their business instead of the company's IT.
What are the pros and cons of hiring an MSP?
Hiring an MSP offers a company more IT management resources at their disposal and a deeper IT knowledge pool to draw from. However, there are specific considerations each company should factor in. For instance, does the company require someone on-site at all times? Does the company have the budget? However, if a company does not have an MSP, is that company taking full advantage of its IT resources and technology. Moreover, is the company's network truly secure? Below are a few pros and cons to use when hiring an MSP.
An MSP will provide a proactive approach when managing your IT. MSPs pride themselves on fixing the problem, whatever it may be before it occurs. This is accomplished by consistent monitoring, patching, and updating a company's IT environment.
An MSP provides a company with certified and experienced IT professionals in all areas versus a staff of one or two "computer guys" to meet all your IT needs.
One of the core functions of all MSPs is backup and disaster recovery. When you hire an MSP, you ensure your business continuity.
The average cost for a tier 1 IT personnel is about $60,000 a year. To ensure continuity, the minimum effective IT staff consists of two IT professionals. That could amount to $120,000 or more a year. Moreover, the two individuals still cannot cover every avenue of IT required. On average, a productive MSP contract, which includes one server, ten workstations, and one network printer, will cost about $875 a month—totaling approximately $10,500 a year. That is a complete win for a small to mid-size business.
MSPs work remotely and may not be located in the same area as the hiring company. However, you can hire an MSP in your local area. Additionally, some MSPs offer on-sight services even if they are not located in your area.
A reputable MSP can be expensive. However, when you weigh the services offered and how much that would cost if your company staffed IT professionals. It's a total win.
MSPs will only manage what is covered in the managed service agreement. If you ask them to perform a function out of scope, you could be denied or charge an additional fee.
A reputable and well-established MSP will become a long-term strategic partner for your business who has your best interest at heart. An MSP's role is not to sell you shiny things but to ensure you leverage technology and your IT resources secure and efficiently. An MSP is there to provide your business with IT peace of mind so you can focus on the company's core objectives. Each business must weigh the factors of paying for an MSP. If your company wants to leverage IT like the major corporations but don't have the budget to hire a robust staff. Hiring an MSP may be your best option.