Who would you hire to manage your technology: a newbie who can maybe cover the basics, or a trained professional who knows tech like the back of their hand? The same goes for IT management services: when it comes to your business, you want your best foot forward.
If you’re not outsourcing your IT management, you’re a step behind on all fronts. Take backup and disaster recovery: 140,000 hard drives crash every week in the US and a simple drive recovery can cost north of $7,500.
Here’s how IT management services work – and how to choose the right provider for you.
What Is a Managed Service Provider?
Let’s say you’re an IT service provider like Scarlett Group. How does it work, and what does your business get out of a partnership?
Scarlett Group and their fellow IT management services are managed service providers (MSPs). Basically, they’re a company that your business partners with to have your IT infrastructure and user systems managed from a remote location.
What Do They Offer?
That depends on the MSP, but some things stay the same.
How each MSP works varies between companies, but as a rule, MSPs streamline a variety of services for clients across various industries. These services often include payroll management, systems operations and human resources, to name a few.
Their most popular service is backup and disaster recovery, followed by remote monitoring and managed network security.
How Does It Work?
To put it simply: not quite like your typical IT fix-it.
Most MSPs operate on a monthly subscription model with a flat monthly fee, as opposed to other one-and-done IT transactions. Logistically, this makes sense for both sides: your business doesn’t get nickel-and-dimed for every individual service, and IT management services get monthly revenue.
This also means you’re typically entering a contract with an MSP – most offer their services under a service-level agreement, which spells out the quality and performance metrics that will be used to measure the relationship.
This is where MSPs differ from IT solutions providers. Solutions providers work on a break-and-fix basis and bill clients for time spent or materials needed. Companies providing IT project work bill for individual projects – either way, they bill on a one-time basis.
While an MSP may also offer project-based or break/fix services, generally the MSP business model means that your business specifies what services you want to receive under the SLA contract and pay only for those services. The SLA will also cover agreed-upon costs and benchmarks of performance and quality.
Why You Need IT Management Services
Why use an MSP instead of in-house IT? Simple: MSPs cover what you don’t have the time or resources for.
In a recent survey, for example, 38% of companies say enhanced security was a deciding factor in outsourcing IT. That matters when you realize that 60% of small businesses fail within six months of a cyber attack.
Still not sold? Here are three key reasons outsourcing your IT is the right step for your business:
Hiring temporary IT or in-house IT means a budget game where you may not be getting what you hoped. Outsourcing fixes the price of your IT for exactly the services you want.
When your company isn’t using limited time and resources on managing IT, you can focus on your core business instead of getting tangled in complex IT decisions – or oversimplifying your IT at the detriment of your business.
Trained, Qualified and Experienced
The truth is, if you’re not an IT expert yourself, it’s hard to know if your new IT person is truly qualified. With an MSP, you know that your remote “employees” are trained – otherwise, the MSP couldn’t hold them to their own standards of performance and quality.
Choosing the Right IT Provider for You
Great, you’re thinking, so how do I find an IT provider that works for me? Start thinking about what you need and what you can already do.
The key to finding the right IT management services for your business is to find a service that covers what your company can’t handle in-house. After that, it’s up to you to figure out what services are most important to your business for what you’re willing to spend.
Here are five major criteria to get you started.
Remember the golden rule: they should do more than you could do yourself. Asking questions about skill levels related to virtualization, databases and cloud-platform technologies are a good place to start. But they should also have in-depth experience across all delivery models.
Industry Best Practices
To optimize IT management, you want a provider that uses industry best practices, specifically ITIL. This encompasses problem, incident, event, change, capacity, configuration, performance and inventory as well as reporting.
Multi-vendor, Multi-cloud Support
A quality service provider should have at least a minimum of experience working in a multi-vendor, multi-cloud hybrid environment – and relationships with leading vendors to ensure visibility and availability. In short, your service provider should have the tools to act as your broker.
Portfolio That Matches Your Business
As your business grows, your IT needs will change. When looking for an IT provider, keep in mind that there may be services you need in the future that you don’t need yet. A service provider with a thorough suite of services will allow your subscription to evolve with you.
Consistent Service Delivery, Wherever You Are
In the global economy, growth and expansion can take your business anywhere. IT management services with global delivery capacities allow rapid expansion in new locations, local language support, project management in multiple countries, and more.
Other important questions include: does the MSP operate on the break/fix model? Do they have a visible process for consistent delivery – and are they willing to provide examples of their methodology?
Find The Right Services Today
Finding the right IT management services for your business is as important as hiring an employee that fits your office environment and your job needs. You want someone you’re going to have a long-term partnership with, someone you can rely on to pull through for you.
FindABusinessThat is your tool to make the process a little easier, whatever service you’re looking for. Got questions about finding the right business for your next partnership? Check out our blog for everything from hiring a contractor to how to select a 24-hour pharmacy.