Understanding Managed Service Providers
Technology helps manage business. But it’s often difficult and expensive for a business to effectively manage its technology. The cumulative costs, increased resources, and high staffing levels required to keep hardware, software, and networks up to date and running flawlessly become a challenge for companies of all sizes. For many of them, the answer is to engage the services of a first-quality Managed Services Provider.
What Is an MSP?
A Managed Services Provider takes on some, much, or all of the challenges and responsibilities of maintaining your IT infrastructure at peak performance. Full-service MSPs, such as Fairdinkum Consulting, handle the entire infrastructure, including computers, peripherals, storage, systems and applications, and networks. But it’s not all or nothing. MSPs provide the level of services that match your needs. They can work on a specific IT area - for instance, implementing the infrastructure and software needed for Disaster Recovery. They can work within broader disciplines - installing and maintaining your network, for example. Or they can take on your entire IT operation - machines, software, support, network, and more.
What Are the Benefits to You?
- 24/7/365 network monitoring and emergency support ensure 99.99% up time.
- Single point of contact for supplies, management, and problem resolution simplifies ordering and pinpoints responsibility
- Ongoing performance monitoring and maintenance ensure that every part of your infrastructure is working and up to date
- Frequent performance reports keep you in control of your infrastructure
- Ironclad SLAs hold your MSP’s feet to the fire
- Flat-fee, fixed-price contracts ensure predictable OPEX and lowest Total Cost of Ownership across your systems
- Certified engineers and technicians provide the consistent expertise you need
- Dedicated account managers ensure you always communicate with someone who knows you and your IT
What Kinds of Businesses Use MSPs?
Companies with 10 employees and companies with 100,000 employees all take advantage of the increased reliability, decreased operating expenses, and shrunken payroll that MSPs provide. Small and medium businesses use MSPs to create and maintain enterprise-level infrastructures. These companies span every possible category and sector, but they’re united by the understanding that, left unmanaged by experts, the costs and complications of IT are disruptive to their operation and their profitability.
What Do MSPs Do?
Here’s just a partial list of services you should expect from an MSP:
- Asset management
- Configuration management
- Host IP-PBX and applications
- Business continuity
- Malicious attacks and intrusion prevention
- Uninterrupted remote access
- Managed server service
- Managed voice access, including security, PBX, VOIP, and more
- Managed VPN/IP-VPN
- Managed wireless LAN (WLAN)
- Network monitoring and management
- Secure messaging and email
- Round-the-clock monitoring
- Incident resolution
What Kinds of People Work for MSPs?
MSPs work as a team, bringing together the right expertise, skill, and talent to address your specific IT demands. With a first-quality MSP, your account manager will remain with you for a long time, getting to know you, your business, and your infrastructure. You might work with systems designers and architects who will advise on and specify the structure of your IT foundation. You’ll work most often with your assigned team of engineers and technicians who are certified on a broad range of systems, platforms, networks, applications, and more.
How Does an MSP Engagement Work?
The most effective model is to pay a flat, monthly fee for a predictable amount of services and support. Good MSPs can predict cost to the penny. That fee will include support services, such as running the help desk, up time standards, bandwidth requirements, and monthly maintenance; whatever your specified managed service requirements are. An MSP will sign a Service Level Agreement, which specifies exactly how your infrastructure must run and establishes penalties if the MSP fails to maintain that level of performance.
Abundant, Redundant Resources
An MSP isn’t subject to the resource issues you can face with in house staff. Because they draw from a deep pool of certified talent, they’re never stopped because of vacation, illness, or other types of absence. A deeper talent pool also means a deeper skill set, helping you deliver innovation. Communication processes are finely tuned with MSPs, including both with other team members and in the granularity and accuracy of their documentation.
Do You Need an MSP?
It’s an easy question to answer: it’s about money and it’s about technology. Look to both your visible costs and your hidden costs. Better yet, bring a consultant into the conversation. There are some, including Fairdinkum, that offer free network assessments. This will help you understand if an MSP can bring value, where within your infrastructure help is needed, and exactly how to do it.
Need to know what to do next? Download our eBook on how to go about choosing an MSP that is right for your business. If you found this helpful, please share!
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