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  • 7 Pros and Cons of Using a Managed Service Provider for Small Business 

    November 25, 2022

    As a business owner, you realise you must do something. Your team is spending more time focused on technology than on customers. You can hire an IT person or outsource your IT to a managed service provider for your small business.

    Outsourcing IT to managed service providers

    With closed borders and limited immigration, Australia has suffered an IT labour shortage since 2020. Although borders are open, finding IT candidates means paying top dollar plus benefits such as working from home and flexible work hours.

    Hiring in-house assumes you can find qualified candidates. Another option is working with a managed services provider (MSP) to meet your technology needs.

    Managed service providers (MSPs) deliver services, such as network, application, infrastructure and security, via ongoing and regular support and active administration on customer premises or remotely. — Gartner

    Managed service providers offer various technical services. They may perform some or all of the following:

    • Network monitoring
    • Preventive maintenance
    • Technical support
    • Hardware repair
    • Data Backup
    • Cybersecurity

    The specific services are detailed in a service level agreement (SLA) that can range from 24/7 support to a per-hour rate. Companies that outsource their IT to managed service providers are looking to mitigate the risk of operational disruption from a technology failure.

    A managed services model enables your business to keep hardware and software updated and operational. It centralises IT services, including help desk, project management, and technology planning. They have an in-house staff of IT professionals to address the range of technology support their clients’ needs.

    Understanding technology for better infrastructure performance

    Businesses should consider the pros and cons of a managed service provider before deciding if managed services are right for their needs.

    Advantages of a Managed Service Provider for Small Business

    Managed services change a company’s IT model. Employees are no longer responsible for daily operations. Instead of operating as a break-and-fix resource, managed service providers become a dedicated IT team that monitors networks, hardware, software, security, and connectivity. That leaves your team free to focus on delivering services and growing your business.

    Expertise

    Small businesses may have “tech-savvy” employees who can help when a printer stops working or the internet goes down. However, they aren’t cybersecurity experts and aren’t current on industry compliance or government regulations for data security. MSPs have an in-house team of experts who are trained in everything from emerging technologies to cloud computing.

    Business Continuity

    No one needs reminders of how quickly the business world can change. Natural or human-made disasters can disrupt operations for days — even weeks — if you don’t have a disaster recovery plan that includes systematic system backups. Providers of managed IT services can help your business develop a disaster recovery plan and ensure that backups are performed.

    Cybersecurity

    The latest report by the Australian Cybersecurity Centre found that cybercrime increased by 13% in the twelve months from 1 July 2021, with the average cost to a small business of nearly $40,000. Managed IT services include cybersecurity assistance in areas such as virus and ransomware removal.

    MSPs operate as an external IT department. They not only keep your company’s infrastructure running smoothly, but they also help with data compliance and data breaches.

    Support for Apple and Windows PCs

    Disadvantages of a Managed Service Provider for Small Business

    Managed services vary from provider to provider, so companies should outline their technology needs in advance. It’s important to compare the exact list of services they are providing, to make sure you avoid unexpected expenses. Having a list of services and a budget can help narrow the possibilities to reputable MSPs that meet crucial requirements.

    Knowing you and your business

    It’s so frustrating when you have to explain a tech issue for the umpteenth time. Or when the person just doesn’t get how your business works, your IT set up, or why a particular issue might be critical for your business. Some MSPs don’t provide continuity of which IT support people are helping you. And that can be frustrating. Make sure to ask what the MSP’s approach is to providing continuity of people in their technical support for your team.

    Onsite or Remote

    Not every MSP is local. Many of their services can be delivered remotely, but sometimes, the problem can be solved faster onsite. If a printer or workstation malfunctions, an on-site technician can quickly identify and fix the problem. Troubleshooting the issue remotely can take time and often involves taking up your employees’ valuable time. Make sure to ask how the IT company handles on-site issues. Can they get out on site quickly to address the issue?

    Expense

    Companies typically pay a monthly fee for managed services. While the monthly cost may appear expensive, organisations should consider the cost of a security breach because of a lack of cybersecurity expertise. Businesses can avoid costly downtime because of equipment failures and can eliminate the cost of hiring technical staff.

    Scope of Work

    Companies considering outsourcing their IT department should evaluate the MSP’s service level agreement (SLA). The agreement identifies what services are included. If services are required that are not in the SLA, they are considered outside the scope of work and may incur added costs. So while you think you’re paying a set monthly fee, there can be lots of hidden extra costs. Consider whether the IT company has a membership-based approach to holistic small business IT support. That can eliminate unanticipated additional costs.

    Understanding the services offered by an MSP before signing an SLA can minimise the negative factors associated with outsourcing IT support.

    Conclusion

    Small businesses that successfully outsource their IT department functions to a managed service provider have evaluated their ability to keep pace with technology. They have assessed their in-house team to determine the best use of their resources.

    Businesses have considered the business landscape to ensure they have access to the skills needed to strengthen their security posture and comply with industry and governmental regulations. That may require partnering with an MSP to minimise downtime and ensure business continuity.

    If you feel your business lacks the resources to ensure its infrastructure delivers a competitive advantage, why not contact us to set up a free audit of your existing technology needs? We are skilled at finding ways to minimise your IT costs and take care of your IT needs affordably. And we have a local team who gets to know your business and your team. And who will come to you when needed.

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