Sometimes, it can be tough for a small to medium business (SMB) to manage their own IT solutions. You don’t have enough of a day-to-day demand to justify hiring an expert full time, but you also need someone to be there when you need it.
One solution is to have a Managed Service Provider, or MSP for short.
What is an MSP?
In short, an MSP is a company you can outsource some or all of your IT needs to, so you don’t have to manage it in-house. They partner with your company, and often assume responsibility for things like managing, installing, and monitoring your technology on your behalf.
MSPs don’t just service your business – they offer their expertise to a large number of businesses. Because they’ve got their fingers on the pulse of IT trends, they can often provide technology services equal to, or sometimes better than, an in-house IT team. They’re in touch with their hardware and software providers, who keep them up to date with the latest tools to help your business.
Depending on the MSP, they might provide backup and disaster recovery services for your vital business data, IT support and help desk responsibilities, or cloud computing services. By doing this, they free you up to perform other important business activities, like delivering amazing customer service.
What are the Benefits of MSPs?
Besides those listed above, MSPs are a way for an SMB to get technology and services that are otherwise only available to enterprise-sized businesses. Not everyone can afford singular software solutions that cost thousands or tens of thousands, and then have staff on hand who can effectively use these tools.
Cost is generally a large factor in the decision to have an MSP. Often, an in-house IT staff doesn’t make great financial sense. And by having an MSP, an SMB isn’t held hostage by a single password holder, or devastated by the risk of losing their singular IT expert.
That said, MSPs aren’t just for smaller businesses – enterprise-sized companies sometimes supplement their in-house IT departments by pushing projects onto MSPs, allowing their internal staff to focus on things that are more mission-critical.
MSPs are also helpful to keep on top of your compliance needs. Industries like education, finance, healthcare, and the public sector often have strict regulations regarding technology use, it can be tough to keep on top of it all.
How Much Do MSPs Cost?
Not only will rates vary between MSPs, the size of your business and the services you need will also impact the cost. However, most MSPs offer their services at a monthly cost. In exchange, you get the benefits of their service.
You’ll want to examine the contract you sign with your service provider for what incidents they cover. For instance, if your hardware breaks, you don’t want to find out at the last minute that your MSP doesn’t cover you in this scenario, or does cover you but doesn’t fix it on weekends.
The Future of MSPs
Some experts believe the future is moving increasingly towards MSPs and away from in-house IT in a bid to cost cut. In fact, for IT professionals the decision to work as an MSP or in-house is a very large one. Only time and technology will tell what the landscape will look like in just a few years’ time.