Your business is doing exciting things and providing valuable services to its customers. But does it ever feel like you’re constantly bogged down with IT-related business processes and mundane tasks that distract you from those exciting things and valuable services?
Whether you’re a small business owner or a leader at a larger organization, it might feel like you’re constantly being held up or distracted by IT concerns. Or you might be frustrated by inefficiencies, inconsistent costs, or bureaucratic slowdowns — all tied to IT.
For many businesses facing challenges like these, managed IT services is the optimal solution.
In this post, we’ll explain all about how managed IT services work, and we’ll give you 10 powerful reasons why the right managed service provider can increase operational efficiency, control operational costs, and help you reach your business goals.
What Are Managed IT Services?
Managed IT services is an approach to handling your organization’s IT needs, in whole or in part, by contracting with an outside firm called a managed services provider (MSP). An MSP specializes in all things IT and can provide focus and technical depth beyond what your organization can do internally.
Some businesses use managed IT services to handle a specific portion of their IT needs, while others rely on an MSP for their entire scope of IT needs.
While any MSP can handle basic IT support at nearly any business, managed IT services firms often specialize in particular fields so they can go deeper and provide higher levels of support.
Some firms, Flagship Solutions Group included, offer managed services alongside other IT solutions. Others zero in on MSP services and do not offer additional capabilities.
10 Benefits of Managed IT Services
Businesses turn to managed IT services for a wide range of reasons. If you’re not sure the model is right for you or want to know how a managed services provider could benefit you, consider these ten benefits and positive outcomes.
1. Cost Savings
While there’s much more to the picture than just cutting costs, trimming budget is far and away the most common reason businesses start discussing a switch to managed IT.
The savings come in a few different ways. First, you’ll incur lower and more predictable IT infrastructure and maintenance costs: when your MSP handles the upgrades and the maintenance, you pay a predictable monthly rate rather than face huge spikes in costs.
You’ll also gain access to advanced technologies (and the advanced technical skills needed to make them work) without direct heavy investment. Depending on the size of your business, you may not have the resources to hire a data scientist or an AI guru. But an MSP focuses solely on IT and spreads the load across multiple clients, giving you access to those advanced skills without the burdens of finding and hiring for those positions.
2. Proactive IT Support and Maintenance
Choosing managed IT services also unlocks powerful, proactive support and maintenance that you might not be able — or want — to handle with internal resources. With the right IT partner, you’ll get 24/7 monitoring and issue detection, and your problems will be resolved promptly. You’ll reduce downtime as you’re no longer stuck waiting for an outside specialist to solve a tricky problem.
An MSP also handles regular system updates, security patches, and the like: you won’t have to worry about getting these done yourself, and you’ll gain the peace of mind that someone’s taking care of it for you.
3. Enhanced Security and Data Protection
Working with a partner for your managed IT can also deliver better security and data protection. IT providers like Flagship offer robust security solutions that include up-to-date cybersecurity measures and threat detection.
We’ll also help with data backup and disaster recovery services (more on those later) and compliance with data privacy and industry regulations.
4. Predictable & Scalable Spending (OPEX)
IT spending tends to be spiky, and quite a bit of it falls into capital expenses (CAPEX). A new server, new workstations for your entire workforce, annual renewals on costly business software— it adds up, and it doesn’t happen in steady amounts.
More and more businesses are transitioning IT spending to OpEx by choosing managed IT services. With this model, you pay a consistent, predictable monthly rate. Your IT partner absorbs the spikiness, and you stay focused on getting business done.
5. Scalability and Flexibility
You’ll also find that the managed services model is scalable: when you need more support (or less), your MSP can scale with you, and you don’t have to worry about recruiting, hiring, or HR.
This works because your MSP can leverage the economy of scale. With the resources to support multiple businesses like yours, a capable MSP can easily absorb additional IT needs.
- Seamless integration of new technologies and applications
- Support for remote work and mobility
6. Focus on Core Business Functions
When someone asks you, “What does your business do?”, what’s your answer?
If you’ve made it this far into this post, then your answer probably isn’t “IT.”
You may have an IT department, but IT isn’t the core of what you do. It’s a necessary component to getting business done, but it’s not the business itself.
Offloading IT responsibilities to experts — the people who do answer that question with “IT” — helps you focus. It helps your internal teams focus on strategic initiatives and on what they do well. Managed IT can remove the distraction, letting you focus more intensely on the things that make your business great.
The end result? Improved productivity and efficiency for you and your teams, and better IT results at the same time.
7. Access to Skilled IT Professionals
Working with a qualified MSP gives you access to a team of specialized IT experts. No matter how robust your internal IT department, there are skills that you need only occasionally. And chances are there are other in-demand skills that you can’t find or don’t have the resources to staff internally.
MSPs have that wide range of technical expertise, and the good ones are providing ongoing training and certifications for their IT staff.
8. Vendor Management and Procurement
Depending on the size of your organization, vendor management and procurement could be another strategic reason to choose a managed services provider.
If you work with a number of IT vendors and contracts, managing it all practically takes an entire department devoted to the task. Working through all the available vendors for a given function takes time, and many businesses overpay simply to avoid having to work through the options.
When you work with an MSP, you can take advantage of your MSP’s greater knowledge of the IT vendor space. MSPs often optimize costs on vendors, improve accountability, and get better results.
9. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Backup and disaster recovery and business continuity planning are both vital to ensure the continued existence and success of your business, no matter what unforeseen event might affect your operations. That’s true whether you handle them with your in-house team or work with a partner.
The latter approach is attractive for many businesses because developing and testing disaster recovery plans takes time and expertise.
Not to mention the stakes: both the length of downtime during unexpected events and the speed at which you’re able to restore critical systems and data after a disaster are both crucially important. How you fare here could mean the difference between a bump in the road and the end of your business as you know it.
10. Data Compliance
Many businesses and industries face a growing body of regulations on how they handle and store data. This data is vital to business success, but compliance failures can result in hefty financial penalties — not to mention the loss of customer trust.
Managed services providers can keep you compliant and steer you toward solutions that will fit within whatever regulations you’re under.
Remember that many managed IT services businesses specialize in specific industries (such as healthcare or finance). If you’re in an industry with heavy or unique data regulations, you may want to prioritize MSPs that specialize in your field.
Choosing the Right Managed Services Provider
If you’re exploring the possibility of working with a managed services provider, there’s still one big hurdle in your way: choosing the right one.
How do you know which MSP is right for you?
Here are a few tips that can help you refine your search.
- Size: Does the MSP have the size and scale to support your enterprise or medium-sized business? Or, if you’re a small business, is the MSP so large that you’ll not get the same level of service as your larger competitors?
- Specialization: Does the MSP have a strong track record serving businesses in your industry?
- Partnerships and certifications: Every MSP has its preferred partners. If you’re already committed to a certain software tool or third-party provider, make sure the MSP is experienced in that space.
- Expertise: Is the managed IT service provider essentially a help desk for hire, or does it have the depth to provide a range of support, including analytics, cloud services, and security services? And does the managed service provider offer the latest technology?
- Access: Will you have immediate access to your managed IT service provider? How quickly does the MSP commit to providing initial technical support? What about average resolution time?
Managed IT Services with Flagship Solutions Group
Choosing managed IT services delivers significant value to businesses of all shapes and sizes. It’s a great way to control costs, gain access to expertise and scalability, and gain a new level of strategic focus.
Flagship Solutions Group is an IBM Gold business partner that provides remote and on-site managed IT services to businesses worldwide. From help desk support to hybrid cloud and data center strategic planning, we can be your partner in IT.
Ready to explore what working with an MSP could do for your business? Reach out to our team today.