6 Ways IT Providers Help Businesses Continue When Disaster Strikes
Your senior network engineer just quit without warning. Or maybe a hacker penetrated your firewall. Or you’ve had a recent workforce reduction that’s affected your IT department.
Any one of these situations (and a multitude of others) can be anxiety-provoking especially for small- to medium-sized businesses with limited resources.
At Kelser, we understand because we’ve helped hundreds of companies protect against and recover from incidents like these.
As a managed services provider (MSP), we know that MSPs aren’t the right solution for every business that's why we publish educational information about the services MSPs provide so you can have the information you need to decide whether your business can benefit.
In this article, I’ll talk about six specific ways MSPs help businesses prepare for the unexpected. By the end of this article, you’ll better understand what an MSP can do and the benefits an MSP partnership offers. That information will put you in a better position to decide if your business would benefit from working with an MSP.
What Is An MSP?
An MSP is an external resource that many SMBs use to supplement internal IT resources or to provide all of their IT support.
MSPs deliver network, application, infrastructure, and security services on an ongoing contract basis via on-premise and remote support. They monitor and manage client networks, servers, and devices (including email and service/help desk support) as well as anti-spam, -virus, and -malware.
Some MSPs also provide cybersecurity awareness training for the customer’s employees.
Typical MSP plans include access to industry experts such as a virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO), service delivery manager (SDM), and technical alignment manager (TAM).
6 Ways MSPs Help Prepare And Recover
For some businesses, working with an MSP can provide a more resilient and efficient way to work and it can help prepare for and recover from disasters of various magnitudes.
Here are six specific examples:
When you work with an MSP, the MSP takes on the worry of hiring, managing, and allocating staff. In today’s world, where IT turnover rates are hovering around 13 percent, that is no small worry.
Rather than break/fix providers who may send a different person every time you call, an MSP invests in people who will get to know the unique nuances of your business and your infrastructure.
Many MSPs provide a TAM, SDM, and vCIO who become your IT partners. These IT experts track industry trends and technology innovations daily, bringing the latest and greatest solutions to your issues. They also work with you to proactively figure out the best ways your IT infrastructure can support your future business goals.
Your business receives strategic advice from an unbiased, external, and professional team, yielding new efficiencies in both time and money.
With an MSP, you don’t have to worry about day-to-day management and scheduling issues. No more worrying about covering holidays or vacations. You reduce overhead costs.
And, working with an MSP will free you up to focus on other aspects of your business. No more sleepless nights wondering what will happen if a key member of your IT staff leaves in the middle of a project.
2. Cost Management
When you are part of an SMB, cost concerns are always top of mind. MSPs can help by providing all the IT support you need at a consistent monthly cost, eliminating the wonder of what the latest infrastructure or device fix will cost.
Unfortunately, no matter the size of the business, every IT infrastructure requires the same care elements (i.e. security, maintenance, monitoring). A smaller business infrastructure has the same elements and needs as a large one, but without the budgetary resources of a large company.
When you work with an MSP, you gain access to the advice and expertise of seasoned IT professionals without the cost burden of hiring the same professionals as part of your internal staff.
You pay one reliable amount each month, making cost management and budget planning easier and more consistent.
3. Monitoring, Maintenance, and Management
When you sign up with an MSP, your IT infrastructure will be efficient, reliable, and available.
MSPs manage your networks, ensuring connectivity, routing, and backups. They proactively identify issues including hardware failures and bandwidth use, apply patches, and keep things running at peak performance.
Whether you need configuration, patching, and management of your operating system, resolution of server hardware failures, management of anti-virus/anti-malware, or remediation of viruses, your MSP has you covered.
Because your MSP has an in-depth knowledge of your IT infrastructure, they can resolve issues quickly and effectively (and often before your users even know they are a problem).
4. Strategic Planning
With access to dedicated vCIOs, TAMs, and SDMs your business gains the competitive advantage of strategic IT planning.
These experts work together to understand your unique business needs and your current IT infrastructure. They facilitate resource acquisition and provide proactive planning and advice about technology improvements that will help your organization successfully achieve its goals.
With an MSP watching out for you, there should be no surprises.
5. Employee Cybersecurity Training
Cyber threats continue to evolve daily. In addition to risk assessments and vulnerability scans, many MSPs provide regular employee cybersecurity awareness training to keep this important issue at the forefront.
Employees are not only your greatest asset as a human firewall but also potentially your weakest cybersecurity link. Ongoing employee training initiatives can provide the knowledge they need to protect your business and significantly reduce your cybersecurity risk.
6. Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery
We all take measures to defend our homes against criminals. MSPs provide the same protection for your IT infrastructure. Your MSP partner has experts on staff who monitor the latest trends and ensure that your network is up to date and prepared.
An MSP's cybersecurity experts proactively monitor your network. They know when your firewall needs to be updated or replaced. They ensure that the latest anti-virus, -malware, and -spam patches and updates are installed on your network, as well as the latest threat profiles to watch for, keeping your business protected at all times.
They know the latest tactics that criminals are using and constantly prepare your IT defenses to be at the ready.
In addition, with an MSP on your team, your network is backed up and checked regularly so that in the event of a cyber incident or natural disaster, no matter the magnitude, your MSP can quickly get you back up and running by reverting to the latest backup.
Which Organizations Might Benefit From An MSP Partnership?
If your organization is currently working under a break/fix model and is looking for a more strategic approach to your expanding IT needs (whether that means a larger remote workforce, increasing regulatory compliance requirements, cybersecurity concerns, cloud migration, or other strategic initiatives), an MSP might be a good fit for you.
If you have a limited IT staff or no dedicated IT staff at all, an MSP can provide a good way for you to strengthen the efficiency and security of your infrastructure while minimizing costs and the hassles that go with additional staff.
If you want to migrate to the cloud, but don't have the resources to make that happen, an MSP might be a good fit for you.
Which Organizations Might Not Benefit From An MSP Partnership?
If you work for a large organization with unlimited resources, you may have the luxury of hiring all of the IT experts you need. In times of tightening budgets, these arrangements are few and far between, but they do exist.
Having said that, even organizations with a full complement of IT professionals may find it hard to keep up with the changing cybersecurity landscape or strategic planning and find it beneficial to work with an MSP.
Again, MSPs are not the right fit for everyone and it's important to determine whether it is a good solution for your business or not.
Want To Learn More About MSPs?
You now have a better understanding of some of the ways an MSP can provide your business with continuity. MSPs provide technical experts at a reasonable cost; monitor, maintain, and manage your network; help your organization plan for future infrastructure needs, enhance your cybersecurity, and improve your ability to recover from disasters.
At Kelser, we work with clients across a variety of industries implementing technology solutions that help businesses achieve their goals, improve efficiency, enhance security, and guarantee that their network and business are always available.
We know that cost is a concern for many SMBs, so we’re attaching this article that spells out the costs of working with a managed service provider and what’s covered: How Much Does Managed IT Cost? What’s Usually Included?