Small Internal Team? An IT Provider Can Augment On-Site Staff
If you are the owner or IT manager at a small- to medium-sized business (SMB), you are likely struggling to meet all of your organization’s IT needs with limited staffing and budgetary resources.
Between cybersecurity, an exponential increase in remote workers, and more regulatory requirements than ever before, the demands on IT resources are growing daily and most SMBs are struggling to keep up. And, many are dealing with high rates of staff turnover.
The good news is we can help.
At Kelser Corporation, an IT managed services provider, our experts have the technical breadth, expertise and experience to help organizations just like yours balance demands, address strategic IT needs, and come out with a strong, efficient, forward-looking IT infrastructure in the process.
And, with an MSP on your team, we take on the staffing challenges and provide continuity, freeing you to focus on other aspects of your business.
This article highlights some of the ways an MSP partner can enhance your SMB’s limited on-site resources and position your IT infrastructure for optimal performance. And, since MSPs may not be the right solution for every business, we’ll also talk about who might and might not benefit.
What Is An MSP?
Let’s start at the beginning.
An MSP supplements the skills and knowledge of your on-site team by providing additional resources, enhanced technical skills and a broad understanding of the industry.
An MSP’s experts understand your business objectives and goals; learn the intricacies of your IT infrastructure; and offer strategic advice to maximize its efficiency, availability, and security.
Working as an extension of your on-site staff, an MSP partner should have the skills and capacity to provide what you need, whether that’s hardware or software support, strategic planning services, cybersecurity advice or something completely different.
6 Key Services An MSP Provides
Some of the services MSPs provide include technical expertise; monitoring and management; business continuity and disaster recovery services, software patching, updating, and monitoring; employee awareness training; staffing; and cybersecurity expertise. Let’s look at each one in a little more detail.
1. Technical Expertise
MSPs offer a full complement of technical experts, providing the advantage of a broad range of skills at a reasonable price and without the worry of staff turnover and salary expenses that can easily range up into three-figures.
Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO)
A vCIO brings a strategic approach to your IT infrastructure and provides advice about the IT tools, plans and processes you need to best support your organization's short- and long-term goals and objectives.
A VCIO has a broad view of industry developments as well as technology and knows how to position your IT infrastructure to meet your needs - not just for today, but for the future as well.
Technical Alignment Manager (TAM)
A hands-on expert, the TAM knows your IT infrastructure inside and out.
This person constantly monitors and maintains your IT environment both remotely and on-site (as needed) to ensure that it is healthy and performs optimally.
They work with you to identify and prioritize service opportunities and make sure they address your pain points.
Service Delivery Manager (SDM)
One of the responsibilities of an SDM is to coordinate your hardware orders, deliveries, and installations.
The person in this role also acts as a conduit of information between IT engineers and your business, translating technical language into easy-to-understand terms and vice versa. As a result, issues are resolved faster and with less frustration.
The SDM provides a holistic view, focusing on strategic initiatives and process improvements. Outside of the MSP contact, SDMs also oversee project work from the proposal stage through to completion as a liaison between the client and technical staff.
2. Monitoring and Management
Think of this role as “IT Support on Steroids.” An MSP offers more than a place to turn when your device isn’t working. Rather than simply fixing things when they break, an MSP identifies and remediates network and server issues before they become a problem for your users.
MSPs monitor, manage and remediate issues related to laptops, desktops, and mobile devices. This includes email, anti-virus, anti-malware, automated patching, and remote monitoring.
Sometimes these issues are raised by customers via a call to the help (service) desk, but effective MSPs proactively address issues before customers are even aware that they exist.
MSPs monitor firewalls, switches and access points to identify issues, apply patches and keep your switches running securely at peak performance.
Automated patching and remote monitoring/management (RMM) are key elements of your server infrastructure.
MSPs monitor, manage and remediate issues related to both physical and virtual servers.
They proactively respond to issues that arise through routine monitoring or that customers alert them to including operating system issues, server hardware failures, anti-virus and anti-malware tools, and viruses.
3. Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery
A solid backup and recovery plan is the best way to stay ahead of cyber threats and keep your information safe; preventing loss and downtime in the event of a cyber attack.
Business continuity services can range from local disk-based backup to cloud-based backup to disaster recovery.
MSP partnerships allow business owners and IT professionals to rest easy knowing that backup process are not only in place, but that they are tested regularly to ensure they are easily accessible in the event of an incident – key to quickly restoring business capability.
4. Software Patching, Updating, Monitoring
Technology changes fast. When an MSP is proactively monitoring, patching and updating your software, your business technology is up-to-date, leaving you to focus on your business.
An MSP’s team of experts has the skills you need to care for your IT infrastructure. From email to anti-spam, anti-virus, and anti-malware, an MSP has the expertise to keep your business running smoothly.
Cyber crime is growing and the security landscape changes very quickly. There are so many more threats that organizations need access to good quality cybersecurity experts.
Employee Awareness Training
Cyber threats are more sophisticated than ever and are constantly evolving. MSPs hire cybersecurity professionals that stay ahead of the latest tactics. They know how to keep your business safe and provide cybersecurity training that will keep the issue top of mind for your employees.
- IT Infrastructure
Most MSPs have dedicated cybersecurity experts on their team, whose sole job is to develop layers of security support systems to keep your IT landscape running safely and securely.
6. Staffing Continuity
One of the intangible benefits of working with an MSP is that you don’t have to worry about losing one of your key IT staffers.
MSPs take on the responsibility of having the right skills on staff and managing turnover so that your business will have continuity at all times.
Who Is A Good Candidate For An IT MSP Partnership?
Although SMBs tend to have smaller and less complicated IT environment, they still need the same IT services as a larger organization, just on a smaller scale. With limited staff and budgets, SMBs typically benefit the most from MSP partnerships.
Without spending a small fortune, most SMBs can’t begin to hire the IT staff required to maintain their IT environment, never mind a staff that has the time, knowledge and resources to provide the forward-thinking advice that MSPs provide.
The bottom line is that MSPs give SMBs access to the IT skills they need without the burden of bearing all of the cost and staffing issues.
Who May Not Benefit From An IT MSP Partnership?
Many large organizations have a full complement of IT professionals on staff with the skills and certifications they need to provide optimal support.
If your organization has the resources and skills on staff to handle all of your IT needs (including strategic planning), you might not need an MSP.
The best way to decide if you need the support of an MSP is to honestly evaluate your IT staff. What skills do they have?
Do any skill gaps exist?
How do they user their time? Is that the best use of their time?
Do they have the bandwidth to respond timely support and provide forward-looking guidance to ensure the future success and security of your business?
If they don’t have the skills and time to keep your infrastructure running optimally, you may want to supplement with an MSP.
Want To Know More About Working With An MSP?
Your network is an essential part of your business and requires regular care and maintenance to perform optimally.
This article highlighted some of the services an MSP can provide: technical expertise; monitoring and management; business continuity/disaster recovery; software patching, updating, and monitoring; cybersecurity; and staffing.
At this point, you may be ready to explore a partnership with an MSP.
Kelser has been working with SMBs just like yours for more than 40 years. We achieve success by partnering with our customers and treating your businesses as we do our own. If you’d like to improve the security of your business, worry less about IT staffing and retention, have controlled and predictable IT costs, and reduce your worries, we can help. If you're wondering how much an MSP partnership might cost, read this article: How Much Does Kelser Charge For IT Managed Services? What's Included?