Why Do I Need an IT Managed Services Provider Near Me?
Throughout our decades in the IT business, we’ve heard every reason in the book for why you don’t actually need a local IT managed services provider (MSP):
- “It’s digital, so it can be done from anywhere!”
- “Cybersecurity is the same across the country and across the world… who cares where my MSP is located?”
- “I can get cheaper services or a better price point working with an offshore MSP.”
It’s true that many MSPs can now offer most or all of their services remotely. However, IT management and monitoring isn’t the only thing that your MSP should be responsible for. When things really go wrong—whether via natural disaster, technology failure, or human-induced error—having boots on the ground to help out is invaluable.
As an IT managed services provider in the Connecticut and Massachusetts, we’ve seen firsthand how working with local clients benefits your business in the long run. In this article, we’ll discuss the potential issues with using a non-local MSP, and why you should almost always look to work with an MSP near you.
What Do IT Managed Services Providers (MSPs) Actually Do?
Every MSP should provide standard network monitoring and management: keeping an eye on your servers, devices, and firewalls to make sure that everything is secure.
However, this is only a small portion of what MSPs can actually do for your business. For example, many MSPs offer “virtual CIOs” (also called vCIOs) or strategic advice to help companies with less technical savvy. These types of services often require an on-site presence to clearly understand your business, challenges, pain points, what you’re doing well and what could use improvement.
MSP services like intrusion testing and vulnerability testing should also be done on-site. Social engineering tests, such as dropping a flash drive in the parking lot to see if an employee picks it up and plugs it in, are best performed in-person as well.
Finally, in-person training and education programs for topics like cybersecurity awareness can bolster online self-directed learning. Having an MSP representative available to make presentations, answer questions, and solve problems can mean the difference between effective training that sticks and a lackluster PowerPoint presentation that’s quickly forgotten.
4 Potential Issues with a Non-Local IT Managed Services Provider
1. Time zones
If you choose to work with an offshore MSP, their working hours may be radically different from your own. MSPs based in Asia, for example, may have time differences with your business up to 12 hours apart. This could make real-time communication and support virtually impossible unless they offer guaranteed 24/7 availability.
2. Language barriers
Another detriment of an offshore MSP is the potential for a language barrier. Clear, precise communication is invaluable for a highly technical field such as IT services, and the consequences of a misunderstanding can be drastic. Opting for a local IT managed services provider ensures that you’ll both be speaking the same language (literally and metaphorically).
3. Communication styles
While things are improving thanks to the proliferation of remote work, it’s still difficult to communicate over the phone or email in a way that’s as effective as an in-person chat. For example, an issue that might take just a few seconds to demonstrate in person could require a lot more time and effort from a non-local MSP.
4. Response time
When calamity strikes, time is of the essence and a rapid response is necessary. Failing to mobilize when a problem occurs can result in harm to your reputation and even catastrophic business loss. Many disasters will require the physical presence of support staff on site, which can be challenging to coordinate when your MSP isn’t based in your location.
Why Should You Have a Local IT Managed Services Provider?
1. Personal touch
By far one of the greatest advantages of a local MSP is the personalized service that you can receive.
Here at Kelser, working with local businesses helps us develop a sense of community, pride, and commitment for each one of our customers. Being able to strengthen the working relationship over time through in-person meetings and contacts is priceless. A personal trust factor evolves when elbow to elbow with your trusted partner at the table and it only improves the communication and the relationship.
2. Long-term relationship
Thanks to the closer connections that local MSPs build, you’re more likely to have a working relationship that will last in the long run.
Your choice of MSP should fundamentally understand your business, your needs and objectives, and your plans for getting where you want to go. Choosing an MSP that's not located near you may save you money in the short term, but you’ll be missing the valuable strategic advantage that can only come from a long-term partner.
3. In-person service
As mentioned above, a local MSP can offer the high-quality in-person service that non-local MSPs simply can’t provide, from setup and installation to technical support and business continuity.
When one of Kelser’s clients was hit by a freak lightning strike, for example, they needed a new switch and a new server to get back up and running. Kelser hand-delivered the hardware the client needed, helping them to survive with minimal downtime until they could perform a full repair.
4. Additional insights
Having MSP representatives on-site allows them to notice things in-person that they might never have been aware of remotely. For example, during a visit your MSP may notice that certain security protocols are missing or being incorrectly enforced.
IT Managed Services in Connecticut
After decades in the IT business, Kelser understands the benefits of working with local clients—both for you and for us. That’s why we offer IT managed services only for companies headquartered in the Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island tri-state area.
Simply put: we prefer to excel at our job for local clients, where we can really stay on top of things across the board.