The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Managed IT Service Provider

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Hiring a managed service provider (MSP) is a great way to save time and money. However, they come with their own set of pros and cons.

An MSP is a company that provides services such as network management, security, cloud computing, and other IT solutions. They often outsource these services to third parties, allowing them to focus on core competencies. This article will help you learn the benefits and drawbacks of hiring a managed IT service provider.

7 Pros

When you hire an MSP, they look after your business’ data and online presence. Unlike individuals who leave sensitive information stored in computers around the home, some hackers can get into businesses when they know where they are. By using an them, they will help you secure all of your company’s important documents, passwords, financial information, etc., in one place.

Following are several benefits of outsourcing a managed IT provider.

1. Security

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Outsourcing to a managed IT service provider means that you no longer have to worry about securing data. Their team monitors suspicious activity regularly and alerts you if any criminal behavior is detected. You also don’t have to spend hours every month taking care of cybersecurity issues. With this free time, you can focus on running your business.

2. Availability

When there’s a problem at your business, a managed IT service provider is available 24/7/365 to fix it right away. If something does go wrong over the weekend or during off-hours, you’ll be able to get back up and dash by calling them. Your team won’t need to scramble to find someone at 3 am because the issue was urgent.

3. Cost Control

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An MSP usually offers flexible pricing for different packages depending on how much work they’re doing. Most offer monthly contracts that let you pay them only for what they use while saving yourself from having to worry whether the amount you pay covers everything. The price should still fit the tasks they perform. A good example would be paying $200 per month instead of purchasing expensive software licenses that could cost thousands each year.

4. Scalability

Having them available to take care of your IT infrastructure means it’s ready whenever you want to expand. As your business grows, you won’t have to invest in new equipment; you contact them and increase the number of employees working with their team.

5. Training

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Many companies provide training to employees and contractors to prepare when problems arise. It’s vital to train staff on how to deal with issues appropriately. This goes hand in hand with ensuring that those hired are proficient enough to handle certain situations. For instance, even though you might have a technical director, a project manager, and an office administrator with years of experience, their level of knowledge isn’t always relevant for some projects. A managed IT service provider often trains its staff members extensively before assigning them real cases.

6. Expertise

Since an MSP focuses solely on technology, they stay up to date on ongoing trends within the industry. This lets them create custom applications based on requirements specific to your organization. Plus, they might already have access to specialized tools that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. They may have created the same type of software used by other organizations in your field.

7. Compliance

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Companies must adhere to various regulations to protect customers’ personal information. Some organizations will turn to MSPs to help ensure compliance. For example, they may be responsible for managing server security settings and keeping records of users accessing certain parts of the website. They are typically well versed in handling these types of situations.

Outsourcing a managed IT service provider is a smart move. While you may not benefit as much from each point listed above, hiring one gives you peace of mind knowing your business is protected.

Drawbacks

1. Reliance

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You may not realize it, but relying on an MSP can put too much pressure on your business. Because they know your system inside and out, they’ll come in handy if anything were to go wrong. However, this also makes them vulnerable to getting into trouble like any other company when things go awry.

Thus, instead of focusing on growing your business, you’ll be spending time trying to figure out why their systems weren’t properly handling the situation. This will take time and money.

In addition, because most businesses don’t specialize in one area, they often lack the expertise needed to solve many complex issues related to technology. Therefore, if the MSP gets itself stuck and needs additional assistance, it may take weeks or months while you frantically try to find someone who knows what’s going on. Even worse, you could face penalties if the issue impacts your organization.

2. Hidden Fees

When deciding whether or not to hire an MSP, you should consider all aspects of their charges. For example, do they charge extra fees for overtime? Are there set monthly rates? How long is the contract? These details can be confusing for small businesses, especially considering they’re likely unfamiliar with some terms. Unfortunately, hidden charges can make the cost of hiring an MSP skyrocket.

3. Lack of Flexibility

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While an MSP specializes in providing services related to technology, they aren’t necessarily experts in every area. If you need hardware replacement, you may end up paying more than expected since it won’t be covered under your current agreement. Keep detailed notes about your contacts to understand your responsibilities to avoid surprises. Of course, some companies offer discounts through different programs such as referrals and loyalty rewards.

4. Physical Presence

Many MSPs have employees who work directly within your building. Although having someone physically available to help troubleshoot problems is convenient, it doesn’t always give you the same comfort level as owning the equipment yourself. It would be a lot easier to fix something using a remote access tool rather than waiting days to get it fixed by calling a maintenance specialist.

Also, if the person helping you is outside your state, they may not be familiar with your local laws. Additionally, you are limited to only what they know. For instance, they might help troubleshoot a specific problem but not be qualified enough to handle a more extensive scale maintenance project. With a DIY solution, you can call around and get advice from people in your team.

Takeaway

Despite the drawbacks of an MSP, they provide several advantages over doing everything yourself. As an experienced business owner, you’ll recognize these benefits right away. Instead of investing countless hours figuring stuff out for yourself, you now have access to trained professionals who can quickly resolve technical issues and save you time.

Additionally, you are less prone to making costly mistakes due to human error quickly when working remotely with an MSP. Before jumping into a relationship with an MSP, weigh your options carefully and choose the best option based on your unique circumstances.