Managed Services Provider: Should I be Considering? CEO Insights 03-27-2020 By Jim Steinlage President & Chief Executive Officer Table of Contents Cost-Effective Risk Reduction Prevents Breaches and Expensive Downtime Proactive Solutions World-Class Capabilities Faster Support Response Time Best-in-Class MSPs Cyberattacks and Ransomware Pandemic Ready Capabilities and Offerings By 2025, the managed IT services industry is expected to be valued at $356.24 billion, as published by Arne Holst in a March 2, 2020 Statista report. This is an increase of more than 70% over their 2019 valuation. IT-related processes including cloud computing, IT infrastructure, and managed IT security, as well as managed services like hosting, storage/backup, and managed security services, along with a talent shortage are driving the model that sees organizations looking for alternatives from increasing in-house IT departments to engaging an IT managed service provider. Looking at it from my business and finance background, here are the top drivers why businesses should consider switching to managed IT services in 2020. Is it time for your organization to make the move? Cost-Effective The ability to control and predict spending is one of the greatest benefits a managed service provider (MSP) brings to the table. The fixed monthly cost allows your organization to manage IT expenditures while continuing to plan for the future. Businesses also save by not having to expand their in-house IT staffs and by creating elasticity when looking at growth or possible downsizing. Risk Reduction An MSP worthy of consideration should be backed by a team of experienced IT professionals who have specific, in-depth experience and qualifications, up-to-date certifications, and timely industry training. They should be able to draw on their collective technical experience and expertise to find solutions that use industry best practices that also keep you industry compliant. Prevents Breaches and Expensive Downtime Downtime and security breaches can have an immediate impact on your organization’s bottom line. Managed IT services can help you avoid these risks by consistently monitoring and updating your network, performing risk assessments, and responding quickly when a network goes down. Your MSP should have 24×7 availability to access security information and manage security needs since cybersecurity attacks can happen any time, day or night. Proactive Solutions Outsourcing to an MSP doesn’t mean you totally eliminate your IT staff. Having proactive support an MSP offers not only predicts and prevents business-critical tech problems, it allows internal IT staff to be more productive with focus on business needs and revenue growth instead of time-consuming, mundane IT situations. World-Class Capabilities Experienced Senior Solution architects who have mastered their skills through years of experience bring their knowledge and guidance to a process that understands your organization’s goals and technical requirements. They use that information to help you with your most pressing challenges and initiatives. In-house employees with these skills are often out of reach for financially-challenged small- to mid-size businesses. You should also challenge MSP’s on their skill level as there will be times in crises where you will need to trust and have confidence in their skillset, experience and knowledge to get you to favorable outcomes. Faster Support Response Time Businesses working with a reliable MSP receive quicker support than the traditional break/fix model affords. When even five minutes of downtime can mean total operational shutdown, an SLA (Service Level Agreement) response time that is aligned with your IT needs and expectations means your ability to satisfy employees as well as customers without a hitch. Nothing is more costly than losing a customer or employee you worked hard because they feel you are not responding timely to their needs. A major recruiting and retention of talent in the future will depend on how you deliver the employee experience. Your HR department will be one of your biggest fans if you can deliver a favorable employee experience. Best-in-Class MSPs The rise of cyberattacks and an increasingly complex technology landscape have created a perfect IT security storm that many organizations are ill-equipped to handle or cannot afford the internal talent to maintain and perform. From ensuring its data’s security to making sure it has the latest technology at hand, your business deserves to run at its highest efficiency. Cyberattacks and Ransomware The massive rise in ransomware and other cyberattacks should concern business owners who worked hard to develop a great business and loyal customers. Are we prepared for an attack? Do we have adequate backups? How do you know? Are your putting your total trust in your internal IT staff? Who is validating its availability and accuracy? Pandemic Ready Capabilities and Offerings Your MSP should be skilled in its ability to timely deliver choices, knowledge, capabilities and resources to allow your teams to securely work from anywhere on any type of device and be able to monitor and manage it. Ideally you want an option to procure these solutions while avoiding capital expenditure. Having both a private and public cloud operating expense option would also be important. You should also challenge MSP’s on their skill level as there will be times in crises, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, where you will need to trust and have confidence in their skillset. A highly qualified MSP also makes extensive use of advanced automation technologies, follows industry best practices and customized procedures to deliver managed IT solutions that help optimize your operations while providing value that has a real and long-lasting impact on your organization’s consistent performance. Could what you at first thought was an additional expense be a great investment to the growth and stability of your organization? If so, don’t be fooled as all MSP’s are not the same.