What is managed IT? We define it as real-time technology management that is fully-integrated into your business to proactively protect, monitor, maintain, and support everything and everyone.
For all intents and purposes, managed IT offers end-to-end accountability and awareness of your information technology systems. Backed by a dedicated team of professional technical experts, a managed services provider (MSP) can deliver around the clock monitoring, preventative maintenance, asset management, comprehensive documentation, reporting, budgeting, strategy, and regular audits. In addition (and one of the key reasons you may be seeking managed services), a valuable MSP will generally offer active cybersecurity with advanced threat protection systems and a zero-day response team focused on preventing or mitigating emerging threats.
If you rely on in-house IT personnel, have you considered outsourcing additional role(s)? Business owners may believe that implementing hybrid IT, which involves using internal and external IT professionals, could be perceived as a threat to the existing IT team. We’ve also heard outsourcing will cost more and provide less value. The reality is, leveraging an MSP should be used to complement and strengthen your existing team by extending its skill-set, offering internal techs access to enterprise tools and systems that are typically too expensive, keeping everyone accountable, providing additional manpower for major projects, and introducing added layers of protection against personnel turnover.
When discussing managed services, Carolyn April of CompTIA, a world leading tech association, states:
“It elevates the IT staff and brings them out of the shadows within the organization. It allows them to focus on a custom app dev project or cloud initiative — something highly strategic. I think that’s a win-win for your IT staff.” (via CIO.com)
Whether your business leverages a MSP using fully outsourced or hybrid IT arrangement, the value can be substantial. Let’s find out why.
1. Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Compliance
You should already know about the EU’s recent adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) act, as it certainly received a lot of press here 2018. If you are a Canadian business with consumer interests, you should also know to comply with Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). However, many organizations are unaware of the impending update to PIPEDA. As of November 1 2018, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has made reporting a security breach mandatory. Not only is reporting a breach to the governing body mandatory, you must also notify all applicable Canadians if their personal information may have been at risk. In addition, you are required to maintain a record of all breaches. Any failure to adhere to these obligations may result in fines of up to $100,000 per violation. You can learn more about this update to PIPEDA here, but the takeaway is clear – you should use a qualified party to confirm that your organization complies with GDPR, PIPEDA, and other international legislation. You’d better believe that Uber now wishes they had done their due diligence prior to their 2016 violation which resulted in a $148 million (USD) fine.
Not all MSPs offer adequate cybersecurity or data privacy compliance, as it depends on their experience, service offerings, and so forth. Those that do, and those that are good at it, will incorporate proactive and on-going security measures throughout the entire organization. This means locking down user accounts and vendor access, vetting and scrutinizing software during the selection process, isolating networks so that if something is penetrated the 3rd party can only get so far, and much more. There are literally thousands of components and strategic tactics involved, and a lot of people fail to understand that. A good MSP brings value because they are typically in all of your systems, naturally incorporating cybersecurity for each of them.
Assuming compliance is dangerous. A complete end-to-end audit should be performed annually by a qualified MSP or cybersecurity firm.
2. Adding Enterprise Systems Without Having to Buy Them
Mature MSPs come with enterprise systems that are typically too expensive for small and medium sized businesses to purchase, setup, and maintain on their own. These systems should include (but are not limited to):
- Hardware and software monitoring and alerting systems –
(24/7 eyes on PCs, Servers, Networking Equipment, Internet, Services, Software, etc.)
- Ticketing systems that track events against users and specific devices –
(Allowing you to report and identify problematic and costly users or devices)
- Automation systems –
(Allowing the IT team to reduce manual tasks, standardize the experience, speed up changes)
- Advanced documentation systems –
(Weak documentation is a substantial liability)
- Remote access tools –
(Speed up the support process)
- Asset management systems –
(allowing the business to keep track of what it owns, what is getting old, who is assigned what)
- Centrally Monitored Anti-virus and Anti-ransomware systems
- Centrally Monitored Firewall systems
- Centrally Monitored Disk Encryption systems
These systems can require a lot of capital. Depending on the number of users and devices, it may require hundreds of thousands of dollars to order, setup, and deploy some of them; along with the ongoing cost to keep them licensed, updated, and operational each year. Your business and its internal IT team can generally negotiate the use of these tools as a part of a monthly cost.
3. Technology is Rapidly Advancing and Keeping Up is Challenging
Technology is growing at such a rapid pace that the commitment of keeping in-house IT trained on everything can be challenging and costly. Hiring qualified in-house technicians can also be very challenging given that the most experienced techs have already been recruited, and so businesses typically need to bring them in at the ground level and train them for years. Can you afford to wait while opportunities and threats loom overhead?
A reasonably sized MSP will have regular exposure and experience with new technologies. They tend to get more exposure because of the variety of clients they support, and they develop strong relationships with vendors along the way (which usually results in front-of-the-line intel on what’s coming). Simply put, your in-house IT may not have the bandwidth to take on client-facing systems or projects that help the business advance. By bringing in a qualified MSP to assist with projects or take on a supporting role, you allow your IT team to focus.
4. Controlled Spending on IT
Many in-house teams manage IT on the fly, which can result in inflated and/or poorly tracked budgets. The right MSP will provide a comprehensive annual review process that includes hundreds of checks, fiscal recommendations, and a 12-month evergreening schedule. It’s a fact that most IT budgets are increasing each year, with a strong focus on business growth and transformation, but companies may no have a clear understand of ROI. An MSP can offer more clarity by using their enterprise tools and processes, so that smarter strategic decisions can be made.
5. You Need More Defined IT Goals
In the same manner that IT budgets are being allocated on an “as needed” basis, many in-house teams tend to manage IT reactively, responding to problems/threats without a clearly defined goal. This results in poorly tracked spending and non-strategic improvements in IT processes and infrastructure that can serve the greater goals of the company.
Technology and IT are a fundamental non-optional component that is required to achieve success in every aspect of business; business and IT strategy need to be tightly integrated. A MSP can work closely with your executive team to help align them both.
6. You Need to Focus on Your Business, Customers, Clients
This is the age-old truism of outsourcing for business needs. By removing the IT “headache” (in this case) a business can focus where it needs to, be it marketing or product/service innovation (etc.). With increased pressure keep up and countless emerging technologies, businesses shouldn’t attempt to take everything on by themselves. An MSP can help you stay focused on the big picture.
Learn more about Managed IT support provided by SIRKit, complete with a pricing calculator to help you estimate your worthwhile investment. If you have any questions whatsoever, don’t hesitate to contact us today.