Managed service providers

The Complete Story about IT Managed Services

May 3, 2017

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are a great resource when it comes to replacing your IT department. There are several good reasons for hiring an MSP over investing more money and time into your current IT. The cloud is becoming a place where more and more companies are going to handle their day to day tasks, and their current IT teams are not adequately trained to handle the upsurge of new technologies.

The Managed Service Provider

In the days of legacy systems, companies would wait for something to break and then call some third party group to come and fix it. Today, that is too impractical. Waiting for someone to show up in the next day or two can shut a small business down until the work is finished. In the age of data, everything is stored and access via computer, so if those computers are not running as they should, then things can scream to a halt.

Companies then relied on creating their own on-site teams to handle possible problems. As IT departments were formed, and companies watched costs go through the roof, the IT departments became a serious drain on companies. Technologies advanced and companies invested in new tools that allowed them to shrink their IT staff. Still, employees had to write or submit a ticket and wait for IT to show up, which could take hours or even longer. The cloud opened up new opportunities and the managed service provider was born.

Managed service providers can do everything an IT department can do without the hassles or the costs. They employ highly trained individuals that can cover all aspects of various networks. IT teams have been redefined in larger companies, and have taken on the role to manage innovations and infrastructure.

The Necessity for MSPs

Remember when you could go to the IT department and let them know your computer was not working properly? That IT area is now vacant. The servers are now gone and the personnel has their own cubicles in a different part of the building. They are now tasked with the design and architecture of network systems within the company. They have monitoring stations where they watch over a United Communication & Collaboration (UC& C) network.

IT experts maintain local computer and devices and make sure the integrity remains fluid. When there are issues the IT personnel contact their managed service provider, and the problem gets fixed immediately. The monitoring stations they control have more to do with communication and local hardware.

The MSP manages the bandwidth, software, connectivity, backups, and virtualization. As your company grows and starts to add newer technologies to the network, or when management decides it’s time to become more mobile, then it is the MSP who makes sure everything continuously runs smoothly. MSPs will work hand in hand with your IT department to set up a disaster recovery plan in case of a fire, flood, or other disasters that can affect your network. Find out more: download the white paper: Small Business Networking

Monitoring Solutions

When considering the need for a managed service provider you must ask yourself if you are ready to take on the world. MSPs are your company’s link to a slew of technology you may not even know about. MSPs have tools to monitor your bandwidth, network traffic, server stability, and memory usage. These little tools help with the maintenance of your network through the cloud. Many of these tools your IT department may use now, but at a local level. It is doubtful that the IT department’s tools will reach into the cloud and manage bandwidth across large area networks to look for paths of least resistance to make sure your traffic maintains a smooth flow throughout the day.

Small- to medium-sized companies may not have the utilities or know how to upgrade systems in a large capacity. Their current monitoring solutions work fine at the moment, but what happens when the Internet of Things (IoT) permeates the workplace? Virtualization? Buy the book ‘Easy Prey: How to Protect Your Business From Data Breach, Cybercrime and Employee Fraud’.

MSPs and Newer Technologies

Technology is growing in the cloud at a blinding speed. Every new advancement seems to spawn two or three more ideas to try, and enterprises are investing millions of dollars in efforts to advance each of these technologies:

    Virtualization is becoming more common in the healthcare industry. Virtual servers are becoming more commonplace in all industries, and virtual social tools are being used at the corporate level.
  • Chatbots are becoming more usable in all fields of customer service, and many are calling it the new AI of the cloud. Various types of organizations, from colleges to major corporations are moving forward to further this virtual intelligence.
  • IoT represents everything from laptops, to cars to medical devices, and even light bulbs, washing machines, and pacemakers. This has become so big they are now breaking it into sub-categories like the IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) and the IoIT (Internet of Industrial Things).
  • Clinical Informatics can be everything from video conferencing to population outcomes as it relates to the spread of disease and illnesses.
  • And… telehealth, EHRs, the virtual CIO, Blockchain, and much more.

Why Should You Have a MSP?

Simple. Does your IT staff have the training to negotiate and maintain all the technologies we have mentioned so far? Are you willing to train them so they have this ability? How many of these technologies does your company need and how best can they serve you to move your company forward? If you don’t know all the answers to these questions (or if you do, depending on what those answers are), then you need an MSP just to help you find answers. Find out more; download the white paper: Managed IT Services For Small Businesses

How to Find the Right MSP for Your Company

Cloud service providers, managed service providers and IT outsourcing specialists are popping up all over the country. How can you find the right one, the one that will help your company grow, and which meets the integrity and needs of the company? First off you have to ask questions. Find a reputable provider that has been in the industry for a long period of time, like TOSS C3.

Below is a list of questions you may want to consider asking a new MSP before signing a contract:

    Experience – This has a coupled of questions attached to it. You should find out how long the provider has been in the cloud industry. Also, find out if they have a list of clients in your industry. This is important because you want to make sure they specifically have what you need. If your company is part of a specific industry like healthcare or insurance, or you are a CPA or an attorney then make sure they have the certifications needed to store your data. Some states and industries require certain certifications for data storage. This is to help with patient and client data protection.
  • Ask them about the ITIL – The ITIL, or Information Technology Infrastructure Library is the IT standard. After you have found out if they are good enough for your industry then it is time to find out if they are good enough for their own industry. Being certified by this group is not a requirement, but it can help give you peace of mind when considering a MSP for your company.
  • Technologies you provide – We covered a list above about the different technologies available in the cloud. Ask if about the abilities, features, and functions the provider can offer and find out if any would help your company. Maybe patient portals would be a good fit, or perhaps mobility services are something you really want to advance to. Mobility offerings can include laptops, tablets, and smartphones. This mobility option is very popular, and allows managers and employees to connect to the office anywhere there is an Internet connection. Find out what other companies in your industry are doing, and how those technologies have improved their business.
  • Get it in writing – You will receive a lot of information when talking to a provider. Unless you are a technology junkie there may be some things you don’t understand. Ask the provider to explain anything you don’t understand fully. If they cannot explain what they are doing in layman terms then you may want to call someone else. Let’s face it, you don’t want to pay for something you don’t understand. The deepest details do not matter, but you should know what the service includes and how it will affect your overall business strategy. Once you have decided it is what you want to do, then make sure everything they promised is placed into the Service Level Agreement (SLA).

Managed service providers can and do offer a new level of experience for your company. Through their experiences and expertise, service providers can help to grow your company and increase your client base. Through technologies that allow your customers reach out to you easier and data restoration programs to keep your data safe even in the case of a natural disaster, MSPs can help keep your company going strong. Get a free assessment today, and find out how TOSS can you and your business.

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