Managed service providers (MSPs), outsourced IT technicians, and specialized IT staff all offer a cost-efficient means to gain access to high-level IT skills and expertise. However, when considering choosing to outsource an IT function, companies must also make certain that they choose companies that are able to effectively fulfill the company’s needs. The process of outsourcing can be extremely beneficial for small businesses that do not have the financial resources to invest in training their own in-house IT staff. IT support services that are provided by an experienced MSP often have a wide variety of tools and resources that may prove to be invaluable. In addition, IT professionals frequently have highly specialized skills that are difficult to find in larger businesses that prefer to outsource their IT functions to an expert technician.
When a company enlists the help of an outsourcing MSP or an independent IT technician to maintain their existing IT infrastructure, they will greatly improve their operational efficiency. Outsourcing is not only beneficial to organizations that currently have IT staff, but also to those that are in the process of expanding their IT department. Smaller companies often suffer from the inability to meet demands when it comes to maintaining their IT infrastructure. When a company expands, there is an increased need to add additional servers, network adapters, routers, bandwidth, storage, etc. If the IT staff is unable to add any additional resources to the organization, the overall operational load on the IT staff can quickly become overwhelming. Using an outsourcing MSP or an IT specialist allows the organization to receive the help needed to implement these resources.
Another benefit of using an outsourced MSP and/or an independent technician to maintain the company’s IT infrastructure is the ability to reduce operational expenses. Because the resources of an in-house team are based solely on salary, it may prove difficult for the owner to afford additional personnel, especially if they do not foresee a significant increase in overhead in the near future. Outsourcing enables companies to free up financial resources within their business to invest in other areas. Furthermore, it allows for continued improvements to be made to the organization’s IT infrastructure.
The most common use for managed service providers is to provide IT support services. Many corporations find that they cannot afford to hire an in-house IT staff member, especially if the employee is not capable of maintaining proficiency within the realm of network administration. By using a managed service provider, the client company does not have to commit to hiring a full-time network administrator in order to resolve issues that occur within the company’s network. Additionally, the client company does not have to provide the cost savings associated with employing an in-house staff member to perform all aspects of the organization’s IT infrastructure.
There are a number of characteristics that define successful managed services providers. Typically, these providers maintain a strong knowledge of current technology, as well as familiarity with the latest tools and technologies that can help to enhance the organization’s ability to utilize the technological advantage that is provided by an IT network. In addition, a strong understanding of IT infrastructure is imperative. It is typically required for most service providers to be skilled in both the application of computer programs and the technical aspects of hardware and software.
In order to be a successful managed service provider, it is important for them to have a solid understanding of IT networking and software programs. The services of a service provider need to provide the expertise required to help resolve a variety of problems that can occur in both the public and private networks. Often times, the most challenging IT issues will involve intrusion attacks, malware, viruses, spam, security vulnerabilities, and data leaks. When an IT professional finds a way to integrate his or her knowledge of internal network code and architecture into the program that is being operated by a client company, a high level of productivity is experienced. This combination of IT expertise and application knowledge creates a unique combination that provides true value. In addition to this, a managed service provider may also have an in-house group of trained consultants that can help to troubleshoot problems associated with software applications.
The challenges faced by communication service providers and their managed service provider clients include network security, data center congestion, and software programs that are difficult to install, and configure. Network security is especially complex for small to medium size companies. For instance, while it is usually safe to assume that a network security system can protect any information held by a company, the truth is that more complex than ever before. As the pace of change continues to increase, so too must the requirements of today’s network security systems. However, even the most robust security system will be rendered useless if the company’s employees do not know how to use it. This requires training, which the managed service provider excels at providing.
Finally, a managed services provider also has the ability to provide 24-hour monitoring and support. While many companies are hesitant to place trusted people in charge of their computer systems, a managed services provider enjoys a unique position: they have a direct relationship with the client. This means that a professional is always available in order to resolve customer issues, expedite software installations, and monitor network activity. All of these services and features make the position of a managed services provider quite attractive.