To say that this year has been unpredictable would be a massive understatement. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, companies around the world have been forced to shut down for prolonged periods. If you’ve recently reopened and you’re looking for growth into 2021, you should consider managed services Dallas. How can managed services help?
Managed services can allow for business growth, even during a pandemic, in the following ways:
In today’s post, we’ll unpack the concept of managed services if it’s new to you. We’ll also elaborate further on the above ways that a managed services provider can do more than keep your company stable during this uncertain time, but promote growth as well.
Let’s get started.
Before we can delve into how managed services can assist your company during the pandemic, let’s be clear on what managed services are.
Since the spread of COVID-19 has started, you might be outsourcing more jobs than ever before. This starts in your personal life. For instance, when you send a DoorDash driver to pick up your food from the restaurant and deliver it, that’s outsourcing. So too is when an Instacart shopper gets your groceries for you from the store.
Managed services is a form of outsourcing in the business sphere that involves IT professionals. Rather than hire in-house IT staff or an IT team on a freelance basis, you’d work with a third party. This IT individual or team is referred to as the managed service provider or MSP.
The MSP will provide the wealth of services you’ve come to expect from an IT professional. These managed services can include updating software, monitoring for viruses and data security threats, troubleshooting issues, and offering data recovery. All terms of what an MSP provides should be clearly covered in their service level agreement or SLA.
How you’d pay for managed services depends on the MSP. Some might work in shorter-term arrangements, where they provide their services for a few weeks or several months. At the end of that period, you’d pay. Other MSPs will charge hourly, for delivery of certain benchmarks, or have a flat fee.
You can see the appeal of managed services Dallas, but is working with an MSP really right for your business? Here are 7 benefits of using managed services.
As 2020 has turned the world upside down, including the business world, cost savings has become a top order for companies across the globe. Those that have recently reopened may have missed huge chunks of the year, meaning that revenue is way down from what was originally projected.
A penny saved is indeed a penny earned, and so any business area where you can pinch a few of those pennies is one you’re going to focus on. Outsourcing certain job responsibilities should be a top priority for your company, as it’s often more inexpensive to outsource than it is to do the job yourself.
For example, how is your company doing in managing your computer networks and infrastructure? It’s not easy, nor is it cheap. Through an MSP, they can identify where you may be overspending on your infrastructure so you can scale back. With less infrastructure, you’re only paying for IT services when you truly need them, which is another way to save money.
If you opt for an MSP that lets you pay as the contract progresses, even more money can remain in the figurative pocket of your company. If you decide that you don’t need the managed services anymore, you can stop the arrangement and cease payments. That’s a better arrangement than paying a large chunk of cash upfront.
Why do you use a service like Instacart? Well, for one, it’s safer because you don’t have to go to the grocery store amid the pandemic. On top of that, you save time. You still get all the groceries you need but without having to leave your house and go to the store. You could save hours each week letting someone else take care of the shopping for you.
That’s also the case with managed services. Your business infrastructure is likely at current being supported by several hired staff and plenty of in-house resources. You can’t let the infrastructure go unattended, but it does suck up valuable time and attention. If you could divert more of your time towards other areas of business, you could create a growth plan for the coming year.
More so than that, you’d also have the resources necessary to put forth so you can make your growth plan a reality. This is one of the best parts of what an MSP does. They can take over the responsibilities associated with your IT infrastructure so you can focus more on what will drive your company forward even in pandemic times.
This doesn’t mean you take a completely hands-off approach, of course. You’ll still get updates on your infrastructure, but MSPs can oversee the infrastructure perhaps even better than the staff you had hired can. How? Through cloud computing, which allows all your IT systems to move to the cloud. Now your MSPs can review your company infrastructure anytime, day and night, 24/7.
Few things are more frustrating than spending a large sum of money on a new service only to find out the extent of that service goes only so far. You’re a growth-minded business, and so scalability is a must. As you expand, your services should as well. With managed services Dallas, that won’t be a problem in the least.
Through cloud computing, MSPs have been able to extend their services in many ways. Once, they were limited to mere break/fix IT, which required another technician for the resolution of tech problems as well as maintenance, upgrades, and other general care of the infrastructure. Then you’d have to pay as the job is completed.
Today, the break/fix model has long since been abandoned for more scalable options such as platform as a service or PaaS as well as infrastructure as a service or IaaS and software as a service or SaaS.
PaaS is a cloud platform, all digitized, that cuts down on infrastructure but still allows for the usage of online apps. IaaS relies on virtualized infrastructure for computers such as load balancers, IP addresses, network connections, and server space. We just wrote a great post on virtualization if you want to check that one out.
Finally, SaaS, or the one most people are familiar with, allows your MSP to distribute your software based on subscription and licensing. The provider would host the software.
As these expansive IT services show, your MSP could certainly keep up with your growing company demands now and even several years into the future.
This also came up in our post about virtualization. Your company cannot afford to go without a data recovery and disaster mitigation plan. With so many of your staff likely working remotely as the pandemic continues, the potential for accidentally deleted or lost files goes up exponentially.
Even onsite, a crash to your infrastructure would be hugely detrimental. Your computers could be rendered inoperable, or you might be able to use your computers but not access instrumental documents and data.
Such situations, as you could surely picture, would not only preclude growth, but severely hinder your progress in what has already been a less than fruitful year. Now that your company is getting back up to full speed, you don’t want to risk losing any of the wind in your sails.
Through managed services and cloud computing especially, your MSPs can maintain your infrastructure so it’s more damage-proof. Remember, one such service MSPs traditionally offer is around-the-clock monitoring. The sooner your MSPs realize data loss might have occurred or could occur, the faster they can rectify the situation.
Even situations that aren’t deemed disasters can still chew into the productivity and thus the money-making abilities of your company. Let’s use an everyday computer problem as an example.
You come into the office one morning and your computer blue-screens. You call your IT technician, but he or she isn’t in-house staff, so it’ll take some time for them to get to you. You wait an hour for the IT tech to arrive. Then they look at your computer, diagnose what the issue is, and tell you what they’ll have to do to fix it.
Already in this time alone, you’ve lost at least an hour’s worth of productivity, probably leaning more towards two hours. Assuming your problem is with software and not hardware, the IT tech might be able to get your computer up and running that same day. If it’s a hardware issue, the tech would likely have to order parts and equipment. In other words, it could be days before you can use your computer again.
Managed services are so, so much faster by comparison. Your MSPs are already checking your infrastructure all the time. As we said before, this can make them among the first ones to detect a problem. They’ll jump on that problem ASAP, using their own resources for troubleshooting or repair.
All said, this results in far less time of you twiddling your thumbs. This is good news for your company, its growth, and its bottom line. According to 2015 stats from Infrascale, losing just an hour of your workday to computer-related downtime can cost you between $8,000 and $700,000 depending on the size of your business. Ouch!
Your computer networks may be up to date now, but in as little as a few weeks, perhaps a few months, that will no longer be the case. From operating system updates to yearly subscription renewals and everything in between, there’s a lot to keep track of.
Determining what needs to be updated and then carving out the time to do so can be difficult with so many other job responsibilities vying for your attention as well. Yet failing to keep your computer infrastructure current creates vulnerabilities in your security.
This is another way that MSPs can really step in and bridge that gap. They’ll update software and recommend upgraded hardware when the time comes. Whether that means you slowly unveil new hardware changes or just jump right into the deep end, you’ll have guidance through managed services so you make the right decision for your company.
Is your company familiar with the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR? Perhaps the California Consumer Privacy Act or CCPA? What about the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard or PCI DSS? If you answered no to any of those, this could be bad news for your company.
Today, consumers value their privacy more so than nearly anything else. They want the ability to opt into your emails and freely opt out if they so choose. They wish to determine which messages they get from you and how often. If they give you their contact information, they need to know what you’re going to do with it.
Remaining in compliance with data privacy laws is ideal not only from an IT standpoint, but for the reputation of your company and the sake of your customers too. Your MSP can guide you through the different laws and regulations from the GDPR to the CCPA to ensure your company is always playing by the rules.
Now that you better understand the value of managed services for business growth, you’re ready to begin outsourcing your IT. How do you find an MSP that gels with your company and can be as reliable as you demand? Here are some pointers to keep in mind.
The above sections paint a pretty clear picture of the types of services MSPs provide. If you know your company is lacking in compliance or infrastructure, then you’ll want to find managed services to plug those gaps.
This is a much better approach to take than going blindly into managed services and accepting whatever the MSP offers. You might realize only later that you’re not getting everything your company requires.
If you find an MSP that doesn’t use an SLA or some other type of contract, steer clear of working with them. Without something in writing, your MSP can change the terms of their work. They may decide that they suddenly don’t offer a service even though they originally said they did.
The pendulum can shift in the other direction as well. For instance, an MSP might provide a boatload more services than initially advertised, but now you have to pay for them all. Prices can also be scaled up to suit the MSP, not you. A clear, concise SLA is crucial.
In your research for managed services, you found a very affordable MSP. If you’re a small business or a mid-sized company with a tight budget, cheap services could be just what you think you need.
Take heed before signing any contracts with an MSP like this. While you could very well have struck a diamond in the rough and gotten a great deal for a wonderful price, more than likely you’re not going to receive services that are quite the quality you were expecting. The old adage that you get what you pay for really applies here.
In the beginning, when you’re not quite sure how the relationship with the MSP will progress, there’s nothing wrong with requesting a short-term contract of a month or two. If the relationship pans out, then you can renew your contract or sign another. However, if you’re not getting great services, you can duck out of the arrangement with little harm having occurred on your end.
Managed services involve outsourcing IT jobs to professionals known as managed service providers or MSPs. Outsourcing can be cost-effective as well as save you time and resources. You’ll also receive 24/7 monitoring that’s ideal for data mitigation and speedy turnaround times.
Now that you understand how managed services Dallas can help your company, you can make a smart investment even in tough pandemic times.
Contact us to learn more about how Herrod Tech can help your company.
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