Implications of Managed Services for Small Businesses

As IT needs are ever-evolving, it is important that business have strategies in place to keep pace and stay up-to-date. Some larger institutions have the financial capital to throw tens of thousands of dollars into enterprise-wide IT renovations, as well as the human capital to manage change. However, for smaller institutions with fewer resources, the growing trend is outsourcing-there simply isn’t a more cost-effective and efficient solution than Managed Services. Managed Services involves the handling of the typical IT needs of any business such as network solutions, systems management, software upgrades, backup and recovery, and helpdesk services, by a third-party organization. In essence, it is the equivalent of an out-of-house, full service IT guy. The rise in general outsourcing is fueling the growth of MSPs. Over the years, small businesses have acquired a slew of IT products and services, and the challenge became cobbling everything together in an organized fashion that enables PCs and networking gear to work efficiently together. Simply put, most small business owners are understaffed as it is, and although employees often wear multiple hats, most managers don’t have time or the technical expertise to be engineers and developers in addition to their natural roles.

The concept of managed services is simple really. It is the business of leveraging comparative advantage-specialization. In the case of small businesses, by outsourcing the IT divisional responsibilities to specialist (a component of business that should never be overlooked or undervalued), companies can free up time for C-Levels to focus on the management of mission-critical initiatives, essentially removing concern for security from the pileup of responsibilities. Managed services give businesses a peace of mind. Essentially, someone else remotely monitors and proactively maintains network defenses, while you focus on growing your business instead of merely “maintaining” it. Managed services can even help with strategic prioritization. Since MSPs are constantly monitoring your network, they can help clients create a well-defined list of which technology products – hardware and software – are tied to business-critical functions so that different service priority levels can be assigned on an as-needs basis.

The benefits that companies can gain through a managed services relationships are innumerable. For starters, more often than not IT departments are more of a burden than a benefit to their organizations. Errors are more likely to occur, and problem-solving response times are slow, reactionary processes. With MSPs, response times are fast, and problem-solving is incredibly skillful. Businesses that do not have a managed services relationship are relying on their own internal toolsets to help them pinpoint and resolve IT service issues. Managed services providers, however, typically have much more advanced toolsets at their disposal. This means instant diagnoses and faster remediation In other words, managing IT is no longer a firefight; it’s proactive. Managed services organizations are able to determine that a failure is imminent in many cases, thereby allowing remediation efforts that will actually prevent the failure from occurring in the first place. Moreover, MSPs usually provide around-the-clock support, 24/7-365 as opposed to support at the mercy of in-house IT specialists’ availability.

Managed services are cost effective, and typically cost 30-400% less than an IT department’s payroll and training/development costs. Small businesses increasingly want to buy IT solutions as leased services that are both easy on their wallets and beneficial to day-to-day operations. Due to the fact that it is a leased service, SMBs don’t have to treat the purchase as an asset on books that they have to depreciate. With an MSP, it’s easier to manage costs and compliance. Costs are usually fixed and consistent, contrary to fluctuations of contract work and hourly billing for troubleshooting and installations of system overhauls. Managing compliance is also simplified through a managed service provider, as they are dedicated to staying up-to-date about the latest technological innovations and will alert you immediately when a solution arises that secures clients from new threats or enhances productivity, in effect, facilitating automatic patch management.

For small businesses, managed services are as close to a no-risk investment as it gets. It’s cost-effective, faster, more efficient, and more technically capable. It’s also beneficial to productivity and business continuity. Letting someone who’s better than you completely do it for you is common sense. Sooner later, managed services for smaller entities will no longer be a trend, but the norm. Business productivity in today’s world of rampant cybercrime is too critical to risk compromising. Now, we have specialists in the category, to consistently ensure our technology meets our business needs.

The merits of managed service providers are undeniable. Companies like Guardian Services are leading the charge in managed services [http://www.gns-msp.com]. Guardian Network Services is a Fort Worth-based provider of IT outsourcing solutions that are affordable, yet grant small businesses the same peace of mind as enterprise-level security.

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