As technology evolves many computer repair and management companies have gone the MSP (managed service provider) route. Before deciding if computer repair or MSP is right for your business IT needs, we need to take a look at the IT industry growth and future. Traditionally companies could compete selling hardware and software and would make additional income fixing computers or other network components, technology has evolved however and companies have moved their I.T. infrastructure onto the cloud, that and the rise of competition and lower hardware costs have eliminated profit in the hardware sales industry.
The change has also lead to more complex IT infrastructures as the technology itself has become more complex and the need to leverage the cloud with onsite or on-premise equipment needs are on the rise as well as the implementation of new regulatory laws and requirements that struggle to keep up with the adherent risk of online and network-based security concerns are applied, so technology companies adopted and moved on.
These changes in the tech industry had lead to wonderful new ways of managing and conducting business with tools and options to help you make decisions you didn’t have before, but suddenly running your business seems to be much more complicated as well. You now have to worry about online marketing, competition from eCommerce, and easier world wide trade and to top it off you have a plethora of new technology to manage on top of managing your staff, inventory, payroll, and everything else involved with running a business, so what are your options?
While many computer repair companies still exist and computer technicians offer on-location computer repair services they place you on a break-fix environment where you fix components after they have broken down and the cost involved is not just the cost of repairing the device but the downtime caused by the broken device whether its an employee that’s being paid and can’t complete work or your time and you still have other issues to worry about.
Managed service providers (MSPs)
There are different types of MSP’s offering different services and of different sizes, some of the bigger ones might only offer services where they manage and build network infrastructures and manage servers but generally stay away from servicing desktops and workstations, smaller ones might offer services managing an office network including servers, workstations, firewalls, routers, switches, and printers or a subset of these, and others work with organizations that already have an internal IT department handling most of the workload but need additional or supplemental help dealing with one or more aspects of the IT infrastructure —called Outsourced IT.
So what do they offer and why would I need one?
With most MSP’s you will get an evaluation or audit of your company’s IT resources and infrastructure and then they would work with you to set up an agreement on what they would be responsible for and to what level, once in agreement, you would receive a quote for a monthly fee associated with their service.
An example of services provided would be the MSP conducting regular monitoring and preventative maintenance of your equipment in attempts to avoid equipment breaking down and the associated downtime, this might also include the development of policies and implementation of policies that limit what your employees can do on your network such as eliminating access to social media and other unnecessary websites on your network to avoid distractions and improve productivity.
Setting up guest networks where your staff or customers can connect to the internet without the risk of giving someone access to your networked business resources and maintaining it so that your access credentials change regularly avoiding someone pulling into the parking lot and connecting to your network.
You can receive help with training your staff checking one more thing off your list of things to worry about and receive guidance as to what technology should be implemented for your business since MSP’s likely have other customers in your industry they likely have experience in implementing different technologies and can help in selecting what technology works best and the best way to implement them.
When deciding what path to take and who to hire try considering your choice in terms of a business relationship and partnership, a good MSP is one that understands your business and your needs and has prior experience working within your vertical, keep in mind that as your organization grows and your needs change you are likely to require additional support and that your contract or service level agreement will change and the cost will rise. Technology is always be changing and competitors will invest in research and development to implement the latest technology tools for business continuity —hence prices will rise. MSP’s understand this and that’s the type of business partner you want so you can establish a win-win relationship. Get ahead of your competitors with establishing a partnership with an MSP vs a in-shop or computer repair shop
About the author
Graduated from ITT Technical Institute with a bachelor’s in network cyber security. I attended the Travel Channel Academy which was great fun and has been working with small business owners for years helping them implement new technologies for better and more productive management of their business.
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