Managed IT services have become the standard: businesses, big and small, are partnering with managed service providers to handle their IT requirements. The bigger IT players like IBM, Accenture, and CISCO act as MSPs to larger organizations, while the typical managed service provider is often hired by SMBs. However, some business owners are still not wholly convinced--Do SMBs really need an MSP? They weigh the costs and benefits when it comes to bringing an MSP on board and typically use one of the following rationalizations against doing so:
Our IT requirements are limited
A lot of businesses in the small to mid-sized range believe that their IT needs don’t warrant a full-time service level agreement with an MSP. They believe the only times they need to invest in IT is at the start of their business or when rolling out new technology. As a result, they don’t see much value in signing a service level agreement with an MSP.
We are on a tight budget
SMBs also tend to skimp on the IT budget and invest those funds elsewhere--generally in areas where they see tangible results, such as hiring new customer-facing staff, buying new production equipment or a new advertising campaign. So, when SMBs find themselves a little tight on the budget, the IT department typically sees the cut.
We have our in-house tech person or team
Businesses with an in-house staffer with a bit of technical comfort, if not skill, or even a bit of working knowledge, feel that is sufficient for handling any IT needs and an SLA with an MSP is just an added expenditure.
So, did your reason make it to the list? Let’s see how an SLA with an MSP will add value to your business, irrespective of your business size, budget and the presence of an in-house IT team.
Reason#1: Our IT requirements are limited
IT is not a one-time thing where you can follow a set-it-and-forget-it approach. Want things to run smoothly? IT needs regular maintenance--a service level agreement with an MSP is the answer. Regular data backups, timely security patch application, software updates and routine maintenance are all important and won’t happen unless you have a dedicated resource working on them. Plus, there’s the issue of network security. Services like network monitoring ensure that many security issues are identified and taken care of before they result in a major system failure.
Reason#2: We are tight on budget
It is agreed that SMBs may not have the kind of revenue inflow as found in larger organizations, but that’s no reason to skimp on your IT requirements. Skimping on IT needs and diverting the funds elsewhere may seem tempting, especially when your IT infrastructure is running well, but this can cost a lot more in the event something goes wrong. Let’s take a look at a malware attack scenario, for example. If you don’t have an SLA in place, you are most likely to reach out to an IT expert or MSP on a transactional basis. It will not only result in a sky-high bill, but also, there’s no guarantee that you will be immediately attended to: customers with SLAs get preference over transactional ones in the event of an emergency. Plus, every minute your IT infrastructure is down, you are losing potential revenue--through online sales and staff productivity. In the event of a data leak or a compromise with a customer or vendor data due to the malware attack, you are liable for penalties and may be even sued by the compromised entities as well as lose respect in the public eye. So, saving a few bucks here and there by cutting back on IT expenses can prove much more expensive later.
Reason#3: We have our in-house tech person or team
So, you have in-house technically-proficient personnel? Great! But there are ways in which an SLA with a managed service provider can still add value to you. This kind of setup is called the co-managed IT model. By bringing an MSP onboard when you have an in-house IT team, you:
Having a service level agreement with a managed service provider adds value to businesses under all circumstances, and should be considered as essential, not optional.