Many small businesses believe they can efficiently manage their technology needs with an internal IT team. While having an in-house IT department has its benefits, the growing complexity in responding to cyber-attacks, transitioning to new applications, maintaining compliance standards, and leveraging new technologies—like automation—can leave a small IT team overwhelmed. This is where a managed services provider (MSP) help.
SMBs can count on an MSP as a partner that will fill the gap in existing technology capabilities. A managed IT provider can promptly resolve IT-related issues and add value by handling routine IT activities of an organization. Their support can improve productivity, reduce overhead IT costs, and enhance security.
Here are some ways that your internal IT team can utilize the services of an MSP:
Creating a Comprehensive IT Roadmap
An IT roadmap shows the initiatives, strategies, and plans related to the technology capabilities of an organization—it’s what IT processes the organization wants to implement and how. Creating an IT roadmap helps management make better strategic decisions. For instance, the IT roadmap may include the challenges that an organization could face by implementing a certain technology. By being aware of the potential challenges, management becomes empowered and better informed when evaluating technology alternatives.
For some SMBs, the internal IT team might benefit from a partner with experience in IT roadmaps. It may be they lack the formal process in long-term planning or are managing multiple things, and this leaves minimal time for creating a strategic plan. Ultimately, the organization suffers as the management fails to get clarity on technology initiatives.
A vCIO, or virtual chief information officer, is a leader within an MSP. A vCIO focuses on creating IT roadmaps for clients. They assess the existing technology environment and suggest targeted areas for improvement. They also oversee its implementation over the long term. This person works to align the IT department with management by helping IT see the bigger picture of the organization’s goals.
Increasing IT Productivity
Small IT teams may lack the exposure to systems and operations that can make the best utilization of software and hardware resources. They may have experience in only one or a few specific aspects of IT management.
An MSP will bridge the gap by providing guidance on what tools and systems can be used to face unique IT challenges. This allows internal IT teams to focus on their core functions, while letting the MSP manage the rest.
It’s no surprise that SMBs find it challenging to keep up with cybersecurity threats. Multiple factors like cost constraints, limited bandwidth of internal IT teams, and the evolving nature of ransomware would keep most of us overwhelmed. However, cybersecurity is one department that technology driven organizations cannot neglect. According to a recent report by ITP.net, around 80% of organizations experienced a breach due to a vulnerability existing in a third-party application.
Partnering with an MSP can help your organization upgrade their existing security stack. They can put a complete cybersecurity plan that includes policies for protection, detection, and response. Internal IT teams may lack the knowledge and experience to enforce these plans, but MSPs can get them done for you.
Improving Employee Training
Employee training is important for maintaining a competitive edge and maximizing the productivity of staff. This is an essential function when an organization is migrating to a new application. If the employees find it challenging to get accustomed to the new software, the business is going to suffer. This is where employee training is important, especially when it comes to technology. Some MSPs already have standard training material like guides and tutorials on using new software applications. They can share these training resources with the team for learning or train the entire workforce as a part of their services.
Additionally, MSPs can improve employee awareness about the best cybersecurity practices. According to Statista, 54% of ransomware attacks were caused by spam/phishing, followed by poor user practices. A managed IT provider can provide training tools to employees that teaches them how to distinguish between a genuine and spam email. The MSP can also train employees to follow the first steps if an attack occurs. This can minimize the damage from potential attacks in the future.
Automation is transforming how businesses work and generate recurring revenue. An MSP has a collective knowledge of IT, including automation. They can integrate automation tools for your organization. This can significantly reduce the man hours spent on performing the tedious tasks, in turn, improving operational efficiency and productivity.
SMBs are leveraging the services of MSPs to reduce operational costs and maximize productivity. IT is a part of every business, and it should be backed by experienced and dedicated people that can resolve problems, create a roadmap for the future growth and sustainability, and transition the organization to newer technologies without causing significant disruptions. If you have still not partnered with an MSP, now you know some of the reasons why you should.