Small businesses and startups have long been the realm of one person wearing many hats (or a few people wearing many hats), taking care of everything from emptying the trash cans to making sure the servers are running at maximum capacity. While this may seem like a good idea for people looking to save money by taking care of their business with as few people as possible, it’s not always the best idea.
Along with the long-established effects of multitasking on productivity (it decreases it by up to 40%), multitasking takes people away from their zone of genius. As it is, non-technical people typically spend about 8 hours a month solving tech problems. That’s one full day where they’re not doing their jobs each month.
The good news is that small business owners don’t have to spend all their time managing their IT, nor do they even have to hire a tech staff to take care of it. They can get all the help they need from managed services providers (MSP).
What is a managed services provider?
A managed services provider is a company that takes care of the management of your IT and other technical needs for you. They’re a team of professionals who can take over details like tech strategy and planning, helpdesk services, cybersecurity, and digital transformation, so you don’t have to spread yourself too thin taking care of it yourself and you’re not wasting the time of your employees by making them do it.
How does an MSP help small businesses?
MSPs don’t just take over the technical aspects of running your business, they bring a whole host of skills and abilities to your business that you might not expect. Let’s explore the 7 reasons why you should be working with an MSP to manage your IT.
The big one right here is that when you work with an MSP, you get more value for your money than you’d get if you hired individual IT staff. Salaries for tech workers start around $100K per year per person. This might be a manageable cost when you hire your work IT staff, but as your company grows, that expense grows with it.
MSPs aren’t just one person, they’re a whole team of people who are there to help your business. This means that you’re getting more bang for your buck right out of the gate for even the smallest tasks. Not only are you getting more for your money, but you’re also saving money because you don’t have non-IT staff working on technical issues. They’re able to focus more on the jobs you hired them for, which boosts productivity and reduces errors.
Increased in-house expertise
MSPs bring years of knowledge and hands-on experience to your business. Because the entire MSP business model is dedicated to being at the forefront of technology, we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to use technology to help our clients. We also bring industry-specific knowledge to your business based on that experience. You’re not getting someone who’s trying to use the things they learned in another sector in your business, you’re getting people who have helped companies like yours before.
This means that you’re in a position to increase the in-house tech knowledge in a way that gives you an edge over your competitors.
You’re getting a full team
We’ve mentioned this a little already, but MSPs aren’t just one person you’re bringing on board, it’s an entire team. Along with getting more hands on deck, you’re not completely reliant on a person who needs time off, may quit, or might get fired. The structure of an MSP means that if someone needs time off, you’ve still got people watching your business (even in the middle of the night).
Ultimately, this peace of mind means that you don’t have to worry that something might happen when your IT person is on vacation. It also means that when things get busy, you’ve got the support in place to help manage everything that you need to get done.
Improved efficiency and dependability of IT operations
MSPs focus on making sure that you’re experiencing as much uptime as possible and, should things go wrong, they’re standing by to help fix things. As a team, MSPs are able to throw as many resources at your problems as you need. If it turns out that you need more than one person, you can get more. This means problems get solved faster.
MSPs are also available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tech problems don’t stop just because it’s Sunday, they can happen just the same. With the coverage you can get from an MSP, you’re able to start solving problems as soon as they happen.
A proactive approach to maintenance and cybersecurity
This is one of those things we’ll probably never stop saying, but a proactive approach to both network maintenance and cybersecurity goes a long way towards keeping your business safe and operating at full capacity.
A proactive approach involves 24/7 monitoring of your systems to ensure that if something goes wrong, you catch it as soon as possible. This helps you reduce the impact of an event and gives you a chance to fix small problems before they grow into huge issues.
From a security standpoint, it gives you the ability to notice when someone’s trying to access your system or take down your business with a DDoS attack (a distributed denial-of-service attack that overwhelms your network, causing it to crash). The sooner you notice these things, the easier they are to mitigate because it limits the damage that can be done.
We like to take this proactive approach to security one step further by training your employees to recognize cybersecurity threats like phishing attempts. People continue to be the weakest link in the security chain, so training goes a long way. It helps to take your training beyond the theoretical by running drills, where staff is sent fake phishing emails and text messages as a way of testing what they’ve learned.
Free up IT staff to work on strategic projects
Believe it or not, working with an MSP can help your business even if you already have IT staff. When they’re not busy trying to deal with the regular day-to-day of managing your tech stack, your in-house team is free to pursue strategic technology initiatives that you’ve been meaning to do, but haven’t been able to because everyone’s too busy.
MSPs free them up by managing the smaller, but no less important tasks, like network monitoring and the helpdesk. This means the internal team can now work on things like upgrading your infrastructure, adding more workstations, or data migration projects.
Have greater access to new technologies
MSPs dedicate a lot of time and energy to staying at the forefront of technology. We do this not only because we love learning about new tech, but also because it gives us the ability to make suggestions and recommendations to our clients about how new technology can help you grow and thrive.
The experience that we have working with businesses across all industries also gives us the ability to make recommendations that don’t just help you work better but can also give you an edge over the competition. We’ve spent years developing and learning how the market is shifting and changing and can often help you select the next big tech thing before it’s even fully realized.
Help with digital transformation
Digital transformation, the process of modernizing your business, is increasingly important for businesses. You might have a good thing going with the technology and methods that you’re currently using, but all it takes is for one of your competitors to up their game and implement new tech and your business is toast. As extreme as it sounds, think of how quickly Uber affected the taxi industry.
MSPs are experts in digital transformation and can help you with all your needs. This includes initiatives like moving to the cloud, building apps for your business, automating repetitive tasks, finding new ways to serve your customers, coming up with new products, using business intelligence to make data-driven decisions about your business, and even building websites that help you reach more people than ever.
As you can see, digital transformation has the potential to change a lot of the way that you operate, but it’s also a monumental task. Even with an in-house IT team, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or lose focus, which is where working with an MSP can help. We’ve been there and done that and can help you pick the best transformation tasks to start with.
Want to start working with an MSP?
If you’re curious about how an MSP can help you with your small business, let’s chat. We’re always excited to talk to new business owners and explore the many ways we can work together to help your business thrive. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.
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