In-house or outsourced? It’s a question that can lead to guessing and second-guessing among business leaders. Let’s take a look at how investing in IT managed support services may prove to be more cost-effective than managing IT and cybersecurity internally.
A managed service provider (MSP) can bill you a flat rate for support, strategy and cyber protection every month — which may save you money in comparison to hiring on-site IT professionals.
On top of this, an MSP can free up time for other members of your organization who may now be trying to stay on top of technology issues. This can help them invest more time in high-value tasks and less time fighting IT fires.
Compliance can also be a concern when you look at your bottom line. Here’s why: If you operate in financial services, healthcare or another highly regulated sector, you need to secure your data and systems based on industry standards. If you are not in compliance you risk fines, the costs incurred by business disruption or even damage to your reputation.
With help from IT managed support services, you can manage your data and systems and comply with industry mandates. In fact, an MSP can ensure you’re prepared for audits and help you discover and address gaps in your security before they lead to a larger issue.
What to Look For in an MSP
As with any third-party vendor, using the services of an MSP represents an investment for businesses. To ensure your organization is spending money wisely, it’s best to vet candidates for IT managed support services carefully. Among the factors you should consider are:
- Security expertise. Of course you’ll want to choose IT managed support services that are capable of meeting your cybersecurity requirements. For example, a hospital should search for an MSP that is familiar with healthcare data security requirements. This service provider can help the hospital protect its data in accordance with HIPAA.
- Cost. Your partnership with an MSP might begin with a security assessment that helps guide strategy going forward. The assessment will give you a good idea of your security needs and vulnerabilities. Some MSPs charge based on data volume tiers; if you exceed your tier, you’ll be charged extra. But, in general, simple “all you can eat” per-user pricing is a win-win: The business doesn’t feel nickel and dimed, and the MSP is incentivized to take a proactive approach in order to reduce the number of support tickets and system issues.
- Technology. Find out what technology an MSP uses to deliver its IT managed support services. The best providers should have no trouble describing their preferred technology stacks in easy-to-understand terms. If you have questions about the technology that a service provider uses, their team should be able to answer them, too.
- Threat intelligence. As part of the MSP’s cybersecurity protection, threat intelligence should be continuously collected and analyzed. The service provider can share this intelligence with you, so you can understand the cyberthreats your organization faces and what can be done to address them.
- Alert notifications. Ask the cybersecurity provider how they notify customers about security incidents. Ideally, an MSP has rules in place for sending security alerts. It also works with customers to develop custom security alerting rules.
- Onboarding. Your MSSP should give you a reasonable time frame for deploying its services across your organization. Prior to doing so, your service provider explains what they will need to do to complete your onboarding. It will prepare your staff and make sure that everyone knows what to expect throughout this process. When your onboarding gets underway, your MSSP will maintain constant contact. And, most importantly, your service provider will protect against disruptions that can put your organization, its employees, and its customers at risk.
- Customer service. The ideal MSSP is proactive, to the point where it notifies you any time a security incident that may be happening. This service provider ensures you can reach out over the phone, online, or through other platforms. If you are dealing with a security issue, the provider is accessible 24/7.
Tips to Help You Choose the Right IT Managed Support Services
As you consider the effect outsourcing will have on your bottom line, take the time to learn about each potential MSP’s experience and expertise. Set up a date and time to meet with the MSP, discuss your concerns and questions, and find out how this service provider can help you be more productive (and profitable) while protecting against malware, ransomware and other cyberthreats.
How have the IT managed support services provider worked with other clients? Look online or ask the MSP to provide you with customer testimonials, as these give you firsthand insights into what it’s like to work with this service provider. Get details about the metrics an MSP uses, how it tracks and measures them, and what SLA target values it can offer.
Review your budget. Weigh the cost of hiring an MSP for some or all of your IT needs versus hiring in-house IT staff on your own.
As you consider options, we would be happy to answer your questions. Contact us to set up an informational meeting.