What Is An IT Service Provider?
Companies that offer IT solutions and services to organisations are called IT Service Providers or more generally known as Managed Service Providers (MPS’s) – these terms are used interchangeably. Their customers usually gain access to these solutions by paying a support fee, either monthly or annually. Some of these IT service providers offer web hosting, cloud services, storage services, security auditing, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions.
What IT Services Companies Do
IT service providers ensure that their customers’ IT systems run as smoothly as possible, remain secure, and up-to-date. They also address customers’ daily technical problems so the latter can focus on running their core business instead of getting distracted by IT issues that they do not know anything about. It is also their responsibility to manage, update, and monitor the customers’ IT infrastructure while providing reports about system performance, service quality, and availability. They even take care of IT asset acquisition, licensing, and patching, among others.
How Managed IT Service Providers Help SMEs
Many IT service providers cater to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the following ways:
Providing IT expertise as needed
IT service providers have a team of experienced staff. This beats having to hire full-time IT employees, especially when the organisation does not really need them all the time. Even if you have in-house IT techs working on their usual tasks, there are times when certain skills and expertise are required. The good news is that MSP’s IT teams are composed of experts in different technologies and solutions from various vendors. They are also generally trained to a higher level than most inhouse IT teams.
The service level agreement between the service provider and their customer determines the response times and target fix periods. Some offer round-the-clock support, which would cost organisations a lot of money if they choose to hire an in-house team with shift schedules and extra staff on-call for round the clock cover.
Managing the customers’ day-to-day IT needs and issues
Organisations can increase their savings and productivity by outsourcing their arduous, yet routine IT needs to service providers. They have the training and expertise to meet the company’s daily demands efficiently. They also have the money to invest in what would have been costly IT expenditures for small businesses, such as IT helpdesk ticketing systems, remote monitoring management tools, and more.
Instead of taking time away from their day to day jobs, their customers know that the service provider will take care of sudden downtime, poor network security, data backup problems, cyber security, and lack of control over data access.
Helping them adopt new technology
Not all organisations, especially SMEs, are equipped with the knowledge and ability to adopt more efficient technology. They have to deal with expensive capital costs for in-house IT infrastructure, steep learning curves, and limited access to options.
IT managed services take care of this issue by searching for cost-effective solutions for their clients. They do this by assessing new software and hardware options in the market. They also lower the technology adoption barrier by providing the infrastructure and expert staff as a part of the project costs.
Improving their security
While it might not be difficult for large organisations to invest in cybersecurity, it is a different story for SMEs. They do not have full-time security teams that are available 24/7 to identify threats, prevent malicious attacks, and keep patches and products up to date. This is when small business IT support providers really show their value.
Managed service providers keep abreast of the latest developing threats, oversee hardware and software patch release cycles, improve network security configurations, and install the latest antivirus software. All these steps help boost the customers’ security and in turn, reduce downtime for the business and establish a reputation for being a reliable organisation.
Providing backup and recovery
Given the uncertainty brought about by rampant hacking, natural disasters, and other incidents that could lead to downtime, backup and disaster recovery has increased in importance. Fortunately, business IT support provides customers with increased peace of mind knowing that they have a robust data backup solution in place. This way, they can restore everything after disaster strikes. Small businesses do not have to do everything on their own, as long as they can contact their IT service providers when something happens.
Greater Return on Investment
Access to IT professionals with a wide range of qualifications and expertise is another excellent reason to sign up with a managed IT service provider. These service providers keep themselves up-to-date with the latest government regulatory compliance to avoid penalties and violations, especially where data security is concerned.
Lower operating costs
Hiring full-time IT employees means paying for their salary, training, benefits, and other costs but small businesses can avoid these expenses by working with outsourced IT service providers. Aside from the reduced cost, organisations can expect consistent service.
SMEs that want to stick to a budget do not have to worry about overspending with an MSP that charges the same monthly fee. They can also discuss and negotiate with the IT service provider about additional services and fees before these get implemented.
Customised IT strategy
Working with an MSP goes beyond having IT experts to call for help when the website crashes, or the printer breaks down. Most providers will work with their clients to help develop a strategic plan, to align the business goals with technology, and also work on annual budgets to reduce any unexpected costs.
Access to innovative technology
Managed service providers can help small businesses spread their wings when it comes to investing in technology. They can introduce many new technologies and solutions that will give businesses a competitive edge. What’s even better, is that it will be up to these IT service providers to train their staff about the new technology before deploying them to their clients.
IT infrastructure documentation
MSPs love keeping track of every single hardware and software across their clients, to ensure that their customers have an optimised system working for their business.
IT service providers are bound by their Service Level Agreement (SLAs) the entire time they are working with their customers. They need to ensure the delivery of high levels of service.. Through SLAs, customers will know what to expect in terms of response time, security guarantees, and performance targets.
An IT service provider helps businesses and organisations make the most out of their technology and IT systems. By providing reliable solutions, they can assist their customers in achieving their business goals. Make sure to choose a reputable IT service provider to enjoy all the benefits mentioned above.