Ask Tech Effect: What Is An MSP?
You might have received a letter or a call from a company offering to help you out with your IT. You might have ignored the letter or forgotten about the call.
After all, why would you have someone else do your IT for you? The concept sounds foreign and scary. Technology is quite sensitive, and you’re not sure handing it to another company is really the smartest
But when you think about hiring an IT professional for your company, you realize that you can’t afford the cost. You need someone watching over your company, but you’re not too sure if you can afford the cost.
Then you think back to all those IT companies wanting to get your business. They called, themselves…what was it…MSPs?
What is an MSP?
And should we trust them with our IT?
Let’s start by identifying what an MSP is.
What’s An MSP?
MSP stands for Managed Service Provider. As the name implies, it’s a company that provides managed services, but most often they deliver it to other companies.
These managed services are all about IT. This includes computer repairs, software error resolution, backups and a wide array of other duties that you would expect from an IT department in a medium-large company.
Each MSP has their own team of experts who know the best way to solve IT problems and are trained to handle a wide variety of issues.
This is important so that if your company’s technology was ever compromised by a virus, you know that an MSP has the knowledge and the skills to be able to remove a virus and help get your computers up and running.
They also function just like an IT department, so you can contact them through the phone, email, chat software or ticketing system to report a problem, and then work with them as they help you address the problem.
If you have ever heard the term of “outsourcing your IT department”, that’s what you will do when you work with an MSP.
MSPs are the IT department that you call when you don’t have an IT department of your own.
Why Would I Work With An MSP?
Companies work with MSPs for two reasons: cost and troubleshooting.
As mentioned before, it can be quite expensive to hire an IT professional, and there isn’t always a great supply of IT professionals in the market.
Your company may not be able to afford (or justify to accounting) the cost of hiring an IT professional.
MSPs can give you access to these professionals at a fraction of the cost that you would pay if you hired your own team.
Now, in some cases you might be fortunate and are able to hire employees that either specialize in IT or know enough IT to fix basic computer problems.
This is usually what companies believe is their “IT team”.
You might already have an IT team, but if you are a small-medium sized company, you might find that team working on other projects and have no time to support your IT.
This is also true if your IT technicians are needed on other projects that require their expertise, and thus do not have the time to focus on your company’s IT, which means problems that need fixing can be left unattended.
With an MSP, you can have people monitoring your IT and focus your resources on your own projects without having to compromise.
What Are The Downsides To Working With An MSP?
You’re trusting a company to manage your IT, typically without having the chance to assess their quality or their skills.
MSPs often work in contracts, meaning that you are staying with an MSP for 2-3 years without the possibility of changing.
This isn’t a problem for some companies, and many people would also say that they are happy with their IT.
But to take companies at face value is a bit of a risk when you are not sure they can provide the quality of IT support that you need.
Also, if you are locked into a contract with an MSP, you can’t break the contract without serious consequences, which could be a problem if you aren’t satisfied with an MSP from the few first months.
So you run the risk of not being satisfied with your IT and you could be working with people you can’t rely on.
While it’s true that almost any IT company or professional fits that category, it’s riskier with an MSP you can’t trust.
So If I Wanted An MSP, What Should I Look For?
If you’ve made the decision to look for an MSP, you want to know if a company has the ability to take care of you.
It helps to see the testimonials of other companies who have worked with the MSP in the past. Don’t be afraid to give these people a call to see how things are doing. After all, if they are really true testimonials, their words should still remain the same.
Understand what your MSP will be doing for you, and if that’s what you need. There are basics that an MSP should be able to do for you, such as backups, 24/7 computer maintenance, after hours calling and so on.
Your MSP should also understand their industry and your industry. It is one thing to not be an expert in your industry, but the MSP should be aware of the software you use and the hardware necessary to run everything.
Subsequently, you also don’t want your MSP giving you substandard service because they just want your money. If you’re paying them, they should be able to know how to fix basic problems and coordinate your IT.
Your MSP should care about your business. It’s not just about IT, it’s about you being able to do your job. And you can only do your job if someone cares. So make sure that your MSP works with a contract length (such as month-by-month) that holds them accountable every month so that they are earning your trust.
You need people who justify your expenses and your IT support, not people who take your money and then provide you with substandard service.
But Handing Over IT Is Still Strange
To be fair, it’s not the easiest thing to do.
Which is exactly why you should be doing your due diligence and researching the MSPs in your area.
However, we’ve handed over important things to companies before.
Any time you use a cloud service or post something on social media, that content becomes the property of another company.
When it comes to managing it, the companies don’t do much except when it comes to maintenance or upgrades.
So you’ve done it before, it’s not that different now. It just needs support from the office in order to go through.
But My Problems Are Manageable, I Don’t Need IT Support
Many companies use this statement as a reason to not use the services of an MSP.
This statement is actually quite true.
As you may have experienced at home, the likelihood that you will run into a severe problem is very unlikely.
In fact, many users can run their computers for the entire lifespan of the computer and never see a major problem.
Many companies use this fact to say that as they don’t have problems an Internet search couldn’t fix, so they don’t need managed services.
For many aspects of company work, this is true.
But as you start to get bigger and deal with more advanced problems, you might find that the problems you had when you only had to worry about one computer are now magnified.
Issues like backups and server management are not things that you encounter on an everyday basis, and it may be out of your skill level.
Also, virus attacks are not easily removed, and people fall prey to virus attacks more often than one would like to believe.
IT problems have a habit of becoming worse as you expand and grow your company. Security is one of the top concerns for growing companies, and it shouldn’t be disregarded, especially in an environment of corporate hacking.
So perhaps they may be manageable right now, but as your company grows in size, you can’t avoid the fact that problems will start happening, and your employees won’t be able to work effectively as long as they have these problems.
If You Want An MSP, Now You Know
It’s not an easy decision to find an MSP, but sometimes it’s what your company needs.
So do your research and assess which MSP fits your needs.
Because your company deserves the best help it can get, and you’ll appreciate it when you are able to stand on your own two feet with your own IT team.
We hope you enjoyed this article! If you liked it, share it with your friends and family, and follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @mspblueshift and on LinkedIn!. Don’t hesitate to call us at 1300 501 677 for a look at your IT today!