You’ve probably heard or read how many IT support companies are now calling themselves MSP’s but what does this mean and what’s the benefit to your business?
Traditionally an IT support company would employ a bunch of techie’s sitting in a room waiting for you to call or log a ticket to say there is an issue with your system and then they would connect in, or if they are very old fashioned send an engineer round to fix it.
Nowadays most IT companies provide their services under the title of a Managed Service Provider because the services they provide are supplied, managed, and guaranteed by them and not just supplied in the traditional break/fix manner.
The common example of this is RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management) which is a software technology tool installed on each supported device that monitors it’s health, uptime, and security, reporting back to the MSP any signs of concern likely to result in downtime or disruption to the end-user. This allows the MSP to become far more proactive in the supply of support and technical advice than a traditional break/fix supplier.
Once an RMM model is in place then these services can be expanded out to provide managed security services such as anti-virus monitoring, patch management, and software management allowing the MSP to provide traditional on-premise solutions as managed services, provided to the customer as a complete managed solution.
The advantage to the customer is that many common issues should be detected and resolved by the MSP or the RMM software before they have impacted the business and many routine tasks can be scripted and scheduled to run outside of business hours again to prevent downtime or disruption to the business.
Most MSPs will sell their services based on an agreed Service Level Agreement (SLA) which sets out the terms and conditions of the agreement between the MSP and the customer. The higher the service level required the more the customer is likely to pay in monthly fees.
With the continued evolution of faster and cheaper internet connections has come the rise in the number of business looking to take advantage of cloud computing and SaaS (software as a service) such as Microsoft’s 365 solutions, Azure, AWS, or Google Suite and although this is by no means the only or best option for all business’s most MSP’s will have these products firmly cemented into their service portfolio’s as added MRR (monthly recurring revenue).
The convergence of telephony and IT Is now such that most MSPs will commonly offer VOIP (Voice over IP) phone solutions and again usually as a managed service. This allows the customer to benefit from a single supplier for all IT and telephony issues or requirements providing “a single throat to choke” structure most business owners seem to like.
As cybersecurity threats to businesses continue to increase most MSPs now also now incorporate security products, user awareness training, and information security consultancy into their service offerings as a value-added benefit to the customers they support. These services can be provided as an extra bolt-on service or sometimes included in the SLA with the customer.
To summarise, if you’re looking for an IT partner who is more proactive than reactive and who will take complete ownership and management of your IT systems, telephony, security, and provide strategic road map advice then it’s an MSP you need. All you then need to decide is which one best meets your needs!