Should You Hire a Managed Services Provider? What You Need to Know to Make the Best Decision for Your Organization.

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1 Should You Hire a Managed Services Provider? What You Nd to Know to Make the Best Decision for Your Organization

2 Table of Contents CHAPTER 1: WHAT IS A MANAGED SERVICES PROVIDER? 3 CHAPTER 2: HOW A MANAGED SERVICES PROVIDER CAN HELP 5 CHAPTER 3: REACTIVE MANAGED SERVICES VS. PROACTIVE MANAGED SERVICES 6 CHAPTER 4: COMMON MYTHS ABOUT OUTSOURCED IT SOLUTIONS 8 CHAPTER 5: QUESTIONS TO ASK A POTENTIAL MANAGED SERVICES PARTNER 9 SUMMARY AND NEXT STEPS 10 2

3 CHAPTER 1: What is a Managed Services Provider? THE ROLE OF A MANAGED SERVICES PROVIDER Whether you re managing a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., a law firm in Rockville, Maryland, or local bank in Arlington, Virginia the challenge of the current economy is the same for everyone: You nd to do more with less. But how do you balance these budgetary constraints with the ever-increasing nd to have a reliable, dynamic IT infrastructure in place? You could hire an IT professional onto your staff who would be able to handle your dayto-day. They are a single person, however, who may not have the bandwidth to efficiently troubleshoot run-of-the-mill computer issues, in addition to oversing any sort of long-term IT strategy for your organization. On the other hand, working with a managed services provider an outsourced IT solution would give your organization the reactive support you nd, while also giving you access to an entire team of IT professionals who would be dedicated to mapping out forward-looking network planning opportunities on your behalf. WHAT IS IT REALLY? The first step toward understanding why leveraging a third-party IT service can be so beneficial for your organization is changing how you view the role of IT within your organization. Modern pop culture 3

4 often paints IT professionals as individuals who simply swoop in when the Internet connection is down or someone has a computer virus. The ability to handle these on-the-spot IT problems professionally and efficiently is, of course, a critical aspect working in IT, but that is only part of the story. If you look at larger organizations that have a well-rounded approach to their information technology nds, they re not only focusing on putting out those small fires; they re also looking ahead and developing long-term strategies. They re evaluating current storage infrastructure challenges and disaster recovery options. They re staying on top of current trends and virus news, to make sure their organization is prepared for anything that might happen in future. In short, the role of IT isn t just to address what s happening today; it s also to look ahead to tomorrow, always asking, What can we do better? DOING MORE WITH LESS If you re a small organization, you more than likely don t have access to the capital that larger, Fortune 500 companies have to bring these forward-looking initiatives in-house. This is where a managed services provider can help. Instead of devoting a larger segment of your budget to hiring a single individual with limited time and resources, you can allocate a smaller amount in partnering with a managed service provider and gain access to their entire team of professionals. to focus on evaluating how you can set your organization up for success in the future with the right hardware, software and storage infrastructure. In addition, depending on how you set up your contract, you may not have to worry about any additional costs required for off-hour emergencies or projects. The role of IT isn t just to address what s happening today; it s also to look ahead to tomorrow, always asking, What can we do better? The result? You and your staff will be able to re-focus your energies on revenuegenerating objectives, while your IT partner takes care of the rest. And since hiring an outsourced IT firm is much more cost effective than hiring a fulltime IT professional, establishing that kind of partnership is the very definition of doing so much more with a lot less. That team can then not only attack those smaller-scale issues, they will also be able 4

5 CHAPTER 2: How a Managed Services Provider Can Help From software and hardware, to cyber security and data recovery solutions, it is imperative that small organizations and midmarket companies stay up-to-spd with current technology trends. An IT managed services providers can help manage the day-to-day operations, which include 24- hour monitoring, managing and/or problem resolutions so that organization owners can focus on their core organization instead; similar to having an in-house IT department but at a lesser cost. However, not only are managed services providers responsible for the daily IT operations, they also have the knowledge to select and implement the optimal solutions for organizations to help them expand and grow. For example, every company regardless of size -- should regularly create backups of their data on individual devices and install software patches and security updates. Falling behind on either of these can create catastrophic, disruptive security issues were a problem to occur. If an server, customer relationship management software or even the entire network were to go offline unexpectedly, the organization would stand to lose money with each hour they remain inaccessible. And then there would be no guarant once service is restored that all data would be recoverable. Managed services providers can also help companies by managing risks, including downtime triggers, hackers, malware, or even natural disasters, just to name a few. They are well-equipped to monitor the organization environment for malware or brute force attacks, help determine a disaster recovery strategy, and prepare for audits. 5

6 CHAPTER 3: Reactive Managed Services vs. Proactive Managed Services It s completely understandable that as a small or mid-size organization owner, you re trying to minimize your expenses and stay within your budget. One way you might try to do so is by forgoing the monthly expense of proactive managed IT services, and adopting a reactive break/fix philosophy. But is the reactive approach really budget friendly in the long run? THE DOWNSIDE OF REACTIVE MANAGED SERVICES The reactive managed services model embodies the break it/fix it approach to IT support. Some organizations today continue to use the reactive model and only address IT issues as they arise. By adopting this methodology, you are managing your hardware and software nds and only call in an IT technician to fix an IT problem, which often encompass more problems such as data loss and extended downtown, ultimately leading to lost revenue and lowered efficiency. Though reactive services may be less costly in the short-term than proactive services, you are getting far less value. Instead of protecting yourself in the future, you are essentially running damage control campaign after damage control campaign. That means you will never stay ahead of issues, you will merely react to them. And even the most basic IT problem can have catastrophic consequences. 6

7 PROACTIVE MANAGED SERVICES Proactive managed services are beyond responsive: They anticipate issues. A proactive approach recognizes the simple truth that the earlier a problem is addressed, the easier and less costly it is to fix. Managed services providers who adopt this proactive strategy do what they can to ensure that your technology is protected on a 24/7 basis, prmptively handling and protecting your technology against any issues that may occur. A proactive approach recognizes the simple truth that the earlier a problem is addressed, the easier and less costly it is to fix. WHAT TO CONSIDER When choosing betwn proactive and reactive managed services, you should consider how much your organization s survival depends on your IT system and how much an IT problem will cost your organization in downtime. Can you afford to put off maintenance of your system and risk a full-fledged IT fiasco? Or are you willing to pay a monthly f to possibly kp the problem from occurring in the first place? Only you know what your budget can handle, but kp in mind that paying a monthly f for a professional to handle your IT headaches not only minimizes productivity disruptions, it can fr you to focus on doing what you do best: growing your organization. By doing so, proactive managed services actually avoids disruption before they even happen, significantly reducing the amount of downtime a organization would experience. The best strategy for proactive managed services should include some combination of periodic audits, maintaining OS levels and patches maintaining microcode and firmware levels, as well as providing regular recommendations and best practice guidelines that are true and in time with trending options in the technology market. 7

8 CHAPTER 4: Common Myths About Outsourced IT Solutions If you re considering an outsourced IT solution, there are benefits and risks to be considered, as with any strategy. That said, there are a number common myths surrounding how working with an external IT firm will impact your organization. MYTH NO. 1: OUTSOURCED IT MEANS A REDUCED QUALITY OF SERVICE It s time to put to bed concerns that working with an outsourced IT partner means you will be sacrificing quality to save money. In reality, managed service providers often give you 24x7 access to a full, talented team of professionals who make it their job to be on top of industry trends. Moreover, modern communication tools have made it so your remote IT team is a simple finger swipe or phone call away. MYTH NO. 2: OUTSOURCING IT SOLUTIONS WILL RESULT IN JOB LOSS One of the benefits of employing a managed IT partner is that it will enable you to refocus your efforts on revenue-generating objectives, promoting the growth of your organization. In addition, the extent to which you integrate an outside partner into your IT support ecosystem is entirely up to you. While you can opt to have a managed service provider handle all of your nds, you can also opt to have them create an ongoing, collaborative working relationship with inhouse staff instead. MYTH NO. 3: A THIRD-PARTY IT PARTNER WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PROVIDE SPECIALIZED SOLUTIONS For an outsourced IT firm, the success of your organization is their business. To that end, their team of skilled professionals work hard to stay on top of organization trends and innovative solutions that cater to a wide variety of organization types, both large and small. They understand there is no one-sizefits-all IT solution for every company, nor should there be. MYTH NO. 4: IF YOU OUTSOURCE YOUR IT NEEDS, IT S ALL OR NOTHING Third-party IT partners are who you nd them to be, on your terms. Period. It s up to you to decide how much help you nd and how often. You can pick and choose the services you nd, as well as the level involvement of a third party. Do you only nd help with the support of a satellite office location? Sure! Are you only sking a team of professionals to provide a streamlined back-up solution for your data? No problem! 8

9 CHAPTER 5: Questions to Ask a Potential Managed Services Partner Before selecting, hiring and using the services of a managed services provider, a few key points must be clarified. The following questions will be most useful in understanding the different services offered by various MSPs, as well as which points of differentiation are the most valuable in finding a qualified candidate: What is your billing model? What level of support does each of your managed service plans provide? What does the contract cover? What types of insurance do you have, and how much? How customizable/adaptable are your managed service plans? Do you provide services proactively? What security measures do you have in place? What kind of disaster recovery plan do you have? What kind of backups do you have in place, pending equipment or service failure? What are your technical specialties? How will things work when your technician arrives? What response times do you guarant? Where are your networks and security operation centers located? If offsite or in the cloud, what guarants are provided that my operations will not be affected These questions are a good starting point to determine whether or not a managed services provider is the right fit for your organization. However, since every organization is unique, you may want to consider adding other questions that address the individual nds of your organization, as well. 9

10 Summary and Next Steps It might sm daunting to put your organization s IT infrastructure in the hands of people you don t know, but there are thr key benefits of having a partner for your outsourced IT nds: YOU CAN RE-FOCUS ON CORE ORGANIZATION OBJECTIVES If you do not currently have an IT professional on staff, either yourself or other employs are taking time away from core tasks to troubleshoot network or computer issues or handle installations. A managed services provider will take over those responsibilities, allowing your team to refocus exclusively on their responsibilities. YOU CAN SAVE MONEY If you re looking to get the most out of your operations budget, you can reduce your labor and overhead costs by regulating your monthly IT spend. A managed services provider can offer you a comprehensive package of services at a fixed monthly cost. This means you will have greater financial resources at your disposal to funnel toward other revenue-generating organization initiatives. INSTEAD OF ONE IT PROFESSIONAL, YOU HAVE AN ENTIRE TEAM ON-CALL Having a single IT professional on staff often costs more than hiring a managed services provider, and yet the latter will give you access to a team of IT professionals 24x7, who make it their business to stay on top of industry trends, instead of just one person. In short, you will be spending less, but getting much more. UNSURE OF WHERE TO START? If you are uncertain about how much of your IT responsibility you should outsource, start by taking a small, manageable piece and assigning it to your provider. Be certain that the responsibilities are clearly defined and the deliverables are measureable. Add additional service responsibilities as you become more comfortable. The important thing is that you find the right solution for your organization and the flexibility of IT managed services can provide you the best options to fit your organization s nds now, as well as in future. 10

11 For over 30 years, CWPS has bn Virginia, Maryland and DC s trusted managed services provider, with innovative turnkey and co-managed IT solutions. With decades of experience, our team brings creative solutions and innovative products to customers that help them improve operations while also saving them money. Ready to Get Started? Click Here to Schedule an Appointment. CONTACT US TODAY Sullyfield Circle Chantilly, VA (703)

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