Enlisting the help of a managed IT service provider (MSP) gives your business all the IT support it needs for a flat monthly fee. But what exactly does that mean?

Are you going to get the same protections and assurances that you’d get if you hired an internal IT technician? Is the service offering of every MSP the same? How do you choose one MSP over the other?

The managed IT service industry is diverse, with many small and inexperienced firms making the same claims as larger and more experienced firms. This blog post should help you better understand what goes into a comprehensive MSP offering, so that you can you choose the right provider.

Strategic Technology Planning and Management

The first thing that a reputable MSP will do is put you on a proactive footing. This begins with a thorough systems audit, which will gather information about which of your IT systems are working optimally and which are not. The audit also helps to uncover problems or misconfigurations and identify areas of possible improvement.

Once the audit is complete, your MSP leadership should sit down with your team to learn more about your goals. Armed with a thorough understanding of your business and technology, they’ll construct a detailed roadmap to bring (and keep) your business and technology into alignment.

This plan, which must be updated through regular sit-down meetings with your stakeholders, is usually conducted by a specialized team of senior engineers, known as virtual chief information officers (vCIOs).

Technology planning and milestones
IT can be a source of competitive advantage and increased productivity, but only when it’s approached strategically. Your MSP will help you identify and implement the latest technologies, ensuring your team is always on the cutting edge and operating at peak efficiency.

Vigilant system patching and updating
Old or obsolete software and hardware can be a major problem for businesses. They can cause security vulnerabilities, network instability, and a range of other productivity-killing problems. Seasoned MSPs understand this danger and will provide you with a documented strategy for patching and updating your systems. This prevents your businesses from becoming another cybersecurity statistic.

A Network That’s Always Ready for Productivity

Today’s always-on, work-from-home business culture demands IT support that is equally vigilant. A well-staffed MSP provides 24/7 IT support that is far beyond what most businesses can achieve on their own with internal IT staff.

Here’s how leading MSPs help keep your network technology stable and strong.

Expert Help Desk Service
A well-staffed, responsive IT help desk is the core of an MSP’s service offering. By answering your team’s tech questions and helping them get back to work after they’ve experienced a problem, the help desk boosts morale and helps you maintain peak productivity.

But not all help desks are created the same. To make sure that a prospective MSP has a help desk that can meet your business’s needs, you can ask them these questions.

  • Is their help desk run internally or is it outsourced, perhaps to another country?
  • Do the help desk technicians have certifications from relevant companies or organizations?
  • Do they have agents to support your employees after regular work hours?
  • What metrics are they using to measure the efficiency of their support? Will they share that data with you?
  • What’s their reputation in the local business community? What feedback are their clients providing online?

If you want to learn more about how to vet a help desk partner, keep reading here.

Vigilant Network Maintenance and Protections
Both software and hardware are vulnerable to attack, human error, and failure, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. That means any MSP who claims to guarantee greater than maximum uptime and availability must be providing around-the-clock monitoring and maintenance to prevent that damage.

Here are just some of the regular network maintenance tasks an MSP should perform:

  • Ongoing performance monitoring of routers, switches, and firewalls to ensure data is moving efficiently through your systems
  • Network performance management to ensure mission-critical workloads are processed with maximum efficiency
  • Documentation of hardware lifecycles to identify slow or failing components before they cause problems

On-Demand Access to Senior IT Expertise

The term “digital transformation” is being used to talk about the ways that a business can use technology to improve efficiency, productivity, and customer engagement. It often refers to cloud computing and mobile devices, which can have a huge positive impact on a company’s bottom line – if they’re deployed correctly.

With a skillful and experienced MSP in your corner, you’ll not only have access to a team of network engineers, you’ll also have access to a team of IT specialists who can help you ensure the success of cloud migrations, security projects, mobile device management deployments, and a wide range of other technology initiatives.

Cloud Computing Expertise
The cloud is having a profound impact on how businesses of all sizes operate. When used properly, it helps reduce IT infrastructure costs, makes budgeting more predictable, lowers maintenance needs, helps your team share data and collaborate, and much more.

A reputable MSP should have a clear plan for your cloud migration, enabling you to embrace cloud services with total peace of mind.

  • Identify cloud products to deliver maximum ROI
  • Migrate your data safely to cloud services
  • Integrate cloud and on-premise applications
  • Secure your data with cloud security best practices

At Complete Network, we’ve written several guides on the topic of cloud, which you can browse here.

Cybersecurity requires a set of skill far beyond the capabilities of most IT teams, which is likely why a Deloitte report called “The Future of Cyber Survey” found that 99% of all organizations outsource at least part of their security operations.

Complete Network and other veteran MSPs have spent years developing robust cybersecurity teams to complement their standard managed IT service packages. For the same flat fee under which we offer IT support, we can deliver fully managed cybersecurity solutions that deliver 24/7 peace of mind.

What’s included in our managed cybersecurity offering? Here’s a short list of what to expect.

  • Regular security testing and audits
  • Firewall and enterprise-grade anti-virus
  • Identity and access management solutions
  • 24/7 security monitoring, alerting, and response

Complete Network – Providing Businesses with IT Confidence for 20 Years

Are you curious about how an MSP can help your business? Reach out and ask our friendly team a question at either 877-877-1840 or [email protected]. We’d be happy to answer your question and discuss how we’ve helped businesses in Albany, New York, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Bluffton, South Carolina take control of their IT and begin operating with greater confidence.

How To Supplement Your Internal IT Team.

In an ideal world, technology would be a consistent source of competitive advantage and benefit for small and midsized businesses. The reality is that many fail to realize that confidence.

Without the right resources and support, even a highly skilled technology team can become overwhelmed by the growing list of technology management duties. When important tasks get neglected, it creates ripple effects throughout an organization that damage productivity and efficiency.

The co-managed IT services model solves these problems by providing your existing IT team with all the support and resources they need to successfully plan, manage, and defend your network technology.

This guide covers:

  • • Aligning technology with business goals
  • • Reducing churn while preserving institutional knowledge
  • • Empowering your staff to maximize productivity
  • • Achieving the highest level of cybersecurity defense

Download it for free by filling out the form here.