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As the digital tide ebbs at even the most “analog” of businesses, tech has become a crucial component of success, regardless of products, services, or industries. That means computers that store and process information, networks that connect employees for collaboration, and digital office suites that seamlessly loop in freelancers. As business operational efficiency has increasingly shifted to the digital realm, so has its keepers: IT, or Information Tech, professionals.
What Is Cloud Management?
“The cloud” refers to the concept of storing and accessing files, software programs, and any other type of digital media virtually, rather than on physical servers present in the workspace. Most large corporations have adopted this practice, at least in part, with some going all-in and running their entire business via the cloud. Everything from digital scans and media files to operational considerations – including emails, intranets, help desks, and even phone trees – may be uploaded, stored, accessed, and used “in the cloud.”
The practice of cloud management refers to IT professionals who also access, update, and troubleshoot these files and programs within the cloud. This approach unlocks a host of benefits for the business utilizing cloud management, both in minimized (or even eliminated) downtime as well as “future proofing” products and services that may age out or become incompatible with other working components. These cloud-based IT workers, also called managed service providers, are an important part of doing business in an economy gone almost exclusively digital.
What Does A Managed Service Provider Do?
A managed service provider is part in-house optimization expert, part “on-call” help, and part planning assistance. While they do most or all of their work via the cloud, hybridization is also a common approach: setting up workstations (computers) in an office initially, and overseeing and adjusting software remotely afterwards. Cloud infrastructure adoption isn’t, after all, something that can be embraced in a day – for large corporations used to an in-person approach and a physical data center, the switch can be jarring without an expert to help. So what is included in managed IT services? That depends on your agreement but in short, “MSP”s may assist with some or all of the following:
- Onboarding new employees with software logins, digital courses on hardware usage, cybersecurity training, etc.
- Digitally “scrubbing” workstations and deleting online logins for an employee that leaves or has been terminated from the company
- Ensuring a company meets and remains in compliance with legal, regional, and industry digital requirements, particularly in regards to customer/client privacy, financial privacy, and specific protections (such as HIPPA)
- Monitoring for external threats, such as viruses, malware, ransomware, and other malicious programs that may disrupt a company’s ability to do business
- Maintaining the good working order of company hardware, such as computers, laptops, or company-issued smartphones; making repairs, replacements, or upgrades as needed.
- Implementing and maintaining security measures around company equipment and access (e.g., logins, physical keycards, digital storage mediums, and so on)
- Consultation and recommendations for technology needed in the future – new software updates and versions, or even completely new equipment on a periodic basis, with an eye towards capability and cost-efficiency
Why Should My Business Use A Managed Service Provider?
Even well-established large corporations are often in the dark about what an IT department does – or, more accurately, what their collective skills present. Add in the remote element of MSPs and cloud managed services, and there’s potential for even more professional hesitation. Below, a few primary reasons why using a managed service provider may be worth considering:
- Managed service providers simplify (or may even eliminate) hiring: Whether an MSP is shouldering the entirety of a company’s IT and cloud service needs or acting in a support role, their consulting helps weed out inefficiencies in a client’s technology environment. As the old adage goes, many hands make light work – and with a good MSP, you have the strength and experience of experts without, potentially speaking , the burden of HR and payroll management. In fact, there’s a lot to know when looking for a managed IT service company, so If you’ve ever wondered, “What does outsourcing mean,” we’re here to help you better understand.
- Providers are incentivized to be thorough and skilled: Because managed service providers are typically paid as a flat periodic fee from their clients, it’s in their best interests to make maintaining their domain as hassle-free as possible. That means ensuring that all machines are up-to-date on software versions and protected against malware, for example, is smart planning on their part. Better preventative measures means less work later on, and because their profit margin is a static point, they’ll reliably aim to hit that target.
- Costs are fixed, even if work is variable: Using a managed services provider means that your company will always know the cost they’ll need to pay, making operational budget-balancing less of a headache. Without the need to pay variable costs like overtime, training, vacation or holiday pay, and so on, these contingent workers can provide some or all of the same services as an in-house IT team without a question mark on the price tag.
- Built-in expertise, networking, and connections: As a provider for many businesses simultaneously, your MSP is more likely to be knowledgeable about unique tech problems, and put solutions in play more quickly. Unlike an individual or in-house team, their expertise may expand to programs not yet used in a company, but that are also a potentially perfect fit. They can also suggest or adopt a custom solution while fully making their client aware of both pros and cons that have been previously observed.
Wondering about the purpose of IT service continuity management and benefits of managed IT services? The benefits of working with a managed services provider are both financial and functional. A modern approach for a modern business need, the promises of business continuity, greater uptime across all company assets, and easy cost-planning are enough to draw almost any savvy business owner in. It is, however, the ease of use and peace of mind that truly keep this service approach growing at a record pace.