Managed Service Providers and the Coronavirus Pandemic

managed service providers
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What if the best business solution to the coronavirus pandemic was already here? 

During the pandemic, managed IT service providers helped make daily business easier, safer, and more efficient for businesses all around the world. Unfortunately, many businesses who would benefit from these services don’t know much about what managed service providers are or the benefits they can provide.

Are you wondering if outsourced IT services are right for your business? Keep reading to discover the answers!

What Are Managed Service Providers?

Our guide is going to explore the benefits of managed service providers (MSPs) and what they can potentially do for your business. First, though, we need to answer an essential question: what are MSPs?

Simply put, a managed service provider is a third party that delivers certain services to your business. This includes application, network, infrastructure, and support services.

With MSPs, these services are not a one-time thing. Instead, they provide regular support and customer service and effectively become a major part of your business.

Now that you know a bit more about what MSPs are, let’s examine why you would specifically want to use managed IT services.

Why Use Managed IT Services?

Strictly speaking, there are many different managed services your company could take advantage of. So why should you make managed IT services a priority?

The short answer is that IT is integral to both the maintenance and growth of your business. For example, IT support is crucial to facilitate employees working from home (more on this later). On a related note, IT support is more important than ever for maintaining network security when some workers are on-site and others are at home.

Finally, proper IT support is crucial for creating a smoother and more productive workplace. Whether you are trying to grow your business or simply recover from the economic losses of the COVID-19 pandemic, managed IT services can help to keep every employee moving towards the company’s most important goals.

Your Business Is Ready

Earlier, we mentioned how many employees and sometimes entire businesses switched to a “work from home” model during the pandemic. If your business did this, even temporarily, then you are more than ready to use managed service providers.

That is because some of the only hurdles to working with MSPs involve coordinating with offsite professionals and aligning them towards your company goals. And just a few years ago, this would have seemed very difficult for most SMBs.

However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses switched to remotely coordinating with employees who are working from home. And that meant that much (if not all) of your employees transformed into offsite professionals.

So working with MSPs will provide many of the benefits we will describe in this guide. And the actual act of coordinating with a reliable managed service provider is no more difficult than coordinating with your own employees.

Pandemic-Proof Services

Many businesses and employees are doing their best to think of the COVID-19 pandemic as a thing of the past. And while vaccinations are increasing, many business owners and managers can’t help but ask: what if another pandemic were to happen? What would that do to your own business?

Part of why MSPs have become so popular recently is that they are effectively pandemic proof. There is no direct human contact when you are remotely working with these professionals.

And these professionals know enough to really hit the ground running. This is much easier and effectively much safer than trying to make some more in-house hires and go through the lengthy process of interviewing and training them.

MSPs are perfect for businesses recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. And if there is another pandemic around the corner, making MSPs a regular part of your business infrastructure can help make sure you are prepared for whatever the future brings.

Work From Home Isn’t Going Anywhere

Early on in the pandemic, businesses of every size were operating under the same assumption: that working with many remote employees was going to be a temporary thing.

However, having most (or all) of your workforce working from home has become the new normal. Employees like it because they don’t have to leave their homes and are more productive because of this. Meanwhile, many business owners began realizing how much money they could save if everyone worked from home instead of working in downtown offices with expensive monthly rents.

No matter how you feel about working from home, though, the increase in remote employees meant that your IT department had to really step up their game. Employees needed access to collaborative technology and apps, and there are now so many different apps to choose from that it can be pretty confusing.

This is where managed IT services come in. A good MSP can help to train employees in safe and secure collaborative processes, including training them in the most effective collaborative apps.

It Will Save You Money

It’s easy to see the many benefits of managed service providers. However, plenty of businesses hesitate to use MSPs for a simple reason: they are worried about it costing too much.

However, when done right, relying on MSPs will actually save your business money. It all comes down to the relative cost of working with an MSP versus working with an in-house IT team.

There is no doubt that having an in-house IT team is very valuable. But you need to pay the full salary and benefits for every member of the team. This keeps most SMBs from hiring a very big IT team.

And if your business has employees working from home, you’re effectively paying in-house IT prices for a team that is no longer in the house. If you’re going to be working with IT specialists remotely, why not switch to MSPs that will cost a fraction of what a large in-house IT team would cost you?

It Will Save Time

We have reviewed how using MSPs can save your business money. But would you believe that MSPs can also help save time throughout every workday?

Once again, this all comes down to working with an in-house IT team versus working with an MSP. Even if you can afford a good in-house team, it takes time to train them. And it takes even more time when your business encounters an IT issue and your team has to figure out how to overcome the problem.

With a good MSP, no extra training is required. And they usually don’t need much time to develop a solution. That is because MSPs have had a lot of practice anticipating and solving some of the common network and security issues caused by a remote workforce.

Again, we have no doubt that you have worked with some absolutely amazing in-house IT gurus. But managed IT services give you an opportunity to enjoy a faster and more robust service that costs a lot less than what you are paying now for an in-house team.

MSPs and the Sales Cycle

So far, we have focused primarily on how outsourcing IT services can help you provide better tech support to your employees. However, many businesses are surprised to learn that MSPs can also help to improve their sales and marketing efforts.

One reason for this is that even your best salesman is only as good as the tools he has available to him. And if your business started working with employees remotely, chances are that your sales division has struggled to keep up with the changes.

By providing better collaborative apps and training, MSPs can provide your sales team with the support they need. Even better, the MSP can help sales and marketing coordinate with each other and with management to meet their monthly sales goals.

Sales are the lifeblood of any business. And managed service providers can help boost sales while offering your employees the level of support and service that they deserve.

Tomorrow’s Technology Today

The COVID-19 pandemic led to much development of collaborative and networking technology. And this turned into a stark reminder for many businesses that technology is evolving faster than most of us can keep up with.

And like it or not, technology is the best way to stay ahead of the competition. When you’re using better tech than your rivals, you are likely to be more successful. But if you’re still using yesterday’s technology, a rival with better tech can quickly eclipse your success.

This is another area where MSPs really shine. A good managed service provider is keeping up with changing technology so you don’t have to. You will get access to cutting-edge technology as well as access to experts who know how to make the most of it.

Best of all, you get access to this technology through your MSP rather than having to pay for it separately. In addition to keeping your company technologically innovative, this is one more way that using an MSP can help your business save money.

One of the darker aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic involved employee layoffs. Many businesses suffered during the pandemic, and some of them are still recovering. Simply put, countless businesses just like yours were forced to lay off employees during these turbulent times.

And this wasn’t always a cut and dry process. For example, if a state-mandated lockdown ends and one of your employees doesn’t want to return to work, what do you do? Laying that employee off may be the simplest solution, but if done the wrong way, it may open your company up to some expensive lawsuits.

Easy legal compliance is actually one of the more hidden benefits of working with an MSP. These companies are responsible for keeping their own practices in full legal compliance. This frees you and your HR team up to worry about other matters while also greatly reducing the potential for unwanted legal complaints.

Protecting Your Data

Most of us remember 2020 as a dark and miserable year. But there is one group that had an amazing time that year.

Of course, we are talking about cybercriminals. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to coordinate remotely with employees for the first time. And this made it easier than ever for cybercriminals to exploit people and businesses in a number of different ways.

Sometimes, these criminals used hacks. Other times, they used even sneakier methods such as viruses and ransomware. And even if the targeted businesses were able to quickly recover from an attack, any downtime they experienced was likely to impact their bottom line in a big way.

However, managed service providers are experts when it comes to network security and data protection. They can ward off attacks while keeping all of your important data safe and secure.

No matter what the cyber threat is, a reliable MSP will help you focus on growing your business.

Become Proactive Rather Than Reactive

If we’re being honest, most businesses are reactive rather than proactive. That means when the unexpected happens, it can take such a business time to figure out the best way to respond.

That was the real threat that the COVID-19 pandemic represented to the average business. Even when certain solutions seemed simple (like switching to remote operations), the fact that these businesses had never tried the solutions before made them harder to implement.

The best thing about working with an MSP is that they can help your business finally become proactive rather than reactive. They can help you to sense threats on the horizon that may come from changing technology and emerging apps. Better still, they can help devise solutions to these problems before the problems actually manifest.

At the end of the day, the best businesses are future-proof. And an MSP is the best way to future-proof your own business.

Your Next Move

Now you know what managed service providers can do for your business. But do you know where to find an MSP that best suits your need?

The Be Structured Technology Group has been providing IT solutions and support to businesses just like yours since 2007. To see what kind of managed IT services we can offer your company, just contact us today!