Doing all of your IT on your own can be challenging, especially if you’re a small or new business. You may not have the budget to hire a full IT staff, or you may take on some of the IT tasks yourself in an effort to save money. Either way, you’ll reach a point where your IT needs outgrow your capabilities. At this point, you’re backed into a corner. If you don’t hire more IT experts, your employees and customers won’t have the support they need. Your team will start encountering delays, and you could even lose sales.
If you don’t have the budget to hire more people, though, what can you do? There is a solution: bring in a managed solutions provider. An MSP like Wooden Spoon can take over some of the IT challenges you’re facing so your internal team can focus on the day-to-day tasks such as tech support and onboarding new employees.
In this eight-part blog series, we’re going to take a look at what managed solutions include, what benefits they provide, how they can help you with areas such as productivity and cybersecurity, and more. Before we get into some of those details, though, we will first take a look at the basics of MSPs and what they do.
What is an IT Managed Solutions Partner?
Working with an MSP is essentially outsourcing your IT. Your partner will take over some of your IT tasks so you and your team can focus on the things only you can do. Some new businesses work with an MSP from day one, while others may choose to partner with a provider later on when they need more help or when their IT person gets overwhelmed.
In the past, it wasn’t always easy to find an MSP due to the fact that everything had to be done locally. If you lived in a small city without an MSP, you likely had to handle all of your IT yourself. You might have been able to find a partner in a nearby large city, but you often had to pay more for them to send people out to your office due to the travel distance.
Today, fortunately, that’s no longer the case, and MSPs are more relevant and available in the current business landscape. This is because many MSPs now offer full remote partnerships. You handle your local needs, including hardware setup, while your partner takes care of your software needs, configuration, cloud servers, and security. You may need to cover travel costs for your partner to come on-site during the evaluation and setup phase of working with an MSP, but they will do most of their work remotely.
That doesn’t mean you won’t be in constant contact with your MSP. While they may not be physically close to your office, they will keep in contact via phone, email, and virtual visits. You’ll be able to reach out to your dedicated point of contact whenever you need help or want to check in. It’s important to recognize that you’re not simply offboarding all of your IT needs to someone you’ll rarely speak with. You’re forming a partnership, and that means you’ll need to provide input when needed. Your MSP partner fully understands technology, but they may need you to provide the context of what your business does and how you use technology.
The Role and Responsibilities of an MSP
So what does a managed solutions partner like Wooden Spoon do to earn their pay? They typically take on many of the high-level areas of IT for you. To start with, we will sit down with you and your IT team to go over what you already have in place. If you’re a new business without any IT infrastructure, that’s fine. We can work with you to build that infrastructure from the ground up. If you already have something in place, we’ll do an in-depth analysis to see what’s working and what’s not.
Our goal is to create a standard infrastructure that is easy to maintain, secure, and scalable. We will point out old hardware or software that should be replaced with new equipment as well as any non-standard equipment or solutions you’re using. These non-standard options often leave vulnerabilities in your system, so it’s always best to replace them with industry-standard equipment and processes.
Wooden Spoon will also work with you to create security policies and processes, backup plans, and disaster recovery plans. If the worst happens, you should have a data backup that you can easily access. You should know what to do in the event of a data breach or other cyberattack, and you should have a plan for getting your business back up and running quickly. We’ll assist you with crafting all of these plans and updating them as needed.
Once we’ve created these plans and helped you design the infrastructure, we’ll take over a lot of the day-to-day management of your IT. We will handle monitoring your network, updating software, analyzing usage, and scheduling preventative maintenance. We will leave the daily tech support and any special projects only your team can handle to you, but we’ll take a lot of the rest off your plate.
Why Partner with an MSP?
Why should you work with an MSP? There are many different benefits to partnering with a provider. One of the biggest benefits is that you have access to a wide range of IT experts. MSPs have everything from a cybersecurity expert to a database pro on staff. This means no matter what your IT needs are, there’s likely someone who is familiar with the topic and can help you. On the other hand, if you were in this alone, you would either have to hire someone with the specific knowledge you need or pay a consultant a lot of money for their assistance.
Another benefit is that you get an outside perspective. This can be especially helpful if you’ve been in business for a few years. We can come in and evaluate your infrastructure as a non-biased third party. We’ll be able to point out areas that aren’t working quite as well or that need to be standardized that you may not have noticed.
Working with an MSP means faster reaction time when there’s a problem because you have more than one team ready to leap into action. Your own team can focus on one part of the problem, while the MSP team focuses on another. For example, in the event of a local server failure, your MSP can work on restoring employee access or bringing cloud backups online while your internal team looks into the hardware issues. In the event of a severe disaster, having two IT teams ready to leap into action can cut your recovery time in half, drastically reducing the financial impact on your business.
Save Money While Operating More Efficiently
We can’t discuss the benefits of partnering with an MSP without looking at the financial aspects. Many people are under the impression that outsourcing anything is expensive, but working with an MSP instead of hiring a team of professionals can save you thousands of dollars. In fact, you often save more money than you think by partnering with an MSP. The cost of hiring someone is more than just their salary—you also have to cover their benefits and pay various employee taxes, including social security and Medicare. Then there are indirect costs such as office space, equipment, application licenses, and other costs. When you add all of that up, what you spend on a single IT employee is much more than what you would spend on an MSP partnership for a year.
When you look at the value you’re getting, it’s clear that working with an MSP is financially beneficial. You have access to a team of IT experts for one flat cost. The MSP pays for all of its equipment, office space, and other operating costs, so you don’t have to account for those indirect costs.
In addition to saving costs, your team will be able to work more efficiently because you have a dedicated IT partner. They can take over handling maintenance and other infrastructure projects so your internal IT team can work on supporting your employees. Your local crew will deal with support tickets, working directly with employees on easy-to-solve issues that often plague businesses on a daily basis. These include things such as locked accounts, forgotten passwords, and other issues that can be quickly resolved.
Ready to Partner with the Top Managed Solutions Provider in Santa Rosa?
Do you need some extra IT help? If you’ve reached the point where your internal IT team can’t keep up with everything or doesn’t have the expertise you need, it’s time to partner with an MSP. Wooden Spoon is here to help you, whether you’re in Santa Rosa or anywhere in the world. Our team has years of experience as a remote-managed services provider. Reach out today to learn more about what we can do for you.