CYBER SECURITY | 3.5 MIN READ
When shopping around for an MSP, a key feature of an offering that you might consider is whether or not they offer after-hours support. Read more to discover what after-hours support looks like, how common it is in the MSP industry, and how much it might cost you.
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What Is After-Hours Support?
24-hour support is a feature of an MSP offering in which you have IT support that's available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which helps protect you from cyber threats outside of your normal business hours.
After-hours support usually comes in the form of a phone number that you can call for emergencies that will connect you to an on-call technician. This service usually comes with remote support, but for bigger issues a technician may be able to drive onsite to service your office.
After-hours support can also come in the form of a live help desk with people sitting ready to take your call at all hours of the day.
Keep in mind, however, that live help desk support usually means that the support is from an outsourced help desk, seeing as it is expensive for an MSP to pay an entire help desk to stay in the office 24/7.
From a customer standpoint, you shouldn't notice much of a difference between on-call and full help desk 24-hour service besides a slightly delayed response time with on-call support.
Why Do I Need After-Hours Support?
If your business is only open from 9-5 Monday through Friday, you might think that you only need good IT support during those business hours, leaving basic security measures like a firewall to protect you when you're closed.
However, even if you're this type of business, you could still fall prey to a cyber attack outside of your normal business hours. Hackers know that you might not be guarding your network as closely after-hours, which makes it the perfect time to strike.
If you're a business who operates 24 hours a day, then you really cannot afford to have minimal IT support at night because network downtime could lead to lost revenue or worse.
If your business exists in multiple time zones, especially multiple countries, then you definitely need an MSP with 24-hour support. For instance, if you have offices or employees working in San Francisco, London, and Beijing, normal business hours occur in widely different time zones.
You need support to cover all employees, even when they may be traveling for work or working remotely. 24-hour support also ensures that any cyber security crisis that may arise during the night is dealt with swiftly, instead of being allowed to worsen all night until your business opens the next morning.
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How Much Does After-Hours Support Cost?
According to Robin from Technology Marketing Toolkit, 49% of the over 600 all-inclusive MSP's she surveyed said that they have after-hours support included for no extra fee, while 45% said they charge a fee.
Basically, this means that the majority of MSP's offer some form of after-hours support, with one of the only differences being whether or not support comes at an additional cost.
If you have an all-inclusive package, normal 9-5 help desk support is likely built into your contract, but extra support that falls outside of business hours usually comes at an added cost.
If your MSP does offer after-hours support, you can usually expect to pay between 1.5 to 3 times the normal rate that an IT technician charges for support. This rate can vary based on if the issue can be solved remotely or requires onsite assistance. You can also expect to be billed at a higher rate for a more complex issue.
After-hours support is a crucial aspect of an MSP offering that you should examine. Hackers don't take a break from cyber attacks when the clock strikes 5 pm, so neither should your MSP.
As an MSP with after-hours support, we understand the necessary steps needed to protect your network after all your employees have gone home for the night. Choose an MSP who understands the unique needs of your business.
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Posted by Erica Kastner
Erica Kastner is a lead Marketing Specialist at Standard Office Systems as well as a University of Georgia graduate. She aims to use her passion for problem-solving to help businesses understand how to better leverage their network infrastructure.