MANAGED IT SERVICES | 5.5 MIN READ
As a Managed Service Provider, we understand that not every business will be the right fit for us. For instance, some businesses may be a better fit for an internal IT department. Keep reading to learn who is a good fit for managed IT services as well as some benefits of signing a contract with an MSP.
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Top 7 Characteristics of a Good Fit
You're an SMB
Small-to-Medium Sized Businesses (SMB's) are more at risk for a cyber attack than they may think. Hackers target SMB's because they have smaller internal IT budgets which could lead to inferior internal processes that leave security gaps, making them easier to hack.
Small businesses may start off by hiring a single IT employee to manage their cyber security. While this is a great start, that one employee can only reasonably handle so many tasks before they become overwhelmed. This means that your network security may not be as robust as it could be.
A managed service provider (MSP) can provide an affordable and superior alternative to a small internal IT department. Besides offering lower up-front costs than the funds required to build an internal department from scratch, an MSP has the potential capability to set up a wider variety of security processes than a single IT employee.
RELATED: Who Do Hackers Target?
You are Unsatisfied with Internal IT
Internal IT has its advantages. Since you build the department from the ground up, you can customize it to your specifications. Additionally, you can have more of a hand in managing the day-to-day processes.
However, internal IT can quickly become bogged down with support tickets from other employees, which takes time away from business-critical tasks.
Managed IT services can take some or all of the workload off your internal department. If you still wish to have an internal department, an MSP can serve as help desk support. However, if you are extremely unsatisfied with your internal team, an MSP can serve as a replacement.
You Lack Proper Backup Processes
A crucial part of cyber security involves setting up data backup and disaster recovery protocol. If a disaster such as a ransomware attack or network outage strikes and you don't have backup protocol already in place, your business could permanently lose access to sensitive data.
Additionally, if your network were to go down and your business didn't have a plan for how employees should shift processes and re-direct resources, you could experience extensive business operations downtime, which can be costly.
While many businesses think to install software like an antivirus and monitor for cyber threats, data backup and disaster planning are two business-critical tasks that get overlooked.
Businesses without proper backup and disaster recovery protocol could benefit from an MSP, who can help your business build a comprehensive Backup Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) plan to minimize downtime and maximize data security in the event of a natural disaster or cyber attack.
You Don't Know How to Build an Internal IT Department or Don't Have the Time To
Building an internal IT department from the ground up can eat up a lot of resources and time.
Building an internal department can involve taking the time to vet the proper candidates, set aside office space for them, and figure out which technology/equipment they need. However, the cost of building this department can quickly add up.
Besides costs like equipment and hardware, you also have to pay for each IT employee's salary, benefits, and PTO. This can quickly become more expensive than hiring a managed service provider.
If the thought of building and managing an internal IT department overwhelms you, you may be a good candidate for managed IT services. Managed IT services can act as a third-party version of an internal department, which means that your business is just as protected without the hassle of managing the day-to-day tasks yourself.
You Want More Predictable Billing
When you have no form of IT support, any issue must be contracted out to a one-time solutions shop. These shops take advantage of your lack of IT knowledge to likely charge you obscene rates for quick one-off fixes.
Internal IT departments are expensive up-front because of the money spent on employee salaries/benefits and outfitting workstations with the proper equipment. This can become a barrier to adequate cyber security for businesses with smaller budgets.
With managed IT, there are packages that offer one flat monthly rate, which is much less variable then the roller coaster of pricing you may experience for quick one-off fixes, or the up-front costs associated with building your own IT department.
You're in One of These Industries
While many other industries can be a good fit for managed IT as well, the few listed below were selected because of the sensitive data that they are bound to protect based on an increasing number of data privacy regulations.
Businesses with more data privacy regulations to follow would benefit from managed IT services because of the steps they take to keep businesses compliant.
Companies in the financial industry house massive quantities of sensitive data that could be detrimental if leaked or stolen.
According to IBM, the finance and insurance sector has been the most-attacked industry for three years in a row, totaling 19 percent of the cyber attacks and cyber incidents in 2018.
The financial industry attracts hackers because of the type of private information that these institutions tend to hold. Databases full of information such as credit card numbers and social security numbers are commonplace in the industry, and hackers know this.
If a hacker were to gain access to Wells Fargo's network, for instance, they could access enough knowledge to steal the identities of millions of people. Additionally, financial information like credit card numbers can be sold on the dark web for a high price.
Among other tactics, an MSP can install layers of security hardware and software to ensure that cyber threats don't breach financial organizations' networks and steal sensitive data.
Similar to the finance industry, the legal industry is also a good fit for managed IT services because of the sensitive data they house and are bound to protect.
This data also makes legal firms a lucrative target for cyber attacks. Hackers know that this data can sell for high prices on the dark web and that legal firms don't always have robust cyber security protocol in place.
Similar to doctors, lawyers handle high-stress, time-sensitive cases, which means that network uptime, which involves having access to important files at all times, is paramount.
Besides ensuring data security and regulatory compliance through a layered security approach, an MSP can implement various processes to minimize network downtime, keeping business operations running smoothly.
Healthcare organizations are bound by many data privacy regulations, the most important one being HIPAA.
The healthcare industry is a lucrative target for a hacker because of all the private health information that its companies tend to store in files such as medical records.
Medical records can also be used for sale on the dark web. Information like social security numbers can be used to steal identities, whereas a patient's medical history can be used to blackmail the patient with threats of publicizing their medical history, which could have intimate details about STD's and mental illness, for instance.
Hackers also distribute ransomware attacks to healthcare organizations like hospitals who have critically ill patients because they know that hospitals are more desperate to quickly regain access to their medical records.
An MSP can, among other tactics, set role-based security permissions within healthcare organizations' networks, which means that employees only have access to sensitive data that they need to do their job. This helps ensure HIPAA compliance while also making it harder for a hacker who accesses an employee's computer to break into multiple sensitive company programs.
You Desire a Hands-Off Approach to IT
Businesses who wish to have a hand in the day-to-day management of their network security may prefer an internal IT department.
On the other hand, those who don't have the time or resources to effectively manage an internal department may benefit more from a managed service provider.
With a managed service provider, while you will be notified of major changes to your network, issues that arise, and will work with your MSP to suggest and implement projects such as office moves and expansions, normal day-to-day operations such as network troubleshooting, vendor management, and data backups can be accomplished without you, which frees up office managers for more business-critical tasks.
RELATED: Why are MSP's So Expensive?
Why Sign with an MSP?
Proactive Cyber Security
Instead of simply rebuffing cyber threats when they attack, which is a reactive security approach that is not sustainable long-term, MSP's like us take steps to prevent cyber threats from having an opportunity to attack in the first place.
Compared to the sizable costs of building and maintaining an internal IT department, certain MSP pricing models bill in one low flat rate per month, simplifying your budgeting.
By letting an MSP handle your network security and support calls, internal employees are freed up to focus on business-critical tasks.
Certain MSP's like us use tiered Network Operation Centers as opposed to help desks to ensure that support calls are appropriately elevated to the person best suited to quickly solve the issue. Additionally, the implementation of various protocol to minimize network downtime keeps business operations running smoothly.
Some companies with internal IT departments wish to simply contract out their help desk support to ease their internal IT employees' workload. Certain MSP's can act as a help desk for these companies.
If you're moving offices or expanding, an MSP can assist in budgeting and planning how your network, including your hardware and software, will move with you.
As a Managed Service Provider, we know that businesses looking to improve their cyber security may not know where to start or who to hire.
We hope that this article helps your organization determine if managed IT services is the right fit for your needs.
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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.