7 Characteristics of Qualified Managed Service Providers

You’re looking for a new solution for your business operations, and surely you want it to be as efficient and effective as possible. How do you know whether to keep these functions in house or partner with a managed service provider?

There are pros and cons to each. And businesses of all shapes and sizes are dedicating significant time to determine whether in-house or outsourced IT services are more valuable.

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5 Signs Your MSP Sucks

Not all managed services providers are created equally. While a lot of them are doing high quality, groundbreaking work in an effort to guarantee the care and commitment you need at all times, others are definitely leaving a lot to be desired. There are five core signs in particular that you need to be aware of that all say one thing: It’s time for a change in MSP.

Your MSP Sucks If You Get The Dreaded “We’ll Call You Back”

If you’ve ever experienced a problem with your environment and put in a call to your MSP for help, only to be told that you’re going to get a “call back” at a later time, guess what – your MSP sucks. You should have been handed over to someone who can help you in real-time, not “in one to three days”.

You’re Calling Your MSP Too Often

Another clear sign that your managed services provider sucks is that you’re calling your MSP at all. For the most part, your MSP should be calling YOU to proactively solve small issues before they become much bigger problems. If you’re calling your MSP on a regular basis to take care of little things that should be taken care of without having to ask, there is a problem.

You’re Calling Your Vendors

Your MSP should be the one calling all of your vendors on your behalf, managing any and all relationships on the technical side of the scale. Managed services providers are a one-stop shop in this way. Or at least, they should be.

You’re Updating Your Own Software

One of the key reasons that you’re paying your MSP in the first place is to make sure that you automatically have all updates and you don’t have to worry about an update disrupting your workday. Let’s get one thing clear: updates to properly managed services will be done by your MSP, no exceptions. If you do find yourself consistently updating your own software and having to stop your work, then guess what: your MSP sucks.

You Keep Having the Same Problems

Finally, perhaps the most obvious sign that your MSP sucks is if the same problem is occurring in the same environment on a regular basis. What this means is that your MSP isn’t solving the root of the problem, they’re just putting forward temporary solutions. Some MSP’s solve symptoms, and not the actual problem. This isn’t a way to do business in the modern era where technology is becoming more and more critical on a daily basis. A quality managed services provider will find the root of the fault and fix it, making sure it doesn’t have a chance to rear its ugly head again down the road.

Key Takeaways:

  • If you’re having a problem with your environment and your MSP tells you that they’re going to “call you back,” you’re looking at a clear sign that your MSP sucks.
  • A good MSP will never make you call them about an issue – they’ll be the ones calling you.
  • Quality MSPs will also manage the technical relationship between you and your vendors, so that you don’t have to.

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Top 4 Benefits of Managed IT Services

One of the major reasons that many companies balk at the idea of managed IT services has to do with control, or a perceived lack thereof. Some just aren’t comfortable giving up control over their IT infrastructure to a third party. While this is certainly understandable to a certain extent, it overlooks the variety of benefits that a company can expect to receive in return. Here are a few advantages of managed IT services that businesses should be aware of.

Managed IT Services and Best Practices

Only managed IT services allow your business to deploy information technology practices faster than ever. If technology suddenly shifts in a way that reveals an opportunity to streamline your workflow or approve collaboration and communication, those benefits can be deployed in an instant. You don’t have to go through months of planning and preparation before you even get to implementation – oftentimes implementation happens in the background before a change is even considered.

Training Just Got a Lot Easier

When it comes to your IT investment, what you have is important – but how you use it is equally important. Managed IT services make it possible to train your staff based on established best practices, as well as in real issues that managed services providers have seen before. Suddenly every member of your team becomes an expert in using IT to streamline productivity. They might not be pros in what your underlying technology is or how it works, but they will know how that technology affects the way they work and the job they need to do.

Managed IT Services Opens Bold New Opportunities

Perhaps the most important advantage of managed IT services is that they allow small and mid-sized businesses to apply technologies that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. IT often requires a massive up-front investment, regardless of whether staying “state-of-the-art” is one of your priorities. Just when you’ve spent weeks researching, planning, purchasing and installing – you then have to do it all over again when technology becomes outdated.

With managed IT services, this isn’t a concern you have to have any longer. You get access to all the latest hardware and software in exchange for one predictable monthly fee.

The Future Is Here

Along the same lines, managed IT services also allows your business to stay ahead of the curve while planning for the future at the same time. You don’t have to worry about devoting countless hours to researching the latest tech to hold onto that competitive advantage in any way that you can. You can guarantee that you have the latest systems at the ready so that you can get back to doing the most important thing of all: growing your business and allowing it to evolve into the organization it was always meant to be.

Key Takeaways:

  • Managed IT services make it possible to deploy best practices faster than ever.
  • Managed IT services make it possible to apply technologies to an enterprise that a business otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.
  • Managed IT services allow even small and mid-sized businesses to stay ahead of the curve, remaining competitive while planning for the future at the same time.

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8 Reasons Managed IT Services Grow Stronger SMB

Small to medium-sized businesses in particular have a tremendous dependence on technology, both to work smarter, not harder and to allow themselves to remain competitive in a crowded marketplace. More and more SMBs are turning to managed IT services for all their IT needs for a number of compelling reasons.

1. Managed IT Services Help You Regain Focus

Perhaps the biggest benefit that only managed IT services can bring to the table is one of focus. Instead of devoting all your time to maintaining the status quo – which often amounts to little more than spinning your wheels in terms of progress – your team is free to focus on what matters the most: doing their work and propelling your business forward.

2. Breaking Down Silos

When you choose to maintain your own in-house IT team, they exist in something of a silo from the rest of the company – in many ways, they can’t help it. Silo’d IT people aren’t able to manage everything, because they’re often kept at arm’s length from the rest of an organization. With managed IT services, you simply won’t have this problem.

3. Proactive IT, For the First Time

A huge benefit that managed IT services bring with them is one of proactive IT experts. They’re focused on correcting the small issues of today, stopping the big problems of tomorrow, and planning for the next five or ten years with a clear understanding of business goals and processes.

4. Fixing A Lack of Understanding

Technology evolves quickly, often making it difficult to keep up. With an in-house IT team you’re either saddled with a limited knowledge base and a lack of understanding of certain new technologies and challenges, or you have to invest heavily in ongoing changes. Or you could invest in managed IT services, which solves both challenges at the same time.

5. Managed IT Services Change as Technology Does

Another major advantage of managed IT services is that all the latest best practices can be deployed very quickly and efficiently, often without you realizing that anything has changed at all. You simply don’t have to worry about it anymore, which is always a good thing.

6. Regular Health Checks

Managed IT services also regularly scan your environment at regular intervals, making mission-critical changes in near real-time. If something needs to change to make you a stronger organization, it will – automatically.

7. The Future is Here

Managed IT services also put you in a far better position to plan for the future, both in terms of your budget and with regards to the technology you’ll need to start looking into to help achieve your long-term goals. This is far, far harder to do on your own while maintaining an environment at the same time.

8. Putting the Emphasis on IT Where it Belongs

Finally, managed IT services are so beneficial to small and medium-sized businesses in particular because IT isn’t the core competency of your business. Your core competency is often serving clients, selling a product, or managing services, which means compromises must be made often. With managed IT services, this is no longer a “Sophie’s Choice” at all.

Key Takeaways:

  • Managed IT services let your employees focus on doing their work, as opposed to focusing on IT all the time.
  • Managed IT services are a proactive approach to technology, something that is very hard to do on your own.

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5 Ways Managed IT Services Can Help Your Business Succeed

Managed IT services are IT services handled by a third-party provider. Choosing to outsource your IT tasks provides your business with a variety of benefits that can enhance its operations. Here are five of the ways in which managed IT services will help your business grow and become more profitable.

1. Managed IT services will stabilize your IT environment.

Having managed IT services provide you with the stability you need to focus on the tasks that matter most to the future of your business. Your provider will establish a significant amount of automation, which allows you to use IT tools without worrying about the infrastructure behind them.

In the event of a problem, you will also be able to recover your operations efficiently and minimize any associated losses. Unlike other businesses, which may fail in the event of an IT catastrophe, you will be able to bounce back quickly.

2. Managed IT services can save your company money.

Handling your own IT needs can be expensive, especially when you use the process of trial and error to find the hardware and software programs that work best. When you invest in managed IT services, however, you have access to insights that allow you to choose the best, most efficient technologies for your company on the first try.

You can also base your IT operations in the cloud, which eliminates the need for in-house hardware. Both of these benefits can save your company money and improve its profitability.

3. Having managed IT services helps you automate many of your everyday processes.

Managed IT services can help you automate many of your normal processes, such as those related to manufacturing. With these operations automated, your staff has more time to focus on other important tasks.

Your managed services provider will evaluate your operations and offer advice so that you can be sure your technology is increasing productivity and decreasing costs as much as possible.

4. Managed IT services help with security and controls.

Having managed IT services limits certain security concerns and minimizes risks. For example, if people are doing things they shouldn’t be doing, your provider can identify the problem quickly and/or limit the implications. Your managed IT services can also keep track of your physical products and intellectual products to prevent losses.

5. Maintain compliance.

Managed IT services also help you to maintain business-specific compliance, including compliance with HIPAA, ITAR, software licensing and more.

These are just a few of the benefits available to businesses that opt for managed IT services. When choosing an IT services provider, remember to compare your options carefully and select a provider that offers affordable, high-quality services.

Key Takeaways

  • Managed IT services provide many benefits to help your business succeed.
  • Some of the benefits of managed IT services include a more stable environment, lower expenses, more automation, better security and controls and improved compliance.

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How to Judge the Health of Your IT

In today’s world, most businesses rely on IT to some degree. The more efficient and effective your business’s IT infrastructure is, the better your business will perform. However, evaluating the performance of your IT can be difficult, especially if you aren’t handling your IT in house. Below is some information to help you judge the health of your IT effectively.

Evaluating IT without Analytics

Evaluating the health of your IT on a regular basis is an essential task. If you determine that things are running smoothly, you can continue to operate without another thought. However, if you determine that your infrastructure is lacking, changes need to be made.

Whether you are managing your own IT or relying on a third party provider, you can try to use analytics to determine how well your IT is performing. However, this can be complicated, especially if you don’t have an in-house IT staff. Perhaps an easier way to determine the health of your IT is to pay attention to how often you need to call for help because of IT problems.

Are you calling your provider on a regular basis? Do your in-house IT employees spend hours trying to fix problems? If so, your infrastructure could use some improvement. However, if you find that you rarely need to call for help and you aren’t experiencing any noticeable problems, your IT operations are probably on the right track.

Benefits of MSPs

Even if you are doing okay on your own, hiring a managed service provider offers many benefits when it comes to the health of your IT infrastructure. A reputable provider has sophisticated tools that can be used to see the health of your infrastructure at every level so that they can identify and resolve even the smallest problems before they begin affecting your operations.

In most cases, these tools are not available to an end user. MSPs also have insight into the environment that allows them to create and manage the perfect infrastructure for your company.

Trusting Your Provider

With the right MSP, you won’t spend much time thinking about the health of your IT infrastructure. You won’t need to call your provider often because you will rarely experience a problem. In fact, you may even find that your operations are so seamless that you never contact your provider at all. In such cases, you will speak with your provider only when they call you to check in.

Unfortunately, not all businesses have a provider that meets the description above. If you aren’t satisfied with your current services, consider looking for another provider that offers higher quality services.

Key Takeaways

  • The healthier your IT infrastructure is, the better your business will operate.
  • You can judge the health of your IT by paying attention to how often you experience problems and/or need to call for help.
  • The right managed service provider can also help monitor the health of your IT, catching problems while they are still small.

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Picking the Right Cloud Provider

Most business owners have heard of the cloud, and many have already invested in cloud services. These services offer a variety of benefits, from superior scalability to reduced overhead expenses. However, not every cloud provider is the same. Choosing the right cloud provider ensures that the services you receive are both reliable and effective.

Why Do You Need the Cloud?

The cloud represents the future of business. It allows you to store more data, collaborate with people in remote locations, improve your efficiency and much more. In addition, cloud computing has already grown in popularity among businesses. As the adoption of this solution continues to spread, businesses that haven’t yet made the switch will be under even more pressure to take action.

What to Look for in a Cloud Provider

If you are planning to bring cloud computing to your company, the first step involves choosing a good cloud provider. As you compare different options, remember to look for:

  • A provider with a solid history. – The move to the cloud is happening fast, and tons of providers are jumping into the marketplace in hopes of making some money. Unfortunately, some of these providers fail early on, leaving their clients with nothing but problems. Make sure that the provider you choose is well established, successful and stable.
  • Scalability. – The best cloud providers will offer services that can grow with your business. Make sure that your provider offers scalable, flexible services.
  • Affordability. – Although cost is not the most important consideration, every company must consider its budget. Choose a provider that offers high quality services for a price that doesn’t exceed your business’s budget.
  • A good reputation. – You can learn a lot about cloud providers by reading reviews from past customers. Avoid cloud providers who have a reputation for bad customer service or poor quality products and services.
  • Experience. – Experienced companies know how to provide customized solutions that work for different types of clients. Make sure that your provider has enough experience to deliver the services you need.

Making the Right Choice

Choosing the right cloud solutions for your company can be challenging. ITG is a Managed Services Provider that can help you choose the services that will provide the most value to your company. Our ultimate goal is to provide each client with a comprehensive workspace that requires no internal hardware. All we need in order to provide this workspace is an endpoint, such as a smartphone or laptop. Our services are scalable and secure, allowing you to focus the maximum amount of resources on improving productivity and building your business. If you are interested in learning more about the services we provide, please contact us today.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cloud computing is the future. More businesses move to the cloud every day, and there is no shortage of cloud computing service providers.
  • Not all cloud computing providers are the same. Businesses need to look for stable, experienced providers with solid reputations.
  • ITG offers comprehensive cloud services customized for each individual client.

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4 Misconceptions You Have About Your MSP

More and more, businesses are turning to managed service providers (MSPs) to handle their IT needs. They just don’t have the time to split their focus so many different ways, so they put their trust in these IT partners. And rightfully so. They are an immense help to businesses with IT technologies, despite what you may have heard. Here are 4 misconceptions about MSPs:

It’s Expensive

One of the best qualities about managed services is their fixed rate. MSPs consider and evaluate the costs that come with the alternate break-fix model, and they include this in their flat, monthly, subscription-based rate. This allows business owners to budget and pay what they can afford rather than getting hit with unexpected bills when tech problems arise.

MSPs also offer a variety of services for this one fixed rate. Whether you need assistance regarding security, backup and data restoration, the cloud, or VoIP, it’s all available. Considering this, it’s extremely affordable and wise to have this type of IT partner for your company.

It’s Inconvenient

If your MSP’s assistance is inconvenient, they are not doing their job right. MSPs offer proactive support, which means that they have software checking your infrastructure 24/7/365 for any potential harm. This is immensely convenient because it saves you time, money, and headaches. It saves you time by fixing the problems remotely. This way, the problem is fixed before it can even cause damage. You also don’t have to roll out the technicians and engineers, so you save money. And it saves you the headache by knowing that your technology is always being monitored and protected.

It’s Unreliable / Inefficient

This couldn’t be further than the truth. Arguably, the strongest quality about managed services is its reliability. The technology that MSPs supply to you are developed by experts from extensive experience and knowledge. They have also been tested and guaranteed to perform efficiently all the time.

Compared to the reactive approach, the proactive approach these services provide saves you an incredible amount of downtime. Nothing is more damaging to productivity than having to halt everything to wait for your technology to be fixed. Managed services never let it get to that point. They have a 24/7/365 help desk as well for any emergency questions or requests that may pop up.

This system is also very efficient by scanning multiple problems at once. This allows for the categorization of more immediate problems to be treated first. It also allows for addressing multiple problems simultaneously. Resolution is achieved much quicker this way, allowing businesses to focus on what they need to.

It forces you to choose between all or nothing

Your MSP partner will work with you to provide you with the services that you need. They will assess your system and custom design a roadmap for you. For example, here at Information Technology Group, we offer complete, in-house, custom designed solutions including design, implementation and installation, training, and full management of all systems. You can also trust that we know what we’re doing because we have full in-house engineering and architecture services.

We really care about your success, as it should be. Considering how important your technology is, MSPs should be seen as partners. We’re more than just your IT safe guys. Don’t hesitate to contact the leading IT provider in Connecticut with any addition questions or concerns you may have.