According to Glassdoor estimates, a single IT manager pulls an average annual salary of more than $85,000. For small business owners, this can be a tough pill to swallow. You can’t afford to operate without an IT expert in your corner to oversee major business functions like data management, information security, or general technical support and troubleshooting — but you may not be able to justify the costs of an on-site team and related infrastructure. Fortunately, there is a cost-effective alternative: Managed Service Providers.
Managed Service Provider (MSP)
A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a third-party contractor that offers your business a defined set of services based on your individual needs. An MSP can serve as a stand-in for an entire IT department, or they can provide consultation and context in an area where your existing team may lack the relevant knowledge or expertise to move the business forward.
The costs associated with hiring an MSP vary based on firm, the services selected, and the size of your organization, but are generally based on a price per user per month. This rate is often lower than the combined totals of salary and benefits for a full-time team responsible for the same duties.
Choosing the Right MSP
A few things to consider when choosing an MSP include:
- Industry experience — Hiring a firm with direct experience in your industry helps to ensure that they’ll be familiar with relevant compliance considerations, the most significant IT risks facing your business, etc. This experience also allows the MSP to proactively offer your organization solutions based on encounters they’ve had with others.
- Services offered — Before settling on a firm, assess the needs of your business. A company may have a stellar industry track record and provide an enticing suite of options — but if they don’t offer the majority of the specific services your business needs, you’ll still have gaps to fill with internal staff or additional contractors later. Additionally, look for a firm that is willing to customize tools to fit your needs versus requiring you to adapt to boxed solutions.
- Organizational culture — Hiring an MSP relies heavily on trust since you don’t necessarily interact with the individual or team working on your account every day. For this reason, it’s critical that you sign-on with a firm that provides you with peace of mind in terms of organizational values and expectations around communication and action. Also, seek out a company that provides you with a dedicated account manager to maintain the relationship and move requests through the system; and who takes the time to learn about your business to better advocate on your behalf.
CCI Managed Services
At CCI, we believe in “people first, technology second.” By understanding your business operations and getting to know your team, we can more effectively secure, optimize, and ensure the efficiency of your IT functions. Our managed services include offerings such as:
- Remote security
- Software installation
- Emergency IT support
- Security audits
Have you ever considered a Managed Service Provider for your small business? Share your experience below, or contact us to learn more about how we can help.