Is your business growing? Do you need to set up or expand your office space quickly for more agents? Are you ready to introduce a teleconferencing hub for your business?
As your business grows, your IT needs do, too. You need more computers for office workstations, ID card access management, upgraded access points to manage heavier network demands, and more. So do you hire an in-house IT team, or do you use a managed service provider (MSP)? Most small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) turn to MSP IT services to update their systems as necessary.
What Is MSP IT, Really?
So what is MSP in IT? There are two key aspects of using a third-party IT provider for your networking and data management services. The first is your on-site hardware and software management. A good managed service provider will assess your needs against your business goals and budget to determine the solutions you need without upselling a bunch of upgrades you don’t need.
Your MSP will then order and install your new hardware, which can include:
- Data lines
- Security access points
- VoIP phones
- Teleconferencing projectors
Your provider will then install any software you need to use your new devices, update your network and data lines to accommodate new demands, and set up your devices to communicate through the network so employees can send information to the printer or work on shared drives.
The second key offering of a good MSP is remote monitoring for slow-downs, automated data backups, tracking and responding to cybersecurity threats, and real-time IT support for troubleshooting. By monitoring your network, data, and backups, your MSP can address concerns, recommend new solutions, and adjust your systems remotely to improve performance.
Best MSP IT: What You Should Look For
When choosing an MSP IT company, how do you know which is your best option? The best MSP IT company has these traits and services:
A managed service provider should have several experts on staff who all know industry standard practices for networking, cybersecurity, data backups, data recovery, and technical business solutions. The best MSP will be able to go beyond the industry standards and create custom solutions tailored to each client’s needs for cloud solutions, teleconferencing and communications, and data protection.
Trusted in the Field
Does your managed service provider understand the specific demands of your industry? Hospitals, engineering firms, banks, and call centers all have different IT needs for their operations. The best MSP IT provider will have references from previous clients in your field and understand your industry’s needs in IT solutions to support your business strategy.
Always Available and Quick to Respond
The best managed IT services offer 24/7 support for any issues that arise as soon as they appear. Support services can include remote troubleshooting for lost passwords or creating a new user profile, or sending a technician to handle larger issues like a server cooling system failing.
Every business has different IT needs. Some only require an initial setup and occasional checkups, while others require around-the-clock monitoring and 24/7 support availability. Your MSP should offer scalable contracts (called service level agreements, or “SLAs”) that fit your business needs.
Your SLA with your managed service provider will help you and your provider manage the expectations of your relationship. It should include the number of included inspections, what speeds and data constraints to expect from your network, and available remote support hours. Many providers offer tiered or bundled pricing options for different levels of service and monitoring.
Has Cybersecurity Support
Not every managed service provider offers complete cybersecurity services. While they might recommend and install an antivirus software for your office computers, they may not offer comprehensive services to defend against and recover from data breaches.
The best providers offer not just antivirus and firewall software but also encryption, email scanning and monitoring, network performance monitoring, data backups to multiple locations, and more. They also offer cybersecurity training and education for your employees to learn best practices in case of a phishing email attempt or visiting unsecured websites.
Despite your best efforts, data breaches sometimes still happen. If you choose a new service provider after a breach, your IT solutions provider should be able to restore your systems to their pre-breach functionality using your secure backups. Your managed service provider should also be able to identify and address the weaknesses in your system that led to the breach.
Has Local On-Site Technical Support
Not all issues in your office have a remote solution. You need an MSP located nearby to dispatch a real human technician to solve problems on-site. Having an experienced technician inspect, locate, and repair an issue is often a better solution than a representative on the phone walking you through troubleshooting the problem yourself.
Offers Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Management
Your IT provider should monitor and maintain your hardware, cloud functions, network speeds, and other elements of your technology infrastructure. If you had an in-house IT team or tried to manage your infrastructure yourself, it would cost you money to maintain an IT team on-site and time to manage your infrastructure on your own.
By having a set schedule of updates, hardware upgrades, backups, and other management services outlined in your SLA, your MSP can help ensure the least amount of downtime. Better uptimes mean your business can spend more time earning.
Contact Emerald City Solutions Today for MSP IT Services
At Emerald City Solutions, we’re family-owned, and our family has owned and operated businesses in the same neighborhood for over 100 years. We care about our reputation for taking care of our clients and our community. We follow a 4 Way Moral Code in our business:
- Is it true?
- Is it fair?
- Does it build goodwill and friendship?
- Is it beneficial?
If you need a full range of MSP IT services in or around Seattle, WA, turn to our experts at Emerald City Solutions. Call us or contact us online to schedule a consultation for managed IT services.