When an organization struggles with supporting growth and IT seems to be getting out of control, a question often asked is: why choose a managed service provider (MSP)?
Let’s first look at what an MSP is and what services they provide. Think of an MSP as an outsourced IT department that supports multiple business. They are often made up of skilled IT professionals who provide help desk services, network administration, engineering projects and project management, as well as IT budgeting, technology purchasing, and technology planning assistance. Like any business, an MSP can range in size and services offered and can also specialize in supporting certain verticals or be a “jack-of-all-trades” service provider.
Why choose an MSP
Many choose an MSP over in-house IT because of the volume of resources and breadth of experience that come with hiring an MSP – leading to dramatically better IT outcomes and results. When a business hires an MSP, they are not hiring an individual employee, but an entire staff usually made up of 24/7 help desk, network engineers, acquisition specialists, and strategic planners/project managers. The sheer number of employees they have access to, often for the same price as hiring just one on-site staff member, is astounding. Furthermore, because they support many businesses, technical resources that work for an MSP have a wide range of experience, which helps ensure that when there is a problem, at least one person on staff has seen it before and knows how to fix it. This isn’t always the case when you are relying on one or two in-house technical resources.
The second reason many businesses choose an MSP over an in-house Network Administrator or IT Department is cost. According to Glassdoor.com, the average cost a network administrator is around $70,000 per year. Typically, small businesses will hire one Network Administrator for every eighteen regular employees. Calculated out, that means business owners will spend approximately $324/employee/month to have a full-time onsite IT department. Alternatively, most MSPs will charge businesses between $100-$150/employee/month for outsourced IT support, which is less than half the cost of paying an on-site team.
Busting MSP Myths
There are often two concerns that business leadership have when it comes to hiring an MSP. First, some think that because an MSP supports many clients, response times will be slower and their issues will not be a priority. While it is true that an MSP supports many clients, a mature, well-organized MSP will be properly staffed to support all their clients and leverage economies of scale to keep costs down and promote efficiency. MSPs are more profitable when they can increase the number of clients they support while keeping their staffing at the same level, and the only way to do this is to make their clients’ networks easier to manage. In essence, when their clients have less technical problems, an MSP can support more clients, so it’s to everyone’s benefit to have clients running as efficiently as possible.
The other reason many initially steer clear of MSPs is because they prefer to have their IT resource just “down the hall” or someone on-site they can interface with at a moment’s notice. However, even though an MSP doesn’t work in your office, technology tools like video calling, screen sharing, and automated monitoring have made it much easier for MSPs to still provide a “down the hall” experience while actually working miles or even states apart.
There is no one right answer when it comes to IT support. Both on-site resources and MSPs have their benefits and drawbacks, but hopefully now you have a clearer understanding of what an MSP does and why many business owners trust them with their IT. If you are interested in learning more about how an MSP can help your business, our technology support experts are here to help.
By Joe Couillard, Client Relationship Manager