The demands placed on IT teams have never been greater. Networking needs and the threat of cyberattacks continue to grow. For small IT departments, that means time and resources they don’t have. In this post, we’ll review how managed IT services can help with performance and cost benefits that make sense.
When an IT department experiences growing networking and resource demands, it generally has two ways to approach it: staff up or outsource.
But for small IT departments, rapidly scaling personnel and resources is extremely cost prohibitive. Hiring just one highly skilled team member can be difficult and time-consuming.
Because of this, many small IT departments are turning to managed IT services for help. Today, we’re taking a deep dive into why that is a key element of their strategy.
What Are Managed IT Services?
Managed IT services are when a business outsources part or all of their IT task to a managed services provider (MSP). By partnering with a third-party vendor, a business can hand off their routine IT activities to an expert, which frees up in-house IT staff to focus on mission-critical activities such as new project initiatives and delivering better customer experiences.
Managed IT services cover a wide range of offerings, including but not limited to:
- Managed Security
- Managed SD-WAN
- Monitoring and management
- Backup and recovery
- Unified communications
Now let’s take a look at how they can help.
Benefits of Managed Services for Small IT Departments
#1 Staff Augmentation
The most powerful benefit of managed services for small IT departments is that it frees up internal IT staff by outsourcing tasks and responsibilities.
But unlike many common perceptions about outsourcing, partnering with an MSP doesn’t necessarily involve outsourcing your entire IT functions to a vendor. Rather, managed IT services augment the internal staff you already have with additional resources and skills. This “team extension” relationship helps in three ways.
First, MSPs can relieve the pressure of routine maintenance, upkeep and monitoring functions that take up so much time. This allows your internal staff to focus on other critical projects that have a higher priority.
Second, MSPs can take on the responsibility of delivering outcome-based service level agreements. With full visibility into all branch IT environments, they can watch the health of your network and make real-time adjustments to ensure it performs efficiently.
Third, managed services make your IT department rapidly scalable. Access to certified engineers is helpful when you need a burst of technical expertise or help with ramping up for digital transformation projects.
#2 Keeping Up with IT Trends
Technology changes fast. If you work in a small IT department, keeping up with the latest trends can feel like a full-time job on top of the responsibilities you already have.
It’s easy for an organization to fall behind, and if it happens, it could be costly and even dangerous.
Take security, for example. Securing your business against cyberattacks is essential. The average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. The problem is, cyberattacks change constantly. Hackers continuously create new strains of attacks to stay ahead of defenses. Ransomware, for example, comes in hundreds of variants.
Keeping up with cyber threats is time-consuming, but it’s essential to maintaining your network defenses. Managed security works to solve this problem by proactively monitoring the security integrity of your infrastructure and providing an ironclad, multi-tier defense to reduce intrusion risks.
MSPs are often more in tune to current security trends and developments in technology. Because of this, managed services can help your IT department keep up with modern cyber security issues without sinking a ton of time into research or costly solutions.
#3 Preventative Monitoring
While monitoring is technically its own managed service, it deserves special mention for what it can do for a small IT department. Monitoring is a 24/7/365 job that focuses on monitoring your network and preventing issues before they happen. This makes it a critical yet resource-intensive task that even larger IT teams don’t have the time or interest to manage.
Preventative monitoring using a managed solution improves performance by identifying and fixing system issues before they disrupt your organizational business.
#4 Increased Uptime, Minimized Downtime
Downtime – even for brief periods – has a devastating effect on an organization’s productivity and expenses. It’s easy to see why: the average cost of downtime is $300k per hour. Managed IT services can help increase uptime by providing software-defined networking with dynamic traffic steering and error-correcting technologies to minimize downtime and improve network performance. In addition, unified communications bring anywhere, anytime connections for branch locations and remote users that dramatically improve productivity across the organization.
For small IT departments, keeping up with growing networking and security demands can prove to be a challenge. If this is you, it might be time to augment your team with the right managed services partner.