Outsource IT or do-IT-yourself? That is the question. Everyday business leaders are confronted with this decision across a number of different business functions. For fast growing organizations in nearly every industry, managing technology is a key challenge. In today’s mobile-first and cloud-first world, technology is a differentiator. Technology helps companies deliver a superior customer experience, outmaneuver the competition, and achieve higher levels of employee productivity and efficiency.
Organizations that view technology investment strategically are faced with either the cost and complexity of building a comprehensive internal IT department to handle all IT functions or outsourcing. For those building an internal IT team there are many business challenges. IT talent is in short supply and wages are high. Technology is complex and fast moving, especially in the areas of cyber security. If you hire a single person or a small team, will they have the required security knowledge and expertise to keep cyber criminals at bay? Will they have the time to keep up or will their days be filled with support tasks leaving you exposed? Additionally, will you be able to scale your operations if your internal team can’t keep up with, or have the expertise to plan for rapid growth?
In this blog post, we address these questions and more. We will explore the three key advantages of outsourcing technology management to a managed service provider.
The Main Benefits of Managed IT Services
Security and compliance
Whether you build it yourself or outsource your technology management, cyber security is job number one. With today’s dynamic threat ecosystem, the stakes are higher than ever for organizations of all sizes. The COVID-19 pandemic created a perfect storm for cyber risks. The pandemic — along with the growth in remote work, social unrest and political turmoil, record cryptocurrency prices, and threat actors weaponizing cloud storage and tools — drove the effectiveness and volume of cyber-attacks to new highs. In this environment, organizations need to rely on cyber security experts, the most advanced layered defense strategies, and 24×7 threat detection and response capabilities to stop or mitigate threats from attacks.
Managed service providers who have a developed security practice are uniquely positioned to help organizations manage cyber security risks. They understand the compliance requirements for key industries, proactively maintain systems, networks and infrastructure, deploy the right cyber security technologies, and manage and detect cyber security threats. Managed service providers (MSPs) are able to hire top cyber security talent, while training and empowering them with the best tools. MSPs also gain deep industry expertise to address unique challenges in key verticals. At NENS, we specialize in the cyber security and data privacy needs of companies that range from 20 to 200 employees.
Service providers also have close working relationships with the most advanced cyber security technology vendors, so the latest tools and techniques can be rapidly deployed in the most effective configurations. For example, at NENS, we deploy no fewer than three different Cisco security and network technologies in a layered fashion to achieve the utmost in cyber defense. Cisco Meraki networks are globally monitored and managed and deliver a secure network foundation. Cisco Umbrella is layered on top, delivering DNS and content-based protections for users and networks. And Cisco Duo delivers multi-factor authentication to defend against password compromises. On top of Cisco, we deploy a multi-layered security solution approach with multiple cyber security technologies to provide our clients with a complete protection strategy.
Employee Productivity and Collaboration
While excellent cyber security is a foundation of managed services, organizations also need technology to improve employee productivity and collaboration. During the COVID-19 pandemic, MSPs were instrumental in helping companies quickly shift to remote work and keep operations running smoothly throughout the crisis.
For clients already working with a mature MSP, they were ready for the challenge. Their staff was equipped with business grade laptops, remote access and cloud-based technologies. In most cases, key assets such as laptops, peripherals, monitors, and VoIP handsets were easily re-deployed to home offices, enabling remote work, access to cloud applications, and secure remote access back to key office infrastructure through VPNs. In other cases, mobile devices and employee computers were leveraged for secure mobile access to key applications or secure RDP or virtual desktop access back to computers and infrastructure at HQ or in the data center. While adaptation was the name of the game, the organizations that thrived were those that had a steady history of technology investment, along with a managed service provider at their side to lead and manage them through the crisis.
On the collaboration front, 2020 was also a year of transformation. MSPs helped organizations, both large and small, adapt to the new needs of remote work and virtual collaboration. New skills were needed by employees, from the rank and file to the C-suite. Over just a few months, nearly every knowledge worker in the globe started using video conferencing daily and other tools such as real-time chat and sophisticated file collaboration platforms. MSPs helped organizations properly implement security settings and configurations for collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. MSPs helped outfit employees with new high-definition audio gear and video cameras, as they were now spending their entire workdays on video calls. Laptops flew off the shelves as the pandemic underscored the need for world-class mobile computing technology at all times. Lastly, MSPs took the lead in training and enabling their clients on a host of other new collaboration technologies. Across the board, the managed services industry was the ace in the hole for companies that needed to rapidly adapt to the pandemic to keep business flowing through the crisis.
Higher ROI and Peace of mind
The measure of return on investment is output, or business results, divided by investment. The companies that thrived during the pandemic, had secure, stable technology in place. On the other hand, companies that had failed to invest in technology, with an overwhelmed in-house IT team, were caught flat footed during the pandemic.
Working with an MSP gives organizations a predictable investment in technology with the benefit of guaranteed clear business outcomes. Sophisticated MSPs are strategic advisors and routinely guide their clients on budgeting and IT planning. Organizations that partnered with an MSP and kept their people productive during the pandemic and served their customers well all achieved a high ROI on their technology investments.
MSPs serve as trusted advisors to their clients and help transform technology investments into business success. For leaders who partner with an MSP, this delivers peace of mind that you are ready for any sort of crisis and are making smart investments in technology and future growth.