Many small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) don’t have the time or resources to devote to managing an IT department; often, it is prudent for them to focus on their core competencies and outsource technology projects to a managed IT services provider (MSP).

In fact, according to CompTIA, research found that 56 percent of firms with 100 or more employees and 47 percent of firms with less than 100 employees were more likely to turn to a managed services provider to help improve the business reliability and productivity of their IT operations. Managed services providers can offer a deep bench of expertise for the same cost as employing a few onsite IT employees.

A few “jack of all trades” IT administrators often don’t have the requisite expertise across all of the functional specialties of IT. Managed service providers, on the other hand, provide experts across all the major specialties, including cloud computing, virtualization, networking, security, database administration, IT strategy and end user support. Next-generation managed service providers have large, dedicated help desks and countless consultants who can pitch in to help out when an incident arises. In-house IT groups frequently don’t have the same ability to scale quickly when the calls start flooding in.

All managed service providers are not the same; some choose to compete on cost, others on quality, and the remainder on some combination of the two. Ironically, business executives who make their decision based on price alone often pay the highest price. Low-cost managed services provider can create more problems than they solve, including frequent outages, poor support, compliance issues and security oversights.

Increased regulatory and compliance requirements, along with security and audit reporting needs, are also driving SMBs to consider the value of managed IT services. It is imperative for these companies to make sure that they have the correct security standards in place, as well as backup and recovery systems they can depend on to ensure the business continues to run smoothly

When evaluating managed services providers, be sure to consider the quality of the services offered, as well as the cost. When shopping for MSPs, it pays to pay for the best product. Some of the important services to look for from an MSP include:

  • 24X7 monitoring of servers, network devices, etc.
  • Experienced, U.S.-based help desk staff
  • Deep bench of knowledge and skills sets across all areas of IT
  • Flexibility to support on-premise, cloud, or hybrid environments
  • Prompt proactive and reactive maintenance
  • Seamless backup and recovery capabilities
  • Support for any and all compliance requirements (HIPAA, PCI, GLBA, etc.)
  • Dedicated infrastructure engineering team to support project work
  • Dedicated account managers to serve as points of contact
  • CIO advisory services to guide IT strategy
  • Scalability to service locations across the nation
  • If you would like to learn about RSM’s managed IT services offering, please visit our website. In addition to the services listed above, RSM’s Technology and Management Consulting practice also offers IT infrastructure consulting, business applications consulting and implementation, management consulting, and additional managed IT services.
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