Managed IT Services: Top Features to Look For in 2016
Businesses around the world are exploring managed services as a low-cost method of streamlining IT. For small-to-midsize businesses, managed services provide the functionality and support of a professional IT operation without the matching price tag. Though focused on IT, managed service providers (MSPs) offer a wide range of services. In this post, we'll explore some of the key features you should be aware of when choosing an MSP.
Security if one of the most difficult and least understood aspects of IT. If an attacker compromises your IT infrastructure, they can gain the freedom to control your business. The number of successful cyber attacks on businesses increased by 144% between 2010 and 2014, and the average cost of a corporate data breach increased by 15% to $3.5 million. With so much at stake, it's vital that businesses implement strong security that can accurately detect and respond to attacks.
MSPs take a comprehensive approach to security, combining proactive solutions (such as operating system and firmware updates) with active solutions (such as antivirus software, antispyware software and firewall software). With the number of organizations implementing bring your own device (BYOD) policies expecting to increase to 59% in 2016, infrastructure security extends to mobile devices as well as desktop, laptop, and server machines. Many MSPs have begun using mobile device management (MDM) to enforce mobile device policies, allowing them to securely lock and wipe devices, verify apps, and perform geolocation.
Disaster Prevention and Recovery
It's something that most SMBs prefer not to think about, but every business experiences downtime at some point. Whether it's a hardware failure or a natural disaster, 20% of small businesses experience a major IT accident resulting in downtime every 5 years. Of these, 40% will go out of business as a direct result. With the hourly cost of downtime averaging $163,674, not having a strategy can quickly become more costly than maintaining one when everything is running smoothly.
World-class MSPs implement comprehensive disaster recovery through the use of automated off-site backups, mirroring, and frequent testing. Your MSP will work with you to develop a complete disaster recovery plan including response times and availability of on-site technicians. Establishing a disaster recovery plan will reduce the chances of costly downtime and will quickly bring your business back online.
Communication and Support
Managed IT forms a critical part of your business. As such, you want an MSP that you can reach out to at any time, especially in the event of an emergency. The best MSPs offer dedicated agents who will work with you to create a personalized solution. Find a provider who can offer a guaranteed response time, preferably located in the same geographic region as your business. In the event you need on-site technicians, an MSP with local agents can drastically reduce the costs of downtime. MSPs also provide automatic monitoring and supporting, allowing them to troubleshoot and resolve issues before they become problems.
Your business has different requirements than other businesses, so why should you have the same IT solution as other businesses? World-class MSPs will work with you to provide a solution that's customized to the needs of your business. MSPs are often willing to field questions about their services, offer suggestions, and work with you to create a customized plan that fully suits the needs of your business.
Finding an MSP for your business can seem like a daunting task, but the rewards vastly outweigh the costs. By measuring your options against these features, you'll be able to find a solution that secures your IT needs for the foreseeable future.
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