What Could an MSP Bring to Your Startup?
An MSP – or managed service provider – is a convenient way of outsourcing what’s likely to be one of your startup’s biggest costs – IT.
Of course, cost is only one of the benefits you’ll find when you use an MSP – so here, we’ll look at what those benefits are in a little more depth, as well as posing some questions that’ll help you decide if outsourcing your IT could help you drive your new business forward…
No recruitment needed
As you’ll already realise if you’re taking staff on for your startup, recruitment is costly – and not just from a monetary point of view.
It’s estimated that a recruitment drive resulting in one new member of staff is likely to cost a startup around $20,000 – owing significantly to the cost of finding the candidates – and the lost time involved with interviewing.
Taking a managed service provider onboard cuts all of these recruitment costs out. In fact, you’re likely to have MSPs knocking on your door when you start out. Time is at a premium when you’re starting a business – but that doesn’t mean you should choose the first company to throw their hat into the ring. Talk to business associates and friends – finding an MSP that’s the right fit isn’t always easy.
No staff issues
Even putting aside the recruitment process and the drain on resources it represents, having staff employed by your company isn’t always easy – primarily because of the unpredictability they bring.
When you have staff, you also have holidays, sickness, leave, resignations, disciplinaries, performance management – and much, much more. While this is understandable, you’ve got to remember what your employees are going to be supporting – IT doesn’t rest; it doesn’t have days off; and, you can bet that problems are going to occur when it’s the most inconvenient time.
The good news is, MSPs can provide round-the-clock support – and they’re never going to get a more attractive job prospect from somewhere else. Buying the services of an MSP means you buy consistency and reliability – something that’s increasingly hard to find in employees.
No training costs
As if the case for hiring an MSP over a team of employees wasn’t already strong enough; even if you could magically make a reliable IT team appear in your office, they’d still need extensive training and, often, numerous accreditations to make sure they can safely work on your IT infrastructure.
IT training doesn’t come cheap, and it can seem like a huge expense when you’re simply maintaining one network – but, when you hire an MSP, you’re working with a team who have up to the moment training – which they’re applying to their work with dozens of clients.
Of course, it’s not just training and book learning that an MSP brings to your business – they’ve got a never-ending depth of experience that grows while they’re with you – owing to the number of clients they have at any one time.
IT professionals often have significant experience too – and they’ll bring that to your team if you recruit them for an in-house role – but, when you do, that experience stops growing. From that point onward, they work for you, they know your systems – and they are familiar with your applications.
This fixed, limited experience means it’s hard to keep an in-house team up to speed with the ever-evolving best-practice that’s needed at the cutting edge of business IT.
A proactive approach
We’ve already talked about the staffing issues that you’re likely to face with an in-house IT team – but there’s one significant staffing issue that you’ll only be able to get around by employing a team that’ll monitor your system 24 hours a day. Quite simply, IT doesn’t sleep – but, staff teams do – whereas you’re likely to find an MSP who’ll be happy to provide 24-hour monitoring and cover for your network.
This round-the-clock monitoring of your IT systems means you’re very unlikely to face a Monday morning walking into your building to find that your systems are down (and could have been since Friday evening). Instread, you’re likey to find an email from your account manager telling you that a problem occurred – but it was fixed before it had any impact.
Of course, it’s not just MSPs that can provide this service – but the advent of remote systems monitoring and the ease with which an SD WAN control system allows your network to be handled (even without hands-on in your locations) means that MSPs are perfectly positioned to provide this service at a realistic price.
When you’re a new business starting up, there’s a lot to be said for knowing what’s coming or going to and from your bank account.
The trouble is, IT is often a wildcard. Are you going to need to cover staff absence with contract staff at short notice? Will you need to hire an MSP to plug the gaps that emerge in your IT team’s knowledge? What will happen if a key team member finds a role elsewhere?
Unpredictability in staffing often causes unpredictable costs – whereas an MSP will deliver what they signed up to deliver, without any additional costs being thrown in on a month to month basis.
A service agreement
This list of benefits that an MSP could bring to your business might lead you toward thinking you’ll get a ‘set package’ from a managed network provider – but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Good MSPs understand that ever business is different – and on that basis – they’ll build an IT support package that suits you needs exactly. MSPs do this by creating a ‘service level agreement’ (SLA) as a basis for your working relationship. This document works as a contract – documenting how much your package will cost – and what you’ll receive as a result.
For companies who’ve got systems that simply cannot fail, this type of agreement is worth its weight in gold. Downtime can cost serious amounts –so making sure you’ve got 99.9%+ uptime could save you from costly issues. Of course, the level of service you need is going to impact the price that you pay – but it’s almost certainly going to be more cost-effective having an MSP provide a faultless service – that it is having your in-house team designing a system that does that same…
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