Much of what organisations today are trying to achieve, such as being quick to market or looking for better ways to increase revenue, depends on managing their IT infrastructure well. In current times, IT professionals need to focus their attention on building applications and IT that support flexible and scalable business models. Tying to juggle that with managing traditional IT infrastructure is becoming increasingly harder to achieve. This is why many businesses look to managed service providers (MSP) as a means to deal with their IT requirements so that the IT team can focus on helping the business to create revenue and reducing overheads.
The advantages of engaging MSPs include having an easily accessible support team in case of a malfunction or unforeseen downtime, where the team can be contacted by phone or email. MSPs remove the support burden from internal IT teams, which in turn can reduce the number of staff needed, reduce ongoing training and maximise the time the team can spend on productive tasks rather than “fire-fighting” tasks.
MSPs tend to have complete and experienced teams with more specialist resource than most small and medium IT departments would ever be able to afford. Whilst the MSP’s staff and expertise may be a shared resource across many companies whom they serve, the resource is largely on tap as and when their clients call on it.
In addition to delivering the service, an MSP is usually tied to delivering certain service levels, which will mean that constant monitoring and responsibility for keeping systems up-to-date will be included in the total service they deliver.
Every managed service provider is different, as are their offerings. Some are able to cater to a company’s total IT and infrastructure needs from A-Z, while others offer more specific service around one or more functions, such as email or security.
An example of a specialist MSP offering is backup and data protection. MSPs that deliver backup or data protection as a service are focused on making sure they minimise downtime and eliminate the chances of data loss.
Backup and data protection has traditionally been operationally heavy and often seen as a drain on IT team’s resources. Backups are known to have errors or be incomplete. Thus, backups routinely require checking, monitoring, investigation, as well as reconfiguring when changes to applications are implemented. At the same time, whilst backup is a necessity, time spent on it is a “zero-sum gain”, as it does not contribute to improvements in business systems, applications or bottom line. For this reason, offloading backup and data protection to a managed service provider makes perfect sense.
Companies such as Datto are leading the way here. Handing over your backup to a faceless managed service provider that you do not know is not an easy decision. Datto allows VARs, SIs and existing managed service providers to build and deliver data protection as a service on their technology. This enables you to work with your existing IT provider and offload your backup into a managed service offering delivered by a company you know and trust.
Datto, like many other companies that work using an MSP model, understands how businesses today need to consume IT. It is no longer necessary to keep operational IT skills and resources in-house. Working with an MSP means as long as your IT team remains IT-savvy enough to define the service you need and hold your MSP to account – they can become far more application and user focused than ever before.
The MSP model is about having the right access to the right expertise at the right time with the right cost model; something that applies not just to IT but to every aspect of every business in the digital age.