The IT department is an increasingly complex part of any business. Professionals now need to manage more endpoints, more users and more data than ever before, and this can quickly become overwhelming for teams working within limited budgets and with legacy technology.
It's often a good idea, therefore, to turn to outside help in order to reduce the burden on these staff. One of the best solutions for many organizations will be to enlist the help of a Managed Services Provider (MSP).
These partners can take control of many of your day-to-day operations, such as networking infrastructure management, cloud hosting and helpdesk activities, freeing up your resources and allowing you to focus your in-house resources on more productive areas.
But how do you know if the time is right for you to start investigating what these services can offer? Here are five key signs that suggest an MSP could be useful to you.
1. You can't react quickly enough
Agility is a vital attribute for any IT team in a rapidly-changing environment, yet it's something firms that are still reliant on legacy systems struggle with. Whether it's rapidly scaling up to cope with seasonal spikes in demand or integrating a new technology into your operations, if you can't do this quickly you'll quickly fall behind.
McKinsey calculates that an agile way of working can boost financial performance by up to 30% and operational performance by up to 50%. MSPs offer firms the tools needed to boost their response times, replacing outdated waterfall development approaches and breaking down siloed systems that are often some of the biggest barriers to improved business agility and responsiveness.
2. You're missing out on top talent
The fight for talent in the IT market remains as fierce as ever, with Gartner noting that a lack of skills is now the biggest barrier to the adoption of emerging technologies, with almost two-thirds of executives (64%) raising this as an issue.
If you're struggling to get new staff, it could be because top candidates don't think you're offering the right opportunities for exciting, forward-thinking careers. This comes back to being stuck on legacy technology that requires heavy maintenance and has little scope for advancement. Being able to offload these tasks to MSPs frees up staff to focus on innovation and makes your firm a much more appealing prospect.
3. Your costs are going through the roof
Budgetary constraints remain a key concern for many firms. While the majority of businesses are seeing an increase in their spending - with this set to exceed $5 trillion globally by 2022 - there are huge demands from senior executives for any expenditure to deliver a strong return on investment.
Spending on areas such as hardware, networking infrastructure and software development can rise exponentially as businesses grow, not to mention the labor costs associated with keeping this up and running. MSPs offer the option to move away from large capital expenditure to more manageable monthly costs, as well as a lower cost of entry to the latest technologies.
4. You're spending all your time on security and compliance
Security and compliance are now among the biggest IT concerns for many firms. With the number of cyber attacks and data breaches growing all the time and the costs for failures high, firms can't afford to get this wrong. Yet if you're spending all your time ensuring your systems are GDPR and CCPA compliant, this is taking time away from activities that can actually add value to the business.
IT teams need to understand the newest regulations, implement any changes to their systems that are needed as a result and be able to retrieve data quickly in case of an audit. MSP solutions can take many of these tedious, time-consuming and costly processes out of the hands of in-house professionals, allowing them to focus their attention elsewhere.
5. You're dominated by shadow IT
Managing shadow IT is an increasing challenge for many firms, and it's been made worse by the changes in working habits brought about by the pandemic. More people working remotely means more employees using unapproved devices, while the need to share data easily has led to greater use of unapproved software. For instance, according to research by security firm Awake, more than 40% of file-sharing traffic in 2020 used unapproved services such as Dropbox, Google Suite and OneDrive.
This puts firms at greater risk of data breaches and leaves IT teams without visibility or control over their services. By using MSPs, however, you can regain this control by setting and enforcing policies for what devices are allowed to access your network, what applications users may install, and receiving alerts to any suspicious or unauthorized activity.
Finding the right MSP
If any of these issues sound familiar to you, you need an MSP. However, this isn't something to be taken on lightly. There are a range of questions you'll need answers to before committing to a provider, so make sure you do your research and understand what each option has to offer before taking the plunge.