Managed Service Providers – Strategic Investment or Cost Reduction?

Many businesses will tell you that they initially decided to engage a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to reduce their information technology costs or avert adding additional employee resources. Fast forward to 6 months later and those same businesses may speak of the strategic value they have gained from the financially motivated move. While it is true that the right MSP can help control costs and expand resources, the right MSP can also bring considerable strategic value that was perhaps not part of the initial business decision.

Persistent ongoing security threats and continuous operational tasks place a significant burden on internal IT resources responsible for managing the company’s systems and networks. While properly trained full time resources often provide excellent support, in many small to mid-sized companies these resources are stretched beyond limits leading to missed tasks that can negatively affect service and security levels. Over time a once efficient and secure infrastructure can become exposed to slowdowns, outages, data losses or worse yet, compromise. MSP resources can be a welcome addition to help assess, patch, configure and restore the infrastructure to its former state. 

Managed Service Providers can add to an organization’s technical depth and know how specific to tools, approaches, and methods to maintain and improve service levels and security. MSPs interface with its customers through Standard Operating Procedures tailored to client requirements. These procedures help define service delivery, improve efficiency, and communications between the organizations. Additionally, custom tool sets used by MSPs can be leveraged to identify potential weaknesses before problems impact business operations or security. 

Simple vulnerability assessments can identify unpatched systems that are vulnerable to exploitation. As has been the case for many years, attacks continue to propogate through improperly patched systems. Unfortunately, many unchecked systems and networks have vulnerabilities that persist, raising the probability of an inevitable compromise. Simple ongoing systems maintenance has a significant impact on improving an organizations overall security profile and operating availability. However, many companies do not maintain proper patch management across their networks, systems and applications. Whether your business operates its own infrastructure or uses cloud services, ongoing systems management and maintenance is still a requirement.

A MSP brings value not only in the services which it provides but also in the knowledge of what is available and should be done in order to protect an organization. Ask any of the municipalities, government offices, or others that have spent millions recovering from recent attacks which were propagated through unpatched systems, certainly they would do things differently to avoid the events if they could go back in time. To believe there is little chance for your organization to fall prey is a mistake.

So what are some improvements a Managed Service Provider can provide its customers?

  • Improved service levels
  • Expanded knowledge and resources
  • Monitoring and assessment tools
  • Improved security posture
  • Improved processes and efficiency
  • Increased awareness 
  • Proactive planning
  • Personel redundancy
  • Reduced operating costs

While not an all encompassing list the above can provide significant improvement to any organization and its business infrastructure.

Network Management Solutions has been providing custom information technologysolutions since 1996 for large, mid-sized and small businesses.  We provide a variety of design, assessment and managed services customized to meet your business needs. Please call us at 908-232-0100 for a complimentary, confidential discussion of how Network Management Solutions can help your organization better manage its technology challenges.

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