FAQs – What is an MSP?
Updated: Jun 22
If you’re considering hiring a managed service provider for your information technology services, you probably have a few concerns about entrusting your IT to an outside party— possibly more than a few if you’re in a non-technical industry that relies on tech. The right managed service provider can be an enormous benefit to your company, but how do you know if you’re making the right choice? The purpose of this article is to answer the most frequently asked questions about MSPs and to help prepare you, the business owner or manager, to select an MSP that suits your needs.
An Overview of Managed Service Providers
A managed service provider (MSP) is an external company that manages its clients’ IT services. Smaller and mid-sized companies benefit from not having to hire internal IT staff and purchasing equipment, while the MSP benefits by efficiently allocating their resources to their clients according to the customers’ needs.
Benefits of Working with MSPs
Aside from cost savings, there are many advantages to working with MSPs. Here are several ways that your business can benefit from retaining the services of an MSP:
Reduced Tech Expenses
Hiring and training a full-time IT staff is typically substantially more expensive than outsourcing the necessary work to an already tech-savvy managed service provider. An MSP can budget the staff hours that your company actually needs instead, so there is no downtime. They can also make cost-saving recommendations and help you avoid investing in inefficient or obsolete technology.
Ability to Scale
One of the things that an MSP does best is to scale services up or down according to the business client’s needs. If you are in a position where you need to expand rapidly (or contract), your MSP can assist you in scaling your services to the appropriate size. While you could possibly expand an internal IT department at a rate commensurate with growth, contracting an IT department during slow times may be much trickier. If you have a cyclical business, it only makes sense to use an MSP to adjust with the ebbs and flows.
Staying up to date on the latest changes in IT may not be the purview of your company, but a good MSP will always know of the latest cost-saving innovations. The MSP should also have an eye toward the future and forecast tech trends. While it’s possible for in-house IT staff to keep up with the latest changes in tech, this usually takes a back seat to the immediate needs of the business. On the other hand, MSPs must remain current or risk losing their clients.
Experience and Specialization
MSPs hire employees with technical degrees and certifications and continue to develop their talent pool. This may be difficult for an individual internal IT staffer to compete with. Having specialized talent at your disposal can be a tremendous boon to your business. When the MSP recognizes that your company needs additional support with cloud management, for instance, they have personnel on staff ready to handle the necessary modifications.
The Difference Between MSPs and MSSPs
The initials MSSP stand for “Managed Security Service Provider,” — as opposed to a Managed Service Provider (MSP). While an MSP may also provide security services, an MSSP’s primary focus is the prevention of cybercrimes. Some MSPs offer effective security services. In this case, they have cybersecurity professionals on staff. Before you entrust your company’s cyber security to an MSP, you should inquire about the credentials of the individuals handling the security aspects of your business.
Frequently Asked Questions About MSPs
As both an MSP and an MSSP, Flagler Technologies frequently fields questions from business owners and managers interested in managed IT services. These are some of the most frequently asked questions as well as answers from our IT professionals.
What Types of Services Can an MSP Provide?
An MSP should be able to offer a full range of IT solutions for your company, including data storage, cloud integration, communication networks, reports and analytics, disaster preparation, mobile device integration, and round-the-clock support. If the IT support company is also a managed security service provider, their experts should be able to provide your company with the latest security software and ensure that it is updated when a security patch or upgrade comes out. In addition, they should be able to develop security protocols and rules for your staff, as well as provide training. This will ensure that your personnel has the adequate training to identify security threats. They should also be able to provide contingency plans in the event that there is a security breach.
How Can I Tell if an MSP Is Also an MSSP?
If you are vetting an MSP that claims to provide security services, they should be able to provide their qualifications and certifications as an MSSP. For instance, Flagler Technologies can provide the following services:
Contingency Response Planning and Risk Management
IT Security Services
Physical Security options such as access control, surveillance video, etc.
API, Application, and Penetration Testing
We can provide documentation to demonstrate our expertise and qualifications for each service we offer.
How Can Working With an MSP/MSSP Reduce Costs?
While it may be impractical or ill-advised to outsource various aspects of your business to third parties, it can be highly beneficial to solicit the expertise of third-party experts in areas that may not be the primary focus of your business. For instance, most small and mid-sized companies use outside counsel for their legal requirements. Paying a full-time attorney and staff doesn’t make sense from a cost standpoint. This may also be the case with your IT. In order to have even a small internal IT department, you will need to recruit and hire technical experts, follow their recommendations with regards to purchases and training, etc. An external IT support company can provide the same services at a significantly reduced cost. If you’re in doubt, contact Flagler Technologies to schedule a consultation. Our IT and cybersecurity experts can not only demonstrate how the services we provide can benefit you but also how much it would cost to install similar operations internally.
What if My Company Already Has an IT Department?
An MSP can work with your internal IT department to improve and enhance the existing services. You may realize that your current IT staff can’t adequately meet all of your requirements or they may be highly qualified at IT services but lack the cybersecurity background to protect your business from cybercriminals. You also may need to expand your IT services periodically to meet cyclical demand. A qualified MSP should be able to assess your tech needs and provide solutions, regardless of whether you have in-house IT staff or not.
Is Your Business Right for an MSP?
If you’re debating whether or not to hire an MSP to manage the IT functions of your business, you should speak to an IT expert. Contact Flagler Technologies for answers to additional questions and to assess the needs of your business.