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When you’re building a business, there are a million things to keep track of. And too often, critical details are overlooked that can threaten the business. Whether recruiting and training the right people or handling helpdesk functions, entrepreneurs and CEOs can lose out on key revenue-building opportunities as they strive to manage every business function effectively.
In these cases, managed service providers (MSPs) are waiting in the wings, ready to help you manage your critical IT functions and allow you to put your time and attention where needed most. Many growing businesses take advantage of an MSP’s managed IT services offering, in which the business outsources some or all of its IT functions. With managed IT, your MSP handles the IT functions you identify completely, from helpdesk administration to cybersecurity. And if you choose, they handle all your IT needs, allowing you to focus on the work you can’t leave to others.
But in some cases, you need a hand in your IT operation. Maybe your product or service is heavily reliant on your tech stack. Or you’re looking to free up your talented IT staff from routine administration to help you develop the next generation of products and services. You may face unexpected revenue shortfalls and have to maintain IT operations at their current level with fewer employees. Or perhaps there are functional areas of your IT operation you strongly feel the need to have direct input and authority.
Co-managed IT may be what you’re looking for. If you’re unfamiliar with co-managed IT services, here’s how they can benefit your business.
Co-managed IT is a service in which your IT department works alongside that of an MSP on the IT functions you specify. You can leverage co-managed IT to leverage outside IT expertise, support a new initiative where you have little personnel capacity, or implement a follow-the-sun workflow model.
Businesses leveraging co-managed IT often deploy their internal IT staff to help manage the employee-facing functions that can be harder for a third party to handle effectively. For example, you may jointly work on cybersecurity with your IT staff focusing on organizational training, preparation, and response – areas where in-house staff, conversant with your unique workplace culture, can be most effective.
While your IT staff works with your other employees, an MSP can leverage their professional expertise and advanced software tools to manage advanced threat detection and response. Relying on an MSP’s practical knowledge and experience is more often than not more effective and cost-efficient than providing your IT staff with the professional development and technical resources they’d need to provide the same level of service.
Co-managed IT doesn’t just work for cybersecurity services. MSPs provide co-managed IT services in your most common and critical IT areas, such as:
No matter what IT function you need support for, chances are you can find an MSP capable of supporting your business IT priorities.
When you’ve found a reputable MSP whose experience and resources are a great fit for your business, you’ll benefit from a partnership with them in the following ways.
Access to 24/7 Support
Whether you offer 24/7 customer support, you’ll find your MSP does. That means if there’s a sudden network outage right before an online conference over the weekend, you’ll have someone available to address it. You won’t need to worry about reaching an employee or dealing with overtime costs, as you’ll have a dedicated partner who can help you get back up and running.
Reduced IT Costs
Co-managed IT services can save your business a substantial amount of money. Not only are co-managed IT costs less expensive than managed IT services. But they can also save you the expense of hiring new employees in key areas. You’ll avoid the recruiting, onboarding, and training costs that come with new employees and the added costs that come if they aren’t the right fit. Moreover, if you’re looking to launch a new IT-based initiative, you can often greatly reduce associated hardware and software costs by working with your MSP partner.
Greater Predictability in IT Budgeting
You’ll find that co-managed IT costs are generally consistent from month to month. You’re billed for the specific services you’ve requested, usually at a fixed rate that encompasses routine but sudden repairs and replacements. MSPs can take advantage of the economies of scale they’ve developed dealing with multiple clients to ensure your issues are dealt with in a cost-efficient manner. An MSP can make organizational financial planning easier and help you avoid substantial unanticipated expenses.
Agile and Immediate Implementation
Using co-managed IT services allows you to implement new applications and initiatives rapidly. You can increase the scope of the services you receive on-demand, allowing you to take full advantage of emerging growth opportunities. You can also reduce your services if you need to reallocate financial resources elsewhere. Either way, you can scale your capacity up or down rapidly as necessary.
Regulatory Compliance Support
If you’re serving markets in multiple countries, it can be difficult to keep up with ever-changing data privacy and cybersecurity regulations, much less implement compliance measures effectively. But MSPs work with many clients who must meet the same reporting and compliance standards you do and can ensure that you’re following every relevant mandate to the letter.
If co-managed IT services sound like what your business needs, many reputable providers can help you take your business to the next level. To get started, look for MSPs in your area with a history of providing support in the areas you need. When you’ve developed a list, pare it down by assessing their experience working with businesses your size in your industry, expertise with your technology platforms, and their recommendations, among other factors.
When you start to set up exploratory meetings, evaluate areas like communication, thoroughness, and fit. Envision how well you imagine their staff may work with yours, and if you have a hard time picturing it, move to the next provider on the list. The right MSP will add value, not create problems.
Finding an MSP that’s the right fit for your business is critical. And when you find the right MSP, co-managed IT services can help you grow your business more rapidly than you thought possible.