Managed IT myths, busted

Adam Harling 01-Dec-2021 11:58:49
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Having spent 20 years building an IT solutions company, I’ve encountered many barriers that lead managers to dismiss managed IT.

The term “Managed Services” has become somewhat ubiquitous when describing services outsourced IT partner provides. Some believe it means having a Service Desk to report issues too; others think it means subscribing to Microsoft 365. What managed services actually is having a provider that assumes responsibility for providing a defined set of services to its clients. Unfortunately, that is just one of many misconceptions I have seen in the IT industry.

Many IT leaders and senior management outside of IT perceive Managed Services as a luxury rather than a need. However, when considering the ever-increasing complexity of IT environments, coupled with new challenges involving security, IoT, the Cloud, hybrid working and more, Managed Services is no longer just nice to have. Instead, it’s a necessity for organisations large and small.

Simply put, these myths are keeping small businesses and technology teams from the benefits of increased agility and strategic value managed services brings to an IT department. By debunking some of these myths, your business should benefit by realising IT’s untapped potential.

Myth #1: Keeping IT in-house is better

IT leaders should view MSPs as an extension of the IT team, not as a replacement. While having the dedicated time of a full time IT professional can and is helpful , it also may limit the breadth of knowledge your business can take advantage of. A good MSP will have a structured team with varying areas of interest and specialised skills, offering broader experience, skills and understanding of good business IT.

A good Managed Service Provider will carefully build a strategy to reduce downtime, security risks and even the number of reactive tickets. A managed IT Service Provider that tracks and targets the right KPIs and reduces risk is a win-win for both parties; the fewer issues you have, the less risk you have, the better for both parties.

MSPs also have access to monitoring and maintenance platforms out of reach for in-house IT teams. By spreading the cost of enterprise-grade software over their client base, it becomes part of the toolset available to you.

Myth #2: They want to sell us technology we don’t need for profit

I suspect many of us have felt pressure to buy something we don’t actually need. So, without technical knowledge to help make informed decisions, how can you be sure that you won’t fall into the same trap?

Some IT suppliers may incentivise their sales teams to sell higher-margin solutions through sales commission, and yes, that could lead to oversold equipment or expensive software. But, interestingly, we have also seen this behaviour from internal IT departments keen to retain budget power and appear “busy”.

It goes back to the difference between an IT support contract and Managed IT services. What is the incentive behind their advice? Do they have a sales team looking to make good margins on solutions through sales commissions, or are they genuine in their advice? And how can you tell the difference?

A good MSP will look at the fundamental business requirements, affordability, and suitability before making recommendations. They’ll also be able to explain the reason for their suggestions.

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Myth #3: An MSP wouldn’t treat us like a unique business

Sometimes dealing with a third party can feel impersonal, like they’re just going through the motions and they’re not actually interested in servicing you at all. The difference between an ‘IT support contract’ and a fully managed IT service, is strategic advice and guidance. This makes your experience with an MSP personal to your business.

A reactive IT support contract may resolve issues as they are raised, but it doesn’t tackle a longer-term strategy for your business to make the most of technology and use it as an advantage.

Fully Managed suppliers should regularly audit your IT estate and technology usage and provide strategic advice as part of the service, tailoring your technology and cloud services to your exacting business requirements.

Myth #4: Managed services are expensive

Another common misconception when dismissing managed services is that they are too expensive. It can be hard to gain buy-in from those at the top when you can’t determine value for money. So, first things first is to look at the cost of getting it wrong.

Like it or not, in this day and age, most businesses are dependent on technology in one form or another; if your IT goes down, it can significantly impact your business. Be that through failing technology, incorrect configuration, cyber-attack, or a million other reasons.

Any MSP worth their salt is going to reduce risk through implementing the right technology solutions, including Cyber Security, Backup and Disaster Recovery and overall system “health” to maximise uptime and availability. Thus, reducing overall costs and maximising return on IT investment.

Secondly, MSPs can also uncover cost savings through simple tasks such as licencing and subscription reviews, ensuring your business is not paying for products you do not need.

And finally, 46% of firms have trimmed their annual IT expenditure by 25% or more due to their shift to managed services.

For SMBs, the ability to have enterprise-level IT without recruiting, training and supporting an entire department is hugely beneficial. These organisations will be saving budget on recruitment. They will also keep up-to-date with evolving technology instead of falling behind, putting them at a competitive advantage instead of falling behind the big names.

Myth #5. Our data and security are at risk with an outsourced partner

Sadly, this one can be true!

The Cyber Security status of your supplier is paramount and must be a key requisite when going to market. Look for assurance through cyber liability insurance, Cyber Essentials PLUS and further certification to ensure your business is served by a supplier that takes cyber security seriously.

Your supplier should have safeguards in place to ensure they do not present an additional risk to your business. Careful access controls, credential storage and access logging, should all be part of that picture.

If you’d like more advice on questions to ask potential IT partners, you can read our blog on ‘11 questions to ask your IT provider about their compliance’.

Myth #6. All managed service partners are all the same

Every managed service provider is unique. With different partners, vendors, hosting methods, security options and cost models. It’s crucial that those considering a managed service provider as an approach to IT strategy have the ability to deliver and monitor the applications necessary to the organisation.

IT should work; it should increase effectiveness, efficiency and give you back your business. SMBs have the power to completely configure an IT setup to gain the most out of their services.

At Netitude, we provide businesses with enterprise standard technology at an affordable price, putting you ahead of your competitors and driving productivity.

Need some advice, or want to talk about your options? Book a call with Adam