Managed Service Provider: The Magic of Experience (Not Prognostication)
Your Business Has More Pressing Questions than, “6 More Weeks of Winter?”
Annually, dating back to at least 1886, an earth-toned marmot in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania rises from his winter retreat at Gobbler’s Knob to gaze over the hill for his shadow. As the story goes, if Punxsutawney Phil, the aforementioned ground hog of lore, spots his shadow, six more weeks of winter remain. Although Punxsutawney Phil’s accuracy is hotly contested, what isn’t is the uncertainty of the future.
A Managed Services Provider (MSP) is a very helpful aid in navigating the coming season. But wait, you may ask, Do I even need an MSP? What does an MSP have to offer me? Let’s start with the basics:
What the Heck is a Managed Service Provider?
CIO defines an MSP in this way:
“A managed service provider (MSP) is an outsourcer contracted to remotely manage or deliver IT services such as network, application, infrastructure, or security management to a client company by assuming full responsibility for those services, determining proactively what technologies and services are needed to fulfill the client’s needs.
“Services delivered by an MSP are delivered by employees located at the client’s locations, or elsewhere. MSPs can also bundle in hardware, software, or cloud technology as part of their offerings.”
An MSP is a force multiplier capable of managing your background so you can stay in the foreground.
What Can a Managed Service Provider Do for Me?
As stated above, an MSP is capable of managing your hardware, software, and whole physical locations, so you can focus on running a business. No more late-night calls for a storage array that’s gone down. No worries about backups, firewall firmware upgrades, and the like. Upgrading to the latest MySQL version? MSP can handle that. SOC Audit around the corner? MSP.
By offering support for your business, an MSP reduces the time and resources it takes for you to manage your business, and that extends beyond infrastructure. The staff augmentation an MSP can offer means less time managing people, which streamlines internal meetings, finance reports, benefits management, and onboarding/offboarding employees.
For example, your current DBA is due to retire and has her bags packed for a long retirement party in Fiji. You need to hire a replacement fast, which requires placing a job listing, filtering through limitless resumes, and conducting numerous interviews– and time is ticking. Once you’ve made your decision, there’s offers to be made, contracts to sign, and a new “Parking Space is Reserved for _______” sign to be fabricated.
After all the effort spent on the hiring process, two weeks later, it could start all over again after the new-hire ate your peanut butter & jelly sandwich out of the employee refrigerator for the last time. An MSP may be able to cover this new void with staff already on hand. And, chances are, as they’re a separate company, your lunch will be safe.
Wait, what about Punxsutawney Phil?
The future is a bit more obfuscated than seeing a shadow. An essential element an MSP provides is aiding you to navigate the future. Sounds kinda mystical doesn’t it? No, no levitating soothsayers caressing a crystal ball of dubious value here.
An MSP serves your business, as well as other clients. What that equates to is experience: experience in places you want to be, or with problems you don’t see coming.
Managed Service Provider Example: ALDI
Sometimes, the “places you want to be” are metaphorical, like the leading provider in your industry or top brand for your target customer. And sometimes, you literally need to expand to new places. Take ALDI, for example.
“Founded by the Albrecht family, the first ALDI store opened in 1961 in Germany, making ALDI the first discounter in the world. Headquartered in Batavia, Illinois, ALDI now has more than 2,000 stores across 36 states, employs over 25,000 people and has been steadily growing since opening its first US store in Iowa in 1976.”
ALDI made the jump across the pond and has now become a household name. Expanding into a new location takes resources and knowledge. You may need to hire a whole new staff to operate there. There may be some nuances there you’re not quite aware of, evidenced when the waitress brings you Nestea as opposed to the delicious orange-pekoe brew you know and love.
An MSP who already has a geographic presence, speaks the local language and understands the culture can be invaluable to install onsite infrastructure. In fact, your MSP may partner with a vendor for new hardware discounts, or lease you hardware that requires no upfront expense.
Stay Ready for the Future with a Managed Service Provider
Expanding, or maybe replacing, aging hardware, is something a good MSP can help you with. Is the new firewall you’re considering going to integrate with your current stack, so you can migrate over system-by-system? An MSP may help you consider whether the choice you make today can sustain the requirements you’ll need tomorrow. As technology requirements change frequently, this is something that must be considered.
Awareness of developing technologies, industry standards, and product offerings is essential for the future. And, let’s not forget optimizing costs and time management at every moment. When you’re confident in all these elements, that’s the magic of partnering with the right MSP.
Are you looking for a managed service provider to help you navigate the future? Contact us.