MSP: An Expense or an Asset? | T3CS
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MSP: An Expense or an Asset?

MSP: An Expense or an Asset?

Over the past few years, I have heard time and time again about how IT is just another expense. Comments like, I keep having to invest more and more money into my IT; Why do I have to replace my machine it’s working fine; Do I really need that product?; Why does it cost that much? Isn’t it just as simple as…..? why this? why that? We are defiantly not doing our job if these are the questions we consistently keep getting asked.

Well, the simple answer is that you are correct, any individual part of IT by itself IS just another expense. It is a hungry money pit that will keep taking as long as you keep feeding it. Investing in something you expect to work for up to 5 Years, only to find out that after 2 years its not adequate is another expense. Projects running over budget or time because aspects have been missed or not thought about AGAIN adding more unexpected costs.

MSP: An Expense or an Asset? All Technology

This is why investing in a Managed Service provider SHOULD turn technology from an expense into an Asset. I say should because there are some out there that don’t simply just don’t. If you feel like you are in this boat then you should start to look at your options. Technology should be seen as a tool; when implemented and used correctly becomes an asset. Piecing tools that compliment each other provides

A great analogy I often use to explain managed services is that it’s just like an insurance plan. You pay monthly for some services you may never need but as we all know there are two types:

  • If you pick a bad insurance plan, you might be paying for something that doesn’t cover you, that may only cover specific areas, you don’t understand, have hidden costs and/or is complex.
  • A good insurance plan is one that you understand, has a known cost, covers you for everything you need and maybe some extra benefits, is scalable.

The difference between most MSPs is actually not that much, depending on the area and size of the business, most will provide and recommend basically the same products with a few adjustments here and there. Here at T3CS we believe there are ….. key areas that should always be covered, and in no particular order (or maybe they are).

  1. Security:
    • This should be a #1 priority on anyone’s list. Security is not only just physical or Firewalls, but it has also become much more. It is now your passwords, your users, your antivirus, your networking, your firewall, your wireless, your IoT devices. There is so much that needs to be taken into consideration when it comes to the security of your data as well as clients data you hold. I could write a full article on each of these but I will probably just write one on the tools we use and why.
  2. Networking:
    • There are so many different brands out there. Some have more or fewer benefits to others depending on what you are trying to achieve, there is not always a right or wrong answer. (ok, maybe there is if you are putting hubs into your network because they are cheap. You are providing major security concerns and long term issues) However, there are 3 things we look at when selecting the right devices.
      • Sizing and Role.
      • Manageability.
      • Security features.
  3. Backup and Recovery:
    • Build a backup and DR Plan then make sure you test it. Don’t fall into the trap that it’s too hard.
  4. Infrastructure:
    • The hardware you use plays a big a major part in if you are replacing it every two years vs every five years (or somewhere in between). Unfortunately, good hardware is not cheap and cheap hardware is not good. I know some people will disagree with me but the fact is its true for one reason or another
  5. Support and Maintenance:
    • Maintain warranty or Support agreements. These are key to ensure you get the max life and support out of your products.
    • Schedule consistant maintenance windows that allow you to keep systems up to date.
    • MSPs should have their own support plans in place to ensure you are supported quickly and in a timely manner. Its impossible for any individual to know everything, but having trained expert in the products they sell. As well as good working relationships and support channels to provide the extra layer of support should be a minimum.
  6. Roadmap and Reporting:
    • A roadmap is a great way to ensure budgets, changes, warranties, maintenance are maintained. This helps to lower the risk of the unknown, with a few exceptions as there is always going to be the odd occasion things come up unexpectantly. Roadmaps are just plans, and plans can change so don’t get caught up in too many details. Just understand what you have and what things you could expect to see.
    • Reporting is another key fundamental as it provides history and understanding of what is happening. If an MSP cannot provide reporting then ask yourself, do they actually understand what is happening? And I mean something with actual substance that means something to you not automated reports.

The ultimate goal is to make your work life with technology as easy and painless as possible but also provide enough security to protect your information and more importantly your client’s information. Sometimes its hard to find that middle ground between the two but its achievable.

If you have internal support or Managed Service provider looking after you maybe ask yourself these questions and work out if you have the information.

  • What does the next 5 years look like?
  • Do you have the ability to recover your data if you delete or lose it? Has this been tested?
  • What do you do if you get a Virus and/or Crypto-locker and/or Phishing Attack?
  • Do you understand how your system is currently operating?
  • Do you know of the issues your business are facing and what is being done to resolve it?

There are so many questions you could ask and there is a lot you won’t understand. But the one key question you have forgotten to answer is why haven’t I talked to T3CS yet?

Contact us today to find out how we will help you.

Nicholas Pomee
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