Information technology (IT) is an essential part of any modern business, big or small. A well-managed IT infrastructure can open new opportunities for a business - and a poorly managed one can be disastrous.
The problem is that it's often challenging for small to mid-sized business owners to manage, maintain, and protect their IT on their own.
That's where a managed services provider can help.
A managed services provider (MSP) is a third-party company that specializes in business IT care. This allows business owners to focus on their core competencies while also maximizing their IT potential.
There are plenty of businesses in Hamilton, Ontario, that could benefit from outsourced IT services. Hamilton's growing population of over 760,000 residents and its proximity to Toronto have attracted many different businesses in recent years.
Hamilton’s up-and-coming businesses must optimize their technology to keep up with the competition – and a local managed services provider can help.
Do you need help managing your business technology? Here is everything you need to know when looking for a managed services provider in Hamilton, Ontario.
What is a Managed Services Provider?
Before finding a managed services provider for your business, you need to understand precisely what these third-party companies do and why they matter.
A managed services provider gives your business access to a remote IT team that handles your business’s major and minor IT needs. These outsourced IT specialists work with you to create a service package that's customized to your specific business needs. Their goal is to optimize and protect your IT infrastructure to help foster long-term growth and success.
A managed services provider like ours will support your Hamilton business by:
- Implementing better IT solutions
- Being available 24/7 to address IT issues as they arise
- Minimizing costly downtime
- Providing advanced security measures
- Monitoring your IT systems around-the-clock
- Working within your IT budget
In short, a managed services provider acts as a remote IT department without the expense and hassle of hiring in-house IT experts.
Why Invest in a Managed Services Provider?
Let's discuss some of the benefits of partnering with a managed services provider and why they are a great investment for many small to mid-sized businesses.
1) Access to New, Better Technology
IT is constantly evolving, and it is often challenging and expensive to keep up with the latest trends. However, outdated technology can hinder the productivity and efficiency of your business, causing you to fall behind the competition.
A managed services provider can offer your business access to new, cutting-edge IT equipment and solutions - without costing you a fortune.
A managed services provider will assess your current IT systems for weak points and suggest new tools and technologies improve these areas. Then, if you choose to implement their recommendations, they will oversee the installation and integration of these new systems to ensure everything runs smoothly.
In addition, MSPs have access to volume purchasing, better deals, and other industry discounts. As a result, they can offer your business the latest and best technology solutions at reduced prices.
Any managed services provider worth its salt will constantly look for ways to improve your IT systems, processes, and security measures. They won’t suggest unnecessary upgrades to your existing systems – only changes that move your business forward.
2) Better Network Security
Cybercriminals are more prevalent today than ever before, and small to mid-sized businesses are among their top targets. According to a recent report, roughly 71 percent of cyberattacks are directed at businesses with under 100 employees.
Why? These companies typically lack the security measures and resources necessary to protect themselves.
Just one online attack can bring your business to a screeching halt. Cybercriminals can steal sensitive information from your systems, destroy data, and hold your company files for ransom.
A managed services provider will minimize these risks by implementing multiple levels of network security.
They will install security software, hardware, firewalls, and more to discourage unauthorized access to your systems. Additionally, a managed services provider will continuously monitor your network and make frequent security updates. This ensures that your cybersecurity setup keeps up with the latest online threats to businesses.
3) Improved Productivity & Peace of Mind
With a local managed services provider, your business can leverage more efficient IT systems that speed up your workflow. Your employees will be able to communicate, share information, and complete tasks with greater ease.
In addition to promoting increased productivity, managed services providers help you sleep easier at night. With an MSP, you can have peace of mind knowing that:
- Your IT systems are managed by real experts
- Your data is safe and secure
- Your business is continuously supported on a 24/7 basis
Top Services to Look for in a Managed Services Provider
Now that you know how an MSP can benefit your business, let's discuss some of the top services to look for in a local provider.
Remote Help Desk
A system failure or IT disaster can occur at any time of day, causing your business to grind to a halt. If an IT issue occurs, you need to resolve it quickly - before it causes your business to lose money and productivity.
Partner with a managed services provider that provides a 24/7 help desk. This service allows you to reach an IT professional who will work to fix any issue you encounter, no matter the time.
A local managed services provider may also be able to provide on-site support if the issue is too complex to fix remotely. This means an IT technician will travel to your workplace, diagnose the issue, and repair it with minimal downtime.
Another feature to look for in a managed services provider is IT consulting.
With this service, a dedicated IT specialist (consultant) will meet regularly with your team to review your IT strategy and goals. Your IT consultant will provide tips and advice to help you get the most out of your IT system throughout these meetings.
An IT consultant will also help you rework your service plan based on fluctuations in IT demand. That way, your managed services provider can allocate your IT budget where it is needed most, rather than paying for services that are no longer required.
Data Backup & Recovery Solutions
Keeping your data stored in one location is risky. All it takes is one natural disaster or human error and all your data could be compromised.
Managed services providers that offer data backup and recovery services will help you protect your critical business data. They will automatically back up your data to a secure, secondary location, such as the Cloud. This way, if anything happens to your data in the main location, your managed services provider will be able to recover it entirely.
How Can You Find the Right Managed Service Provider for Your Business?
Some MSPs are more qualified to meet your specific business needs than others. So, it's essential to research managed services providers thoroughly before signing any contracts.
Here are a few qualities to look out for during the selection process.
Knowledge in Your Industry
Technology differs between industries. To ensure your managed services provider can meet your specific needs, they should have experience in your sector. That way, they will be able to customize their managed services to suit your requirements right off the bat, rather than having to research and learn about the various needs of your industry.
Proactive Approach to IT Management
A managed services provider shouldn't just fix an IT problem as it occurs, they should also prevent the same issue from occurring in the future.
That's exactly what you get with a proactive managed services provider. They will monitor your IT system in real-time and reconfigure your network security following an IT issue. This prevents you from getting caught in a loop of repeated problems that are never fully resolved.
A Proven Track Record
Finally, you should check to see if a managed services provider has a good standing with their past clients. You can do this by reading their reviews and testimonials, which are often listed on their websites.
A quality managed services provider will be more than happy to share case studies and examples of their IT management in action. If they are unwilling or unable to do so, it may be a sign that their services are ineffective.
As you can see, there are plenty of great reasons for small to mid-sized business owners in Hamilton to partner with a local managed services provider.
A great provider will equip you with the necessary IT solutions to achieve long-term success and growth. Rather than struggling to keep dozens of IT plates spinning, consider outsourcing some of your top technology needs to experts who can help.
How can a local managed services provider help your Hamilton business? Let’s find out together.