Offerings of a Managed Services Provider

Jeff Bolstad; Network Center, Inc.

I get asked often what I do for a living. Now, if I tell people I work for a Managed Service Provider (MSP), most who aren’t familiar with IT will smile and nod, and more often than not I fall back to “I work in IT”. However, if you are reading this you probably have at least some in the details of what our company does, and how this can positively impact a company who utilizes an MSP.

Network Center, Inc. has become quite versatile in terms of outsourced technology services it provides. We are continuously revisiting and revamping the technologies we use and the methods we practice to ensure we’re providing the most useful service and products in an efficient manner. NCI offers many mundane, day-to-day tasks that can either reduce the need for an in-house IT staff or free them up for more critical work. These tasks include but are not limited to: Network monitoring, patch management, Spam Filtering, Anti-virus management, and proactive work to ensure network security and stability. This is in addition to the troubleshooting and problem resolution generally associated with IT support. Now some companies have an internal IT staff, or maybe are looking at hiring internal resources versus going with an MSP. So why does the latter make sense?

Outsourcing has a lot of negative connotations, especially when it comes to IT. People think of call centers staffed overseas where the person may not know what state, much less city you are calling from.  However, when I talk about outsourcing, it simply means sharing some degree of responsibility for IT work with NCI. Why does it make sense to do this though?

One of the biggest concerns with IT is always going to be cost. And what is going to get priority is constantly shifting. For example, the 2017 federal budget is requesting $19 Billion dollars to help improve an area of major concern, cybersecurity. That’s fine for one of the wealthiest nations in the world, but most companies don’t have that kind of room in their budgets. This is a good example of where it makes sense to outsource to an MSP like Network Center, Inc. We've done the vetting of equipment, vendors, and security practices to have a good idea of what is going to do a company the most good, without have to start from scratch like an internal resource likely would. We also have more people doing more research which brings many new threats to our attention before they become a problem, allowing us to take precautions against them. Not only that, but with a vast group of experts with differing experiences and knowledge to draw upon. An MSP can put the right resources for a task in place to ensure it is done quickly and correctly, minimizing time and money spent on projects and fixing day to day issues.

Another benefit we gain by having so many IT professionals under one roof is our relationship with vendors is generally very good. This is especially true where being certified in vendor products or technologies allows us access to quicker support and better internal tools. We can in turn pass this along to any customers, and also act as in intermediary for end users or internal IT contacts.

Going with an MSP for addressing IT concerns can also help avoid some risks that come with hiring an internal resource or contracting with individuals for project work. Primarily, the MSP assumes the risks normally associated with personnel, including the vetting and review process for any candidates. This extends beyond staff to hardware, software, and any other vendors that that may be sought, such as hosted applications or infrastructure as a service providers. This helps shift sole responsibility for a company’s IT success from one individual or small group an entire company.

So what’s the bottom line of working with an MSP? A quick Google search will give you a million results where companies provided a bulleted list of why you should go with their unique MSP offering. I can’t speak for all of them, just in general terms and my personal experiences with NCI. You can see service level agreements, staffing, security, and monitoring thrown out a lot  I can tell you that trusting a MSP with a proven record of working with clients to improve their IT situation can pay off big, either through working with existing IT staff or becoming the de facto IT staff. Many day-to-day IT concerns can be offloaded to external staff without interruption, and the input from many experts on larger projects and planning for the future is always available.

Contact us to learn more about Network Center, Inc. and our role as a trusted Managed Services Provider.