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The CFO’s Essential Guide to Managed IT Services

The role of a CFO has undergone a massive transformation in recent times. 

The CFO of today cannot be limited to managing books and updating spreadsheets. The position demands a skilled leader who is ready to think ahead of the curve and analyse expenditure for the most optimized outcome.   

Maximizing the IT resources that yield a positive return from investment can be achieved with the help of managed IT. Below we will explore why managed IT might be the solution you are looking for and how to go about hiring a provider. 

 

What is Managed IT?  

Managed IT is the process of outsourcing a portion or the entirety of your IT tasks to a third-party IT provider. Managed IT services providers (MSPs) offer a team of IT consultants that implement solutions tailored to your business needs. The solutions are engineered after a careful evaluation of your business and its growth potential.  

The trend of outsourcing IT to MSPs is backed by results that create real-world differences. According to MarketsandMarkets™ report, the managed IT market is expected to be worth 329.1 billion by 2025.   

 

What are the Benefits of Managed IT Over an In-house IT Team?  

Managed IT places itself as the better alternative by addressing the pain points a traditional IT team fails to counter.   

Break/fix vs proactive model  

Traditional IT relies on a break/fix model that waits for something to be broken in order to fix it. In contrast, managed IT adopts a proactive method where issues are detected and fixed before they could impact your business operations.  

The proactive model minimizes system downtime and offers more efficient services to your customers, resulting in a reduction of operational cost.  

Round-the-clock monitoring 

IT challenges can crop up any time and a team of professionals should always be ready to handle the situation. But in the case of traditional IT, you will find yourself reaching out to in-house teams past the office hours more than you would like. It also creates unpleasant situations during the holidays. 

Managed IT addresses this absence of a prompt response by providing 24/7/365 monitoring. The always-on management can support the limitations of in-house IT by deploying overnight security patches, upgrading firewalls, and tackling network disturbances.  

Knowledge gap 

With business operations growing in complexity, the increased reliance on IT assets needs to meet an equally competent IT team. Most companies have a modest number of in-house IT professionals and the limitations of human resources are particularly visible in SMBs. Consequently, when you strive to serve more markets and consumers, the inadequate knowledge base gets exposed.  

MSPs offer a curated team of professionals who have years of experience behind them. They are always on top of new challenges and developments in the market and are trained to implement highly sophisticated solutions for your business.  

Employees vs consultants 

Your in-house team works under you. As much as a company promotes inclusiveness and breaking of the hierarchy, in reality, IT employees prefer to follow the chain of command. While an organized workflow is desirable, it also hinders people from thinking out-of-the-box or innovating solutions. 

An MSP differs in this regard by positioning itself as a strategic partner. They are the independent IT experts, and they can offer decisive consultation regarding the state of your current IT infrastructure and how it is placed to tackle challenges.  

As a CFO, you need to think of the big picture and an MSP can offer the right strategic guidance. In fact, the alignment of thoughts is one of the biggest reasons people opt for managed IT.  

 

What are the Services Provided by Managed IT? 

The services offered by MSPs can vary from basic IT tasks to advanced “as-a” solutions. Since the packages are highly customisable, companies can pick and choose the type and the extent of services they need. Some of the major services included in managed IT are the following: 

Network management  

MSPs can help you manage the scattered IT network from a single point of operation.  

Regular tasks include deploying applications, applying security patches, monitoring aging software, and establishing LANs, VPNs, and other network connection portals. Sophisticated tasks include offering sys admin and executing SDN with APIs, vendor management, payroll, and everything in between.  

Most MSPs offer scalable solutions that are on par with current business trends. Thanks to the growing acceptance of remote work, digital workplace services that facilitate seamless communication and collaborations are on the rise.  

Security 

The growing number of cybercrimes has made IT security a vital cog in digital transformation. 

MSP maintained IT security can range from basic tasks like firewall and antivirus installation, spam protection, traffic analysis, payment gateway maintenance to advanced solutions like threat analysis, vulnerability management, identity and access management (IAM), and GRC support.  

Thanks to the rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs, mobile devices have become an easy way to access sensitive information. Mobile device management (MDM) is a new cybersecurity strategy that protects mobile devices within an integrated ecosystem. Depending on the nature of your business, MSPs can also offer physical security and unified threat management (UTM). 

How the workforce interacts on the internet can very much dictate the state of security in a company.  Apart from the technical solutions, MSPs may also offer security training to employees, helping them adhere to the best practices to protect the company’s assets. 

Storage  

You can customize managed IT solutions to store mission-critical data in physical data centres or up in the cloud. Either way, an MSP can help.  

Managed storage gives you the freedom to store data in your preferred location and scale easily with time. MSPs deploy the most sophisticated SAN to shield your data. When you are in control of how and where your data is stored, you can interact with it in a better way.  

Data backup and recovery  

The increasing cost of system downtime and the need to be always “on” for a digital customer base have pushed companies to engineer a business continuity strategy.  

Robust database backup and recovery management are crucial for an uninterrupted workflow. They give you the freedom to choose what type of data and how frequently you want to be backed up. If your business database gets compromised in a cyberattack, the real-time backups can be restored quickly. MSPs with highly specialized Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solutions can analyse the extent of the breach to quickly bring your business online.   

Cloud infrastructure 

A digital transformation push has reinforced the importance of cloud infrastructure for all kinds of businesses operating today.  

MSPs analyse IT assets and market position to engineer cloud adoption, create and deploy custom applications, maintain DevOps tools, automate vital tasks, and offer cloud architecture migration. Cloud adoption has given rise to SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS packages that can be deployed and controlled easily with better security and at a reduced TCO.  

Cloud computing platforms such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud offer agile and scalable solutions and you need an IT partner to help transform your business for the future.  

Helpdesk 

A major part of IT services is built on prompt communication and resolution.  

Helpdesk in managed IT works in two ways. Companies can quickly get in touch with the MSP by contacting the support team in case of an emergency and MSPs can offer their robust helpdesk to bolster the customer support team of the company that hired them. Most businesses lack a comprehensive IT support team and by leveraging the MSP helpdesk, they can improve their customer experience.   

Compliance 

In a global market where privacy and security laws vary with regions, compliance with geo-specific regulations is very important.  

A lot of businesses are neither aware of the implications of different standards nor do they have the strategic resources to guide them. MSPs bring specific compliance officers that help companies adhere to GDPR, CCPA, APPs, etc. 

 

What is the Impact of Managed IT on Your Company?  

 The solutions offered by MSPs create a direct impact on the financial structure of your company.  

Reduced downtime cost  

Companies on average post a loss of $5,600 for each minute of system downtime. In 2019, a 14-hour outage cost Facebook almost $90 million. Giants like Google, Apple, and Facebook lose out millions due to system downtime and the issue is only getting bigger in recent years.  

For SMBs, unplanned downtime can have a far more disastrous impact than large enterprises that have billion-dollar spending capabilities. You can calculate the cost of downtime for your company by adding the loss of revenue, the loss of productivity, cost of recovery, and loss of reputation.  

Managed IT can help you mitigate the impact of downtime. The proactive management provided by MSPs includes regular system assessment, patch deployment, installation of new technology to improve functionality, and optimization of workflow. The round-the-clock monitoring and robust disaster recovery management mitigate the risk of downtime, thereby saving the company from a great deal of financial and reputational costs. 

Reduced cost of investment 

Your cost of maintaining a full-fledged in-house IT team is going to be far higher than outsourcing the task to an MSP. The average salary of an IT professional is over $65,000 in western countries. On top of that, there is the cost of onboarding and frequently training employees, along with strengthening the IT infrastructure. The total investment can easily offset the actual return.  

Managed IT on the other hand has a low barrier of entry. MSPs bring their own class-leading IT infrastructure to the table. You only pay for the services you use and not for the capital. This way, you can avoid an exorbitant cost of infrastructure and scale with time with a higher ROI.  

Increased productivity 

According to a HubSpot report, U.S employers report a loss of $1.8 trillion due to lack of employee productivity. In-house IT teams are often found managing tasks that can easily be delegated to others since multitasking can bring down efficiency by 40%. 

Proper utilization of the workforce boosts productivity and revenue at the same time. MSPs offer an integrated IT ecosystem that helps employees communicate in real-time and be at their productive best. They take care of the day-to-day tasks so that the core IT team can focus on other critical aspects of the business.  

Productivity is a major issue for companies that are going through a digital transformation. Remote workplaces, in particular, can see a bigger difference with the help of an MSP.  

 

Are You Ready for Managed IT?  

 Managed IT offers modern, proactive IT management at a fraction of the cost. But that should not be the only reason. MSPs come with scalable services that can help in a smooth transition to the future.  

You need to hire an MSP if – 

  • You or other C-level executives such as CTO and CIO find themselves busy with tasks that should be handled by a dedicated team of IT experts. 
  • You do not have complete control over the data behaviour and security status of the hardware and software in your company.  
  • You do not have comprehensive compliance or disaster management system in place. 
  • Your business is planning to grow, break into new territories, or pivot towards a different operational model, but your IT team cannot handle change on a large scale. 
  • Your IT cost is higher than you would like it to be. 

If you want to keep your in-house IT team for internal tasks and delegate the rest to an MSP, you can opt for co-managed IT (Co-MIT). Co-managed IT brings the best of both groups in a collaborative atmosphere. 

 

Best Practices to Follow While Onboarding a Managed IT Services Provider  

 You need to keep in mind a few things while looking to hire an MSP as they are expected to assume a critical role in your business. 

  • Assess the services you need and analyse your IT roadmap for the future. 
  • Evaluate your current IT cost, your future expenditure, and the ROI you are targeting. 
  • Properly vet potential candidates. Check their experience, IT portfolio, and reputation in the market to decide if they align with your company’s vision. 
  • Request for a system audit. MSPs will review a part of your IT infrastructure and provide you a detailed report. Based on performances, you can pick the one that fits your demands. 
  • Always follow a comprehensive SLA detailing the scope of work and flexible solutions for the future. SLAs and NDAs give MSPs clarity and hold them accountable for the tasks. When everything falls in place, hire your preferred team. 

 

Summing Up 

CFOs and financial controllers should look at managed IT as a way to grow their business and not hinder themselves with conventional approaches. With proper evaluation, finding the perfect MSP is easy. For more information on what difference an MSP can bring to your company, contact us 

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