A managed service provider (MSP) is a third-party support service that remotely manages IT infrastructures for businesses or residences. MSPs offer subscription-based managing services that monitor for cybersecurity threats, keep software up to date, and accommodate businesses' shifting IT needs. Manufacturing businesses, in particular, benefit from working with MSPs because they can focus on their business operations and more quickly incorporate developing trends into their business models. Automated manufacturing tools, hands-off manufacturing, and supply chain optimization all require a strong IT foundation.
Taking the step to having a managed services provider for your business can set up your business for faster growth and streamlined production. In this article, we’ll explore seven common signs that your business is ready for managed services.
1. Your in-house IT support isn't enough.
Small and growing businesses often don't have the IT team they need to create a strong foundation. IT encompasses a wide range of responsibilities — from day-to-day operations and safely handling payment processing to updating computer systems and building disaster recovery plans — and trying to have a big enough in-house team to manage it all can cut into your sales and production staff.
If your business' IT role is filled by one person (or one person taking on multiple roles) and you can't bring in more employees, that's a clear sign it's time to look for a subscription-based services option.
2. You want more control over your cash flow.
Managed services providers work on a subscription-based model, which makes them a fixed cost. This protects your business from sudden variable expenses like overnight outage calls to a traditional IT service. It also makes it easy for your accounting team to forecast spending and revenue models for the quarters ahead. When you have a business in a capital-intensive industry like manufacturing, having clear, predictable cash flow is essential. It allows you to invest in newer machining technologies and scale up your production.
3. Your business works with sensitive data.
Almost every business handles sensitive data. This includes internal information such as employee records, inventory details, and more. It also includes client data like their payment information, their product designs and specifications, and other IP. If you can't guarantee the security of that information, your clients will look elsewhere for business.
Many clients, especially government contracts, have non-negotiable requirements regarding data handling and information security. A managed services provider can help you meet those requirements and maintain industry-standard practices for accessing, housing, and protecting sensitive data.
4. Outages can significantly disrupt your business.
Outages and unscheduled downtime are bad for business, but they can happen from multiple angles when you manage your own IT. Outages can:
- Prevent prospective clients from requesting quotes.
- Interfere with remote work operations.
- Halt communications between centralized controls and automated hardware.
- Delay administrative and support functions like processing invoices, signing contracts, and managing marketing.
Excellent IT infrastructures need both hardware and software updates to stay fast and ahead of the curve. If your business operations are expanding, then it's important to scale your network hardware and software to keep up with expected usage. Working with a managed service provider means you can be alerted when your network usage is nearing capacity and it's time to scale up.
5. You're expanding (or thinking about expanding) your network.
An MSP can also help create a comprehensive plan so that your system is more standardized, scalable, and error-proof. Whether you're hiring new employees, adding new services, or moving to integrated robotics and machining or quality management tools, expanding your network the right way is something MSPs can help with.
6. You want to move to the cloud.
More and more businesses are shifting their data and work platforms to the cloud — a decentralized, virtual ecosystem that allows remote workers and facilities to easily communicate and access the same files. Shifting from a local server to the cloud makes your information, CRM, and other business solutions more accessible to authorized parties. It also protects your data from loss or damage from events like floods or stolen servers. Your MSP can create a plan to shift all of your business data and processes to the cloud with minimal business disruption. They can then continue to manage and protect your systems remotely.
One key advantage manufacturing businesses access from shifting to the cloud is smoother automation. Your production systems can talk to each other, alert human operators of potential errors, and more efficiently manage the supply chain of raw materials and packaging.
7. You want cybersecurity to be a priority in 2021, but you don't know how to get started.
One of the biggest risks businesses face is poor cybersecurity. Without adequate protection, your data can be stolen, your network infrastructure can be used by an unauthorized party, and you can face liability or lose customer trust. MSPs specialize in staying up-to-date on current cybercrime trends and best practices for managing commercial systems. Your business can leverage their experience and monitoring solutions without having to specialize or devote a significant portion of time and resources to preventing or containing cyber threats.
At Dymin Systems, we specialize in comprehensive managed IT support for businesses. Since 2001, we've been helping companies streamline their online operations, protect their data, and grow their business. Contact us today to learn more about our managed services and how we can help your business thrive.
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