Executive’s Guide to MSP

With an ever-changing business environment, executives need to meet their goals and help their companies grow. Partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) allows the business to focus on its core competency instead of the technology that runs the company. MSPs can leverage their access to experts and resources that are costly to acquire on their own. The MSP can handle additional technical projects outside of day-to-day operations to bring additional value.

Are you like Susan?

Susan Landry put her head in her hands and rubbed her temples as she contemplated her next move. She is still at the office well after five pm for the third day in a row. The young CIO knew she had to do something and fast. The small but rapidly growing company she works for is outgrowing the limited pool of IT resources at her disposal. Soon her team will be overallocated to the point that she will have to hire more staff.

In this labor market, Susan knows that that will not be easy. With a larger and larger percentage of the workforce working remotely and experts in collaboration tools being in demand like never before, finding technically proficient candidates is expensive and time-consuming. In addition, with the company talking about moving production operations to a 24-hour schedule, Susan will need to find more help for swing and graveyard shift coverage if there is a technical emergency in the middle of the night.

On a more global level, Susan is also concerned about her company’s cybersecurity posture. With more and more news stories showing how vulnerable small companies are to attack, she wants to make sure hers is protected.

As Susan’s mind begins to race, she keeps coming back to the idea that she needs a partner that can quickly help her meet all of her responsibilities.

Suddenly, Susan raises her head from the cradle of her hands with a big smile across her face. She knows the answer! She quickly grabs her phone from her pocket and shouts to herself, “I need to call Advisicon!”

What is an MSP?

Gartner defines a Managed Service Provider (MSP) as an external organization that “delivers services, such as network, application, infrastructure, and security, via ongoing and regular support and active administration on customers’ premises, in their MSP’s data center (hosting), or in a third-party data center.”

There are many different business models and types of technologies offered by IT MSPs. Some are “pure play” providers specializing in providing solutions from one vendor. Alternatively, others may work with any vendor their client requires. When shopping for an MSP, make sure to look at as many of them as you can because no two are exactly the same. Depending on the services offered, pricing model, and resources provided, there is a best-fit MSP for every company.

Benefits of MSP

There are many benefits to using an IT MSP instead of, or to augment, a traditional in-house IT department. Among them are:

  • Enabling rapid company growth through proven IT processes and efficiency gains by using the best technologies
  • Reducing overall IT labor expenses below the cost of FTEs
  • Access to a team with expert knowledge in a variety of specialized topics
  • Access to a 24×7 IT service desk on demand
  • Vendor account management for hardware and software
  • Access to resources that are not usually available to smaller companies like Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP) and volume discounted hardware
  • 24×7 endpoint management and updates (laptops, desktops, firewalls, switches, wifi access points, etc.)
  • Expert knowledge about short-term and long-term IT planning and budgeting

The MSP as a Partner

One of the bedrock principles of using an MSP is that they become your business partner. There is a symbiotic relationship between a client and their provider. Unlike contract or consulting work, the best MSPs look to forge a long-term, growth-oriented relationship with their clients.

One of the benefits of that long-term partnership vantage point is that those MSPs can help define your short and long-term goals and then work with you to meet them. By utilizing the client’s current technology investments and recommending and implementing a technical roadmap, a good MSP will help meet their client’s business goals quicker than they otherwise would.

MSP for Problem Solving

One of the major benefits of using an MSP is the ability to get your IT issues resolved quickly. An MSP service desk is like a traditional help desk, but it also ensures that your services are running as they should.

Depending on the services offered, most MSPs provide after-hours service desk support for emergencies. This is important if a client has operations that run 24/7. Or if an off-hours internet outage would severely hamper the business. Non-business hour service desk coverage is a premium and not usually included in standard pricing.

MSP for Cybersecurity

When it comes to security, there is always a balance between making everything super secure and making the user experience as frictionless as possible. The problem with that argument today is that the threat has grown as many businesses have kept using the same security measures that they always have.

How can partnering with an MSP help your business when it comes to cybersecurity? MSPs have a vested interest in keeping you safe as they, and their reputation, are on the line if something happens.

MSPs use several strategies to mitigate cybersecurity, including enforcing the use of Multifactor Authentication and the use of Conditional Access policies. They also help clients with non-technical solutions like educating staff on basic security practices like securing outside building doors and ensuring that only authorized personal are in their buildings.

MSSP for MSP Cybersecurity

Today’s cybersecurity threat is so great and so pervasive that many MSPs partner with or develop internal security teams to help protect not only the clients but the MSP itself. Managed Security Service Providers help provide the most current threat assessments and best practices, deploying rapid response cybersecurity teams, and managing disaster recovery after an attack.

Additional Project Work

In addition to their typical responsibilities, some MSPs can take on additional projects intended to move the company forward to reduce costs further and improve efficiency. The biggest and most popular projects right now are migrating company infrastructure to the cloud and cybersecurity.

Transitioning to the Cloud

Where you are

Many businesses run their companies with on-premises technologies augmented by SaaS applications like Gmail and Dropbox. A good MSP with help you prepare for the lift to using cloud-based virtual machines to run all business services.

Where you want to be

Once the business is running in the cloud, the next step is to move services to SaaS and server-free platforms. An example is moving a local ERP workload from Azure virtual machines to the software developer’s own cloud. This removes the compute and storage costs and allows the software company to host the service.

Hardware Procurement

Many MSPs prefer to work with only a small handful of vendors. This is because they want to spend their efforts becoming experts in deploying and troubleshooting a limited number of products. The downside to this approach is that clients will be required to purchase hardware and software through the MSP.

The alternative is for the MSP to use the client’s hardware and software. This isn’t in the MSP’s interest as they will need to constantly learn new software and configure unfamiliar hardware, leading to mistakes and misconfigurations.

A benefit of purchasing your hardware through your MSP is not that you save money. You will be paying more for each unit than you will going directly to an OEM, but that is a good thing. The problem with assuming the cost of the equipment is the purchase price is that doesn’t include the labor expense of figuring out what is needed, buying it, dealing with the OEM if there is something wrong with the order, and configuring it when it arrives. By purchasing through an MSP, the Total Cost of Ownership savings are substantial.

vCIO Consulting

Many MSPs offer executive-level IT consulting services. Many executives and owners need to have a business-minded technical expert to help guide them to profitability. To help them see efficiency improvements and happy, motivated staff instead of sticker shock.

For those big business IT decisions, it helps to have a knowledgeable leader who can bring financial analytical tools to the table. For example, is this a good time to extend our capital expenditures to upgrade our equipment? Is this the right time to invest in an ERP platform?


There are many different ways to pay for managed services. The two most popular are a flat monthly fee and a per-user or computer-per-month subscription.

Some MSPs have a continuous re-up system to bill more as soon as you hire a new employee or purchase a new computer. Other MSPs use a biannual or annual re-up period to reconcile the number of users or computers with their billing amount.

Where is Susan now?

Susan hangs up her phone and slides it back into her pocket. She smiles to herself as she opens the boardroom door. The board meeting is just about to start. She is excited to share how she solved her staffing shortfall and how to bring in technical experts to help the company grow.

So, now we have a few questions for you, reader. What are your business problems? Do you need to update your software? Do you need help managing your laptops and desktops? What are your long-term technology goals? Would talking to a managed service provider help you solve them?

Get in touch with Advisicon’s managed services team and let us help.