As a business leader, you’ve built your success by wearing many hats: management, sales, human resources, etc. This do-it-all attitude is likely a key element of your success, especially in the early days when money was tight. As your business has grown, you’ve been able to hire talent to offload some of those responsibilities while still keeping an eye on things. There is one area, however, where this strategy can end up being a barrier to success: IT.
A few years ago, adding in-house IT was a logical step for a growing business. Most applications were internal, security efforts were centered on the firewall, and the most common security threats came from Nigerian princes. Today’s environment is different, with cloud-based applications across the organization, security tools needing to constantly monitor activities inside the firewall and automatically respond to threats, and Nigerian princes replaced by international criminal syndicates with top-notch talent.
Partnering with a managed services provider allows you to tilt the odds in your favor.
Because MSPs support a wide array of companies and technology solutions, you gain access to IT experts who specialize in specific disciplines such as network design and configuration, PC support and remediation, and the latest security technologies. That level of in-house expertise is usually only cost-effective with large businesses, so partnering with an MSP gives you the benefits of a large company at a fraction of the price.
Better security and support
Let’s look at a small sample of the various security technologies an average employee needs during the day.
- The computer needs anti-malware software running to protect against attacks. That software needs to be up-to-date and properly configured so that it works effectively without interrupting the employee while working.
- The employee uses several cloud-based software tools. Each requires a secure login process to protect against attackers gaining access.
- The employee may need to work outside the office, requiring a secure remote access capability.
- The employee may work with customer information, requiring encryption and other government-mandated privacy requirements.
- The employee may need to work outside office hours, requiring 24/7 support in case of an issue.
You can see how the various security requirements could quickly overwhelm one or two internal IT generalists.
While it’s clear you can get better security by partnering with an MSP, it may seem counterintuitive that paying an MSP can actually save money. Once you factor in cybersecurity insurance, the math becomes clear.
In addition to raising rates, cybersecurity insurers have also been raising their minimum security requirements. If your business doesn’t meet their requirements, you’ll either end up paying higher insurance premiums or find your business is uninsurable at any price.
MSPs know what security technologies insurers require. Those requirements change regularly, so what was sufficient last year might not be this year. In addition to the “soft savings” of preventing attacks, MSPs can deliver “hard savings” with lower insurance premiums. Insurers have also added exclusions to their policies, so even if you installed the required security tools and paid your premiums, if they discover after an attack that the security tools weren’t configured properly, they can refuse to cover the attack. With the average cost of a security incident heading into the six-figure range, it only takes one mistake to turn a cost savings into a large, unexpected expense.
Buying peace of mind
Another intangible you get when you partner with an MSP is peace of mind. When you hand over the IT hat to an MSP, you also hand over the responsibility and the stress of protecting your business. While you focus on offense (making your business even more successful), your MSP focuses on defense (protecting your business against attacks, outages, and other setbacks).
If you’re still trying to do it all in-house, now is the time to reconsider. As you evaluate the services an MSP can offer, be sure to factor in the intangible benefits to your business that might not show up on a spreadsheet. Whether it’s access to experts across a wide range of technologies, minimizing insurance premium increases, or just eliminating one thing to worry about, handing off the IT hat to an MSP is a smart decision.