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The backbone of just about every company today starts with technology. But that backbone can be fragile and take a company down before it ever even gets off the ground.

Whether you’re a small company selling socks online or a large company offering a multi-platform sales or subscription service, the strength of your managed service provider cannot be overstated.

What Does a Managed Service Provide Actually Provide?

Simply stated, a managed service provider (MSP) is an outside company that helps manage a company’s IT services on a remote basis.

Managed service providers have evolved over the years from helping companies launch their initial business plan by suggesting or recommending software and hosting that made the most sense for a business’s size and future scope to now managing almost every aspect of a company’s vital backbone.

As years passed from the early 90s to today, managed service providers have evolved to differentiate and expand their roles. Today the service offered by a sophisticated MSP can include everything from data storage to cloud computing services, firewall admin to  multi-layered security systems and disaster relief recovery options.

Pricing for an MSP will vary based on al-a-carte services being offered or even a flat, monthly fee if a broad spectrum of needs are being covered both on the maintenance side and the ongoing programming side.

Regardless, many businesses recognize that maintaining an off-site managed service provider who employs its own staff of IT professionals skilled in every nuance of current technology is often preferable to hand-picking and building your own internal IT department.

The price a company pays to interview, hire and train IT employees, not factoring insurance and payroll costs will often be more – way more – than hiring a local IT support company.

Consider also that many start-ups or small-to-medium-sized businesses have limited in-house IT personnel bandwidth. For these companies, IT outsourcing makes the most sense for the reasons stated above.

For larger companies, having a managed service provider as back-up or guidance for the in-house staff simply adds an extra layer of support – another set of IT eyeballs – as an insurance policy to make sure the IT train stays on the tracks and never wavers in its efficiency.

That doesn’t always mean a company can find the right outsourced IT support solution. There can be unforeseen frustrations of dealing with a managed service provider whose services aren’t aligned with your business goals and priorities. Just because you’ve hired an outside team doesn’t mean that as business owners you still don’t need to manage that team. It may sound strange, but it’s important to a successful relationship to properly manage a managed service provider.

At Be Structured, we often get frustrated with the managed service provider landscape in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. That’s why we’re committed to revolutionizing what businesses can expect from their managed service providers. In fact, we’ve noticed that more clients than ever are coming to us because they aren’t happy with their current managed service provider.

Here’s our assessment of the situation and what we’re doing about it.

The Los Angeles Managed Service Provider Landscape

Recently, there’s been an increased evolution of mergers and acquisitions among managed service providers. This environment has created a dichotomy of sorts; you have large providers that were once several small companies, and the small providers looking to sell or remain small.

As a result, there’s a void in the market for growth-oriented companies looking for a managed service provider that’s prepared to grow with them while still meeting their day-to-day IT support services in Los Angeles and surrounding communities.

At the same time, these mergers and acquisitions rarely go as anticipated. Trying to reconcile different people, processes and tools frequently results in a less than personal IT experience. Many of these managed service providers are also backed by private equity or venture capitalists whose primary concern is obviously making money rather than providing sound technology and customer satisfaction.

Intuitively, if you feel your IT needs are not being met like you would with any doctor’s assessment of a physical condition, it’s best to get a second opinion.

What Be Structured Does Differently

At Be Structured, our priorities are substantially different from other managed service providers. Rather than looking to sell out or acquire our competitors, we’re committed to working with you to develop IT support services that grow your business while adding lasting value to your operations. While other managed service providers use their time and energy to help themselves, we dedicate our time and energy to your continued business success.

Other managed service providers count their successes by the number of clients they have; we count our successes based on the number of employees’ jobs we can make easier with the help of technology. Our goal is to make our client’s grow and scale without adding to their existing workforce or payroll.

It’s also important to develop and communicate an IT solution that’s easily handed off and comprehended by the on-site IT department. After all, they’re the ones who are going to keep the tech ship sailing smoothly. Of course, there is always the option of outsourced IT support especially if you’re a Los Angeles-based company. Be Structured is available to offer just such support and we’re right down the freeway from wherever your business is located in Southern California.

That’s because we put people and technology first, with the understanding that our success depends on your success. And as always, we’re the same owner-operated, grassroots managed service provider we’ve always been, so you can count on us for a long-term technology-strong partnership.

Considerations When Hiring a Managed Service Provider

Whether you are a small or large business, there are several basic questions your staff should ponder when looking for any kind of network and tech support companies.

Ease of Integration
What are your business’s goals? Is a new or total redesign of the existing IT network. Or simply and ongoing maintenance of that network. Understand your needs and ascertain a real sense of how easily the MSP will fit into those needs.

Response Time
Always determine how quickly and efficiently a managed service provider can respond to an issue – big or small. In the event of an IT emergency is the company located so that someone could physically be on site in a matter of minutes or hours?

Vendor Management

Does your MSP have a skilled and thorough knowledge of the multitude of software, hardware, hosting and other service providers in your area? Better they can offer several priced solutions rather than simply defaulting to a long-time crony. 

Budget Strength
You need an IT support solution you can trust. And trust starts with money management. All too often we hear horror stories of a managed service provider quoting a company one number for a given service only to “upsell” them when they get the gig with enhanced features or storage that the company may not need. Make sure the quote is fair and, again, compare, compare, compare.

Disaster Recovery Planning
Always make sure that your MSP has an adequate disaster recovery plan and how quickly it can be implemented. Ideally, this plan is proactive instead of reactive and is in place the moment they begin work with your company.

Security Monitoring
Security is often the best way to avoid disasters in the first place. Being in Los Angeles – a geo target for breaches – you need an IT support company that guards against hackers, malware, and other possible vulnerabilities while also preventing the potential for new ways of attacking the network.

Daily backups and an extensive knowledge of the cloud-based platforms are a necessity. If your managed service provider thinks daily backups are excessive, they’re in the wrong business.

It’s also important to gauge the levels of the managed service provider’s knowledge of 5G security risks and not just the ones associated with 4G. Always looking to the future and staying ahead of the curve makes a successful network support team and thus a successful business.

Quality Customer Service

You also need a network support company that speaks to laymen. The employees and even executives of many companies don’t speak the language of technology and a good MSP can provide real-time help desk support to assure that all questions are quickly and efficiently answered.

Concerned About the Transition Process?

One of the biggest complaints we hear about companies looking to switch managed service providers is they’re worried about the downtime of transitioning. We always say this: You’ll experience more downtime dealing with an impersonal, incompetent managed service provider in the long run. Plus, we’ve already helped dozens of companies in just about every industry transition away from a managed service provider they were unhappy with.

Our team has the skills and experience to make the transition as smooth as possible while minimizing downtime, because we do it a lot. At the same time, we don’t have a bureaucratic hierarchy that slows us down. We’re able to make the transition quickly and efficiently because the project managers facilitating the transition are the same ones overseeing your overarching technology platform.

Los Angeles IT Support

At Be Structured, we continually strive to be the single source for all of your organization’s technology needs. From delivering comprehensive managed services to overseeing your migration to the cloud, our team has the skills and expertise to deliver technology solutions optimized for your operations and designed to propel growth. Contact our team today to start exploring how much a managed service provider can do for you.