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Managed Service Provider VS Traditional IT Support

Businesses usually have a love/hate relationship with technology. On one hand, it enables them to do much more with fewer people, and to extend their reach far beyond their physical premises. On the other hand, increasing dependence on technology means that when it goes wrong, the whole business grinds to a halt, with both short and long term ramifications.

Small businesses in particular have a regrettable tendency to learn how crucial their IT systems are the hard way – through a disaster. A period of downtime with angry customers (or ex-customers…) hammering the phone lines, or a data loss with no backup, threatens the businesses’ continued survival, and the head honchos vow to never let this happen again by getting some “proper IT support” in place. This can take two forms – ‘classical’ IT support, and Managed Service Providers (MSP).

‘Classical’ IT support – “fix it when it breaks”

Analogy time: You have a sudden need for a car. You don’t know much about cars, but you head to the dealer anyway and buy something which looks cool. You rapidly discover that it actually wasn’t ideal for your needs – its suspension is too bumpy on motorways where you do most of your driving, and the fuel consumption is horrible. Anyhow, you’ve already bought it so you stick with it.

Money’s tight, so you don’t take out a service plan, and consequently miss the recommended service intervals. Eventually, inevitably, it breaks down. The dealer hands you a terrifying bill, and you learn that the regular servicing plan could have prevented the issue. To rub salt into the wound, it turns out that replacement parts for this model are incredibly expensive – maybe should have got some advice before heading to the dealer after all… You cry.

This is ‘classical’ IT support – muddling along until your IT breaks, and getting it urgently fixed. Most likely, given the urgency, this will be a ‘sticking plaster’ solution to get everything up and running asap, without addressing the underlying problems with your IT setup – after all, you’ve just faced a huge unexpected bill, and lots of disruption, so can’t afford the time or money for a major overhaul.

Everything is peachy, until the next disaster…

Managed Service Providers (MSP) – “look after it so it doesn’t break”

Analogy part 2: You have a sudden need for a car. You don’t know much about cars, so you bring along a knowledgeable friend to the dealer, who steers you towards something suitable for your needs (comfy on motorways, cheap to run). Being a sensible sort, you take out the all-inclusive service plan so it gets serviced at regular intervals, and any problems get spotted and fixed at an early stage before they evolve into a big drama. You enjoy many years of happy motoring, without nasty unexpected bills. You cry tears of joy.

This is MSP – taking out a service plan for an expert to look after your IT on an ongoing basis. The MSP can help you choose the right IT tools and infrastructure for your particular needs, keep a close eye on them, keep them updated and maintained, and recommend upgrades and replacements as required. It is highly proactive way of working – a predictable monthly cost with stable systems, in contrast to unexpected large costs and repeated IT crises. As an added bonus, they’ll be able to remotely manage your IT infrastructure, so can offer round-the-clock support with an immediate response.

At Control Esc, we offer a range of MSP packages, all the way from small business support through to enterprise-level total IT department outsourcing. Give us a call on 02071003650 now to discuss how we can keep your business’ IT on the road!

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