5 Benefits of a Managed Service Provider (MSP)

SMEs have aggressively followed technology to stay competitive. In the process, they have invested significant resources in building IT infrastructure and services. Managing these IT services is costly and has become a burden for many enterprises, draining essential resources from strategic planning and delivery. As per a report by Gartner, 70% of IT support services for infrastructure services can be managed from a remote location which can reduce labour costs from 10% to 50%, depending on the delivery location resulting in 5% to 30% overall net savings.

In a rapidly changing technology landscape, managed service providers can help enterprises remain agile, control costs, quickly respond to competitive opportunities and align IT with evolving business objectives. Here are the top five benefits of how outsourcing managed IT services can impact a company’s business goals and the bottom line.

Affordability and Fixed Monthly Cost

Outsourcing IT services to a managed service provider is extremely cost-effective. With managed services, enterprises can reduce operational costs, preserve capital budget and lower their IT operating expenses. Per a Capgemini study, 34% of SMEs in the UK find it challenging to invest in IT as the cost is always high, while 30% of SMEs spend less than 3% of their overall funds on cyber security. So, outsourcing IT support and services to a reputed managed service provider is the best option as MSPs offer comprehensive solutions at a very affordable and predictable monthly cost. Also, MSPs mainly operate on a subscription-based model where enterprises pay annual or monthly fees for services, which allows them to foresee if it is viable to remain within the target budget.

Improved Cyber Security

According to Statista, the cost of cyber-attacks on micro/small enterprises amounted to an average of £894 while for medium-sized enterprises it amounted to an average of £8,180 during the last 12 months. Enterprises have sensitive data and information worth stealing and attackers often take over one system as a platform to launch a cyber-attack on another system to cover their tracks. Per a report by Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, almost half of UK businesses including SMEs (43%) suffered a cyber-attack in 2017-18. Managed service providers (MSP) use remote network monitoring and clean backup protocols to prevent an attack and shorten the recovery time. Reputed MSPs provide cyber security services to help reduce and mitigate various forms of cyber threats by continuously monitoring dark web, offering end-user security awareness training, penetration testing and SIEM, among others.

Access to trained, qualified and certified experts

A painful fact for many small and mid-sized enterprises is the shortage of skilled IT professionals. The UK alone is estimated to have a shortfall of around 100,00 experienced IT security experts by 2022. When recruiting for an in-house IT role, they likely cannot differentiate a good applicant from a bad one and when in the post, it is challenging to assess their productivity due to the complex nature of IT services. But, with a managed service provider, even small enterprises can access highly qualified IT personnel without doing the tedious work of recruiting them. MSPs usually possess deep expertise in the field of IT, therefore giving enterprises the best services.

Disaster Recovery

When everything goes wrong, enterprises need confidence that data is backed up safely and securely.  Disasters may strike in different forms, but whatever event takes a customer’s site down, managed service providers are well-placed to help prepare for emergencies. Whether it’s a physical disaster such as a storm, fire or flood, or a deliberate one, like a ransomware attack, MSP plan carefully to help clients come out shining on the other side.

Per a report by Daisy Group, on average UK's SMEs experience 45 minutes of downtime each week which is approximately £500 per employee, per year, in lost productivity. Also, according to a study by IDC, 40% of small and mid-sized enterprises in the UK do not have a data backup infrastructure in place and if they do then around 50% of the backups are only partially recoverable.

Part of the reason to outsource services to a managed service provider is to prepare for those costly downtimes. An off-site managed service provider can provide remote backup and offer both local and cloud-based backup solutions to support business-critical operations during a disaster.

Access to latest state-of-the-art technology

Reputed Managed Service Providers (MSPs) use the latest technologies and equipment to deliver services. IT services are updated regularly with no additional cost to enterprises. MSPs bring the advantage of quickly implementing new technology into client’s businesses thus eliminating the risk of obsolete IT infrastructure.

5 ways Cyber Essentials can Improve your Business

“1 in 6 UK small and mid-sized enterprises fell victim to a cyber attack in the last 12-month duration. Of the enterprises affected, more than one-fifth stated that it cost the company more than £10,000, and 1 in 10 mentioned that it cost more than £50,000.” - Zurich SME Risk Index

The Cyber Essentials scheme is backed by the government to help companies protect themselves against cyber threats. Cyber Essentials helps organisations guard against the most common cyber threats by implementing cyber security best practices. Following are five clear benefits of Cyber Essentials.

Protection against cyber threats

According to a report by NIG, almost 80% of data breaches can be prevented by implementing Cyber Essentials which are simple security practices. Daily, hackers are trying to steal data, money or cause severe disruption to SMEs and mid-market companies. Following the Cyber Essentials scheme is the best way for businesses to approach cyber threats. The Cyber Essentials scheme includes highly effective precautions such as using stronger passwords, updating software regularly, limiting access to sensitive information, background checks of employees, among others.

Improves existing and potential customers’ trust

Per a report by KPMG, almost 60% of UK consumers would be willing to stop doing business with a breached enterprise. Enterprises rigorously following the Cyber Essentials scheme have a competitive advantage in comparison to competitors without accreditation. Cyber Essentials certified enterprises show its commitment to security, demonstrating to customers, investors, suppliers, and regulators that it takes cyber security very seriously. Cyber Essentials accreditation becomes even more critical for enterprises using and storing personal data like medical records, financial information and other sensitive data to build trust.

Cyber Essentials an essential step towards preparation for GDPR

GDPR is the new data privacy regulation which aims to give protection and control to the EU populace over personal data. Typically, the law will affect how businesses can collect and use personal data. By so doing, companies will be required to be more transparent when it comes to collecting and utilising data from customers. Cyber Essentials is a significant first step in preparation for GDPR as violators will have to pay a potential fine of up to €20 million or up to 4% of a company’s annual turnover.

Improves business efficiency

Without a coherent and consistent plan, a great extent of time, money and resources are spent on patching IT infrastructure and security as and when they arise. There is an inevitable loss in staff time during the restoration of services, particularly for IT staff. Implementing Cyber Security Essentials will allow both technical and non-technical staff to remain as productive and efficient as possible by focusing on core business without the need to fix bits and pieces of the company’s IT infrastructure.

Better chance of winning government contracts

The government is using the Cyber Essentials scheme as a step towards reducing the levels of cyber security risk in its supply chain. Since October 2014, the UK Government requires all enterprises bidding for contracts which require handling of sensitive and personal data or the provision of technical products and services to be Cyber Essentials certified.

Tech Myths Busted: no. 4 – More storage is always better

Truth: Depends what you mean by better!

We’re always being sold more. We are conditioned to believe that more of something is always better, and that we are getting more for our money.

However, this is not strictly true when it come to hard drive storage capacity. You may well need to have 1TB of storage, because you’re a photographer that takes hundreds of photos a day.  But  for the average computer user, what we really want is performance.

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World Backup Day 2018

World Backup Day is an event on the technology calendar setup to raise awareness and to remind us all about the importance of backing up our data. Everyone of us knows why we need to backup. The reality is that many businesses do not have a reliable backup system in place that is sufficient to be able to recover their data in a disaster.

What would you do if you lost everything?

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5 Benefits of Fixed IT Costs

When you are looking for business IT support, you can find various types of contracts and agreements. You could just decide to Pay As You Go (break/fix) basis, pay in advance for blocks of hours, or choose a fixed price IT support contract which includes the majority, if not all, the things your business will need on a monthly basis.

The biggest benefit of a fixed price model, is that you know exactly how much your IT support costs will be each month. This is great for cash flow and essentially your IT costs just become another commodity – just like paying your rent, electricity and insurance. But there are some other major benefits that you may not have realised.

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Tech Myths Busted: no. 3 – You should shutdown your computer every night

Truth: You really should.

You will save power if you shutdown your computer at the end of the working day. It’ll also stop the fans from sucking in dust during the night.

Another advantage is that a regular reboot can resolve many computer niggles (it’s a cliche, but “have you tried turning it off and on again” – really does help).

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5 Steps to Email Compliance

Your email is NOT secure.

For most businesses, email is a vital method of communication. Many organisations rely on email to send confidential information within and outside the business. The widespread use of email for confidential information makes it highly vulnerable to exploitation. In fact, email accounts for 35% of all data loss incidents, a recent study found. So with huge potential to cause harm to your business, there is a need to secure, control and track email messages and attachments wherever you send them.

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Tech Myths Busted: no. 2 – Magnets can erase your data

Truth: It’s possible

Only certain types of hard drives can be affected. Solid state drives (SSD), like pendrives, are safe. Traditional hard drives, like those found in most computers are at risk, but you’d need a really big magnet. Like those used in MRI machines, for example.

For most people, there’s nothing to worry about – your data is safe.

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Why you should change your passwords right now

Think your password is strong enough?

We’ve all been guilty of using weak passwords. But doing so makes you vulnerable to having your online accounts hacked. We all know we should use stronger passwords, so why don’t we?

Well, humans are creatures of habit. We like to repeat; it makes things easier to remember. We also find it difficult to remember complex patterns, so we use passwords that are easy to memorise, such as your house name, or date of birth.

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Tech Myths Busted: no. 1 – Adding RAM makes your PC faster

Can more memory really improve your computer performance?

OK, so there may be a little truth in this one. With a really old computer, adding more RAM (memory) can give it a speed boost. An increase from 1GB to 2GB will see a noticeable improvement in an ageing system.

But in a modern machine where 4GB is the norm, the benefit is much less noticeable. Increasing to 8 or 16GB will only really benefit software that can take advantage of it – gaming, or video rendering/production for example.

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