Managed service providers (MSPs) are a popular way for SMBs to leverage the professional talent and skill of a larger IT department without having to pay for in-house staff. But most businesses also need to maintain an internal IT staff member or two for their own IT initiatives. Integrating in-house IT staff members and MSPs can create some potential challenges, especially in the areas of redundancy. Here are a few tips.
Always Outsource Mundane and Day-to-Day Tasks
MSPs are highly skilled professionals, but they truly excel when it comes to automating and scheduling more mundane tasks. MSPs aren't able to go into your offices or to work on longer term projects; instead, they are designed to make it easier for your business to conduct their operations. By outsourcing your mundane yet critical tasks -- such as backups and security monitoring -- you'll free up your IT personnel without stepping on any toes.
Set Up a Virtualized System and Remote Controls
Virtualized systems are the easiest to monitor and maintain for an MSP. MSPs can create virtualized systems that can be synced, re-deployed, and accessed from anywhere -- making it easier for them to remotely configure settings and troubleshoot. This gives the MSP the same information as your in-house staff, smoothing over the process of collaboration. Cloud solutions are another way that you an ensure that the MSP and your in-house staff are on equal footing.
Pay Attention to Time Zones
MSPs are available anywhere in the globe -- but you want an MSP who is available at the same time as your in-house staff. Don't forget that many IT professionals end up working long hours. Will your IT services be around to support them if they work a few hours late? Will they be available if your IT professional comes in a few hours early? All of these time issues could potentially lead to system disruption if they are not properly synced.
MSPs should always be seen as a tool to help your business and your in-house IT professionals -- not as something that is designed to entirely replace them. MSPs work best when paired with skilled professionals who know how to utilize them to their fullest extent, and there are some things that it simply is not easy for an MSP to do, such as manage hardware. By involving your IT professional in the process and focusing on what the MSP can do for them, you should be able to undergo a fairly easy transition.