Your customers are no different than anyone else—they want to focus on the parts of their business they enjoy, and leave the drudgery behind. Often, those unwelcome but necessary chores revolve around IT, an area that might be completely foreign or merely uninteresting to them. That's where IT solution providers, managed service providers in particular, can come in, take over the critical operations of the IT department, and help executives find the time to focus on their core competencies. Here, the director of SMB IT Marketing at Intel discusses how MSPs can be a hero to many small and midsize businesses struggling with IT management issues.— Jennifer Bosavage, editor
Small business owners often create a business to pursue their passions. Moving IT to managed services not only lets small business owners focus on running their core business, but also alleviates technology headaches for the small business owners by leaving IT in capable hands. For small businesses especially, downtime can dramatically affect their bottom line and bring business to a grinding halt. Managed service providers (MSPs) can ensure their customers’ systems are reliable and secure using remote management technology, regardless of the customers’ location. (Ed. note: Find out more about How To Successfully Sell Managed Internet Security.)
Managed Service Providers to the IT Rescue
MSPs often serve as a small business’s entire IT department. From managed servers to networks, PCs, printers, phone systems and video surveillance, MSPs can use management console software with a remote hardware platform to spend smarter, get more done and improve security.
Through advanced remote capabilities, MSPs can maintain and repair PCs more quickly and at a lower cost. That is true for both normal maintenance activities and problem resolutions. For example, Speros, a managed service provider in Savannah, Ga., reduced average repair time for an OS problem from 45 minutes down to 25 minutes. Software-based keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) tools let technicians remotely control the keyboard, video and mouse on a customer’s PC. Additionally, Speros is able to increase the amount of multi-tasking, such as working on troubleshooting tickets while an OS is loading through remote access, shaving minutes from the repair time.
Hardware-based KVM maintains the connection through reboot cycles and gives the technician a full graphical user interface view of the PC they are working on. Speros can see remotely what the small business user sees in high resolution through all states, even beyond the firewall. For hardware issues, Speros has decreased the average time to resolve a problem from 100 to 45 minutes and average downtime per PC from 130 to 75 minutes per month.
Additionally, Speros handles PC issues without end-user involvement and reduces the number of required on-site visits. Previously, a hardware issue required two onsite visits—one to diagnose the problem and a second to take the right part. Now Speros can diagnose remotely, order the right part and then send the appropriate technician to install it, resulting in reduced deskside visits—down from seven to one per month for a typical customer. An on-site visit brings minimum fee of $140, so avoiding even one can mean significant savings for a small business.
The Complex Security Web
As the amount of malicious content grows exponentially, security across the board has become increasingly complex in the last five years, especially for small businesses. MSPs such as Speros have built an effective security practice for their small business customers by performing scheduled maintenance and backups, and monitoring after hours. Additionally, MSPs should update security patches often. That's especially important for businesses in highly regulated industries such as healthcare or financial services. With remote technology, MSPs can even reach machines that are powered down for security software updates.
The need for mobility and the growing number of personal and business devices make small businesses more vulnerable to the possibility of confidential data landing in the wrong hands. Anti-theft technology is available to track lost or stolen laptops, as well as disable a lost or stolen laptop by locking down data. If data is accessible, MSPs should make sure data is encrypted with whole disc encryption or file storage encryption.
Streamline PC Management
By using remote technology, Speros was able to better allocate resources, save time and increase their ability to multi-task-to the extent that each technician could manage twice as many PCs. That efficiency allowed them to offer more to their customers and grow without adding new resources.
Small business are seemingly continually searching for assurances that their systems are secure and their employees are equipped with productive PCs. Remote IT management can accomplish that and free small business owners from dwelling on it. Regardless of location, MSPs can offer such empowerment to all of their small business customers.