What is a Managed Service Provider? (MSP 101)

By June 29, 2018msp

With all of the ever-advancing business technologies available today, both at home and in the workplace, the need to make sure everything is running properly and securely is vital. Experiencing a slow network or even a server crash, is not only problematic for the business, but also for its customers.

With all of the different hardware and software, cloud technology, various specialized IT services, and tech talk that gets tossed around by vendors and technicians, how can you even be sure what you need, much less who should provide it?

What should you expect from a Managed Service Provider (MSP), what services do MSPs actually provide, and how is Navakai changing the industry model in Colorado Springs?

What Does My IT System Consist Of?

Most business owners are far too busy with the details and obligations of running their own operation to have the time to become tech-savvy enough to obtain a deep and intricate knowledge of IT. Many of them simply trust the systems to function properly so they can focus on the ins and outs of their own business. But the fact is that IT systems don’t always function perfectly, and eventually someone will have to acquire enough knowledge to keep it running when issues crop up, be that the business owner or a managed service provider.

STEP 1: Identify What You Have

The first step is identifying all of the different devices the business uses in its daily work activities. This includes things like desktops, laptops, tablets, and company smartphones, in addition to all of the generic or specialty software added to those devices such as security systems (firewalls, antivirus programs, malware and spyware protection, data breach deterrents), servers, cloud computer services, and so on.

STEP 2: Identify What You Need

Once you have established what it is you have and where your IT operations are falling short, from there working together with your MSP to figure out what additional products or support you may need to get your business performing at peak efficiency will be much easier.

STEP 3: Understand How an MSP Can Help

Unlike most (if not all) other managed service providers, Navakai is much more concerned with you the client and your particular IT needs.

The reason for this is because having been in the business for so many years, we believe that the entire, fundamental way that tech management interacts with its clients must be completely remade in order to provide the right services and establish life-long partnerships. Here are the five steps Navakai utilizes with each customer to do just that:

  1. Learn
  2. Assess
  3. Propose
  4. Support
  5. Build

The relationship begins with a mutual familiarization between your business and ours. By learning about the goals and culture of your business, you can better decide whether or not you may be a good fit. After that, the next step is to assess your equipment and current operating system to see how it’s functioning, as well as give a general idea of what this task will entail.

After going over the inventory, systems performance, and completing a thorough assessment, a proposal will then be put together and presented to you to give you an idea of where you are, where you need to go, and how Navakai can help you get there. If a client likes what they hear, then comes the support aspect of the agreement. From here the MSP will begin to coordinate with your team to make the necessary arrangements for transitioning over to their system, as well as give you a detailed orientation to better understand the entire process.

After that, all that is left is to build. But not just build up your systems and tech, but build the personal relationship that Navakai has with all of its clients. There is a reason we have a 99.75% client retention ratio, as well as why we have won the Better Business Bureau’s award for excellence in customer service (twice). We have also always maintained an A+ rating with them.

What a Quality Managed Service Provider Can Offer

Now let’s take a more in-depth look at the specific benefits and services that you can get when you decide to partner with an MSP to handle your IT operations. Understanding the various options you have when it comes to running your tech systems will help you make the right choices, leaving you relaxed and stress free that that area of your business is running smoothly.

A Flexible and Diverse List of Services

While some managed services are highly specialized such as managed security servers, print/document servers, or data storage, MSPs tend to offer a wider variety of options. Here are a few:

  • Support and troubleshooting
  • Preventative maintenance (critical updates, disk cleaning, antivirus, anti-spyware)
  • Vendor management
  • Disaster recovery solutions
  • Security
  • Hardware and software
  • Voip phone systems

Clearing Up the Confusion

One of the biggest obstacles to a well functioning relationship between a client and their MSP tends to be the lack of clarity as to what exactly is provided by the managed service and what the customer should expect. IT is an extremely complicated and involved process and since many business owners don’t have the time to become well versed in it, issues that may seem simple and that they think should be covered often times may be out of the scope of the provider.

This is why Navakai takes the time to fully involve their partners in the process, and always keeps an open line of communication with them when complications arise.

A Detailed Service Level Agreement

This is where the actual scope of responsibility of the MSP is clearly stated and laid out, and if the client is in agreement with the services provided and the price offered then both parties will contractually confirm it here.

Understanding How MSPs Operate

Since Navakai’s biggest point of focus is on the client and their business rather than the technology itself, they make every effort to be transparent with their operations and what they offer.

Service Level Agreements (SLA)

Although we have already touched on SLAs briefly, we also need to explain how it fits in as part of the MSP business model. Before this market emerged, pretty much all IT work was done on a “break-fix” basis. Meaning whatever the issue was, a technician would be called in, resolve the problem, and receive a onetime payment. SLAs are a contract which include a monthly payment, and with that comes unlimited service of the functions stated in the agreement.

Subscription Model

Rather than the break-fix method, contracts provide stability for both the MSP and the client. When you are paying on a task to task basis, there is usually very little stability in who is working on your system on any given problem. The contract agreement ensures that the people working on your tech are familiar with both it and you.

Remote Monitoring and Management

Working from a third party location in real time, MSPs are able to oversee your daily operations and make any necessary adjustments or corrections from their own facilities.

Understanding What MSPs Do (and Don’t Do)

In the spirit of educating the client on what these services may or may not include, we wanted to share a small list of what MSPs provide, as well as what they do not:

Do:

  • Handle Systems and Software Already Installed
  • Provide Updates and Patches
  • Operate Systems According to Vendor and Manufacturer Guidelines
  • Establish a Baseline for the Client’s Standard Operating Performance

Don’t:

  • Provide Free Instillations of New Hardware or Systems
  • Offer Repair or Replacement for Non-Warrantied Equipment or Devices
  • Increase Operating Efficiency Beyond Baseline Scope

How Navakai Differs from the Rest

With so much information swimming around in your head, along with enough acronyms to start a new alphabet, why don’t we close this out with a closer look at what sets Navakai apart from all other MSPs?

Customer-Centric Not Product Based

Whereas other managed services will center their entire initial consultation and subsequent presentations around what they do, Navakai is much more concerned with what you do. Understanding exactly what your business provides for its customers, and what equipment you use to do it, allows them to customize their services around yours.

Focus on the Relationship Not the Work

If the lines of communication stay open, face to face meetings take place regularly, and the effort is put into building a mutual and long-term business partnership together, then knowing exactly what the client needs to successfully run their business becomes much simpler.

Long-Term Partnerships with a Vetting Process

In regards to those long-term relationships, Navakai takes them very seriously. This is the reason why they have such an unbelievable customer retention rate. Not all business arraignments are right for both parties, and each prospective client goes through a joint process where both they and Navakai offer their company philosophies and present their cultures, making sure that they both have the same ideals when it comes to what their responsibilities are in the business world.

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