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Four Must-Have Managed Services: In Any Economy

I spent Thursday afternoon moderating a Webcast about the managed services industry. The discussion drove home the fact that small businesses will continue to embrace certain managed services regardless of the economy around them.

My guests included:
  • Gary Pica, general manager of mindSHIFT Technologies, one of North America’s top managed service providers
  • William MacLeod, CIO, Accu-Sort Systems, a mid-size business that focuses on automatic data capture solutions
  • Jim Alves, executive VP, product marketing, Kaseya
Full disclosure: Kaseya sponsored the event but the Webcast did not involve any product pitches. Rather, we were exploring how small and mid-size businesses will depend on managed service providers regardless of the economy.

MacLeod conceded that his company is "rethinking everything" -- nearly all IT projects and expenses -- during the current economic turmoil. But here's the interesting part: MacLeod mentioned several managed services that his company will continue to embrace, no matter what:
  1. Internal customer (i.e., end user) support: Here, MacLeod depends on a mix of outsourced help-desk and on-site services from mindSHIFT, his managed service provider.
  2. Enterprise business systems maintenance and support: In other words, MacLeod is not going to cut any IT costs that could harm the reliability and scalability of his applications.
  3. Data Backup/Retention: Information is the lifeblood of Accu-Sort's business. Here again, MacLeod depends on his MSP for managed services.
  4. IT Security: Rudimentary tasks -- such as patch management and network monitoring -- can be outsourced to ensure businesses can focus on more innovative projects.
I don't want to paint managed services as a cure-all IT solution for small and mid-size businesses.

But, MacLeod's strategy at Accu-Sort reinforces the fact that progressive businesses are embracing reliable, predictable, cost-effective managed services -- regardless of the economy around them.