There’s no worse feeling than walking into the office and learning you’ve hit an IT brick wall. It could be anything: a virus on your company computers, difficulty configuring a new software, or a pressing need to transition your team to remote work. A managed service provider (MSP) can alleviate the burden of managing these IT needs on your own so you can focus on juggling your other responsibilities.
How do you know if an MSP is right for you? We’ll cover that and more in this guide to managed services for small businesses. Then, we’ll profile five stand-out MSP options available nationwide that could be a fit for your needs.
What are managed service providers (MSPs)?
Managed service providers help businesses manage outsourced services related to technology. The scope of an MSP will vary from provider to provider. Some MSPs specialize solely in providing IT expertise as-needed, while others manage your ongoing infrastructure, remote storage, servers, and cybersecurity needs.
In contrast to most outsourced software services, MSPs generally operate within certain geographical regions. Depending on your company’s needs, you may decide to go for a local option or a nationally available solution. There are hundreds of MSPs out there and you shouldn’t have much trouble finding the best option for your business.
Who needs MSPs?
MSPs are useful for companies with no dedicated in-house IT team. For many small businesses, it’s simply not worth the time and resources to hire and maintain full-time IT employees. However, that doesn’t negate their need for reliable and accessible technical support.
Additionally, your technology budget may fluctuate from year to year or month to month. Not only does that make it impractical to sustain regular IT services, but it also makes it difficult to ensure you can cover your IT needs while remaining under budget. That’s when MSPs come in, offering flexible payment plans and ticketed support options that fit your budget and needs.
Some other perks of MSPs include:
- Fuller coverage: Many are on-call around the clock, offering fuller coverage than you may get with in-house tech support.
- Reduce staffing issues: Even if you do have in-house tech support, MSPs can fill in during times of staffing shortages, illness, etc.
- Scalable: MSPs offer a scalable technology option that can grow alongside your business. You won’t have to hire new technicians as your business expands, which helps you to avoid organizational bloating.
- Ideal for a fully distributed workforce: MSPs are all remote, meaning you don’t have to worry about maintaining on-site IT support. That clears your office space of people (and sometimes equipment), giving you more space for facilities, social distancing, or whatever your company needs. You can even do away with your brick-and-mortar office altogether if you wish.
Top small business MSP comparison
Small businesses can sometimes struggle to finance comprehensive IT support teams. While MSPs in general are more cost-effective than in-house tech support, they can still rack up a hefty price tag. Support.com’s TechSolutions packages provide budget-friendly IT support for your business, from installing software to removing viruses. Support.com’s claim to fame is it’s flexible tech support options. Its tech team is on call 24/7 via phone, chat, online, or virtual house call, to resolve all of your issues in a timely fashion.
Support.com offers a wide range of technology-related services to its clients, making it a versatile solution for businesses with diverse needs. You can communicate with the team via any of the channels listed above for increased flexibility at all hours of the day and night. Real-time video calls and remote access make it feel like the Support.com team is right in your office. Support.com also works with some of the world’s biggest brands in software, consumer electronics, and communications, so you know it’s a trustworthy provider.
Unfortunately, as a nationwide company, Support.com is unable to offer one-on-one, on-site services. That could be a con for some businesses, but it could also work just fine for others. The company also does not offer custom plans for each project, meaning you’ll have to select from its preset package options. Depending on your business needs, this might not make Support.com the most budget-friendly MSP.
Pricing (for remote IT help desk):
- TechSolutions Business (5): for up to 5 employees at $99+tax/month
- TechSolutions Business (10): for up to 10 employees at $189+tax/month
- TechSolutions Business (25): for up to 25 employees at $449+tax/month
- TechSolutions Business (50): for up to 50 employees at $749+tax/month
- Contact directly for plans for more than 50 employees, server support, or complete managed IT service plans
Although based in the Pacific Northwest, Dynamic Computing works beyond its geographical range to help small and mid-sized businesses navigate technology and security challenges. Dynamic Computing recognizes the complexity of comprehensive, secure IT management. The company helped its clients transition to remote work during Covid-19 while improving processes and efficiency. Its expansive range of service offerings include IT consulting, IT transformations, and IT audits. If you need assistance choosing the best products and software for your business, Dynamic Computing’s got you covered on that front, too.
With a personable team you can get to know on a first-name basis, no IT problem is too large or small for Dynamic Computing. The company values its clients and is proud to build long-term relationships with them. Industry awareness of regulations and licensure requirements are a bonus as well. If your small business is growing, Dynamic Computing is perfectly capable of scaling their services alongside your expansion.
If your business isn’t located in the Pacific Northwest, you could be missing out on some of Dynamic Computing’s top perks and in-person offerings. Most of its clients have between 20 and 250 IT users, so it might not be the best choice if your business sees more users. Dynamic Computing also specializes in certain industries, like architecture, real estate, and legal. If your needs fall outside this scope and you feel more comfortable working with a provider in your niche, Dynamic Computing might not be the right option for you.
- Due to the highly individualized nature of Dynamic Computing’s services, no pricing information is available online. To learn more, contact Dynamic Computing directly via phone call or email.
Aligned Technology Solutions
Based in Washington, D.C., Aligned Technology Solutions and its 15+ employees provide IT services to small and mid-sized businesses. Aligned Technology Solutions aims to meet the nuanced needs of each individual client, bringing a personalized approach to the MSP scene. Aligned specializes in working with professional services, government contractors, and the healthcare industry, among other sectors. Aligned’s tailored business technology solutions include managed IT and cybersecurity services in addition to managed cloud and Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) solutions.
Aligned Technology Solutions stands out because it fits its services into the strategic context of your business. The workflow between Aligned’s team and your own team is seamless, complete with excellent customer service and a cost-effective pricing structure. Easy, personable communication is always a plus in the tech world. As a one-stop-shop for all of your managed IT needs, Aligned Technology Solutions is extremely organized and adept at solving your technology issues.
Overall, customers are highly satisfied with Aligned Technology Solution’s MSP offerings. The only complaints center around the onboarding of new Aligned staff members, who may or may not be able to get immediately up to speed with each client’s individual needs. However, clients suggest that communication is key. Aligned Technology Solutions is always happy to answer any questions and adjust their services to better fit your business needs. The company is constantly striving to improve, and the vast majority of customers are extremely satisfied with their services.
- Due to the highly individualized nature of Aligned’s services, no pricing information is available online. To learn more, contact Aligned Technology Solutions directly via phone call or email.
Sirius Computer Solutions
It can be difficult for small business owners to strike a balance when it comes to their technology needs. It’s easy to find solutions for tiny teams and large enterprises, but many smaller businesses are left floundering, attempting to find the right level of tech support for the right price. Sirius Computer Solutions operates across the nation, using its three decades of IT experience to offer affordable on-premises, off-premises, cloud, and as-a-service solutions. From the healthcare industry to the agricultural industry, Sirius can help take your tech setup and overall organizational efficiency to the next level.
Having demonstrated its ability to provide outstanding managed IT services, Sirius Computer Solutions is fast expanding and investing in new technological developments. Sirius’s Microsoft cloud capabilities are one-of-a-kind and repeatedly drive value to its customers. Sirius is a bigger company than some of the other options on this list, boasting a team of over 5,500 experts ready to serve your business. If you want the peace of mind you can get only from a highly-ranked MSP, Sirius is probably your best bet.
On the corporate level, things seem to constantly be shifting with buyouts, name changes, and expansions — in fact, the company was acquired by CDW in December of 2021. Sirius is clearly aiming to become the biggest managed service provider around, but some small businesses prefer a more personalized approach to IT support. For those on the smaller end of the small business spectrum, Sirius may be too large a company to adequately provide for your needs.
- Due to the highly individualized nature of Sirius’s services, no pricing information is available online. To learn more, contact Sirius Computer Solutions directly via phone call or email.
CyberDuo is another MSP option that dominates the small and mid-sized business market. It offers comprehensive IT and cybersecurity services for companies nationwide. Security is the name of the game for CyberDuo, with the company’s website stating that “protecting our partners is the number one priority at CyberDuo.” It’s won numerous awards for its simple yet effective security protocols, including its data protection collaborations with Microsoft. It also offers US-based tech support 24/7, so you’ll never have to worry about lapses in coverage.
CyberDuo customers are beyond satisfied with the punctual, helpful communication they receive from the team. CyberDuo actively searches for technology solutions that can help your business grow and improve processes, while quickly and efficiently remedying any tech issues that crop up along the way.
If we are being nitpicky, there have been a few mentions of lower-level English proficiency from the CyberDuo team. Fortunately, it doesn’t cause communication issues or negatively impact services, so it’s difficult to classify as a con. Some clients have also voiced the fact that they would like to interact with the team more in person. However, if you’re seeking a one-stop-shop for your business’s MSP, you’d be wise to select a local provider that can offer on-site services more frequently.
- Due to the highly individualized nature of CyberDuo’s services, no pricing information is available online. To learn more, contact CyberDuo directly via phone call or email.
Selecting the right MSP for your business
Choosing the right managed service provider for your small business is no easy feat. There are hundreds if not thousands of providers eager to help shore up your small business’s tech support. First and foremost among your considerations should be whether or not you want to go with a local MSP provider. Some businesses prefer a familiar face, while others prefer the name and backing of a larger, national company.
Other factors to look at include pricing and the breadth of service offerings. Above all else, you’ll want to consider your business needs. Do you need help storing and securing sensitive data? What about dealing with IT audits? Or maybe your team just needs someone to call when it runs into technology obstacles. Answer these questions, and you’ll be fast on your way to selecting the right MSP for your small business.