In today’s always-on business landscape, it’s no secret that advanced IT management—especially in relation to cybersecurity—is an absolute must. Businesses who neglect regular IT maintenance, data backups, recovery planning, and security could easily find themselves the victims of a costly data breach or loss.

However, it’s also true that most C-level executives aren’t necessarily experts when it comes to managing their own IT. Trying to manage a business while also strategizing comprehensive plans for your IT infrastructure just isn’t a wise way to work—something is bound to get left by the wayside.

That’s why many businesses are turning to a Managed Service Provider (also known as MSPs), outsourced IT companies who offer total IT management services. Working with a Managed Service Provider can help alleviate the frustrations of your business’s technology and even improve your infrastructure to better match your business goals and become more efficient.

Here are some of the main technology frustrations you might be facing in your business and how a Managed Service Provider can help you combat them:

1. Downtime

Downtime is one of the biggest expenses for a business. Although the average cost of downtime will depend on a business’s industry, the duration of the outage, the time of day, the number of people that have been affected and your revenue, according to analysis conducted by Gartner, on average it costs approximately $5,600 per minute.

These kinds of costs and the productivity loss that comes with downtime can be detrimental to some businesses. While in-house IT staff or break/fix IT support may work tirelessly to get your systems up and running once downtime has occurred, there’s a better—and cheaper—solution for businesses: prevent the root causes of downtime before the cause outages.

The benefit of a Managed Service Provider—who is paid at a monthly rate rather than a per-project rate—is that they are working constantly to improve your systems. Your business virtually depends on them making your systems more efficient and reducing downtime, so they dedicate themselves to continually monitoring your systems to detect downtime causes and repair them before downtime occurs.

2. Lacking Data Security

Today, data breaches and cyber attacks are one of, if not the, most concerning threats to many businesses around the world. As technology advances and becomes more intelligent, so do cybersecurity attacks. Especially successful are phishing attempts and ransomware attacks, which cost businesses an average of $84,000.

All businesses, no matter what industry they are in, hold sensitive information that threat actors want—whether that be customer data or employee data. It’s become critical for businesses to prioritize cybersecurity and data protection to prevent hacking attempts. So for businesses who don’t have the resources or the capacity within its infrastructure to continually monitor their systems or test for vulnerabilities, they are more at risk of a data breach.

A Managed Service Provider helps businesses by implementing more robust cybersecurity measures and by providing several resources that in-house IT teams typically don’t have. An MSP will monitor your computer systems 24/7, guaranteeing that weaknesses or vulnerabilities within the systems are quickly found and patched to prevent any loss of data.

They can also provide you with a layered security architecture with several layers, including implementing limited access to sensitive files, anonymizers, and greater password protection measures. By focusing on your cybersecurity, an MSP can help your business stay safe from malicious attacks that could harm your business both financially and reputationally.

3. Unexpected Costs

When your computer systems have an issue that needs to be immediately fixed, it’s hard to negotiate prices with an IT provider. Break/fix IT can be especially problematic because they are paid on a per-project basis, meaning that you are left to foot whatever bill they send you once the issue has been solved. What’s more, because break/fix IT companies are project-based, they are far less motivated to provide long-term solutions that will improve the overall efficiency of your systems and prevent issues in the future.

Further, while some businesses can afford to hire full-stack in-house IT teams instead of opt for break/fix IT support, this is not a feasible option for most businesses, especially SMBs. It’s simply not an affordable solution for most businesses to hire an entire in-house team.

To help fill the gap presented by break/fix IT and allow you to budget your IT more effectively, MSPs offer their services at a monthly rate that is usually about the same cost of a salaried employee. The costs are up-front and set, rather than project-based, and they are highly motivated to implement efficient, long-term solutions to earn your loyalty. Plus, with Managed IT Services, you will have access to a fully equipped team of IT professionals at the same price as one in-house IT specialist.

4. Unnecessary Software and Hardware

No matter if you’re a startup business or a long-established organization, chances are that if you hire generic IT support, you have unnecessary software and hardware within your IT infrastructure. It can be incredibly frustrating to not know exactly what software and hardware you need, including any essential upgrades that you should invest in. It doesn’t help when your IT provider doesn’t know your business well enough to consult you on which equipment is valuable and which is costing you unnecessarily.

To help ease this financial burden, an MSP offers IT consulting services to advise you as to which equipment is truly needed for your business needs. They don’t have the same motivation as project-based IT providers to upsell you on equipment you don’t really need, since they are paid on a month-to-month basis and have the main goal of making your IT systems more efficient overall. With an MSP, you can avoid the unnecessary costs that come with software and hardware upgrades you don’t really need.

5. No Real IT Strategy

The reality of today’s digital business landscape is that IT strategy is just as critical as business strategy. So if your IT is being managed without any effort to aid business growth or align with future goals, you’re likely going to lose your competitive edge, no matter what your industry.

Even still, many businesses unfortunately don’t have a real IT strategy, resulting in miscommunication and the following of incorrect practices when an IT issue arises. Lacking strategy is usually the result of paying for generic IT solutions that don’t align with your business goals and that hinder rather than help your business in the long run.

However, because Managed Service Providers are hired on a month-to-month basis, they are incentivized to work closely with your business to understand exactly what your business model is and how your IT can better support your goals. This customized IT assistance will ensure that your IT infrastructure is aiding business growth, which will in turn allow you more time to spend managing your business rather than worrying about IT problems.

In sum, it shouldn’t be left to you to manage your business and your IT. A professional MSP can alleviate the IT difficulties that may be impeding your business from growing by offering a real IT strategy that aligns with business goals.

They are a great solution for businesses across many industries, providing them with comprehensive cybersecurity, compliance services, data backup and recovery, and more, all at a reasonable cost that can fit within most IT budgets.