Reasons to hire a Managed Network Services Provider

What does a Managed Network Services Provider do?

A managed network services provider manages some or all aspects of design, implementation, support, maintenance, security, performance, and availability of an organization’s network infrastructure.

The network infrastructure components outsourced to a managed network services provider could include internet access, data circuits, customer premises equipment (CPE), cabling, and covering LAN and WAN.

The scope of these services can vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of the network to be managed and the customer’s choice of what aspects of the network services are to be outsourced.

Why businesses rely on Managed Network Services Providers

Digital transformation and the need to lower capital expenditure are probably the primary reasons for the relentless growth in the managed network services market. Gartner states, “Enterprises struggling to balance expense reduction with greater WAN and LAN agility and performance are increasingly turning to managed network services.” Here are the primary drivers for outsourcing network management to managed network services providers.

1. In-House Network Management Skills Gaps

The demand for diverse network management skill sets and the ability to hire and retain employees with specialized network engineering skills can be a tough challenge for enterprises who would rather spend the time and money to strengthen core business operations and build products or services.

For example, a medium-sized retail or restaurant chain looking to design and roll out an SD-WAN solution will probably need highly skilled network engineering talent during the initial design and roll-out phase. Once the solution is stable, the IT organization will focus on ongoing maintenance and periodic updates.

Unlike organizations with periodic spurts in demand for network management skills, managed network services providers can deploy their teams across multiple client engagements, giving them the ability to hire, retain, and motivate a broad group of network engineers with diverse skill sets.

2. Difficulty in fixing network issues in a multi-vendor setup

Network technologies are becoming increasingly complex and involve integrating solution components from diverse hardware, software, and bandwidth providers. Implementing a sophisticated network connectivity backbone for optimal business application performance will include a mix of third-party vendors and OEMs specializing in the solution’s different aspects.

For example, a typical retail store has numerous devices, applications, or solutions that must work together.

Troubleshooting performance issues with a POS machine at any location can involve packet tracing across multiple devices, networks, and the ISP serving the location. Coordinating troubleshooting involving multiple vendor entities can be a big drain on the internal IT team’s productivity. It can even compromise routine tasks that the IT team is primarily responsible for due to lack of time.

With managed network services, organizations have a single point of contact and can eliminate managing different SLAs across vendors. The problem of accountability and finger-pointing among providers is pronounced when no single entity takes ownership of all solution components—a role managed network service providers are suitable for.

3. Limited Geographical Reach and Access to Partners

Relying on internal capabilities and skill sets to manage IT/network operations is impractical for a multi-location enterprise. It’s not feasible for internal network engineers to travel across states or international borders to set up or troubleshoot network issues at branch locations.

Most established managed network service providers have extensive partnerships and relationships with network carriers, hardware OEMs, and network software vendors that are useful for tackling large-scale network challenges. In addition, some managed service providers also have a local presence in multiple states and geographies, offering customers an extensive support network.

4. Network Security Threats and Compliance Challenges

In addition to managing a complex security environment, organizations also must comply with various data management regulations that are directly related to how secure and compliant the underlying network is.

For example, healthcare organizations must comply with HIPAA compliance requirements. The HIPAA Security Rule requires healthcare professionals to:

  • Reasonably protect patient privacy by setting up safeguards on all equipment, data storage devices, administrative software and computer systems, as well as proper cybersecurity protection.
  • Prevent unauthorized disclosure of private information.
  • Prevent unauthorized access to private information.
  • Remain compliant to the HIPAA Security Rule requirements within their employee organization.

Managed network service providers can address complex network security and compliance challenges holistically. Some specialize in designing network solutions that address industry-specific compliance regulations or security requirements such as those applicable to healthcare.

5. Network Cost Reduction Challenges

Organizations should view technology and automation as growth drivers and critical tools for cost optimization. Businesses can optimize network management costs by leveraging multi-functional network solutions such as an SD-WAN with built-in firewall and routing capabilities. Even this approach demands specialized skills. That’s why relying on in-house know-how and cost-cutting programs alone cannot reduce network management costs.

Organizations that don’t have the size or scale to demand better SLAs or negotiate favorable contracts with vendors often find that internal IT cost reduction programs usually result in degraded network performance or increased security vulnerability as routine maintenance, patches, or updates are compromised. Degraded network performance and downtime can have a severe impact on sales and will cost the business a lot more than the cost of hiring a managed network services provider.

6. Reduced Complexity for Predictable Outcomes

Network technologies are evolving faster than ever, and the changing consumer preferences are forcing organizations to embrace new networking technologies faster.

As you can imagine, by the time an organization stabilizes implementing a brand-new network solution, a dozen other technologies are promising better results and greater flexibility to ramp up business operations!

The rapid evolution of networking technologies also increases complexity as organizations are forced to rely on point solutions if the primary solution provider is behind the curve in critical emerging technologies.

Managing complex systems is expensive and often requires access to niche talent, increasing network operations’ costs.

That’s why organizations embrace managed network services providers as they attempt to keep pace with emerging network technologies while minimizing implementation and support risks.

For example, multi-location enterprises have complex networks that are often difficult to upgrade. Managed network services providers with proven expertise and the backing of the solution providers or hardware vendors are well suited to pilot untested technologies, demonstrating ROI before implementing the solution on a large scale.

In general, SLAs cover the following aspects of service delivery:

  • Scope of services
  • Performance metrics
  • Reporting procedures
  • Roles and responsibilities/division of responsibilities
  • Escalation process
  • Penalties and remedial steps including legal recourse
  • Engagement governance

SLAs are meant to provide clarity on the success or failure of the engagement and, in some cases, can also be tied to business metrics. Organizations should put in the effort upfront to have well-defined SLAs in place, review the performance to streamline the process and graduate to a more meaningful set of SLAs as the business evolves.

Managed Network Service Providers can be game changers

As organizations pivot to new business models and accelerate digital transformation, there is a significant demand for implementing complex solutions. Solution complexity brings an array of challenges that make hiring a managed network services provider a necessity.

With proper due diligence, enterprises can gain significant competitive advantages by partnering with a managed network services provider.

  • Maximize ROI on technology investments by reducing capital expenses and focusing on business outcomes.
  • Build a lean and agile IT team that can bring to bear specialized expertise offered by the managed network services vendor.
  • Validate new and emerging technologies before scaling or making additional investments, minimizing implementation risks.
  • Build custom network management solutions designed for unique business workloads and customer demands.
  • Ensure the success of mergers or acquisitions even when inheriting legacy network infrastructure from the acquired entity.
  • Put into practice the lessons learned by the managed services vendors exposed to network challenges other customers face.

Follow Plow Networks: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram

About Plow Networks

Plow Networks is a leading IT services provider, connecting businesses to technology since 2012. With deep expertise in network, cloud, and end user support services, we partner with clients to leverage technology in ways that simplify operations and fuel growth. Plow Networks is based in Brentwood, Tennessee.


Plow Networks
(615) 224-8735

Scroll to Top