Managed Services, Government

The Top 5 Benefits of an IT MSP Partnership for State & Local Governments and Municipalities

Chaz Hager July 18 2023

No matter the size of the local government or municipality you serve, one thing seems to be universally true: you’re consistently asked to do more with less. Increase efficiencies in the face of budget cuts, grow city services—and quality of services—without spending more, and enhance security, while spending less. This is true no matter what position or department you’re in, and no matter the size of your IT department.

It’s precisely for this reason that local governments can benefit so widely from a quality Managed IT Services, or MSP, partner.  

Technology can, after all, help your staff gain productivity, increase the effectiveness of your collaboration, improve efficiencies, and create a better-quality experience for staff and citizens alike.  

But outdated technology can also quickly hinder all of these things, increasing costs, and creating ever-widening security gaps and vulnerabilities.  

Common in business, outsourcing IT to a MSP is an increasingly beneficial option to local and state governments as well. When you partner with an MSP, you bring in a deep bench of expertise to your team, tapping into their collective insight, knowledge, and experience to design a better technology and security strategy for your government organization.  

Read on for the top 5 benefits of working with a MSP. 

1. Help Transitioning to New Technology and Platforms, including Microsoft 365 

Many times, we encounter local governments and municipalities who are working with outdated technologies configured on-premises and who need help upgrading so they can continue to perform their work. In a recent project, a local municipality was about to transition to new software but knew their current technology setup wasn’t going to support it.  

We were able to help them transition to Microsoft 365, which not only enabled them to support this new software, but also brought them up to date with email, collaboration tools, file sharing, storage, and more. These tools helped them improve efficiency and productivity and reduced a great deal of headaches among their staff. 

Help Transitioning to New Technology and Platforms, including Microsoft 365

2. Security

Cybersecurity protocols are as crucial for state and local governments and municipalities as they are for modern businesses, yet it’s easy to push these off. Modern cybersecurity is sophisticated and extensive, and as you well know, most governments are already short-staffed and inundated simply with daily tasks as it is. 

But strong security protocols shouldn’t be left to chance. Local governments are increasingly attractive to cyber thieves and bad actors, especially as they are so often underprepared. In fact, in 2020, research performed by Barracuda Networks indicated that 44% of global ransomware attacks targeted municipalities (Government Tech). 

One of the key reasons? As a government organization, you hold valuable databases of citizen information including drivers’ license numbers, Social Security numbers, and financial information. Security gaps not only leave your citizens’ information and identities vulnerable, but hackers may be after something else other than financial reward: they may seek to disrupt life and processes and wreak havoc that way. 

Even with strong procedures in place, cybersecurity risks are out there. Naturally, incidents happen (sometimes on a daily basis). Governments need a proven way to mitigate and respond to those issues when they occur. By partnering with an MSP, your organization can benefit from robust risk management procedures that bring peace of mind. 

Many MSPs also include identity access management as a service which can help reduce the likelihood of unauthorized access to data. The MSP validates users’ credentials for accessing various types of data and even verifies whether access is still needed as employees change roles or leave the company. MSPs will also notify their client of access issues well before a government org’s small, multi-tasking IT department might detect them. 

Some typical security services your MSP should be able to provide include: 

  • Developing and supporting sophisticated security policies 

  • Training employees on security policies and how to identify common cybersecurity attacks, such as common or new phishing schemes 

  • Firewall set-up and policy enforcement 

  • Managing security endpoints 

  • Intrusion detection 

  • Web filtering 

3. Improve Both Citizen and Your Employees’ Experiences with a Cloud Strategy 

As citizens are adapting to the constant access and technology in their personal life, they’ve shifted expectations to that same experience with local government. Staff too, may expect strong networks, seamless digital experiences, and easy, flexible tools. They may also expect to be able to work on any device, at flexible times, just like their counterparts in the business world. Citizens may now expect to be able to perform functions from their mobile device at any time.

A cloud strategy with a focus on mobility are key to meeting these expectations, providing flexibility, and a great experience for your citizens and employees alike.  

Yet migrating or managing cloud-based environments is a weighty task, especially for modern municipalities that want the best solutions. A managed IT service provider can help your organization transition to cloud-based environments using best practices and top security features. 

These solutions expand your organization’s ability to serve your area with flexibility and scalability. Pay-as-you-go cloud consumption models can be more cost-effective for your government organization, not only reducing your operating costs but also giving you flexibility to scale up and down the cloud services you need, when you need them. 

4. Cut Overhead Costs and Compensate for Lack of Internal Resources  

Many MSPs operate on a
subscription-based model that provides governments with predictable and manageable expenses. With a tight or limited IT budget, this predictability is a huge benefit. 

Outsourcing also saves money when it comes to purchasing software, buying licenses, and even providing payroll for internal staff members 

At many (maybe most) governments, IT departments are short-staffed and overburdened. Because the sheer amount of work is too much for internal IT teams to handle, organizations often fall behind on their modern tech policies and digital framework. 

With a qualified MSP, you can easily compensate for any lack of internal resources. Additionally, you’ll benefit from expert guidance and technical skills along the way. 

Which brings us to our final top benefit. 

5. Access a Collective Pool of Expert Knowledge

MSPs employ teams of experts in different areas of IT, including
network infrastructure, cloud-based solutions, server management, wireless, and cybersecurity, just to name a few. 

This means you get to benefit from a wider range of in-depth expertise than if you hired one or more IT employees. 

MSPs can be great resources for information from best practices to technology. Businesses are often inundated by technology providers offering solutions to a myriad of problems. MSPs have extensive experience with products and issues, and access to knowledge resources, your government org. They can help organizations make informed decisions about technology purchases that are based on best practices and the bigger picture rather than exclusive, individual situations you might be facing. 

MSPs often have first access to manufacturer training and have spent the up-front time to learn the implementation procedures. The extensive education is worth the investment for the MSP since they will be involved on projects for multiple customers over the lifespan of the product. 

As vendors and consultants, MSPs naturally have access to a wider variety of software and tech services than most businesses do in-house. Additionally, an MSP helps decision-makers make the right selection when several options are available. 

The result is that your staff can be freed from the numerous hours it would have required to complete a project. MSPs, already knowledgeable of the process, will be able to complete the tasks in a fraction of the time. 

Picking the Right MSP

You should also be aware of the potential pitfalls of working with a MSP. For example, using a provider that doesn't take the time to understand your organization's objectives, budget, or schedule can lead to an expensive and frustrating experience. 

Also, if a vendor doesn't offer real-time technical support, you could be affected by costly delays and downtimes. Meanwhile, using a provider that cobbles together different hardware and software without proper integration could lead to issues caused by duplicate data and inefficiencies due to decentralized traffic. 

That's why it's important to work with a reputable MSP to ensure that you're getting the highest quality work and ROI for your government’s investment.  

Look for an IT partner that takes the time to understand your budget and needs. They should address user experience, security, and employee productivity while advising you on the latest software and hardware that can solve your unique challenges.   

Here at Northriver IT, we start by understanding your unique network infrastructure needs so that we can help you design the perfect solution. Get in touch to see how we can help. 

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