If you are a small to mid-size business (SMB) looking into the best form of IT support available, you have undoubtedly run into the term Managed Services Provider, or MSP.

‘MSP’ is one of two often misused ‘buzz words’ in the IT industry. The other is ‘Proactive’ (or proactivity, proactiveness, etc.), which we will address in this article.

Even as more and more companies find that a Top-Notch MSP is the way to go for IT, many lesser ‘IT Providers’ are jumping onto the MSP bandwagon, even though many do not find the standards.

One of the earmarks of a true MSP is that it allows your company to offload IT operations to a service provider. The MSP assumes an ongoing responsibility for 24-hour monitoring and proactive maintenance/repair. We manage problem prevention/resolution for the IT infrastructure systems serving your business.

The Birth of Managed Services

The Managed Services model of IT was delivered to the business world via the establishment of the internet. Before that, the only game in town was the frustrating and antiquated model of ‘Break & Fix’ (B&F). This is where your computers break down and your business goes on ‘pause’ until somebody physically shows up in your office, troubleshoots the problem, finds the issue and then fixes it.

The main reason why B&F doesn’t work anymore is that usually the above steps can take hours or even a day to resolve. In the meantime, your business has, for the most part, ground to a halt.

The emergence of the internet created the ability for IT providers to become MSPs. Once the web took hold, if something goes wrong it can be repaired immediately from literally anywhere in the world. No waiting with only minimal downtime.

But those early days merely showed the path towards the undeniable future and industry dominance of the MSP. It quickly became apparent that merely fixing problems when they arose was denying the true advantage of the new MSP model.

With the internet, truly ‘Proactive’ maintenance became possible.

The Best MSPs do not have the same mentality as the ‘Break & Fix’ (B&F) IT guys who overpopulate the industry. B&F doesn’t work for you, and if they were truly proactive, these IT guys would know it doesn’t work for them, either.

This goes well beyond exhibiting the proper experience, skills, and certifications necessary. THOSE attributes should be a given, but they must be a mere starting point. Dig a little deeper.

A Top-Notch MSP will have no hesitation outlining their internal policies and procedures and their mandate as to ‘Best Practices’. They will have these in writing and will not be shy or hesitant about sharing them with you.

Let’s say that you are interviewing a garden variety B&F IT person, and you ask them if they are Proactive. As often as not you will get an answer like: “Of course! When it breaks down, we proactively come out and fix it!”

If you hear that, you are talking to the wrong guy, not an MSP. Get a Pro in there.

The MSP you want will share your vision for the future of your enterprise, and it is the MSP’s vision of how to assist you and promote your goals that they implement every day: The same forward-looking practices that keep you up and running, that solves an issue the first time, and that prevents foreseeable issues within your network, is the same thinking that keeps their hours on your network to a minimum. The MSP saves money, and you save money.

The Main Benefits of Managed Services:

Cost Savings and Reliable IT Budgeting
On a monthly subscription/retainer basis, IT costs are predictable and lower than B&F.

24/7 Remote Monitoring and Maintenance (see below)
Increased Productivity and Operational Efficiency
Cost-Effective Access to Peripheral Technologies
With the volume of our technology relationships, we get better pricing.

Minimized Downtime
Keeps the client focus on business, not on IT

Vendor Management
We bring ALL technology vendors under our umbrella to sort out issues that may not involve us directly. Your staff need not juggle calls with vendors.

Virtual CIO
We advise on technologies that effect every aspect of your business, not just IT. We are your IT Directory, your virtual Chief Information Officer.

How a Proactive MSP Works

From the first moment you meet with an MSP, they will ask you questions designed to achieve a thorough knowledge of how your business works (not just the computers), the rate at which you are growing, and where you want to take the company in terms of future growth and expansion.

This gives them crucial information that allows them to not only take excellent care of you today, but to look through today into tomorrow.

The Best MSPs, like IT Support LA, forecast issues with your system. Let’s say you are in The Cloud, but as the Best Practice, you have local backups that are not connected to your network. This is the fastest method to restore data after a disaster, but physical data storage units have capacity limitations.

As part of their regular reporting, the MSP will predict, based on the rate of current data storage, as well as the increases due to new employees with data to be backed up, adding to the storage rate, just how soon you will need to upgrade your storage unit, or other ways to archive less important files to the cloud, or archive them elsewhere.

In addition, they perform this task for your servers and individual workstations – not just in terms of capacity, but of the eventual obsolescence of your hardware and software.

We have just seen the last of the Microsoft support for Windows Office 2010, and last year, the same for Windows 7. Without critical security patches and updates, these become vulnerabilities in your network, and Cyber Criminals wait for just these transitional periods, where they can separate the weakest systems from the herd and attack.

A Top-Notch MSP would make sure that these vulnerabilities can never take root.

Some software and hardware (printers, connected copiers & scanners) do not ‘play well’ with the network and cause issues, just as Windows updates occasionally wreak havoc on the connections within your infrastructure. We foresee these impending issues and effect reliable solutions so that these problems become non-recurring.

With the unpredictability of Windows updates: we know when they are going to happen and monitor the updates effect on your network so that necessary corrections can be made immediately.

A Break & Fix IT person will rarely do this.

Day to Day

On a routine basis, we prevent most issues, but when they do occur, we use a ‘Ticketing System’, which allows the quickest response as well as ongoing analysis of the situation and accurate reporting.

How it works:

The end user has an issue and opens a ticket in one of 3 ways:

  1. By telephone to our Help Desk
  2. By email
  3. Via our website.

Once a ticket is received, an immediate response is sent back to the user. If it is necessary to ‘remote in’ and take over the computer for repair, we ask for the best time to do so, then call the user when we begin the process. Nobody likes to be surprised while they’re working when suddenly their mouse isn’t controlling the cursor, but one of our remote technicians is. For non-crucial issues, we will affect repair after hours.

It’s simple: We are always here, and always quick to respond.


A truly Top-Notch MSP, like IT Support LA, listens to the client, gains a thorough understanding of their business, how work flows, and what their unique requirements are.

We tailor a plan which includes everything you do need while eliminating what you don’t. For businesses in flux, as are most, we set a standard cost for adding and supporting new employees. Special Projects do come up, such as office moves or new branch openings, and they are quoted at the time, based on your needs and criteria.

We collaborate with you to arrive at the perfect Service Level Agreement (SLA), spelling out in specific detail what services we are providing, our guaranteed uptime and response time, and critically, your recourses in the event that any guarantees are not met – and we mean money back – in writing.


IT Support LA is one of the very few MSPs who do not require a hard contract, binding you to our service for one, 1, 3 or even 5 years. We join into a relationship with you under our Service Level Agreement. You can terminate our services at any time with 30-days’ notice. We have to be better than just ‘good’. We earn your business every day.

About IT Support LA

We embody each and every aspect of the true, top-notch MSP. Our methodologies are iron-clad, yet adaptive to your environment. We are entering our 19th year serving the Greater Los Angeles and Ventura County areas. We have continuously scaled our growth to ensure no ‘growing pains’, and our technicians are never finished with ‘school’ – the IT landscape, as well as the nature of Cyber Crime changes constantly, and we maintain that if those who are not a step ahead are far behind.

It is just this philosophy that has made our company award-winning:

  • 2 Years awarded Best IT by the Small Business Expo
  • Awarded 2nd best company of any type in the US by the Small Business Expo
  • Awarded Best IT in California by Channel Futures
  • 3 years listed as one of the Top 501 MSPs in the World by Channel Futures

Please call us for a FREE consultation by phone, and we will help you establish safe, reliable, and cost-effective solutions.