Are Managed Services Worth It?

Oct 10, 2021 5:36:57 AM / by Jason Caparoso


Is a Managed Service Worth the Time, Effort, and Cost?


Many organizations are facing technology-driven challenges with expansion of the remote workforce, cloud applications and ever-evolving cybersecurity threats coupled with budget cuts. All these factors combined make it hard to keep your business functioning without hiring new staff.

Can adding a managed service provider instead of headcount make sense for your business? The answer is not always apparent; you need to decide what is right for your specific needs. In this article, we will break down what you should expect from a managed service provider (MSP) and the impact this can have on end-users productivity as well as your bottom line.


When determining if an MSP is right for you, first consider your internal team, their capabilities, and the amount of time they have each day to tackle issues. To put this into perspective, you need to review your current environment state as a baseline to the success of the strategy in place.


First, let’s review common items that should be addressed on a regular basis:


  1. System OS Patching (Windows, macOS, VMware, Linux) When you run current patch compliance scans how often do you fall above 90% patched? Most attacks on companies start with an exploit of a vulnerability in a system that patches have been available for before the exploit was public.
  2. Network Firmware Upgrades If you have visibility into your current systems, are you running a recommended code from the manufacturer?
  3. Security Appliances Are they up to date, monitored, and rule set reviewed on a regular basis, with incident response plans in place?
  4. Data Backup (MS365) Are onsite machines consistently backed up? Is a recovery strategy in place?
  5. Endpoint ProtectionHas protection been installed on all endpoints? Is it updated? How are events logged?
  6. End-User Requests Are they addressed in an acceptable time frame?

In our experience, most organizations can honestly say they have only completed two or three of these items and maintain them on a regular cadence. Usually, it’s a time constraint that prevents the responsible parties from achieving all of these required tasks.

A good MSP should cover these items as a starting point. Not covering these items increases business risk, cyber threats, outages, failures and lack of productivity. BlackHawk Data includes these services in our managed packages because we feel these are basic fundamentals to running a secure and productive environment.


What About Cost?


Cost depends on the size of your organization, technologies in use, and the current staff responsible for support. Let’s break down the costs of in-house resources that should be in place for optimal support.


Support Staff Roles


Help Desk Support Technician
Salary 65-95k annually

Covers the following technologies:

  • Windows
  • MS-365
  • MAC
  • Application installs /issues
  • First line of support for end-user issues


System Specialist
Salary 95-115k annually


  • Tier-2/3 escalation for help desk technicians
  • Machine Imaging
  • System Patching and testing
  • Active Directory management
  • Policy creation (GPO, DLP, Retention, Email etc)
  • System Backup (SaaS, Azure, AWS and on Prem resources)
  • AV/EDR deployment and maintenance
  • Multi-Factor deployment
  • DNS record and DHCP scope creations
  • Email account administration


Network Administrator
Salary 95-115k annually


  • Wired and Wireless connectivity
    • Switches
    • Routers
    • SD-WAN
    • Wireless Access Points and controllers
  • Monitor network for events and stability
  • Upgrades of hardware/software of underlying infrastructure
  • Authentication, device profiling, and guest access management
  • Escalation for Help desk technician to resolve communication issues
  • Internet and branch office connectivity


Cyber Security Administrator
Salary 105-135k annually


  • Maintains/Monitors security appliances
    • Firewalls
    • IPS/IDS
    • SIEM
    • Web filters
    • Web Proxy
  • Monitors for security events in appliances and endpoint protection tools
  • Creates rules and policies to strengthen security posture
  • VPN access and vendor tunnels
  • Cyber incident response
  • Policy creation/enforcement
  • Compliance audits
  • Vulnerability scanning internal
  • Coordinating and/or performing penetration testing
  • Email security


Unified Communications Administrator
Salary 95-115k annually



  • Integrated Voice system
    • Phone setup
    • Dial Plans
    • Voicemail
    • Call recording
  • Collaboration tools (Webex, Zoom, MS-Teams, slack)


  • Meeting room setup and support
  • Video streaming
  • Contact Center management
  • Firmware updates to all components
  • Escalation for help desk technician to resolve voice related issues


Depending on the size of your organization, some of these roles may be combined for cost efficiency, but can leave you stranded when an issue requires escalation. Other considerations include coverage outside of business hours and the number of staff in each category required to efficiently respond to incidents or requests. These factors will vary by business model and industry, but can become cost prohibitive quickly to match 24×7 coverage of an MSP.

Now let’s say you find the “unicorn” (the IT specialist capable of all of the roles mentioned above), so you pay a little more for better talent. That’s about 125k a year plus the added costs of PTO, benefits, equipment, and overhead. That means the true cost to the organization is closer to 145k per year.

Even in the case where you’ve hired the perfect person, they will only be available 8am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday. So who covers the rest of the time? With the expected workload of taking on all of the tasks above, how many will actually be completed?


No Hidden Costs:


The BlackHawk Data team understands the struggle of balancing coverage with cost, and despises the idea of hidden costs. Our approach to managed services is providing a team of professionals 24×7 across all of the technical disciplines outlined above with a direct escalation path to our industry-expert engineering teams, delivering what we call Engineering as a Service—a full staff without the cost. We provide a fixed cost per user/per device.

In addition, we will provide all of the required tools to streamline and protect your organization including:


  • Endpoint protection
  • Data backup and recovery
  • Management and monitoring of all devices
  • Vulnerability scans
  • Automated patching


  • Email security
  • DNS protection
  • 24×7 helpdesk
  • Multi-factor authentication


If you already have an MSP, go through all of the roles outlined above and make sure you are getting the right coverage for your business.


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Tags: Managed Services