First-rate IT is a necessity in almost every industry and sector. The world we live and work in is now digital, and cutting-edge IT infrastructure and management are the only ways to compete, grow, and succeed.
However, recent shifts and changes in the insurance landscape have made technological innovation for insurance companies more important than ever before. Alongside the industry-specific needs, the democratization of data and the rise of AI and machine learning mean that insurance brokerages that do not keep up with the latest IT processes are doomed to fall behind.
The speed of change in technology means that staying up to date can be a challenge. Insurance companies are often proof against easy solutions thanks to complicated workflows, manual processes, and proprietary software. This is why investing in good IT is crucial and why managed IT services can be the key to success.
What is a Managed Services Provider?
A managed services provider (MSP) takes over the role of IT infrastructure and systems management from an internal IT department. Broadly speaking, it is outsourcing your IT department to an external, remote organization, but it is rather more nuanced, effective, and impactful than that. MSPs usually operate on a subscription model, proactively solving problems and offering positive solutions for everything from cloud storage and cybersecurity to long-term strategic planning and digital transformation.
A relationship with an MSP is ideal for a small or medium-sized business, as it offers access to a level of technology and service that they would otherwise be unlikely to be able to afford. In-house IT resources are finite, limited by budgets and space, while MSPs can take advantage of economies of scale, cloud computing, and so on to offer enterprise-level services to even the smallest of organizations at a predictable monthly cost.
How can an MSP help your brokerage?
A number of specific trends in the insurance landscape and MSP market mean that brokerages can benefit from a partnership with an MSP now more than ever.
Cybersecurity has never been more important for every industry and for insurance brokerages in particular. Cyberattacks these days are really a question of when, not if, and a successful breach can be hugely damaging for an organization. For insurance firms, so reliant on data themselves and in possession of valuable client information and details, an attack could be lethal. MSPs provide a proactive, security-first approach to protecting your organization, leveraging cutting-edge technology and the latest techniques and tactics to keep every level of a network safe and secure. Data security is of the utmost importance for insurance brokers, which makes a relationship with a managed services provider incredibly sensible.
A few years ago, migrating to the cloud was a good idea, offering a way to improve collaboration and productivity and free up real estate. These days it is an essential move for any insurance company that wants to remain competitive. It provides more storage, better security, more streamlined working processes, and far more effective collaboration and teamwork, as well as offering a more seamless and high-end customer experience. However, opportunities and options in the world of cloud computing are myriad, and understanding everything, let alone taking full opportunity of all the advantages that it offers, can be a challenge. This is where a good MSP with the knowledge and skills can be invaluable, enabling brokerages to continuously optimize their cloud platform.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Almost everything is connected in modern business. The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the huge number of connected devices that carry out ordinary, day-to-day tasks and communicate with each other online. The IoT not only makes a number of processes and tasks easier (and automates many of them), but it also generates a staggering amount of data which can be invaluable for a successful insurance broker. The IoT is set to grow to an astonishing 22 billion devices worldwide by 2025 and has the potential to completely change how insurance firms deal with and collect information. As with any new technology, however, getting the most out of it requires expertise and knowledge, something which an MSP can provide.
Why Should Insurance Companies Consider an MSP?
Brokerages rely on secure networks and complex IT infrastructure to carry out their work, but most small organizations do not have access to the resources or expertise to properly manage it. As a result, an MSP is a perfect way for an insurance firm to maintain and support its IT needs. An MSP also provides the following benefits for insurance companies.
Insurers are not IT experts, nor should they be. Resources within an insurance agency are better spent serving the needs of their clients rather than attempting to manage IT. An MSP allows a brokerage to outsource its IT issues entirely and focus on its own area of expertise.
24/7 monitoring and support
A broker’s IT infrastructure needs around-the-clock monitoring and support to avoid security problems and downtime due to hardware or software failure and to ensure that clients have continuous access. This level of support and maintenance is exactly what an MSP can provide and something that an in-house IT department might struggle with.
Most small and medium-sized businesses do not have the resources, the knowledge, or the skillset to adequately protect themselves from the cyber threats that they currently face. An MSP can provide an extensively trained and equipped team who know exactly how to deal with the latest threats and have the right tools and technology to do so. Again, this allows insurers to focus on their core business without having to concern themselves with network vulnerabilities.
Backup and Disaster Recovery
In an increasingly digital world, power failure, hardware damage, and the accompanying loss of data are the norm. Although these sorts of occurrences can be extremely problematic for smaller organizations, with the right backup protocols and disaster recovery plans in place, the negative impact can be minimized. An MSP is capable of providing all the necessary protocols, processes, and systems to ensure that even in the event of a disaster, disruption is kept to a minimum.
If you would like to know more about how an MSP can help your brokerage reach IT success, get in touch with VC3 today!