The insurance industry depends on network infrastructures that need to be maintained, updated and protected, but a small- to medium-sized agency's personnel are not trained to maintain and support that. Their core business is to sell insurance. That brings us to the question: who is going to manage all of those networks? The best answer is a Managed Service Provider (MSP).
Insurance companies need MSPs to manage their IT infrastructures for the following reasons
- Managing an insurance agency doesn't = Managing a technical staff: Your career has been about building an agency and serving the insurance needs of your target market with the technical knowledge and expertise you've acquired. Doing this has little to do with overseeing and directing one or more in-house employees to handle technology, hardware and software infrastructure, or cyber-security. You need to-and should-focus on what you got into business for.
- Payment portals and localized sites: Insurance companies have customer portals where customers login at any time to make payments or follow-up on claim activity. These portals need to be maintained with zero downtime. Also, each branch generally has a micro-site which needs to be maintained. All of this makes 24/7 support and monitoring a must.
- Data security: Cyberspace is not a very secure place for data unless the owners of that data are constantly vigilant. It is neither practical nor possible for insurance firms to safeguard their information on their own. Only managed service providers are properly trained and equipped to perform that highly technical task. They can ensure that your information is safe by implementing proactive solutions.
- Monitoring: One way to avoid critical breakdowns and security breaches is 24/7 monitoring. This is the surefire way to avoid and control security breaches, virus and hacker attacks, but it isn't something a small firm can do on its own. It requires the presence of 24/7 labor plus investment in exceptionally sophisticated software as well as hardware. This sort of investment is not practical for smaller firms.
- Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR): We all know that disasters strike. From a simple power outage to a hardware failure, loss of data and business continuity are real concerns. A MSP can have systems restored and running quickly, minimizing disruption.
- Mergers and acquisitions: Mergers and acquisitions are very common in the insurance vertical. As a result, there's a lot of data that flows in and out. Another offshoot of this is the opening and closing of new office locations. The IT infrastructure needs to be flexible enough to accommodate any scale back and roll out that happens as a result of these changes. Also, this kind of fluid environment makes it difficult to predict data costs.
- In-house IT management: In-house IT management is not a good option for insurance companies. For example, lack of technology updates can expose your networks to many risks. An overworked in-house IT team may not be able to keep up with those updates that are so vital for continued security of your information.
Finally, insurance companies already have a lot on their plate, including managing risk, regulatory compliance, marketing challenges, customer retention and being competitive. They can't afford to worry about their networks breaking down. For them, outsourcing is the best option when it comes to managing technology. MSPs will update the technologies as the updates become available to provide you with the best solutions to meet new challenges.