There are many benefits to outsourcing the management of your Wi-Fi network to experts, just as there are many advantages of outsourcing services for data storage, security services, software tools, and other services. Let’s explore these benefits in more detail.
Considerable cost savings are realized by having a Managed Service Provider (MSP) handle multiple Wi-Fi connected locations for multiple clients. This fixed cost sharing translates into true efficiency gains, reduced network downtime and frees up IT staff so then can focus on other essential functions.
Since Wi-Fi-related hardware and software are hosted by the MSP, businesses no longer need to invest upfront capital when setting up their own networks. Instead, companies simply pay a monthly or annual subscription fee on a pay-per-use model.
Since MSP take care of all hardware and software updates, as well as upgrades, security patches, problem-solving tasks and support to users through a helpdesk, businesses do not have the added expense of having to hire dedicated IT staff to manage and maintain wireless networks and provide support to guests and other Wi-Fi users.
With the elimination of network management responsibilities, IT staff is available and can be redirected towards other more strategic initiatives for their business, and employee productivity may be less impacted by network downtime. The need to purchase, install and configure a network infrastructure is thus eliminated, saving IT staff considerable billable hours.
As an added bonus, outsourcing to a specialist with expertise in managing Wi-Fi systems across a broad range of different businesses means that your organization benefits from their proficiency and efficiency. This is especially valuable when problems arise that require Wi-Fi technology expertise and the involvement of hardware manufacturers, ISPs, telecom carriers and all other types of partners in the larger Wi-Fi ecosystem. In such instances, the dedicated Wi-Fi MSP will always be far more efficient thanks to its in-depth knowledge of Wi-Fi technology and its ecosystem.
The MSP ensures the infrastructure is always secure, up-to-date and optimized while specifically meeting the business requirements. The workload and risks previously assumed by an internal IT teams diminish significantly since they are now outsourced to a dedicated specialized service provider.
Organizations will experience less network downtime resulting from updates, upgrades and ongoing monitoring of network infrastructure as these tasks will now be handled by the MSP. In the event of downtime, the organization can also rely on a 24/7 support from the MSP.
Some MSPs provide the complete range of Wi-Fi services from architecture to design, development, deployment, user support, equipment lifecycle management, upgrades and replacement, as well as daily management of the network. This ensures that the Wi-Fi network will perform optimally on an ongoing basis for both staff and guests.
Because managed Wi-Fi networks are cloud-based, it is relatively easy to increase the number of Access Points to follow business growth. Organizations can extend their coverage and/or easily add new connected sites with reduced hardware investments since most of the Wi-Fi intelligence resides in the cloud. Managed Wi-Fi thus enables extremely agile and scalable wireless networks.
Moving to managed Wi-Fi shifts the burden of network security from your organization to the MSP, and as such, cloud providers are incentivized to offer the best possible security features. These include encryption, authentication, malware protection, data loss protection, firewalls, and more. In fact, many companies today are moving to cloud services specifically because the security capabilities of large cloud providers vastly exceed those of their own organizations.
Since cloud services can be accessed by any device with a Wi-Fi connection, managed Wi-Fi enables the possibility for employees, clients or guests to securely utilize their own mobile devices (BYOD) with relevant and appropriate network access rights and permissions.
A managed Wi-Fi network will provide increased flexibility to introduce new applications that can positively impact both the top and bottom lines, such as real-time client-engagement solutions, which some MSPs may deploy when they have a development team at the ready to innovate on customer requirements.
Nowadays, best-in-class Wi-Fi systems come with advanced analytics. Such functionalities permit businesses to learn more about visitors and shoppers, even if they don’t connect to the Wi-Fi network. A device can also be tracked over time and its owner’s behavioral profile detected – in turn engagement activities can then be deployed based on these precious analytics. In addition, analytics are used to monitor and evaluate the performance of Wi-Fi services and the health of the Wi-Fi infrastructure. These “back-end analytics” substantially improve the level of service MSP may provide.
These tools enable businesses to directly engage customers, during and after their visits, by delivering relevant and personalized content. Businesses can further extend their brand’s presence on social media networks through social Wi-Fi. They should be able to set up features such as automated Likes, Posts, Check-in’s and Follows in just a few clicks. Encouraging customers to “Like” their Facebook page and timeline posts should also be an easy task to complete.
This type of management offers control of every aspect of your guests’ Wi-Fi access across all store locations, all from a single, cloud-based dashboard. This includes Wi-Fi onboarding, analytics, visitor traffic and marketing, among others. These centralized capabilities give an in-depth view of what is going on in each location which permit for better decisions and revenue optimization.
This approach allows for the delegation of control over policies and permissions. Organizations can create a consistent look for their Welcome Portal across all locations, while allowing local managers to promote location-specific offers. In addition, IT can control guest Wi-Fi services and marketing can manage engagement tools simultaneously.
With the expectations that Wi-Fi should always be available, cost-effective, secure and simple to use, the adoption of the “utility model” managed Wi-Fi solution represents the simplest path for organizations to grow and leverage their wireless networks without needing to spend time worrying about (and ultimately handling) the myriad details. Businesses can then focus on their core activities, improve their bottom line and reduce their risks.