Systems outages, device malfunctions, and data breaches may have you looking at managed services for IT. But what is an IT managed services provider? In this article, we will give a brief overview of what are managed IT services, an overview of the development of managed IT, and an explanation of the benefits of managed information technology services.
What Are Managed IT Services?
Managed IT services are the offloading of some or all of the IT functions of your business. MSP can offer extensive services including:
- IT management
- Network support
- IT consulting
- Disaster recovery
- And more
If you’re still asking, “What are managed IT services,” we can explore in more depth. Managed IT services can mean many different things. The size of your business is a major factor in what managed IT services can mean for you.
Unable to afford a dedicated IT professional, small businesses often rely on the most tech-savvy employee to manage their IT. Small businesses turn to MSPs when:
- IT problems become too overwhelming to deal with in-house
- IT solutions appear to be expensive
Medium-sized businesses often turn to a single dedicated IT professional to handle their IT needs. However, medium-sized businesses turn to MSPs for:
- 24-hour support
- Hardware tracking and monitoring
- Competence in obscure systems and software
Often with an in-house IT team, large businesses don’t need the services medium and small businesses are seeking from MSPs. Large businesses often turn to MSPs to provide services that their in-house team doesn’t. These include:
- Overnight IT support
- Hardware and software consulting
- Training in-house staff
- Assistance with specialized projects
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A History of Managed Services for IT
To truly understand how managed services work, it is helpful to review how managed services developed. Tech wasn’t always central to business operations the way it is today. As such, the managed IT services meaning has changed dramatically since the start of the industry.
Before Managed Services for IT
As businesses adopted mobile devices, problems with the new technology emerged. Early adopters and innovators who had immersed themselves in these technologies professionalized. Some became in-house IT support staff and others formed businesses to provide outsourced services.
The latter group would form the basis for the managed IT services industry. However, a managed service provider (MSP) has the capability of handling all of a business’s IT service needs. These early businesses largely handled emergency tech problems and provided consulting on tech issues.
Managed Services Definition Changes
Leading into the 2010s, broken or outdated technology became a security vulnerability. Costs went from a simple drag on revenue to legal liability for breached data. The managed services description changed. Demand for IT services went from occasional need to preventative maintenance. demand for MSPs grew.
The demands on MSPs also changed. The bread and butter of MSPs is the maintenance of hardware and software systems. But, increasingly, MSPs are being asked to handle cybersecurity. Managed security services operations ranked as the top IT needs according to a survey of MSPs conducted by Kaseya.
How Managed Services Work
Managed IT services allow you to hire outside experts to manage all your tech needs. There are many benefits to outsourcing your IT services. In this section, we will review a few.
The cost savings of a managed service provider are different depending on the size of your business. Savings include:
- Savings on IT staff salary
- Employees focus on business functions
- Averted legal liability for breaches
- Scalability through cloud services such as cloud computing
Managed IT services also offer competencies that in-house IT staff often can’t provide, such as:
- Technical support for new/obscure//legacy software
- Onboarding for new client software
- Hardware overhauls
For growing businesses, managed services for IT allow for easy scalability. With a services model priced per employee, MSPs offer a sliding scale monthly fee based on business size. This is a healthy cost alternative to IT professionals who may want upwards of $60,000 a year.
MSPs also let you focus your employees on your business. Ultimately, you want a service that can fix issues proactively, unlike a break/fix model. MSPs allow you to avoid the headache of hiring on the payroll.
MSPs are especially helpful in the event that you want to upgrade your tech. With in-house IT professionals, a system upgrade might also mean the cost of retraining your IT staff. MSPs can lead you through time-consuming system upgrades and provide competent support for the new systems.
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Managed Services Use Cases
Not every MSP is the same. There are some benefits you may want to look out for when shopping for an MSP. The biggest ones are hours of operation, types of services, and hardware management. You may also want to consider what the onboarding process looks like and what sorts of packages you can purchase.
Hours of Operation
MSPs vary by hours of operation. Some are available only during standard business hours. Others have the capacity to be available 24/7. While it’s easy to think that you won’t need tech services overnight, with bad actors operating in distant time zones, 24-hour support has become a must.
Level of Support
Another thing to consider is who you get when you dial tech support. For some MSPs, this means speaking to an account manager who will pass your problem on to the techs. For others like Netsurit, it means speaking directly with an IT professional. This service level difference can be the difference between resolving your problem now or next week.
Organization of Hardware
It’s a myth that IT support just means support for software. In fact, many MSPs provide support for hardware. This includes tracking all devices, keeping them up to date, and replacing them when necessary. This is easy to let slip under the radar, and an MSP can manage this for you.
Integration of Systems
Different MSPs start the relationship with their clients differently. Some rush to get started, expecting to integrate into clients’ systems through use. Others have a careful onboarding process that accounts for all systems, services, and devices, and develop a comprehensive IT strategy.
Mix of Services
Lastly, the services offered by every MSP are different. Some offer fixed service level agreements (SLAs) that include regimented services. Others allow you to mix and match services to fit your business goals and your budget.
What Managed Services Can Mean for You
When it comes to IT, you have many options. If your business can afford it, in-house IT staff can support your team in day-to-day IT issues. But in-house staff can be easily overwhelmed by major issues, especially if they’ve been compounded by poor maintenance. MSPs deliver competence, savings, and scalability all at a manageable cost.
Learn what’s involved in the transition to an MSP and if it’s the right approach for your organization. Talk to us.