Hiring IT support experts to manage your technology can be a great investment. But where do you start? Learn everything you need to know about managed IT services.
Do you lay awake at night worried about your network going down? Are you dealing with security threats and technology problems in general, but don’t have the in-house resources to put your mind at ease? If so, you could benefit from working with a managed IT services provider. Outsourcing IT support is becoming more popular as businesses realize the value of placing their technology in the hands of experts. Managed IT services relieve the burden of hardware, software and network management from your in-house team. Today’s IT landscape can be overwhelming, with technology advancing at an increasingly fast clip. If your existing staff can’t keep up (wait – do you even have an existing IT staff?), hiring experts to manage your technology needs could be the best investment you make. But, where do you start?
What Is Managed IT Services?
In a nutshell, managed IT services is the practice of outsourcing IT support. Rather than investing in IT personnel, infrastructure and technology, you pay a managed service provider (MSP) to come in and do the dirty work for you. What’s not to like? IT systems and technology play a pivotal role in keeping your business running optimally. Oversights lead to costly downtime, but managed IT service providers catch technology problems before they impact your business. Outsourcing your technology and support needs frees your management team and personnel to focus on business concerns rather than time-consuming, ever-changing technology that few are qualified to handle.
History of Managed IT Services
When enterprise computing first began, IT services functioned on a “break/fix” basis rather than long-term maintenance and strategic planning. When something stopped working, a technician fixed it. The technician was usually the only one who could fix it, as they were likely the person who built or installed the system in the first place. If that person was in-house (which was rare then), they were then unable to perform any other IT-related tasks until the problem was solved. Business often came to a grinding halt. Information technology and manufacturing began to grow at breakneck speed, which created a backlog of work for break/fix technicians. Break/fix was costly and reactive, not to mention time consuming and labor intensive. Managed IT services grew during these early years to meet this need, as “managing by fire drill” ceased to be a practical business model (was it ever?). As technology became more sophisticated, the need for proactive system monitoring, upgrades and support was suddenly in demand. Remote access, automation and cloud computing enabled IT technicians to provide support remotely, allowing greater efficiency and less resources. This new business model led to managed IT service providers becoming the preferred method of support for a wide range of businesses, from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Today, businesses demand their computer systems be “five-nines capable” (uptime rates of 99.999%), which means that the break/fix model is no longer serviceable to any-sized business. In order to operate at maximum efficiency, convenience and continuity, MSPs have become the preferred providers for the technology needs of a majority of businesses today.
Benefits of Managed IT Services
Keeping your organization running at peak performance isn’t easy. Slow, unreliable technology can hinder business growth, and deciding which technology needs you should prioritize is much easier said than done. An experienced MSP knows the landscape and can approach your business needs with a long-term perspective. They will give you a strategic approach that streamlines systems and costs while keeping regulatory and compliance needs top of mind. Here are some key benefits of using managed IT services:
- Controlled costs
- Greater security measures
- Compliance enforcement
- Reduced risk
- Decreased downtime
- Competitive advantages
- Peace of mind
1. Controlled IT Costs
IT costs can quickly spiral out of control, especially when emergencies happen. Finding an MSP that charges by user and device keeps IT support costs predictable and scalable.
2. Greater Security Measures
Security issues continue to be areas of great concern, with small businesses experiencing the majority of cyberattacks. You need regular, complete security testing to determine the effectiveness of your defense systems and protect your business. Managing IT security needs is one area that you should seriously consider outsourcing to experts.
3. Compliance Enforcement
Regulatory compliance is crucial in fields such as finance, healthcare, education, government and manufacturing. MSPs live and breathe compliance and regulations (yawn) so you don’t have to.
4. Reduced Risk
How is your business currently at risk? MSPs evaluate your systems, security and processes to help you understand your current gaps and uncover areas to improve.
5. Decreased Downtime
Who’s happy when your network goes down? Nobody. Proactive maintenance of systems keep everything humming.
6. Competitive Advantage
Outsourcing your IT department allows you to focus on the most important parts of your business, enabling you to get ahead and stay ahead of your competition.
7. Peace of Mind
Wouldn’t it be great to have twenty less things to worry about? You can rest easy knowing that IT experts who are up-to-date with current technological advancements and regulations are minding the store for you.
What Managed IT Services Are Commonly Included?
There is a wide variety of managed IT service offerings available. Any MSP you’re considering should make an initial evaluation of your current situation before making suggestions. Then, they can make recommendations that mitigate current risks and position you for success. Make sure you know what you’re getting. If a potential MSP cannot explain their service offerings in simple language, ask them to clarify. Any managed IT services provider should offer the following services at minimum:
- Help desk support
- Risk management
- User training and education
- Backup and disaster recovery
- Systems management
Looking to Try Something New?
Managing your IT needs does not have to be difficult. In fact, it’s never been so easy. While IT is no doubt an integral part of your business, maintaining its integrity should be in the background while you tend to your company’s primary needs. Sugar Shot is a trusted technology growth partner that seeks win-win relationships with our clients. If you still have lingering questions, we’d love to answer them. Contact us today for an obligation-free chat.