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Managed IT Services Guide for Small and Medium Businesses

Small and medium scale businesses often experience a need for IT support for the smooth functioning of their businesses. In an ideal situation, they should hire an inhouse IT team of their own. But hiring such an IT team is costly so business looks for an IT service that can provide the IT support for an affordable fee. Must of these businesses look for managed IT support.


What is Managed IT Services?

Managed IT Services can be defined as a service that takes the responsibility of IT services of a particular company for a monthly or yearly subscription. The service provider company is also called a Managed Service Provider (MSP). This service provider company is given full or partial responsibility of business IT system as per service level agreement.

What is included in Managed IT Services?

Managed IT Services is an umbrella term and there are different services that are offered under managed IT services. Here are the major services.

  • IT Support
  • IT Security
  • Cloud Infrastructure
  • Penetration Testing
  • Firewall Services
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Wireless and Mobile Computing
  • Data Analytics
  • Communication Services
  • SOC-as-a-Service
  • NOC-as-a-Service

 What is a Managed Services Model?

A Managed Service Model is a kind of outsourced service that covers complete IT functions of a particular department. Here the services provider takes all the IT decisions as permitted by the business. However, the business has the right to review what kind of managed IT support he is getting.

Also Read:
A Guide to DRaaS Simplifying Disaster Recovery as a Service

What are Cloud Managed Services?

A cloud-managed service refers to the outsourcing of the day to day management of cloud-based services and technical assistance related to it. Some businesses also entrust the task of monitoring, security and backup and recovery to a cloud-managed service provider.

Benefits of Managed IT Services

There is a complete array of benefits attached to managed IT services. It is why managed IT services are popular among businesses. Here we describe major benefits.

Low Cost

A managed IT service is highly cost-effective. Contrary to an inhouse IT support where you have to pay for various types of expenses, a managed IT support can be obtained for a monthly or yearly subscription fee. An IT ecosystem involves various things like systems, networks and a lot of equipment. It takes lots of budget that may disrupt your business plans. As small and medium scale businesses don’t have much budget, they prefer a managed IT service.

Scalability

There are companies that are understaffed and employees have to work extra hours. Still, the work is not done up to satisfaction. The situation can’t continue for long. To fill the gap, you have to hire employees and train them. Hiring and training put a burden on your budget. Even after hiring and training, there is no guarantee that they will stay with your organization for long. The benefit of hiring a managed IT service is that you don’t have to worry about the hiring, training and employees leaving the companies.

Reduced Downtime

Reduced downtime is also one of the prominent benefits of managed IT services. There are various reasons for downtime. Server failures, computer malfunctioning, equipment issues and electrical disruptions could be major issues. The issues can be better managed with replacing faulty equipment. Sometimes disruptions also occur due to human error. The issue can be better resolved with implementing safeguards. Sometimes cyber-attacks and network failures also lead to downtime. A managed IT service is better equipped to handle this.

Proactive Approach

Even the best IT infrastructure is bound to disaster. And businesses have no option but repair it. The cost of repair work depends on the size of business and security breaches. This repair work puts a strain on your budget. Here adopting a proactive approach is better. Most of the Managed Service Providers (MSP) active monitors the IT ecosystem of their clients so that they can keep an eye on a small issue that can become big. Such an approach stops small issues from becoming a disaster.

Expertise

Hiring a team of technicians and training them to meet your needs is often a time-consuming and costly affair. Even then you can’t be sure that you can find a quick resolution of all the issues. On the other hand, the technology of your business also keeps changing. A Managed IT Support provider with experience across the industry is better equipped to handle these challenges. It is better to hire an experienced team than hiring a new team and training them.

Data Compliances

Your business has to meet several regulations and compliances to keep your data protected. You have to go through several compliances to know which compliance is better for you. Going through all these compliances, finding one that is for you and meet that compliance is time-consuming and burdensome for a small business. Managed IT Services are better equipped to handle the compliances.

Improved Security

There is a hike in cybercrimes and your business may be on the target of cybercriminals. Here a managed IT support can provide your system security by keeping it up-to-date. Such a service will also recommend necessary changes to be made to avoid security breaches. However, you can also hire Managed IT Security services separately.

Great Support

Apart from other things, a managed service provider is also known for continuous support. Contrary to an in-house IT team that works clock to clock, a managed IT service works in a 24/7 environment. So even if your system meets an IT issue in the midst of the night you can call your managed IT support for support. Such an arrangement leads to reduced downtime and improved productivity.

Latest Technology

The technology for IT support keeps evolving and getting new technology requires investment. There are times when you invest in new technology but your team is not able to use it effectively. Here a managed IT service provide you with the latest technology without charging for it.

More Time for Your Business

By outsourcing IT support to a Managed Service Provider (MSP), you should rest assured that your business IT is managed by experienced hands. With such confidence, you can focus more on your core business activities.

How to Choose the Right Managed IT Service?

A business should take several things into account while outsourcing their IT support to managed IT service provider. Here are some suggestions.

Relevant Experience

The first thing you should look for in a Managed IT Service provider is the relevant experience. Some Managed IT Services providers claim that they can work for any industry. But don’t go by their words. You are offering them a working opportunity and not a learning opportunity. Managed IT support having worked with an accounting firm is not an ideal fit for a hospitality business.

Check References

Everyone makes tall claims of providing quality service but this claim must be quantified. There is no better way to check it than talking to one of the existing clients of this service provider. If you talk to a client which is in a similar business like yours then it is better. A client knows well about the quality of service.

Choose a Stable Company

As you hire a managed IT service it gets acquainted with IT ecosystem. Such a company should stay for long. So, while looking for a managed IT service you should look for a company which is in existence for long.

Insurance

While looking for a managed IT service you should make sure whether it is insured. The benefit of insurance is that even if the vendor makes some mistakes, the costs can be recovered. So, you must verify if your service provider is covered with insurance.

On-Site Availability

While most of the issues can be handled online, there are some that need onsite attention. So, you must check with your managed IT service provider that if it is able to provide onsite support in the hours of need.

Experienced Staff

Experienced personnel are core to any service including managed IT services. So before hiring it, you should ask whether they have qualified staff with all the industry-recognized certifications. Because the quality of services depends a lot on the staff.

Response Time

One of the most important questions you need to ask from your service provider is their standard response time.  Smaller the response time better it is. This will give you a fair idea about what to expect in the hours of crisis.

Innovation

Some companies have a knack of innovation that helps businesses better their services. You should not allow them to experiment much but if they have any innovative idea that they can implement for better then it is good for you.

Service Level Agreements

Before hiring a managed IT service, you should check the service level agreements completely and know what it contains for you. Give a confirmation only if you are agreeing with all the terms and conditions.

Reputation

You must check the reputation of your managed service provider. As you are allowing them access to your IT infrastructure, you must ensure that the service provider is trustworthy. You can know much about their reputation from its existing clients.


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