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Complete Guide To Managed Services

Complete guide to managed services

Reliable and functional IT is the backbone of every modern organisation, allowing employees to perform effectively and efficiently. When IT fails, or frequent downtime occurs, it interrupts business flow and impedes employees from working. It is imperative organisations take the time to ensure their IT works properly before an emergency arises.

On average, UK businesses experience 45 minutes of downtime every week, which ends up costing 500 pounds of lost productivity per employee a year – or one whole working week. Of course, each business is different, and every IT issue that affects them can be different. Inefficiency of IT systems can become a very real and costly problem for businesses of any size.

The scope of IT services can be overwhelming. Many companies aren’t sure where to start, what they need, or how much they should be spending. Outsourcing business IT requirements to a managed services provider (MSP) can be the easiest and most cost-effective choice to remove those concerns.

Outsourcing IT services has become the new standard for many businesses. This allows them to focus on their core competencies rather than struggling with technical difficulties. Outsourcing IT services also gives companies more time to work on their product or service, which can increase productivity and accelerate business growth.

What is a managed IT services model?

Managed IT services are a form of IT support, where an outside company takes over the responsibility of managing networks for clients. This includes monitoring for any security breaches or system malfunctions. Typically, managed IT services are offered as an annual subscription service on a monthly basis.

The prices of managed IT services depend on the type of support needed by the client. For example, an on-demand call center representative might cost more than having a specialist come in to fix one problem.

What IT managed services can I outsource?

Managed IT services are more than just a helpdesk. The right provider will effortlessly integrate with your business and offer insights to help you run better, provide scalable infrastructure as you grow, and keep your data safe.

You need to find a managed service provider that can offer you the necessary technical assistance, security, regulatory compliance and performance monitoring and business insights. It’s important to go with a company that has an established reputation for excellence.

Services that can be outsourced to an MSP include:

IT support

One of the key components of an IT service plan is the ability to keep a company’s computers running smoothly, whether it’s through basic monitoring and maintenance options or full support. An IT support team will do hardware installation, software troubleshooting, network maintenance and setup, or passwords and account management. An IT support plan may also offer 24/7 service desk and on-site support.

IT security

Most MSPs now offer managed security services, or cybersecurity strategies that ensure business information is secure and safe from unauthorised access, either on physical devices or data in the cloud. Security monitoring is an important strategy, protecting businesses against potential threats but also ensuring they meet compliance and regulation requirements.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing is the delivery of computer resources online, rather than through onsite servers. Many businesses want to shift to cloud computing but have concerns about security, maintenance, and scalability. MSPs provide expertise in cloud support, security, and infrastructure, so businesses can maximise the benefits of what cloud computing offers.

Strategy and support

MSPs can provide comprehensive risk analysis and strategic planning that helps safeguard and enhance IT infrastructure and systems. This allows organisations to focus on growth while being cost effective, as investment in change can be spread out over time, rather than a substantial, upfront cost.

What are the benefits of managed services?

Businesses considering contracting IT services to a managed service provider want to know the real, tangible benefits to do so. Much depends on the needs of the business in the first instance, but there are some big reasons why this model of IT support might be the best move for your business:

Cost-effective services

Outsourcing your IT can be better and more cost-effective than hiring an in-house IT person or team. MSPs provide support out of standard office hours if 24/7 support is needed. Fixed monthly costs also means no expensive surprises – companies get help when they need it, without the concern of escalating costs and approval delays. MSPs can also offer solutions that improve scalability and cost reduction over time.

Expert resources

In-house IT staff may be more generalists and require additional, expensive training to gain expert knowledge or certification. Outsourcing IT support means having access to existing expertise and people who are constantly upgrading their knowledge of the latest upgrades and products, as well as legal and compliance requirements.

Accountability

A managed services provider’s job is to take on the risk of your business technology – to keep things running smoothly and deal with problems. Accountability ensures your technical operations are monitored, to proactively prevent and minimise any issues. Your MSP is a partner aligned with your business values.

Reduce burden on staff

Whether you have internal IT staff or not, a dedicated MSP can take on the more complex, long-term management of tasks that may require specialist knowledge, so employees stay productive and stay focused on their own tasks.

Promotes growth

A managed service provider can work flexibly to support business growth and go on the journey to scale up or down as organisations require. Leaving the technical operations to the experts allows space for companies to focus on their workforce and workflow, with plenty of room to grow the business with scalable infrastructure.

How to choose a managed services provider?

The evidence for partnering with a managed services provider is compelling. Outsourcing your IT support can help free up time and resources, but it is important that you carefully select a partner that meets your business’ needs.

You want a company that can offer all of the services and tools you need and more to help your business grow. They need to be able to understand your goals and ambition, while using quality technology that will have them meeting your business goals.

Consider these questions when looking at selecting a managed services provider:

1. What services are on offer?

A number of different services can be outsourced as discussed earlier, from IT helpdesk support to system security and cloud management. Find out what scope of services is being offered even if you’re only interested in one – you may need other services in the future.

2. How proactive are you?

You don’t just want your problems fixed when they happen – how proactive is the MSP in terms of preventing issues and helping your organisation to get the most out of your technology operations? A managed services provider should set goals to measure your company’s progress and performance, so they can find ways to optimise your overall performance.

3. Do you have the specialist expertise I need?

Look for a MSP who has the experience and knowledge to have serviced clients already in your field, especially if your industry heavily leans on technology now, will do so in the future, or is governed by legal and compliance regulations. You want someone who has been doing this successfully for a long time and can bring that expertise into your company.

4. What are your security credentials?

Importantly, you want to know how the MSP is going to protect your sensitive data, what their data storage protocols are and how they manage and mitigate risks. Safeguarding and back-up protocols should be clearly explained, as well as regular analysis of their security systems.

5. Do you have a Service Level Agreement?

A contractual agreement between clients and MSPs which outlines the standard level of service the client can expect to receive is very important. This ensures the MSP provides the services they say they will, and ensures clients have clear expectations of what services are being provided.

6. How are services priced?

Probably the most important question to ask is what services cost, what price structure is available and if it can be customised to fit your needs for now, and into the future. Managed services providers usually offer fixed monthly agreements, with a minimum contract length. What’s not included in the SLA and how will this be charged if the service is needed?

INTELLIWORX understands IT is more than just an asset, it can define the success of your business. To find out more about the benefits of managed services and IT support, contact our award-winning team of experts today.

Shane Maher

We passionately work on the IT Infrastructure of mid-tier businesses and support MSPs into cloud services. I have over 17 years of commercial experience that includes supporting and managing IT systems, developing infrastructure solutions, both onsite & in the cloud.

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