What are Managed Services?
Offloading specific IT operations to a service provider is known in tech parlance as Managed Servies Provider. The managed service provider assumes ongoing responsibility for monitoring, managing and/or problem resolution for selected IT systems and functions on your behalf.
Services such as alerts, security, patch management, data backup and recovery for different client devices: desktops, notebooks, servers, storage systems, networks, and applications could all be offered by Managed Service Providers.
Delegating routine infrastructure management to an experienced managed service professional gives you time and lets you concentrate on running your business without having so many interruptions due to IT issues.
Billing for services of managed service providers usually occurs on a subscription basis. Depending on the services they provide, pricing is usually based on the number of devices, with different packages priced at different levels. Some provide customer support onsite when required
Typically they perform an initial assessment of your current IT environment and management requirements to help you decide what services and service levels you need.
Why Should You Care?
Small businesses just like larger companies need technology to operate efficiently and to compete effectively. Reliance on IT grows, but the resources to support an increasingly complex IT environment can’t always handle the upcoming. IT resources are scarce in many small businesses and it can quickly become very overwhelmed with the day to day responsibilities of keeping the IT infrastructure that business depends on up and running.
Falling behind on keeping up with backups, patches, and security are growing the negative impact that an IT outage could have on your business. Just picture your email server, customer relationship management system, financial application or network goes down suddenly. This would result in substantial productivity and revenue losses.
Introducing MSPs as an extension to your IT department means that it would free up IT staff to focus on higher-value projects. MSP can help you avoid many tech problems if carefully and proactively monitoring and maintaining your systems. If in fact, an issue does occur, an experienced MSP can troubleshoot and resolve it more efficiently.
Traditional outsourcing situations where you surrender complete control of your IT assets are different from MSP ones because with MSP you are in charge to decide what you want the service provider to take care of. You retain full visibility into the process and management of your systems. In addition, MSP subscription model gives you a heads up in expense predictability unlike the consultant type time and billing model.
What to Consider?
With so many different types of MSPs and offerings, the MSP label can be a confusing one. So, when considering managed services, think first about your requirements. How satisfied you are with the level and quality of support that you have today? Where are the gaps, pain points and inefficiencies in IT infrastructure management? How do downtime, outages, and other problems impact your business?
With these requirements top of mind, evaluate MSPs that map to your IT, business, and budget requirements and provide a flexible, proactive approach that can adapt with you as your needs evolve.