Understanding Managed Services
IT Support and Managed Services go hand-in-hand, but what does it really mean and how can you be certain it's not just another marketing ploy? It’s important to answer these questions before jumping on board. By definition, Managed Services Providers, or MSP for short, are third-party companies that help with your business's IT operations. They are responsible for round-the-clock monitoring, management and maintenance as well as resolving problems that occur within your company’s IT infrastructure.
We then take a look at the history behind Managed Services, giving you an overview of its development through the years. Specifically, for companies that serve small network systems.
In the past, companies that serviced small generally lacked the tools to sufficiently fix complex IT problems. On top of that, the serviced networks were developed as simple systems by self-taught amateurs. Gradually, more procedures and programs shifted towards an ‘on-site’ direction, where providers could come on-site and conduct a system review of logs and user information looking for any preventable issues. For example, detailed checklists were used to document disk usage, processor usage, etc. The problem was that support teams were only able to see what was happening only on that particular day. If something were to happen later, they wouldn't know about it until they would receive a call.
Managed Services began with the networks of Fortune 500 companies
Hardware and software vendors were finding newer and better ways for systems to signal problems as soon as they can. Since the early 1990’s, Simple Network Protocol had been developed and applied to PCs. These initial systems watched over tools and converted complex data into usable information. This was aimed towards larger networks and were too pricey for small businesses. But in 2005, cost-effective network solutions allowed smaller organizations to utilize the same features and benefits larger companies once had to themselves - this was the beginning of the Managed Services movement.
Managed Services for SMBs
Managed Services software today allow providers to achieve two main goals:
- Being notified of any potential risks as soon as possible.
- Ensuring that received alerts aren’t false alarms.
The more closely providers can achieve these two goals, the more efficiently they can provide a managed service solution that handles problems before they get out of hand.
Just like any other company, small businesses rely on technology to efficiently carry out daily operations. This growing reliance calls for the need to support an increasingly complex IT environment, and often times that can't be guaranteed by an in-house IT personnel. Especially since smaller businesses have limited tech resources.
Due to chances of IT outage or other similar problems, it's important to keep up with backups, patches and other security measures. For example, if your email server or customer management system were to malfunction - you’ll experience significant losses to both productivity and revenue.
Say goodbye to the break-fix mentality
In today’s business environment, waiting for your critical devices to fail before fixing them just won’t do. Managed services are the equivalent of a paradigm shift in the world of business IT, turning everything we know upside-down and sometimes, out of the window. Businesses operating with managed services focus on preventing issues from disrupting overall productivity. Think about it, why would you wait for something to break down to then pay for someone to come fix it? It’s basically a lose-lose situation on your part.
Since more and more businesses are depending on reliable, efficient IT systems, they simply can’t afford to rely on a break-fix model. Furthermore, having separate providers responsible for various parts of your system is a waste of time since you won’t know who should be responsible for providing the services you require. From a financial perspective, managed services cost less than traditional break-fix models due to its flat-rate monthly billing model. With the remote monitoring and maintenance provided, major issues -- from productivity-killing downtime to cyber attacks -- can be prevented. You practically receive better service for less money.
Benefits of Managed Services
One of the biggest advantages of Managed Services is discovering and addressing issues before they can cause problems. 24-hour monitoring helps manage vendor relationships and track network and device statuses, blanketing daily business operations with an additional layer of comfort and security. Additional benefits include enhanced operational efficiency, minimized downtime and a chance for business owners to focus on running their business, and not the technology.
Not ready for Managed Services? Not a problem. We have a team of expert technicians ready to analyze your current IT infrastructure, search for bottlenecks that are preventing your network from running at its optimum. After completing the analysis, we provide a written report with steps you should take to take your network and your business to the next level.