A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Managed IT Services

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Did you know that the global managed services market is projected to reach more than 200 billion US dollars by the end of 2020? And, over the next couple of years, it is forecast to grow to more than 300 billion US dollars?

That is a jaw-dropping number! This study tells us that companies today realize the value of managed IT (Information Technology) Services.

What are, managed IT services? In short, managed IT services are when a third-party provider is contracted, to fulfill some, or, all of the company IT functions.

Typical company IT functions that are outsourced as part of a managed service agreement include desktop support, printer support, back-office, and server room management. As well as application and operating system maintenance, security and access control, network equipment and infrastructure maintenance, data management including backups and disaster recovery, and, in some cases, telephony support.

Chances are, as a business person or company owner, you will have come across some form of managed IT service or perhaps maybe more than one. Here is a complete beginner’s guide with everything you need to know.

Why Managed IT Services?

Managed IT Services first showed up in the 1990s, when business people and company owners began to realize the challenges to stay up-to-date with rapidly growing technology and the drain on valuable resources IT support introduced to the company. Since then, managed IT services have expanded from focusing on remote monitoring and server management and networks to include security management, remote firewall administration, security, printing, and mobile device management.

IT managed services don’t only afford businesses a labor and time-saving way to stay up-to-date with technology with all the benefits of on-demand skills, quality of service, and reduced risk. They also allow the business to commit resources to the core function of the company.

The ultimate goal is to provide a full package IT service to a company, that either has little or no internal IT capability. On the other hand, take the mundane day to day tasks over from an experienced IT team.

Efficiency and Managed IT Services

Ultimately, a managed service provider (MSP) is contracted to keep the wheels of technology in your company going without any bumps in the road.

But what does it really entail? Let’s look at some basic managed IT service that MSPs provide.

  • Routine hardware maintenance
    MSPs maintain your hardware regularly to avoid unexpected failures and downtime.
  • Remote IT Support
    MSPs will provide remote IT support for remote workers. That is very important, particularly in the new remote-work world. Many employees choose to use their own devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Managed IT services will extend to supporting and securing these.
  • Ongoing helpdesk
    MSPs provide help through a helpdesk. In some cases, this will be a core working hours service, and others will offer a 24 x 7 x 365 days a year service desk.
  • Automatic software updates
    MSPs provide automated software updates including, security updates.
  • Expert IT consulting and advice
    MSPs are technologically experienced and can give the right advice.

In other words, MSPs support ongoing preventive maintenance rather than break/fix maintenance. That gives your company peace of mind and leaves you to focus on growing your business.

Switching to an MSP will greatly reduce the total cost of ownership in IT infrastructure and software. A managed IT services contract will increase productivity and avoid unexpected costs. Contracting an MSP can streamline company workflows and processes.

Data Management

Hardly a day goes by that we have not heard about some sort of data breach or cybersecurity issue.

Consulting A Virtual Chief Information Officer

A virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) is responsible for the overall management of a company’s data security plan. The vCIO will draw up a data security strategy plan for your business.

He or she will audit your network to find weak points. They will then give recommendations based on data privacy regulations and network upgrades

Network Security and Data Backup Management

An MSP will implement a data protection plan to combat cyber threats and loss of sensitive data.

When all other measures fail to stop access to your network, and a cybercriminal manages to penetrate it and hold you to ransom, a data backup is your last resort.

Implementation of Real-Time Alerts

What is a real-time alert? It is an automated notification or message sent via either email, SMS, or any other means, which shows that there has been a breach or error on your network.  It also alerts you to the fact that some counteraction is needed.

Real-time alerts allow MSPs to deal with errors and security issues efficiently and as quickly as possible.

Managed IT Services Innovation

Irrespective of what business you are in need to keep up with technology to be successful.

Information technology is very different from when it started in the early 1990s. With technology moving at the speed of lightning MSPs have to be on the ball and keep up with new trends.

Software and tools have come and gone or have improved. MSPs will have to frequently brainstorm and investigate which new IT innovation best suits your company’s needs.

Select the Right Managed Service Provider

As with everything else in life, research is key when selecting an MSP for your business.
Once you have chosen an MSP, check out who they are, where, and how they operate. Ask for recommendations, and check with current clients how they have performed.

A few things to check out are:

  • Company environment and culture
  • Vendor partners and certifications
  • Response times and attitude to work
  • systems and tools

Once you have given the once over on your chosen MSP, you can then feel confident that they will provide the best managed IT services for your business. Meet with them and see what they can bring to the table, and reach out to them for a personalized service plan.

Of course, this is just one drop in the bucket of the managed IT services that an MSP can provide.


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