What Are Managed IT Services and Are They Right for Your Company?

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The days of handling everything in-house are over. Businesses now have the choice to outsource all sorts of services as required, from payroll to employee training and beyond.

Managed IT services fall into this camp, creating opportunities to unload tech troubles to third-party providers.

Let’s explore what these services offer and why they can benefit organizations of all sizes. You might be surprised by what you learn.

Different areas that managed IT services can handle

There are several strands to managed IT services. The general idea is that an outside provider will step in to deal with different aspects of running your infrastructure. From increasing uptime to preventing fraud, there’s little that can’t be achieved.

Here are some of the specific roles that managed service providers (MSPs) can fulfill, in a little more detail:

Technical support

When something goes wrong with your IT, an MSP will be on-call to help. This can be handled over the phone, through web chat or with a site visit.

Infrastructure monitoring

If you’ve got mission-critical business servers, endpoints and even APIs to monitor and manage, an MSP can take the reins.

That way, if issues are detected, then fixes can be found. Proactive monitoring will prevent downtime and allow systems and devices to perform optimally.

Software management

You’re probably reliant on all sorts of apps and software services as part of your daily operations. These solutions don’t stand still but will receive regular updates and patches. The problem here is that actually installing new versions can be disruptive, or cause unintended consequences.

With an MSP on-side, entire software ecosystems can be managed. When updates or alterations are needed, specialists like those at Techspert Services will step in to streamline everything.





Procurement consulting

Without an in-house IT team, deciding which hardware to invest in and which software to license is tricky.

Rather than use guesswork, with managed IT services you can ask for advice on these major decisions. This won’t only benefit your business today but will help you build IT procurement strategies for the long term.

Bear in mind that these are just examples of the services that can be offered. There are different providers with different specialisms, as well as different support packages out there. Even so, the types of IT support you can outsource is undeniably impressive.

Understanding the alternative approaches

If you don’t work with an MSP, what choices does your business have when it comes to IT management? Well, there are two routes to consider:

Recruiting permanent support staff

Having one or more IT workers on the payroll and on-site at all times is the old-school option. They will fulfill the function of an outsourced support vendor. However, they will also come with considerations and caveats, which we’ll discuss later.

Intervening only when things go awry

With an MSP, you will essentially have IT support on tap whenever you need it. Without it, you will have to recover from disasters as and when they occur.

Let’s say you suffer a data breach. If you’ve not got an in-house team or an outsourced support provider, recovery could be challenging. You’ll have to have a decent war chest to fall back on to cover the costs incurred. To quote the old saying, it’s like closing the gate after the horse has bolted.

Highlighting the benefits of managed IT services

You may have gathered that there are plenty of advantages to using an MSP already. Even so, it’s useful to go over these benefits unambiguously to help steer your decision-making.





Cost

Permanent IT employees cost your business a lot to recruit, train and retain. Likewise if you only splash out when downtime strikes, the bill could be $1 million or more.

In comparison, a managed package from a reputable provider will be a tiny expense. You still need to compare the products out there to get a good deal. But the potential to make meaningful savings year after year is real.

Scalability

As your business grows, your third party support will be able to scale along with it. And the scope of the obstacles you face, from procurement planning to disaster recovery, is irrelevant.

Obviously there will be times when everything is going well, and you’re still paying for a support package. You shouldn’t consider this money wasted because when the need arises, an MSP will be there in an instant.

Proactivity

As discussed, your IT infrastructure can be monitored by a management provider in real time. Nipping niggles in the bud before they bloom is the upshot of this arrangement.

You could even find that there are unnoticed inefficiencies or vulnerabilities in your existing setup. Without expert input, such deficiencies could be overlooked until it’s too late.

Security

The cyber threats that every modern business faces are vast and varied. No organization can hope to deal with them alone, and working with an MSP is a sensible tactic.

Whether providing penetration testing, filtering out phishing emails, or responding to incidents, a good provider will have your back.

You can even have your internal network monitored for suspicious activity, heading attacks off at a common point of vulnerability.

Of course if you do fall victim to a breach, having IT support will let you recover lost data. That way, business can continue as normal, and customer experiences won’t suffer.

Efficiency & agility

All of the aforementioned advantages roll together to make your business more efficient and agile. If you know a third party specialist is looking after your IT assets, you can work on other things.

It’s basically a self-perpetuating set of benefits that will help with productivity, profitability, and much more besides. So the reason for the rise and rise of managed IT services should be apparent.

Which types of businesses should outsource IT management?

Earlier we said that businesses of different sizes stand to benefit from working with an MSP. So what shape would this relationship take?

Small businesses and startups

Up and coming companies usually have small budgets to play with, which makes efficient spending necessary.

Getting outside support for IT makes a lot of sense in this context. You don’t need to expand your small team with unaffordable permanent additions. You don’t have to take unnecessary risks involving the likelihood of a data breach or unplanned downtime. You don’t have to miss out on new trends or updates.

Furthermore, managed service packages are flexible. So if you only need a specific type of support for your limited infrastructure, it won’t cost the Earth. Then, as you grow, you won’t be held back by IT concerns.





Medium & large enterprises

You’d be forgiven for assuming that bigger businesses have less need for outsourced services. In reality, the opposite is true, and this explains why more multinational organizations turn to third parties for support.

In this case it’s a question of agility. The larger the company, the longer it takes to implement any significant changes. If you aren’t having to do everything IT-related internally, adapting to external pressures is quicker and easier.

Obviously there are exceptions here, but this brings us back to the idea of flexibility. Say a large enterprise has enough IT employees to deal with part of its infrastructure. It can then work with a support provider to plug gaps.

Appreciating the changing IT landscape

Before we wrap up, it’s worth considering how IT has changed in the past couple of years. The rise of remote working, and the scale of the shift away from the office, were unprecedented. This has thrown up challenges and opportunities while complicating the task of tackling support needs.

Businesses have come to realize that they can’t possibly plan for every eventuality. It’s better to not be reliant on one set of strategies and fail-safes that are tied to internal resources. Having an MSP on speed dial to step into the breach and fight your corner is an example of this.

In the brave new business landscape, it’s possible to feel like every decision you make is a gamble. The idea behind managed IT services is that they can tip the odds in your favor.

The bottom line

The question we asked originally was whether outsourcing the management of business IT was the right move. As with any question of this kind, the answer is different for every organization.

Generally speaking, there are pros to picking a reputable MSP no matter the size of your operations. And because you don’t have to commit to the same provider indefinitely, the risks are small.

It’s a good idea to choose a provider carefully and get independent advice before you settle on a package.

The one thing you can’t afford to do is take no action whatsoever. Threats to your business won’t go away just because you ignore them. Survival is only possible if you take the initiative.




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