With the world changing and becoming more technology-dependent by the day, it can be a struggle for business owners to keep up.
Businesses are competing for attention, more customers, more growth.
You've set your business goals, but look again - how many goals are dependent on your information technology?
Did you consider whether your tools are where they need to be in order to help you reach those goals?
Fortunately, there is a solution - and it doesn't involve going back to school for an ICT degree; plus, you can keep your plans in place as they are. You can get help from technology services that work alongside your company without spending too much money, or going on a hiring spree.
You can do this by choosing technology that can change as your company grows. This way, you don't have to worry about technical constraints. You can focus on what is important: expanding your business.
Here's the best part: You can get someone else to do all that important work for you, with Managed IT Services.
What Are Managed IT Services, Exactly?
Managed IT Services provide support for and management of a company's technology infrastructure. This includes things like the company's computers, networks, and software.
You can usually get help desk support, network monitoring and maintenance, data backup, disaster recovery planning, and security management as part of the services as well.
The goal of Managed IT Services is to have another company take care of all your technology needs with a proactive approach. This means they will be looking to fix problems before they ever become problems.
This other company that takes care of the technology is called a Managed IT Service Provider, or MSP.
What Are The Different Types of Managed IT Services?
There are many different types of Managed IT Services, so we'll group them.
The most common groups are:
- Network management
- Server management
- Desktop management
Each type of service offers benefits that can help your business run more smoothly and efficiently. Let's take a closer look at each one:
"Networks" are all the connections between the devices; hardware, software, and other technologies that run your business. A well-managed network is important for any business. Network Management can also include connections to your servers, cloud storage, print devices, and connections between switches, routers, and WiFi.
Part of network management would include managed security services for your servers through hardware like firewalls, as well.
Good network management services will keep your network running smoothly, find and fix problems quickly, and make proactive recommendations for actions that will help your business over time, rather than just reacting to problems as they come up.
If you run a technology-based business, you need to have well-managed servers. Servers are responsible for storing and managing data so it can be read by important tools and software like your website, your CRM, inventory management, email, web browsers, and others.
In most cases, the service provider will host your data and applications in the cloud. This means that they’ll take care of all the maintenance and security for you, freeing up your team to focus on other tasks.
Servers could also include cloud solutions through something like Dropbox or Google Drive, or by using an online application such as Salesforce or Microsoft 365.
If you have or need cloud servers, this can be an unexpected bonus, as more pieces could be handled remotely, meaning businesses don’t need to worry about installing software or managing servers locally – this can also all be taken care of by the service provider.
Good server management will keep your servers operational through software updates and patch management. This means your servers will avoid downtime and stay secure from outside threats and cybersecurity breaches.
Desktop management can also be referred to as device management.
"Devices" can include your desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. A good desktop management service will keep your devices updated and secure while making sure that outside software is limited and kept within your company's needs.
If you're talking to an MSP, ask them whether their device management includes making sure that your employees have the technology resources they need to do their jobs effectively.
If you're looking for more questions to ask your MSP and find the best one, Check out our free e-book: 27 Questions To Help You Find The Best IT Provider.
What Are The Advantages of Managed IT Services?
Listing the advantages could be its own blog post, which we did here but here's a short list of some of the advantages from Managed IT Services:
Managed IT Services free up your time.
Have you ever been stuck trying to choose the right IT providers for your business? The benefits of managed services allow you to outsource all of those headaches and focus on what’s important: growing your business!
Managed IT Services give you peace of mind.
A reputable partner can provide round-the-clock monitoring of all things technology-related within your organization. This gives the CEO peace of mind. If anything is detected as not being properly optimized or secure, it can be fixed immediately before it affects productivity or data security.
Managed IT Services increases productivity.
Outsourcing day-to-day IT tasks, like updating software patches, monitoring networks, and so on can save you time. That time can be used for more productive things within your organization and you don't have to deal with technical issues yourself!
A Managed IT Service Provider will monitor and update these plans regularly so there is no need for you or any of your employees to worry about them. Simply put, Managed Services can help take your business to the next level!
We put together a comprehensive list of benefits - check out our blog: The Top 22 Benefits of Managed IT Services.
What Are The Disadvantages of Managed IT Services?
This is a question that we are often asked by business owners. While there are many benefits of Managed IT Services, there are also a few potential disadvantages.
One disadvantage is that you may not have as much control over your technology as you would with in-house staff.
With Managed IT Services, you are relying on the service provider to manage and maintain your systems, which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your perspective.
Another potential disadvantage is cost.
Managed IT Services can be more expensive than having in-house staff manage your technology solutions, depending on how large your team is. However, when you consider the benefits of outsourcing this work, the cost may be worth it.
However, we did the research: if you only have a 1-person IT team running all of your technology, your business has the biggest opportunity for COST-SAVINGS.
Overall, the benefits of Managed IT Services far outweigh the disadvantages. But, it's important to weigh both sides before making a decision.
If you're feeling like Managed IT Services are a fit for your business, it's time for you to find a company that can provide them.
These companies are called MSPs, or Managed IT Service Providers.
What is a Managed IT Service Provider?
A Managed IT Service Provider (MSP) is a third party that takes on responsibility for and manages a set of services for its clients.
MSPs are typically contracted to take over the entire management of IT services, or they can be hired on a per-service basis.
What services does an MSP provide?
Think about your business technology - it's much more than just a few computers and smartphones.
Most businesses have laptops, printers, monitors, email, WiFi, security cameras, security systems, firewalls, anti-virus, servers, websites, point-of-sale systems, iPads, scanners, fax machines, debit machines...
An MSP provides a wide variety of services, but the most common are:
- Outsourced IT Support and Management
- Help Desk Support
- Cloud computing and storage
- Data backup
- Disaster recovery
So what does that actually mean for your business? Let’s break it down.
Outsourced IT Support and Management
All the behind-the-scenes work that keeps your technology running smoothly is included in IT support and management.
If you don't have an IT department, but you're using a lot of technology to your business, outsourcing your IT support and management could be a good solution for you.
Work might range from installing and maintaining new software to repairing broken computers.
- Learn more about your options with IT support and management in our blog: Insourcing vs Outsourcing IT Services: What's Best?
- Also, here's our guide on How To Know If Your Company Needs To Outsource IT.
Help Desk Support
Help desk support is what you call when something goes wrong and you need someone to help you fix it -- simple, right?
An MSP can provide this service either remotely or on-site, depending on your needs.
If you have a remote or hybrid workforce, this could be helpful for you.
Cloud Computing and Storage
Cloud computing and storage is a way to access and store data remotely.
This can be a great solution for businesses that don’t have the space or resources to maintain their own on-site servers.
- If you're running a small business and want more details on the benefits of cloud computing, check our blog post: 6 Benefits of Cloud Computing For SMBs.
Cybersecurity is one of the most important services an MSP can provide.
With all the threats out there, it’s essential to have someone in your corner who can help you protect your data and systems from hackers, malware, and other cyber threats.
We put together a list of the 4 Most Common Cyberattacks, here.
Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Data backup and disaster recovery is another vital service an MSP can offer.
If something happens to your data—whether it’s accidentally deleted or lost in a natural disaster—an MSP can help you get it back up and running quickly.
So there you have it! Those are just a few of the services an MSP can provide. If you’re thinking about working with an MSP, be sure to do your research and find one that’s a good fit for your business.
To help you with that research, you can download our free e-book: 27 Questions To Help You Find The Best IT Provider.
Still have more questions? Check out our other blog posts or contact us today! We’d be happy to chat with you about all things IT.