A Closer Look at Managed IT Services

You’ve heard of Managed Services, but do you know exactly what they entail and just how much time, energy and money you can save by utilizing everything they have to offer?

The definition of Managed IT Services is they enable a business to hand over the daily chore of managing their technology to an IT firm – commonly referred to as a Managed Services Provider (MSP). Responsibility for monitoring, managing, and maintaining the IT environment – and resolving problems if and when they arise – then falls to the MSP. The majority of MSP clients are small and medium-sized businesses who do not have an in-house IT department.

Managed IT Services vs Break/Fix approach

Managed Services are the polar opposite of break/fix, the traditional method used for dealing with technology issues. However, there are a number of cons in the argument for or against break/fix and, it has to be said, not all that many pros. First and foremost of these is the lack of proactivity. Break/fix is a purely reactive support model: you have a problem with your computers, so you call a company who offers break/fix support. The service tech comes out, fixes the issue, you pay them, and they go away. All well and good until you consider that they are relying on you experiencing difficulties to make money, meaning that they have no real motivation to resolve the issue for good. Plus they now have the opportunity to add a premium to your bill for the emergency call out, so all you’re ending up with is a hefty bill at the end of the month – as well as hardware or software that is almost certainly going to break again somewhere down the line. As business models go, it is not a smart one  – at least not for your company it is not!

Another issue many small and mid-sized companies complain of when dealing with a break/fix provider is the unreliability factor. Poor response times aside, most traditional support providers, whether a one-man band or a small firm, are simply not adequately equipped to deal with the technical challenges faced by modern businesses. They are used to fixing the same old issues time and again that there is no motivation to keep up to date with emerging technologies.

Development of Managed IT Services

Perhaps not surprisingly, Managed Services were borne out of a need to address the IT issues of Fortune 500 companies who ran on extensive networks. Hardware and software vendors became increasingly aware of the need to flag and then address system issues as quickly as possible and, while the solutions that met these challenges had long been in development, not surprisingly, their cost put them well beyond the reach of the average small business.

All that changed in the mid-2000s when business technologies became more mainstream and the cost of taking advantage of these innovations no longer excluded smaller organizations. This in turn gave birth to the concept of Managed IT Services.

Evolution of Managed IT Services

Managed Services as we now know them have evolved and are now at the point where the overriding goal is not just to reduce downtime by simply pinpointing and resolving IT issues in advance; they also work to help businesses increase productivity and profitability through the  efficient use of technology. When systems are running smoothly, and processes have been streamlined by implementing more powerful technology, the overall result is one of complete alignment between the IT environment and the business’s goals.

As seen, an optimized IT network is no longer the sole preserve of larger companies, and small organizations are increasingly relying on technology to remain competitive. However, the more the dependence on IT grows, and the more advanced IT solutions become, the more businesses of all sizes have a need for support and strategies.

Not having a double-pronged approach can lead to two main issues. First, the lack of resources to stay on top of security updates, software upgrades and crucial tasks such as backups can leave your company vulnerable to hackers and cybersecurity threats. Second, not running on an optimized or secure network can result in problems such as your email server or other business applications going down. All of these can have an adverse impact on the relationship you have with your clients.

By arming yourself with adequate support, as well as seeking advice from an IT firm who can design and deploy efficient systems, is crucial for you to maintain operations AND plan for future growth.

Managed IT Services support agile business

Managed IT Services Cost

Managed IT Services are very competitively priced, especially when compared to break/fix. The majority of Managed Services Providers use a flat rate monthly fee pricing model. Different services may be included with various plans being offered to suit the needs of both small and medium-sized businesses across various industry verticals.

This ‘all-you-can-eat’ pricing model has a number of advantages: no premium fees for emergency support, no surprises at the end of the month with set monthly pricing, and it is in the MSP’s interests to make sure your IT is always up and running and that small issues are dealt with before they turn into major problems.

Finally, when your computer network is properly managed and maintained it allows you to forget about the daily chore of maintaining the technology that your business runs on, so you can instead focus on managing your business and keeping your customers happy. Managed IT Services exist to prevent problems, rather than fight them.

If you’d like to learn more about how Managed IT Services can help your business finally hit the stop button on the break/fix treadmill and become a streamlined operation, talk to the friendly team at IT Authorities today.