The realm of IT has evolved rapidly over the years. It is a crucial component of any organization — a necessary piece to remain competitive in today’s contentious market.
But, for one reason or the other, not all businesses have the resources or willingness to build out their team of experts. This is especially true of small-to-mid-sized companies. To stay competitive and accommodate the technical needs of their organization, many companies look to Managed IT Services as a solution.
What are Managed IT Services?
Managed IT services, or outsourced IT, is a third-party service that provides infrastructure, IT, and other technical support to organizations. You might also hear this type of company referred to as an MSP, short for managed service provider.
Services MSPs offer can vary widely, covering everything from cybersecurity needs, VoIP solutions, backup recovery, and more. There are several reasons why organizations seek to outsource IT support. Regardless of the reason, many find they prefer the expertise and benefits that outsourcing can provide.
Because of how broad and challenging IT problems are, it is not uncommon for a company to utilize an MSP in some manner. But, like many things dealing with technology, MSPs cover a broad umbrella of many different types of managed services. Knowing what the service options are and which ones you need can be difficult to understand.
Different Types of Managed IT Services
Diving into the MSP realm, it is good to understand the various types of providers and services available. However, remember that not all providers will offer all kinds of services. One MSP might include all the following services, while another might only provide a handful of services — or even specialize in just one. Regardless, if your business wants to utilize an MSP, it is good to know what infrastructure is available.
Managed Networks and Infrastructure
With this type of service, an MSP generally takes on the entirety of network tasks. This includes establishing LAN, WAPs, and various connections for your business. They also manage backup and storage options.
This is a catch-all service for remote security infrastructure. It covers everything from BDR solutions to anti-malware options, keeping them updated in real-time.
Managed Support Services
This option is common among managed services providers. It typically covers all services related to IT help — from troubleshooting to dealing with advanced issues.
Managed Print Services
With this type of managed service, a managed IT services provider will remotely assist with data and file infrastructure. It is often best for organizations with complex file management needs.
Managed Cloud Infrastructure
One of the more in-depth classifications of services, cloud infrastructure management handles computing, storage, network, and IT. Some providers may also offer virtualization services for apps, software, operating systems, or more.
Managed Software as a Service (SaaS)
With this type of service, providers offer a software platform, typically subscription-based, for businesses. A few examples include Office 365, universal communication software, and anti-virus software.
Managed Wireless and Mobile Computing
An MSP offering managed wireless and mobile computing will implement wireless connections. This service is useful for businesses that do not have the capital to invest in setting up their own. Additionally, organizations can utilize this service for internal networks.
Managed Communication Services
This type of service offers a range of communication infrastructure like messaging software, VoIP (voice over internet protocol), data, and video. In some instances, an MSP can operate as a third-party call center.
Managed IT Support
Beyond specialized services, it is also possible to implement support via staff services. IT support is an especially critical area, as problems of varying severity occur every day. However, it may not be possible to address all of them with your current staff model. Or existing solutions lack long-term stability.
Here’s where managed IT support services step in. Similar to the types of managed services we previously mentioned, IT support services are implemented through a third-party provider. However, the difference is that this type of outsourcing is at the staff level.
Benefits of Managed IT Support
One main benefit of managed IT support services is filling employment gaps. However, there are many more advantages beyond the scope of employment.
For one, an MSP has a wide range of experience and knowledge from career specialists and IT experts. This broad range of expertise means they can deploy solutions and strategies which can elevate performance across the board.
Managed IT support also has the benefit of cost-savings. Because a company does not need to hire and maintain traditional staff, businesses can cut costs. Additionally, by proactively addressing IT problems, which can cause downtime or performance issues, a company can ensure it is working as efficiently as possible.
Cloud-Based Managed Services
Beyond traditional MSP models, cloud-based services are growing in use as well. That is because the adoption of cloud models for tech businesses is increasing, and as such, need accompanying support.
Cloud managed services fit the model of crucial IT support but do so following a cloud model. Cloud-based managed services offer remote assistance with things like IT troubleshooting, network building, cybersecurity, responsive support, and data monitoring. Companies can augment their staff and infrastructure in areas which are lacking, while also providing a proactive approach to their framework.
For example, data monitoring handled by a cloud-managed service can help monitor the use of company bandwidth. Or security monitoring keeps a business network safe by searching for unusual activity and malware intrusions.
The cloud is only getting bigger and bigger, and therefore so are cloud-based managed services.
Top Qualities of Managed Service Providers
If your organization is interested in investing in an MSP, it is essential to establish criteria for what you need. Understanding what makes a third-party provider a trusted source is critical. No one wants to adopt a long-term plan for essential elements of their business operations and come up short in the end.
Here are some characteristics of top-performing managed providers:
- Responsive: A quality MSP will provide critical support well within a 24-hour framework. The faster, the better.
- Service Level Agreement Pricing: Every business has different resources and needs. That is why a trustworthy provider will often offer flexible pricing models.
- Security: An MSP handling any kind of information must have robust security measures and responses to combat data loss.
- Backup Recovery Options: Downtime is always a possibility. If you experience downtime, you need to know your information is safe in times of crisis.
- Various Options: Many reliable MSPs will cover a range of services, meaning you can meet multiple needs all in one place.
- Accessibility: You should have access to your information from any secure point, whether in the office or on a mobile device.
IT is a necessary component of any successful business today. Technology drives the modern enterprise. Even the smallest of networks needs some level of IT support — it is an essential function. However, for a variety of reasons, IT support is not always easy to attain.
Luckily, managed providers are plentiful and competitive, offering all the vital infrastructure to not only keep business data safe but also growing.
If you find your company consumed by IT problems, be it small troubleshooting errors or massive drops in performance, it is worth looking into an MSP.