Managed IT services are those particular business services delivered by an IT Managed Services Provider, focused on maximising the performance of your IT infrastructure, to ensure your IT performs smoothly with little to no interruption to your business processes.
Many of the key IT Services delivered by a Managed Services Provider include;
- Maintenance of Hardware
- Maintenance of Software
- Regular Data Back-Up
- IT Security
- Cloud Hosting Management
- Server Management
- Email Hosting
- IT Consulting
These activities are generally performed on a regular basis by the service provider, as part of an ongoing package. Usually an ongoing package will be charged at a flat rate, for the month. However, additional works to be completed will usually be charged as an additional project cost.
Project Costs can be varied in nature and are usually dependent on the complexity of the task and the time taken for the Managed Services Provider to complete the task. A few examples of one off projects include;
- Server Migration from a Local Server to a Cloud Based Solution
- Upgrading a businesses operating system or computer hardware to a modern edition
- Providing data recovery solutions to those who have been the victims of computer theft
Businesses who engage a Managed Services Provider will soon discover that once a provider has completed initial work, such as consolidating systems or creating uniformity across databases and hardware, they will not see much of their provider. In some industries this could be concerning, especially given a monthly fee is being paid to look after the businesses IT – rest assured however this is completely normal in the IT industry – due to remote services.
Remote Access to Your Network
Remote Services allow your IT Managed Services Provider to monitor your IT infrastructure from a single location. Through remote connections IT providers can see how well the infrastructure is performing, identify any security breaches or any malfunctioning software, update software as needed and even fix common settings problems for individual users. Best of all, this ability to access the network remotely ensures your provider can ensure regular maintenance and backups occur, without them having to disturb your business environment.
Why worry about Managed IT Services?
As with most things in business, it is a matter of delegation, control and cost. If you are extremely tech savvy and have plenty of time, you could manage your own IT Network. But the reality is that most businesses outsource everything but their key competencies to professionals. Sure, you could complete your tax return yourself, or you could engage the services of an accountant to make sure it is done right and it is done most effectively – the same principle applies to Managed IT Services.
What to consider
There are a multitude of managed services available. Each provider offers a slightly different variation to each other provider and this can in turn create confusion for potential customers. The best way to find a suitable managed services provider is to do the following;
- Identify what you think you need – you mightn’t be exactly right, but it is starting point for discussions with potential providers.
- Identify what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past and question potential providers on this.
- Ask potential providers how flexible are they in their service offering – are there options to add and remove services to improve the service or reduce costs.
- Speak to at least two providers to gauge what is available.
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