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What Are Managed IT Services and What Do they Include?
For a growing number of businesses, IT Managed Services Providers (MSP) are fast becoming an option for outsourcing IT work. In this article, we’ll help you understand what MSPs are and how to approach them as options for supporting your growing IT needs.
What are IT Managed Services?
A managed service model is basically when a business outsources some or all of its Information Technology (IT) needs to an outside provider. That provider is an MSP.
In general, MSPs will provide a set of IT services to the client in return for a recurring operating expense (OPEX). The MSP and client will agree to a Service Level Agreement (SLA), which will define measurable KPIs the MSP must achieve, such as:
- maximum help desk wait times
- minimum close rates for help desk tickets
- minimum uptime guarantee
- and others.
Managed IT Services take a variety of forms depending on the needs of the business and, as a result, you’ll find Managed Services priced in different ways.
However, before proceeding with an MSP, it’s important to consider a few issues.
First, you should aim to work with a partner that was purpose-built as an MSP. In other words, many MSPs morphed into one, but few started as MSPs.
This is important because purpose-built MSPs not only know how to manage technical issues, but they’ll also help you achieve your business goals, such as:
- cost savings
- productivity gains
- increased output
- business expansion
- and more.
With that in mind, your MSP should be proactive in its approach. If your MSP is only solving IT tickets with break/fix tasks as they come along, then it is merely reactive.
In contrast, a proactive MSP will not only solve IT tickets, but focus on finding the root causes of those tickets in your business operations. Ultimately, most technical problems are a result of a problem in a business’s processes.
For example, we came across a case where a client wanted to regularly forward and unforward their emails. Their historical workflow was to open tickets, but this didn’t scale well. We worked with the client to identify the business cause and, in turn, applied a solution to enable end-users to enable/disable forwarding themselves.
The change freed-up the internal IT team by removing the cause of many tickets. Likewise, the end-users were able to work more efficiently by managing email forwarding themselves.
With the right MSP, proactive engagement is a major benefit of Managed Services. In a way, the MSP functions as though it’s an internal IT team.
Not only does it help resolve current business problems, but it aligns your technology roadmap and strategy to your long-term business goals.
Are Managed IT Services Worth It?
Besides finding efficiencies in your business processes and IT infrastructure, a good MSP will also help generate cost savings in vital IT operations.
For example, IT downtime can cause each employee over 12 hours of productivity a year and, in turn, cost businesses $58,118 per 100 users (IBM-IDC).
MSPs solve the root causes of such issues and, in turn, help businesses generate massive ROI in some cases, 224%+ according to an IBM-IDC study).
Likewise, an MSP with a strong cyber security focus can help shield your business from cyber attacks, which can cause millions of dollars in damages (Norton).
Thus, there’s a direct cost-saving and ROI benefit to leveraging an MSP. The key is ensuring you have the right MSP partner and service agreement.
What IT Managed Services Offer to Businesses
You can find MSPs that will cover anything from one specific part of your IT (e.g., monitoring) to managing your entire IT stack. Many MSPs also help businesses with off-site assets, such as configuring their cloud services with third-party providers, for example.
Some MSPs will offer a single, consistent set of services for all clients. For you, this simplifies IT management by covering all of your needs in a flat-fee. The advantage of this kind of service is that you can cover all of your IT needs within a fixed, predictable expense.
On that note, pay careful attention to the pricing models of each prospective MSP. Some MSPs will charge on a per-minute rate, which could make your IT spending unpredictable and, in some situations, very costly. You should look for MSPs that offer services through a flat monthly fee or some other predictable/static recurring expense.
Learn How to Leverage Managed Services to Save Costs:
- The Ultimate IT Outsourcing Strategy To Increase ROI
- The Biggest Benefits of Using Managed IT Services
- Managed IT Services Pricing Breakdown
Finally, returning to the point about a proactive MSP, you should look for a partner that will help you with all of your technology. This includes cyber security, especially for businesses in industries with tight data and IT compliance rules, such as finance.
Some MSPs will offer a ‘cyber security in-a-box’, or ‘turn-key’ type service. They’ll provide the necessary services such as firewalls, SIEM security event and incident management, a security operations center (SOC), endpoint security (BYOD device control, access points, other devices), and response capabilities to breaches and incidents.
These MSPs function an MSSP (i.e., Managed Security Service Providers). MSSPs solve both the cyber security challenges along with the IT challenges that an MSP would solve.
Managed Security Service Providers often offer support that is in conjunction with the industry that an organization operates in such as the Personal Health Protection Act (PHIPA). They also offer the ability to create cost savings for equipment, software, and other operational costs.
Fusion can assist with both MSP and MSSP challenges.
Find the root causes of IT downtime, help desk bottlenecks, and other costly problems through the Fusion Managed Service package. Contact us for a FREE consultation to learn more.