What Are Managed IT Services And Why Do You Need Them?
IT infrastructure is often one of the most crucial considerations for any modern-day business. As a critical component for many operations, it is often also a very costly aspect of the business to sustain. As well as running costs, maintaining IT infrastructure, reacting to issues and outages whilst also proactively monitoring and updating it to ensure maximum efficiency are all elements that come into play.
Doing all of this in-house can stretch your resources. Luckily, there’s an alternative: Managed IT services. Rather than handling everything yourself, a managed service allows your business to focus on core operations whilst a team of professionals takes care of all your maintenance requirements.
What Are Managed IT Services?
Managed IT services essentially allow you to outsource your IT necessities to a remote third-party Managed Service Provider (MSP). Rather than having to dedicate your resources to setting up, managing and maintaining your IT infrastructure, your MSP will handle everything for you.
Managed IT services generally run on a subscription-based model, meaning you’ll pay a fixed monthly rate in return for the service. This differs from the “break-fix” model used by other IT services, where you pay for each support issue on an Ad-Hoc basis. These individual charges can quickly mount up, so the subscription rate for Managed IT is often the best cost solution.
The exact services offered by individual MSPs may differ, but generally, they offer four primary services:
- Support – Remote support for technical issues available via phone helpline, email, webchat, and in-person.
- Monitoring – Remote monitoring your IT infrastructure (e.g. servers and workstations) to identify problems as soon as they appear and proactively fix or prevent them.
- Updates – Update and patching management to keep your infrastructure up to date and prevent issues from occurring due to outdated software.
- Installation – Advice on which hardware and software to install, plus installation support – some MSPs will even carry out the installation for you.
Managing all these tasks means that smaller businesses with fewer resources don’t need to invest in large IT teams to keep their business running. For larger companies with an established IT team, MSPs offer the advantage of letting your team handle larger IT projects without being distracted by technical support requests from colleagues.
Why Your Business Should Use Managed IT Services
Some of the advantages of a Managed IT service have already been touched on above – such as convenience, cost savings, and freeing up in-house IT staff to work on specific projects. However, they also offer several other benefits that can make them indispensable to your business.
1) Reliability in the face of unpredictability
It’s hard to predict what might go wrong with your IT systems from day to day – issues could be as simple as a user getting locked out of their account or as huge as a complete network outage or server failure.
If your business relies solely on in-house IT support, this unpredictability can be a problem if they don’t have the resources available to resolve significant issues quickly. On the other hand, MSPs can dedicate far more resources to widespread issues and get them fixed faster.
2) Easily scalable support
Over time your business will grow, and as a result, so will its need for IT support. Relying solely on in-house IT support means that you need to expand your IT team and resources as your business grows, which can be expensive for hiring and recruiting new team members.
In most cases, Managed IT services offer their clients easy scalability. Typically MSPs charge using a pricing model based on the number of active users in your organisation. So scaling up the provided support is as simple as keeping the MSP updated as you expand and requesting to move you onto a larger-scale support plan.
3) Keeps productivity high
Whenever your users suffer downtime due to individual technical issues or network-wide outages, it often means your business comes to a standstill. Every minute of stoppage costs your business money, so your IT infrastructure must stay up and running as much as possible.
Managed IT services offer fast and reliable support to all of your users to help them get back to work as soon as possible. Many MSPs proactively monitor your IT environment, getting to the root of network problems quickly and efficiently fixing them to reduce downtime.
They can also advise on improvements to your infrastructure to reduce future interruption, helping your business keep productivity as high as possible.
4) The subscription model simplifies budgeting
Compared to in-house IT support or break-fix service providers, the price per user model used by Managed IT services simplifies budget forecasting. MSPs avoid the high initial hiring and training costs of in-house support, plus the cost of setting up your IT infrastructure yourself, making them a more affordable option for smaller businesses with fewer resources.
The fixed monthly charge also circumvents volatility in your operating expenditure. Since there’s no way of telling how much support you’ll need from one month to the next, relying on a break-fix provider means you could end up being charged much higher amounts for large-scale issues.
The subscription model of managed IT avoids these unpredictable charges, making budgeting much more manageable.
5) Datacentre provision
Many MSPs also offer the use of a datacentre for your cloud applications and databases. Using an MSP’s datacentre instead of your own allows you to cut down on the operating costs of physical on-site infrastructure – particularly power consumption.
Check out our blog “Discover why Australian business owners are turning to cloud technology” to learn more about the benefits of a cloud-based solution.
6) Constant upgrades and future-proofing
Managed IT services can advise you on new infrastructure and software upgrades to help your business stay at the cutting edge.
What’s more, using an MSP means you don’t have to worry about keeping your own IT support up to date, as managed IT services tend to use the newest and most efficient technology, software and hardware possible to deliver their services. Using an MSP’s services future-proofs your business by ensuring it has access to the latest technology with no extra investment beyond your subscription fee.
Managed IT services offer a whole host of benefits to businesses of all sizes. They provide reliable, round-the-clock support in an affordable and easily budgeted subscription model and can help your business stay online to stay as productive as possible.