Managed IT Services 101: What’s The Point?

If you’ve been in the market for IT support, you’ve probably heard more than enough marketing fluff about managed services — want to know why they’re valuable, and what they have to offer you?

You’ve probably been told about a number of very general benefits that managed IT services offer…

You’ll be more productive!

You’ll be more efficient!

You’ll gain strategic advantages!

…what does any of that even mean?

These really amount to little more than buzz words. They mean almost nothing in reality — they’re just easy to promise, precisely because they’re not specific.

What’s the reality of managed services? What should you actually expect to happen when they’re being delivered effectively? And, to start, what are they?

Over the course of this Buyer’s Guide, we’ll explore the nature of managed IT services, why businesses choose to invest in them, how they work, and what you should expect as a client.

Let’s start with the basics…

What Are Managed IT Services?

It’s a good question. It’s a common term that’s used a lot but isn’t strictly intuitive to those outside the IT industry.

Let’s make it simple: Managed IT Services are a set of best practices, processes, and tools that, when combined with technical knowledge and proper facilitation, delivers an ideal IT-based result for businesses.

Managed IT Services take care of everything IT-related for your organization, proactively preventing problems instead of fixing them after the fact.

If you want to understand Managed IT Services and what makes them worthwhile, you just have to understand how they’re different when compared to the way IT support used to work…

A Brief History Of IT Support

Not too long ago, all IT support was essentially reactive. These services were either called “hourly” support, or maybe “break/fix”, but that’s a bit of an industry term.

In either case, the way these services worked was that you brought in your hardware, or called a technician to visit you on site after something went wrong. The big issue with this approach was that, even in the best of cases, you still had to deal with the downtime that occurred while you waited for your broken IT to get fixed.

Managed IT Services address this problem head-on — instead of waiting for something to go wrong and then stepping in to correct it, an IT company that provides managed IT services takes on all the responsibilities of a traditional in-house IT department and provides support proactively.

This means working to prevent issues from happening in the first place — it’s a much more effective approach.

This is why managed IT services are more popular than ever.

Are Managed IT Services Actually Popular?

Even with all that money being spent on managed IT services, they still tend to be more cost-effective than the alternative.

For many businesses, the cost of hiring even a single internal IT person is too expensive. An in-house network administrator can cost a lot to have on staff — on average, $58,000 every year. That’s not to mention training, benefits, and vacation — it’s a lot to budget for.

That’s not to mention that, while your IT manager is on vacation, someone has to cover for them, which means either paying for expertise again, or having someone unqualified fill in on a temporary basis, putting your systems at risk.

From the efficiency of proactive support to the potential savings resulting from outsourcing, managed IT services have quickly become the premier model of IT support.

What Do Managed Services Do?

The typical MSP provides a range of services – all for one flat-rate monthly fee. This may include:

  • Network design and configuration
  • IT Security
  • Asset management
  • vCIO (virtual CIO)
  • Hardware maintenance
  • Network monitoring and reporting
  • End-user support (onsite and remote)
  • Mobile device management
  • Backup and disaster recovery
  • Application management

Does My Business Need Managed IT Services?

Regardless of the type of business you’re running, managed IT services will likely be helpful if you’re overwhelmed with time-consuming tasks, such as:

  • Monitoring your technological infrastructure for issues and/or concerns
  • Applying security patches and/or updates as soon as they’re available
  • Troubleshooting end-user issues that arise during or after business hours
  • Setting up the proper security solutions to prevent data theft and/or loss
  • Configuring the network to work properly on all end-user devices

Above all, you might need managed IT services if you’re struggling with higher-level problems within your business, such as:

  • Slow or unresponsive communication with customers, from responding to requests to sending out documents and everything in between.
  • Inefficient day-to-day operations, from a lack of proper inventory management to a lack of insight into cash flow needs.
  • Vulnerability to security threats, from the way you send financial information to the way your employees browse the web.

The bottom line is that managed IT services can be surprisingly helpful in resolving not only technology issues, but business issues that arise due to rapid growth, expansion, and various other factors. After all, technology is the backbone of your operations.

Finding The Right MSP For You

Now that you understand the nature and value of managed IT services, you might be thinking, “Great! Where do I begin?”

We developed it as a resource to help you navigate the search for the right managed IT services provider. As you continue to read through this buyer’s guide, you’ll find answers to many of the questions you likely have in your head right now, including:

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