Managed Service Provider: The Gold Standard Of IT
It’s time to build a better IT infrastructure
As the march toward more advanced technology continues into the future, businesses must rely increasingly on computer network infrastructure. Businesses looking for stable and reliable IT solutions should closely examine the benefits of contracting with a Managed Services Provider. Hiring a Managed Service Provider essentially allows a business to outsource its IT operations to an independent contractor. A Managed Service Provider monitors the business’s computer network 24-hours per day resolves any IT problems that arise, and deliver services such as backup, security, and infrastructure management. Managed Services Providers conduct IT management continuously, which distinguishes them from providers of one-time flat-rate services.
Many large businesses hire 24/7 IT staff that can respond at any time to computer emergencies. These internal IT technicians work exclusively to ensure that business runs smoothly and computers will not fail. Unfortunately for many small businesses, however, the luxury of maintaining an in-house IT guy can become prohibitively expensive. As a result, many small businesses work with IT firms on a need-by-need basis.
The IT Guy as Plumber Approach – the Historical Break-Fix Solution to Small Business IT Needs
In the traditional IT services model, businesses large and small used to hire out for their IT needs. This model in essence resembles many other need-by-need based services such as handymen, electricians, and plumbers. In other words, when the computer breaks, the business manager calls a computer technician to come and fix the problem, just as the business manager would call a plumber if the bathroom pipes had burst. During the service call, the IT professional would hopefully resolve the problem, and then the technician would leave.
This approach, however, embodies an emergency room approach to IT that really does not suit business needs effectively. While pipes may burst every so often, computers need more regular maintenance and monitoring. Instead of calling a computer surgeon when a computer problem occurs, businesses should focus on more preventative remedies.
An IT professional can detect most common computer problems before they occur. If a business only calls a technician when something breaks, however, the technician does not see the day-to-day condition of the network. If something happens later, the technician would not know about it unless the customer called back. Many flat-rate service providers do arrange periodic visits to review system logs and search for issues on the horizon. These services offered by traditional IT service providers, however, fall into the same trap outlined above. If the technician does not discover anything wrong on the day of the site visit, future problems will go unresolved.
The need to deal with a variety of different IT and technology companies also brings with it many headaches. When you can’t access your email, do you call the IT company who takes care of your computer when it breaks, the vendor who makes your email client such as Outlook, or the company who provides your email service? Do you even know? How much money do you waste setting up an on-site service call with a minimum rate only to find out when they arrive that what you called about isn’t something that company can or does take care of? Managed Services Providers can act as your single source for all of your IT needs. It doesn’t matter why your email went down, since they provide the complete solution, they can support the entire system. And you don’t have to waste time and effort in the first place trying to create your own approach built from mismatched and often incompatible components.
The Managed Service Provider Approach
The Managed Service Provider approach grew out of the large network infrastructure needs of major Fortune 500 companies. Those large firms needed effective tools to continuously monitor their network infrastructure and to deploy IT services to different departments within the company to support different needs. Unfortunately, the monitoring mechanisms developed for large server networks were incredibly complex and were not cost-effective to implement on a smaller scale until the past decade. Once smaller scale computer networks could utilize those tools, manages service providers began offering their services to small and medium-sized businesses.
Modern managed services software achieves two key IT management goals. First, managed services should detect anything and everything on a computer network that could indicate an error. If a symptom of a larger problem exists, the Managed Services Provider will be alerted to the issue automatically. Second, automatic alerts to IT professionals remove the need for businesses to contact a technician when a problem arises. By the time the network’s users realize that a problem has occurred, the technician will have resolved the issue.
Without a Managed Service Provider, each computer issue could potentially cripple productivity at the business until a technician arrives to deal with the problem. With a Managed Service Provider, however, the solution may have arrived before the business ever realized a problem existed.
Why Hire a Managed Service Provider?
In today’s increasingly technology-dependent economy, small businesses need effective IT services to operate efficiently and compete in the marketplace. Unfortunately, handling IT issues internally or externally on a flat-rate basis can become prohibitively expensive, to say nothing of the headaches and costs that come from sourcing dozens of different IT services from multiple vendors. Additionally, those other IT service approaches are inefficient and often fail to meet the needs of all but the largest enterprises.
The resources that a small business can spend on IT may not grow proportionally to the businesses IT requirements. Many businesses without Managed Services Providers fail to regularly back up files, install security updates, and patch errors. As a result, the chances of an IT error wreaking havoc on those business increases dramatically. And when those people in your organization who are computer savvy are splitting their time between maintaining and operating a professional website, engaging on social media, and monitoring their online reputation, a small business may not have the time to perform basic computer maintenance.
Similarly, a business often cannot wait for even a few hours, let alone the more common few days, while an outside IT technician comes onto the scene to resolves some emergency issue. A Managed Services Provider continuously monitoring of your systems will allow problems to get fixed faster. And hiring a one-stop-shop Managed Service Provider will relieve businesses of the problem of having to determine the right type of technician to handle with the skill set to do what you need.
Managed Services Actually Reduce IT Maintenance Costs
While one might expect having an outside IT company provide remote support, continuously monitoring your computer networks, and to cost an arm and a leg, it actually should reduce the cost of IT for a business. Consider again the idea of going to an emergency room versus providing preventative care. If a computer network suffers a catastrophic failure, recovery in that instance can become incredibly expensive, but if a Managed Services Provider performs maintenance when needed and checks for problems continuously, that type of expensive loss becomes far less likely to occur. Additionally, remote monitoring and maintenance cut out inefficiencies in the repair process. As a result, a managed services company offers superior services without charging more.
Managed Services Providers also usually price their services per-month, rather than per-job. Depending on the services included in the program, pricing will be based on the size of the business’s computer needs and will not vary over time. This model also provides small businesses with greater predictability in budgeting their IT needs.
The Benefits of Managed Services
24-Hour Monitoring: The Managed Services Provider will track issues in real-time as they develop, which results in a more efficient and secure network infrastructure overall. A well-maintained, proactively serviced computer network will always run more smoothly. Business owners can have peace of mind knowing that their network will be taken care of.
System Optimization: A Managed Services Provider will stay on top of required software updates and patches, ensuring that business computers run faster with fewer errors.
Minimizes Downtime: When the Managed Services Provider discovers the issue before the business’s employees do, a solution will be well underway by the time the issue creates a problem for the business.
Reduced Costs: Preventing issues before they arise saves money in the long-term. Bundling services such as security, monitoring, and support together reduces overhead costs. And, when a business knows exactly what its monthly IT services will cost, it can plan for the expense.
Improved Security: A Managed Services Provider will know all of the current security problems businesses encounter, has all the proper tools, and can provide advice on securing network infrastructure where needed.
Know Your Technician: If a small business hires out its IT services on a need-by-need basis, it probably uses a number of different companies based on which IT firms remain operational at the time. With a Managed Services Provider, the business knows exactly who to call without having to search through IT company listings and your technician becomes your trusted adviser.
Focus on the Business, Not the Technology: With a Managed Service Provider handling all of a business’s technology needs, the business can focus on its products and its customers without the need to call out to troubleshoot computer issues.
HumanIT Can Help
Would you like to know if your business could benefit from hiring a Managed Services Provider? HumanIT can evaluate your network today and determine what IT package would be right for you. Our expert technicians can review the options available to you and determine whether our services will support your company. Along the way, they will also discover how to improve the efficiency of your network to ensure that your computers are always running smoothly at the apex of their capabilities.