Businesses are always on the hunt to increase their operational efficiency and cut their costs. That’s easy to do in some parts of the business – you can hire interns to cut on labour costs for menial tasks. You can find a cheaper coffee supplier for the break room
But some areas require a little more effort. We’re talking about the IT department here.
Internal IT departments often struggle with putting out proverbial fires and handling troublesome IT projects. However, you can always turn to professional managed IT services to take care of these things for you.
Companies of all sizes place a priority on operational efficiency, but not all businesses are equally equipped to maintain this efficiency. Small businesses may have limited IT resources, meaning they can quickly fall behind in updates and network management, placing the company’s system at risk of an outage or breach. For many, the solution is a managed IT service.
Managed services have been on the rise in the business world, with reportedly 64 per cent of organizations in 2016 using managed services of some type or another. The same report predicted a managed services market growth rate of 12.5 percent between 2017 and 2020, making this valuable asset all the more relevant across the board.
Unsure if managed support services are right for your business? Let’s take a look at the essence of managed IT services, how they differ from other solutions and what their overall benefits are. You may find yourself surprised by all these services can provide.
These days, it’s not only large companies that need technology to compete in their respective markets. Reliance on IT is growing, but are the efforts to increase IT support within small businesses moving at the same rate? To keep companies from being overwhelmed due to limits on IT resources, managed service providers, or MSPs, have entered to identify threats and fix potential problems as warning signs arise.
Essentially, managed IT services involve delegating IT tasks and operations to a third-party provider who is responsible for around-the-clock monitoring, management and repair. There is a good chance this approach to technical support differs greatly from what you’re used to if all you have ever considered in the past is a traditional break/fix solution. Here’s a closer look at those differences.
What Are the Different Types of IT Services Available?
Perhaps the most significant asset to any business is the assurance of cybersecurity. Don’t allow stolen data to result in a loss or damage your brand. Instead, you can receive the software and support you need to protect yourself against any potential threat. At Forum, we can offer a few additional benefits to keep your data secure:
Constant remote monitoring and generation of relevant reports to inform you on the state of your systems
A complete supply of compliance assistance, risk assessment and correlation analyses to keep a steady overview of network activity
Notifications of maintenance requirements and security alarms. Active prevention of unauthorized network access
Never underestimate the value of reliably managed network security. With our experience and dedication, you can trust your data is safe and the health of your system is consistent.
Backing up your data, coordinating devices and troubleshooting solutions can be a full-time endeavour. Since the setup and maintenance of your network can easily distract from other business responsibilities, you may find outsourcing to be beneficial. At Forum, we understand setting up systems and arranging connectivity shouldn’t be your primary job, so let us take the lead through our services like:
- Creating unified communications and connecting mobile devices
- Establishing network security and connectivity
- Offering our network operations centre for managing connection hurdles and diagnosing slowdown causes on a 24/7 basis
- Thanks to managed IT services, keeping your network running at all times has never been easier.
Reliable Response Services
When your team needs extra troubleshooting support, make the most of your time by taking advantage of certified technicians who can assist you in diagnosing and correcting any concerns.
Forum offers quick assistance thanks to:
- Our large team, familiar with issues big and small
- A commitment to exceeding expectations in every project we take on.
- Controlled communications and an emphasis on customer satisfaction
The best MSP will provide you with efficient response times and smart solutions to any software or hardware errors you may encounter. The Forum Help Desk staff seeks to do just that.
Cloud Computing and Data Backup
Until recently, the cloud was not nearly as relevant as it is today. However, companies are increasingly relying on web-based platforms to store and manage their data. Rather than having cloud infrastructure management demand too much of your IT team’s time, allow a reliable MSP to take over the job.
Doing so provides you with:
- Increased functionality and administration of your shareable content
- Backups of your information to prevent an accidental loss of data
- Maintaining safe operations to guarantee easy accessibility for your staff.
As you navigate cutting-edge cloud-based technologies, don’t let organization and updates bog you down.
Managed services are the way of the future because they allow companies to discover and address technical issues before they can take a negative toll on your business. Thanks to proactive service and regular maintenance, you can rest assured your computer network will run smoothly and efficiently.
Apart from preventing disasters before they can strike, there are a few other benefits to think about when deciding whether to take the next steps toward managed IT services.
Cost reduction for your IT needs
Manage your IT budget more efficiently by establishing a long-term partnership with a reliable MSP that will save you money over time. Typically, MSPs accomplish this by keeping systems updated, reducing hardware costs, maintaining high levels of security and providing expert knowledge all at a fixed monthly rate, meaning you can request as much service as you need without worrying about the bills piling up.
System centralization allows for constant visibility.
MSPs help centralize your network applications and servers into a single data centre. This centralization allows for faster speed and increased accessibility from all staff, regardless of their location. With a centralized system, access to your company data improves, allowing your employees and executives greater access. The system also facilitates secure mobile and web access points so your staff can continue to work on the go.
High-level support on up-to-date tech
One of the perks of constant monitoring and system management is that you can count on continually upgraded IT systems at no additional cost or financial risk. Your IT systems will be guaranteed to be as current as possible, and you have access to enterprise-level services at an affordable rate!
Minimized downtime and significant productivity increases
Because of advances in network security and the MSP proactive approach to addressing potential risks, you can almost guarantee you won’t have to deal with the system failures and shutdowns that can hinder company progress. When you minimize technology-related frustrations, your teams can focus on their work and achieve a higher level of productivity than ever before.
Peace of mind regarding efficiency and security
It’s a common misconception that outsourcing decreases your level of data security. Instead, you can rest easy knowing MSPs must follow stringent safety and data management regulations and are designed to provide robust backup and recovery systems, making them much more capable of protecting your data than even in-house IT teams. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about system failures leaving you in a time crunch on a significant project, thanks to monitoring systems that address concerns early on.
Extended relationship with an expert service provider
Since your MSP will become extensively familiar with your business and your system over time, you can count on excellent service that is ready to assist you at a moment’s notice. The specialists assigned to you have greater accountability to thoroughly help your business with any IT issues that may come up, allowing your in-house staff to focus on their daily tasks, rather than changing course to address a technology problem on their own or dealing with a break/fix technician.
To reap any of these benefits, however, you need to find a provider who will give you the attention you deserve and the reliable service that will help you accomplish your tasks unhindered. To do so, you need to know what to look for in an MSP partner you can trust.
What Are the Best Strategies for Choosing a Managed Service Provider?
Before committing an MSP, get to know the company to discover whether their values align with your organization’s priorities. Knowing whether an IT service provider is trustworthy and reliable may take a few conversations, but a few key attributes can help you determine if a particular company is a good fit. Consider the following tips to assist you in your search.
Look for evidence of experience in your field.
With different trends and customer bases, your industry will require a knowledge of specific requirements in your IT support. Technology isn’t the only thing that is changing rapidly, so make sure you find an MSP that understands your vision on top of keeping up with tech innovations.
Find a provider that takes on challenges with a positive attitude.
Even if an IT provider has a limited background in your industry, if they have a go-getter attitude, you may find their services are worth investing in. You may have some unique technology challenges for them to wrestle with, and if they appear willing, inquisitive and enthusiastic about learning new solutions, they may just be the right fit.
Expect available service that will go above and beyond.
A dependable partner will give 110 percent every single time. At Forum, for example, we always seek to exceed our clients’ expectations. Since there’s no way to predict when a tech emergency may strike, we also believe in around-the-clock, year-round service with buzzer-beating response times. Ask your prospective MSP about their remote monitoring and how often they will be available to assist you in times of need.
Search for a long-term commitment to growth and scalability
Don’t settle for a company that is stuck in the past or focused on increasingly obsolete technologies. Rather than only addressing former successes, your MSP should aim to discover new advances and prepare for future generations. That way, you can ensure out-of-date solutions won’t impede your future growth and success.
Pay attention to the company’s qualifications, service options and contract terms.
The ideal MSP for your needs will understand the software that is most widely acknowledged in your field, and they will have the right certifications to service these products. Additionally, their contract options, whether month-to-month or annual, will have your budget in mind to maximize your investment. Ask plenty of questions relating to their policies so you can make an informed decision.
How Much It Costs?
The most significant factors in determining their prices are the kind of services provided and the grade of involvement needed from your dedicated IT support team.
An externally-managed and fully-integrated IT support will cost more in flat-fees than just monitoring services, but you don’t need to worry about paying more in variable extra charges. And you’re also getting way more – you mostly get an entire IT department!
The complexity of your infrastructure is also a consideration for managed IT services pricing. The presence of technology devices and systems help managed services providers define how complex your business IT system is and price their services accordingly.
IT people command good salaries and having just a full-time IT manager can be a significant expense. There’s more to know than any one person can, so hiring just one person may not be enough. A large enterprise can afford a full-time staff, but it’s a burden for a business that doesn’t have many employees. Managed services let you share the cost with other customers while getting the expertise needed to keep your systems running.
With managed services, your costs are predictable. “Break-fix” service may seem cheaper, but recovering from a service disruption can be very expensive when it happens. You have to factor in not just the cost of correcting the problem but the time lost and the effect of downtime and stolen data on your business’s reputation.
One of the greatest incentives to partner with a managed service provider is its extreme cost-effectiveness. With managed services, organizations can:
- Reduce operational costs
- Conserve capital budget
- Lower IT operating expenses
The majority of MSPs operate on a subscription-based model where clients pay annual or monthly fees for services, allowing them to foresee if it is feasible to remain within their budget. Clients receive a service level agreement (SLA) that’s customized to their company’s precise needs, allowing them to efficiently manage hardware and software, increase productivity and reduce the total cost of application ownership. MSP clients typically pay for the services they require, rather than for expensive packages with extraneous services they don’t need.