What is Managed IT Services?
At its simplest, “managed IT services” is when a business uses a third party to carry out some of its computing and technology tasks. The term usually means the third party exercises some judgment and expertise rather than simply following precise instructions. The scope of the services and the decision-making can vary significantly, so it’s important to know what you want from managed IT services.
What Managed IT Covers
Managed IT services can cover virtually anything you can do involving IT. Examples include helping staff with technical enquiries, keeping your data backed up, maintaining your network, overseeing security, running databases, analyzing data and sourcing hardware when it needs replacing.
Common Financial Model
One key is that managed IT services most commonly work on a subscription model where you choose the services you need and then pay a monthly or annual fee. That’s in contrast to set-ups where you either keep IT staff on payroll or pay a one-off fee to a third party each time you need something done.
Another key is that managed IT services take advantage of the provider’s expertise. You don’t have to say exactly how to do something. Instead, you can figure out your goal (such as “make sure all files can be restored to the end of the previous working day within 60 minutes”) and the managed services provider can figure out the most effective way to do it.
Don’t confuse managed services with “outsourcing.” With IT, outsourcing tends to involve paying a third party to carry out basic tasks following specific instructions, often with repetitive work. The driving force is usually purely financial with no benefit of expertise: normally the only reason to use outsourcing rather than your own staff is because it’s cheaper.
The simplest way to think of it is that a good outsourcing company reliably performs tasks. A good managed service provider can perform tasks but can also achieve goals and solve problems. The best MSPs have the experience and knowledge to find most effective ways to do things and can even spot ways in which the various pieces of your overall IT set-up can better work together.
Focus on the Business
Most types of business can benefit from managed IT services. Small businesses can take advantage by accessing professional expertise and capability when they couldn’t afford to hire a full-time IT manager. Medium businesses can access a wide range of services and knowledge rather than having to rely on a small in-house team that don’t have specialist skills.
A growing business can use managed IT services to make it economically viable to cope with expanding demand without having to pay for staff and systems that won’t be used to capacity. And even a large business can use managed IT services to cope and adjust to a set-up that covers multiple locations and facilities.
If you’d like to learn more about how managed IT services could make your business more productive, call us today.