Managed Services is a broad term that can refer to a wide range of services. In this guide, we’ll look at Managed Services in the context of IT. Managed Services in IT refer to a third-party IT provider or Managed Services Provider (MSP) who manages some or all of a company’s IT needs.
Managed Services, like most business solutions, does not have a “one size fits all” solution. A company can outsource to an MSP for a single IT needs, such as Security as a Service, or for all their IT needs, using Managed Packages that are designed to function as a full tech team.
The goal of this guide is to cover everything a consumer needs to know about Managed Services, from the various types of solutions to the pricing models used by providers. After reading the Complete Managed Services Guide, you will be able to make an informed decision about whether Managed Services are right for you.
Managed Service Types
Backup as a Service is concerned with backups and recovery. Managed backups duplicate and store all data stored on your infrastructure on a secure off-site server. The frequency of backups is determined by the recovery strategy.
A recovery plan, also known as a disaster recovery plan (DRP), specifies what will happen if your digital environment fails, and it establishes specific expectations for a Managed Services Provider. Recovery plans are based on the Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) you establish with the MSP. The RTO is a simple idea to grasp. It is simply how quickly you expect your systems to be restored.
The RPO is a little more difficult. The age of the files you expect to be restored is specified as the Recovery Point Objective. The frequency with which a provider runs backups will be determined by the RPO you specify. For example, if you expect files restored from a backup to be no more than an hour old, an MSP should run backups at least every hour. By backing up more frequently, you ensure that your most recent work is saved in the event of a disaster.
Desktop as a Service
A third party hosts the back end of a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) with Desktops as a Service (DaaS) (VDI). As a result, when you log in to your DaaS, the entire operating system is running on the MSP’s virtual cloud infrastructure. DaaS can be accessed via software on a computer or via the internet. Not only is DaaS simple to use, but VDI adds an extra layer of security. It is an excellent solution for businesses that handle highly sensitive data, have to Bring Your Device policies, and/or have a large number of telecommuters.
Analytics of Data
A provider will monitor, capture, and analyze network data to assist clients in implementing more effective business solutions with Data Analysis as a Service. Proposed solutions can result in anything from a procedure change to an increase in revenue.
Managed Communications, also known as unified communications, is a service that combines voice, video, chat, and email into a single service. This way, instead of logging into a slew of different applications, all of your employees can connect on a single platform. Packages for Managed Communication include features such as:
- Instant Messaging
- Hosted Phones
- Video Conferencing
- File Sharing
- Virtual Rooms or Spaces
- Calendar Sharing
- Administrative Portals
Managed Communications can help to improve employee engagement and make communication easier.
Infrastructure and Networking
Networking and infrastructure can refer to a variety of things. Some Managed Services Providers will virtualize servers, performing maintenance and backups off-site. Others will host and maintain servers in their own data centers or rent server space. Which option is best for you depends on the size of your company and/or the amount of data you want to store. Purchasing and hosting your own server is unquestionably the most expensive option, given that the hardware must be replaced every 5 years.
Security as a Service is a model for outsourcing cyber-security. The majority of SaaS solutions are delivered through the cloud, but some providers will also install a physical component in a company’s environment. A Security as a Service package should at the very least include:
- Malware protection (protects from viruses, malware, and other cyber-attacks)
- Verification of Patch Installation
- Reporting on Security
- Management and Analysis of Logs
- Monitoring, testing, and remediation of the system
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Managed Services Providers distribute applications via the cloud and then act as a go-between for your company and the software developer with Software as a Service. You can sometimes go directly to the software developer, but by going through the MSP, you are guaranteed to always have the most recent updates at no additional cost, as well as a more personalized customer service experience. It is the distinction between purchasing groceries at a supermarket and ordering them directly from a wholesaler.
Services of Assistance
Helpdesk and troubleshooting are covered by Support Services. They are one of the market’s most popular Managed Services. The MSP handles day-to-day issues such as password resets and software updates through Support Services. The majority of Support Services will include mobile devices, tablets, and printers. When necessary, some will even provide on-site solutions.
Packages that are Managed
Managed Packages are full-service managed solutions that serve as an in-house IT team. These bundles combine several Managed Services solutions. They should, at the very least, include security, backup, monitoring, and full Support Services.
Alternatives to Managed Services
Choosing how to best handle your company’s IT needs is a big decision that can either help or hurt you professionally. Before learning more about Managed Services, you should know how it compares to the competition.
Managed Services has two alternatives:
The Break-Fix Model: The practice of bringing in IT professionals only when there is a problem or an upgrade is required.
In-house IT: Hiring a dedicated IT staff or individual within your company to handle all of your technology needs.
What they have to offer and how they compare to Managed Services are as diametrically opposed as night and day. Break-Fix is a widely derided model that can be completely replaced by Managed Services, whereas In-House IT and Managed Services complement each other very well. In the long run, digging a little deeper into each will help you make a more informed IT decision.
When a piece of technology “breaks,” you call someone to “fix” it, according to the Break-Fix model. The rest of the time, you cross your fingers and hope for the best. However, hoping is not a good business model, which is why 60% of IT providers have switched from a Break-Fix model to Managed Services.
Users are charged for consultation, repairs, and hourly labor under the Break-fix model. Budgeting for unforeseen issues is impossible, and there is no real way to know if you are paying a fair price. There are also no preventative measures in place to avoid future problems, so using Break-Fix exposes you to unexpected costs.
Managed Services have a fixed monthly price, so you can easily budget for your IT needs instead of worrying about unexpected costs every month. Some customers may be put off by the fact that most MSPs require a contract. It is critical to remember that a contract benefits both the customer and the provider. An MSP contract ensures that you are not only covered in the event of an emergency, but that your provider will work to prevent one from occurring in the first place.
Control and trust
It is true that when it comes to Managed Services, you must have faith in your provider. They will have full access to your system and will be responsible for its upkeep.
Break-Fix, on the other hand, necessitates just as much trust as Managed Services while providing far less control. You must still entrust someone with your data and systems, but you have little to no control over what they do. Typically, an engineer will come in, fix whatever is broken, and then bill you.
Collaboration is encouraged by Managed Services Providers. They want to collaborate with you to develop a strategy that meets the specific needs of your company. You and your MSP collaborate to create a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that details everything you can expect from your MSP, including strategic reports, recommendations, and action plans, so you always know what is going on with your systems.
Sited in a Hurry
In IT, the golden rule is that anything that can go wrong will. There are no preventive measures included in the Break-Fix model. No one is present to detect issues that begin small but grow to cause significant damage. Experts in Managed Services are constantly monitoring your systems for threats and/or irregularities. Furthermore, they frequently provide 24/7 helpdesk support, so if you ever have any questions about an IT issue, you can call, IM, or email them.
In-House IT, as opposed to Break-Fix, is widely regarded as a superior option in the IT world. There is something comforting about having someone on-site, and anyone who has ever called a product support line will tell you that face-to-face interaction is sometimes preferable.
Many businesses have an IT department or even just one IT person. In many cases, in-house IT and managed services complement each other perfectly. In fact, according to a CompTIA survey, only 6% of companies that implemented Managed Services laid off any IT staff. A collaboration with a Managed Services Provider has a number of advantages.
But do you really need it?
Even though in-house IT is convenient, it is not necessary for all businesses. A company can be run for $40,000-$60,000 with just one full-time IT employee. If you are a small or medium-sized company that does not rely heavily on technology, that price may be unjustifiable.
Managed Services can provide you with all of the support that in-house IT provides, but at a fraction of the cost. As your business expands and you need to hire a full-time employee, you can simply scale back your managed solutions to find that sweet spot of support.
Is Managed Services Right for You?
With so many versatile options and the business world’s ever-increasing reliance on technology, it’s no surprise that the Managed Services market is expanding so quickly. According to a recent Markets to Markets report, the Managed Services Industry is expected to grow by more than $100 billion dollars over the next five years, and a similar study by CompTIA discovered that nearly two-thirds of organizations use Managed Services for at least one IT function.
Managed Services are clearly making a big splash in the IT world, and for good reason. MSPs not only offer a wide range of features, but they also outperform traditional IT outsourcing models and perfectly complement in-house IT staff. But does that mean they’re a good fit for your company?
While only you can answer that question, we have provided a list of ten useful considerations to keep in mind as you weigh your Managed Services options.
- Do you see your IT needs outgrowing your current IT solution as your company grows?
- Are you considering moving your data to the cloud or switching to cloud-based software?
- Is your company large enough to justify a full-fledged in-house IT team (troubleshooting, security, software development, etc.)?
- Do you believe your in-house IT team could benefit from more time to focus on big-picture projects such as business development, strategic initiatives, or employee productivity?
- Do you currently lack a disaster recovery plan for your data?
- Do you like the idea of paying a set monthly fee for all of your IT requirements?
- Could a more collaborative and adaptable communication system benefit your employees?
- Do you have any teleworkers? Do you intend to do so in the future?
- Do you work with sensitive data at your company?
- Do you want to make it easier to meet industry standards and provide compliance reports?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may want to learn more about Managed Services.