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What is “Managed IT Services” and How Does it Work?

by Elaine Evans, on Jul 30, 2019 5:05:41 PM

What is “Managed IT Services” and How Does it Work?

Managed IT Services is a term used to describe outsourcing all or a portion of your organization’s IT to a firm that specializes in IT services.

...but why is that service needed and how does it actually work? 

The Basic Philosophy

Managed Services is not just about troubleshooting or fixing an outage/issue with [critical business software, the network, a device, etc.], but it's also about preventing to these outages/issues in the first place. A competent Managed Service Provider is someone you hire to manage both the reactive and the proactive IT for your organization.

 


Managed Services is a form of Professional Services, but it’s just a little more specific (you know, like how a square is always a rectangle, but a rectangle isn’t always a square). In Managed Services the provider is usually responsible for ongoing management, updates, and break-fix in your environment. In this type of contract, there is a Service Level Agreement signed.

 

A Parallel Example

  A similar example of this is using a Financial Advisor to manage your financial portfolio. They are using their education and experience to invest and manage your money as well as make recommendations to you based on your financial goals. You sign an SLA that defines for which financials they are responsible. Anything that falls outside of that would be an additional service or handled by another party.

 

In IT, it is common for organizations to use a similar model as financial advisors do to bring in a firm that specializes in IT management. For small-medium businesses (SMBs), this model is particularly attractive.


The IT Obstacles For SMBs

Let’s imagine the scenario most SMB’s are in. As an SMB your IT needs and strategies are incredibly important to the productivity, growth, and security of your organization. However:

  • Managing, much less hiring for internal IT is usually out of your wheelhouse.
  • On top of that, you are getting one (or two) person(s) to handle a multitude of disciplines:
    • Networks/wireless
    • Device Management
    • Break-fix of hardware, software and SaaS (troubleshooting)
    • Servers
    • Cloud services like as AWS, Azure, Office 365 or G Suite
    • Backups and disaster recovery
    • Antivirus/endpoint protection
    • ...there’s more, but I think this list is long enough already
  • They are going to be so busy, keeping up with training and certifications is near impossible (although vital in the IT world) and is an additional cost.
  • Lastly, when they go on vacation or get sick, you are potentially left with no support or the need to bother them in their personal time.

This is exactly why Managed Services have become popular. You can put together a contract with a provider that either supplements your current IT (read: Co-Managed Services) or that is your IT (read: Managed Services). The provider has multiple staff members with a tested experience in a variety of disciplines. They are able to provide a larger Help Desk so your team has their issues addressed and resolved faster and will usually give you a fixed monthly expense for the services you need.

What types of things do Managed Service Providers actually do?

Although an overview is helpful, it's even more helpful to understand what actions a quality Managed Service Provider should do for your business.

A typical Managed IT Service Agreement will include:
  1. Access for your team to a Help Desk to call with questions/issues
  EX. A team member suddenly can’t connect to the network or a printer
  2. Monitoring/patching/remediation for alerts for your network, servers, and other services such as backups/endpoint protection
  EX. If your server hasn’t backed up in 24 hours, an alert will prompt the provider to troubleshoot until it's up and running
  3. Hardware/Software Break-Fix
  EX. Troubleshoot/fix when your Mac suddenly won’t power on
  4. Network Troubleshooting/Optimization
  EX. Fix or make recommendations when VOIP/video calls are jittery because of a slow or not optimized network
  5. SaaS Management/Troubleshooting
  EX. Troubleshoot Google Calendar when events are disappearing on someone’s calendar
  EX. Update Adobe licenses and Universal Type Server
  6. New user setups/off-boarding departing users (devices and applications)
  EX. Set up the new computer and ensure their user is set up in managed applications
  7. Remote management & provisioning of all devices to allow for security requirements, software updates, and standard configurations.
  EX. Adobe flash or Microsoft Office updates can be automated in the background so they are always up to date and don’t pester your team
  EX. Password policies can be enforced and remote lock/wipe can be done remotely in case of a lost/stolen device
  8. Regular Business Reviews/Strategic discussions with stakeholders about the IT

 

To review: Managed Services in IT is a service that provides you with ongoing IT strategy, proactive management, and break-fix. This is a great service for businesses that take their IT strategy seriously and are ready to explore how IT can aid in the growth of an organization.

Springboard IT offers Managed and Professional services for Apple-centric organizations. We have all the core IT training and practices of traditional MSPs with an unparalleled focus and expertise in Apple devices and the infrastructure they run on. Apple IT is our Speciality!

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Topics:Device ManagementManaged servicesapple help deskCo-Managed Services

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