Many people feel they have an understanding of “managed services,” but find they struggle when asked to define it. What, exactly, are “managed services” anyway? What does it mean to receive managed services, and what does a managed services provider (MSP) do for you?
What are Managed Services?
“Managed services” most commonly refer to an outsourced IT service provider overseeing and managing your IT solutions. IT solutions overseen and managed by a managed services provider (MSP) typically include networks and servers, software and technology infrastructures, data backup systems, and overall network security and risk management.
Outsourcing management of these systems through “managed services,” otherwise known as managed IT services, means you receive more extensive round-the-clock monitoring and support without the cost of a comparably-devoted internal hire.
What is Included in Managed Services?
Each managed services provider offers a different range of services, so it’s important to look over your agreement carefully to make sure you have an agreed-upon understanding of what is expected of your managed services expert. These services may include:
- Network testing and monitoring
- Overseeing network security & risk mitigation
- Connectivity and bandwidth
- Providing data storage
- Managing installations and upgrades
- Suggesting and implementing software patches
- Providing web hosting
- Network provisioning or virtualization
- Performance monitoring and reporting
- Providing help desk technical support
Why use Managed Services?
Managed services help to improve operations and cut expenses by offloading general management and monitoring duties from an in-house team to a better equipped external team.
Since it would be costly to hire an in-house individual for round-the-clock monitoring and systems supervision, managed services provide 24/7 IT system monitoring without the cost of a comparably-vigilant in-house hire.
It also improves security by taking the overall security of your network and data from the hands of a single person and putting it into the hands of an entire team with strict systems and protocols. While it’s easy for a single individual to let certain aspects of your IT security and monitoring fall through the cracks, a managed services company is specifically structured to oversee all aspects of your robust systems, monitor for potential or impending threats or malfunctions, and mitigating potential risks as quickly as possible—often before the risk becomes an actual problem.
It also frees up the time of your internal IT team. Monitoring and managing information technologies is time-consuming. Passing this portion of IT management on to an external team means your internal IT team can be more focused on day-to-day challenges and more strategic big picture thinking.
The Benefits of a Managed Service Provider (MSP)
The benefits of hiring a managed services provider range based on the actual professional you hire, but often include:
- Better cost efficiency. Receive round-the-clock monitoring without the cost of a 24/7 in-house team.
- Greater expertise. Instead of relying on the knowledge of a handful of in-house individuals, you’re benefiting from the expertise of a robust outsourced managed services team.
- Increased security. Using an outsourced managed services provider typically means a higher degree of security due to round-the-clock monitoring and preventing “putting all your eggs in one basket” with a single internal hire.
- Predictable pricing. Emergency response purchases, such as those typically experienced by an in-house IT team undergoing unplanned or urgent IT repairs, almost always cost more than preparation and planned management by a managed services provider.
- Reduced risk. With an external managed services team, you typically have a more well-versed team, better checks and balances, and more streamlined processes than you can see in an in-house team.
- Detailed service agreements. Instead of a salaried in-house employee who is at the mercy of whatever emergency is loudest and most urgent, managed service providers have a detailed list of deliverables that are rarely—if ever—matched by a full-time employee.
- After hours and holiday support. Just because your employees are gone for a weekend or holiday doesn’t mean your technology and servers are put on hold as well. A managed services provider provides 24/7 monitoring and support—even on weekends and holidays.
- Higher standards of certification. Since managed services represent a host of technology vendors, they typically have to hold more up-to-date certifications in the constantly-evolving IT products and services than an in-house IT expert would require. This means more informed decisions and expertise.
Do Managed Services Include Design & Implementation of IT Services?
Some people wonder if managed services also means the design and implementation of IT services. While traditionally “managed services” has meant the management of already-implemented IT systems, some managed systems providers (MSPs) offer design and implementation services as well, serving as more of a one-stop-shop for IT service needs.
How can we Help?
Are you interested in learning more about managed services or would you like to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation? Let us know!