A Managed IT Service Provider can offer tremendous value and cost savings to your business when compared to traditional "break fix" or rudimentary block hours infrastructure IT support plans.
Managed Service Providers (MSP's) can simplify and streamline your Information Technology (IT) operations as well as reduce your IT expenditures by providing systems, solutions and software applications as a completely externally administered and service.
A standard network support services
offering should provide your company with predictable monthly costs, access to best-of-breed technology and the latest applications available in the marketplace - all without the often costly and frustrating process of overhauling your technical infrastructure on a regularly scheduled basis.
In addition, most Managed IT Service providers offer 24x7 administration services, allowing your employees to focus on the more strategic aspects affecting your business.
In order to deliver and maintain effective and optimized networks, specialized skills and resources are frequently required. However, the costs associated with this level and type of expertise are usually too cost prohibitive and time consuming for most organizations to endure.
As your company and employees become even more dependent on technology to achieve your business goals and objectives, the costs to properly maintain your technical infrastructure quickly becomes no longer tolerable.
Furthermore, this does not even take into account the unpredictable performance and reliability issues that usually results from this approach.
As such, you have probably begun to explore and partially implement solutions to better leverage and utilize your often substantial investments in technology.
Furthermore, as technology becomes increasingly more important in the daily operation within your company, your technical environment has become even more complex, difficult and costly to manage, maintain and effectively support.
However, your company must optimize the availability and performance of your technology if you want to realize the greatest return from these investments. Also, you must minimize the potential risk of any downtime, system crashes, or other technical glitches that could severely disrupt your business operations or result in employee frustration and inefficiency with the very tools that are support to help them with their jobs.
As a small or mid-size business, the industry understands that the management of your Information Technology can be an especially daunting challenge. Even large or enterprise organizations are facing challenges as they compete in today’s global marketplace. As a way to enhance their competitiveness and focus on their core business offerings, many have now decided to outsource their entire IT operations to a Managed Services Provider.
The Constant Challenges of Managing your Information Technology
Organizations of all sizes are increasingly relying and looking at ways to more effectively leverage technology to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their business operations.
For all areas and departments within your business, technology has probably become a critical corporate asset required to support a number of critical business processes.
As a result of the rapid evolution and adoption of technology, it is now even more possible to deliver cost-effective goods and services to your customers and business partners, as well as more effectively communicate with your geographically disperse workforce of mobile or remote workers. While these capabilities can dramatically expand the reach and presence of your company, less than 20% of a company’s technology budget is allocated to business innovation.
The failure of your technical systems, IT support company
or a lack of optimization within your infrastructure can also have a detrimental or negative effect or impact on your company’s operations and reputation within your marketplace. Given the highly competitive nature and the lack of traditional customer loyalty within of our current economy, no company can tolerate ongoing and reoccurring problems with their investments in technology. However, even as the scope and number of potential problems facing your company continues to grow, 80% or more of your entire IT budget is probably spent on nothing more than basic maintenance tasks.
Unfortunately, your company most likely lacks the proper resources and skills to keep your systems optimized and consistently operational. Furthermore, as the number of mobile and/or remote workers increases, your company also faces the increasing more frequently occurring problems associated with lost or stolen laptops that contain sensitive customer records or other confidential information.
In addition, your business must contend with a wide variety of software operating systems, multiple networking protocols, as well as escalating and constant security threats and challenges. As a direct result, complete system failures are now occurring with a greater frequency. These system failures may be caused by computer viruses, spyware, malware and as a result of a wide variety of security attacks. However, system failures may also be caused by issues resulting from incompatible software, the inappropriate configuration of hardware, or the failure to properly apply patches or properly manage memory load imbalances.
It has been our experience that most internal IT staff members are still fairly reactive in their response and management of potential IT issues. The primary reason is due to their lack of IT management systems. In some instances, a purely reactive approach to supporting your environment and staff may simply be due to a lack of skill sets and knowledge of the latest approaches and industry standard best practices.
Since your company is probably not regularly installing and testing patches or monitoring utilization levels, you may fail to properly protect or unintentionally overload your systems, thereby causing crashes that will disrupt your businesses, place your valuable data at risk, as well as create frustration and anxiety for your employees, clients and partners.
Despite the reality that your company may need to serve and support clients around the world, you are probably unable to monitor and measure the performance of your systems around the clock. This is because you lack all of the needed and required IT management software or you may even lack specific technical skill sets.
As a result, you are missing key performance indicators that would enable you to more proactively manage your systems and prevent problems and costly network downtime. Even if your IT systems and business applications are optimized and constantly available, your company is probably uncertain if you are truly getting the best return on your investments.
In order to resolve these issues, you will need to make additional investments in IT management systems, software and staff. Ironically, IT management software and systems can be as complicated and costly to implement and maintain as the IT systems and software they are intended to manage.
Because your IT staff is frequently responding to system and end-user support issues, they most likely have little if any time to perform strategic work or offer support in any innovative projects. A lack of system documentation and staff turnover can even further compound these issues. This lack of continuity within your company can make company even more vulnerable to system failures or security threats.
However, simply adding individual IT contractors to augment your internal resources isn’t cost-effective and will never completely address your IT requirements. A” traditional” IT support service company is also inadequate because they typically only support the specific products or applications they sell and are unable to proactively manage your entire IT environment.
A more attractive option should be exploring the services of a Managed Services Provider
(MSP). An MSP assumes responsibility for the ongoing, automated and management of all of your computing resources and business applications to ensure their continuous availability, optimal performance and maximum security. The goal of an MSP’s offering is for you to realize the greatest business benefits and return on your IT investments.
A Managed Services Provider will offer considerably more value than a traditional “maintenance agreement” or block hour support plan. These service options are often product-specific and most certainly only reactive in nature. An MSP’s value is a result of their ability to assume the responsibility for proactively managing all of your hardware systems, software applications and network infrastructure to prevent downtime and increase overall IT performance.
A Managed Service Provider utilizes centralized management systems and MSP staff skills to meet and exceed your evolving and ever changing IT management requirements so that you can focus on your core businesses and strategic and tactical goals.
A Managed Services Provider differs from traditional outsourcing arrangements as they focus on more specific elements of your IT infrastructure. Some examples include your desktops, mobile devices (PDA’s), storage and back-up systems, messaging and your security needs.
A traditional outsourcing services agreements typically encompass an entire IT operation, extends over five years and often includes restrictive contract terms and conditions.
However, a Managed IT Service agreements tend to be shorter and more flexible allowing the MSP to better respond to your changing support needs.
In summary, Managed IT Services are a selective outsourcing or out-tasking solution that allows your company to incrementally adopt the MSP’s offering in a manner that augments your internal capabilities as well as one that can be adjusted to meet your unique business requirements.
While many regard managed IT services as an ideal solution for SMBs, there is a great deal of industry data that indicates that an even greater proportion of large-scale enterprises (55%) are currently under contact for managed IT services.
In one recent industry survey, the most frequently Managed IT Service utilized among the respondents were; managed email/messaging, help desk, data backup and recovery/business continuity, security, desktop and local area network (LAN) services.
Summary and Conclusions
Because of the current marketplace, many organizations have become increasingly dependent on information technology to increase their competitive marketplace. However, most are unable to ensure the reliability, performance, stability and security of their IT infrastructure.
Instead, they discover that they frequently expend more time, money and energy than they would like attempting to stabilize and fully leverage their Information Technology assets.
In an increasingly competitive environment in which organizations must focus on their core businesses and correctly manage their operating budgets, they cannot tolerate IT downtime or the added expense of keeping their IT systems up and running in an optimal state.
They increasingly are also no longer satisfied with IT support vendors that simply react to problems. Instead, they demand that their IT partner adds value by actually reducing the risk of system failures while simultaneously optimize the value and financial return of their IT investments.
Benefits of Managed IT Services:
Network Operations Center
Built around a suite of industry leading Service Management tools, "Best of Breed" Remote Monitoring and Management tools and a "Best Practice" methodology for delivering managed IT services, a Network Operations Center (NOC)is designed specifically for the maintenance, support and the management of your network and complete IT infrastructure.
Often based entirely in the United States, a MSP can leverage highly skilled technicians to perform actual troubleshooting and remote remediation to your technical support issues.
A standard service offering provides a flexible solution that incorporates monitoring and reporting, documentation and IT process alignment, management of alerts to resolution and a comprehensive selection of preventive IT support tasks—all provided in a complete package that assure maximum infrastructure performance and optimization.
Access to skilled and certified technicians and engineers that do not hire “script readers”
- US Based Network Operations Center (NOC)
- Integrated with an Infrastructure Support Framework to create a complete and comprehensive solution for your company
- Industry standard best practices, methodologies and tool sets
- Leverages Best in Class remote monitoring and management tools
Help Desk Solutions
- A true value-added extension to your support team
Almost every large corporation realizes the benefits of a Help Desk
to solve their employee’s computer issues, why shouldn’t your company? Just because you aren’t a “mega” corporation, that doesn’t mean you have to waste your time and remain frustrated with nagging and reoccurring computer problems.
An industry leading Help Desk solution is designed to be comprehensive yet extremely flexible and easy-to-use. An initial tech assessment can determine your applications and systems and help your selected vendor develop an escalation plan and service level agreement that is tailored to your unique business requirements and objectives.
Creating, designing, and implementing a help desk from scratch can be a very costly and time consuming undertaking. Vendors have already made this investment of money and resources and can deploy this solution to your staff very easily and quickly. Help Desk solutions have been in operation for many years and supports the needs of a wide variety of clients. With experienced, friendly and skilled personnel, your vendor is an expert in help desk services for the small and mid-tier business marketplace.
With a solid Help Desk solution, you can focus on the more pertinent aspects of your business, while no longer having to worry about your technology affecting your efficiency and effectiveness. If desired, help desk engineers and support staff can work with you and your associates as if they were an integral part of your team. You can get direct access to IT experts that will work directly on the day-to-day tasks to effectively support your business.
Some of the features of a leading Help Desk offering include:
- Industry standard Methodologies and Tool Sets
- On Demand and Ad-Hoc Reporting
- Leading customer satisfaction ratings and client retention rates
- Certified Engineers ensure that your support issues are resolved by courteous, friendly and knowledgeable experts
- Proven call-taking, problem-solving and escalation methodologies adapted to your unique needs
Data Back Up and Recovery Solutions
- Access to state-of-the-art technology
Like most companies, your business needs to maximize staff productivity, lower expenditures and decrease risks on a daily basis. This means you will need your servers, desktops and applications up and running around the clock.
Every business should be prepared to handle a number and wide variety of potential issues that will negatively impact productivity. These issue may range from a stolen laptop, failed email server or a file or folder that has accidentally been deleted. Granted, some of these issues are relatively minor, and some may actually result in your entire business coming to a grinding halt. However, one thing is consistent: all of these issues will negatively affect your employees and customers, and thereby affecting your bottom line.
According to a recent survey conducted by IDC, the average small to mid-size business utilizes a combination of four or more Diaster Recovery
technologies to help reduce downtime and increase up-time. However, despite a substantial investment in money and resources, more than 60% report still having data recovery issues.
Why would a company need four or more technologies to address their data protection and back-up issues? The reason is that there hasn’t been an efficient way to protect the different operating systems (Windows, Mac OSX, Linux), critical applications (Exchange Server, SQL Server, Other) and different devices (Laptop, Desktop, Server) without cobbling together various solutions from different vendors. With this complexity, it is wonder that over 60% of businesses fail to protect themselves properly.
Fortunately, there is now a viable solution that allows for the fast and predictable recovery of data loss or server outage. Even better, this technology can be delivered as One Solution, from One Vendor, as A Service. The most reliable backup and business continuity service for your business makes it simple.
Today’s industry leading solutions offer the first complete data protection service for small and medium business (SMB) customers. Furthermore, they are designed to ensure business continuity every day and protect your most important asset—data—in the event of loss or corruption. With just a simple click, your IT Support provider can restore lost data in minutes, not days, weeks or even months like other solutions.
A simple matter of "who wrote what to whom" can mean major trouble for your business.
Businesses that do not adequately store, manage and monitor all of their inbound, outbound and internal email messages are increasingly at risk from costly audits, fines, lawsuits and governmental investigations.
Furthermore, the escalating costs of Electronic Discovery (eDiscovery) as well as in-house storage solutions can raise the stakes against your business.
There are several solutions on the market that may be of benefit to your businesses - particularly public companies and those in the healthcare, financial services, law and insurance industries.
In addition, these solutions may help your business comply with a variety of electronic security regulations. Convenient and cost-effective, managed IT services offers a solution to monitor, store and retrieve all of your inbound and outbound company emails.
In order to minimize the cost and risk associated with non-compliance, loss of proprietary information and inappropriate employee emails, a leading solution can provide oversight and control over your entire email environment.
When combined with the optional features and functionality, your business will have the key initial components of a comprehensive email security solution.
Also, several current solutions available in the market can easily and effectively help your businesses comply with electronic security regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, HIPAA, and the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP).
An IT Managed Services Provider can also help protect your businesses from workplace compliance issues, including harassment, discrimination and illegal activity.
After implementing a comprehensive solution, your business will be able to:
- Minimize the cost and risk associated with non-compliance, loss of proprietary information and inappropriate employee emails
- Simplify email surveillance and archiving with a scalable, easy-to-use managed service solution
- Boost your profitability with an affordable alternative to in-house solutions that can easily escalate your labor and overhead costs related to compliance and email management
- Enable regulatory and workplace compliance
- Minimizes costs and risks
- Simplify email archiving and surveillance
- Enable the enforcement of your corporate email policies
- Increases staff productivity
- Safeguard your business integrity
A comprehensive Managed IT Services solution can offer a perimeter-based security solution that blocks over 99 percent of spam, viruses, worms and harmful content and attachments. In addition, there is typically over a 90% reduction in costs related to the protection of Spam as well as wide variety of mail threats.
An email defense system can be continually updated by your support provider from outside your firewall at the network perimeter. To help protect against the latest threats, leading solutions utilize a unique multi-layered system of more than 20 separate filters and expert logic.