What are Managed Services?

Managed Services are one of the most popular methods for businesses to optimize their usage of IT support. While Managed Services have always been popular, they have experienced a surge in popularity over recent years due to the flexible support methods available and an improvement in technology.

As a result of this popularity, more organizations than ever are opting to use Managed Services to meet their IT needs. This allows them to experience the range of benefits offered by fully managed IT services, which included proactive, affordable technology that can benefit every business.

What do Managed Services Involve?

Managed Services are based around the philosophy that a business can successfully outsource its IT needs to a third party, the third party which are experts in IT management and can work with their clients to ensure the best results.

The third party will take over the running of all the IT needs of their client. The list of tasks this tends to involve is comprehensive, and will usually include a mix of the following:

  • The monitoring of all IT systems
  • Identifying issues within the IT system
  • Rectifying any issues that occur within the IT system

When a company decides to use Managed Services, they are then free to focus on the areas of their business where they are expert– leaving their IT requirements to the pros.

Of course, the pros that a company chooses can vary in their quality and level of service offered. If you are considering Managed Services for your company, it is vital that you take the time to research any company you are considering, and ensure they provide the range of services that you need. It is important to avoid companies that are misusing the term “Managed Services”, when all they really offer is old-fashioned flat rate support. True Managed Services are far more comprehensive than this and involve the entire control of the IT system, rather than just responding to specific problems. It has always wise to insure the company is not just using “Managed Services” as a marketing term.

How Managed Services Have Evolved

There’s no doubt that the IT demands of companies have grown and grown in the past 30 years. Once upon a time, companies were able to manage their own IT requirements, as they were only operating small, easily-managed networks. All they needed was an employee or two to keep things ticking over smoothly; or even a few plucky amateurs who were willing to throw themselves into basic IT management tasks. If they experienced a problem they couldn’t handle themselves, these companies of old would bring in a specific tech to fix the individual problem.

Over time, the IT needs of companies have grown. This has meant the introduction of what we now call Managed Services. These services are far more comprehensive; they are proactive rather than reactive. Managed Services help to diagnose and even predict potential faults, rather than just responding to a system crash or failure. The early pioneers of Managed Services began to offer more comprehensive offerings to their clients.

Managed Services were a hit, but were yet to become the norm, which meant the services were expensive. For the clients who could afford Managed Services, the benefits were huge. Companies offering Managed Services were able to oversee the entire IT process 24/7, rather than just being called in when there was already a known problem. This allowed Managed Services providers to interject when they anticipated problems, to follow patterns, and to prevent a failure from occurring. This proved beneficial to the client business as their productivity was not hampered by failures that require time-consuming fixes.

As IT began to expand, Managed Services providers adapted and refined the assistance they could offer to clients. As systems became increasingly complicated, the need for true IT expertise became pressing. Managed Services were able to ensure that only those with true experience and knowledge of IT had access to the system itself. This expertise has proven invaluable to the early adapters. As mentioned, until this point, IT services were usually provided to companies via a few enthusiastic employees– who, while well-intentioned, were not truly qualified to manage the system. In fact, the interference from non-pros led to disruptions in service and even outright caused faults. Managed Services proved even more beneficial by removing the potential for these user-error faults by ensuring that only qualified, experienced, and knowledgeable professionals had access to the important IT systems of a business.

The final push towards Managed Services becoming the norm was a change in the complexity of IT systems. Developers began to introduce more sophisticated systems, to the point that no amateur could realistically manage them. The need for specialists became apparent, so the need for dedicated IT firms grew– the old rules of supply and demand meant more companies began to offer Managed Services. In time, the once-prohibitive costs reduced, and small and medium-sized businesses were able to use Managed IT Services for themselves.

Managed Services Today

In the present day, Managed Services providers are now able to offer comprehensive IT support to small and medium-sized businesses, helping them to achieve their business goals and grow their business. This is achieved by configuring IT systems to alert the Managed Service provider if there is an issue with the system, so providers can react instantly to any threat to their clients’ systems. This allows their clients to continue their business operations, safe from the threat of IT system failure.

This method means that Managed Service providers are now always on the front foot. They are no longer stuck just reacting to problems and never having full insight into how the system runs; instead, they are proactively involved, spotting errors before they happen, and allowing their clients to continue business operations as a result.

Managed Service providers are more in demand now than they have been at any other point in time. For small and medium companies — who are unlikely to have the resources to staff an entire IT department — Managed Services has proven the best option.

The complexities of modern IT mean that only specialists are able to truly manage an IT system– specialists that are rarely present in the small (or non-existent) IT departments of small-to-medium companies. If a company does try to cope with these demands alone, they can quickly become overwhelmed, and the system suffers as a result. Maintenance falls by the wayside as a struggling in-house team are unable to be truly proactive with their IT approach– and the end result is potentially catastrophic for the company. Not only is productivity diminished, but the system can fall vulnerable to security threats and potential data due to improper maintenance by a struggling in-house staff.

There is no way of overestimating just how damaging the threat of an overworked in-house team can be. If the team is unable to adhere to a backup schedule, then your business continuity in the face of disaster is not assured. As well as this potential catastrophe, a failure to stay abreast of the latest IT security threats and implement software patches can leave a company vulnerable to hacking and breaches. Both data loss and hacking can literally bring an end to your company, so struggling in-house teams are no longer an option in the modern world.

Many companies do not realize how severe an issue their poor in-house IT management can be until they suffer through a disaster– a disaster they may never recover from. Managed Services providers can ensure that such an event never happens, and your company never has to learn the lesson the hard way.

Seeing IT support in a new light

In times gone by, basic IT support was seen as the only necessity for a company if they chose to outsource. All the company needed to do was manage their IT as best they could for themselves, then call in professionals when problems outside of their capabilities developed. IT support just meant a constant wave of firefighting distinct problems; Managed Services is a completely different prospect.

Managed Services have changed the way that IT support is approached. No longer are you, the business owner, stuck just waiting for a problem to occur. Instead, you can be reassured that we are constantly monitoring your IT systems for any potential problems– our finger is always on the pulse. This allows for a consistent service to clients that means your IT systems can be relied upon as and when you need them. There’s no need for firefighting problems anymore, because those problems simply aren’t allowed to develop.

We undertake everything from routine maintenance through security patches and complete network monitoring to ensure everything is working as it should, 24 hours per day, seven days a week. We watch over the safety of your network, guarding against the spark that can start a fire rather than relying on just being there to put an established fire out.

This innovative approach is far preferable to the “wait until it’s broken to fix it” method. Instead, we work tirelessly to ensure that your systems never falter, so you never have to deal with the consequences of a damaging IT failure.

Furthermore, we are just one company, meaning that you only need to deal with one outsourcing relationship to meet all your company’s needs.

The price of Managed IT Services

Many small and medium-sized business owners imagine that Managed Services are likely to be out of their price range– if you have been worrying the same thing, then be reassured: Managed Services are more affordable than you might think.

In fact, you may be astounded to discover that excellent Managed Services can often cost less than old-fashioned IT support. This is because it is far simpler and cost-effective to prevent problems from occurring than fix problems when they have happened.

The savings are then increased when you factor in the increased productivity of your business and the extra revenue a reliable IT system allows you to generate. As you do not have to worry about downtime, you’re able to keep your business running at maximum output, safe in the knowledge that our Managed Services have your back. You won’t even know we are there thanks to remote monitoring and maintenance, but you’ll be able to rely on the work we do to keep your business running at maximum capacity.

Furthermore, thanks to the ability to manage your IT services remotely, you’ll save money too. Our costs are lower thanks to the ability to work remotely, and we pass the savings onto you, our client. Managed Services are delivered at a flat rate with virtually no exceptions, so you can budget effectively for your IT requirements every month.  You can choose a service package that suits your needs and your budget; most providers will offer a range of different packages to cater to businesses of varied sizes. You no longer need to keep a contingency budget just in case you experience an IT glitch that has an expensive fix; instead, you can simply combine all your IT expenses into a single, reliable, fixed monthly payment. This budget certainty then gives you the freedom to invest in other areas and grow your business as a result.

If you combine all of these benefits, it’s clear that Managed Services have cemented their place as by far the best IT choice for small and medium-sized businesses. Lower costs, less downtime, and working with a company that are dedicated to keeping your system running smoothly– a far better choice than expensive, out-of-date IT support systems that rely on your company experiencing an error to earn money. We do not do that; it’s our business to ensure there is never an error in your IT systems, so we’re as invested in keeping them running smoothly as you are.

How can managed services benefit a company?

Managed Services offer vastly superior options to conventional IT support services. By proactively managing all your IT needs, your company is able to continue optimum function.

Due to the expertise offered by Managed Services providers, you can be sure that your network is as secure and efficient as it can possibly be. Your network’s capabilities and reliability under Managed Services will vastly exceed your current network’s ability. Problems aren’t just solved; they’re outright prevented– and this happens automatically without any input from you. Your budget is fixed and predictable, so there’s no unpleasant surprises if your IT system malfunctions. Because of all these benefits, you are free to focus on your business itself while your Managed Services provider keeps things ticking along in the background.

By taking out a Managed Services subscription, you will benefit from a long-term relationship with an experienced, specialist company who can provide you consistent, reliable, affordable, and comprehensive IT management. This saves you time, money, and stress– what business owner could resist that?

Beware the pretenders

When searching for a Managed IT Services provider, you must be selective. Managed Services is a term many do not understand, or choose to leverage as a marketing term when they are really just supply old-fashioned IT support. They offer standard old fixes when problems arise, rather than the comprehensive system monitoring and fault prevention that true Managed Services can provide.

It’s important to research deep into a company to ensure they are offering genuine Managed Services, where the company takes on responsibility for your network infrastructure, safety, and overall monitoring. These are the benefits you need, not standard (and useless) old-fashioned basic IT support. So, beware the pretenders, and take the time to find a genuine IT Managed Services company.

Could managed services help your company?

So now you know the benefits of Managed Services, you have to consider whether they would be suitable for you. You thus need to ask yourself a few questions regarding your IT infrastructure:

  • Do you know exactly when your IT equipment may need replacing?
  • If it occurred, would you be aware of a backup system failure?
  • Are you certain that all components of your network have up-to-date anti-virus protection?
  • Do you know for sure that you have all relevant security patches installed?
  • Are you able to identify the areas of your company that use the internet the most?
  • Can you monitor inappropriate internet usage that may be damaging the productivity of your employees?
  • Do you immediately know which of your computers may be running low on memory?
  • Do you know exactly where to turn to if you suffer an IT issue?
  • Do you only hear from your IT support firm when things are broken, rather than receiving regular updates pertaining to the health of your system?

Only if you can answer all the above in the affirmative can you be sure your business wouldn’t benefit from Managed IT Services. If you do not know all the above, then Managed Services are likely to be the absolute best choice for your business.

Get in touch with us today and we’ll begin a full-network assessment of your needs. There’s no obligation to subscribe, so you can benefit from our insight into your security needs and make a decision from there. We know you won’t regret it, so get in touch with East Bay IT and let the process of transforming your IT systems begin.