reprinted with permission of HTS
If you’ve researched methods of taking care of your IT needs, you’ve probably come across “managed services” or “managed IT services”. What is it—and do you need it?
“Managed services” can be generally defined as “outsourcing day-to-day management responsibilities […] for improving operations and cutting expenses.”1 When it comes to technology, managed services is, more specifically, the outsourcing of continual monitoring and day-to-day administrative duties of your IT infrastructure.
How do you know if you could benefit from managed services? The best way to determine if you’ll cut costs is to know what you are currently paying for your IT’s upkeep—and then comparing that to an estimate from a reputable managed services provider.
Here are some signs that managed services might be for you.
1. You don’t have a dedicated IT professional on staff.
Many (if not most!) small- to medium-sized businesses have IT needs that will quickly overwhelm the time and skills of the unlucky staff member who isn’t an IT professional—but just happens to be the tech-savviest person around. Many business owners find themselves in a tough position trying to keep a handle on technology while also running their business.
Even if this task is delegated to someone else, it still means someone on your staff is spending a large amount of time fixing IT problems rather than being productive at their job. And they probably don’t have the time or tech knowledge to plan for the future of your IT—dooming you to a continually reactive cycle that never prepares you for future growth, challenges, or demands on your network.
If you don’t have a dedicated IT person, managed services is the perfect substitute. Rather than paying the salary and benefits for another employee, you could pay a reduced amount for managed services.
2. Your IT professional is swamped with everyday tasks—and things are falling through the cracks.
Is your IT person on top of your software licensing? Are your security updates and upgrades being run continually on all your computers, server, and other devices? Even a single seasoned professional can be overrun with work that keeps piling up, and the biggest culprit is the everyday management and monitoring tasks that get delayed and shunted to the side when a bigger or higher priority issue comes up.
If your IT professional needs help with the daily tasks in order to concentrate on the more important projects, managed services can supplement resources you already have.
3. You’re always bringing in outside help to fix problems that could have been detected earlier.
If you currently work with an IT company, take a look at your “it broke and they fixed it” history with them. Is your server going down repeatedly because no one detected one of its hard drives was going bad? Are you continually paying for someone to come on-site and fix little problems with your employees’ computers?
The hassles you experience with break/fix IT work can be reduced with managed services. Continuous remote monitoring and maintenance can detect problems, notify IT professionals, and have issues fixed before they ever cause a computer to blue screen or a server to crash. Sometimes all it takes is avoiding a bill for eight hours of server work for your managed services contract to pay for itself! (You can also benefit from remote IT support and pre-paid block time. These aren’t a part of managed services, but every little way to save helps you out.)
If you think your life could be easier with managed services, your IT provider can take a look at the history of issues they’ve dealt with for you and pinpoint areas where managed services would have made the resolution easier and more cost-effective for you.
If you have questions about whether managed services is right for you, we’d love to talk to you!