IT Managed Services for SMBs
One question consistently asked by our clients is, “Why should we use your Managed Services?” Many of these clients perceive that it would be better and more cost effective for them just to contact us as their technology issues arise. It is a common misconception that having their technology under a Managed Services agreement is like insurance and that they would be paying for something they may or may not use. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Just like larger companies, small businesses need technology to operate efficiently and effectively. In many small businesses, IT resources are limited and can be quickly overwhelmed. If you fall behind in keeping up with things such as backups, patches, security, etc., the odds greatly increase that you’ll face an IT outage or other technology problem further down the road that will negatively impact your business.
As a definition, managed services allows a business to delegate IT operations to a service provider. The managed services provider (MSP) assumes an ongoing responsibility for 24-hour monitoring, managing and problem resolution for the IT systems within a business.
In many instances, having a reputable MSP is far less expensive than hiring, training, and retaining your own IT staff. For the companies that do not have an IT staff, there is always a staff member that is the go-to “IT person”. Using an MSP allows that staff member to focus on the company’s business, instead of handling IT problems, which is always better for the bottom line.
Why break-fix doesn't work anymore
A Break-fix service fixes problems as they crop up. Meaning that something needs to go wrong before you receive any service, resulting in an inevitable reduction in IT performance while you wait for the problem to be fixed.
An MSP takes a proactive approach to managing your technology infrastructure. Vastly reducing the need to react to issues or put out fires. Being proactive allows many issues to be identified and corrected before they become problems. A benefit to this approach is your employees will be more productive, which will save your company time and money.
Today, no business can really afford the risk and uncertainty of relying on a “Break-fix” contract, because your business is too dependent on having a reliable IT set up. Furthermore, having separate suppliers responsible for different parts of your technology puts you in the difficult position of trying to decide who should be called when something goes wrong. You simply do not have time for this.
One of the biggest benefits of Managed Services is discovering and fixing problems before they can negatively affect your business.
A well maintained, proactively serviced computer network will always run better than the alternative. With proactive network monitoring, patch management, and desktop optimization performed on a regular basis, you will notice a tremendous difference in operations… and you will reap the benefits of preventing fires, rather than fighting them.
Companies with an existing IT staff can also benefit from an MSP. The MSP can complement the internal IT staff by off-loading some of the day to day operations and management of the network. This benefits your company by allowing the IT staff to focus on other internal needs. It also eliminates the necessity of making a large investment in infrastructure management tools since the MSP already has these in place.
Surprisingly most managed services cost less than traditional break-fix contracts, especially when including the true cost of downtime. Remote monitoring, remote maintenance and the prevention of major issues allow an IT managed services provider to be more efficient than a similar break-fix company who is constantly rolling a truck to visit customer sites. Therefore the managed service company can offer a “better” service without charging more.
A typical Managed Services agreement is based on a consistent monthly fee, helping your company keep costs in line and makes budgeting much easier. With the consultative approach taken by an MSP, gone are the days of the unexpected expenses when dealing with your company’s technology.
Depending on the service(s) included in the contract, pricing is usually based on the number of users, devices and servers, with different packages priced at different levels.
Businesses are also able to control and reduce their overall operating costs with the flat-fee billing model. Cost-effective access to enterprise-level support is a reality. Because the Managed Services provider also manages all of your vendor relationships, issues with internet slowness/outages, printers, phones, cell phones. Businesses experience an additional level of comfort and security with the 24 hour network monitoring as a result.
- Increased operational efficiency
- Reduced operating costs
- Cost-effective access to enterprise-level support
- Minimized downtime
- Allows the focus to be on running the business, and not the technology
- Peace of mind from knowing that the network is monitored 24/7/365
What’s important to keep in mind with an IT managed services contract is that it is preventative maintenance, not preventative breakage. While managed service providers can perform automated tasks, such as alerting when a backup has failed, pushing out patches, monitoring systems and generally optimizing the working environment, no amount of preventative maintenance can avoid hardware failures, database corruption, software crashes, or some virus/spyware intrusions. Managed services is about shifting the odds against a catastrophic failure into a more favorable position, so when a catastrophe does occur, backups will be verified and current, an inventory of the systems can be referenced, and repair time and data loss can be limited.