Managed IT Services has opened the door for small and large companies alike to access and leverage technology to thrive and compete at a predictable, monthly fee. As technology becomes more critical to daily operations, and more employees work from home, managed IT services are becoming necessary for every business to consider. In this blog, we will break-down the IT model and look at why business and IT professionals are looking to Managed IT Service Partners to meet business objectives, secure data, and service an ever-expanding remote workforce.
What is Managed IT Services?
Managed IT partners provides advanced IT planning, design, procurement, and support services at a set monthly fee. A Managed IT Service Provider brings a team of certified IT experts who ensure the performance of specific functions like storage, back-up, data recovery, network monitoring, and data security. They also help your internal team plan around the expected infrastructure lifespan and replacement needs of all technology on the network over a period of time.
Going Beyond Basic IT
Do all Managed IT partners offer the same services? The easy answer is no. Managed IT partners will typically help you with routine hardware maintenance, helpdesk and remote IT support, automatic updates, and patches, and limited IT consulting and advice on your overall network. And while some partners are only partially responsible for parts of the network, you want to find a partner who can manage everything that lives on the network as well as the value-added services below:
- Build a solid network. At the foundational level, you need a partner who can deliver visibility and control over all endpoints, including desktops, laptops, servers, or mobile devices, across multiple operating systems. Network Management is the backbone that keeps operations running. A well-architected IT system will ensure your network accomplishes optimal speeds and performance so that your team performs at its very best.
- Network Security needs to be a part of the package. Businesses face an ever-changing barrage of challenges to their cyber defenses. Managed Detection & Response provides advanced AI detection that detects and removes known and unknown threats before they reach your environment. Dark Web Monitoring goes behind the scenes to gain insight into hacker communities and cybercriminal marketplaces where your users' credentials, such as email addresses, usernames, and passwords, are sold. If detected, we respond swiftly, ahead of a breach, preventing your credentials from being compromised and trafficked on the dark web.
- Decide which cloud strategy is right for you. It's no longer a question of if but when you will move various aspects of your IT to the cloud and having a cloud strategy in place is the first step. You will want to look for a Managed IT provider who will help you think through the importance of past cloud experiences and provide guidance around interoperability, security, compliance, and pricing in the cloud.
- Gain strategy & planning expertise. Virtual CIO services help business leaders plan and build a cohesive technology strategy around business goals, helping your team save time, spend less money, and leverage technology as a part of your overall strategic growth.
- Data backup and disaster recovery play a role, too. Whether it's a natural disaster or a security breach that threatens your ability to access and protect your data, Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery guarantee you are able to recover data quickly and resume business in any situation.
- Make sure your IT help is local. Look for IT Help Desk partners who maintain U.S. based IT assistance and are familiar with your system and knowledgeable to assist in any IT situation.
- Last, and yet most importantly, find a partner who is willing to conduct Quarterly Business Reviews. These are a systematic review of the health of your network, performed 3-4 times a year. Each Quarterly Business Review (QBR) should include personal on-site visits (compared to those performed online), giving your IT Partner the ability to view your site for exceptions, ask questions and listen to what you have to say. If a Managed IT partner is truly invested in the health of your network and the longevity of your partnership, small tweaks to the network combined with innovative ways to leverage technology should keep your network performing well at all times and provide tremendous value to you and your internal team.
When is Managed IT Right and Not Right for You
Let's cut to the chase. If you are a large enterprise business with thousands of employees and several IT employees in house, Managed IT can still provide the think-tank and IT expertise that an internal team is burdened to maintain. Small to Medium-Sized businesses see immediate value with access to advanced expertise, around the clock detection and monitoring, and proactive (instead of reactive) support that keeps your network always performing at its best. For businesses where cost and spending is an issue, Managed IT is ideal for finding ways to shave costs and create predictable monthly IT spend.
If you are a business that views IT as an expense and is consistently looking for ways to cut costs, Managed IT services are not for you. Businesses that do not value IT as a platform for growth will not benefit from the proactive planning, expertise, and hands-on resources of a Managed IT provider. In fact, these types of business and IT leaders are often looking for inexpensive solutions that result in a hodge-podge of inventory that has to be managed on a case-by-case basis, so a managed approach will not be right for them.
What Should You Expect When You Work with a Managed Service Provider?
There are numerous Managed Service providers in the market, and most of them provide similar services. But we suggest you look for a managed service partner who can offer the following:
- Look for an IT Partner Who Listens (to You)
Most IT partners provide IT services, but that should not be all that they do. Look for an IT partner who is open to your input, who will ask questions, and look for ways to provide value by helping you develop and leverage technology to drive business outcomes as a contributor to your business' success.
- Look for a Partner Who Combines IT Services Under ONE Umbrella
Many businesses expect their IT partner to "do it all" when in reality, many IT partners only manage select aspects of the network, making it very difficult to troubleshoot slow performance and full network recovery in times of emergency. Work with a partner who can manage all aspects of your network with a clear understanding of how all pieces of the network fit together.
- Look for a Partner who Provides CIO Services, Quarterly Business Reviews, and Onsite Expertise
CIO's are an expensive resource to hire. IT partners should bring a CIO level of expertise and support that aligns IT with the strategic goals of the business. Additionally, look for a partner that goes beyond CIO services and provides onsite check-ups and quarterly business reviews in person with your team to ensure your network is secure and performing at its best.
Who Can Help?
Managed IT partners like Blue Fox Group provide a vendor-agnostic, network holistic approach to helping any size business leverage technology to reduce cost, increase efficiency, and avoid surprises across the entire network.
At Blue Fox Group, we provide 3 specific advantages:
- Together, we reduce the amount of time you dedicate to buying and maintaining technology while helping you avoid technology pitfalls that consume your time.
- Save your organization money by purchasing only what you really need when you need it.
- Help you to avoid technology mishaps and blunders that erode customer confidence and tarnish your reputation.
Bottom line, Managed Service providers reduce unpredictable costs, help you to leverage IT to a strategic level of planning, and provide the expertise of a dedicated IT team that solves ordinary and complex issues every day – all day.
Tell us how we can help you.
Blue Fox Group is dedicated to helping businesses tackle daily and difficult IT challenges. Connect with us to start a discussion around how we might be able to help you leverage technology positively to help you streamline operations, grow revenue, and simply do your job better.