What Are Managed Services?
In the IT world, managed services are when you carve out the pieces of your business's infrastructure that you don’t have the expertise to manage on your own and have them supported by an outside vendor. You hear about this anytime you look for IT support.
Many IT providers offer their expansive services at a flat monthly fee. But what happens when the fee is not in line with the service promised or received?
Depending on your business's needs, a managed service level agreement, or SLA, could be as simple as a number to call to solve day-to-day computer issues during business hours. A more involved agreement would include data backup, disaster recovery, and a 24/7 technical support team or help desk. A managed service agreement needs to be reviewed for what it covers and, more importantly, for what it doesn’t.
Your SLA needs to be in line with your business needs. If you are a 9 to 5 business, there is no need for 24/7 support and you shouldn’t be paying for it. Conversely, if you have managers and executives who prefer to have remote access to catch up after they put the kids to bed, after hours support might be necessary.
Why Would You Need Managed IT Services?
Every company has IT needs. Some smaller companies have relied on an employee who “knows what he/she is doing” when it comes to technical support. Others have relied on a small one-man band type of IT support.
The problem is that when trouble comes up, that one-man band might not be able to rise to the occasion. What happens when that one resource takes a vacation? How do they keep up with both the needs of your business and the ever-changing IT landscape?
If you are large enough to need specialized IT support but don’t have the resources to attract and maintain the level of IT talent required, then using managed services is the ideal solution for you. In most cases, the amount of money spent on obtaining and retaining high-level IT support is prohibitive. Leveraging the right vendor gives your company access to IT support at all levels.
What Do You Get with a Managed Service Team?
You wouldn’t want to foot the bill for having a master mechanic perform an oil change. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want a trainee to fix your brakes. Having the right person performing the work is more cost efficient and you will end up with the results you need. That’s why you need the right mix of IT specialists available to you.
An ideal managed service provider will have a mix of highly IT trained individuals. They will have a strong knowledge of core IT principles. They will also have a mix of specialists who complement each other and the types of businesses they support.
How Do You Pick the Right IT Group?
The key to picking a managed service provider is to do your research so you know they offer the right services for your company and your industry. For instance, if you work in the medical industry, the vendor you choose should have experience in that field. Luckily, you can find a great deal of this information on their website.
Check reviews and other sources to ensure that the company has a positive, tenured reputation. Always speak to client references and spend some time kicking the tires. It’s not easy handing over the keys to the kingdom, but with these tips you should be able to make an informed decision.
Gross Mendelsohn’s Technology Solutions Group can be your managed service provider. Contact us here or call 410.685.5512 for help.
About Bill Walter
Bill, our lead networking guru, loves showing clients how technology can be worked into their existing processes to improve efficiency. His expertise includes high level planning for internal and external networks, research and selection of hardware and software products, and hands-on installation and configuration of networks. Normally a pretty easygoing guy, Bill thinks there should be a law against wearing a Bluetooth headset when it’s not in use.