Managed Services warrants a broad definition, considering it covers a wide variety of services and solutions, from monitoring to infrastructure services to alerting a business to technical issues. Businesses are struggling to find people with the right skill set at cost-effective rates, and often, too much of a business’ time is invested in self-managing their IT environment.
So what is Managed Services?
By definition, Managed Services allows a business to offload IT operations to a service provider, known as a Managed Services Provider. The managed service provider assumes an ongoing responsibility for 24-hour monitoring, managing and/or problem resolution for the IT systems within a business.
Managed Services represents the incorporation of new technologies into everyday IT environments but also speaks to a change in IT philosophy. Traditionally, companies employed what is called a Break-Fix maintenance model, where desktops, servers etc. would run until they failed and the company would experience costly downtime until a solution was found. The implementation of Managed Services means that systems are constantly monitored and updated while costly issues are prevented to keep the system running smoothly.
When deciding to implement Managed Services with a Managed Services Provider, you should be ready to ask yourself several questions about your current IT environment as well as what kind of support you are looking for.
What do you need? Do you need a fully managed environment that is monitored 24/7? Or do you require monitoring of only some of your systems for part of the day? These questions are often based off of the nature of your business and how important it is to have services up and running efficiently at all times. How much is it worth to you to have the luxury of not worrying about your IT environment?
How much are you ready to spend? An essential question to ask, considering many businesses experience sticker shock upon learning the cost of the different components of Managed Services. 24/7 monitoring, for example, is costly in terms of the labour required and how often a technician must look at your environment per minute, hour and day.
How much time are you spending remedying IT problems? Is the person or department responsible for IT spending too much time tackling issues that arise instead of addressing other pressing user requirements? Can their time better be served on other areas of the business, while they remain comfortable knowing the day-to-day wellness is being taken care of by a Managed Services Provider?
I understand that this is a great deal of homework to complete before you even decide to enlist the support of a Managed Services Provider. In return, however, a thorough and solutions-oriented MSP will seek to understand exactly what you need and want from your IT environment. They will spend the time to plan and match your needs to their services and give you the opportunity to get on with your business.
How important is an efficient and consistent IT system to your business? Are there more questions you think you should be asking to your MSP? I look forward to your comments below.