In 2019, the need for businesses to provide a service of constant online availability has grown into an ‘all-year, round-the-clock' necessity. If a server goes down or a network fails, the ability to go about ‘business-as-usual' can become seriously crippled by the domino-like effect that downtime can have on productivity as an IT disaster ripples throughout an organisation. The age-old adage of 'Time is Money’ may never ring with such a hurtful truth.
In much of the cyber security articles published since the WannaCry Ransomware attacks in 2017, ‘prevent-detect-recover' is often at the heart of the messaging and with good reason. Only reacting to an IT failure is a dated measure and is not in line with industry best practices. The ability to prevent IT issues before they arise via analysis of behavioural trends on a network is key to maintaining a healthy IT infrastructure. It is our job to adjust as and when the technological climate dictates it, so as to protect the best interests of our customers. Therefore, we intentionally take a business-centric approach to IT support by aligning IT strategy to business goals.
In this article, we walk you through the nuts and bolts of what managed IT services are, and how they are often the unsung guardians of modern businesses and their data.
What is a Managed IT Service?
Essentially, a Managed IT Service is an enabler for businesses to focus on their respective commercial objectives, and thereby utilise the extend the capabilities, skills and processes of a managed IT Services Provider.
Since 2009, many organisations have developed to a point where every file within the business has been uploaded to a digital data storage capacity with no physical print copy. Taking this into consideration, a company like this is absolutely, 100% dependent on their IT Infrastructure being robust and solid.
In traditional IT infrastructures, where hardware servers are predominantly on-site, and operated by in-house IT staff – a ‘break-fix’ mentality is often the approach whenever an IT issue arises. This is how it was and still is for many small businesses.
However, this approach is vastly outdated and has been left in the dark ages by the advancement of cyber threats as they continue to evolve in complexity as well as the advent of cloud computing. In addition, many in-house IT staff are not supported sufficiently to begin with. Often, the solving of complex IT problems is left to staff from a ‘non-IT department’ (such as finance) who have an interest in technology but just don’t know-how to solve the issues.
By enlisting the expertise of a Managed Services Provider, your business will have the support of experienced IT experts who will have the necessary training to monitor all activity on your business network with an ability to identify potential issues before they materialise. Furthermore, with 24/7/365 NOC Monitoring alerts in place, a key skill of experienced IT engineers is to understand the root cause of an IT issue in order to completely eradicate any potential persistence of it coming up again in future.
Bottom line – MSP's save businesses time and money - as well as help reduce hair loss to IT disasters!
The Benefits of outsourcing the management of your IT infrastructure
Whether you are a one-man band, a team of 3 or a developing enterprise - in this digital age, every business from the ground up is more and more dependent on technology in order to function.
As we are all aware, the complexity and interconnectedness of computing devices – desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets – not forgetting all the OS updates, ensuring compatibility of business applications, patch management – the number of responsibilities is increasing.
Simply put, IT used to be a component of the whole. Nowadays, within every IT department is a growing list of ‘micro-IT departments’ of which are multiplying like gremlins. It is no longer a ‘job for the IT guy’. There is an increasing need for teams within teams to support the growing scope of what sits under the IT umbrella and protect businesses from cyber storms.
What sets a great MSP apart is it’s the engineers’ daily focus to remain up-to-date with all manner of system and security updates. In addition, MSP's are heavily experienced in all areas of IT infrastructure management for companies across a wide variety of sectors - they will know from experience what works, what doesn’t and will have success stories to draw upon from a wider pool of customers in order to help your business prosper.
MSP’s are not suggesting their engineers are better than in-house IT teams, but that an MSP IT team in most cases will have had more experience.
How you can benefit from working with a Managed Service Provider:
- Improvedresponse time – It can be easy to settle for less when one doesn’t know any better. After choosing to go with an MSP, it is very common for business owners to be struck by just how ineffective previous troubleshooting processes were in comparison.
- They shoulder the burden with you– An MSP's primary objective is to meet what has been agreed within their service level agreement (SLA) and be a strategic pivot for clients to achieve its business goals. The level of expertise within MSP’s naturally allows for a degree of mentorship of your in-house IT staff - which can only improve upon existing process and enhance productivity of your own staff.
- An expert view under the hood of your Infrastructure –Small hinges are often what swing large doors when it comes to how an IT business infrastructure is managed. However, it is inevitable that staff with other core responsibilities may drop the ball at times on critical updates, patches and upgrades of your systems. On the other hand, infrastructure management is a high priority on the list of an MSP’s daily rituals. It's their job to ensure adequate service levels are attributed correctly in order of priority.
- Cost-effective assistance of ITexperts -The implementation of a well thought out budget plan is the motherboard for Managed service providers can provide small businesses with economical business IT support services, NOC Monitoring Services, disaster recovery and business continuity and cyber security.
- Staff are enabled to focus on core business objectives– Bringing an MSP onboard can often have an alarming effect on internal IT staff around job security which is not the case. In most cases, the pressure of problem solving, firefighting and potential business downtime is halved. Instead of being occupied by day-to-day upkeep of systems, they’re freed up to work on tasks such as developing internal systems, procedures and processes.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that choosing Managed IT Services is proving to be far more cost effective across a wide variety of sectors in comparison to the break-fix approach of traditional IT business models.
In addition to fixed costs on a month-by-month basis, minimising potential downtime is a huge money saver to go with hidden costs eliminated by having fixed monthly expenses. A real win-win for small and mid-market businesses.